A Question About Mauna Kea

After reading this post by Tom Levenson about the proposed construction of a new observatory on Mauna Kea, which is contested by some local Hawaiian groups on religious grounds, I have a question:

Would some of the rhetoric that has been used by astronomers be used if the proposed site were the Wailing Wall/Al-Aqsa Mosque*?

I’m guessing that some of what has been said might not have been.

*Yes, I realize no one in her right mind would sight a telescope in the middle of Jerusalem.

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6 Responses to A Question About Mauna Kea

  1. Ketil Tveiten says:

    The answer you’re after is of course “no”, but isn’t this really a kind of Argument From Fatwa Envy? “You wouldn’t dare do this to muslims, ‘cos they get angry for realsies” is not a good argument for or against anything.

    That said, not being a dick to locals when you want to build something in a place they care about should be a no-brainer, I’m surprised it went this far.

  2. Bayesian Bouffant, FCD says:

    The peak of Mauna Kea is not heavily populated.

    • jrkrideau says:

      I suspect that there are very few apartments at the Wailing Wall and mosques are not condo’s. Lot’s of room for telescope or two.

  3. anthrosciguy says:

    Really, Ketil, that’s the only reason one wouldn’t think of demanding the right to shove an observatory into that mosque? The only reason? And the Wailing Wall referenced right before it; you missed that entirely?

  4. bluefoot says:

    This reminds me of an argument I once got into with someone on a black sand beach on Hawaii. The beach itself was a sacred site, and there were signs posted asking visitors not to remove shells, rocks or sand from the beach. And right next to one of the signs, some tourist was filling a bag with sand. When I asked him why, he said that the black sand was cool and he wanted to take some back home. I asked him if he would vandalize a church in order to take something home he thought was cool – the beach we were standing on deserved the same respect. He got belligerent and (unsurprisingly) went off on “not a real religion” and “just a beach” and “no big deal” etc. What a jerk.

  5. onkelbob says:

    Two words: Hobby Lobby.
    Two more words: Oak Flat.
    Final two words: Golden Rule.

    Those with the gold, rule.

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