The Hawaiians on Mauna Kea Are Right . . . and The Folly of Building $1.4 Billion Dollar Telescopes on Sacred Mountains

Two-Dimensional Science Can Learn from Millennia-Old Wisdom . . . But When Will That Happen?


-  the opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and are not necessarily shared by all of the staff members at Hawaii Ocean News -


Kaho'okahi Kanuha, one of the leaders of the group of Hawaiians who oppose the building of the thirty meter telescope (TMT) has summed it up this way:  “Mauna Kea is, without a doubt, one of the most sacred places in Hawaii.”  Can we not respect this? 

The real-time ROI issue with spending $1.4 billion dollars on a telescope that will return nothing of real-time practical value to the people of Hawaii –- or anyone else, for that matter -- hints at yet another new level of social lunacy.  The University of Hawaii should be ashamed of itself.  The sleight of hand inherent in charging students $11,000 per semester for an education while, at the same time, encouraging the spending of $1.4 billion dollars on a telescope that will do absolutely nothing to contribute to solutions to Hawaii’s real problems – some at crisis levels – is an abomination.   

Tuition rates at the University of Hawaii have risen nearly 10,000% since the 1970s.  When you ask UH administrators why this is so – how could this have happened – you might as well prepare yourself for the exact same response as would be elicited from the three chimps with hands over eyes, ears and mouth.   UH admin, much like DLNR admin, seems a right bunch of nitwits who care only about image and career, and have happily and repeatedly tossed the student population and the public under the bus in order to maintain that plastic image.  

UH has become nothing more than a commercial entity that needs to continually promote itself, like the mega-corporations that hawk their potato chips, and the glam and glitter surrounding an association with the TMT is the holy grail of self-aggrandizement.   Instead of focusing on providing a good education at a cost that all students can afford, UH plows ahead with stunningly silly ideas like $1.4 billion dollar telescopes that will be plopped down on land held sacred, for millennia, by the Hawaiian people.  Science is great when it can provide real-time solutions to real problems.  However, spending $1.4 billion dollars to leer at celestial bodies, some of which light years away and have long ago disappeared, is a sure sign of lunacy.

Can we not find it in ourselves to respect the millennia-old observations of the well-established culture that was here well before we arrived?  Science, such as it is, is not more important than paying attention to and respecting human culture.  Science, in and of itself, is our latest attempt to understand that which we cannot logically explain.   But two-dimensional scientific logic can lead to things like the third leading cause of death in America: the nearly half million people a year who are accidentally killed by science-derived pharmaceutical drugs and therapies.  Scientists worth their salt should be open-minded enough to want to explore dimensions that have already been discovered by cultures that have been observing our planet for millennia, instead of the arrogance of a belief that everything that needs to be known can be found inside of a test tube.  The Hawaiians are, once again, giving scientists a reason to take pause -- an opportunity, if you will -- to have a look at the possibility that there may be more to our human ecosystem than just molecules.

DLNR’s Suzanne Case, a strong proponent of the trespassing thirty meter telescope on Mauna Kea, constantly provides us with excellent examples of just how impotent science can be when confronted with real-world, life-threatening issues.  Case, who would have us believe that she’s an environmentalist, has never come forward with the “science” to clean up Hawaii’s deadly MRSA infected water, Hawaii’s huge contribution to ocean ecosystem plastics pollution, or the reversing of the ongoing destruction of some of Hawaii’s precious near-shore reefs.  Case has shown that she, like so many others who are climbing the career ladder at the expense of the community they're supposed to be serving, will go so far as to lie to Hawaii’s public and legislature, to cover for self-serving agenda that is harmful to the people of Hawaii.   These kinds of administrators are poisonous to all whom they touch and should be asked to step down before they do any more harm.

The smoke-and-mirror show that science often portrays only serves as a reminder of just how disoriented we’ve become as a people.  Science has become the new sacred, while mountains with the majesty of a Mauna Kea have been relegated to being nothing more than building sites for buffoonery.

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