On the Astronomers Facebook page, Dr. David Spiegel asks a very straightforward yet, to date, unanswered question regarding the TMT debate:
On the one hand, there are some people (whether a fractionally small minority or not), whose land was colonized and whose culture is disappearing, who think of Mauna Kea as a sacred location that should not have more ground broken on it for giant new telescopes.
Then, there are some astronomers who say, essentially, "We really ought to listen more to these marginalized people who are objecting to the plans to build a giant new telescope."
And finally, there are some astronomers who say, essentially, "Nope. We had a very listeny process already. The time for listening is over; the time for pouring concrete has arrived." And some high-profile astronomers who take this position have used some offensive, insensitive, and, yes, racist language in making this argument to several hundred of their closest friends.
Am I right that the dispute among astronomers is basically between those who argue, "Let's listen more to the colonized people who are objecting to our plans to build the world's largest optical telescope on their sacred mountain, find out whether compromise solutions are available, and, if not, take a whole lot more time to figure out whether ignoring the complaints of victims of colonialism in order to build a big telescope is the right course of action," and those who are arguing, "Let's go ahead and build right now because our process already involved 7 years of listening and we'd rather build the telescope than listen more."?
If I'm wrong in this understanding, which part of it is wrong?
If I'm right in this understanding, can people help me understand how the latter argument makes moral and logical sense? In other words, what are the steps of moral logic that go from (A) "We've already listened a whole lot." to (B) "We should go ahead and build the telescope despite the complaints of some victims of colonialism who think that we'll be desecrating their sacred mountain by building it."?