Ripa Ecologica

Degenerated Science

"Masterfully comprehensive  . . .  a thoroughness of fact finding  . . .  on top of the whole ESA bamboozle  . . .  an eloquent writer who obviously possesses a keen legal edge to boot   . . . detailed and persuasive. "    Bill Love

"An absolutely devastating ridicule of all that is false and hypocritical in contemporary conservation.   And full of extraordinary information about snakes.''   Trevor Wyman

"Compelling and disturbing  . . .  needs to be seen by every herpetoculturist."   Ed Stone

 "IMPRESSIVE!"    Ray Novotny

"An excellent account of the extent of the live animal trade and its true impact upon reptile populations  . . .  I learned a great deal from this article.   I look forward to more of Dean Ripa's writings."   Martin Nelson

"Intriguing and irresistible  . . .  As a past member (17 years) on the Illinois endangered species board, I found that it targets real and very important issues."   Ray Pawley

"Behind Ripa's raging against an insane protection machine gone out of control lies a deeper conservation message we had all ought to take seriously, now, before it is too late."  Charles T. Baker

"In its own strange way, perhaps the most important message to date about our failure as a nationand a worldto deal with the endangered species phenomenon. . .  Degenerated Science is deadly and to the point.  Our state governments and the people who advise them will be reeling from this one for years to come!"  Emmitt Sloan

"A fascinating portrait of the people who make our state and federal protection laws, and a revealing glimpse of the ugly skull gnawing its way through the surface of a conservation movement become so "degenerated" that it is reduced to idiotic finger pointing and foaming at the mouth while the world burns all around us."  Ian Todd 

Degenerated Science is the controversial book-length article published in the May 2000 issue of the Bulletin of the Chicago Herpetological Society.  It deals with government misuse of the Endangered Species Act (ESA) and the "degenerated science" that makes such misuse possible.  Although the principal focus of the paper is North Carolina and the new rattlesnake "protection" regulations being proposed, it reveals an illness that reaches into all states, and the money making impetus behind it.  If "degenerated science" hasn't already happened in your state, it may soon be coming!

Degenerated Science describes a conservation movement literally gone mad, swept up in a mob mania where all sense of rational proportion has been lost in a global panic to "save" the world—and line their pockets along the way.  In short, the same indoctrinations that unleashed the Crusades, the Witch-Mania, McCarthyism, and other crowd deliriums since antiquity are once again spreading seeds of lunacy and disaster.

Tracing the "outbreak" in North Carolina, the events, people, and issues that have given rise to this disease are explored in excruciating, ironic, and often hilarious detail.  After reading Degenerated Science you will never again think of an "endangered species" in quite the same way.

Degenerated Science is in 6 parts.   If printing, each part must be printed separately.  We recommend using the duplex (2 page) print option.


Table of Contents

Part I

  • Abstract

  • Foreword

  • The Snakebite Issue:  Why North Carolina?

  • Who will be affected?

  • What the "Scientific Council" really is, and what they really want but aren't saying

  • Meanwhile, in Washington

Part 2

  • How the timber rattlesnake got to Washington

  • In the words of Don Young "The USFWS is running amuck."

  • At the Public Hearing:  "We have the data!"

  • Euthanasia:  The Last Gasp—you can't judge a death camp by its cover

  • Kill them before they fall into the hands of the Enemy!

  • The Perceived Problem:  Declining populations of North Carolina herptiles

Part 3

  • How the "Scientific Council" determines a decline in rattlesnakes and other species

  • Are Timber Rattlesnakes endangered in North Carolina?

  • Rebel fangs, Rebel Venom

  • How to get into the Pygmy Rattlesnake Business

Part 4

  • The Limits of Technology:  Snake Collecting

  • Mass Collector = Mass Populations

  • Snake Hunting, North vs. South

  • The Berish Factor

  • The work of Kevin Enge

  • Export:  Where the Real Money is?

  • The Last Witch:  The Skin Trade Dud

Part 5

  • Big Scare, Wrong Monster

  • End of the Century Hysteria

  • Slaughter by the American Dream:  Roadway Deaths

  • Reminiscence as Demography

  • How many snakes does a hawk eat?  How many hawks?

  • A Contribution of Ignorance:  The Popular Herp Article

Part 6

  • More Roads, More Cars, More People! Onward the new Utopia!

  • The Obscure Issue of "Pet Suitability"

  • On the naiveté of the "Scientific Council" as regards Commercial Trade

  • At Home with the Moralists

  • Exploitation of Herptiles and Use of Commercial Trade at the NC Museum of Natural Sciences

  • The Silent Coup

  • A Last Look at the Pathology

  • Recommendations

  • Future of a State and Federally Controlled "Scientific Council"

  • References and Suggested Reading