Embracing doubt, a signature strength of science, is an essential core component of an ignorance-based-world view (IBWV) that assumes the areas of certainty are small relative to the large field of ignorance. The contrasting knowledge-based world view (KBWV) assumes that small and mostly insignificant knowledge gaps exist. When the KBWV is combined with a sense of urgency to “do something,” then the intellectual landscape is flattened, the introduction of new ideas is impeded, monitoring and adaptive management is marginalized, risky behaviors continue, and social learning is restricted. The history of three coastal Louisiana land-uses (agricultural impoundment, marsh management, and dredging) is one of ignored and untested assumptions that might have provided a cause-and-effect means to avoid catastrophic land losses—the result of a KBWV that remains the primary perspective of Louisiana’s current coastal restoration and management program that includes river diversions and a proposed expansion of hurricane protection levees into wetlands. I argue from the pathology of results that willful adoption of an IBWV in the administration, management, and implementation of restoration will reduce the scale and diversity of significant missteps in the future, improve project efficiencies, and cause fewer unintended consequences that cannot (again) be retracted.
Turner, R. (2009). Doubt And The Values Of An Ignorance-Based World View For Restoration: Coastal Louisiana Wetlands. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12237-009-9214-4