By taking the initiative to publish a controversial article about the effects of Navy sonar testing on whales, you seem to have knocked down another hurdle in the touchy debate between human priority and environmental impact ("The Whale Man," by Barry Siegel, Dec. 8). Finally an influential media source tactfully, yet forcefully, questioned the basis of the government's motives. But what astonished me was the lack of letters you received in response to such a bold move. Are people so trapped in their urban cages? It seems that the whale issue has sunk at least partly back into its watery grave--after a mere 15 minutes of glory.