response to Kevin J. Caley

Pavulaan at Pavulaan at
Thu Jun 12 22:00:22 EDT 1997

In a message dated 97-06-11 13:04:12 EDT, Kevin Caley writes:

<<  I am also someone who is against the collection of organisms for personal
study and am an advocate of the production of solid keys (pictorial or
otherwise) which allow the identification of an organism without killing it
in the process (not a
good conservation practice at the best of times!)  >>

You refer to "personal study".  Do I take this to mean you are against
amateur/advocational biologists or entomologists persuing studies on their
own time?  I presume "professional" (ie: academic? institutional?) study is
O.K., but not "personal" study (ie: hobby entomologist?).  If this philosophy
were adhered to since Linnaeus, we would not know a tenth of the species we
currently know now.  Read up on the full-time professions of all the authors
(names following latin species names) who discovered and described those
species.  You may be surprised at the overwhelming number of
non-professionals who devoted a whole lot of "personal" study time to make
the discoveries we now take for granted when reading texts, field guides,
etc.  Who discovered Hessel's Hairstreak?  Certainly not a university or
government entomologist while being paid to go out and look for new species!

How do you propose that someone describes a new species or constructs a key
of any organism without killing it or knocking it unconscious for an extended
period of time, in which case it may as well be dead for the harm caused
while making it unconscious?  How do you get a live, tiny insect to hold
still while constructing a detailed key?  How long do you think it takes an
entomologist to construct a key: minutes? seconds? hours?  Try DAYS, WEEKS,
or even MONTHS, Mr. Caley.  How do you propose keeping a live insect under
still-observation for such extended periods, to construct a key?  

You speak of conservation.  How did we obtain the knowledge base to determine
if a species requires conservation?  We first had to identify the species.
 Meaning: specimens had to be killed, to make a key, so the species can thus
be identified.  

You are obviously not well-informed regarding taxonomic research, and thus,
you cannot be even an amateur entomologist, as such views would be
dangerously self-destructive to science.

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