Origins of NABA's Membership, etc.
Chris J. Durden
drdn at mail.utexas.edu
Fri Jun 18 12:53:49 EDT 1999
At 08:11 18/06/99 -0400, you wrote:
>Mike Quinn wrote:
>> Now if someone says that collecting is the best way to study
>> beetles or
>> micro-lepidoptera, they would get no argument from me.
>> Collecting is nearly
>> the *only* way to study these diverse groups.
>Probably so, but I'm not sure how butterflies are any different than
>beetles, flies, etc. Why is it that people in general have such a problem
>with _dispatching_ butterflies, while they don't have a problem with the
>rest of Insecta? It's because butterflies are large, showy and graceful and
>relatively benign to humans (at least in the adult stage). These
>characteristics have iconicized butterflies to a level that seems to
>supercede their place within the food chain.
It is more than this. Since Greek times and before there has been the
belief that *psyche* (=butterfly/moth, there is no distinction in most
languages other than English) is the spirit of our ancestor.
This must be a very ancient belief as it appears in New World indigenous
cultures as well as those of the old world. Some of us would fight
disturbance of our ancestors for study, others would fund the research.
These are differences of religious belief. I think similar attitudes are
involved in our different approaches to butterfly research.
And it's not MY value system
>I'm referring to - it's all of humankind. If I walked around with a hammer
>and pounded cockroaches, I doubt that many would complain.
I complain. There are some very beautiful cockroaches. I collect them for
study and appreciation much as a head hunter might, but I do not
exterminate them to get rid of them. Even the few I feed to my VEILED
CHAMELEON "Bob" are appreciated, by "Bob".
But chasing a
>butterfly with a net, now that's just sacrilegious!
>As I've said more times than I like to admit, it's the hypocrisy of it all
>that bugs me so.
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