Burden of Proof and Risk

Patrick Foley patfoley at csus.edu
Fri Oct 13 18:30:14 EDT 2000

Norbert and other leppers,

Human cross continental contact is responsible for an incredible collection of
human disease outbreaks, some that trashed the Roman empire, others that
destroyed much of the human gene pool in North and South America. The problem
continues today, and is barely held in check by constant development of new
drugs and treatments. While we hesitate to infringe upon human desires to travel
freely, it seems a lesser unfreedom to discourage them from moving lots of wild
animals and plants around. Butterfly release does seem a small problem compared
to the incredible amount of human suffering on this planet, and of course we
should do what we can about that also. I brush my teeth each day even though the
issue is trivial compared to AIDS in Africa. I take it by the upwelling of these
old debates that the butterflies are dropping off and everyone is spending more
time at the computer.

Patrick Foley
patfoley at csus.edu

"Kondla, Norbert FOR:EX" wrote:

> Two very interesting parts of the butterfly release debate.  The burden of
> proof is either dictated by law, ie. a proponent of a regulated activity
> must prove to the statutory decision maker that their proposed activity is
> compliant with the letter and intent of the legislation or it is dictated by
> one person wanting to 'prove' a point to another person.  Key thing to
> remember in the latter case is that the door swings both ways; people who
> want to raise unproven dangers have as much 'burden of proof' as the flip
> side of the coin.  The expectation of 'no risk' is simply unrealistic.
> There is risk attached to every human decision and action.  The social
> choice that needs to be made, and is routinely made, is how much risk and to
> who/what.  Seems pretty bizarre to me that people flit to and fro across
> this planet without much ado beyond some common sense precautions for
> disease transmisson and yet we have a tempest in a teapot about some
> butterflies flitting to and fro on one continent within their normal range
> :-)
> ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
> Norbert Kondla  P.Biol., RPBio.
> Forest Ecosystem Specialist, Ministry of Environment
> 845 Columbia Avenue, Castlegar, British Columbia V1N 1H3
> Phone 250-365-8610
> Mailto:Norbert.Kondla at gems3.gov.bc.ca
> http://www.env.gov.bc.ca

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