NABA policy debate #3

Ron Gatrelle gatrelle at
Fri Jun 15 14:07:22 EDT 2001

Michael Gochfeld wrote

> NABA has taken a position that opposes butterfly releases, but note
> carefully the authors of the article that was published in American
> Butterflies.
> There's No Need to  Release Butterflies -- They're Already Free
> by Jeffrey Glassberg (president of NABA);
> Paul Opler (author of Peterson Field Guide to Eastern Butterflies);
> Robert M. Pyle (author of  Audubon Society Field Guide to Butterflies);
> Robert Robbins (curator of Lepidoptera, Smithsonian Institution) and
> James Tuttle   (president, (Lepidopterists' Society)

None of us are always in agreement with, nor in disagreement with, someone
or group all the time. Thus, when once crosses over and amen's the position
of someone they are, say 80%, in usual disagreement with, it should never
be taken as an endorsement of anything but that which is specifically being
agreed to.

Human nature is not so rational though.  Politicians have learned that to
have your picture taken with someone (even thought they disagree 99% with
that person) will 100% of the time send the message that there is
agreement - especially if both parties are smiling.  Example. A savage
dictator would love to have a picture of himself and a US president side by
side and both smiling.

In the above list of names there is surely varying degrees of opinion - pro
and con - relative to the gamut of NABA positions and policies. The message
to the subliminal psychological message however is that the average person
perceives this as not only an agreement on "release" but NABA as a whole.
Further, the line up makes one perceive that Glassberg is the leader and
the others are following him. The one at the head of the table, center of
the photograph, holding the microphone, etc. sends tremendous pecking order
signals to the human animal's subconscious social structure instincts.

(I am about to say some things as a simple pragmatic presentation of
reality. I have not intent at all to be casting some dispersions on Jeff
Glassberg. So just take it at face value. It is actually complimentary to
his "genius".)

The fact is that Jeff Glassberg is not any where near being in the same
league as Opler, Pyle, Robins and Tuttle as a lepidopterist - these men are
true scientists based on their published research. Jeff is technically an
amateur who has worked hard, sought out information, learned, compiled the
knowledge of others, spent a lot of his own money, birthed a tremendous
organizaton, publishes some basic non-technical books -- and in the process
become preceived as the Top Man, The Expert, on American butterflies by
hundreds of people. Those people actually do see the above list as a
pecking order - which means the one on top does the pecking and gives the

I do not think for one second that Jeff set out to do this (elevate
himself) at all. But it is the reality of where he stands in the
preceptions of many. He is the man and The Leader to them. And as such they

Just some observations and comment.


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