gene pool and releases

Kelly Richers KeRichers at
Thu Jun 21 14:36:55 EDT 2001

This thread has been run to quite an extensive length, but one aspect of it repeats over and over without challenge, and should not.  There is no valid use of the word "proof" that anyone in this thread, pro or con, should be using.  The scientific tests cited, under current limitations, do not purport to "prove" anything.  They merely demonstrate that under certain controlled conditions in effect at that time that such and such occured.  It is very puzzling that both sides on this debate seem to be searching for absolutes that do not exist in science.  It is not up to anyone to prove anything beyond a shadow of a doubt because that will not happen with the currently available technology, nor would it mean anything significant if it did.  New studies will merely demonstrate (NOT prove) certain situations that result in certain results.  One would think that this is basic high school science stuff, and all this other talk is emotional pandering.

>>> Randy Minnehan <minnehan at> 06/15/01 04:33PM >>>
Michael Gochfeld wrote:

> Actually it's up to those who are commercially invested in
> butterfly release to demonstrate beyond a shadow of a doubt that there
> is no disruption to the gene pool nor harm to anyone at any time.
> Those who oppose it have NO OBLIGATION (in my not very humble view) to
> demonstrate that it is harmful.

Excuse me, but exactly how do you prove something that does not exist?  I
asked a trick question earlier when I asked for proof that releases effect
local populations, because that are NO scientific studies or research that
have ever shown that butterfly releases have any effect on gene pools or
local populations in ANY way! It's easy to turn the tables such as you have
when you have nothing to back you up!  Since you want scientific proof that
no harm is done from releases, I can cite:  Dr. Bruce Walsh, associate
professor, University of Arizona, a well known population specialist has
proven that the fitness of local butterfly populations is not decreased by
interbreeding with released individuals.

     Norbert Kondla, a practicing conservation biologist, co-Author of
"Alberta Butterflies", and a professor at the University of Calgary has
stated, "It may be that releasing extra butterflies does not help the web of
life but at this point in my life I see no reason to believe that this would
be unhelpful or harmful (the fact that some people hold such an opinion does
not make it so)", and "Some people will chose to criticize on the basis of
emotional values and beliefs which are not shared by those who chose to make
decisions through rational thought. I see no reason to act on such alarmist
imaginings. Considered and regulated use of natural resources should be
encouraged and supported. It is in the public interest to do so.  It is not
in the public interest to ban a particular commercial activity on the basis
of fanciful imaginings."

       The USDA/APHIS regulates the distribution of butterflies through a
permit process and allows butterfly releases of approved species.  Even
APHIS has stated that opinions against butterfly releases are insufficiently
supported by scientific evidence, therefore lacking in evidence to prove
releases are harmful.

      Glassberg's writings have been proven time and again to be nothing but
hot air.  Show us some scientific proof of ANY harm being done by butterfly
releases.  You cannot.

      Randy Minnehan


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