Subject: RE: lepidopterists have anything to learn from ... b irders ?

Neil Jones neil at
Tue Apr 9 09:06:05 EDT 2002

On Tuesday 09 April 2002 03:05 am, Mark Walker wrote:
> Todd asked:
> > Can a non-scientist have a scientific collection?
> Todd also shared that he considers his own collection to have scientific
> value, which of course I agree with.  I may also be inclined to suggest
> that having a scientific collection makes a person a scientist anyway -
> even if they don't particularly want to be one.
> Mark Walker

I suspect this may provoke a reaction. Yes, I am being provocative.I have a 
grin on my face writing this but I can justify _every_ point. I find Mark's 
assertion utterly illogical. Perhaps this will actually get some people
thinking about what science really is! :-)

 Every time the need for collecting  comes up it is defended as being 
scientific. Every collection is a scientific collection that is its 
justification.  I often find myself explaining this to people myself. There 
is a scientific justification. Of course there is.

 _However_ the evidence from this list shows that there is often a lamentable 
lack of logical and scientific thinking amongst certain collectors.

Regular observers will know that certain people on this list claim to be 
scientific but advance or support the most illogical, irrational and 
unscientific ideas.

If we were to believe it all we would believe according to one person that 
_all_ of physics is wrong, _all_ of genetics is wrong. _all_ of geology is 
wrong and _all_ of linguistics is wrong etc.etc.etc. Why? because some 
"Talibanesque Mullah " told him so. This is not science but anti-science.

Then there is the lepidopterist who thinks it is quite reasonable to suppose 
the US government is secretly surveiling its populus with Black Helicopters!
Seriously folks! It is all there in the archives!

Others who believe in ridiculous consipracy theories like the one about 
the government officials faking data in a lynx survey. Look at the data. The 
story is obviously, clearly, utterly "what ever superlative"  FALSE!!!

To be fair it isn't just collectors but I am constantly worried by people who 
fall for hoaxes. It wouldn't be fair to criticise Americans for not knowing 
rude British slang but other things that are said that are equally obviously 
hoaxes and people should know. Yet they still fall for it. BE scientific 
_check_ the data _first_.

Some people worry about the survival of the study of lepidoptera.
Well certain kinds of lepidopterist are bound to exist in the future.
There is one born every minute!  :-)

Neil Jones- Neil at
"At some point I had to stand up and be counted. Who speaks for the
butterflies?" Andrew Lees - The quotation on his memorial at Crymlyn Bog
National Nature Reserve


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