Quote without (much) comment

Ron Gatrelle gatrelle at tils-ttr.org
Fri Jan 4 00:38:48 EST 2002

> "Of course introducing politics into what is an amateur scientific arena
> is a bad precedent.... "

This quote reminded me of something.  The whole body of research
lepidopterists has historically been, and is currently, heavy with amateurs
(sometimes dominated by them).  An amateur in lepidopterology is simply
someone who is not paid for doing it.  Here is the defination of a
"zoologist" from the glossary of the International Code of Zoological

"zoologist, n. Anyone, regardless of profession, who studies animals."

That's it.  My impression is that in the  last 20 years there has been an
innuendo arise that basically says, "let's leave the research, taxonomy,
etc to the professionals in the Museums and Universities - and the rest of
us should just be _amateurs_ - the ones who just enjoy watching and finding
new records for the professionals to check out."  A practical reverberation
of that subliminal vibe is -- Thus, only the professionals (in the Museums
and Universities) should be allowed to do any collecting.  Hey, I said - my
impression.  As a life long amateur I resent that kind of attitude.   NONE
of the professionals I know have this attitude as they are keenly aware of
the long research partnership of paid and non paid lepsters.  If I am
correct and such a divide is an actuality - it has come (again in my
opinion) from those in(?) lepidoptery with a political agenda bent on the
elimination of "recreational" butterfly collecting in North America.

Another topic.  There are huge and real environmental problems.  There is a
great need for habitat preservation and biota in need of legal protection.
But those on the environmental dooms day fringe do more harm then good - in
affecting the views of the average person.  Their only real appeal is to
the amen corner - from whom they get big offerings.  I hate this in
religion and it turns my stomach to see the same basic thing in science.
Show me da money.

And this.   Subspeciation is not fully understood by any number of people,
some of whom are otherwise heavy duty lepsters -  to me, that is just where
they are at.   But some of them  should leave those of us who do understand
this swampy mire alone - or at least stop trying to frame us an
unscientific boobs to the masses.  I am also not nearly the splitter some
think I am -- it is just that I end up posting when some extremist has made
some ridiculous statement that throws the baby  out with the bath water.

Ron Gatrelle


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