Science as Art.

Richard Worth rworth at
Tue Jan 15 11:46:29 EST 2002

Mary Beth,
Wow, I get back to my computer this morning after being in a training 
session most of yesterday and find I've been blasted.   First of all, 
I refuse to be pigeonholed as an "elitist" of any type.  I am not a 
specialist or "the expert" on any particular lep group and do not 
have a PhD.  I am also not heavily involved in research.  I do happen 
to know some warm, generous, and helpful people, some PhDs -some not, 
that are specialists on some groups of bugs and appreciate info from 
others.  Second, I don't have access to this computer on the weekend 
and didn't get to the postings until Monday.  Had you been patient, 
you would have found that I was compiling the responses into one post 
for everyone to see/review and to thank them.  Maybe you should not 
be so hasty in presuming to know so much about people that you do not 
know.  I don't recall any biologists labeling you as some particular 
kind of artist.  In fact, I recall praise for your butterfly cookies. 
And I do appreciate your reply; I thought it was one of the most 

BTW, thanks again to all those who posted more comments after my 
summary.  It's all good.
Peace,  Rich

PS. Andy, I'll have to watch for those P. eversmanii records from Oregon ;-)

>I'd like to put in my two-cents worth on "science as an art..."
>As a born and trained "artist" in my own right (with innumerable
>credentials and awards to back me up), I find that I perceive the world
>quite differently from the mainstream, strictly "scientific" populus that
>predominates research.  And I also can attest that my perceptions are
>largely "ignored" by the aforementioned, as if they have no "relevance,"
>regardless of the fact that I'm a trained biologist, as well...
>As an example:  the current thread on the "blue-green" droplets present
>on Pierids during relaxing and/or spreading the individuals...  I
>suggested to the original poster (Rich Worth), that the droplets were
>probably "urea" which is the color pigmentation found in Pierids.  Nobody
>else has suggested this as a source, and Rich chose to ignore my
>suggestion.  After spending the summer watching quite a number of Pierids
>eclose, the blue-green droplets that are present on the wings can be
>observed on recently emerged Pierids before their wings dry out.  Couple
>the urea with the chlorophyl consumed from the plant vegetation by the
>larvae, you have a pretty credible supposition!  (Perhaps some graduate
>student should delve into this further...)
>Another interesting case in point:  there was an article in the Chicago
>Tribune Magazine a couple of weeks ago that showcased an "artist"
>(thought untrained in Biology), who has spent the past 10 years studying
>"maneless" lions in Africa...and is only now being allowed to publish his
>observations in a scientific journal...thanks to the "skeptical"
>scientific community.
>What a biased, elitist world we live in!
>M.B. Prondzinski
>On Mon, 14 Jan 2002 09:13:47 -0600 Martin Bailey <cmbb at>
>  > It was mentioned that it is just as important to creatively analysis
>  > data as
>  > it is to gather it and put it through a canned statistical software
>  > program.
>  > I agree.  But what I find ludicrous is that the original data is
>  > rarely
>  > independently verified as to have been accurately observed.
>  >
>  > So you presently have the situation where one researcher with
>  > limited
>  > observational skills making a hundred observations or so which are
>  > then
>  > analyzed using some statistical procedure or another and are deemed
>  > significant. Results that are now considered publishable in some
>  > learned
>  > journal.
>  >
>  > On the other hand, three long time observers note the same
>  > phenomenon
>  > independently of each other in three separate locations and their
>  > results
>  > are just seen as anecdotal - not worthy of learned consideration.
>  > (They are
>  > not statistically significant.)
>  >
>  > Martin Bailey,
>  >
>  > greetings from:  Weyburn, SK., Canada.
>  >                          49.39N  103.51W
>  >

Richard A. Worth
Oregon Department of Agriculture
Plant Division
rworth at
(503) 986-6461


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