Vanessa at night

mbpi at mbpi at
Wed Jan 23 21:30:41 EST 2002


Oh ye, of little FAITH!  A Cleric who believes in a God unseen and
uproven to exist, yet can't entertain the possibility that butterflies
can and do fly/migrate at night because neither HE (nor anyone else to
his knowledge) has "ever seen it" (!)

Very interesting....

M.B. Prondzinski

On Mon, 21 Jan 2002 16:07:24 -0500 "Ron Gatrelle" <gatrelle at>
> snip
> >
> > It is not possible to prove a negative.
> snip
> Paul's solicitation of information relative to butterfly flight at 
> night
> (in the dark) in conjunction with his field-observations-based 
> conclusion
> that they do not fly in a sustained, directional,  migratory (or 
> dispersal)
> manner in the dark is not trying to prove a negative (hypothetical). 
>  It is
> a conclusion reached through that which is plainly observable.
> How do we know the Miami Blue is in trouble?  Because we _see_ they 
> are
> _not_ there.  It would be ridiculous for someone or group to come 
> along and
> tritely dismiss the move to protect and prosper the Miami Blue by 
> saying:
> "How do they know that there are _not_ Miami Blues all over - one 
> can not
> prove a negative.  Just because they don't see them does not mean 
> that they
> are not there when no one is looking."
> The reason I know there are no orange trees in my yard is that I 
> _do_   not
> see any there.  The _do_ makes this a positive (factual, actual, 
> real)
> conclusion based on _observable_ facts.  This is how we _know_ that 
> a tree
> falling in a forest generates sound whether or not there is a human 
> ear
> there to hear it or not.  (Yet, there are probably some 
> intellectually keen
> people in this world that are so dumb they would have to set up an
> "experiment" - with a million dollar government grant of course- to 
> fell a
> tree remotely from 10 miles away with video cameras in place at the 
> tree's
> location to observe the reactions of several confined rabbits, deer, 
> and
> raccoons at the moment the tree hit the ground.  But this too would 
> be
> inconclusive as perhaps it was sight that startled the animals and 
> there
> was only a false conclusion reached.  Thus, the experiment would 
> need to be
> carried out again with blindfolded animals.  There are inconclusive 
> factors
> here too, so that ultimately one would have to find Dr. Do-little 
> and have
> the animals report directly to him.  But then how are we to know 
> the
> creatures are telling the truth?)
> Now, Paul's (as probably all or our) observations are very limited 
> so there
> is a wide open door for some further testing, which, with the advent 
> of
> night vision technology makes observing leps in the dark very easy.  
> One
> could tell fairly easily the vast majority of moths in flight from
> butterflies in flight.  As others have suggested here - there is a 
> student
> project waiting for someone to do it ( if it has not yet been 
> accomplished
> yet).  However, this will be a waste of money as the answer is 
> already
> known as evidenced by our _seeing_ that the clouds of thousands of 
> XX which
> have been moving across the desert floor, the highway, and onto the 
> car
> windshields and grills has now completely stopped as we stand on the 
> same
> spot by the side of the far-from-human-lighting road at midnight.  
> And as
> the sun comes up again the next day - slowly they return to the sky 
> and
> repeat the second day the dispersal of the first. And perhaps the 
> third,
> fourth, and fifth DAY -  then they are gone.
> For decades I have seen most butterflies in the field fly till the 
> last bit
> of light.  I, like many others, have seen butterflies attracted to
> (confused by) artificial light - with some types showing up much 
> more
> frequently than others.  However, none of this has anything to do 
> with the
> question as to whether butterflies (Pierids and Nymphalids in 
> dispersal or
> Monarchs in migration) engage in this activity (and by necessity 
> have done
> so for a few thousand years) _in the dark_  of the dead of night.  
> My
> answer in no, they do not.  IF they did this would already be well
> documented by people seeing clouds of them at night.
> We are not talking about a couple individuals flitting about after 
> dark for
> some unknown unusual reason -- we are talking about 1) migratory 
> and
> dispersal flight at night and 2) night flight as a regular local 
> activity.
> We need to remember that butterflies don't just fly because they 
> like it.
> Their flight is related to species function - like mate 
> location/mating,
> feeding (nectar, dung, sap, etc.), escape from predators, mobility 
> to
> warmer spots for basking, etc.  In other words they need a stimulus 
> (cause
> and effect) to fly _any_ time.
> Ron
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