killing butterflies for fun???

Mark Walker MWalker at
Fri Jul 5 12:00:56 EDT 2002

Neil wrote:

> When you use an argument what doesn't address the real issue it is seen as
> being evasive.

I don't understand comments like this.  Those who've used the windshield
argument (like myself, on occasion), are making their own point which is
defined by its own issues.  Rejecting an argument based on its not
addressing YOUR real issue is essentially the same as ignoring the argument
- which I find far more evasive.  

The question is NOT one of volition, it is one of hypocrisy.  The argument
insists that those who like to throw stones should put them down long enough
to do some self-examination.

Suppose there was this homosexual whom I constantly berated and hounded and
publicly condemned because of immoral lifestyle.  And then suppose that you
found out that I was prone to spending hours surfing porn or visiting strip
joints.  You would accuse me of hypocrisy, and would get irate if I ever
dared label another as immoral.

The point is that we are ALL guilty of both intentionally killing insects
and destroying their habitat.  We KNOW that driving kills bugs, and yet we
CHOOSE to continue driving out of convenience.  We KNOW that developing
shopping malls destroys habitat, but yet we CHOOSE to continue to shop at
them out of convenience.  We KNOW that cultivating acres of produce results
in spraying and other detrimental effects to the environment, and yet we
CHOOSE to continue to eat.  We KNOW that buying virtually any product
contributes to the demise of a species, and yet we CHOOSE to buy and sell.
We KNOW that intentionally killing life is somehow worse than letting it
live, and yet we CHOOSE to go to all costs towards eliminating unwanted
creatures and plants from our immediate surroundings (ants, weeds,
cockroaches, spiders, mosquitoes, wasps, flies, etc.).

We're all guilty - some of us worse than others.  Those of use that take
occasional specimens but otherwise are MORE sensitive to the impacts
described above, do NOT appreciate being berated, hounded, or publicly
condemned by those out there who are too ignorant to recognize their own

Mark Walker.

> It really is quite simple. I don't agree with the argument but I
> understand
> why it is put forward. It is a question of _volition_.  To extend your
> analogy further a driver is driving a roadworthy vehicle down a street
> quite
> slowly within the legal speed limit, suddenly a small child runs out from
> behind a parked car just feet in front of him and is killed. In this case
> the
> driver cannot be held to blame because he had no control over what
> happens.
> However driving carelessly though a crowd is something you _have_ control
> over. The same is true for people who accidentally hit butterflies with
> the
> car it is _accidental_. The objection that these people have is to the
> _deliberate_ killing of butterflies.
> >
> >         From the _butterflies'_ point of view, drivers are far more of a
> > menace, and most of the people who object to collecting would probably
> > like to think that they are 'speaking for the butterflies'.
> > Why is it OK to kill myriads of insects as we go about our lives, but
> > positively evil to pick out kill a single insect for one's curiosity
> > about the natural world? Curiosity about the natural world is how I go
> >about my life--so I fail to see the difference.
> >
> >                                                Ken Philip
> Let me reiterate that I am not interested in banning colllecting. I do not
> believe that it is morally wrong to kill insects. However, some people do.
> People do believe in odder things than that. There are people who believe
> that native americans are decended from the lost tribes of israel!
> I quote Andrew Lees for two reasons.
> 1. He was an inspirational conservationist who helped conserve one of my
> favourite wildlife sites in the UK and he died in Madagascar fighting to
> save
> a tropical forest. Like me he worked to conserve _habitats_ and I like his
> quotation because it fits what I do.
> 2. When I was asked for help in designing the memorial. I suggested using
> the
> quote used in his obituary by the organisation for whom he worked.
> Naturally
> being a butterfly conservationist I would wouldn't I. :-) Using the
> memorial
> quote myself has therefore an element of irony that appeals to me.
> Next time I go to Crymlyn Bog I will have to take some pictures of the
> memorial and the bog itself to put on the web.
> --
> 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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