killing butterflies for fun???

Kenelm Philip fnkwp at
Sat Jul 6 16:55:35 EDT 2002

> Instead of reading and responding to what was written, the respondants'
> back gets up as he or she reads a perceived attack on their hobby/voc-
> ation and launches into a defensive diatribe.

	"This animal is very vicious--when attacked it defends itself."

	I thought I _had_ read and responded specifically to what was
written--namely the argument that incidental killing of insects while
going about one's life is not morally superior to intentional killing of
insects for scientific (or hobby) purposes. Certainly the incidental
killing is orders of magnitude larger, and in many cases it is done by
people who are fully aware of what they're doing, as the bugs go 'splat'
on their windshields. What about people who are driving for their pleasure,
rather than driving to work?

	When people are accused of being immoral, and they themselves do
not share the views of their accuser, they are liable to present their side
of things. If that's being 'defensive', then so be it. Why are the accusers
so _offensive_?

> There is a concept in _law_ called Mens Rea. "Guilty Mind".
> In order to commit a crime you must have had an attitude of mind that
> directly _intended_ to do so.

Maybe that's true in the UK. In the US we have 'negligent homicide', where
the perpetrator had no intent to kill. By not taking reasonable precautions
to avoid killing someone 'by accident', you are guilty of a crime. This
can cover driving while drunk, or very sleepy, and also covers factors like
not maintianing your vehicle's brakes, etc. It may someday include things
like talking on a cell phone while driving.

	I will agree with Neil's line of reasoning to this extent: people
who hold as a matter of faith that deliberately killing an insect is wrong
cannot be argued with. Remember the flat-earthers who claim that all the
photos of the earth from space are fakes?

	Having had a number of off-line e-mail exchanges with Neil, I will
also agree that he does not object to collecting per se when done for
valid reasons. But there are those who do--including one person who told
me that taking the life of even _one_ insect for scientific purposes was
wrong--because it reduced biodiversity! He was a mathematician, but seemed
to ignore the concept of significance. He also did not seem all that con-
cerned about the incidental 'bykill' of our society--it was _collecting_ to
which he objected.

> Asking those people to give up driving is unrealistic.

	Asking _these_ people to give up collecting is also unrealistic. :-)

							Ken Philip


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