killing butterflies for fun???

jh jhimmel at
Sat Jul 6 22:43:48 EDT 2002

Mark - I said "this message and several others that were posted had
absolutely nothing...".  I did not say 'these recent posts", as you just
stated.  I thought my own wording made my implication clear that not all of
the posts went beyond my original point. If yours didn't, I wasn't refering
to you. 

And if you have read through some of the posts that have gone beyond my
original point, they were in defense of collecting - as if I was trying to
score points for our old friend Mr. Sugar.  

I stand by my original statement.  You cannot call someone a hypocrite for
being against collecting just because they drive a car.  (Well, no one's
stopping you, but it's a tough position to defend should you choose it - and
apparently you have)  No more than you can call that person a hypocrite
because they walk across a field and inadvertantly step on a myriad of
living things.  It can't be helped.  For many, they feel that to go out of
one's way to do these things are wrong.  And perhaps their own
rationalizations against collecting- such as if you kill a bug, you upset
the natural order of things - are also ridiculous.  And a bit dishonest when
their real motivation is their feeling it is wrong to kill things on purpose
when it is not a function of being on top of the food chain.  You must know
that this is the motive of many an anti collector.  And they become just as
guilty with their own off-the-mark arguments.  I just jumped on one that, as
I said, I've read too often and think does nothing to advance a collector's

But most of this has been said already, and, to the relief of many of you
(I'd be among the relieved if I wasn't in the thick of it), that ought'a do
it for me on this topic.

Hopefully no hard feelings were left behind...

John Himmelman
Killingworth, CT
jhimmel at

 Visit my websites at:
-----Original Message-----
From: Mark Walker [mailto:MWalker at]
Sent: Saturday, July 06, 2002 9:29 PM
To: 'jhimmel at'; leps-l at
Subject: RE: killing butterflies for fun???

As I mentioned in my first response to your post - I did read what you were
saying, and I even agreed with some of it.  But to say that these recent
posts have ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to do with what you wrote - I don't see how
you can say that.  
You've suggested that another person's argument isn't sound - and then you
got responses from the people who've posed that argument.  It would seem
that they have the right to claim context, since they are the ones who posed
the original argument.
The argument - whether you see it being about purposeful killing vs.
accidental killing rather than hypocrisy - is still an argument intended to
counter people who've pointed fingers in accusation at collectors of insects
(butterflies, actually).  This is a collector vs. anti-collector argument,
whether you want it to be or not - because it was posed and debated in that
Nobody has accused you of taking sides.  We understand that you are just
commenting on your interpretation of the logic of the argument.  That's
perfectly reasonable.
But you and others have suggested that the argument is silly.  Personally, I
don't think it's silly at all.
Mark Walker.
-----Original Message-----
From: jh [mailto:jhimmel at]
Sent: Saturday, July 06, 2002 8:29 AM
To: leps-l at
Subject: RE: killing butterflies for fun???
This message and several others that were posted had ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to
do with what I wrote - and this is what happens every time this topic
arises.  So many on both sides are so eager to score points that these posts
become conversations among deaf people.  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/vocation and launches into a defensive
My whole focus was on the use of one particular argument - comparing
actively collecting to accidentally hitting leps with cars. I'm sorry, but
they cannot be compared.  We live in a society where we need to drive to get
to our jobs.  We don't live in a society where we need to collect
butterflies and moths.  There are those (and again, I'm not one of them - I
feel like I have to say this in order to keep this on topic) who are
bothered that some people collect butterflies and moths for a hobby.  They
are bothered that some people go out of their way to do so.  Asking those
people to give up driving is unrealistic.  [So is asking them to give up
eating meat - but I may be poking a hornet's nest with that one ;^) ]  
Whether or not anti collectors are hypocrites or collectors are killers is
an entirely different argument that I would not even entertain on this
listserve (or even off - it's tiring).  You will see this if you take the
time and read what I originally posted.  I went very much out of my way to
put my views in words that would attempt to avoid this turning into a
collector vs. non-collector debate.
I should have known better to have even skirted the corners of this issue...
I really should have - having been on this list for so many years.
John Himmelman    
John Himmelman
Killingworth, CT
jhimmel at
 Visit my websites at: 
-----Original Message-----
From: owner-leps-l at [mailto:owner-leps-l at]On
Behalf Of Grkovich, Alex
Sent: Friday, July 05, 2002 9:14 AM
To: 'neil at'; leps-l at
Subject: RE: killing butterflies for fun???

Listen, the argument being made here (by anti-collectors) is hypocritical.
And this is why: Unless the anti-collector happens to be a Saint and lives
on wild honey and water, he or she EATS ANIMALS AND/OR FISH MEAT AND PLANTS
(it has been demonstrated that gently stroking a plant encourages growth of
the plant; thus, the plant can sense when it's being torn up and destroyed;
anyway the plant is a living thing, right?). Also, we may assume that most
(if not all) anti-collectors kill flies and mosquitoes, apply pesticides to
the grass, many no doubt toss cigarette butts onto the street or out of
their cars, etc. etc. 
So, they are not righteous any more than I (a collector) am. So thus the
argument is a matter of hypocrisy. And one that I have also stopped paying
any attention to (with exception this post).
Also, Joseph Sugar exists and will come again (in the form of some other
name and argument). Maybe he and Betty are one.
Again, Neil, you always have something to say.
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Neil Jones [SMTP:neil at]
> Sent: Thursday, July 05, 2001 9:02 AM
> To:   leps-l at
> Subject:      Re: killing butterflies for fun???
> On Thursday 04 July 
> 2002 12:16 am, Kenelm Philip wrote:
> > Two people have posted to the effect that killing butterflies while
> driving
> >
> > is irrelevant to arguments over collecting:
> > > But I would expect that none of them would argue in support of their
> > > pastime or vocation with that over-used car casualty scenario.
> > >
> > > The car casualty argument is actually a very very poor point.
> >
> > So _why_ is the car casualty argument so poor? In the state of Illinois,
> > an estimated 20 million butterflies are killed per _week_ along the road
> > system. Compared to that, the depredations of collectors are pretty
> minor
> > (provided they are not affecting endangered species).
> >
> > Note that in law, if you drive your car carelessly through a crowd and
> kill
> > 100 people, I think you will draw a longer prison term than if you
> deliber-
> > ately murder a single person. 100 shorter sentences add up fast...
> >
> 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.
> When you use an argument what doesn't address the real issue it is seen as
> being evasive.
> >
> >         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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