Monarch Extinction (substantial evidence?)

MexicoDoug at MexicoDoug at
Sat Nov 15 16:03:30 EST 2003

En un mensaje con fecha 11/14/2003 4:18:58 PM Mexico Standard Time, 
neil at escribe:

>When you combine this with Paul's history of repeatedly 
> having a point conclusively disproved on one list only for
> him to repeat the identical point on another list.

Neil, A broken record perhaps to those who are tired of the tune, although he 
always digs up more controversial stuff, whether it's doctored-up or not.  
You and I agree on the need for some complementarty science to these "here and 
there" (and perhaps "everywhere", if one subscribes moderately to Paul's 
theories).  I have never seen him outright "disproved or proved", nitty-gritty crap 
aside, that would require him doing some gold standard science.  Enthusiasm 
and motivation is a hard thing to get a handle on if one wanted to (not that I 
do).  I am completely against personality typing theory, in spite of its 
utility, as I think it just serves to put labels on people's heads, and some of them 
get comfortable ebing lumped in their label group because that is what is 
expected of them.  For example, I challenge you to co-author a paper with Paul.  
If Paul is as you say, he won't.  If you believe (as your website supports) 
that we need to clean up science a little here, you would figure out how.  It's 
not such a daft idea when you think about it.  It is not an impossibility.

As for Paul being political, I think this is moot as he seems pretty clear 
that he is more concerned with politics.  He just told us, "My message to the 
public, on the other hand, is that the forests in Mexico where the monarchs 
overwinter are in great condition and not being lost to logging and therefore the 
monarch migration is in no imminent threat of extinction".

I think Paul is partially right on that one, and imagine him believing he is 
Leps-list stump ralleying in front of the vast masses delivering enlightenment 
with his perceived eloquent discourses to the manipulated public.  I just 
don't agree with his appropriation of work from other dedicated monarch 
researchers out of context and original intent to make his points or agenda at their 
expense, as well as slamming the valuable and interesting peer-reviewed science 
going on,  though the press isn't much better with scientific objectivity, and 
I value his unproven scientific presentations, even though they are 
frequently a result of conspiracies he nurtures.
 (Regarding the extinction statements and quotations from Paul, they really 
seem over dramatized BS by someone who is just looking to pick a fight...create 
anarchy, mass suspicion, whatever, I guess he likes muckraking).  Who 
benefits when the end result of all of this is one guy auditing the the institution 
of science.  Not the Monarchs, that's for sure.  And we can't say the same for 
the quality controlled scientific work going on.    And who's to say that if 
not for the efforts of the top-tier Monarch conservationists, there would be 
any forest at all left.  Thus, I thank Paul for showing that conservation 
efforts have been effective in part of the reserves.  It is a tribute to to folks 
like Conabio, Brower, Taylor and Oberhauser and all the rest that those trees 
are there today.  Because, if not, I could have snuck there this weekend and cut 
down as many trees as I wanted without any problem.  Paul never addresses 
this reality.  I guess he thinks it is like California's Mendocino National 
Forest before all this attention.  It's not.  This is not Paul's country and he is 
unfortunately way out of touch with certain critical factors we Mexicans face 
with natural resources.  Chiapas Rainforests are basically lost except for 
Lacandon Reserve.  The issue is not a snapshot for those conserving the forest.  
It is what happens to the forest if the police look the other way for just one 
season.  That is good wood, and I don't know what a mature tree is worth, but 
I bet at least $500 US.  That's two or three months or more of minimum wage.  
And Log cabins are just beginning to catch on in Monterrey... Go figure...

As a Lepidopterist, the Abies species are on mountain tops near me as well.  
I love those rare habitats.  It is a real pain to get to one.  It used to be 
easier.  Imminent is not the word here.  Think "Trend".  Think "Lapse in 
Security".  If everyone in Mexico adapted Paul's philosophy on forest management, 
that would be the season we kissed it all goodbye.  And if one doesn't care, 
fine for them, maybe Eucalyptus can be planted...and replace the current national 
treasure along with the Monterey Pines, and while we are at it the Giant 
Sequoias and Sugar Pines.  Then everything can look like the barren "golden" El 
Dorado Hills before Shingle Springs, from Interstate 50 east of Sacramento.

Perhaps one can characterize the differences we ( of 
interested) face on this and other ecological issues as the blurring of the 
following concepts:

The lack of evidence test. (None)

The presence of evidence test. (Some)

The substantial evidence test requires only enough relevant information and 
inferences from that information to support a conclusion, even though other 
conclusions might also have been reached. (Some, but NOT conclusive)

The preponderance of evidence test. (Most)

The gold-standard peer-reviewed test. (Most + State of the Art "Conclusive")

The scientific proof. (All and conclusive)

And as you and others have pointed out, perception of relevance and/or 
importance of the problem.  I would love to use the polling function of the TILS 
group to ask something like:

       How do I value the Eastern Monarch migration?
                a. A one of the natural wonders of the modern world that must 
be protected at all costs for all reasons.
                b. As an ecological indicator that is a magnet for education 
and inducing the awe and interest of present and future conservationists in 
training, worth protecting for its positive impact as an icon and the welfare of 
the Lep species.  
                c. As an interesting phenomenon my grandchildren or I might 
get to see some time if it is convenient.
                d. About as important as Lady Bug (Lady Bird) congregations 
conservation wise, but fun to see if you stumble upon them.
                e. A politically motivated emotion-only based conservation 
movement icon that is in no danger nor need for original research/monitoring.
                f. A plague, who cares what happens.
                g. A waste of good researchers and a needless cause. 
                h. A waste of good researchers and a counterproductive cause.

Now, it is hypocritical of me to want to poll perceptions but criticize 
personality typing in discussion groups, I know.
Best Butterflying
Doug Dawn
Monterrey. Mexico

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