Parasites and Monarchs

Stanley A. Gorodenski stan_gorodenski at
Thu Apr 7 23:22:05 EDT 2005

Ron Gatrelle wrote:

>----- Original Message ----- 
>From: Stanley A. Gorodenski
>Subject: Parasites and Monarchs
>This was speculated to account for the difference in parasite burden between
>populations that migrate and those that do not, and that habitat destruction
>and climate change will increase the prevalence of parasites.
>First, this is political propaganda not science.   

I am in the process of reading this paper now. At this time I do not see 
it as political propaganda in the least. What I see is good science that 
draws upon results of research on other taxa and puts the interpretation 
of their results in that context.

>Parasite, migrate,
>habitat, climate... SPECULATED... WILL.   

This was my summary of what I read, not a repeat. If the word WILL 
coming after SPECULATE is offensive, then omit the word WILL. However, I 
think WILL was already qualified by the overriding word SPECULATE and so 
I do not see the problem, unless someone wants to launch into a side 
agenda of their own.

>Always fascinating how speculation
>turns into an absolute - X specualtion becomes WILL in the same sentence.
>The sky has been falling ever since Silent Spring shouted fire in the
>theater.  I don't know if it is possible to know the truth of these things
>any more because all the valid science in so interwoven with purely activist
>"studies" and "data".   Highly educated and skilled people can conduct a
>study to produce whatever convincing data they want.   "A recent study
>shows..."  Millions of them on everything imaginable, and so many in direct
>conflict with others.

I do not see this at all in their paper. They are not claiming the "sky 
is falling", and I certainly do not see it interwoven with activist 
"studies" and "data".

>    Law of Study: for every study there is an equal but
>opposite conclusion.

I do not understand this Law of Study. Could you expound further on it? 
If a null hypothesis was rejected at the 5% or 1% level of significance, 
how can anyone claim it is an "equal" conclusion? Maybe "opposite" but 
certainly not "equal". If the significance level is set at 50% then your 
statement would be correct, but I do not know of any good science based 
on a 50% level of significance.

>Second, even if true it is simply just part of nature = natural process.
>Climate change is neutral, its functions work just as much against a disease
>/ parasite / plant / animal etc. as it can for it.   Let's also not forget
>that many Lepidoptera are "insect pests".  Just like a weed is defined as
>being any plant growing where _humans_ don't want it, a "pest" organism is
>anything humans don't want in there sphere of existence.  If Monarchs fed on
>corn and not milkweed, the USDA would be looking FOR natural enemies (like
>parasites) to help _us_ control them.   And the Mexican gov. would cut down
>the forest to save their farmer's crops.  And if we found that some cancer
>was caused by a chemical in Monarch wing scales falling off was they fly -
>we would have the Monarch Eradication Cancer Campaign of the Americas
>Another perspective is this.  People who are parasite hobbyists/ watchers/
>collectors don't want to see their favorite organisms harmed or plotted
>against for eradication.  "Save the parasites",  "Save the ticks", is just
>as pragmatically valuable as "Save the whales".  In fact without disease,
>parasites, vultures, roaches, mosquitoes, mold and on and on the world would
>be a very imbalanced unhealthy and dying thing.   We'd have to go to the pet
>store to by the garin to feed our mice and mice to feed our snakes and
>snakes to feed our owels -- and monarchs to feed our parasites so we could
>grow more grain to feed our mice....
>At this point someone always chimes in that "humans" are the problem because
>we are bringing about _unnatural_ changes.  

Yes, someone did bring it up - You. But you are correct. Because humans 
are part of nature and "are just as natural as any other organism", as 
you say, I have been wondering, probably you also, why hasn't the Bush 
administration investigated the Grizzlies of the YellowStone Natural 
Park area for possession of nuclear weapons?  :-)



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