[Taxacom] De-extinction & Rhachistia aldabrae

Mike Sadka sadkamike at gmail.com
Sat Oct 25 08:28:05 CDT 2014


Hi John

> The response is often 'I don't collect, I only take pictures'.
> And these are people for whom identification is important, but they have
no
> interest in making that identification possible.

I suspect many such are people who do not like the idea of killing insects,
so photograph them instead.

These are very likely the same people that would have been assiduous insect
collectors 50 - 100 years ago, when it was a much more popular hobby, and
few would have questioned its ethics or impact.

And even though I don't collect insects either, I know from experience that
possession of an insect net does sometimes bring very disapproving looks
from members of the nature-loving public!

Cheerio, Mike





On Fri, Oct 24, 2014 at 4:59 PM, John Grehan <calabar.john at gmail.com> wrote:

> For me, what can sometimes be really frustrating is that someone take a
> picture of something that is really, really, really interesting
> photogenically (as far as I am concerned). So I make contact (where
> possible) and ask if they might keep an eye out in the future and collect a
> specimen. The response is often 'I don't collect, I only take pictures'.
> And these are people for whom identification is important, but they have no
> interest in making that identification possible. Nothing intrinsically
> wrong with that, just something I have to live with.
>
> John Grehan
>
> On Fri, Oct 24, 2014 at 8:45 AM, JF Mate <aphodiinaemate at gmail.com> wrote:
>
> > Only John and Doug seem to have actually understood what I meant in my
> > original email, so I will paraphrase my opinion:
> > social media is not, on its own, enough to arrest the loss of amateur
> > ´natural historians´ that I have seen over the last couple of decades.
> >
> > How this statement can be confused with criticizing scientific public
> > engagement is beyond me. I think it is probably due to the confusion
> > over the term ´Citizen Science´. Citizen science is older than real
> > science itself. Decartes, Darwin, Newton, Einstein and many more were
> > ´Citizen Scientists´, but they were called "Amateurs".
> >
> > Amateurs were the original scientists and much of science until the
> > mid 1800´s was done by amateurs. Because science was mostly
> > gratuitous, most amateurs had to have alternate sources of income and
> > at least some spare time, so most amateurs were either gentlemen or
> > professionals (doctors, vicars, landed gentry, etc). Afterwards
> > working as a patent clerk was an option, but in general a stigma of
> > elitism and flippancy (maybe some of it earnt) was attached to
> > amateurs.
> >
> > So, as science became more complex, specialized and costly, different
> > fields moved beyond the grasp of private individuals and into the
> > realm of professional science, where institutions could pool resources
> > to tackle increasingly complex questions. However ´natural history´
> > retained a sizeable (and often preponderant) proportion of amateurs.
> > These amateurs produced most of the taxon records, were the local
> > "go-to person" to identify some plant or animal and often became
> > authorities on their own in particular groups. These are the people
> > who are disappearing fast.
> >
> > I have no doubt that the individuals posting pictures online are
> > indeed ´biophiliacs´ and that engaging with them is positive but one
> > has to wonder, why do they need to ask a curator in a Museum about a
> > common insect they photographed? If you look through the images you
> > will notice that the majority are common things, stuff that you can
> > work to at least family with any picture guide book or that appears
> > several times (and has been identified already) in the same site. Its
> > like if an amateur astronomer sent posted a picture of the moon or
> > mars asking to have it identified. Or a birdwatcher a picture of a
> > starling. I think that BowerBird, ProjectNoah etc are just the symptom
> > that many people love nature, but they don´t really want to go any
> > deeper than labelling pictures.
> >
> > Best
> >
> > Jason
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> >
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