Rubbish "science" is misleading

Discussion on the legal aspects of insect specimen trading and collecting
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Chuck
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Rubbish "science" is misleading

Post by Chuck »

Great example of rubbish "science" quite possibly misleading decision makers and/or the public.

NatureServe describes themselves as: "NatureServe is a U.S. - based nonprofit organization made up of passionate biodiversity scientists who want to apply the best information to decision-making. Change is made one decision at a time. And every good decision starts with good information. We want to make it possible—and easy—for people to use accurate, current scientific information as the basis for their conservation decisions and subsequent actions. "

Well, here's there data on Papilio multicaudata. Note that the species is Critically Imperiled in Saskatchewan.

Image

Hey, I wonder if it's also Critically Imperiled in Nunavut? How about New South Whales?

Meanwhile, they have "No Status Rank" for California. California? It's Imperiled in Saskatchewan but they don't know the status in California?

iNaturalist shows ONE observation for the species in Saskatchewan. Hmmm....maybe because it's a stray?

These types of idiots are less than useless. Too many "feel good" organizations without enough brains.
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Re: Rubbish "science" is misleading

Post by eurytides »

Agree. One stray in an area with some arbitrary human made border and it’s critically endangered. If it’s not seen in 50 years, it’s extirpated.
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Re: Rubbish "science" is misleading

Post by Jshuey »

The "junk science" produces products like this - geographically explicit locations or regionally and globally rare taxa, geologic features and high-quality plant communities that can be used to evaluate conservation decisions (parcel for sale in red outline). In this case (generated late last week), we just printed the location, common name, and the most recent date of observation of "element occurrences" near the tract in question (note that just because a given record record was last observed in 2009, doesn't mean that the species is still not present. It means Indiana only has a few botanists and ornithologists to cover an entire state - and the emphasis is always on surveying new habitats, not going back to the same old places). In reality, there are about 50 other data fields for every observation you see here (not claiming that every data field is complete for every observation though). And yes, there are data fields that get at the issue of stray versus resident population.

My guess is that a heritage biologist determined that there is a population or two of Papilio multicaudata in Saskatchewan. It was assigned as Critically Imperiled, which simply means that that there are fewer than five known populations of the species in the province. The data can be used to evaluate the relative value of new conservation efforts that could benefit the species at the edge of its range (just like on the map below).

In regions where NatureServe is active, most local data are collected by state biologists or collaborators (like myself). Here in Indiana, it is the "Indiana Natural Heritage Data Center" (part of our Department of Natural Resources) that collects and maintains the data. NatureServe is the organization that rolls up the data collected at a state, province or country level into products that can be used at the national and continental level. You can read about the heritage network in the Lep Soc Newsletter - https://www.lepsoc.org/sites/all/themes ... eServe.pdf.

It's actually pretty cutting edge stuff and over the years, they have won lots of awards and have been invited to expand the network into new countries and continents.

John
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Re: Rubbish "science" is misleading

Post by eurytides »

Thanks for that explanation John. I was not aware of these nuances. Thanks for educating me.
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Re: Rubbish "science" is misleading

Post by vabrou »

Too much crap. None , and I do mean absolutely none of these uninformed persons inventing these mostly meaningless endangered species rules have never ever performed their own investigations. They have not personally determined that all the prior literature is taxonomically correct yet sitting at a keyboard they contribute to creating laws to restrict scientific investigations by anyone who actually performs scientific investigations. Most of these fools simply want notoriety in order to brag they personally placed species on these meaningless lists. I know because I have and am living through this foolishness. If you ask these people where are your studies, their answer is 100% always a handful of comments from newbie persons on bug-sites or a handful of unsubstantiated publications making unsubstantiated claims?

Over 54 years (1969-2022) in my state of Louisiana numerous dozens of self-designed automatic-capture high-wattage light traps were operated for 1,390,000 light-trap hours, hundreds of semiochemical lure traps were operated for 32,400,000 trap-hours, dozens of fermenting fruit bait traps were operated for 1,270,000 trap-hours, more than 100 dung beetle traps were operated 15,341,000 trap-hours, and malaise traps were operated 10,800 trap-hours, on and on. For 54 years (1969-2023) all of these various traps were operated continuously and non-stop 24 hours every day, 365-366 days every year.

BUT, despite operating these 500 traps mostly in the same locations for numerous decades, now in my 54th year, I am still capturing new species of lepidoptera that have never been seen or taken previously in my state of Louisiana, by myself or anyone else. This after expending greater than 51,000,000 trap-hours of field collecting. Just through my personal research I have added over 3,000 species of lepidoptera alone that didn't previously exist in scientific literature for my state. None, absolutely none of these individuals creating these rules has even an inkling of understanding of insect population abundance and populations movements. These rules creating activities are exercises in self-aggrandizement by persons I classify as loosers-in-life attempting to give meaning to their personal inadequacies. These persons are contributing to the massive growth of restrictive communist government. Why would anyone who wants to study the real world think that stopping all research is helpful?

Saying all that, there are actually some situations where these restrictive activities may be valid. But still I ask, where are the real studies? If you think that the majority of the available published literature out there is true and valid, you are gravely mistaken. Nearly all of these touted leaned publications are at best based upon grossly inadequate studies. Anyone with actual knowledge can review any book/publication, even if newly released yesterday and find sometimes hundreds or even thousands of errors throughout. I have two rooms of such scientific literature.

No I am not a party-pooper on the subject of conservation, but the definition of conservation has changed over my lifetime. I urge anyone who wants to see how data is derived from various studies, to go out and be part of the process or at least face-to-face observe long-term what others are doing in the field. Then compare their real observations to what is the end results and that which is published. I guarantee, your understanding of these matters will greatly change for the rest of your life.

Peace !!
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Re: Rubbish "science" is misleading

Post by Jshuey »

Too much crap. None , and I do mean absolutely none of these uninformed persons inventing these mostly meaningless endangered species rules have never ever performed their own investigations. They have not personally determined that all the prior literature is taxonomically correct yet sitting at a keyboard they contribute to creating laws to restrict scientific investigations by anyone who actually performs scientific investigations. Most of these fools simply want notoriety in order to brag they personally placed species on these meaningless lists. I know because I have and am living through this foolishness. If you ask these people where are your studies, their answer is 100% always a handful of comments from newbie persons on bug-sites or a handful of unsubstantiated publications making unsubstantiated claims?

Nature Serve coordinates a network of over 1,000 field staff - scattered across all 50 states, Canada, and much of Latin America. For example, here in Indiana there are ~10 dedicated field and data management staff with (mostly) advanced degrees that are focused on generating annual data. In addition, there are another 20 or so people that contribute data when they find something – people like me. Again – almost all are professional ecologists. While “base-lines” may include historical literature records – the vast majority of the data managed are generated based on field work by real professionals. Over 100,000 species and ecosystem types are tracked in the database.
The “newbies” you are referring to are represented by long-time leaders such as Drs Dale Schweitzer and Paul Opler – representing decades of field experience and research in taxonomy, ecology and conservation of butterflies and moths. More importantly, these two professionals reached out across the entomological community, seeking input and insight from people with relevant skills and interests. Almost 15 years ago, I provided an overview of the Heritage Network that can be found here - https://www.researchgate.net/publicatio ... am_Network

I urge you to read this.

Over 54 years (1969-2022) in my state of Louisiana numerous dozens of self-designed automatic-capture high-wattage light traps were operated for 1,390,000 light-trap hours, hundreds of semiochemical lure traps were operated for 32,400,000 trap-hours, dozens of fermenting fruit bait traps were operated for 1,270,000 trap-hours, more than 100 dung beetle traps were operated 15,341,000 trap-hours, and malaise traps were operated 10,800 trap-hours, on and on. For 54 years (1969-2023) all of these various traps were operated continuously and non-stop 24 hours every day, 365-366 days every year.

Yea for you! Did you ever consider sharing any of that information with your state heritage programs so that they would have your insights? Otherwise – the data just sits on that room you mention below.

BUT, despite operating these 500 traps mostly in the same locations for numerous decades, now in my 54th year, I am still capturing new species of lepidoptera that have never been seen or taken previously in my state of Louisiana, by myself or anyone else. This after expending greater than 51,000,000 trap-hours of field collecting. Just through my personal research I have added over 3,000 species of lepidoptera alone that didn't previously exist in scientific literature for my state. None, absolutely none of these individuals creating these rules has even an inkling of understanding of insect population abundance and populations movements. These rules creating activities are exercises in self-aggrandizement by persons I classify as loosers-in-life attempting to give meaning to their personal inadequacies. These persons are contributing to the massive growth of restrictive communist government. Why would anyone who wants to study the real world think that stopping all research is helpful?

NatureServe staff only categorize species based on available data – they are not involved in creating “rules” of any type. They categorize species (and communities) based on the number of known viable occurrences, both globally and withing political boundaries. So, a G1 species is thought to be composed of just 1 to 5 viable populations in the world – and is categorized as “critically imperiled”. G2 species, 6-20 viable populations, G3 species - 21-100 and so on up to G5 which are demonstrably secure globally. There are corresponding S-ranks, which allow states assign rarity at finer levels. (see the link above for real details – or go to the NatureServe website for details on all their methodologies)
One of the unique attributes of these ranks, is that they are re-evaluated on a regular basis as more data are acquired. We just re-ranked the Indiana S1-S4 butterflies three years ago. These refined state ranks then get folded upwards into the G-ranks as appropriate. It’s a living system, intended to provide the best information possible to decision makers across the western hemisphere.


Saying all that, there are actually some situations where these restrictive activities may be valid. But still I ask, where are the real studies? If you think that the majority of the available published literature out there is true and valid, you are gravely mistaken. Nearly all of these touted leaned publications are at best based upon grossly inadequate studies. Anyone with actual knowledge can review any book/publication, even if newly released yesterday and find sometimes hundreds or even thousands of errors throughout. I have two rooms of such scientific literature.

Again – NatureServe does not restrict any activities. They created a data set that can be used by state and federal governments, as well as private consultants and conservation organizations, to make decisions. Their data are indeed actively managed, there are actually data fields to note that a “record” is from the literature, and notes about the taxonomic reliability of that source. At the extreme end, all the herbarium sheets (for S1-S3 plants) that underpinned Deam’s Flora of Indiana were incorporated – his taxonomy checked and adjusted to reflect current understanding. And I plowed through the Field Museum to reclaim as many of the original records for Bletchley as possible. And so on – no one takes old literature as valid without verification in the system.

No I am not a party-pooper on the subject of conservation, but the definition of conservation has changed over my lifetime. I urge anyone who wants to see how data is derived from various studies, to go out and be part of the process or at least face-to-face observe long-term what others are doing in the field. Then compare their real observations to what is the end results and that which is published. I guarantee, your understanding of these matters will greatly change for the rest of your life
.

Really – because you speak strongly on subjects you seem to know little about. You seem to have no understanding at about the Heritage network, the professionals involved, or even what it is intended to be used for. I wonder who exactly your are referring to as one of the “fools (who) simply want notoriety in order to brag they personally placed species on these meaningless lists.

Peace !!

Really!
John

And quit calling people names...
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Re: Rubbish "science" is misleading

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There two categories of information.
1. web published. This is temporary and can change 50 times in any given day. Consequently fleeting, meaningless and inconsequential. E.g. where are the millions of records going back 10,15, 20, 25 years? I know where. Most all of them do not exist anywhere today. No person is responsible for the accumulated data often, just a conglomeration of unsubstantiated reworded info from anyone, proven or unproven. The example you cite may have interest to you, but is scientific foolishness. When I see obvious foolishness, I choose not to acknowledgement it because it would be a waste of anyone's time. Nat.ser. is meaningless, you believe otherwise, I could care less. Any wanna-be scientist having acronyms behind one's name is meaningless. I have two degrees and a list of business required related acronyms behind my name. Otherwise they mean nothing. You believe otherwise, good for you.

2. print publications. These are subsequently locatable, can be referenced by subsequent authors and can exist exactly as published for centuries afterwards. They are usually the creation of one or several authors and most often includes a great wealth of superfluous data specific to the records. These records have a chain of authorship by identifiable authors and can be precisely referenced by other authors in the future. Share my information, yes I most certainly do, but I share all of it where is counts, in the permanent historical print record. Not only that, but I have subsequently placed freely accessible pdfs of all 451 of my past entomological print publications at numerous sites on the www. My publications have been downloaded tens of thousands of times by researchers in over 140 countries of the world over the past half century. Yes I know the two persons you mention. Both I have known and corresponded with for over 40 years, and both have provided me with information I subsequently used in a few of my publications. But, neither of these individuals have obtained most of what they write about based upon their own research. So very many people today sit behind a keyboard and copy and paste plagiarized unsubstantiated information found on the www and publish books, field guides, etc. for notoriety and personal financial gain. I find it amusing that you use terms a 'professional ecologist' and 'real professionals' to describe yourself and what you do. These words are 'pie-in-the-sky' baseless descriptions. The use of global rarity rankings is made up by NS, and is meaningless off of that temporary website. All 100% of websites are temporary. You mention 'Data that can be used by state and federal governments' I make note that all those state and fed gov. website that existed 15, 20, 25, 30 years ago do not currently exist.

Quite often over the decades you find it necessary to disagree with opinions I have posted online. That is ok. As I said, I don't normally pay attention to foolishness. Copy and pasting data or using this data off of temporary websites in other meaningful scientific research is monkey-shines. This is precisely the type of thinking that has destroyed our scientific literature.
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Re: Rubbish "science" is misleading

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There two categories of information.
1. web published. This is temporary and can change 50 times in any given day. Consequently fleeting, meaningless and inconsequential. E.g. where are the millions of records going back 10,15, 20, 25 years? I know where. Most all of them do not exist anywhere today. No person is responsible for the accumulated data often, just a conglomeration of unsubstantiated reworded info from anyone, proven or unproven. The example you cite may have interest to you, but is scientific foolishness. When I see obvious foolishness, I choose not to acknowledgement it because it would be a waste of anyone's time. Nat.ser. is meaningless, you believe otherwise, I could care less. Any wanna-be scientist having acronyms behind one's name is meaningless. I have two degrees and a list of business required related acronyms behind my name. Otherwise they mean nothing. You believe otherwise, good for you.
First – it is worth noting that the Mission of NatureServe is not “to publish science papers” (but see my comments later in this response). Here is their mission statement –

We leverage the power of science, data, and technology to guide biodiversity conservation and stewardship. NatureServe envisions a world in which the best available science informs conservation and stewardship decisions so that biodiversity thrives.

The data bases that underpin the network have their roots in state-based efforts that began in 1975. Those original data are still there! The data are actively maintained with new records constantly added. And the data are redundantly backed up to ensure continuity. These data sets ARE NOT AVAILIBLE via the website, in part because they are dynamic, and because they include precise locality information. You can imagine how sensitive the info is. So that in my system (I have the data set as of last month for Indiana), I can download those data points you see in the figure from my previous post, and get to within 3-4 meters of the exact spot the species were recorded. Pretty meaningless indeed.

NatureServe, the umbrella organization for the natural heritage data network, was formed in 1993 to serve as the global coordinator for the data. They employ about 100 staff members, but coordinate the data for the thousand or so staff in the network at the state and country levels, making the data easily searchable. If I want to see ALL THE records for a species or ecological communities across the US and Canada, I just ask and the data is in my inbox in a day or two. That’s the power of the data base. Millions of records searched, and product is delivered in a couple of days. Pretty foolish indeed!

And you don’t see me putting any acronyms behind my name – nor do you see that very often for anyone working in this field. We are secure in our self-worth, and find it tiresome.
2. print publications. These are subsequently locatable, can be referenced by subsequent authors and can exist exactly as published for centuries afterwards. They are usually the creation of one or several authors and most often includes a great wealth of superfluous data specific to the records. These records have a chain of authorship by identifiable authors and can be precisely referenced by other authors in the future. Share my information, yes I most certainly do, but I share all of it where is counts, in the permanent historical print record. Not only that, but I have subsequently placed freely accessible pdfs of all 451 of my past entomological print publications at numerous sites on the www. My publications have been downloaded tens of thousands of times by researchers in over 140 countries of the world over the past half century. Yes I know the two persons you mention. Both I have known and corresponded with for over 40 years, and both have provided me with information I subsequently used in a few of my publications. But, neither of these individuals have obtained most of what they write about based upon their own research. So very many people today sit behind a keyboard and copy and paste plagiarized unsubstantiated information found on the www and publish books, field guides, etc. for notoriety and personal financial gain. I find it amusing that you use terms a 'professional ecologist' and 'real professionals' to describe yourself and what you do. These words are 'pie-in-the-sky' baseless descriptions. The use of global rarity rankings is made up by NS, and is meaningless off of that temporary website. All 100% of websites are temporary. You mention 'Data that can be used by state and federal governments' I make note that all those state and fed gov. website that existed 15, 20, 25, 30 years ago do not currently exist.
As I mentioned above, you can get only summary data and publications from the website. It’s not for public consumption. And those state and federal level data that back up the public website have been maintained for almost 50 years now. There is no reason to believe that the data are going anywhere in the foreseeable future. And unlike paper records, can be searched nearly instantaneously. Placed on maps and used to support decision making. Paper records don’t cut it.

That said, the NatureServe website lists 24 pages of peer reviewed publications, downloadable from their website. (https://www.natureserve.org/publications)

And note again, that while you call people “fools and wannabees”, I pointed out that these data and systems are maintained professionally to ensure integrity and accessibility. That’s the only reason I mention that they are professional ecologists and conservationists – because you called them nasty names! Normal people don’t call others nasty names and they have respect for others… Normal people just assume that in a competitive job market, the professionals in question are competent.
Quite often over the decades you find it necessary to disagree with opinions I have posted online. That is ok. As I said, I don't normally pay attention to foolishness. Copy and pasting data or using this data off of temporary websites in other meaningful scientific research is monkey-shines. This is precisely the type of thinking that has destroyed our scientific literature.
Again – the data aren’t derived from temporary websites – but from the several million lines of data that underpin the system. During my brief career here in Indiana, we have used the information to secure over $100M worth of conservation land. And And that's just TNC - Our state and the feds have spent even more! These data are powerful in that they optimize conservation decisions - making sure that we get a solid return on investment from a conservation perspective. The data set has guided billions in land acquisition across the US and Canada. Entire National Park systems in Latin America are underpinned by the data. We used the system to convince Belize to “official conserve” 30% of their marine resources. And so on… .

One of the reasons I’ve bantered with you so often in the past, is that you speak from general unfamiliarity. This is big picture stuff, intended to influence the World for the future of humanity. And while I’m just a small widget in the system, it is my job to correct misinformation when it has the potential to impact that bigger picture.

John
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Re: Rubbish "science" is misleading

Post by nomihoudai »

Thank you John for explaining the background details and showing that Chuck's criticism can't be left to stand on its own.

It becomes more and more frequent that people of various (or nonexistent) educational backgrounds criticize parts of science or science as a whole. In science you are left to reason from observational data using logic to come at coherent conclusions and to back-check them using experiment. Initial data comes with accuracy, it has inherent flaws (which we classify in systematic and random error). Any proper scientist is trained to judge or measure accuracy.

The correct way in science is to explain methodologies so that others can judge the accuracy, and then decide on their own if they want to built on this data/their conclusions or leave it. The NatureServe website does explain their categorization as John has summarized and people are free to choose what to use the data for. If you don't like it, leave it.
Lepidoptera distribution maps: lepimap.click
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Re: Rubbish "science" is misleading

Post by Chuck »

Of primary concern in the immediate moment is the apparent conflict between John and Vernon, both highly respected contributors to science.

Both are primarily correct, in their facts and from their perspectives. Neither are willing to acknowledge even a smidgen of the other's point though, which would have gone far to alleviate escalation.

My criticism stands. The organization published a map that could easily be misunderstood. Standing on it's own, a snapshot, it is misleading to those who see it; a shock factor, though that's probably not intended. Indeed, as John pointed out, there is data behind it, but data needs to be qualified, sometimes without having to search behind the immediate portrayal.

John has done a good job of describing the organization's data and methods. Perhaps I picked an outlier; John did not specifically do so but I'm sure he could post five dozen species maps that are quite accurate. Still though, when we see inappropriate actions such as Canada's total ban on collecting all Papilio, I wonder if this snapshot of multicaudata, or something like it, isn't behind that stupidity.

John shared that this data is "used by state and federal governments, as well as private consultants and conservation organizations" of which some are notorious for both screwing up and less than good motives, particularly "federal governments". And then there's UN and CITES, well intentioned but horribly corrupt and political. High-level data, such as the map for multicaudata, is food for bad decisions that drive money into someone's pocket. To trust politicians with data, particularly "sound bite" data, is asking for trouble.

If we treat Vernon's points as data, and do similar and take just a high-level snapshot of it, he's largely right. There is a bulk of what is contemporarily known as The Swamp throughout ecological and environmental organizations. NO NOT ALL, but many. There is a resistance to change, and quite frankly there are many bad decisions made for the wrong reasons.

There has been a trend lately, now in black and white in publications, of conflict between SMEs that is expressed in, shall I say, less than polite or professional manner. The benefit to this is that there is no chance of misunderstanding the author(s) point; the unfortunate part is that it can be said clearly without such attacks. If you follow these exchanges, it first becomes clear that one or both parties cherry-pick their points, one or both are probably incorrect on some points in the publications, but they both overlook that they are 95% in agreement. As in this case, my God, a simple acknowledgement that the other party has a point could avoid the escalation- and the bad feelings.

Enough of that.

I enjoy Vernon's presentation of insights and data, whether he's gruff or not. I take it for where the true value is.

John's extensive expose on NatureServe is delightful; it's unfortunate that this discussion was the impetus for sharing that. I truly enjoy John's writing style; I like what he does; I enjoy learning via a good story rather than always bullet points. I wish we had more of "John stories" shared, both to inform and for the pleasure of reading.
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