The system is broken, the system has to change.

2

Comments

  • In relation to birds, it's often known as citizen science. One observation has little value, but there are various bird and butterfly surveys which rely on thousands of amateur observers, headed up by professionals.
    And, that sort of data can often be extremely valuable. Even given the often qualitative nature of those observations (bird counts being dependent upon time of observation, ie: coffee break). Even anecdotal data is useful in sufficient quantity ("I don't get as much bug splatter on my windscreen", for example). One big value of the anecdotal data is that it's the sort of thing that gets people out to make better observations - "ever wondered why you don't have as many bugs on your windscreen? Join our bug count ..."
  • So are there more birds in English hedgerows then? :smiley:
  • ClimacusClimacus Shipmate
    edited February 13
    Just to continue on the decline or death of species -- millions of dead fish story.

    Sorry to be a Jeremiah, but I don't feel hopeful about change. Corporations, as I see it, rule the world and many politicians seem beholden to them.

    I admit to being head over heels re Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. I wish there were more like her. But I think like St John the Forerunner she is a voice crying in the wilderness; our society and the great lifestyle we have in the West is a great pull to people (how many truly want to go without?) -- and it is so embued within some (many?) people's mindsets that we are consumers that I think it would take a revolution of massive proportions, or a massive catastrophe, for any change. I hope I'm wrong. But when I see people almost orgasming over a new phone, or replacing it each year, I see that as symptomatic of how deep we are in it.*

    * I'm not judging -- I spend money on things others may see as wasteful. My point is we have become the ultimate Consumer.
  • Cogent points, @Climacus . A crunch time is coming, either sooner or later, either political or geophysical (or both). We've about run our course.
  • Doc Tor wrote: »
    mr cheesy wrote: »
    This is bullshit.

    You can't seriously pretend that someone untrained in insect ecology can possibly know anything about global insect decline based on what they've seen on their own car windscreen in England.

    I'm not pretending anything. This is observational science. It has a very long and noble pedigree. Someone untrained in climate science can note first bud and last leaf fall over many years and make a critical contribution. Or the arrival of migrating birds. Or fruit ripening.

    Just because you've never heard of it.

    I guess you've missed the part that somehow a personal anecdote is being used to extrapolate to global declines, that no scientific paper has ever been published that shows longitudinal decline based on observations from car windscreens and that the claims made in the media from this review paper are being disputed by those who are actually experts as a stretch.

    If course citizen science exists. Of course volunteers are involved in insect surveys.

    But you don't get to play fast and loose with local experiences (which may be impacted by many other factors) and pretend that it is a valid data point for a wider claim about global insect decline.
  • mr cheesymr cheesy Shipmate
    edited February 13
    For example this comment from an expert in Australia:
    Insect decline claims 'not backed up'
    That's the reason that Manu Saunders, a research fellow in ecosystem services, believes that the claims of catastrophic decline made by Dr Sanchez-Bayo are overstated.

    "It's an important wake-up call that insect populations are changing in some places."

    "But to claim worldwide decline of all insects is not backed up by what data is actually available."

    Many insect species on Earth haven't been described yet, so we don't know anything about them — where they live, how they live, what their life cycle is, what impacts them.

    "A lot of insects could be affected worse, or they could not be as bad, but the point is that we don't actually know," said Dr Saunders.
  • Who is extrapolating to global trends? In my comments on windscreen splatter, I made sure to put (UK), after my comments. Maybe someone else has.
  • Who is extrapolating to global trends? In my comments on windscreen splatter, I made sure to put (UK), after my comments. Maybe someone else has.

    And you are an insect ecologist or involved in a formal study, were you?

    It not, why do you think your experience is relevant to anything?
  • mr cheesy wrote: »
    Who is extrapolating to global trends? In my comments on windscreen splatter, I made sure to put (UK), after my comments. Maybe someone else has.

    And you are an insect ecologist or involved in a formal study, were you?

    It not, why do you think your experience is relevant to anything?

    Nice goal-post moving. Are you claiming that I extrapolated to global decline of insects?
  • Science is not progressed by unqualified people making wild generalisations and massively overblown papers which are based on limited studies with geographical biases and dodgy statistics - leading to totally unproven claims about what will happen in the future.

    Some insect species are in decline causing concern. We need to be more aware and do more study. We do need to be concerned about the decline of important species with important ecological roles, particularly in industrial countries.

    What we don't need is claims suggesting that 40% of global insects are going extinct and the inevitable end of days. Because that's bullshit.
  • Still no answer. Are you saying that I extrapolated to global decline in insects?
  • Still no answer. Are you saying that I extrapolated to global decline in insects?

    I am saying that your experience is repeated by you and others as if it has any relevance. When scientifically it has none at all.
  • Still no answer. Are you saying that I extrapolated to global decline in insects?

    Moreover the discussion was about global insect decline and you brought it up as relevant. If you didn't think it was why did you - and others in this thread - mention it at all.

    And not only that others who should know better actually claimed it had validity by citing it as citizen science.
  • mr cheesy wrote: »
    Science is not progressed by unqualified people making wild generalisations and massively overblown papers which are based on limited studies with geographical biases and dodgy statistics - leading to totally unproven claims about what will happen in the future.
    On that you're right. But, that still doesn't address the point that science can progress based on anecdotal data, collected and analysed by qualified people. Observations about frequency of windscreen splatter as a proxy for gross insect populations can be incorporated into citizen science data collection. Similarly, anecdotes about past weather events (local folklore about past flood events etc), memories of being able to view stars (relating to light pollution) etc.

    The attitude that science is something done by "qualified people", sitting in laboratories and the ivory towers of academia, is something that creates an "us and them" division, a body of experts that that do the work and talking and "unqualified people" who do the listening. That division is also present in other areas of life, most relevant to this thread including politics (and other public policy related subjects such as economics). Trying to keep "ordinary people" at a distance from the professionals is part of the problem, part of the solution is to involve "ordinary people" in a greater and meaningful manner. For science, involvement of the public in citizen science is one part of that. What is the political equivalent, how to get "ordinary people" (ie: more than just paid politicians and activists within parties) involved in the political processes in a meaningful manner?
  • I think this happened with declines in house sparrows in the UK. At first there were anecdotal reports of declines, sometimes dramatic, e.g., disappearing from gardens. Eventually, various research projects began, including one by British Trust for Ornithology, which uses volunteers, led by professionals. Sparrows are now red-listed in the UK.
  • mr cheesy wrote: »
    Science is not progressed by unqualified people making wild generalisations and massively overblown papers which are based on limited studies with geographical biases and dodgy statistics - leading to totally unproven claims about what will happen in the future.
    On that you're right. But, that still doesn't address the point that science can progress based on anecdotal data, collected and analysed by qualified people. Observations about frequency of windscreen splatter as a proxy for gross insect populations can be incorporated into citizen science data collection. Similarly, anecdotes about past weather events (local folklore about past flood events etc), memories of being able to view stars (relating to light pollution) etc.


    No it can't. No insect ecologist considers window splatter as useful. No insect charity uses it to measure species numbers.

    It can't be incorporated in proper peer reviewed studies because it is totally incapable of being more than an anacdote.

    Citizen science is not a bunch of people sticking fingers in the air and guessing.

    Where it works, with bird surveys and elsewhere mentioned above, it is conducted carefully with the supervision of proper scientists and with the intention to produce peer-reviewed science papers.

    It is absolutely not just random people guessing.


  • I think this happened with declines in house sparrows in the UK. At first there were anecdotal reports of declines, sometimes dramatic, e.g., disappearing from gardens. Eventually, various research projects began, including one by British Trust for Ornithology, which uses volunteers, led by professionals. Sparrows are now red-listed in the UK.

    This is true but has zero to do with windscreen splatter.

    You are literally comparing elephants with mychorriza and suggesting that a method that works with one works with another.
  • But research on house sparrows began partly because of anecdotes about sharp declines. This still goes on, for example, all the research on farmland birds declining. To begin with, ordinary birders and non-birders noticed, for example, that you don't hear turtle doves in a particular area. I used to get them in my hedges, but not now. Note, I am not extrapolating to a global decline.
  • mr cheesymr cheesy Shipmate
    edited February 13
    But research on house sparrows began partly because of anecdotes about sharp declines. This still goes on, for example, all the research on farmland birds declining. To begin with, ordinary birders and non-birders noticed, for example, that you don't hear turtle doves in a particular area. I used to get them in my hedges, but not now. Note, I am not extrapolating to a global decline.

    Birds are considerably bigger and easier to study than insects.

    The population dynamics and evolutionary pressures on thousands of insects species, comprising many millions of individuals, is magnitudes more complicated than for birds.

    Just an example from that paper - one South American expert has questioned why a particular species has been included in the review. According to him, the species is non-native, so a measured decline... could just mean that for whatever reason other native species have an increasing competitive advantage.

    Unless one closely studies all the species in question in that area, only reporting the decline of one tells us exactly nothing.




  • Doc TorDoc Tor Hell Host
    mr cheesy wrote: »
    But you don't get to play fast and loose with local experiences (which may be impacted by many other factors) and pretend that it is a valid data point for a wider claim about global insect decline.

    It is a valid data point. And so are all the other valid data points. When single valid data points are combined, a pattern may emerge. A hypothesis to explain that pattern may be advanced. That hypothesis can then be tested by other researchers to see if it can be falsified.

    Some bloke on the internet shouting 'it's bullshit' is not falsification.
  • Doc Tor wrote: »
    mr cheesy wrote: »
    But you don't get to play fast and loose with local experiences (which may be impacted by many other factors) and pretend that it is a valid data point for a wider claim about global insect decline.

    It is a valid data point. And so are all the other valid data points. When single valid data points are combined, a pattern may emerge. A hypothesis to explain that pattern may be advanced. That hypothesis can then be tested by other researchers to see if it can be falsified.

    Some bloke on the internet shouting 'it's bullshit' is not falsification.

    Yeah, ok I'm someone who has studied ecology and is discussing this point with insect ecologists - whereas you are an author with a doctorate in astrophysics.

    I'm sorry, but I trust the insect scientists more than you.

    And you are entirely and totally wrong about citizen science.
  • Doc Tor wrote: »
    mr cheesy wrote: »
    This is bullshit.

    You can't seriously pretend that someone untrained in insect ecology can possibly know anything about global insect decline based on what they've seen on their own car windscreen in England.

    I'm not pretending anything. This is observational science. It has a very long and noble pedigree. Someone untrained in climate science can note first bud and last leaf fall over many years and make a critical contribution. Or the arrival of migrating birds. Or fruit ripening.

    Just because you've never heard of it.

    You're discussing the validity of the observations to indicate what you think they mean. Observations may be valid or invalid indicators of what is claimed. Insect splatters are probably less valid than timing of buds. Probably because the buds are reliably there and your measure of them is to look and date them. But the insects aren't. Considering that if you follow a large truck the truck may have cleared them, or observations of insects in swarms at certain times for mating which may skew observations to consider there's more or less.

    The issues are those of validity and reliability which are statistical and technical issues when measuring something.

  • Doc TorDoc Tor Hell Host
    mr cheesy wrote: »
    And you are entirely and totally wrong about citizen science.

    Knock yourself out. It produces much needed and valued scientific data, used by researchers world-wide. The scientific process is pretty much the same whether you're studying insects or meteorites - the recovery of which also depends a great deal on citizen science.
  • Doc TorDoc Tor Hell Host
    Insect splatters are probably less valid than timing of buds.

    Absolutely. But less valid is not invalid. Error bars are there for a reason, and time/spacial dependent data needs a great many observations in order to reveal trends.

    I don't quite understand the hate that bug splats are getting here. It is data. The discussion that the researchers need to have in their community is the significance and reliability of that data.
  • The problem is that we only have anecdote on the bug splats, because the RSPB did not repeat the splatometer. Digging around I found this well referenced blog from 2016 which basically says we don't really know about most insects because the work hasn't been done.

    The blog also neatly feed us back into the OP as it starts with:
    I have been musing about extinctions and shifting baselines for a while now; BREXIT and an article by Simon Barnes in the Sunday Times magazine (3rd September 2016) finally prompted me to actually put fingers to keyboard. I fear that BREXIT will result in even more environmental damage than our successive governments have caused already. They have done a pretty good job of ignoring environmental issues and scientific advice (badgers) even when ‘hindered’ by what they have considered restrictive European legislation and now that we head into BREXIT with a government not renowned for its care for the environment I become increasing fearful for the environment. Remember who it was who restructured English Nature into the now fairly toothless Natural England, because they didn’t like the advice they were being given and whose government was it who, rather than keep beaches up to Blue Flag standard decided to reclassify long-established resort beaches as not officially designated swimming beaches? And, just to add this list of atrocities against the environment, we now see our precious ‘green belt’ being attacked.
  • Mr cheesy is right about the differences between bird surveys and insect surveys. This is partly about amateur knowledge, I think more people can pick out a tawny owl (currently the subject of a BTO survey), than a buff-tailed bumblebee. In other words, insects are more difficult to identify, and there are probably fewer volunteers working on insect surveys.

    However, casual observations are not without value. If people in an area report hearing no cuckoos or tawny owls, that is useful information, and may even be a spur to systematic surveys. I think the various sparrow projects started because of widespread anecdotal reporting of declines.
  • There are butterfly surveys with Butterfly Conservation, which is why the numbers are known, like the Big Bird Count, and the Woodland Trust Nature's Calendar observers are asked to observe certain insects, but nothing complicated - butterflies and ladybirds.
  • Doc Tor wrote: »
    Insect splatters are probably less valid than timing of buds.

    Absolutely. But less valid is not invalid. Error bars are there for a reason, and time/spacial dependent data needs a great many observations in order to reveal trends.

    I don't quite understand the hate that bug splats are getting here. It is data. The discussion that the researchers need to have in their community is the significance and reliability of that data.
    Bug splatters are probably not very good data from which to form conclusions, this is agreed. Though they are probably very good data to prompt more systematic data collection, ie to get people talking about the possibility of a problem. If we have some other convergent data that bug populations are becoming lower we then have to have it confirmed that this is widespread to an area of the planet and then hypothesize as to why and collect data as to why. In a public lecture we attended (on an ecology bicycle moveable tour last spring, which was great fun and learning: another story) we heard about data that canola (formerly called rapeseed, genetically engineered into canola) farming in widespread areas has has the consequence of providing bees and other insects only one food source because most of the canola is Round-Up Ready™, meaning that the crop starts to grow and the farmer sprays the field with glyphosate (Round-UP) which kills all the other plants which aren't genetically engineered. The bees (even those brought in to pollinate for a fee) don't do nearly as well with a diet solely of canola. The comparison was to areas without the GMO crop where the bee colonies are much healthier. They found much less impact or none on mosquitos, some wasps, flies and beetles. (This is neoniconoid insecticides aside, another topic)

    Your note re validity, reliability and significance is well taken, and I think is entirely the point. My take on ecological issues is that ecosystems are very complicated. My botanist daughter constantly reminds us to not arrive at firm conclusions and to seek confirmatory data for the preconceived notions we form. We tend to want as humans fairly simply answers to complicated questions. And it is difficult to capture all of the complexity in reasonably readable posts.

    That all said, I think there is evidence that some insect populations are reduced in some places, like the bees in canola field areas It is quite clear that some other insects are doing very well, with the northern tundra in Canada having many more mosquitos for longer periods, with impact on the caribou populations (reindeer cousins) which lose their litre of blood per week to insects for more weeks with changing climate.
  • mr cheesymr cheesy Shipmate
    edited February 13
    Doc Tor wrote: »
    mr cheesy wrote: »
    And you are entirely and totally wrong about citizen science.

    Knock yourself out. It produces much needed and valued scientific data, used by researchers world-wide. The scientific process is pretty much the same whether you're studying insects or meteorites - the recovery of which also depends a great deal on citizen science.

    Citizen science is when unpaid volunteers gather data for scientist to use in peer reviewed science.

    Whether you like it or not, the term cannot be used for observations by untrained amateurs making observations based on nothing and as part of no formal scientific trial.

    You can say something else, but you'll still be wrong.
  • The problem is that we only have anecdote on the bug splats, because the RSPB did not repeat the splatometer. Digging around I found this well referenced blog from 2016 which basically says we don't really know about most insects because the work hasn't been done.

    The blog also neatly feed us back into the OP as it starts with:
    I have been musing about extinctions and shifting baselines for a while now; BREXIT and an article by Simon Barnes in the Sunday Times magazine (3rd September 2016) finally prompted me to actually put fingers to keyboard. I fear that BREXIT will result in even more environmental damage than our successive governments have caused already. They have done a pretty good job of ignoring environmental issues and scientific advice (badgers) even when ‘hindered’ by what they have considered restrictive European legislation and now that we head into BREXIT with a government not renowned for its care for the environment I become increasing fearful for the environment. Remember who it was who restructured English Nature into the now fairly toothless Natural England, because they didn’t like the advice they were being given and whose government was it who, rather than keep beaches up to Blue Flag standard decided to reclassify long-established resort beaches as not officially designated swimming beaches? And, just to add this list of atrocities against the environment, we now see our precious ‘green belt’ being attacked.

    The clue is that nobody repeated this experiment from 15 years ago.

    You can keep doubling down or you can just accept that windscreen splatter observations are not taken seriously in the peer reviewed science.
  • Doc Tor wrote: »
    Insect splatters are probably less valid than timing of buds.

    Absolutely. But less valid is not invalid. Error bars are there for a reason, and time/spacial dependent data needs a great many observations in order to reveal trends.

    I don't quite understand the hate that bug splats are getting here. It is data. The discussion that the researchers need to have in their community is the significance and reliability of that data.

    It matters not a jot whether you understand it or not. The fact is that windscreen observations are not considered to be signals of anything - for many and varied reasons.

    For example, it is entirely possible that the majority of splatters were caused by a small number of species that have declined, but this might not say anything about other species. Or it could be due to changes in habitat, changes in car shape, changes in speed and airflows. It might even be a an urban myth.

    If I were you, I'd stop talking about things you clearly don't have the first idea about and simply accept when the insect scientists say that windscreen splatters are too unreliable to be used in peer reviewed science.
  • Doc Tor wrote: »
    Insect splatters are probably less valid than timing of buds.

    Absolutely. But less valid is not invalid. Error bars are there for a reason, and time/spacial dependent data needs a great many observations in order to reveal trends.

    I don't quite understand the hate that bug splats are getting here. It is data. The discussion that the researchers need to have in their community is the significance and reliability of that data.
    Bug splatters are probably not very good data from which to form conclusions, this is agreed. Though they are probably very good data to prompt more systematic data collection, ie to get people talking about the possibility of a problem. If we have some other convergent data that bug populations are becoming lower we then have to have it confirmed that this is widespread to an area of the planet and then hypothesize as to why and collect data as to why. In a public lecture we attended (on an ecology bicycle moveable tour last spring, which was great fun and learning: another story) we heard about data that canola (formerly called rapeseed, genetically engineered into canola) farming in widespread areas has has the consequence of providing bees and other insects only one food source because most of the canola is Round-Up Ready™, meaning that the crop starts to grow and the farmer sprays the field with glyphosate (Round-UP) which kills all the other plants which aren't genetically engineered. The bees (even those brought in to pollinate for a fee) don't do nearly as well with a diet solely of canola. The comparison was to areas without the GMO crop where the bee colonies are much healthier. They found much less impact or none on mosquitos, some wasps, flies and beetles. (This is neoniconoid insecticides aside, another topic)

    As far as what I've heard, this is about the only kind of studies the insect ecologists have validity. When an individual species is shown to be adversely impacted by an environmental change. Nobody takes this to mean that all insects are affected in the same way.
    Your note re validity, reliability and significance is well taken, and I think is entirely the point. My take on ecological issues is that ecosystems are very complicated. My botanist daughter constantly reminds us to not arrive at firm conclusions and to seek confirmatory data for the preconceived notions we form. We tend to want as humans fairly simply answers to complicated questions. And it is difficult to capture all of the complexity in reasonably readable posts.

    Exactly this. And this is a simple reason why all the excited press reports are not helping - they reduce an incredibly complex ecological situation to a soundbite.

    Not helped in this instance by a paper making wild claims based on insufficient data.
    That all said, I think there is evidence that some insect populations are reduced in some places, like the bees in canola field areas It is quite clear that some other insects are doing very well, with the northern tundra in Canada having many more mosquitos for longer periods, with impact on the caribou populations (reindeer cousins) which lose their litre of blood per week to insects for more weeks with changing climate.

    Yes, there absolutely is evidence that certain species are in decline. There absolutely isn't evidence to suggest that 40% of all global insect species are in decline.
  • mr cheesy wrote: »
    The problem is that we only have anecdote on the bug splats, because the RSPB did not repeat the splatometer. Digging around I found this well referenced blog from 2016 which basically says we don't really know about most insects because the work hasn't been done.

    The blog also neatly feed us back into the OP as it starts with:
    I have been musing about extinctions and shifting baselines for a while now; BREXIT and an article by Simon Barnes in the Sunday Times magazine (3rd September 2016) finally prompted me to actually put fingers to keyboard. I fear that BREXIT will result in even more environmental damage than our successive governments have caused already. They have done a pretty good job of ignoring environmental issues and scientific advice (badgers) even when ‘hindered’ by what they have considered restrictive European legislation and now that we head into BREXIT with a government not renowned for its care for the environment I become increasing fearful for the environment. Remember who it was who restructured English Nature into the now fairly toothless Natural England, because they didn’t like the advice they were being given and whose government was it who, rather than keep beaches up to Blue Flag standard decided to reclassify long-established resort beaches as not officially designated swimming beaches? And, just to add this list of atrocities against the environment, we now see our precious ‘green belt’ being attacked.

    The clue is that nobody repeated this experiment from 15 years ago.

    You can keep doubling down or you can just accept that windscreen splatter observations are not taken seriously in the peer reviewed science.

    Peer-reviewed science is not the only way to understand complex environmental systems. We have learned in Canada and continue to learn that indigenous knowledge means a lot. When indigenous Knowledge Keepers tell us about the conditions in an area, they draw on generations of observations. This knowledge was specifically not reviewed properly when the Trans Mountain Pipeline (to take raw oil/tar sands sludge they call "bitumen") from north-eastern Alberta through Alberta, then through the mountains to the British Columbia coast to load on to oil tankers destined for Asian and other refineries. The Supreme Court of Canada ruled that the pipeline cannot be built, in part, because this indigenous knowledge was not gathered and considered.

    (Notwithstanding that Canadian public policy re environment and many other areas was extremely damaged by the Stephen Harper gov't decade where the Conservative Party ordered that no government scientists were ever to talk to the media, release data or information unless it was politically vetted first to align it with their economy-first policies and political ideology. This is part of the @OP, where political opportunists and profitteers want to 'cook' processes and information into the cake of their choosing. Apparently the PM attended a pentacostal church where manipulation is part of the faith; and if he is in heaven when I show up, I'll it is actually hell.)
  • BoogieBoogie Shipmate
    Yes, there absolutely is evidence that certain species are in decline. There absolutely isn't evidence to suggest that 40% of all global insect species are in decline.

    That gives more hope. I was really worried by that report. Brexshit, tRumpshit and global warming would be as nothing if that happened.

    😢
  • mr cheesymr cheesy Shipmate
    edited February 13
    mr cheesy wrote: »
    The problem is that we only have anecdote on the bug splats, because the RSPB did not repeat the splatometer. Digging around I found this well referenced blog from 2016 which basically says we don't really know about most insects because the work hasn't been done.

    The blog also neatly feed us back into the OP as it starts with:
    I have been musing about extinctions and shifting baselines for a while now; BREXIT and an article by Simon Barnes in the Sunday Times magazine (3rd September 2016) finally prompted me to actually put fingers to keyboard. I fear that BREXIT will result in even more environmental damage than our successive governments have caused already. They have done a pretty good job of ignoring environmental issues and scientific advice (badgers) even when ‘hindered’ by what they have considered restrictive European legislation and now that we head into BREXIT with a government not renowned for its care for the environment I become increasing fearful for the environment. Remember who it was who restructured English Nature into the now fairly toothless Natural England, because they didn’t like the advice they were being given and whose government was it who, rather than keep beaches up to Blue Flag standard decided to reclassify long-established resort beaches as not officially designated swimming beaches? And, just to add this list of atrocities against the environment, we now see our precious ‘green belt’ being attacked.

    The clue is that nobody repeated this experiment from 15 years ago.

    You can keep doubling down or you can just accept that windscreen splatter observations are not taken seriously in the peer reviewed science.

    Peer-reviewed science is not the only way to understand complex environmental systems. We have learned in Canada and continue to learn that indigenous knowledge means a lot. When indigenous Knowledge Keepers tell us about the conditions in an area, they draw on generations of observations. This knowledge was specifically not reviewed properly when the Trans Mountain Pipeline (to take raw oil/tar sands sludge they call "bitumen") from north-eastern Alberta through Alberta, then through the mountains to the British Columbia coast to load on to oil tankers destined for Asian and other refineries. The Supreme Court of Canada ruled that the pipeline cannot be built, in part, because this indigenous knowledge was not gathered and considered.

    (Notwithstanding that Canadian public policy re environment and many other areas was extremely damaged by the Stephen Harper gov't decade where the Conservative Party ordered that no government scientists were ever to talk to the media, release data or information unless it was politically vetted first to align it with their economy-first policies and political ideology. This is part of the @OP, where political opportunists and profitteers want to 'cook' processes and information into the cake of their choosing. Apparently the PM attended a pentacostal church where manipulation is part of the faith; and if he is in heaven when I show up, I'll it is actually hell.)

    Well peer reviewed science is the paradigm within which these things are decided and within which this insect paper is claiming to operate.

    It is entirely possible that indigenous people are aware of changes that others are not - but I'd venture that even they would not be prepared to argue that the observations they see on a small scale are applicable to all insect species everywhere.

    And, moreover, I suspect they are rather better skilled at observing their surroundings than they average person looking at their windscreen in England.
  • Boogie wrote: »
    Yes, there absolutely is evidence that certain species are in decline. There absolutely isn't evidence to suggest that 40% of all global insect species are in decline.

    That gives more hope. I was really worried by that report. Brexshit, tRumpshit and global warming would be as nothing if that happened.

    😢

    Unfortunately a lack of information in this instance only means that we don't know what we don't know.

    At present it is probably better to be worried about the important insect species declines that we do know about rather than try to extrapolate from sparse data to cover every other species that we don't know.
  • Doc TorDoc Tor Hell Host
    mr cheesy wrote: »
    If I were you, I'd stop talking about things you clearly don't have the first idea about and simply accept when the insect scientists say that windscreen splatters are too unreliable to be used in peer reviewed science.

    Like I said, knock yourself out. Given that I have heard first-hand "insect scientists" cite bug splats as part of the wider phenomena they are researching, I'm going to reserve judgement on your alleged advice.
  • mr cheesy wrote: »
    mr cheesy wrote: »
    The problem is that we only have anecdote on the bug splats, because the RSPB did not repeat the splatometer. Digging around I found this well referenced blog from 2016 which basically says we don't really know about most insects because the work hasn't been done.

    The blog also neatly feed us back into the OP as it starts with:
    I have been musing about extinctions and shifting baselines for a while now; BREXIT and an article by Simon Barnes in the Sunday Times magazine (3rd September 2016) finally prompted me to actually put fingers to keyboard. I fear that BREXIT will result in even more environmental damage than our successive governments have caused already. They have done a pretty good job of ignoring environmental issues and scientific advice (badgers) even when ‘hindered’ by what they have considered restrictive European legislation and now that we head into BREXIT with a government not renowned for its care for the environment I become increasing fearful for the environment. Remember who it was who restructured English Nature into the now fairly toothless Natural England, because they didn’t like the advice they were being given and whose government was it who, rather than keep beaches up to Blue Flag standard decided to reclassify long-established resort beaches as not officially designated swimming beaches? And, just to add this list of atrocities against the environment, we now see our precious ‘green belt’ being attacked.

    The clue is that nobody repeated this experiment from 15 years ago.

    You can keep doubling down or you can just accept that windscreen splatter observations are not taken seriously in the peer reviewed science.

    Peer-reviewed science is not the only way to understand complex environmental systems. We have learned in Canada and continue to learn that indigenous knowledge means a lot. When indigenous Knowledge Keepers tell us about the conditions in an area, they draw on generations of observations. This knowledge was specifically not reviewed properly when the Trans Mountain Pipeline (to take raw oil/tar sands sludge they call "bitumen") from north-eastern Alberta through Alberta, then through the mountains to the British Columbia coast to load on to oil tankers destined for Asian and other refineries. The Supreme Court of Canada ruled that the pipeline cannot be built, in part, because this indigenous knowledge was not gathered and considered.

    (Notwithstanding that Canadian public policy re environment and many other areas was extremely damaged by the Stephen Harper gov't decade where the Conservative Party ordered that no government scientists were ever to talk to the media, release data or information unless it was politically vetted first to align it with their economy-first policies and political ideology. This is part of the @OP, where political opportunists and profitteers want to 'cook' processes and information into the cake of their choosing. Apparently the PM attended a pentacostal church where manipulation is part of the faith; and if he is in heaven when I show up, I'll it is actually hell.)

    Well peer reviewed science is the paradigm within which these things are decided and within which this insect paper is claiming to operate.

    It is entirely possible that indigenous people are aware of changes that others are not - but I'd venture that even they would not be prepared to argue that the observations they see on a small scale are applicable to all insect species everywhere.

    And, moreover, I suspect they are rather better skilled at observing their surroundings than they average person looking at their windscreen in England.

    The discussion here of bugs and windshields seemed to me to lack the nuances required. That observations of bugs in a casual way is something that prompts someone to consider there's an issue is entirely reasonable. To represent it as basis for conclusion is excessive. But it's also excessive to dismiss the observation entirely. It's enough to consider that there is an empirical question to be investigated.

    And no, peer reviewed science is clearly not the paradigm in which these things are decided. They're decided in the political realm, with the policy makers and politicians trying to control what questions are investigated, the data sources, and the communication of that data.

    My experience is in public health policy. Beyond a certain level of info, the decision makers want to redirect the inquiry to support their agenda, and only want sufficient data so that they can justify what they want to do. It is very easy for those who collect the data to be manipulated, either via persuasive means which appeals to their biases, or because they're worried about funding. A lot of it appears to be unconscious to me, where it is difficult to bite the hands that feed or annoy the political animal the hand is attached to, ie people need to pay normal human living expenses, want to continue on their career trajectories. It's also awfully hard for scientists who depend on grants to go against the grain. And at least in Canada, it's normal now that grants are given to teams of people, usually multi-site, which means that the consensus view is the one investigated, and someone on the team will be sensitive to the politics of it. This has eroded the independence of university-based researchers. Further, the designation of specific funded chairs in various disciplines, usually by large corporations influences greatly. How might investigations and conclusions an oil company funded chair position be influenced? or a large agriculture-biochemical-pharmaceutical company?
  • Doc Tor wrote: »
    mr cheesy wrote: »
    If I were you, I'd stop talking about things you clearly don't have the first idea about and simply accept when the insect scientists say that windscreen splatters are too unreliable to be used in peer reviewed science.

    Like I said, knock yourself out. Given that I have heard first-hand "insect scientists" cite bug splats as part of the wider phenomena they are researching, I'm going to reserve judgement on your alleged advice.

    Funny that, you've picked up offhand and non peer-reviewed statements that support your position.

    Rather like a review paper that finds "40% of insect species are in decline" by manually searching for papers in the scientific record with the terms "insect and decline".

    If one is determined to find what one is looking for, it is only surprising that only 40% of the biased selection of data supports it.

    If one is determined to believe that windscreen splatter means something, then I guess any crumb of a soundbite supports the position.
  • mr cheesy wrote: »
    Still no answer. Are you saying that I extrapolated to global decline in insects?

    Moreover the discussion was about global insect decline and you brought it up as relevant. If you didn't think it was why did you - and others in this thread - mention it at all.

    And not only that others who should know better actually claimed it had validity by citing it as citizen science.

    But you have stated that "a personal anecdote is being used to extrapolate to global declines", so I wondered if you meant me. As I said, I put (UK), to indicate that I wasn't making such an inference.

    You seem reluctant to state who you did mean, but clearly it's a misrepresentation, if you were referring to me. I guess an apology is asking too much.
  • mr cheesy wrote: »
    Still no answer. Are you saying that I extrapolated to global decline in insects?

    Moreover the discussion was about global insect decline and you brought it up as relevant. If you didn't think it was why did you - and others in this thread - mention it at all.

    And not only that others who should know better actually claimed it had validity by citing it as citizen science.

    But you have stated that "a personal anecdote is being used to extrapolate to global declines", so I wondered if you meant me. As I said, I put (UK), to indicate that I wasn't making such an inference.

    You seem reluctant to state who you did mean, but clearly it's a misrepresentation, if you were referring to me. I guess an apology is asking too much.

    Ok, I apologise for thinking that your personal anecdotes had any bearing whatsoever on a discussion about global insect decline.
  • O wot a non-apology, O wot a beauty.
  • O wot a non-apology, O wot a beauty.

    I'm sorry, what do you want me to say?

    You said something, I should have ignored it. Is that better?
  • I'm gonna get shafted for this, but if you use the same methodology at different times, you should get comparable results. No absolute value whatsoever but they will have limited validity, and can show trends. Short of turning the entire planet into an ecolab it ain't such a bad idea.
  • sionisais wrote: »
    I'm gonna get shafted for this, but if you use the same methodology at different times, you should get comparable results. No absolute value whatsoever but they will have limited validity, and can show trends. Short of turning the entire planet into an ecolab it ain't such a bad idea.

    If the methodology is flawed then it doesn't matter how often you use it. It still doesn't show anything useful.
  • mr cheesy wrote: »
    sionisais wrote: »
    I'm gonna get shafted for this, but if you use the same methodology at different times, you should get comparable results. No absolute value whatsoever but they will have limited validity, and can show trends. Short of turning the entire planet into an ecolab it ain't such a bad idea.

    If the methodology is flawed then it doesn't matter how often you use it. It still doesn't show anything useful.

    If it's fundamentally flawed, that is so, but, just as an example, the social sciences wouldn't gt far without comparative testing and intelligent interpretation.
  • Error.
  • mr cheesy wrote: »
    O wot a non-apology, O wot a beauty.

    I'm sorry, what do you want me to say?

    You said something, I should have ignored it. Is that better?

    Better than being misrepresented.
  • mr cheesy wrote: »
    O wot a non-apology, O wot a beauty.

    I'm sorry, what do you want me to say?

    You said something, I should have ignored it. Is that better?

    Better than being misrepresented.

    You literally stated something that is impossible to check. It is impossible to say if this was something about your car, something about the places you drove, something about swarms of insects at one time but not another.

    It is no different to someone confidently stating that it was definitely warmer when they were young.
  • sionisais wrote: »
    mr cheesy wrote: »
    sionisais wrote: »
    I'm gonna get shafted for this, but if you use the same methodology at different times, you should get comparable results. No absolute value whatsoever but they will have limited validity, and can show trends. Short of turning the entire planet into an ecolab it ain't such a bad idea.

    If the methodology is flawed then it doesn't matter how often you use it. It still doesn't show anything useful.

    If it's fundamentally flawed, that is so, but, just as an example, the social sciences wouldn't gt far without comparative testing and intelligent interpretation.

    A bit off topic, but unfortunately there are some well-known issues in social science research: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Replication_crisis

    This discussion has been very informative for me -- thank you.
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