Saturday, May 03, 2008

Bitter Butterflies

Not that I like to rub a point in ... oh, wait ... actually I do like to rub a point in!

Last month, the Natural History Museum in London opened a special exhibit on butterflies!

"Amazing Butterflies" runs from April 5th to August 17th (2008), & features a giant maze & butterfly house inviting visitors to "explore the life cycle of some of the world’s most beautiful creatures this summer."

Seemingly in natural harmony with the museum, on April 15th the U.K.'s Royal Mail issued a new series of 10 first-class stamps of endangered UK insects, including 2 butterflies & 3 beetles!

"Many insect species are endangered, but thanks to work by conservationists, their future is brighter. To draw attention to their plight and spread the good news, Royal Mail has issued a stunning set of Insect Special Stamps chosen from collections at the Natural History Museum. Butterfly Conservation was formed by a small group of dedicated naturalists in 1968 to halt and reverse the alarming decline of many beautiful butterflies. Now there are over 12,000 members and 31 volunteer branches throughout the British Isles."

Interesting details in their descriptions that accompany collectible philatelic material:

"Enlarged images of the ten Special Stamps, allow you to look closely at the wonderfully complex structure of the body parts, legs and wings of these tiny invertebrates."

Too bad they didn't consult with me on this project. I would've recommended that they issue complementary stamps featuring wonderfully simple artist-representations of the earliest living organisms these tiny invertebrates must have evolved from billions of years ago. Their literature could also then provide some reference to scientific literature explaining the process that led to these wonderfully complex structures ... oh, that's right ... I almost forgot; there is no known process--a less-complex to more-complex change has never been observed by a single scientist (in the great Great Britain or elsewhere).

Earlier I said "seemingly in harmony" because Royal Mail is also offering discount vouchers for the museum. But actually, I'm not the one that Royal Mail has a conflict with (I love all things royal!). They ticked off (insect-pun intended) the U.K.'s Butterfly Conservation organization! Here are some quotations from a protest letter they sent to RM on April 30th:

"There is mounting concern, anger and bafflement over the fact that the Royal Mail has issued a set of stamps with images of dead butterflies and a dead moth on them. ... We here at Butterfly Conservation have been trying to steer individuals away from the practice of pinning dead butterflies and moths for years, and yet you seem to want to encourage it. ... You wouldn’t issue stamps with image of dead birds or dead cows on them, so why dead butterflies? ... These images are nauseating and are the very opposite of conservation. ... What makes the error all the more devastating is that there are hundreds of fantastic images of live butterflies and moths."

Can't help but wonder if anyone at this organization is concerned over aborted human babies, or over teaching non-aborted children that they evolved from randomly mutated chemical elements. I wonder if these butterfly enthusiasts consider those practices "nauseating" & "devastating".

LMLK fans will recall that archeologist R.A.S. Macalister initially suggested in the July 1899 issue of PEQ (written by F.J. Bliss) that the 4-winged icon represented a butterfly. (Recounted on Lv1 p. 121.)

Seems like no matter what aspect of the royal seals I study, there's always a conflict.

Well, at least we all can agree on some things ... like which modern excavation sites belong to the ancient cities of Jerusalem, Lachish, Gibeon, & Mizpah...

Song of the week: "The Flyer" by Saga (click the song title to visit Amazon; click here for a 28-second sample; 360kb).
G.M. Grena