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Posted on: October 6, 2021


Best of Today, Dave Goulson on the 'Insect Apocalypse' - BBC Radio 4

THE INSECT APOCALYPSE EXPLAINED BY BIOLOGIST DAVE GOULSON IN HIS 2019 PAPER IN”CURRENT BIOLOGY”, Goulson, Dave. “The insect apocalypse, and why it matters.” Current Biology 29.19 (2019): R967-R971.

Averting the Insect Apocalypse - Dave Goulson | CNHS

POINT#1: Humans being large animals have a large animal bias in their view of nature and think of the important features of nature in terms of their fellow large animals. This is why the conservation efforts of the humans emphasizes large animals and birds.

But now we find that there are more insects in the world than the population bomb humans pound for pound and in fact there are more insects in the wold than there are large animals in the world pound for pound.

So therefore our study of ecosystems has been all wrong all along because of the large animal bias of the large animal humans.

The insect apocalypse is not here but there are reasons for concern | The  Economist

POINT#2: So what happens if we include insects in the study of ecology? What we have learned from pursuing this question is the amazing fact that all this time that we were studying ecosystems and preaching environmentlism, we had it all wrong and only now we find that not only are there more insects than animals and birds pound for pound, but in terms of The functional features of ecosystems, insects far are more important than animals and birds.

POINT#3: So now we have corrected our large animal bias in the study of nature and so we are paying more attention to insects and have collected a significant database of the function of insects in the biosphere as well as the health an well being of the insect populations including the study of their population trends, And here is what we have found in the population trend data: Insects are in a state of catastrophic population decline. The data vary across regions but on the high side we find decline rates of around 2.7% per year over long periods 26 to 35 years. We do have the decline data but we have no idea of the cause for the decline and unsure whether the decline is a short term volatiliy or a long term decline. As for the cause of the decline, there are no clues. We don’t know. But the less we know the more we can guess and what we guess is what we always guess in population declines of species and these are habitat loss, pesticides, and climate change. The other clue is the Anthropocene – the human dominated ecosystem where all bad things can be trqced to something that the humans did.

Dead Insects HD Stock Images | Shutterstock


The great thing about the Anthropocene is that it provides the basis for a catch all for the explanation of any causation that has no explanation in the data. For example, the decline in biodiversity is assumed to be human caused and therefore a creation of the Anthrpocene. And so likewise, what we have for insects is the decline data in Germany and Puerto Rico over periods of 30 years or less where the data do not provide causation information. However, once human cause is assumed we can invoke things like Climate Change and the Anthropocene as the drivers of what is ultimately human cause. this kind of theory does not contain causation information. And the decline data that we do have in hand is neither long term nor global and there is no empirical evidence for the causation of the decline. In all such cases in the study of nature, the Anthropocene can be invoked because it is a blanket human cause hypothesis in a world now controlled by the humans. However the need for the Anthropocene to explain insect decline provides not the evidence of causation of the decline but evidence that we don’t know.

In a related post on the Anhropocene: LINK: we note as follows.

The anthropocene proposition is based on the data presented above. These data show significant changes in “the Earth System” since 1950. Earth System scientists have found no natural explanation for these changes. It is therefore proposed that they must be a creation of the humans. Based on such human cause of changes in the Earth System, it is proposed that humans must now be in control of the Earth System. Based on these arguments, it is proposed that these data imply that since 1950, the Earth System has entered a new geological epoch in which not geology nor the natural processes of the Earth System, but the humans now control and determine changes in the earth system. This new geological epoch is therefore named the ANTHROPOCENE because the anthros are now in control and in charge of the Earth System. THIS PROCEDURE VIOLATES THE PRINCIPLES OF OBJECTIVE AND UNBIASED SCIENTIFIC INQUIRY. Specifically what we find here is that the anthropocene hypothesis was derived from the earth system data presented in the charts above. How is this hypothesis to be tested? The data used to construct a hypothesis may not be used to test that hypothesis because that kind of hypothesis test suffers from confirmation bias and the Texas Sharpshooter Fallacy.

The need for the Anthrpocene to explain and to describe the role of humans in eco system decline and human causation for the data for insect decline in 30-year periods is not evidence of causation but in fact the evidence that there is no evidence of causation. The only useful information in the Goulson presentation are (1) that there is evidence of insect decline at multidecadal time scales and (2) that the cause of this decline requires the Anthropocene to construct is actually the evidence that we don’t know what caused the decline. What this presentation shows us is that the insect apocalypse is a fanciful theory with a fanciful name but that it needs the Anthropocene to establish the human caused apocalyse hypothesis is the evidence that there is no evidence of human caused apocalyse hypothesis.

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