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>Date: Fri, 27 Aug 1999 04:07:30 -0400
>From: Jim Hawes <hawesj@gcnet.net>
>This post is in response to yours recently to Barbara in Quebec
>regarding sterility in Hostas. I am discussing also in this post a
>response to a post of Steve Chamberlain in which he attempted to defend
>"his" article. He objected to the fact that I  said that BZ's (and his)
>article was bad science. He requested that I stop making ad hominem
>remarks (i.e. to the man, reflecting arguments directed to  one's
>prejudices, rather than to one's intellect). If he will read this post
>carefully, perhaps he will understand that my characterization  of the
>article as being bad science is based on the fact that many influencing
>factors determining the presence of pods were not considered or
>discussed in the article...thus this represented substantial
>experimental error. I am very aware that the data collected, compiled
>and analyzed in a simple manner was not data from an experiment. It was
>merely observations of the number of pods present on some hostas , in
>some gardens, in some locations, in varying environmental and cultural
>situations and variables in one summer season. This count of pods, made
>by participants of varying levels of  proficiency, education, training
>or understanding, represents another experimental error not considered.
>The count of number of pods present has nothing to do with sterility,
>fecundity, seed viability or any other criteria being investigated. No
>factors influencing presence of pollen, pollen viability,  gamete
>compatibility, pollen tube growth, presence of insects by number, type
>and within a given  timeframe, temperatures at time of flowering,
>rainfall, timing of rainfall, numbers of flowers per scape or many other
>variable factors were considered or could be known. It is for this
>reason that I characterized the article as bad science.The excercise was
>full of proceedural  errors. My comments were not directed at any one
>person but to the article itself. It was indeed a simple article. It was
>also useless and took up a lot of space in the Journal. My criticism was
>directed mostly at the  design of the investigation made. I continue to
>characterize the investigation  as useless. Its purpose ( as explained
>by Steve Chamberlain) seems to have been to determine  the usefulness of
>a pod parent in hybridization. The seven pages of superfulous data
>collected did not determine usefullness. Usefulness should be determined
>by each individual hybridizer, using his own techniques, skills,
>knowledge,  experiences and resources.
>I am not convinced that this article was reviewed adequately. I consider
>it a waste of effort, time and money associated with publishing it. This
>last criteria alone allows me, as a plant scientist and member of the
>AHS, to take  the liberty of making an informed critique on the quality
>and usefullness of the article. I am not the only person who has
>criticized the wastefulness of this article in the Journal. It has even
>been the subject of derision and ridicule among many hosta acquaintances
>who are knowledgable of hybridizing problems.
>I hope, Bill,  that the discussion of the factors determining presence
>and numbers  of pods
>on hosta flower scapes, answers some of the questions you raised in
>sterility. This discussion was not intended to be a technical discussion
>on the subject of sterility...rather on some factors affecting
>fecundity...the opposite of sterility. And the presence and/or  number
>of pods is not the only criteria determining fecundity.
>Bill, you were a participant in this pod counting  exercise . I am not
>critizing anyone who participated. They have the freedom to do as they
>wish. I am simply stating that it was a waste of time. No valid
>conclusions resulted. And if someone thinks valid conclusions were
>obtained, I wish that someone would prove it to me.
>Jim Hawes

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