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Mea culpa ssp. maxima

  • Subject: Mea culpa ssp. maxima
  • From: Steve Marak <samarak@arachne.uark.edu>
  • Date: Tue, 10 Jul 2001 15:13:45 -0500 (CDT)

Just a note of explanation to all your Aroiders who noticed that the last
two messages posted were actually sent several days ago. They slipped by
in the hundreds (and hundreds and hundreds) of other messages, and thanks
to Wilbert for calling it to my attention so I could send them on.

While my subject line is a facetious reference to the primary subject of
discussion, that happens to be a topic of much interest to me. As I told
Wilbert privately, I agree and disagree with both sides. But I put the
blame not with what either side wants from the naming system, but squarely
on the fact that the naming system is sooooo very poor! It can't do any of
its jobs well, yet we try to make it do them all. (I resist the urge to be
much more specific here.)

I followed the taxonomy list for years, often reading in disbelief
("surely he can't mean what that sounds like", followed by "but he
does!"), and told Cathy many times that as I learned more about it, my
increasing disrespect for the system itself was matched only by my
increasing respect for the poor taxonomists and systematists who suffer
under it. (Of course, we growers, horticulturists, ecologists, customs
agents, etc. all suffer under it too. It seems to be a non-discriminitory
abuser of everyone who uses it.) It's hard to believe this is the best
thing we've got, yet it seems to be.


-- Steve Marak
-- samarak@arachne.uark.edu

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