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Fw: Why scentists/plant collectors ---- ad nauseatum :-)

  • Subject: Fw: Why scentists/plant collectors ---- ad nauseatum :-)
  • From: "Julius Boos" <ju-bo@email.msn.com>
  • Date: Tue, 10 Jul 2001 23:19:36 -0500 (CDT)

-----Original Message-----
From: Steve Marak <samarak@arachne.uark.edu>
To: Multiple recipients of list AROID-L <aroid-l@mobot.org>
Date: Tuesday, July 10, 2001 4:13 PM
Subject: Mea culpa ssp. maxima

Hello all!

I have resisted the HORRIBLE urge to comment on this topic which has gone on
for way too long about a very simple thing, the rules that scientists MUST
follow when naming life forms---come on guys, love it or leave it!   If you
folks don`t like the scientific name of a plant, or a correction that
taxonomists MUST make when an error is encountered  after new research has
brought a good and pertinant point to light which may necessitate a change
(as in the recent placement of Sauromatum into Typhonium, a really great
article IF you have followed and can understand the VERY clear reasons given
for the change) then you can continue calling it Sauromatum (or even 'John')
if you so choose, but don`t be offended when people try to correct you or
even laugh at you!
Rules are there for a purpose, and they work, so if you can`t abide by them,
then dont, but please do not make light of or make derisive remarks or
belittle the work of dedicated and qualified scientists who labor to make
the world a little more organuised in SOME of our eyes---grow them, love
them, give them whatever names you please (even name one 'George'), and
leave well alone!

Sorry to disagree, Steve, but I personally find the the naming system does a
great job, not perfect by a LONG stretch, but this generally is due to
someone`s error, NOT the system itself---it has worked for a while, and
continues to work today, and is getting better as more dedicated folk like
Tom, Pete, Simon, Josef, Wilbert, Eduardo and many others strive to and make
our knowledge of plant relationships a tad better every year!
Changes in ANY system is inevitable as knowledge is gained on any given
subject on a daily basis, nothing is 'fixed' forever.

Sorry to once more bore some.


>>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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