Ignorance vs. Stupidity
MICHAEL A. IVIE
ueymi at MSU.OSCS.MONTANA.EDU
Mon Jan 29 09:41:57 CST 1996
In response to Lammers' and Soule's remarks about responses to those
who don't know how to use the code, I add that ignorance is curable,
stupidity is not.
When an agricultural entomologist comes to me to explain why names that
seem different to her are really the same, and which one to use, she
is being very reasonalble. That person deserves consideration, patience,
and help. Why? Because there is no reason to expect that she SHOULD
know the intricacies of the Code. This is ignorance in the same way
as me not knowing how to calibrate a spray rig for active ingredient
delivery of a 40WP. Such ignorance is to be expected and tolerated.
However, if the pesticide education specialist can't calibrate that
spray rig, that is stupidity, and his colleagues should not be expected
to treat him with sensitivity when he expects them to do it for him.
Why? Because there is every reason to expect he SHOULD know that.
When a person who claims to be a taxonomist asks everyone on this server
to solve problems that they SHOULD be expected to know, they can expect
to be seen as stupid. When they say they just don't have time to look
it up or they don't have a copy of the Code (as have people in the distant
past), they are also lazy and cheap. We have no responsiblity to be nice
If someone has researched the issue in the Code, and is having trouble
finding a final conclusion because of specifics of the case, then this
is an appropriate forum. The collective experience of TAXACOM is great,
and should be used this way BUT NOT AS A WAY TO COVER INCOMPETENCE, LAZINESS,
OR OTHER FORMS OF STUPIDITY!
On the other hand, guides to the Codes would be very helpful for people
trying to learn it in isolation. I had classes that dealt extensively
with the Code at both University of California and Ohio State, but these
classes are getting rarer every year. Having someone to talk to is an
important learning tool for the Code, but for heaven's sake, pick a
single person who agrees to help, and deal with them first. And if you
are calling yourself a taxonomist, and do not have a copy of the Code
you work under, EITHER BUY ONE OR GET OUT OF THE BUSINESS!!!
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