Value of 'naming'

Curtis Clark jcclark at CSUPOMONA.EDU
Thu Jul 18 08:16:41 CDT 1996

At 07:45 PM 7/17/96 -0600, Jerry Bricker wrote:
>I wonder if Standard Daylight Time went over well with the world's
>various inhabitants when it was first introduced.  I'm sure there was a
>certain amount of anger and pain when individuals living by the local sun
>angle suddenly had to adhere to a system clearly devised to service an
>entire planet.  Are we talking about anything less when proposing
>standardized common names?  Local names will certainly go by the
>wayside.  Isn't that the reason for the standardization?

Uh, correct me if I'm wrong, but didn't we already do this around 200 years
ago? Seems to me a group of European biologists back then decided to
standardize a set of names to replace local names. To make the system
international, they chose Latin, a language of wide use. Over the following
centuries, rules for forming and using these names were laboriously
discussed and implemented. Today we have a system that provides standardized
names for a major portion of the world's flora and fauna.

>I suggest that
>taking the long view (one to two centuries) is what is involved here.

If "history" (the current events that would be necessary for Jerry's
envisioned future to occur) is any measure, in two centuries our academic
descendents would be complaining that their students couldn't learn the
standardized English names because they were so hard to pronounce, and
toying with setting up still another set of standardized names.

Curtis Clark            
Biological Sciences Department                     Voice: (909) 869-4062
California State Polytechnic University, Pomona    FAX:   (909) 869-4396
Pomona CA 91768-4032  USA                          jcclark at

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