Indecent proposal (was commercial taxonomy)

Kipling WIll kww4 at CORNELL.EDU
Mon Feb 8 03:18:12 CST 1999

I have been reading with interests the thread on the "selling of names" and I agree with some others that it leaves one with a queasy feeling that business and science are mixing in perhaps a less than desirable way. Nevertheless, I have not been able to enumerate a list of solid reasons why not sell (aside from the slippery individual moral, ethical and self esteem issues that are of little weight in deciding policy) and I have not seen anyone present such as list either. Perhaps someone can offer some concrete points that may balance several apparently valid points for selling. As long as we prevent brand names (imagine Exon or  Dow "greening up" their image) is there more at stake than our pride?

I have been wrestling with the following what if...

What if someone called up today and told me they would be happy to pay my expenses to travel to South America so I could collect ground beetles for several weeks if I would promise to name a new species and/or genus on their behalf.

Put yourself, your taxon and choice of location in this story. I suppose I will be lucky enough never to have make such a choice.

Kip Will

<smaller>In short, variety is a great and most beautiful law of Nature;
it is that which distinguishes her productions from those of art, and it
is that which man often exerts his highest efforts in vain to imitate.

<bold>H.E. Strickland


Kipling W. Will

Dept. of Entomology

Cornell University

Ithaca, NY 14853

(607)255-1351 office

(607)255-0939 Fax


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