Name, Texas Auction, etc.

Kipling WIll kww4 at CORNELL.EDU
Mon Feb 8 03:52:04 CST 1999

In regard to your call to read the history of science I offer the
following quote. . .

Point g.  "_Specific names derived from persons._-- So long as these
complimentary designations are used with moderation, and are restricted
to persons of eminence as scientific zoologists, they may be employed
with propriety in cases where expressive or characteristic words are not
to be found. But we fully concur with those who censure the practice of
naming species after persons of no scientific reputation, as
curiosity-dealers (_e.g._ Caniveti, Boissoneauti), Peruvian priestesses
(Cora, Amazilia), or Hottentots (Klassi)."


H.E. Strickland 1842. Report of a committee appointed "to consider of the
rules by which nomenclature of zoology may be established on a uniform
and permanent basis". Report Brit. Assoc. vol. xi. Reports, p.105...

Admittedly, this shows the bias of the age but also demonstrates that
this has never been a well accepted practice despite its uses (misuse?)
over time.



<excerpt>At 11:38 AM 2/17/99 -0500, James Bass wrote:


Let's keep it simple:  Before Chomsky and that part of the

scientific revolution that followed there was something that

used to be taught as the "First Law of Semantic Relations";

to wit:  There is no logical relation between a word and

its referent.

If the opposite were true then much of the activity discussed

on this list would be unnecessary.

Thus, it hardly follows that 'assigning a name' implies ownership

of the species.  Does anyone on this list who has assigned a name

feel a proprietary right over the species?

Nor, should the 'meaning' of a name and the existence of a named

object be of much concern.  Does anyone feel we are required to

practice worship of a long dead Roman religion because our planet

is surrounded by  entities with 'powerful' names such as Mars and


And, I suspect that any astronomer reading this thread is either

bewildered or dying laughing as the practice of naming celestial

entities has long been to name them after just about anything that

pops up.  Is astronomy less a science for the practice?   Anyone

who might have a celestial entity named for him/her who thinks they

are going to dictate to  the entity or others something of the

of the entity is going to be sadly surprised.  (By the way and by a

line of reasoning, I should point out that 'dying laughing' does not mean

the person actually ceases to live.)  Naming, classification, and

are different matters.

I echo the sentiments of those who reflect that if the money helps save a

species, so much the better.  And echo those who have pointed out past

patronage to which I would add: Does anyone want to rewrite those

species that were named out of patronage?

In short, read let's all read some of the history of science, lighten-up,

welcome the money to pursue species preservation, and get back to work.




<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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