Name, Texas Auction, etc.
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?)
<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
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.
Kipling W. Will
Dept. of Entomology
Ithaca, NY 14853
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