selling of names

Wed Feb 17 04:35:45 CST 1999

I must add my name to the list of those appalled by
the idea of selling or auctioning of scientific names
of living organisms. Indeed, I shall go a step
further and express my disapproval of the custom of
naming organisms after people. This in my opinion
is a reflection of human arrogance.
    Calling a plant or animal "smithii" means "belonging to
Smith." Does Smith really own the species? No.
Did Smith create the species? No. The question of
whether Smith is (in the traditional scenario)
the collector of the type specimen or (in the scenario
outlined by Jim Beach yesterday) the highest bidder
in an auction is irrelevant. Smith still does not
own the species. Evolution created the species, and
(depending on your viewpoint) either the species owns
itself or Mother Nature owns it. In lieu of a descriptive
name, I would prefer naming it after Gaia or Demeter
or Parvati or Spider Woman or Coatlicue or one of the
thousands of other names various cultures have given
to the entity Americans call "Mother Nature."

Dr. Joseph E. Laferriere
"Computito ergo sum ...  I link therefore I am."

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