amateur and professional

John Grehan jrg13 at PSU.EDU
Fri Feb 19 10:26:19 CST 1999

Geoff Witten wrote:

>suggestion was that publication without review raised many of the problems
>raised correctly by Neil Snow.

This I can understand, and I agree in principle to the desirability of peer
Perhaps the rare abuse of this power is not sufficient for me to be completely
against the idea. Perhaps if there were a global policy there should be avenue
for a appeal to an international board in such cases. Perhaps I am
the situation too much.

>One of the paradoxes in my attitude to the Wells and Wellington saga is
>that I offered to help him describe the one taxon I have since tried to
>sink.  As far as I know he still has the two specimens of the beast I
>collected and lent to him.

At my museum I have outstanding loans that are overdue by 20 years -
in all cases with professional systematists! This kind of abuse of
privilige is a problem that I think transcends amateur and professional.

Perhaps when the original discussion was initiated it would have
been better not to use the word amateur at all, but some other term
to describe a non-professional background? Are PhD scholars, for
example, amateurs simply because they may not earn their living
from their work at that time? Is a person self-trained any less
professional than one trained by another?

>I think the enthusiasm of amateurs is a resource which should be encouraged
>and nurtured.  Part of the assistance given has to involve advising against
>describing colour morphs and clinal variation as full species.

Agreed. I may have missed in all the postings what perspective was
held by Wells and Wellington. Are they aware of these considerations and
are just bloody minded, or do they have a different kind of philosophy?

John Grehan

More information about the Taxacom mailing list