"arcane" rules/was gender of -opsis

Thomas Lammers lammers at VAXA.CIS.UWOSH.EDU
Thu Aug 15 11:19:47 CDT 2002

At 06:00 PM 8/15/02 +0200, Martin Spies wrote:

>excuse me, but I beg to differ. ... It's not a character flaw, mind you,
>if you don't yet know what classical stems the words you're using are
>derived from, nor if you can't discern or determine the species of insects
>populating your yard. But for a scientist what is equally important to
>knowing is to admit to what one doesn't yet know, and then
>to learn oneself or try and find somebody who does know.
>The latter is rather easy nowadays with communication
>platforms like this list.  So, please, let's not disorient people turning
>to us for help by pretending to know when we don't, and let's not call
>any branch of knowledge superfluous or "arcane" just because we happen to
>not have it.

This is one of the wisest commentaries I have read here for a long time.  I
could not agree more.  I have noted for quite some time a tendency in
systematics to want to do away with the things we don't want to learn.  The
intricacies of the Code bother you?  Do away with the damn thing and let's
write a new one I like!  Traditional classification upsets you?  Grind it
in the dust and erect something I know how to work with!  If it's been
around a long time, ipso facto it's no good and needs replacing!

It seems to be human nature that when a game has been played for awhile,
some folks will come along who want to play, but don't want to take the
time or make the effort to learn the rules and insist that they be changed
to suit them.   Well, tough!  This is who we are, this is what we do.  If
you don't like it, find another game to play.

Thomas G. Lammers, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor and Curator of the Herbarium (OSH)
Department of Biology and Microbiology
University of Wisconsin Oshkosh
Oshkosh, Wisconsin 54901-8640 USA

e-mail:       lammers at uwosh.edu
phone:      920-424-1002
fax:           920-424-1101

Plant systematics; classification, nomenclature, evolution, and biogeography
of the Campanulaceae s. lat.

"Today's mighty oak is yesterday's nut that stood his ground."
                                                               -- Anonymous

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