[Taxacom] RE revisiting patronym auctions

Edwards, G.B. edwardg at doacs.state.fl.us
Fri Aug 15 13:43:31 CDT 2008

As I've already replied to one private message, I have an excellent
track record of supporting amateur scientists, and I specifically and
purposefully did not use the word 'amateur' in my response.  I never
said you can equate amateurs with unscrupulous people.  I would have
been far more likely to equate 'unscrupulous' with anything having to do
with making patronym auctions a 'business,' and based on your previous
messages, I think you would agree with me.  I somehow doubt that you are
disagreeing with me that it is to professionals benefit to cooperate,
unless, as I believe you stated somewhere, they have everything they
need for their own projects and don't have to.

Yes, you and I know that synonyms are subjective, but these auctions
aren't dealing with taxonomists (professional or amateur).  Other people
don't understand how the system works.  They only know how to deal in
the business world, and that usually involves lawyers.  I just caught
your last post, and if you can convince everyone that this is the way to
go and it avoids involving the lawyers, more power to you.

p.s. I haven't read Swift since high school, and that was a long time
ago.  Mr. Pope should cite his sources like a responsible scientist
(amateur or professional) if he is going to quote or paraphrase someone.

G. B. Edwards, Ph.D.  [Your Friendly Neighborhood Spiderman] 
Curator: Arachnida (except Acari), Myriapoda, Terrestrial Crustacea,
Florida State Collection of Arthropods, FDACS, Division of Plant
P.O.Box 147100, 1911 SW 34th St., Gainesville, FL 32614-7100 USA 
(352) 372-3505 x194; fax (352) 334-0737; edwardg at doacs.state.fl.us 
Courtesy Professor, Department of Entomology and Nematology, University
of Florida
Co-Coordinator, Florida Arthropod and Arthropod Pathogen Introduction
Editor, Peckhamia; Membership Secretary, Peckham Society
Past President, Center for Systematic Entomology:
Veritas vos liberabit

-----Original Message-----
From: taxacom-bounces at mailman.nhm.ku.edu
[mailto:taxacom-bounces at mailman.nhm.ku.edu] On Behalf Of Doug Yanega
Sent: Friday, August 15, 2008 12:22 PM
Subject: Re: [Taxacom] RE revisiting patronym auctions

One quick response...

G.B. Edwards wrote:

>You better be darn sure your new taxon is new, because if you
>receive thousands of dollars for it, and it gets synonymized, not only
>will you probably have to give the money back, but there could be
>lawsuits from the donor, and lawsuits between the describer and
>synonymizer, etc., etc. etc. (love that phrase from the King and I).

Since synonymy is subjective, you could never issue such a money-back 
guarantee - a synonym *can* be reversed, or debated. In plain fact, 
since names that are synonyms still appear in print every time a 
catalog or checklist or revision appears, the sponsor is STILL being 
immortalized. Synonyms don't *vanish*.

>And to Alexander: while I think you mean well, it seems to me that it
>the employed taxonomists who are most likely to be the most altruistic.
>Their livelihood depends on cooperation with other specialists and
>institutions.  The greedy capitalists are most likely to be the
>unscrupulous profiteers who don't work as taxonomists, are not willing
>to follow the rules, or even care if their new species are valid.

Actually, Alexander was taking a page out of Jonathan Swift's book 
(i.e., "A Modest Proposal") and satirizing our concerns to highlight 
how truly stupid he feels them to be. Just like Swift was not 
actually endorsing the eating of babies, Mr. Pope was not endorsing 
banning taxonomists from naming species. Besides which, some of the 
most egregious offenses in modern taxonomy have been perpetrated by 
people who are professional taxonomists, while there are conversely 
many "amateurs" who do phenomenal work. I would hope that both you 
and Mr. Pope would prefer to judge a person's qualifications as a 
taxonomist by the quality of their taxonomy, and not by how they earn 
their paycheck.


Doug Yanega        Dept. of Entomology         Entomology Research
Univ. of California, Riverside, CA 92521-0314        skype: dyanega
phone: (951) 827-4315 (standard disclaimer: opinions are mine, not
   "There are some enterprises in which a careful disorderliness
         is the true method" - Herman Melville, Moby Dick, Chap. 82

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