[Taxacom] Users of Epacridaceae, its subclades, and systematics in general

Kenneth Kinman kennethkinman at webtv.net
Mon Mar 30 22:17:18 CDT 2009

      I believe that such a viewpoint is too cynical.  When I speak of
end users, I really don't think those who "do not care" are anywhere
near a majority.  There is a whole continuum of users.  At one end of
the continuum, there are certainly extremely casual users who could care
less about systematics, but at the other end of the continuum are
extreme academics who have become convinced to be (or trained to be)
rather obsessive-compulsive (overly cladistic) about it. 
      HOWEVER, there is a whole continuum (the real majority) that is in
between these extremes who really do care (serious amateurs,
non-taxonomist professionals of various kinds, as well as taxonomists
who are not strict cladists).  Unlike strict cladists, these are the
mostly silent majority who are frankly getting tired of the fallout from
extreme cladism.   Frankly these are the kind of people who pay the most
of the taxes that fund the majority of governmental support for
taxonomic research.  That there is now a bias toward funding those who
are strict cladists is unfortunate, but this will certainly change.
Wall Street was also very popular in this country as long as the
financial "fairy-tale" lasted.  Now they are the villains, and strict
cladists are likely to suffer a similar fate in the near future.  They
should begin to redeem themselves while they still have the chance.
That is the reality in my opinion.
           ----------Ken Kinman           
Jim Croft wrote:
The majority of people 'interested' in Styphelia and Epacris are only
vaguely aware that they are associated in some way and that a thing
called a family might or might not be involved.  They really do not
care.  Really.  And their lives are none the poorer for not caring. And
they sure as hell do not care that there are such things as phylogeny,
cladistics, paraphyly, or taxacoms.  Really, they don't. 
And as for the subtlety, nuance and finesse of the subfamily to these
people, what can I say?  They just want to know where to get the plants
(they have a genus and species name, right?) and what to do with them.
It is when you dare to mess with a comfortable genus name that things
get unpleasant. 
That is the reality...  and it is not always nice... 

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