[Taxacom] article on taxonomy

Stephen Thorpe stephen_thorpe at yahoo.co.nz
Fri Feb 26 22:07:31 CST 2010

>I wasn't proposing a reform of how taxonomy is funded
Yes, I knew that!
Not quite sure of the point of the 'ethical stance' if it doesn't change anything, though? The unethical taxonomists will just bunch together and reject the 'ethical stance' as rubbish. Maybe the ethical taxonomists can all group together and have an annual "ethical taxonomists conference", or something, but how does that help? I don't mean to sound like I disagree with you, when I just don't understand the point of 'ethical stance' ...
On an earlier point of yours re not having children, in order to save the planet, I find that a bit of an oversimplification. Ironically, perhaps, the person I know of who I respect and admire the most of anybody works as a fertility researcher, facilitating ways to help couples have more children, and keep having them longer. She herself has 3 children of her own, I believe. I don't know, and can't easily find out, how she reconciles this with overpopulation issues, but I'm darn sure she could offer a fairly convincing argument. My guess is that it might have something to do with managing the environment in such a way as to accommodate a growing population. Anyway, I just wanted to throw that in ...



From: Bob Mesibov <mesibov at southcom.com.au>
To: TAXACOM <taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu>
Sent: Sat, 27 February, 2010 4:46:52 PM
Subject: [Taxacom] Fw: Re: article on taxonomy

Hi Stephen.

The key words were 'ethical stance'. I wasn't proposing a reform of how taxonomy is funded. IMO an ethical stance is needed because as Dr Boero and so many others have pointed out, taxonomy is seen a sinking ship, and some of the remaining taxonomists spend far too much time scrambling for lifeboats. It isn't a sinking ship. The discovery and documentation of living forms continues just as successfully as ever and the job is nowhere near finished. There are plenty of opportunities to help other biologists to solve diversity-related problems and to find vanishing species before they disappear under the human population tsunami. If you want a well-paid career, don't do taxonomy. If you want to do technically brilliant, cutting-edge research with databases and algorithms where the raw materials are already known pieces of information, you don't need to be a taxonomist. If you want to discover and document living things, if you want to salvage vanishing
 biological treasures and if your primary motivations are to do just those things - you're ethically a taxonomist.
Dr Robert Mesibov
Honorary Research Associate
Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery, and
School of Zoology, University of Tasmania
Home contact: PO Box 101, Penguin, Tasmania, Australia 7316
(03) 64371195; 61 3 64371195
Website: http://www.qvmag.tas.gov.au/mesibov.html


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