[Taxacom] The Gillman & Wright proposal revisited

JF Mate aphodiinaemate at gmail.com
Thu Dec 10 00:08:29 CST 2020


I sympathize with you Stephen but, having witnessed the recent developments
in the US and the UK, and the general attitude around the world in regards
to facts and science, and how people have been willingly playing the drums
of tribalism, I donĀ“t see a pragmatic or reasonable solution. People like
Gillman & Wright may simply be covering their backs, fully cognizant that
the consequences of this "wave" will be felt everywhere and particularly in
the anglosphere. Or else they are true believers. Either way, it is in
their interest to push ahead.
Of course, the consequences of subsuming scientific neutrality (as close as
humans have achieved neutrality of course) to local moralities will be felt
long into the future and will not produce the desired outcome, but this is
not the point when the driving force originates from an uncompromising
moral stance. What matters is conformity to avoid punishment, and without
criticism the efforts, regardless of the actual results, will redouble
should the intended outcomes not materialize. Attention will move beyond
common names or a few select species names to entire faunas, to the use of
classical languages, peer review, type depositories, collections in
general, etc (there are already hints in this direction). This is not new,
only the context is, and it rarely accomplishes anything good. But once a
mania has started it is difficult to restrain or even guide because it is
not based on rationality but emotion.

Administrators know this well enough, and know that adopting these virtuous
signals is in their best interest. They are easy and cheap and ultimately
they will bear none of the cost. Standing up for what is right is difficult
when the incentives are not there and almost impossible when your
livelihood is on the line simply by not toeing the line.

Best

J

On Thu, 10 Dec 2020 at 01:58, Mike Sadka via Taxacom <
taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu> wrote:

> Perhaps this issue might be mitigated by acknowledging past attitudes
> (which are, probably rightly, seen as somewhat colonial or imperialist),
> pointing out how disruptive wholesale name changes would be (including
> potentially making it harder to document and protect the species that have
> meaning for indigenous peoples), and encouraging taxonomists to make every
> effort to use indigenous organism or person names as epithets in future?
>
> One would hope that would appease all but the most aggressive of
> revisionists.
>
>
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Taxacom <taxacom-bounces at mailman.nhm.ku.edu> On Behalf Of David
> Campbell via Taxacom
> Sent: 09 December 2020 15:51
> Cc: Taxacom <taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu>
> Subject: Re: [Taxacom] The Gillman & Wright proposal revisited
>
> On Tue, Dec 8, 2020 at 7:49 PM Stephen Thorpe via Taxacom <
> taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu> wrote:
>
> > What actual difference would this proposal make, other than having
> > taxonomists waste time on unnecessary name changes? Who is really
> > driving such agendas and what are they really trying to achieve and for
> whom?
> >
>
> The problem for taxonomy is that this proposal is just the sort of thing
> to appeal to bureaucrats and administration - giving themselves the
> appearance of caring about a current hot issue by making more work for
> someone else.
>
> Dr. David Campbell
> Associate Professor, Geology
> Department of Natural Sciences
> Box 7270
> Gardner-Webb University
> Boiling Springs NC 28017
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