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"standardizing" scientific names


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Posted by troy h on October 15, 2002 at 09:20:26:

over the years, various lists of "accepted" or "standardized" scientific names have been published (e.g. SSAR or CNAH). these lists are lists using the latest research, essentially accepting as valid the latest publication (until someone refutes or reorganizes such a taxon). to my way of thinking, these constant name changes are certainly a part of science, but to "force" everyone to accept a certain name as the only "valid" one seems to me to run contrary to the nature of scientific inquiry.

basically, a new taxonomic arrangement is a hypothesis (for example, the recent split between Crotalus viridis and Crotalus oreganus). in other fields of science, one is not forced to accept a new hypothesis, rather, it takes time and more data before a hypothesis is accepted. it just strikes me as odd that the purveyors of these "standardized lists" want us to accept these hypotheses as valid without more data. why not let the scientific community take time and evaluate the data and come to accept these new names rather than say "hey everyone, here's the new list that you all have to go by!"

troy


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