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Re: There's also the statement by some...

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Posted by Kenny Wray on January 22, 2003 at 13:45:20:

In Reply to: Re: There's also the statement by some... posted by chrish on January 22, 2003 at 13:15:28:

:But the accomplishment of that list, IMHO, is that they set down a list of rules for naming species (much like the rules outlined in the code). That, in itself, is a big step.
Yes, if one considers it a necessity, this is the best place to start.

:I am not sure if you meant this comment seriously or not, but I will approach it as if you did.
Yes it was ment seriously. A waste of time IMO, let others who are not trained in biology come up with the names, as they are for their use.

:So I guess you feel the same way about Whit Gibbons "wasting" his time writing books for the public about Reptile and Amphibian conservation and ecology, or maybe his several newspaper columns that he writes weekly?
Nope. This is incredibly important on educating the public, but a standard name is not, because as it has been shown time and time again, lay people, Joe Public will not take the time to learn your standard name and if you can convince them of the importance, then take the opportunity to teach them the scientific name (neither one will happen though, and since it will only be a select few who make the effort, these people are already motivated enough to learn the s.n.).

Or maybe he doesn't count as a trained biologist? Whit spends a significant portion of his time communicating his passion for ecology and conservation to the public, in their own language. I can't see how books like "Their Blood Runs Cold" benefit the scientific community, but I hardly see that as the sole measure of the value of someone's work.
Because they are based in his own studies and science and these types of articles help convey this information to the public. He will have to use common names, but the people around Savannah, GA are going to know Chicken Snake, Rat Snake, but will never pick up on Slowinski's Corn Snake. I can only speak for myself, but have worked with the public and herps for awhile now (both in public education, museum education, and have worked with various agencies, such as Animal Controls) and none have been willing to accept the idea of a standard common name. They prefer to use the name they grew up on and these publications do not reach such people (and I doubt they ever will). In addition, any museum type, hobbyist type, or zoo type should (and many do) use the scientifc name. Therefore, I still can't see your validity for a standard list.

:The purpose of biology is to investigate natural phenomena in a scientific way and to disseminate that information to rest of the world, not just to each other. Standardizing common names helps us do that by giving us the language to communicate with others.
Your "others" seems to be a select few of lay persons, therefore I do not see the relevancy.

:Yes, there are of course backwoods hicks whose "granpappy" showed them "one them there hoop snakes", but on the whole, the non-scientists in our communities are educated and would benefit from knowledge about the fauna of our nation. For that, they need names in their native tongue.
You've narrowed the field down to even less people now and have demonstrated one of the main reasons for the current scientific nomenclature system. It will never be practical to make a list for US standard names, then translate it into Mexican for our neighbors who share many of these herps, and then the various Europeans etc. etc. etc. Again, waste of time.

:I think Travis Taggart spelled out the other important targets of such a list in his excellent post below.
Hmmmm... I guess we just have to agree to disagree, as you are the only one I know who believes that his argument was "excellent". I actually found it to be just as hollow as any other pro-standard name, not to mention blatantly biased towards its use due to his commitments.
Later, KW

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