Antennae vs. antennas

Doug Yanega dyanega at
Wed Oct 21 11:26:21 EDT 1998

Gee, it took me a long time to chime in here...
It appears to me that perhaps the problem, and the approach of the two
opposing camps, can be (over)simplified thus:
        There are highly self-motivated laypeople who already know the
proper terminology, names, etc. or will learn it regardless of what we do;
there are laypeople interested and motivated enough to learn it *if* we
offer it; and there are laypeople who *might* be interested but will avoid
entomology altogether if it is not offered at their level.
        Presumably, if we "dumb down" (there's a nice loaded term), we
won't lose the folks in the first group, we will bring people from the last
group into the fold, but we will do a major disservice to those in the
middle group.
        Presumably, if we *don't* dumb things down, we serve the first two
groups, and lose the third.
        In large part, then, this would seem to come down to whether one
believes there are more people in group 2 or 3. I doubt we'll ever know (in
an ideal world, naturally, there would be no group 3, because primary
education would have made them better prepared, and "their level" would be
the same as group 2 - another daydream, surely).
        Of course, it should be possible for someone communicating to a lay
audience to have an idea *which* kind of audience they have, and balance
things accordingly. One can, after all, use BOTH terms for many of the
examples cited, and please everyone. I've given enough public presentations
to know. In that sense, this should be a non-controversy.
        Perhaps the only REAL problem here is that we have a prominent
figure within our own community who is specifically advocating one approach
over the other (and attacking the other approach in the process), when
*both* have merits depending on the context (what a concept!) - and, as a
result, creating a polarization that should not exist in the first place.
Or am I missing something?


Doug Yanega    Depto. de Biologia Geral, Instituto de Ciencias Biologicas,
Univ. Fed. de Minas Gerais, Cx.P. 486, 30.161-970 Belo Horizonte, MG   BRAZIL
phone: 31-499-2579, fax: 31-499-2567  (from U.S., prefix 011-55)
  "There are some enterprises in which a careful disorderliness
        is the true method" - Herman Melville, Moby Dick, Chap. 82

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