Butterfly Names - Apology

Cris Guppy & Aud Fischer cguppy at quesnelbc.com
Sun Apr 2 03:05:46 EDT 2000

>From the response from one of the "Names Committee", I am afraid I phrased
the issue of "respect" poorly, although I still do not know how to better
say it. And perhaps I was overly blunt in general. It was not intended as a
personal attack on Felix, Don and the others mentioned in my previous
missive. I do respect all involved. You all do consistently good science
and/or science interpretation. I apologise for not making that clear to
begin with.

What I meant was that the work of the "Names Committee" and NABA must
independantly earn respect, that it will not be accepted simply because a
group of respected scientists say "this is our opinion and everyone should
follow it". Good science results from constantly ask the question "why?",
and if a good solid answer to that question is not built into a publication
then it will be rejected as "insufficiently supported". Which is the "Names
Committee's" major concern regarding published taxonomic changes, so I think
it reasonable to expect them to produce the same quality as they expect in
others. Respect for someone does not mean blind acceptance of whatever they

Ultimately it is a matter of opinion as to what is "sufficient evidence" to
support any particular taxonomic viewpoint. Based on the available evidence
for a given species treatment, any given decision will be agreed with by
some, and disagree with by others. But if the data and rationale is
presented for each decision, at least everyone is working from the same
starting point.

I think that a self-appointed (or jointly self-appointed with NABA)
"scientific names committee" as presently conceived is not just a waste of
time (which is your concern, not mine), but will create, rather than
resolve, nomenclatural instability (which is my concern).

All of which sounds like a pompous lecture, but I have never figured out how
to avoid that when trying to have a serious discussion by e-mail.

Cris Guppy

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