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  why scientists don't just give up the names battle
From: Lester Kallus lkallus at earthlink.net> on 2001.07.07 at 20:40:16(6975)
I'd like to offer a differing opinion on the common versus scientific
name. Professionally, I run into frustrations with bacteria names some of
which are on their third name in the 21 years I've been
working. Nevertheless, I do this professionally and so can keep up with it
as long as they tell me ahead of time. Fortunately, the lay public doesn't
use these names so there's no problem. If they did, we might have to
reevaluate our position on changing the names.

Periodically, I've read letters here indicating that some plant I had never
heard of had been renamed to another genus that I also had never heard
of. This didn't affect me and won't affect most other folks. There's no
problem if few know about it. It's the same as when a bacteria is renamed
by the microbiological and medical community. The problem does happen,
though, when it's a plant that's commonly grown.

If the vast majority of people misidentify Pothos and only a small number
of botanists and horticulturists can accurately identify them, how complex
would it be to tell the botanists and horticulturists to find a new name
for the true Pothos and to allow the previously misidentified Pothos to
correctly assume the name? I suspect it would be less complex to
re-educate the botanists and horticulturists than it would the rest of the
"uneducated" public.

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