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Ulrich Dorn's comment


DAVID MANN <[log in to unmask]>


DAVID MANN <[log in to unmask]>


Wed, 1 May 2002 09:08:05 BST





text/plain (62 lines)

Dear Phycologists

Ulrich Dorn's comment seems to me to prove the opposite of his
intent. He asks in effect for tolerance and pluralism, and notes that
perhaps the ICBN can be interpreted in more than one way. That, it
seems to me is precisely the point. ICBN does not insist on one
particular treatment (priority) for higher taxa. And that is what Ktaft
and Saunders were saying. So no: the world is not black and white,
and where the ICBN allows choice, choice should remain and not be
overturned by diktat. When Kraft and Saunders received their
'challenge', it was not accompanied by 'honest criticism' or debate. You
can check this easily enough.

And as for quotations from the bible: well, that is a choice that maybe
looks worse in the light of recent politico-religious events centred
around the US and the Middle East than it did at the time of
publication. But set this aside: does Dorn mean that we should never
quote either from secular literature? I chose to quote from 'Latin for all
occasions' by Henry Beard in a paper (just to clarify: this is a book of
humour). Does that mean that I also endorse the advice in it : 'In the
good old days, children like you were left to perish on windswept
crags' (Antiquis temporibus, nati tibi similes in rupibus ventosissimis
exponebantur ad necem)? To censor some literature as 'religious' and
to accept others because they are not overtly anything is dangerous.
There is a social/philospophical side to science too. We are not
rational beings but a complex amalgam of selfishness and charity,
emotion and reason. If we were not, how could we be allowing
apparently the greatest extinction since K-T?

Clearly some aspects of Kraft and Saunders' paper do not appeal to
everyone's taste in irony. I did not think the paper overstepped the
boundaries of what should be permissible in a 'scientific' journal.
Personally, I find most 'scientific' journals monumentally dull, in
format, style and, I'm afraid, often in scientific content too. I am not
apologetic for trying, just once, to add some spice. If this caused
offence - and apparently it has - then I regret this.

best wishes, David Mann

Professor David G. Mann
Editor, Phycologia
Royal Botanic Garden
Edinburgh EH3 5LR
United Kingdom

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