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Re: Understanding names (long)

Sherry Michael wrote:
> What I was trying to say in my original post is that technical names >and 
> descriptions ARE beneficial. However, there are people out there >who tend to 
> obscure the subject of the paper with the OVER use of >jargon or obtuse 
> non-technical vocabulary, or make up their own stuff >without telling anyone 
> what it means.

I have to jump in on this thread.  As a museum docent I am often tasked
with reducing technical information I have learned to a level where a
visitor (read person with very limited or no knowledge of subject), can
grasp the meaning of what the sceintist at hand has said.  In the
pursuit of this I often read (with great relish) scientific papers and
descriptions.  The only way I can keep up with the field is to learn the
jargon, and be as familiar with the terms as possible. As many have
already said, I believe it is necessary to use the language of the
discipline to properly describe a specimin.  In doing so other
scientists can be relatively certain of what is being said.  However, I
also must agree with Sherry that SOME scientists (not just in paleo
either), tend to use longer and more complex words and terms than are
actually necessary.  This tends to complicate papers and sometimes, I
think, can obscure the actual intended meaning.   With all the postings
on parsimony recently, perhaps we can reconsider how we write and
communicate ideas to the field.

Bill Hinchman

Please note I now receive my E-Mail at bsaurus@bellatlantic.net
(formerly BHinchSaur@aol.com)