I think Mr Lurio missed the point
when he wrote:
<<If it wasn't for amateurs and commercial interests, there wouldn't have BEEN
any paleontology. Cope and Marsh were commercial collectors and everything
they dug up were commercially collected specimens. >>
Padian , in is article, admits that since the first ages of paleontology, amateurs' findings have been really important for the progress of paleontology, BUT also says that those time were very different from these.
For this reason a comparison between the role of amateur research then and now, can't be done.
<<If you have fossils that are worthy of study, don't boycott, STUDY!>>
would you study something that will likely lead you to to something partially(or totally) misleading?
I'm not a professional, but even i understand the importance of trying to consider as many informations and data as possible regarding something you want to study and describe.
Paleoenviromental and paleoecological informations (only to mention two) are important and the impossibility of achieving a good knowledge about these aspects is a problem;however this can be considered a minor aspect if compared to the much more problematic one concerning genuinity of the remains and the possibility that, a primary home-made preparation (or even a good one, but directed to the final presentation of an individual more "interesting"[see "Archaeoraptor", but also other not chimaeric animals, rebuilt more completely than how they were found )], has damaged (first case)or altered(both first and second one) the remains.
Considerations about what paleontology would have been (and what it wouldn't have been ) without the help of amateurs are interesting(and important), but you have to consider what it will become if nobody takes care of the same things Mr Padian( and others previously) pointed out.
Would it be better for a scientific work to be done in twenty years (with many fossils kept stored for years, but then accurately studied and described) or in much less time with an inaccurate preparation, study and descrpition of the same??
the latter question is directed to Mr Simon, who wrote on the same subject, pointing out that many (really many) fossils are being kept stored in museums without being studied or even prepared;
I think that the contribution of amateurs can't be viewed under only one perspective; it is true that many important remains now awaiting for prep.&description have been found by amateurs and it's also true that without them there would be really few (well, perhaps not few, but..) things to work on, but the point here is that there are many ways an amateur can contribute to the cause of scientific knowledge advancement and these ways have to be carefully considered when in front of a specimen collected by amateurs ( those who collect those fossils sometimes can't even be called amateurs i think....chinese farmers need money, they don't care about paleontological knoledge);
I think Padian's article was correct in being balanced while considering many of the causes of this increasing movement of fossils and while taking into consideration some of the things scientist should do to avoid such a movement(or at least try not to help it).
I know my english is not very good and some of my thoughts would sound a bit noisy,and i hope nobody got offended ( Mr Lurio in particular);