Supermarket Botany Article

David Hershey dh321 at excite.com
Fri Jul 2 15:00:12 EST 1999


You are absolutely correct that the editor should not have published the
unscientific parts of their response. Unfortunately, I have seen this
sort of thing before in other journals, particularly HortScience.
Scientists should not have the same freedom of speech in scientific
journals as they would in a newspaper, not even in the letters column.
However, they often do.

In this case the authors' reply appears to be either a desperate attempt
to justify their errors in the face of the facts or a further display of
the ignorance that lead to the mistake-laden article in the first place.
Either way, it does not help the authors or biology teaching. 

The five kingdom classification is followed in current botany texts and
is so fundamental that it can and should be presented to nonmajors. It
is perhaps misleading that textbooks still have titles such as "Plant
Biology" and "Botany" when they actually cover four kingdoms, not just
one. That's another unfortunate holdover from the obsolete two kingdom
system, along with the term "green plant."

David R. Hershey
dh321 at excite.com



Jon Greenberg wrote:
> 
> David, I also was surprised that the editors of ABT would print such a
> flimsy response from the authors. They also tried to defend their
> classification of fungi (and  I think bacteria) as plants, while noting
> that "some people like to" classify them in other kingdoms. This really
> is a case where editorial and scientific responsibility supersede the
> "right" of authors to self-expression.
> 
> Jon Greenberg



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