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In defence of taxonomists [plus ça change]

I sympathize with the physiologist or ecologist, who after he has written a luminous paper on a Cratoegus or Viola, or Rosa, or Opuntia, endeavors to ascertain the proper name for his plant; but I do not sympathize with his objurgations against the whole tribe of species makers. There is a deal of pseudo science, unripe science—were it not undignified I would characterize some of it by an expressive monosyllabic word suggesting decomposition—published about species by the taxonomists, but I suspect that there is also a large deal of like obnoxious material lying at the doors of the physiologists and ecologists and morphologists. But that fact does not make taxonomy or ecology anything less of a science, nor the work of able men in either less valuable. I am a little weary of hearing from narrow specialists in other departments of biology constant condensation of the taxonomist, and I have been hearing such for the past fifteen years from men who should know better.

“What is a Species?”, Samuel W. Williston, 1908. The American Naturalist, Volume 42 (495), 184-194.