No offense taken J. But I have also met many "experts" that didn't know their butt from a hole in the ground. I find it ironic that in a college full of "experts" I was asked to teach a class on venomous species. Granted i have had alot of college, but did not complete my degree due to financial problems. Does that make me less knowledgable? Perhaps. But by the same token, acadamia is a world all to its own which rarely has bearing on real life (I know, Bold statement). I was asked to aid in a study of Northern Water Snakes a couple years ago. The study was to prove that Mercury levels were getting to a critical level in the area. They captured and disected hundreds of the snakes to find no mercury. Not really impressed with the "experts" so far. But of course there are exceptions such as Wolfgang Huster and Dr Bryan Greg Fry to name only 2. I have a great deal of respect for them and what they do. I guess my point is that just because someone has a degree does not qualify them to be called something like a Herpetologist. In my mind, it is a title you earn by contributing vital information in a logical and sound fashion. I do think that we use scientific methods more often than we think though. One example is when I began testing the LaCrosse Snake Proof Boots, I had to look at it very logically. I created a controlled environment, used several species and multiple strike locations. The methods and notes would make any "expert" proud. So much knowledge has been gained from "Joe Blows" making precise observations and taking careful notes. As far as captive husbandry is concerned, probably 90% of information is from "Joe Blows". These people who contribute are the ones i consider herpetologists because they have studied the animal to come up with viable solutions for various situations. Again, historically, the term Herpetologist has been more of an honorary title and there are a couple different definitions. I think that both definitions are viable and i have no more respect for someone with a degree than someone with practical knowledge and non-lab research or observations.
Again just my 3 cents.
This is turning into a good debate.