tdib at UMICH.EDU
Thu Jul 11 10:52:25 CDT 1996
On Thu, 11 Jul 1996, ROGER HYAM wrote:
> People are endlessly bolting biological explanations on to
> Aristotelian logic instead of the other way round. We all want there
> to be species of genera (i.e. kinds of things) out there because that
> is the way our language (and so our minds?) work.
I would rather say that people are *sometimes* bolting biological
explanations onto empirically discovered patterns, which is exactly how
it should be.
Are you claiming that the distinctions we see in nature are purely
artifactual, a result of peculiarities of our minds, hence with no
objective reality? I would strongly disagree.
> A species is, in fact, a convenient administrative unit and nothing
This I also disagree with. Thee are very real differences between oak
trees and salmon, and the recognition of these differences is not merely
a human bias. The same holds for the differences we percieve between pink
salmon and Atlantic salmon.
> Although the term is sometimes used of groups that may have some
> biological significance there is no reason why the whole of
> diversity should be divisible into mutually exclusive species. (the
> cook cutter theory)
Except that is what we have found! Nothing is "necessary". The role of
theroy is to explain the evidence.
University of Michigan Museum of Zoology
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