wilson at BIO.TAMU.EDU
Wed Oct 1 07:55:18 CDT 1997
On 30 Sep 97 at 16:50, James Francis Lyons-Weiler
<weiler at ERS.UNR.EDU> wrote:
> It is ironic that I managed to drag myself into the discussion. I
> hope it all winds down soon, and I'm now kicking myself for dragging
> it out.
I think that, compared to prior cladistic dialog, it was an
interesting, informative, and pretty lively exchange that also
revealed - to me at least - a good source of info:
for those that appreciate the problem and are inclined to do battle.
I really don't think the issue has much to do with legitimate
Science or rational debate. It does, however, have much to do with
taxonomy in that this discipline is both under attack and also best
equipped to defend. It, in the U.S. at least, is an on-going
political war between Science and fundamentalist religious groups
that are well organized and funded. Battles are being won by the
latter and, if current trends continue (rise of 'tabloid' media,
loss of tenure, corporate/organizational control of 'news' outlets,
etc.) they might win the war.
I think that professional organizations that - in theory - represent
the scientific community could provide more and better leadership in
this area. Individual members could push for formal 'position'
statements and other 'organized' efforts from both 'umbrella' groups
(AAAS, ASC, etc.) and taxon-based systematic societies. It seems to
me that this is about the only way to counter high levels of both
organization and funding on the other side.
Also, this issue is similar to human population control in that
'main-stream' religious organizations, while keeping a low profile,
tend to offer significant support for smaller groups that are
actually taking action.
Hugh D. Wilson
Texas A&M University - Biology
h-wilson at tamu.edu (409-845-3354)
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