standardized taxonomy

Peter Rauch anamaria at GRINNELL.BERKELEY.EDU
Sat Sep 5 06:43:05 CDT 1998

No. I didn't miss the point. If there are [legitimately] competing
"rooms" from which one can choose (because of unresolved differences of
opinion [a human construct, as you say]) to place the "panda" [example,
as you say], then who should choose _which_ room is the "right" room
--your expert, or my expert? (Or, either depending on what one plans to
use the "room" for?)

For those cases when no ambiguity exists, then choosing the "right" room
is trivial. I think people have been expressing concern over the
non-trivial cases, and what might be the impact _on the particular user_
of being _required_ to follow a system that has chosen one among several
competing "rooms".

On Sat, 5 Sep 1998, JOSEPH E. LAFERRIERE wrote:
>   Second, you are completely missing a perfectly simple point. Even
> after you have explained that ambiguities exists, and even after you
> have given conservationists or laypeople a lengthy explanation of
> modern systematic techinques, you are still left with the question
> of what room to put the specimen in during the interim until
> researchers can resolve the ambiguity. Of course, one can resolve
> that problem simply by creating a panda family.

>    One must remember that taxonomic hierarchy does not exist in
> nature. It is a human construct for human convenience. The decision
> was made in the late 19th Century to make taxonomic categories
> reflect evolutionary history. I have no quarrel with that at all.
> But it remains a human invention to fit human needs.

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