hierarchical kingdoms [was: Re: Fungi and Four Kingdoms]

Frederick W. Schueler bckcdb at ISTAR.CA
Mon Oct 4 09:53:09 CDT 1999

Curtis Clark wrote:
> At 04:51 PM 10/3/99 -0500, Elizabeth Frieders wrote:

> >Linnaeus was a creationist & designed his taxonomy to reflect how he
> >interpretted God's creation of organismal groups
> > so my use of "creationist-based views" should not startle you.
> I don't disagree with this, but it is important to remember that the
> "Linnaean Hierarchy" is not the work of Linnaeus, but rather of his
> colleagues & students. His natural hierarchy stopped with genus;
>  the rest was an overtly artificial arrangement.

* and perhaps "Aristotelian" or "monarchial/militarist" were more central
influences on the structure of the hierachy than "creationist." European
culture of that era was really keen on hieracrchical structures in a
whole lot of ways, largely dedicated to keeping People 'in their place'
on the battlefield and in society. It has always seemd to me that a
*true* creationist would expect each creature to be independently
perfectly adapted to its niche, without any of the similarity to other
creatures that would suggest a hieracrchy. The fact of morphological
hierarchy would have been as damaging to the creationist cause as
biogeographic patterns proved to be in the time of Darwin & Wallace, had
society not been so hierachical itself that it expected that hierarchical
patterns in the mind of God (bureaucracies are still plagued by this kind
of anti-democratic hierarchies, as many employees will attest).

It's ironic that the anarchy of 'descent with modification by natural
selection' should give rise to the only really important or useful
(natural) hierarchical arrangement we know of.

fred schueler.
         Eastern    Ontario    Biodiversity    Museum
                Grenville Co, Ontario, Canada
(RR#2 Oxford Station, K0G 1T0) (613)258-3107   bckcdb at istar.ca

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