crocodile tears

Curtis Clark jcclark at CSUPOMONA.EDU
Sun Feb 6 11:36:08 CST 2000

At 12:47 PM 00.02.06 -0600, Thomas Lammers wrote:
>Well said!  When the question "What Is a Species?" was raging in the
>'Sixties, someone (I've forgotten who) quipped in exasperation, "What we
>need is fewer DISCUSSIONS of species, and more STUDYING of species!"

There seems to be an assumption that systematists can either study
organisms or theorize about them. But many of us base our theoretical
opinions on our understanding of the organisms we study.

It seems to me that scientific study is never theory-neutral: what we look
for is shaped by what we expect to find. Systematists that claim to study
nature in a theory-neutral fashion are in fact merely failing to recognize
or acknowledge the theories they use.

Curtis Clark        
Biological Sciences Department             Voice: (909) 869-4062
California State Polytechnic University      FAX: (909) 869-4078
Pomona CA 91768-4032  USA                  jcclark at

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