Galapagos and censoship

John R. Grehan jrg13 at PSU.EDU
Wed Dec 19 13:18:22 CST 2001

For those interested in such matters the following article is now published:

Grehan, J. R. 2001. Biogeography and evolution of the Galapagos:
integration of the biological and geological evidence. Biological Journal
of the Linnean Society 74: 267-287.

This paper may be of relevance to those interested in issues relating to
'oceanic' islands, biogeographic patterns and tectonic correlations. The
paper is available in pdf form at

Regarding the issue of censorship, the problem is alive and well in
biogeography. The paper was universally rejected by the reviewers
(anonymous). All these learned people could come up with in they way of
justification was the following rhetoric:

"I believe this approach is sterile"
"It is a mystery why the Croizatians have this obsession and keep beating
the horse"
"I do not argue with his conclusion that it is 'possible' that the analysis
is valid for the Galapagos but I see no likelihood that it is 'probable' to
any acceptable degree"

Of course this kind of intolerance is not confined to the subject of
panbiogeography, but it has been regularly targeted in this way to suppress
alternatives. At least in this case the effort was not successful and the
alternative is out there for debate and personal choice. In a field as
diverse and unsettled as biogeography one would hope that there would be
more scope for people allowing for differences in methodology (i.e. don't
suppress views simply because they are not one's own). Of course I point
out how Croizat predicted the presence of a major tectonic feature at the
Galapagos (something traditionalist biogeographers never managed) long
before it was discovered by geologists. Panbigoeography works, and in this
respect is hardly sterile.

In contrast to the reviewers I have had a perfectly courteous interaction
with Stewert Peck who represents the traditionalist biogeographic school
for the Galapagos, and yet he was able to take the view that we just have
different perspectives on the matter while also being able to provide
constructive critique. I was fortunate in the Biological Journal in finding
an editor who recognized the merits of publishing alternative approaches,
which stands in great contrast to some science journals in New Zealand
where editorial policy accepts reviewer suppression of panbiogeographic views.

Even twenty years after Croziat biogeography remains a politically troubled

John Grehan
Frost Entomological Museum
Pennsylvania State University
Department of Entomology
501 ASI Building
University Park, PA 16802. USA.

Phone: (814) 863-2865
Fax: (814) 865-3048

Frost Museum

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