PhyloCode: The real problem...again

Julian Humphries humphries at MAIL.UTEXAS.EDU
Sun Jul 6 13:21:18 CDT 2003


At 12:27 PM 7/6/2003, Richard Jensen wrote:
>Why is it that when someone uses a perfectly good analogy (Ron's view that
>phylocode proponents are analogous to rapists and muggers), it is criticized
>by a purely ad hominem response.  I saw nothing in Ron's analogy to warrant
>a "politically correct" chastisement for insensitivity.  The simple definition
>of rape is to take by force and that's exactly what could happen.


All definitions of rape other than "The crime of forcing another person to submit to sex acts, especially sexual intercourse" are either archaic or secondary to the one that comes to folks minds.  If you really believe "to take by force" comes to peoples minds when they see the word rape you are incredibly naive.  Oh, and where the hell is the "force" here?  I never heard of any concept of rape occurring by words alone.  Is the current regime in the US "raping" the country because they have a majority in all three branches of government and are "forcing" their views on everybody?   (yea, regime has other meanings this year, see?).

Do you really think associating the phrases  "liberal lawyer" and "serial rapist" in the same sentence describing the adherents of Phylocode is simple exposition?  If I said "Ron reminds be of those of the religious right who murder doctors because he puts his opinion above the will of the majority"  would you consider that a "perfectly good analogy?"

Particularly in email correspondence, words have social and political meaning beyond what they might in an informal one on one.  Ron knows that and chose anyway to inflame the discussion.  Using loaded terms and words is a favorite trick of those trying to upset others, or move debate from an intellectual level to one of who can scream the loudest.

Criticism of those whose inject these types of comments into Taxacom discussion has nothing to do with political correctness and everything to do with scientific discussion and/or argument.  Many (most?) Phylocode supporters (BTW, I am not one), have long since abandoned Taxacom as a bastion of anti-cladistic rhetoric offering little to modern systematics.  Our loss.


Julian Humphries




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