Real species and ideology

Ron at Ron at
Wed Apr 21 14:56:10 CDT 2004

I finished the below post and then quickly opened and scanned the rest in
the associated threads.  Gosh, lots of good arguments going on.  I like
arguments - constructive ones.   But I got to get to other matters - like my
real job and spreading the catch of the last couple days the wife wants out
of her refrigerator.  Oh, and eat also.

----- Original Message -----
From: Richard Pyle
Sent: Wednesday, April 21, 2004 4:12 AM
Subject: Re: : Real species and ideology

Ron Gatrelle wrote:

> IF there are
> subs  (plateaus) within one rank (plateau) - there are subs at all ranks -
> evolutional plateaus (big and small).

And, of course, there are potential subs upon subs upon subs upon subs, ad
nauseum, well beyond the scope of ranks and intra-ranks defined in Linnaean
nomenclature.  Pretty soon one realizes that the whole notion of taxonomic
ranks is what condemns the taxa described within the ranked framework to be
necessarily "artificial".  It's somewhat amazing (and ironic) that some of
the staunchest opponents to PhyloCode end up making the case for it better
than anyone else!

RG:  The variables are observable and undeniable.  A Code (of what ever
kind) simply sets up a structure within which the taxonomist/systematist is
_obligated_ to communicate (nomenclaturally).   Thus, I see apples and
oranges.  When all the variables are pointed out, I say sure.  No denying
them.   But once we start using terms that _ultimately_ have their
functionality based in a nomenclatural Code (e.g. genus, subgenus), we
become restricted in the debate to coordinate our concepts into those
groupings (ranks).  So it is pointless to bring up that which does not
coordinate with the available framework - in this case, infrasubspecific
variation.  (Or pointless Chinese blither and religious/political bigotry.)

Apples.  Traditional taxonomists/systematists acknowledge all the "subs of
subs" in the living world but they are not ad nauseum.  To lay people and
regulators it all becomes yadda yadda yadda, but to the systematists there
should be no end to - that's interesting - or, that's different.   Oranges.
Noting the natural diversity does not mean one needs to "formally" name
everything = ad nauseum.  Further, _that_ nauseum is curtailed by Code
placed ranks, and scientific article processing.  (If some just feel
overwhelmed by "all the names", then they need to find another profession
now before a zillion new names are added once they are discovered throughout
the Universe.  Or, we can just reduce everything then to Families and
perhaps genera.  Or, we can just stop discovering.)

Prunes. PhyloCode is just another Code (framework for expression of
observations).   Traditional (what ever that is supposed to mean, I guess
behind-the-times, unenlightened, or old fogies) taxonomists have every right
to speak of the reality of all the variables, but this does not establish
Phylo CODE.   In the acknowledgment that the observed entities or units are
observable (real), there is not an intrinsic acknowledgment (acquiesce) of
(to) some _Code_ as a better way of systematic communication.

Ron Gatrelle

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