Richard Jensen rjensen at SAINTMARYS.EDU
Wed Jun 16 09:04:11 CDT 2004

I read Richard's "Jeremiad" and found it both enlightening and encouraging.  I
recommend it for all who practice systematics; you may find things to challenge
your personal views and help clarify current "problems" in our discipline.

Besides that, it's fun!


Richard.Zander at MOBOT.ORG wrote:

> John Grehan has mentioned Derrida in the past, and his (below) recent
> message is rather postmodernist. Postmodernists recognize e.g. the primacy
> and value of cultural differences and extremists go to the length of saying
> that aboriginal science is every bit as valid as modernist science. Thus,
> science is dead. Every cultural group has different definitions and
> practical applications of "science." The only thing one can do, across
> cultural boundaries, is negotiate as all thought processes and philosophies
> and sciences are perfectly valid.
> Oh, oh. Most of us cherish BOTH the Enlightenment belief that knowledge and
> science apply to everyone and can further easily definable human progress,
> AND cultural beliefs and activities need respect and preservation. Somewhere
> along the line, though, definitions must be decided on and respected OR the
> exchange is merely a negotiation. If a negotiation, then exactly what is
> being negotiated, John?
> Those avid for more on postmodernism and cladistics may visit my Jeremiad
> at:
> ______________________
> Richard H. Zander
> Bryology Group
> Missouri Botanical Garden
> PO Box 299
> St. Louis, MO 63166-0299
> richard.zander at <mailto:richard.zander at>
> Voice: 314-577-5180
> Fax: 314-577-9595
> Websites
> Bryophyte Volumes of Flora of North America:
> Res Botanica:
> Shipping address for UPS, etc.:
> Missouri Botanical Garden
> 4344 Shaw Blvd.
> St. Louis, MO 63110
> -----Original Message-----
> From: John Grehan [mailto:jgrehan at SCIENCEBUFF.ORG]
> Sent: Tuesday, June 15, 2004 8:14 AM
> Subject: Re: [TAXACOM] Characters.
> If one wants to be ruled by definitions of one's choice then one is
> always going to have trouble - but that trouble is not mine. Definitions
> of terms always vary and always will. Witness various discussions on
> this list arguing over differences of opinion about definitions of
> various terms (and not just cladistics). And 'newer' terminology is not
> necessarily any less confused than older and, in the example cited by
> Don, does not change anything (it was clear that Don understood what I
> was talking about). Even in panbiogeography there is more than one
> definition of, for example, a node. In the end definitions don't matter.
> It's also ironic to see some berate my supposed lack of cladistic
> understanding only to see others disagree with their supposedly
> authoritative position.
> John Grehan
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Taxacom Discussion List [mailto:TAXACOM at LISTSERV.NHM.KU.EDU] On
> Behalf Of Don.Colless at CSIRO.AU
> Oh dear. Here we go again, on an unacknowledged distinction between
> "character" and "character state"! In the latter terminology only a
> CHARACTER STATE can be primitive, etc. If John wishes to adhere to an
> older, confused terminology, it's his privilege to do so - but he's
> going to find trouble in discussions in TAXACOM.
> Don Colless,
> Div of Entomology, CSIRO,
> GPO Box 1700,
> Canberra. 2601.
> Email: don.colless at
> Tuz li munz est miens envirun

Richard J. Jensen              | tel: 574-284-4674
Department of Biology      | fax: 574-284-4716
Saint Mary's College         | e-mail: rjensen at
Notre Dame, IN 46556    |

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