geography, Corner, conservation

John Grehan jgrehan at SCIENCEBUFF.ORG
Wed Mar 17 08:46:42 CST 2004


Don raises an important point about what I guess one would describe as the
psychology of the times. What one person might describe as 'paranoid dross'
another might consider accurate analysis. For many, it seems that Croizat's
extensive (and very personalized) critique of Darwinism and the glaringly
inadequate scientific foundation of many Darwinians was too much for many
to cope with and it did, as in Don's case, provided an excuse not to read
Croizat's books. On the other hand, Croizat's panbiogeography is
meaningless if the Darwinians were really right and that there was nothing
to address.

I think in my case at least, Croizat's critiques of dispersalism and the
wider framework of Darwinism provided a fascinatingly candid alternative
perspective for understanding the driving political dimension of
evolutionary theory that determined what I would otherwise be presented to
read on evolution. Evolutionary biology classes taught in universities (and
certainly the university I was at) was totally Darwinian to the extent that
bringing up Croizat at all caused considerable discomfort to those who
wished to control the ideological dialogue of evolutionary biology. Croizat
was one of the very rare windows into the pervasiveness of Darwinism that
continues into the present, but which was probably had an even greater
hegemony over student education 20 years ago - at least in New Zealand.

Corner, of course was non-Darwinian at least to the extent that he accepted
orthogenetic mechanisms in form-making.

John Grehan


At 09:23 PM 3/17/2004 +1100, Don.Colless at csiro.au wrote:

>Simply for the sake of it I have reproduced some notes made by the
>botanist E.J.H. Corner in 1961 (in Contemporary Botanical Thought) that
>happen to cover geography, Croizat, and conservation. Its always
>interesting to me to see the systematists who were already dismayed by
>the loss of biodiversity over 40 years ago.
>-----------------------------------------------------------------------------
>Dear John Grehan,
>
>It is interesting to me to see Corner reappear in scientific debate,
>because I worked (as an entomologist) for many years in Malaysia. Anything
>botanical ran back to EJHC -famous for many things, especially for
>training a monkey to collect specimens from high in the rain forest. He
>must have been well into his nineties when he made the above notes.
>
>While in contact with you I should mention that, pressed by Lars Brundin, I
>once bought all Croizat's works - then decided that life was too short to
>sort through the paranoid dross for the gold that Lars could see. Of
>course, like all Australian dipterists at the time, I was nevertheless a
>fanatical supporter of continental drift.
>
>Regards,
>
>Don Colless.
>
>Don Colless,
>Div of Entomology, CSIRO,
>GPO Box 1700,
>Canberra. 2601.
>Email: don.colless at csiro.au
>Tuz li munz est miens envirun
>
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>Don Colless,
>Div of Entomology, CSIRO,
>GPO Box 1700,
>Canberra. 2601.
>Email: don.colless at csiro.au
>Tuz li munz est miens envirun
>
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>

Dr. John Grehan
Director of Science and Collections
Buffalo Museum of Science
1020 Humboldt Parkway
Buffalo, New York 14211-1293
Voice 716-896-5200 x372
Fax 716-897-6723
jgrehan at sciencebuff.org
http://www.sciencebuff.org/biogeography/Panbiogeography/Panbiogeography-Gate.htm
http://www.sciencebuff.org/HepialidaeGate.htm




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