Real taxa

Ron at Ron at
Thu Sep 30 20:30:19 CDT 2004

Richard Pyle:
To me, cases where the same class is delineated the same way by two
completely independent observers
suggest at least *some* self-evident "essence" of the class that transcends
human subjectivity.
big snip
 -- but at least it's *some* indication of "reality".

The Natural universe is a real thing.  Intelligent (let's make that
cognizant) observation can break this down into smaller and smaller
observable stuff.  (Stuff, is the perfect human subjective classification.).
In the mean time, the truly "natural" associations and disassociations
continue on in Nature.  Natural is not what humans think it is.  Real
Natural is that which is a product of, function of, or state of, Nature.
Unfortunately for us, Nature can't talk directly to us (doesn't even want
to).   So we interpret by rational (yah, right) assessment what we perceive
to be "natural".

The point here is this.  There are two paradigms in play.  One a subjective
human product (concepts of natural), the other the real world (truly
nature-al).   I see these as mostly mutually exclusive.  In this debate,
both sides can be right re there being, and not being, "reality".  It
depends on whose reality - ours or Nature's, we are referring to.  As
Richard stated above, there is that which " transcends human subjectivity".
The problem is that as soon as we try to delenate and communicate it we are
by default operating in subjectivity.   But our subjectivity does not negate
any actual reality in Nature just because we don't fully understand it and
thus can't communicate it beyond human conceptualizaton.

Ron Gatrelle

PS.  I'll just stick with subspecies as the closest we can come to "real"
taxonomic entities above individual specimens.  This is ironic as subspecies
are considered the most subjective class/rank  _by humans_, which to me,
indicates their reality because what humans consider the more objective
"higher" classes are defined more in human conceptualization.   At its most
basic operational level, organic life is not so easy to cubby hole into
human concepts - it's too variable, mobile, a reality with flux as its
nucleus.  One can put a pin in it and label it, but one can't pin it down.

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