Are species real?

Baum, Bernard BAUMBR at AGR.GC.CA
Wed Apr 12 10:51:27 CDT 2006

What is "REAL"?

Bernard R. Baum, MSc, PhD, FRSC
Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada/Agriculture et Agroalimentaire Canada
Telephone/Téléphone: 613-759-1821
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baumbr at
 Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada - Agriculture et Agroalimentaire Canada

-----Original Message-----
From: Taxacom Discussion List [mailto:TAXACOM at LISTSERV.NHM.KU.EDU] On Behalf Of Michael Lee
Sent: Wednesday, April 12, 2006 10:42 AM
Subject: Re: [TAXACOM] Are species real?

Nature is full of unseen lines.  I read my son a children's story in which
a girl is listening to a roaring waterfall.  Then she returns home, and
the sound of the waterfall gets more and more faint.  Then "suddenly" she
realizes that she's crossed "an unseen line" and can hear the waterfall
no more.

In reality, it's not an unseen line, but an unseen fuzzy zone, but whether
it's a line, point, or zone is not the issue.

If she employed advanced technology, perhaps she could still hear the
waterfall my amplifying the sound waves.  But that's not the point.  The
point is that SHE cannot hear the sound anymore- it isn't detectable to
HER anymore.

I think the same thing applies to species and whether or not the are
"real."  The issue is real TO WHOM.  Thus far, this list tends to argue
about species being real or not TO WHAT PEOPLE (or more particularly to
what scientists).  But the issue with species in nature, in my opinion,
is: are the species real to themselves and to the rest of nature?  Is
there some discrete boundary between "like" individuals and "unlike"
individuals that is recognized somehow in nature?


Michael Lee
VegBank Project Manager

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