John Grehan jgrehan at SCIENCEBUFF.ORG
Tue Mar 28 08:23:06 CST 2006

I wonder if consensus is always the right term. I have seen consensus
defined as "collective opinion" and "general agreement". If collective
opinion, how much is 'collective', or if general, how much agreement is
needed to be 'general'? Often enough certain classifications become
widely circulated and accepted, only to change at another future moment
so consensus implies no necessary stability. With the orangutan
question, for example, there is certainly a majority to believe in its
allocation to a basal clade in the living large bodied hominoids, but
there is no consensus if consensus includes every voice because there is
definitely dissent, even if it is a small minority. There is, however,
general agreement by the majority who have voiced an opinion. I think
the position of gibbons as a might be correct to describe this decision
as a consensus. Just splitting hairs.

John Grehan

> -----Original Message-----
> From: Taxacom Discussion List [mailto:TAXACOM at LISTSERV.NHM.KU.EDU] On
> Behalf Of Paul van Rijckevorsel
> Sent: Tuesday, March 28, 2006 2:34 AM
> Subject: Re: [TAXACOM] Consensus
> This is great. Let me summarize:
> 1) it is pointed out that the world needs (wants) a consensus
> classification
> 2) it is pointed out we have a consensus classification for plants:
> 3) Gurcharan Singh wants to replace this existing consensus
> by one that explicitly uses ranks above the level of order. He
> following Thorne who has adopted eleven subclasses (which would be
> in other systems).
> 4) Ken Kinman points out that there is a consensus classification
> available:
> the Kinman system, which uses three classes. He points out that on the
> /Rosopsida/ is widely used, mostly in the sense of "eudicots".
> 5) Going to Google gives a top hit which uses /Rosopsida/ in the sense
> Reveal
> where it corresponds more closely to the "core eudicots" rather than
> "eudicots". Reveal uses five classes (and eighteen subclasses).
> As I said, I am fine with the consensus classification we have, APG II
> (maybe I will switch to the APG II-based classification adopted in the
> upcoming edition in /The plant-book/, depending on how this received)
> All best, Paul

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