[Taxacom] Are species real? Doesn't matter.

Richard Zander Richard.Zander at mobot.org
Thu May 31 13:06:02 CDT 2007


I don't think we disagree, Doug, about what most people want. I assert
that alpha taxonomists (cloudy thoughts) help get people what they want
(clear decisive thoughts) by their tentative, hesitant, constantly
questioning methods.

Sure specimens have different names in collections. Maybe they are under
one name as a filing aid, but for difficult groups each may have
annotation labels with all kinds of names.

I note that a recent experiment has shown particles to exhibit the same
quantum interference as waves. 

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Richard H. Zander 
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Missouri Botanical Garden
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> -----Original Message-----
> From: taxacom-bounces at mailman.nhm.ku.edu [mailto:taxacom-
> bounces at mailman.nhm.ku.edu] On Behalf Of Doug Yanega
> Sent: Thursday, May 31, 2007 11:37 AM
> To: TAXACOM at MAILMAN.NHM.KU.EDU
> Subject: Re: [Taxacom] Are species real? Doesn't matter.
> 
> 
> It matters to more than just practicing taxonomists and "databasers",
> and I think you are downplaying how vastly asymmetrical the dichotomy
> is here; there are far, FAR more people in the world whose need for
> taxonomic information requires it to be as consistent, objective, and
> unambiguous as possible. For one of the simplest such observations,
> and one close at hand, is the fact that every specimen in every
> museum in the world that has been identified to species is filed
> under a single name. I have yet to see an institution that maintains
> specimens in multiple places in their collection if there are
> multiple alternative opinions as to what name should be applied. It
> is also true that there are probably no two institutions in existence
> who have the same names applied to ALL of the taxa that they have in
> common; that is why a "rosetta stone" taxonomic resource is essential
> to the future of collections-based research - so multiple collections
> can compare their holdings and accurately assess where they overlap
> and where they differ, without being thrown off by idiosyncrasies
> introduced by alternative classifications.
> 
> If you wish to draw analogies, then why not use quantum physics? It's
> fine for some people to think about an electron as a cloud of energy
> whose location and definition in space/time is probabilistic, but for
> most people, they need to treat it as a particle.
> 
> Sincerely,
> --
> 
> Doug Yanega        Dept. of Entomology         Entomology Research
Museum
> Univ. of California, Riverside, CA 92521-0314        skype: dyanega
> phone: (951) 827-4315 (standard disclaimer: opinions are mine, not
UCR's)
>               http://cache.ucr.edu/~heraty/yanega.html
>    "There are some enterprises in which a careful disorderliness
>          is the true method" - Herman Melville, Moby Dick, Chap. 82
> 
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