[Taxacom] complete list of all species

Jim Croft jim.croft at gmail.com
Fri Feb 15 15:56:59 CST 2008

the word 'opinion' gets used a lot in taxonomy and it makes me squirm
every time I hear it.  Opinion carries with it subjectivity, and even
whim, and has general pejorative connotations in the context of
science.  When describing ambiguity, words like concept,
circumscription, delineation, etc. somehow sound more objective, less
emotive and more...  well, scientific...

That said, I just love that by documenting and attributing an
expressed opinion, no matter how outrageous, the database can store
and manage the fact of that opinion... :)


On Sat, Feb 16, 2008 at 2:38 AM, Erik Rijkers <er at xs4all.nl> wrote:
> A little off topic, perhaps, but I would appreciate your
>  opinion.
>  When reading about the grail of databasing complete lists
>  of species, I often think it might be better to replace
>  'species' with 'opinion'.
>  After all, species lists are name lists, each name being a
>  literature reference to the original description. This
>  description anchors the name into the real world via a
>  type.
>  It seems to me that the extent to which the type (one
>  individual organism) is representative for a wider state
>  of affairs (a species) is an educated guess, although
>  admittedly 'educated' can be quite a convincing body of
>  knowledge.
>  Organism names are opinions and should be stored in
>  databases as such - with the necessary time aspects.
>  Is this too obvious to be discussed, or is it indeed often
>  overlooked?
>  regards,
>  Erik Rijkers
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Jim Croft
jim.croft at gmail.com

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