[Taxacom] Towards a consensus higher classification oforganisms (was: List of Orders of the world), misspellings, etc...

Paul van Rijckevorsel dipteryx at freeler.nl
Sat Jun 14 02:19:26 CDT 2008

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Jim Croft" <jim.croft at gmail.com>
Sent: Saturday, June 14, 2008 4:01 AM
> We have tried several times to convince botanists here to include a
> statement of concept with their determinations.  Not only "I think it
> is this" but "this in the same way it was circumscribed in ...".
> Even something as simple as an oblique reference, "Jones 1967".  But
> they refused - "I'm the expert - *I* know what I was thinking".
> Heck, if it was good enough for Linnaeus...

Actually this is somewhat understandable:
* The definition of an expert is someone who can take the right action
without thinking about it. It may well be a whole lot of work to document
the unconscious processes (and the underlying facts) leading to that action, 
and doing this for every identification may make identification a very 
unpleasant job indeed
* An authority (doing an identification) will indeed be using a concept for
a particular taxon, but this concept will not necessarily accord with
anything that was published before. Indeed, the concept is likely to be
dynamic, and only to be fixed when put down (finally, after years) in a
* What is the point of being an authority (being asked to perform an
identification), and kindly giving one's considered judgement, if this means
being put upon to justify and document this judgement (more red tape!) as if
it were so easy anybody could do it?

Obviously this does not mean that I am opposed to including taxon concepts
in identifications (rather the opposite), but the supporting infrastructure
needs to be there, for it to be practical.


More information about the Taxacom mailing list