[Taxacom] iSpecies with Wikipedia

Doug Yanega dyanega at ucr.edu
Thu Mar 27 13:41:49 CDT 2008

Rich Pyle wrote:

>We can all agree that there is no one "true" classification for all taxa
>that all taxonomists will agree on.  This is not an opinion; it's an
>accurate representation of reality.  And that reality is not very likely to
>change anytime soon.

I agree that the reality you describe is an accurate portrayal of the 
status quo. You say that reality is not very likely to change any 
time soon, however, and this is where we have a genuine disagreement. 
If we don't like the status quo - if we perceive it as an impediment 
to our community's ultimate goals - then we can and should act to 
change it.

We can CHOOSE to maintain the status quo, where people can bicker and 
argue and keep publishing using conflicting classifications based on 
their personal preferences, or we can CHOOSE to adopt a better 
approach, and grow up, by working as a team and not a scattered heap 
of independent entities. *Unanimity* and *consensus* are not the same 
thing. We will never have unanimity, but we CAN have consensus, if 
we're willing to forego anonymity, idiosyncrasy, cliquishness, and 
appeals to authority, and set down new rules. It's our choice.

If there are folks who don't want to change how we do business, then 
the questions are (1) what are their reasonable objections, and can 
these be addressed and resolved to their satisfaction? and (2) if 
their objections are UNreasonable, do the rest of us believe that the 
entire future of our field should be sacrificed by acquiescing to 
UNreason (so as to not offend or exclude the unreasonable people)? 
It's pretty darn tragic when a life-and-death trial ends in a hung 
jury because 12 reasonable people agree on something and one 
unreasonable person obstructs it, because the rules say that they 
CAN. We don't *have* to limit ourselves that way.


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)
   "There are some enterprises in which a careful disorderliness
         is the true method" - Herman Melville, Moby Dick, Chap. 82

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