[Taxacom] panbiogeography critique

Robin Leech releech at telus.net
Mon Jun 29 12:15:17 CDT 2009


Many scientists, medical doctors and judges do not like to play
in unproven waters.  Until J. Tuzo came along, continental drift
was a nice idea, a curiosity.  But when the "how" of it all came
to be explained, almost everyone jumped to the new ship almost
immediately.
What this means is that if you have a wonderful theory, one that
explains things to you, but not to others, then you still have to
explain the "hows" and "whys" of your theory.
Robin
----- Original Message ----- 
From: "John Grehan" <jgrehan at sciencebuff.org>
To: <taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu>
Sent: Monday, June 29, 2009 9:44 AM
Subject: Re: [Taxacom] panbiogeography critique


> Not quite.
>
> By your own statement "Until J. Tuzo Wilson of the U. of Toronto, in
> late 1963, in the Canadian Journal of Physics, elaborated and explained
> how drifting continents and plate tectonics go together, most scientists
> were still doubters".
>
> That's all I was saying. Not that there were not earlier supporters
> among geologists and biologists.
>
> Even before Wegener's theory became widely accepted, Croizat was saying
> it was wrong about the Pacific as the biogeographic affinities of the
> Americas are not just with Europe and Africa, but also with east Asia
> and Australasia - a point of view that has received corroboration in
> various tectonic analyses of the Pacific.
>
> John Grehan
>
>> -----Original Message-----
>> From: Robin Leech [mailto:releech at telus.net]
>> Sent: Monday, June 29, 2009 11:16 AM
>> To: John Grehan; taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu
>> Subject: Re: [Taxacom] panbiogeography critique
>>
>> Hi John,
>>
>> You err here!  Wegener's 1912 book was written in German. At that
> time,
>> WWI
>> was about to occur and this put a delay on exposure to North American
>> scientists.  Also, most North American scientists then, and even now,
>> cannot
>> and do not read German.  As no person of consequence in North America
> paid
>> any attention to Wegener's work, the concept of continental drift lay
>> quiet.
>>
>> It was not till the mid-1920s or so, when it was translated into
> English
>> that the drifting continents idea caught on.  But once it was in
> English,
>> it
>> caught on fast.  Keep in mind also that plate tectonics play a part
> here.
>> Until J. Tuzo Wilson of the U. of Toronto, in late 1963, in the
> Canadian
>> Journal of Physics, elaborated and explained how drifting continents
> and
>> plate tectonics go together, most scientists were still doubters.  J.
> Tuzo
>> also dealt with fault zones (e.g., San Andreas Fault).
>>
>> Even in 1964, if a geologist in Canada submitted a proposal for a
> research
>> grant to the National Research Council in Ottawa, and it involved
> drifting
>> continents, the chances of getting the grant were about 0.  By 1965,
> if
>> you
>> were a geologist in Canada, and you DID NOT believe in continental
> drift
>> and
>> plate tectonics, you were passe.
>>
>> It was the botanists who championed continental drift at a time when
> most
>> zoologists poo-poohed it.  In fact some zoologists went so far as to
> say
>> that the botanists used continental drift to explain what good science
>> could
>> not.  In other words, used the explanation of continental drift as a
>> crutch.
>>
>> As a kid in Vernon, BC, during WWII, I can recall my Father showing me
> a
>> globe of the world.  He showed how South America and Africa fit
> together,
>> and explained how they used to be one continent.  Further, that some
> of
>> the
>> insect groups and other animals were related.  Dad was a water beetle
>> specialist.
>>
>> Now, of course, the similarities in outline between Africa and South
>> America, indicating that the two continents were once one, have been
>> confirmed by matching and age-dating mafik dikes, soils, flora and
> fauna.
>>
>> Robin
>>
>>
>> ----- Original Message -----
>> From: "John Grehan" <jgrehan at sciencebuff.org>
>> To: <taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu>
>> Sent: Monday, June 29, 2009 6:39 AM
>> Subject: Re: [Taxacom] panbiogeography critique
>>
>>
>> >
>> >> -----Original Message-----
>> >> From: mivie at montana.edu [mailto:mivie at montana.edu]
>> > It only took a few years for
>> >> McClintock's work to go from surprising to central.  She hardly
> spent
>> > a
>> >> lifetime in the wilderness, nor was she a self-promoter.  Didn't
> need
>> > to
>> >> be, she was smart.
>> >
>> > The point about McClintock and Wegener is that they are examples of
>> > people who got it right, but were initially 'ridiculed' or written
> off
>> > by the majority.
>> >
>> > McClintock my have gained relatively fast acceptance, but Wegener
> did
>> > not. If speed of acceptance is a reflection of 'smarts' then that
> makes
>> > Wegener pretty stupid. The point about Croizat is that he got things
>> > right about geology that his opponents did not. The panbiogeographic
>> > method continues to produce new insights into the historical
>> > relationship between biological distribution and tectonics that have
> not
>> > been anticipated in center of origin/dispersal/vicariance approaches
>> > used by most biogeographers.
>> >
>> > John Grehan
>> >
>> > _______________________________________________
>> >
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