[Taxacom] barcode of life

Paul Kirk p.kirk at cabi.org
Thu Jul 1 09:59:37 CDT 2010


organisms are real, museum/herbarium specimens are real, DNA is real ...
species are in the same category as genera ... they are just closer to
the real organism in the hierarchy.

Paul

-----Original Message-----
From: taxacom-bounces at mailman.nhm.ku.edu
[mailto:taxacom-bounces at mailman.nhm.ku.edu] On Behalf Of Robin Leech
Sent: 01 July 2010 15:53
To: Stephen Thorpe; dipteryx at freeler.nl; taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu;
Steve Manning
Subject: Re: [Taxacom] barcode of life

Hi Steve,
The possible reason is that species are real, and that all categories
from genera on up the hierarchy represent human imagination.
Robin

----- Original Message -----
From: "Steve Manning" <sdmanning at asub.edu>
To: "Stephen Thorpe" <stephen_thorpe at yahoo.co.nz>;
<dipteryx at freeler.nl>; <taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu>
Sent: Thursday, July 01, 2010 8:43 AM
Subject: Re: [Taxacom] barcode of life


> It is interesting that I have not detected anywhere near as much 
> controversy or discussion about delimitation of Genera, Families, and 
> other taxa more general in the hierarchy than species - yet surely 
> there has to be even less precision possible in defining their 
> boundaries than those of species(?).
>
> Steve
>
> At 02:52 AM 7/1/2010, Stephen Thorpe wrote:
>> >better to leave religion out of it and keep it simple
>>
>>but it ain't simple either way!
>>
>> >but this leads to all the different beliefs on what constitutes
>> "reproductive isolation" ...
>>
>>this is the point that nobody gets! You have to consider two cases, 
>>viz. the "in practice" case, and the "theoretical basis" case which 
>>underpins it
>>
>>In practice, there is less disagreement about what constitutes 
>>reproductive isolation than there would be if every faction could just

>>have their own species to suit themselves. In other words, 
>>reproductive isolation "works". It isn't perfectly precise and 
>>objective, but I bet (at least) 9 times out of 10 when two taxonomists

>>just consider reproductive isolation as a criterion, they will agree 
>>on species boundaries. Most disagreement seems to arise from differing

>>"species concepts" (i.e., biological, morphological, phylogenetic, 
>>etc.)
>>
>>The theoretical basis which underpins this goes something like this:
>>take topography as an example. It describes a real objective feature 
>>of the world, yet there are different altitudes, and the contour map 
>>will be different for each choice of altitude. But this "dimensional 
>>aspect" doesn't imply subjectivity. Similarly, choose whatever level 
>>of reproductive isolation you like and draw the species boundaries for

>>that choice. This will also describe a real objective feature of the 
>>world. In practice we cannot measure reproductive isolation very 
>>precisely at all, but luckily in most cases the result will be the 
>>same for a wide range of choices that would cover most peoples idea of

>>the appropriate level for drawing the map. Of course there will be 
>>some problem cases, but by and large I suggest there would be more 
>>agreement than doing it any other way ...
>>
>>Stephen
>>
>>PS: If we accept "Pylean subjectivity", then we cannot criticise 
>>molecular taxonomists for describing cryptic species to suit 
>>themselves, as it is none of our concern. We just have to ignore them,

>>and do it our way. I don't know quite where this would leave global 
>>biodiversity databases like EoL, etc.? Maybe we need one for the 
>>molecular species, one for the biological species, one for the 
>>morphological species, one for the phylogenetic species, etc....
>>
>>
>>
>>________________________________
>>From: "dipteryx at freeler.nl" <dipteryx at freeler.nl>
>>To: taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu
>>Sent: Thu, 1 July, 2010 7:21:57 PM
>>Subject: Re: [Taxacom] barcode of life
>>
>>Van: taxacom-bounces at mailman.nhm.ku.edu namens Stephen Thorpe
>>Verzonden: do 1-7-2010 7:03
>>
>> > but this leads to different factions of "the community"
>> > (=different communities) with their own species
>>
>> > better to try to hold on to reproductive isolation as the one true 
>> > canonical criterion of species boundaries ...
>>
>>***
>>but this leads to all the different beliefs on what constitutes 
>>"reproductive isolation" ...
>>
>>better to leave religion out of it and keep it simple.
>>
>>Paul
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>>
>>
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>
>
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