[Taxacom] Propagation of bad sameAs statements

Stephen Thorpe stephen_thorpe at yahoo.co.nz
Fri Sep 10 00:28:12 CDT 2010

well, I did seriously offer a definition of "invasive species", viz. 

an invasive species is one which has a definite tendency to expand its range 
into areas where it is unwanted

Definitions which define them in terms of particular or general "negative 
effects" of the species are not good, because there are a great many 
possible particular effects and the general concept is not well-defined, unless 
you define it as an "unwanted effect", and then with a bit of simplification you 
get my definition. Basically, it is invasive if border control wants to keep it 
out ...

Adding extra bits to the definition just serves to confuddle (my word!) the 
issues ...

From: Jim Croft <jim.croft at gmail.com>
To: Stephen Thorpe <stephen_thorpe at yahoo.co.nz>
Cc: joel sachs <jsachs at csee.umbc.edu>; taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu
Sent: Fri, 10 September, 2010 5:07:35 PM
Subject: Re: [Taxacom] Propagation of bad sameAs statements

On Fri, Sep 10, 2010 at 2:49 PM, Stephen Thorpe
<stephen_thorpe at yahoo.co.nz> wrote:
> So, we define everything in terms of everything else, and end up with a huge
> circularity in which it is hard to see that we are any the wiser!

It only becomes circular if you let it.  If there are terms that tend
to be ambiguous, just don't let them travel without the namespace or
context in which they were defined.

For invasive species, find a definition you like and anchor it (I
would be really surprised if this term was not rigourously defined
somewhere in a scientific or semi official context).  Or, if the
definition does not cover what you want, make you own up and anchor it
to that - then, when you start your chatter, people will know they are
dealing with stephen.thorpe:invasive_species  which may or may not be
the 'same_as' or 'near_as_damnit' tosomebody else's definition of the

> Actually, I'm all for pedantry...

it has been noticed... :)

Jim Croft ~ jim.croft at gmail.com ~ +61-2-62509499 ~
'A civilized society is one which tolerates eccentricity to the point
of doubtful sanity.'
 - Robert Frost, poet (1874-1963)


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