[Taxacom] serious questions about taxonomy and ontogeny

Stephen Thorpe stephen_thorpe at yahoo.co.nz
Tue Sep 14 18:41:30 CDT 2010

So what if taxonomy isn't science? Neither is collection curation/management nor 
scientific illustration, but these things are all still worth doing as support 
for systematics. Actually, I think that there is no objective test for species 
boundaries, so we might just all have to face the truth that species (and higher 
taxa) are all just ways of cutting up the cake. Systematics is left to work out 
the phylogenetic relationships between these bits of cake ... the only bit of 
science left ...

From: Richard Zander <Richard.Zander at mobot.org>
To: Stephen Thorpe <stephen_thorpe at yahoo.co.nz>; Monique Reed 
<monique at mail.bio.tamu.edu>; taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu
Sent: Wed, 15 September, 2010 4:59:49 AM
Subject: RE: [Taxacom] serious questions about taxonomy and ontogeny

Well, maybe so. We know pattern recognition works and is somewhat replicable, so 
it is not the same as Divine Revelation. But is it scientific? Is it testable? 
Is replication the same as testing pattern recognition? Is there a separate 
test, maybe molecular systematics?

* * * * * * * * * * * * 
Richard H. Zander 
Missouri Botanical Garden, PO Box 299, St. Louis, MO 63166-0299 USA 
Web sites: http://www.mobot.org/plantscience/resbot/ and 
Modern Evolutionary Systematics Web site: 

-----Original Message-----
From: taxacom-bounces at mailman.nhm.ku.edu 
[mailto:taxacom-bounces at mailman.nhm.ku.edu] On Behalf Of Stephen Thorpe
Sent: Monday, September 13, 2010 4:20 PM
To: Monique Reed; taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu
Subject: Re: [Taxacom] serious questions about taxonomy and ontogeny

perhaps the answer to the problem is for universities to have Taxonomy 
Departments in their Arts Faculties! :)


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