[Taxacom] Taxonomy (and ICZN) mention in The Scientist

John Grehan jgrehan at sciencebuff.org
Tue Mar 8 12:02:13 CST 2011

It does not matter what the reason is since anyone may have a reason for
dismissing something as science. The orangutan evidence is not
considered real science by at least a lot of molecular biologists, and
by at least one popular science magazine (Natural History). I don't
consider the popular representation of calibrated molecular clock dating
as actual or maximal measurements as science, but that does not stop
most from continuing the practice (or having the practice acceptable for

It's a rhetorical device to dismiss something as non science, supporting
argument or not.

John Grehan

-----Original Message-----
From: Richard Zander [mailto:Richard.Zander at mobot.org] 
Sent: Tuesday, March 08, 2011 12:14 PM
To: John Grehan; TAXACOM
Subject: RE: [Taxacom] Taxonomy (and ICZN) mention in The Scientist

Sure, just saying something is not science is dismissible. But I did
explain why I said this.

Some analogues: The Sun rises in the East and sets in the West, and the
Earth is round. By clear and irrefragable deduction, the Sun moves
around the Earth. But what about the planets and stars, you ask? We
"map" this information on the axiom and find (discovery-process,
theory-free) that the planets and stars also revolve about the Earth. So
we burn Bruno.

Cattle raised on good pasture become genetically good cattle. Ergo, by
deduction, Lamarkism in agriculture. So we starve Vavilov to death in
the Gulag. 

Deduction alone from a pattern in nature is not science. One needs
induction, too, and theory.

Mathematics itself, as an absolutist deductivist method culminating in
Hilbert, has dissolved into fighting intuitionist camps (see M. Klein's
highly readable Mathematics: the Loss of Certainty) through Goedel's and
others' work that shows even the law of excluded middle is doubtful as
an axiom in math anymore. 

Both math and science are MOSTLY consistent and valuable in dealing with
nature. Phylogenetics alone (without induction and theory) is not
because it is far more inconsistent than either.

* * * * * * * * * * * * 
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 John Grehan
Sent: Tuesday, March 08, 2011 10:10 AM
Subject: Re: [Taxacom] Taxonomy (and ICZN) mention in The Scientist

Some scientists have claimed that taxonomy and systematics is not
science. Saying something is not science or not  matters neither here
not there.

John Grehan

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