[Taxacom] Clade age

John Grehan jgrehan at sciencebuff.org
Mon Nov 14 12:33:17 CST 2011

Here is someone trying to impose the tyranny of definitions. Sure, an
explanation of what one means by a term is helpful, but then only in as
much as there is a shared understanding about the context. People argue
over definitions all the time, but whether such arguments really solve
anything or not is another matter. The perennial species definition
arguments are a nice case in point.

I have seem little sing of confusion about my 'definitions' or anything
else. The usual response is that others are all too well aware of my
viewpoint and understand it well enough to usually disagree very
strongly without any (apparent) confusion whatsoever.

John Grehan

-----Original Message-----
From: taxacom-bounces at mailman.nhm.ku.edu
[mailto:taxacom-bounces at mailman.nhm.ku.edu] On Behalf Of Richard Jensen
Sent: Monday, November 14, 2011 11:41 AM
To: taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu
Subject: Re: [Taxacom] Clade age


Unfortunately, the one thing you and John agree on is a mistake.  
Definitions do matter.  They are essential for understandable 
communication.  If you are allowed to define "science" by your criteria,

and I am allowed to define it by a different set of properties, then how

can we ever communicate effectively?  It's the old apples and oranges 
(and, no, I'm not a Herman Cain supporter) confusion.  Both are fruits 
and share a variety of properties, but they are not, by definition, the 
same thing!

John has made this argument before and it appears to be part of the 
problem in communicating with him.  His definitions often are quite 
different from those that many (most!) of us use and that only serves to

create confusion and a lot of unnecessary exchanges on Taxacom.


Dick J

On 11/11/2011 11:06 PM, Curtis Clark wrote:
> On 11/11/2011 5:52 PM, John Grehan wrote:
>> Which is why definitions don't matter.
> And at last we agree.

Richard J. Jensen, Professor
Department of Biology
Saint Mary's College
Notre Dame, IN 46556
Tel: 574-284-4674


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