[Taxacom] The more you know the more you lump|split.

Robin Leech releech at telus.net
Thu Jul 18 18:03:46 CDT 2013


Hi Jim B, 

There are weaknesses in those two positions.

Sometimes the more you know, the more you think you know, so the more you
tend to lump things. 
(everything is the same with just variations, so they are all represent just
one species)

And the corollary is:

Sometimes the less you know, the more you study the problem, so the more you
tend to split things. 
(everything is different, and with more study, the differences come to
represent species level) 

Robin

-----Original Message-----
From: taxacom-bounces at mailman.nhm.ku.edu
[mailto:taxacom-bounces at mailman.nhm.ku.edu] On Behalf Of Beach, James H.
Sent: July-18-13 4:06 PM
To: taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu
Subject: [Taxacom] The more you know the more you lump|split.

Jason Mate's comment:

> On the other hand, the pursuit of "meaningful" higher taxa has lead to
provincialism and oversplitting. 
> By this I mean that the longer and harder you look at something the 
> more you see of it but the less around it and this leads taxonomists along
the path of believing that their group is so unique that it deserves a
classification to match.

reminded me of a rule of thumb that was a favorite of my plant systematics
101 professor:

"The more you know the more you lump."

The other camp (to make this a good binary discussion) is of course:

"The more you know the more you split"

I have an interest in psycho/social/professional influences of how people,
starting with young kids, classify the world into self/not-self and later
same/not-same as they learn more about it. 

It would be interesting (and fun!) to know from the Taxacom faithful what
arguments/research experiences would support either of these two views and
which view they would most identify with.

Jim B.

James H. Beach
Biodiversity Institute
University of Kansas
1345 Jayhawk Boulevard
Lawrence, KS 66044 USA

Office: 785-864-4645
Cell: 785-331-8508



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