[Taxacom] teleology example

John Grehan calabar.john at gmail.com
Sat Mar 9 22:49:22 CST 2013

On Sat, Mar 9, 2013 at 8:17 PM, Curtis Clark <lists at curtisclark.org> wrote:

> On 2013-03-08 6:03 PM, John Grehan wrote:
> >
> >     John, we know that you have a penchant for hunting out things in the
> >     literature that you can re-interpret,
> >
> >
> > So I reinterpret purpose for purpose?
> You reinterpreted it on purpose, to make a point about teleology that
> the blog you referred to did not fully exemplify.

 I did not reinterpret 'purpose'. That is what the author used and said.

> >     so you are here true to form. What
> >     appalls me is all the other Taxacomers who want to pile on.
> >
> >
> > Pile on what?
> Pile on the author of the blog, inferring additional attributes of his
> mental state by interpreting his writing in the context of a preexisting
> agenda, and attributing sinister implications to common English figures
> of speech, and devices of rhetoric, such as synecdoche.

Thanks for the clarification, but he did not use a figure of speech in
using the word purpose.

> And doing all
> this prior to any indication that he would ever know about it and be
> able to defend himself (if he should even care to).

That was not the point.

> Perhaps we need a new sport: Each week someone (it doesn't have to be
> John, but he has an aptitude) can find something written in the
> systematic literature (sensu lato) by a non-member of Taxacom (that part
> is important)

When I find something in the literature that I think is worth commenting on
I do not look up whether the author is on taxacom or not.

> and all the rest of us who care to participate can
> criticize the author on the basis of phrasing in the specific work,
> independent of the author's body of work or the larger biological
> context in which the work was written. Sort of a deconstructionism for
> biologists.

One could do that should one want to, but in this case there was nothing in
the broader body or work that indicated that the word 'purpose' had no
meaning even though it was used in the context of it having meaning.

The example exemplified a truism - that evolutionary biologists often use
teleological reasoning that goes beyond a figure of speech.

John Grehan

> --
> Curtis Clark        http://www.csupomona.edu/~jcclark
> Biological Sciences                   +1 909 869 4140
> Cal Poly Pomona, Pomona CA 91768
> _______________________________________________
> Taxacom Mailing List
> Taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu
> http://mailman.nhm.ku.edu/mailman/listinfo/taxacom
> The Taxacom Archive back to 1992 may be searched with either of these
> methods:
> (1) by visiting http://taxacom.markmail.org
> (2) a Google search specified as:  site:
> mailman.nhm.ku.edu/pipermail/taxacom  your search terms here
> Celebrating 26 years of Taxacom in 2013.

More information about the Taxacom mailing list