[Taxacom] teleology example

Curtis Clark lists at curtisclark.org
Sun Mar 10 23:14:45 CDT 2013

On 2013-03-10 2:26 PM, Michael Heads wrote:
> It's been suggested that the argument about teleology is only about words -
> it's just 'sloppy writing' etc. - but it's really about fundamental,
> underlying concepts.

I was going to write that this is only generally true, and that you 
can't surmise that any given scientist is a teleologer only by a single 
data point. But then I realized that you are a panbiogeographer, and 
that you are interested in the patterns more than the individuals. If we 
have a pattern of people using teleological language, that tells us 
something, even if any given individual may not think teleologically 
despite sloppy use of language. And so that individual's mental 
processes are unimportant (just as where an *individual* lives is 
perhaps not important in panbiogeography), the overall pattern being the 
thing of interest.

But then I got to thinking, what if *every individual* that used 
teleological language was in fact just a sloppy writer, and not a sloppy 
thinker. Would the pattern be as important? At what point does pattern 
analysis become garbage in, garbage out?

Curtis Clark        http://www.csupomona.edu/~jcclark
Biological Sciences                   +1 909 869 4140
Cal Poly Pomona, Pomona CA 91768

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