[Taxacom] double-peaked mountains

Richard Pyle deepreef-bpbm at hawaii.rr.com
Sat Nov 30 19:40:23 CST 2013

Photons (or light waves, if you prefer) reflect off matter and strike my retina.  I "see" an organism because an organism exists as matter that reflects light.  Of course that organism changes over the course of its life (I have made this same point many times whenever this same old issue comes up again). But when I saw it, I saw it as the collection of atoms that it was when the light hit my retina.

I don't understand how anyone can make the same case for taxa -- at any rank.


---- Curtis Clark <lists at curtisclark.org> wrote: 
> On 2013-11-29 8:33 PM, Stephen Thorpe wrote:
> > I was glossing over problems with defining the individual, as they 
> > aren't relevant to my main point, but, to be pedantic, all we ever 
> > actually see are parts of individuals
> To be pedantic, you aren't the man you used to be; most of your atoms 
> have been replaced since your birth or even adolescence, with atoms that 
> at one time were likely part of a different "individual". What's the 
> individual? I know you seem real to yourself, and I as a similar "being" 
> fully accept that you are, but demonstrating that you exist as an 
> individual requires more than hand-waving. Hence the demonstration that 
> "individual" has a special role in biology also requires more than 
> hand-waving. Frankly, it's just about as scientific as saying "species 
> are the basic units of evolution".
> Apropos the article, the value of Wilkins's approach is that it doesn't 
> require that "species" be definable.
> -- 
> Curtis Clark        http://www.csupomona.edu/~jcclark
> Biological Sciences                   +1 909 869 4140
> Cal Poly Pomona, Pomona CA 91768
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