[Taxacom] New systematics book

Pierre Deleporte pierre.deleporte at univ-rennes1.fr
Mon Sep 9 04:07:45 CDT 2013

Hi Curtis,

I agree that species are the result of an evolutionary process,
while I object to your ambiguous qualification as "being real"
and the connection you make with pattern cladistics
(which I think is exactly the reverse)

Just semantics, but semantic confusion or approximation
may lead to big communication problems
(as all nomenclaturists know just too well)

I suggest that we distinguish clearly, at least:

1) "be real as a material coherent system"
      (species are not, populations are materially disconnected,
        we "put them together" in our brain = we class according to our 
species criteria),

2) "be true as a reconstructed history of speciation events"
       (a history can be true, a history is not a material thing in any 
         there are no trees of life walking around there)

3) be convenient for infomative and non ambiguous communication
      (a nomenclatural system can be convenient for some purpose,
       not "true by itself", pace Ken)

As for pattern cladists, many of them pretend to "discover taxa"
but this would be possible only if they were consistent material things,
so that everybody should agree on this material evidence

So I think that the illusion of species-as-(material)-individuals
supports pattern cladistics (= pretention to discover clades "with no 
model of evolution"),
while aknowledging that species are concepts (historical or else)
leaves pattrern cladistics in the realm of pure classificatory formalism
with no biological justification or meaning

The semantic and conceptual pitfal is reification
(treating as materially real what has only conceptual existence,
even if "true" in some theoretical context)

(More in Deleporte 2012
Science and Education 21,
and references to other authors therein)


Le 09/09/2013 06:04, Curtis Clark a écrit :
> First I want to say that, from all the agreement on this list that
> species are not entities in nature, it seems that pattern cladistics has
> won, and those of us who studied (and perhaps still study) speciation
> could have done no worse by studying unicorns. All the rest of what I
> write is based on the assumption that species are the result of an
> evolutionary process, and to that extent (at least) are real. I surmise
> that you agree.

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