[Taxacom] Taxonomy Anarchy

Fred Schueler bckcdb at istar.ca
Thu Jun 1 19:05:48 CDT 2017


On 6/1/2017 6:37 PM, Richard Pyle wrote:
> I began drafting a rebuttal Correspondence note to Nature before I was even finished reading the article.  I'm glad to see I'm not the only one who had a similar reaction.

* It would be more practical to tell physicists to stop studying 
anything that might contribute to a weapon and chemists to delist 
anything that might be used in environmental exploitation.

It is certainly clear that it is a problem is that "The assumption that 
species are fixed entities underpins every international agreement on 
biodiversity conservation, all national environmental legislation and 
the efforts of many individuals and organizations to safeguard plants 
and animals," but the solution should be to incorporate scientific 
language in the legislation, not to have the science degenerate to legal 
language. The problem is often that the drafters of legislation and 
regulation don't know how to cite scientific literature. Why does 
legislation always have to say: "Elaphe vulpina" instead of "the 
populations designated by Elaphe vulpina in Witsonstead 1998"?

I don't know about the situation in Australia, but I understand that the 
US Endangered Species Act can only designate a formally named taxon, 
while in Canada a species or subspecies can be divided into 
"Designateable Units" for Species at Risk classification, which obviates 
a lot of the hysteria in the article.

fred.
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            Fragile Inheritance Natural History
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