[Taxacom] The Species Definition Dilemma

R J Ferry rferry at miosjournal.org
Tue May 23 14:38:54 CDT 2017

Subject:   Re: The Species Definition Dilemma

Date:Tues-23May-1714:38 hours

From:rferry at miosjournal.org

To:Taxacom <mailto:tjremhof at southtexascollege.edu>@mailman.nhm.ku.edu

As attempts continue to be made toward some degree of understandable 
order to the life forms on earth, I suggest re-reading pages three to 
five of Fowlie, J.A. 1970. The Genus Lycaste. Azul Quinta Press. Amid 
all the sometimes heated exchanges among thinking individuals, much 
might be gained from Fowlie’s 40-plus year old review of the concepts 
that continue to need to be addressed, even in this age where computers 
seem to be much more widely trusted than Newton’s archaic method of 
“thinking about it”. I will admit that it is much more fashionable to 
extol a consensus (consensus = “most of us say so, so that’s it”) rather 
than go against what might be less easily funded with this or that 
political regime, and the “magic” of a computerized “easy” solution has 
a certain degree of beauty, but in this world where we seem eager to 
spend billions in a rationalization for life forms when we know very 
little about what’s within our own oceans, I tend to question the 
rationality of our logic when even the taxonomic governance of this 
planet’s economic resources are so questionably defined. Before you 
judge me both abruptly and harshly, please read what Fowlie said 40-plus 
years ago and ask yourselves whether we’ve really /thought/ about the 
problems of taxonomy, or whether, for the most part, we’ve just /talked/ 
about them, unencumbered by much serious personal /thinking/.

…my two cents worth after more than a dozen inputs on the “species 
definition” thread. Now I’ll go back to my studies in the Orchidaceae.

Regards, Bob Ferry

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