Re: Taxonomy and speciation

From: Philip A.E. Jonkers (
Date: Thu Nov 29 2001 - 00:42:48 GMT

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    From: "Philip A.E. Jonkers" <>
    Organization: UC Berkeley
    Subject: Re: Taxonomy and speciation
    Date: Wed, 28 Nov 2001 16:42:48 -0800
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    > I suppose endangered and threatened species are actually just endangered
    > and threatened "name tags".

    I don't have the impression you understand the point I'm trying to get across.
    Species-names have all the virtues as functioning as pointers to the
    organisms they represent. It's shorthand to a set of properties the
    specie-name reflect (furry, 4-legged, aggressive, cudly, mammalian,
    reptilian, small, big, etc.). Each species has its own set of properties. I
    recognize the virtues of having species-names just as much as the next guy.
    But the name-giving process is a mentally human one. It is based on human
    intention not some intrinsic process in nature.
    I do not deny organisms evolve of course, but the fluid act of
    speciation does not occur in nature since the invention of names is
    an entirely human enterprise. Why don't you have a look at On the
    origin of species chapter 2, where Darwin mentions the problems
    taxonomists having in deciding which groups of organisms to label
    as varieties and which as species. Small wonder since this whole business
    of name-tagging is a human enterprise.


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