Re: Taxonomy and speciation

From: Scott Chase (
Date: Fri Nov 30 2001 - 04:37:46 GMT

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    From: "Scott Chase" <>
    Subject: Re: Taxonomy and speciation
    Date: Thu, 29 Nov 2001 23:37:46 -0500
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    >From: "Philip A.E. Jonkers" <>
    >Subject: Re: Taxonomy and speciation
    >Date: Wed, 28 Nov 2001 16:42:48 -0800
    > > 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
    >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.
    So you're saying that speciation does not occur? Do I have you correct here?

    Varietes or subspecies may represent species in the making. Ever here of
    incipience? This got Goldschmidt's dander up if I recall him aright.

    You have a series of subspecies along a continuum. Each subspecies can
    interbreed with the other except for those at the extremes of the continuum.
    If the intermediates were wiped out the extreme subspecies *could* be
    considered full-fledged species.

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