Name Changes in Massonia

Fri, 18 Jan 2013 10:56:23 PST
"One thing I have noticed is that the older taxonomist who only had
morphology to work with have since been shown correct in numerous molecular
studies (Bentham and Hooker, JK Small, Baker, and others)."

This is true at the species level as well. The "species concept" may not be
perfectly defensible on a molecular level but organisms are arranged in
nature in ways that allow us to distinguish them by practical recognition,
mainly morphology. If plants (~populations) are not to be categorized in
species, genera and families, then how will we refer to them?

Taxonomy and phylogeny should not be conflated, even as they are closely
interrelated. The former seeks to provide a useful framework for
classifying and naming plants that serves a wide public audience. It relies
on many disciplines, not least of which is DNA work, to ensure that the
results reflect natural relationships as far as is practical. Phylogenetic
works, by contrast, are concerned only with putative pathways of evolution
and more subjective problems of ranking and where to draw lines between
genera, families and species are an afterthought, if they are regarded at

On another level, a reductive, materialist view of life denies any
meaningful natural order. It posits merely random associations of molecules
and environmental factors over time and space. How can this be reconciled
with more traditional views, i.e., an intelligible natural world?


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