Cabin Fever and Taxonomy
Sat, 24 Jan 2004 06:52:22 PST
In a message dated 1/23/2004 7:54:23 PM Central Standard Time, writes:

> What the heck, most of  taxonomy is subjective!  Until the methodology of 
> cladistics was 
> introduced, there was no quantitative way to handle classification -- until  
> then it was entirely subjective.

I agree wholeheartedly, we are still far from knowing the boundaries of a 
species.  Charles Darwin wrote, "... I look at the term species as one 
arbitrarily given, for the sake of convenience, to a set of individuals closely 
resembling each other, and that it does not essentially differ from the term variety, 
which is given to less distinct and more fluctuating forms."  Darwin was happy 
to acknowledge that defining a species was not always possible.  He wrote,  
"In short, we shall have to treat species in the same manner as those 
naturalists treat genera, who admit that genera are merely artificial combinations made 
for convenience."  

Darwin did not argue that species did not exist, but he did argue that they 
were darn difficult to precisely define in all cases.  

Link 2:  Origin of Species, Chapter 3… 

Link 1:  Origin of Species, Chapter 14  (by Science Times) 


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