Name Changes in Massonia

Kipp McMichael
Fri, 18 Jan 2013 01:06:15 PST

As if the strokes of this conversation were not broad enough, I'd like to widen the brush a bit. The world is full of an intermittently contiguous organismal substance that has been mixing for 4 billion years. Every cell of every plant (and every other organism) in existence is the result of an unbroken sequence of genetic and non-genetic material passing through cell division, recombination, and growth. The concept of "species" is an artifact of human cognition - not an objective feature of the world.
Artifacts are not entirely made of human opinion, however. Just like arrowheads and pottery, there are also a "real" component to the species artifact - the individual organisms themselves. This is the only kind of objectively discrete "specie" that actually exists. 
I don't think I am making a bold assertion to declare that the concept of a species cannot merely be one of coincidental similarity of one organism to another. If you agree, then we must decide upon the substrate which binds individuals into a species. I don't see how that endeavor avoids common descent via inheritence of biological molecules as its ultimate arbiter.
Comprehensive genetic sequencing of even entire geographical areas will not yield objective species, of course. Instead, we will get enormous multi-dimensional matrices of genetic data from multiple measures of relatedness can be derived. Species will still be built of opinion and argument - but the language of the argument will be genetic.
That day is a long way off. Until then, things like tepal curvature and leaf-veining pattern can enjoy continued relevance.

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