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Re: Linnean Classification and Creationism



In a message dated 95-12-14 16:33:03 EST, cpretzma@magnus.acs.ohio-state.edu
(Chip Pretzman) writes:

>YOU TELL ME!  HITHERTO I HAVE WORKED STRICTLY WITH ASEXUALLY REPRODUCTIVE
>ORGANISMS AND THESE QUESTIONS DON'T ARISE MUCH, HARDLY AT ALL. IT SEEMS TO
>ME THAT THIS CONFUSION EXISTS WITH MORPHOLOGICAL CLASSIFICATIONS. YOU ARE
>THE ONES POSING THE PROBLEMS YOU COMPLAIN ABOUT. PERHAPS YOU SHOULD TAKE A
>WIDER LOOK AT THINGS, AND EVEN A NARROWER LOOK WHEN IT COMES TO DEFINING
>SPECIES.  A SPECIES IS A HUMAN CONSTRUCT, AND UNTIL IT BECOMES OTHERWISE,
>PEOPLE WILL ALWAYS ARGUE OVER PLACEMENT OF ORGANISMS, CLADISTICS, ETC.  NOW,
>AT THE GENE LEVEL, THERE IS LITTLE OR NO SUBJECTIVITY.

No need to shout (heh heh!).

Determining whether two species belong to the same genus is no problem for
me--but it becomes a problem when others don't see things the way I do (most
of the time, in other words).

Regarding the wider outlook, perhaps you should take your own advice and do
some vertebrate morphology instead of studying microorganisms and genes all
the time. Work with some sexually reproducing organisms for a change. You
know. Sheesh.

A species is, supposedly, a natural artifact, commonly, a freely
interbreeding population of organisms--a definition that makes rather little
sense in a microbial context, to be sure. So, how would you define the
difference between, say, a species of microorganism and the various strains
of that microorganism? When is a strain no longer a strain but a species, for
example? Why are _Trypanosoma gambiense_ and _Trypanosoma rhodesiense_ in the
same genus instead of in separate but closely related genera?