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Re: a rose by any other name(was fish & dogs)
<However, we were talking before about taxonomic systems (methods of naming)
rather than phylogenetic reconstruction (methods of recovering the shape of
the tree of life). These are different tasks, and if you choose to discuss
the latter (that is, phylogenetic reconstruction), then I would strongly
recommend changing the subject line!>
I thought you'd implied that the mechanism used for phylogenetic
reconstruction had a certain logic which dictated in taxonomy when a group
should have a separate name on a certain level.
I'd also noted that everyday criteria for considering a defined set of
animals a group were that the animals were easy distinguishable, numerous,
and widespread, past or present.
The two parallel questions I was considering with your help are when a
scientific (phylogenetic reconstruction-based in this case) definition
should be universally preferred (the public accepts a change) and what the
public reaction to such a decision would/should be. To me, the topic
heading thus seemed appropriate, in that we are dealing with competing
conventions of naming, rather than accurate descriptions of animals.
As someone who has in fact seen the reaction when science/everyday were
potentially in conflict, your comments about the responses of both science
in picking its issues and the populace in responding to science are
informative to me.
Sorry to be confusing by looking at too many subjects simultaneously.