[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index][Subject Index][Author Index]
Electric Car Taxonomy
Your metaphors bring up some interesting parallels between government
bureaucracy and scientific bureaucracy in some ways, and that resistance and
resentment are going to be an enormous problem for phylogenetic taxonomists
(perhaps far more than they realize).
However, I wouldn't say that issues of authority and control are nearly
as bad in science as they are in government, and I believe phylogenetic
taxonomy and PhyloCode are genuinely meant to achieve improvements. I just
think they are greatly underestimating the levels of confusion and
instability that will occur in the attempt to switch from Linnean taxonomy
to Phylogenetic taxonomy.
It is sort of like extreme chemotherapy for
taxonomy-----phylogeneticists think that the patient (taxonomy) will endure
the procedure and come out cured in the end. Traditionalists rightly fear
(in my opinion) that the therapy is so drastic that the patient will not
only have the endure the pain of the procedure, but will end up coming out
in far worse shape. In other words, the cure will end up being worse than
the disease itself.
So I hope it won't be characterized as office politics, or authority
and control issues, but more as an intense disagreement on what is best for
the patient. Both sides mean well and truly believe their approach will
have the best outcome. Unfortunately, non-taxonomists might not understand
this and their perception may indeed be that it is mostly issues of
authority and "politics", and taxonomists had better be prepared for a
backlash of resistance and resentment (particularly if Benton's fears for
PhyloCode come about).
So I completely agree with Philidor's suggestion that phylogenetic
taxonomists very seriously consider the "public policy" implications of
their actions and also the ways in which they characterize those who resist
the many changes they are proposing.
Get your FREE download of MSN Explorer at http://explorer.msn.com