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Re: Nomina Dubia Part II: Rapator



David Marjanovic <david.marjanovic@gmx.at> wrote:

> As Mike Keesey has pointed out, I regard this as a
> contradiction in terms. 


When we split or lump genera, nothing is being tested.  Nevertheless, we are 
still doing science.  


For example, if somebody finds that _Hesperosaurus_ and _Stegosaurus_ are 
sister taxa, and consequently decides to lump them in the same genus, they must 
first build a case using the available evidence for regarding _Hesperosaurus_ 
as a species of _Stegosaurus_.  So although it's not testable (because 
ultimately it is a subjective decision), I would still regard it as 'doing 
science'.


> As soon as you can't answer the
> question "if I were wrong, how would I know?" any longer,
> you're not doing science.


That's a little harsh.  Some scientific questions have no "right" or "wrong" 
answer.  Is _Brontosaurus_ the same as _Apatosaurus_?  The evidence suggests 
"yes"; but we're never going to KNOW for certain. 



Cheers

Tim