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  Perfect Organisms
From: Iza & Carol Goroff goroff at idcnet.com> on 2000.05.09 at 01:47:29(4552)
Plato in the famous "Cave of the Shadows" section of the Republic said that the
instances of what we see in the objects of our experience are like the shadows
cast by the "truth". How that applies to an individual living being is that
such is an inadequate representative of the principles defining the type. The
principles are the truth which one should seek, looking past the specimen.

Iza Goroff

From: "Wilbert Hetterscheid" hetter at worldonline.nl> on 2000.05.09 at 18:24:33(4555)
Hear, hear, how true for natural kinds. How untrue for, say cultivars.
Cultivars are "defined" and they are bred and maintained to keep exactly
withing the definition of it. So a particular instant of a cultivar (a
plant) may indeed be perfectly 100% according to the "truth" behind it. That
is because the human mind in this case defined the "truth" and "created"
images/instances of it by breeding.


From: StellrJ at aol.com on 2000.05.10 at 00:09:51(4558)
In a message dated Mon, 8 May 2000 9:47:52 PM Eastern Daylight Time, Iza &
Carol Goroff writes:


From: Neil Carroll zzamia at hargray.com> on 2000.05.10 at 03:12:21(4560)
Subject: Re: Perfect Organisms

> In a message dated Mon, 8 May 2000 9:47:52 PM Eastern Daylight Time, Iza
> Carol Goroff writes:

From: Lewandjim at aol.com on 2000.05.10 at 21:41:53(4562)
In a message dated 05/09/2000 8:10:15 PM Eastern Daylight Time,
StellrJ@aol.com writes:

<< Hmmm...the closest thing I can think of to this in actual practice is the

From: Neil Carroll zzamia at hargray.com> on 2000.05.11 at 01:23:46(4565)
> And with that question you reveal what few people realize - a species is
> a real entity but a STANDARD based upon the formal types designated at the
From: "Eduardo Goncalves" edggon at hotmail.com> on 2000.05.11 at 03:35:57(4566)
Dear Neil,

Unfortunately, plant taxonomy has been a guessing game most time of his
history. Opinion has been the only way to deal with the diversity.
Sometimes, you have to chose between the existence of 40 species or just a
polymorphic one. Most of the process of naming and recognizing species are
strongly subjective. The statistical (i.e. less subjective) sense of species
is somewhat far from the reality today. We are doing our best, but it is not
enough. We are using a Linnean-Aristotelic method in a Darwinian-Chaotic
world. We really don't know what is a species... We are only trained
guessers. Maybe what we call species are just communities of genes.
Sometimes genes are transferred horizontally, migrating like they was living
beings. Maybe they are the only living things around... Many natural hybrids
are exactly like "good" species, and have no clear similarity with parental
lineages. Maybe just a change in a few DNA base pairs can lead to a "new"
genus. We don't know anything about morphogenesis. We have to be humble
about our own knowledge. Probably we are living in the "middle-age" of
plant systematics, and what we call 'modern' systematics are just like
alchemy compared to modern chemistry and physics. The biodiversity wasn't
"created" to be understood. It just exists!!! The complexity usually
overwhelm our simplistic approach. It is just the beginning.
Some of you can think I don't believe in my only job. Plant taxonomy is
exactly what I do. I really believe we have to continue our work, because
alchemy is considered a silly thing today, but its contribution to physics
and chemistry was very important. We are working for future generations...
One more thing: Sometimes, floral (sexual) parts are not so useful. In
Spathicarpa, all species are almost the same in floral morphology.
Meanwhile, S. lanceolata is helophytic and have lanceolate or oblong leaves,
whereas S. hastifolia and S. gardneri have leaves that are cordate to
hastate, and the plants are always geophytes. There is only one general rule
in plant systematics: There is no general rule!!!

Best wishes,


From: Lewandjim at aol.com on 2000.05.13 at 00:17:20(4567)
In a message dated 05/10/2000 11:37:00 PM Eastern Daylight Time,
edggon@hotmail.com writes:

<< Unfortunately, plant taxonomy has been a guessing game most time of his

From: Lewandjim at aol.com on 2000.05.13 at 02:56:52(4569)
In a message dated 05/10/2000 9:24:26 PM Eastern Daylight Time,
zzamia@hargray.com writes:

<< Where I see where you are going with this I do not beleive that "arbitrary"

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