By Razib Khan | January 24, 2007 1:16 am

John Wilkins has a long post on species concepts.

  • BFD

    My favorite part:
    “has been said to me, that one ought not know too much about a topic if you are to define it clearly. This is because the expert knows all the many nuances that apply in different conditions, and writes not to the beginner but to the other experts. So I must note here that my thesis and continuing work is on species concepts,”
    Translation: Look at me, I am so damn smart, in fact, so smart that you probably won’t understand any of this…

  • Mustafa Mond, FCD


    I saw that movie. It was pretty awful.

  • http://www.strange-loops.com/blog.html Strange Loops

    BFD: Come on, he’s got a good point. It would be nice if scientific concepts were all simple enough that they could be summarized neatly in a short passage, but frankly the realities of science are complicated. That’s why we have specialists now, and it’s hard to find a real “renaissance man” (not that people aren’t knowledgeable across many fields, but rarely *expert* in many divergent fields).
    We want a nice, easy definition of species that fits into one line and can be summed up in a paragraph or two in the usual introductory-level university or pop-science book. But the nitty gritty is the real fun, interesting stuff. Just nice to have a heads up sometimes that one is about to get into the nitty gritty. I think that’s all Wilkins was going for.
    What’d you think of his post itself?


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About Razib Khan

I have degrees in biology and biochemistry, a passion for genetics, history, and philosophy, and shrimp is my favorite food. In relation to nationality I'm a American Northwesterner, in politics I'm a reactionary, and as for religion I have none (I'm an atheist). If you want to know more, see the links at http://www.razib.com


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