7 years ago: Scaife’s pocket go’fer (The deliberate dishonesty of E. Calvin Beisner)

Feb. 11, 2006, on this blog: Scaife’s pocket go’fer (The deliberate dishonesty of E. Calvin Beisner)

 I responded with a list of species that had become extinct in the 20th century. And invited Beisner to reconcile this list with his claim that “there is no good reason to believe that species extinctions are occurring much more rapidly than … perhaps one per century.”

  • Hexep

    I take it he never did.

  • MaryKaye

    I would have expected an attack on the idea that those are species.  People who take this line of argument usually want to reserve “species” for creatures that have simple English names like “wolf”, not “Mongolian Mountains Wolf”–they are endlessly willing to argue that those are subspecies.  (The argument’s completely untenable for some entries on that list, though, most notably the passenger pigeon.  And if we allow ourselves to leave North America, ye gods, the thylacine–no close relatives whatsoever.  So very sad.)

    Young-earth creationism is of necessity hostile to local adaptation–to the idea that there’s a place where an animal or plant evolved, and to which it is highly specific.  I wonder if YEC could ever have gotten leverage if it had arisen further south–the idea is more intuitively tenable in the temperate zone than it is in the tropics, where incredible range specificity is the rule rather than the exception.  (Similarly, the whole development of the concept “species” would have been different if the great taxonomists had been more botanists and less zoologists–species of plants are rather a different matter than species of animals, as the row of trees outside my window, with five different species in their ancestry, attests.)

    The thing that is saddest about all this is that to dismiss biodiversity, to dismiss the importance of plant and animal species, seems almost by necessity to involve blinding yourself to the natural world, and thence to hating it.  And that’s an awful loss.

  • smrnda

    The whole ‘that’s not a separate species” should have about as much weight as a non-chemist telling a chemist that things are ‘rocks’ or ‘metals’ and that the chemist is inventing silly words for metals that anyone with ‘common sense’ knows are the same. 


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