Evolving Thoughts

Evolution, culture, philosophy and chocolate! John Wilkins' continuing struggle to come to terms with impermanence... "Humanus sum, nihil humanum a me alienum puto" - Terence

Thursday, April 14, 2005

Slime, politics and systematics

Systematists are an odd lot, in my experience. They range across all spectrums of sociality, interests, personal hygeine, and politics, as do we all. But sometimes it is hard to tell if they are being Ironic or Earnest, particularly when they live in the UK, where Irony is not a Trope, but a Way of Life.

So when a couple of systematists name Slime Mold Beetles after members of the current American Administration, and assert that "We admire these leaders as fellow citizens who have the courage of their convictions and are willing to do the very difficult and unpopular work of living up to principles of freedom and democracy rather than accepting the expedient or popular," as did Quentin Wheeler, then at Cornell and now at the Natural History Museum in London, it is hard to know if this is tongue in cheek or not.

Since they also named some of the beetles after their family members, one has to assume it is Earnest.

Wheeler, coincidentally or not, coedited an important book on species concepts, which has confused me no end, so perhaps it is Irony after all.