In War, Truth Is the First Casualty*

In War, Truth Is the First Casualty* As penned in verse by T.S. Elliot (1971) , the naming of animals is a difficult matter. The process of defining species involves important biological issues and, more recently, some important conservation issues. Unfortunately, it remains a process without a clear, detailed, operational methodology, and therefore it is susceptible to bias. Our article on geopolitical species was motivated by concern that such a bias has influenced the taxonomy of an endangered sea turtle. We applaud the editors of Conservation Biology for encouraging the articulation of diverse viewpoints. We also thank J. M. Grady, E. D. McCoy, P. C. H. Pritchard, J. M. Quattro, and K. Shrader‐Frechette for their critical evaluation and insightful comments published in the preceding commentaries. In this reply, we briefly summarize the main points of our article and then address some of the specific issues raised by each of the commentaries. Finally, we attempt to connect this forum to larger issues invoked by the haunting comment of a reviewer: “We all know it is wrong to tell lies, except to confuse the enemy in wartime.” If conservation is a war, what are the duties of conservationists and scientists in this war? Is it possible that http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Conservation Biology Wiley

In War, Truth Is the First Casualty*

Conservation Biology, Volume 13 (5) – Oct 23, 1999

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Publisher
Wiley
Copyright
Copyright © 1999 Wiley Subscription Services, Inc., A Wiley Company
ISSN
0888-8892
eISSN
1523-1739
DOI
10.1046/j.1523-1739.1999.99269.x
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

As penned in verse by T.S. Elliot (1971) , the naming of animals is a difficult matter. The process of defining species involves important biological issues and, more recently, some important conservation issues. Unfortunately, it remains a process without a clear, detailed, operational methodology, and therefore it is susceptible to bias. Our article on geopolitical species was motivated by concern that such a bias has influenced the taxonomy of an endangered sea turtle. We applaud the editors of Conservation Biology for encouraging the articulation of diverse viewpoints. We also thank J. M. Grady, E. D. McCoy, P. C. H. Pritchard, J. M. Quattro, and K. Shrader‐Frechette for their critical evaluation and insightful comments published in the preceding commentaries. In this reply, we briefly summarize the main points of our article and then address some of the specific issues raised by each of the commentaries. Finally, we attempt to connect this forum to larger issues invoked by the haunting comment of a reviewer: “We all know it is wrong to tell lies, except to confuse the enemy in wartime.” If conservation is a war, what are the duties of conservationists and scientists in this war? Is it possible that

Journal

Conservation BiologyWiley

Published: Oct 23, 1999

References

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