Plan to "Barcode" all species on the planet

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Semper Fidelis

2 Timothy 2:24-25
Staff member
A Simple Plan to ID Every Creature on Earth

I found this article fascinating on a number of levels. It deals with pre-suppositions in scientific methodology as well as what happens when you upset a field of expertise that makes its living out of being the "pros".

From the perspective of God's majesty, those who have eyes to see will wonder at the complexity and diversity of God's creation and how we haven't even scratched the surface at understanding what's around us. I really liked this quote:

Earth, Janzen says, is like an unread book, but unread books can only entice people who are literate. "Take a kid on a field trip today and you can see that he is walking through the forest like a person who is totally blind."

Ironically, I've been reading Book I of Calvin this past week and he makes the same observation but from a completely different angle.


Ordinary Guy (TM)
Hebert wrote, "taxonomic expertise is collapsing." He went on to complain of the dwindling number of qualified taxonomists, the tendency of expert identifications to be incorrect, the extreme difficulty of telling many animals apart in various life stages, the small number of species identified in the past 250 years, the vast number of unidentified species still remaining, and, perhaps most damning of all, the fact that even when an expert has identified a group of animals and done the identification correctly and produced a guide, the guide itself is so complex that mistakes are common. As a remedy, Hebert set out his own method of identifying animals through a small, standard sequence of DNA; he shared his data about Canadian moths, and he added some additional data gleaned from GenBank, a publicly accessible repository of gene sequences. At the end of the paper, he asked for money. "We believe that a CO1 database can be developed within 20 years for 5-10 million animal species on the planet for approximately $1 billion," he wrote.


Wow, a crisis in taxonomic expertise. My generation does not like identifying butterflies it seems (maybe due to our short attenti


Unshaven and anonymous
Staff member
Annie Dillard, An American Childhood

The interior life is often stupid. Its egoism blinds it and deafens it; its imagination spins out ignorant tales, fascinated. It fancies that the western wind blows on the Self, and leaves fall at the feet of the Self for a reason, and people are watching. A mind risks real ignorance for the sometimes paltry prize of an imagination enriched. The trick of reason is to get the imagination to seize the actual world—if only from time to time.
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