Logical fallacies and reasonable debates in invasion biology: a response to Guiaşu and Tindale

Biology and Philosophy 34 (5):49 (2019)

David M. Frank
University of Tennessee, Knoxville
This critical note responds to Guiaşu and Tindale’s “Logical fallacies and invasion biology,” from our perspective as ecologists and philosophers of science engaged in debates about invasion biology and invasive species. We agree that “the level of charges and dismissals” surrounding these debates might be “unhealthy” and that “it will be very difficult for dialogues to move forward unless genuine attempts are made to understand the positions being held and to clarify the terms involved.” Although they raise several important scientific, conceptual, and ethical issues at the foundations of invasion biology, we believe Guiaşu and Tindale’s attempts to clarify the debate were unsuccessful. Like some other critics of the field, they tend to misrepresent invasion biology by cherry-picking and constructing “straw people,” inaccurately portraying invasion biology, and thus failing to elevate the dialogue. In this critique, we clarify areas in the invasion biology literature misrepresented by Guiaşu and Tindale. We attempt to provide a more balanced view of areas of reasonable debate within invasion biology, including disputes about empirical evidence, diverse risk attitudes, and other diverse ethical commitments.
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DOI 10.1007/s10539-019-9704-0
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