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From: firstname.lastname@example.org (John R. Hutchinson)
> ... I hope that those folks on the
> list that aren't well versed in the ontology and epistemology of
> science aren't being seduced by a vocal but irrational minority.
I think this is a little unfair.
There are a number of very *rational* arguments against basing
*taxonomy* solely on cladistic analysis.
> But I still fail to
> grasp what they propose as an _alternative_; ...
For a detailed presentation of an alternative, look at the second
main section of _The Principles of Systematic Zoology_ by Ernst
Mayr and Peter Ashlock. This section, written mostly by Dr. Ashlock
before his untimely death some years ago, is well worth reading to
get a perspective on a way to use more than just branching points
in deriving a classification. (Though I do think the method still
needs some work, and I might tend to use correlations rather than
counts to attach weights to internodes in a cladogram).
[BTW, I would hardly categorize Dr. Mayr as either irrational or
extremist, yet he opposes cladistic taxonomy].
> Conventional Linnaean taxonomy, where the few
> self-declared masters of a certain taxonomic group declare what the
> almighty has delivered to them in a dream on a mountaintop?
Nobody has used that method for years. That is as much a mis-
representation of the supporters of evolutionary taxonomy as some
of the statements you object to are regarding cladism.
> I hate to say
> it, but that paradigm is rasping its last gasp.
> I'd sure like to see something better than cladistics, but nothing
> else that I've seen yet has the same or more objective qualities as
> cladistics does.
Have you even *looked* at Peter Ahslkock's ideas??
Or even really tried to understand Ernst Mayr's approach to
> Some people are evidently pretty firmly entrenched in their opinions,
On both sides. Cladists are often as entrenched in their opinions
as their opponents.
[And, again, I am NOT opposed to cladistic analysis, or even against
using the results of cladistic analysis as *part* of the process of
generating a classification].
The peace of God be with you.