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    Dont't delete it yet, this is really the last one, I promise.

John Hutchinson wrote...
> I really
> doubt that many people are paying much serious attention to the frustrated
> snarls of the anti-cladistics camp here. 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.
>         Science proceeds best by challenging established philosophies with
> carefully-considered rational alternatives, not by berserker assaults of
> flashy vitriol and accusations of bias or conspiracy. The latter approach
> is the resort of the defeated adherents of a paradigm, not the trailblazers
> of a new or refurbished paradigm.

     Good God, accusations of CONSPIRACY?  Apparantly we not only do not
wholeheartedly support all aspects of cladistic philosphy, but we belong
to militias as well.  I suppose its good to know I have so many vocal 
(and apparantly psychotic) straw men on my side.  
     Anyhow, as I have stated before, I fully appreciate the basic
superiority of a phylogenetic taxonomy over the Linnean taxonomy.
Taxonomy SHOULD be based primarily on a phylogenetic framework.  I simply
advocate AUGMENTING that taxonomy with paraphyletic groups that reflect
real macroevolutionary trends (I don't think there is anything
particularly "mystical" about that idea) without removing or altering the
existing monophyletic clades - on thier own ground, both have validity and
value within taxonomy and evolutionary biology; I don't follow Johnathan
Wagner's reasoning that we should dismiss macroevolutionary phenomena from
taxonomy because they are too easy to notice. Additionally, I wanted to
point out that cladistics, as useful as it is in its own right, and as
a phylogenetic framework for paraphyletic groups, is still a fundamentally
artificial system.  Not really as much a critique as an observation, stop
foaming please.
    Still, as Martin has pointed out, the cladistics discussion has
dragged on probably long enough, so I'll end my on-list arguments on the
subject.  When I finally read the paper by Gauthier that Johnathan Wagner
has referred to me and acquaint myself with the philosophical arguments
for cladistic 'reality', I will post privately a statement on my
impressions to Wagner, Dr. Holtz, or anyone else who is interested.     
     In the meantime, I am studying feathers in Ornithology right now, and
will post something soon regarding some interesting questions and 
comments I have regarding feather evolution, as well as some possible
problems regarding the use of certain colors in restorations of feathered

Sniveling on,
LN Jeff
     "Some people are evidently pretty firmly entrenched in their
opinions, especially controversial ones." 
    Words of wisom!