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cladology debate



This is driving me nuts.  I sense no great goundswell for this debate to 
continue.  Mickey will be glad to hear that I don't feel the need to 
defend my honor too greatly, since I do not have an ego problem and no 
reputation as a paleontologists to fret about.  I was typing up a partial 
response in WordPerfect when someone came by and pointed out I was 
supposed to be elsewhere in half a minute.  Now I'm back, and since I had 
paused to do a partial response, I lost the only time I ended up having 
today to work on something else I have to do.  I'm finding that I don't 
have time for e-mail.  Has anyone else arrived at that conclusion, or am 
I alone on that issue, too?

Here's the file I did earlier:

***

I've got a little time to address some of the points brought up about 
opinions I have expressed recently about cladology.  Actually, what I 
said was, basically, "Certain aspects of cladistics stink."  I guess I 
would have preferred it if people had just repsonded with something like 
"No, cladistics is fine.  You're the one who stinks."  Then we would be 
done with all this already!

People have suggested various analogies to explain what a clade is and 
how it compares with other aspects of reality, but I think some are not 
appropriate analogies.  Evolutionary lineages may be unique as things 
that exist.

Any historical event is real, and if you had been there when they 
occurred, you could indeed have been hit over the head, such as by the 
eruption of Mt. St. Helens.  Likewise the most recent common ancestor of 
Ig. and Meg. could have hit you over the head.  In contrast, their 
relationship has never had a physical existence.  Their relationship is 
an hypothesis--a "mental
construct."  I know that when we start with the real animals and group 
them together as larger taxa, we are again erecting hypotheses.  The 
difference is that we are not starting with the hypotheses, and looking 
for the animals that those hypotheses depend upon for their existence.  

As to what is real or not, this is quickly getting beyond my level of 
expertise in the philosophy of science.  Philosophers do recognize 
different categories of things that exist in the world.  Physical objects 
are real in a different sense than any "real" relationships between them 
are real.  My concept for what is real therefore is not off base.

***

Now, after reviewing the above, it is clear that this is getting too 
abstruse and off subject.  I may make one or two more points, but my last 
posting really tells it all as far as the general idea is concerned.


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Norman R. King                                       tel:  (812) 464-1794
Department of Geosciences                            fax:  (812) 464-1960
University of Southern Indiana
8600 University Blvd.
Evansville, IN 47712                      e-mail:  nking.ucs@smtp.usi.edu






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Norman R. King                                       tel:  (812) 464-1794
Department of Geosciences                            fax:  (812) 464-1960
University of Southern Indiana
8600 University Blvd.
Evansville, IN 47712                      e-mail:  nking.ucs@smtp.usi.edu