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Re: Sci Am - present.

>At 09:08 PM 2/13/98 -0000, J. Jackson wrote:

>>Possibly the main opposition to BCF arises from the evidence of (for me,
>>bad) cladistics.  The obvious question now is "How can we tell how reliable
>>blind cladistics is ?"

By any of a variety of randomization tests, comparing cladistic procedures
against other methodologies.  They've also created artificial phylogenies
in the laboratory with viruses and checked reconstruction algorithms
against a known tree.  Based on these, parsimony is a reliable tool.
Likelihood methods, from these analyses, may be more reliable, but these
are model-driven and much more appropriate for molecular data.

Another response to this question lies in the argument of vox populi.
Science should not be run as a democracy, but ask yourself why the vast,
vast majority of systematic biologists today use phylogenetic systematics,
if it's so blind.


Christopher Brochu

Department of Geology
Field Museum of Natural History
Lake Shore Drive at Roosevelt Road
Chicago, IL  60605  USA