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Re: On science (phew, long)
> 1) On truth: If the pursuit of an unattainable truth is irrational, then
> guess we might as well stop looking for fossils or cures for diseases,
> studying the stars, or never try to do anything that is difficult. We know
> the fossil record is imperfect, yet we still keep looking. A different
> analogy: if your goal in life was to have all the money in the world, would
> you rather have a billion bucks, or give up and have nothing?
No one is proposing that we stop trying; simply that it is realistic
to understand that we will never have more then $999,999,999.99. We can
be millionaires, but will never be billionaries; that doesn't mean we
aren't going to try to make as much money as we can. Despite the shifts
in thinking that has gone on in paleontology and evolutionary biology in
the past century, I would like to think the profits have been greater then
> I don't plan on doing cladistic analyses in the near future, but
> it's crystal clear to me that if you're going to talk about evolutionary
> patterns, you'd damn well better have a phylogenetic framework at hand.
I don't think many people argue about that; just 1) how the
framework is to be constructed (and I think most people think that
cladistics is at least the most valuble tool), and 2) whether or not it is
all right to slap on a few tags and sticky notes on the phylogenetic
framework to mark interesting patterns in body plan, ecology, etc... that
may be rubbed out in a taxonomy relying on strictly monophyletic groups.
"Monica! You never call me any more!"