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Re: Thanks to TH for Sick Bee report and discussion



Norm King wrote:
>My own complaints have to do with nomenclatural practices in phylogenetic 
>taxonomy, and I have this uneasy feeling about defining things that have 
>never been found, then seeing if we can locate one.  Strikes me as being 
>like Plato, with his cosmic ideals and the imperfect manifestations of 
>them we find on earth.
        Ok, one last time: We need to distinguish between phylogenetic
taxonomy (PT), and the mechanical process of producing a phylogenetic
analysis (we'll call this "cladistic analysis" or "cladistic methodology".
"Cladistics" itself may mean any number of things (as demonstrated by the
above quote) to different people. It seems clear that most people who use
cladistic analysis seem to get branded "cladists".
        The definition of PT is something like "that part of phylogenetic
systematics which deals with the naming of monophyletic groups (i.e. taxa)".
this is that bit with the node-based taxa and the stem-based taxa and the
"most recent common ancestor" and all that jazz.
        It seems that "cladists" pick and choose their methodologies from
the parts of phylogenetic systematics (that being the big tomato,
everything, all the stuff you love to hate). Therefore, one can find
(probably many) "cladists" who do not subscribe to phylogenetic taxonomy.
Indeed, I'm sure there are people who use cladistic methodology but don't
believe in the superiority of the monophyletic taxon (e.g. Mayr, in his
systematic zoology text, advocates cladistic methodology for the
construction of "evolutionary taxonomies").
        So please, do not damn all cladists for the "excesses" of some. Feel
free to damn me, though. :)

        By the way, PT is EXPLICITLY non-platonic! (*please* read the first
De Quiroz and Gauthier article, where philosophical aspects of PT are
discussed in (to my meager recollections of high school philosophy)
excruciating detail.

        Wagner
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     Jonathan R. Wagner, Dept. of Geosciences, TTU, Lubbock, TX 79409-1053
 "Only those whose life is short can truly believe that love is forever"-Lorien