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Re: Stratigraphy, biogeography & cladograms



In a message dated 1/20/99 11:57:27 AM EST, Gareth.Dyke@bristol.ac.uk writes:

<< in short, we do _not expect_ to know the truth
 about the origin, and or, evolution of birds - the cladistic method,
 whether or not you choose to accept it, provides us with hypotheses that
 are, at least, testable. >>

Taken at face value, this comment means that any old method of providing
testable hypotheses is as good as cladistics, as long as the hypotheses really
are testable. If you believe we cannot ever know the truth, then why would you
bother making hypotheses at all? After a while, after you've tested a
hypothesis in all manner of ways, after you've discarded all alternatives,
what remains--the hypothesis that passes all the tests--must be the truth.
Starting with, say, all 50 theoretically possible phylogenies, once you have
discarded 49 of them, the one that remains must be true. So truth is
attainable, even in phylogenetic analysis.