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Re: The validity of cladograms (was Re: giant birds)



Betty wrote:
> Ya know I don't know why not.... I mean all you people are doing in
> cladistics is setting up a very simple algorithm for looking for best
> possible matches.  (I've been told it's the identical algorithm that a
> computer using a modem uses to look for places to talk to).  The only
> difference between any cladistic tree is due to the data sets-the
> algorithm is the same.
>
> an example.....
>
> Why is the data set different for Archeopteryx if Dr. H does a cladistic
> tree with HIS set of characters and different yet again if Dr. P does a
> cladistic tree with HER set of characters?
>
> Why isn't there a set of data characteristics recognized as unique and
> exclusive for Archie- like a bar code of data that says "this is what it
> takes to be Archeopteryx"?
>
> Why doesn't everyone use this one data set who uses Archie in a tree?
>
> I'll tell you why not.  The science is too early in development to have
> everyone agree on the data in the bar code of Archeopteryx.   Until
> EVERYONE agrees to use ONE data set for every species, you're going to
> get different results using cladistics since your data is different.
>
> Know what?  Someday everybody will agree on some unifying cladistic
> methodology, and then you can have a databank of these animals and run
> cladistic tests whenever you damn well feel like, AND get the same
> results no matter who does the stupid tree...   (IMHO) The idea of
> cladistics is good- it just isn't formalized enough in paleontology to
> be dependable yet.
Could it also have something to do with the "My project, not yours" attitude
as mentioned recently?  Not implying that palaeontologists are stingy
mercenary swines by nature - just a thought.

Sam