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Re: Air sacs in extant non-avian reptiles?
>Im not sure what the advantage of the "eclectic" style you are
>espousing. Surely the fact that it is "well known" isn't a good
reason >to change it ("No Mr. Darwin, although I'm sure you're right in
>essence, people just aren't familiar with 'evolution,' and it would
>only confuse students of natural history")
That's not really a very good example. Evolution is a biological
theory while cladistics is a classification system. Classification
systems are, by their very nature, arbitrary. The justification
usually given for cladistics is that it is clearer and conveys more
meaningful information than "gradistics." Of course, this is a
subjective evaluation, and while it is true for a number of people, is
not necessarily true for everyone. Comparing the acceptance of
evolution to the acceptance of cladistics is apples and oranges. There
are plenty of people out there -- even people in biology or
paleontology -- who won't have to convert to cladistics to shed more
light on their area of interest. There are people to whom it doesn't
matter. Undoubtably, there are people who find "gradistics" a more
useful classification system for their particular work.
It doesn't seem to me that any system that is, by definition, entirely
arbitrary can be declared universally to be doctrine that everyone must
That being said, I *do* prefer cladistics to any other classification
scheme proposed so far (although perhaps with the modifications
discussed a few weeks ago by Kinman et al on this list) but I still
recognize it for what it is: a classification system designed as a tool
for researchers who are interested in a certain aspect of biology;
namely evolution and taxonomy.
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