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holophyletic groups only & the future



Chris,
That is the problem with strictly cladistic classifications, they ARE restricted to monophyletic (holophyletic) groups. But you are failing to recognize that paraphyletic groups can be natural too (especially if semi-paraphyletic), and are only considered unnatural by strict cladists.
And you ignore a very important component in your classifications, namely anagenesis (divergence), so in a sense your classifications are less natural than eclectic ones. Before Hennig came along the term monophyletic included both paraphyly and strict holophyly. It was Hennig's restriction of the term monophyly that prompted Ashlock to coin the term holophyly.
However it became abundantly clear to me that the fundamental philosophical differences between cladism and eclecticism were so powerful that they had to be merged in some way, or the war between them would just get worse.
That is when I hit upon the idea of semi-paraphyletic groups, where you removed a group (like birds from reptiles), but you had to leave a marker behind to explicitly show this. It's like removing it formally, but not removing it in an informational sense. Birds (Aves) are still shown to be dinosaur descendants, but without all this silliness about non-avian dinosaurs, etc.
It is the strict cladists who are causing a lot of confusion, by failing to recognize "divergence" as a part of human cognitive classification----that's how humans have always thought. You are going against the grain, and you are imposing unnatural and paraphylophobic restrictions that the world is simply never going to accept. Cladistic arbitrariness and authoritarianism is just as bad, if not worse, than eclectic arbitrariness and authoritarianism.
The study of dinosaurs is perhaps the pinnacle of strictly cladistic classification, and the problems that are now cropping up here are just a drop in the bucket compared to trying to apply strictly cladistic classifications to many other groups of organisms. I think you would be shocked how unpopular such classifications are in other disciplines (especially in botany). Some even criticize the Kinman System as being too cladistic.
In the end I think a hybrid system will emerge, and if the cladistic backlash is strong enough, such a system might not be as accomodating to cladists as I have tried to be. The Kinman System was designed to make the transition as smooth as possible and to minimize confusion. Unfortunately, the failure of both sides to attempt any reconciliation is going to lead to a real mess in the future.
And I predict both sides in the cladisto-eclectic war will suffer an erosion of public confidence, and perhaps even attempted micromanagement of governmental research funds that will make science a whole lot less productive (not to mention less pleasant). Time will tell. It just all seems so unnecessary.
------Ken Kinman


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