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Targeted approaches




Jaime,
Well, I agree chemotherapy has its uses, but I would resort to it only if all else failed ("targeted" approaches are fast replacing it). In a similar way biologists now look for targeted approaches to kill pests, rather than the old "spray everything with pesticide" from a plane. And root canals are apparently being found to be the source of many serious infections in other parts of the body, and the "save the tooth at all costs" approach apparently has serious drawbacks.
Benton is looking at the long-term repercussions and sees a lot of problems with the PhyloCode approach (unnecessary invasive surgery?), that is going affect taxonomy (for everyone) for a very, very long time.
Like it or not, most professional biologists prefer Linnean classification, and its intuitiveness for the "populace" is just a side benefit, not the primary reason we use it. Bats and rats were easily classified by everyone (until pure cladism started to muddy the water). And if high-schoolers had electric cars almost everyone would understand how they operate----they could even teach auto mechanics in home economics class.
Unnecessary complexity and specialization (that has had obvious deterimental effects in other areas of human endeavor) should be resisted, and taxonomy may be plunging headlong into the wrong direction. I feel sorry for the poor high-schoolers of the next couple of generations who will really be confused and frustrated. Cladists have strong "beliefs" that their approach is superior, and that all be well in a couple of generations when all the rest of us are "educated". But many of us see gridlock and a bunch of unforeseen side-effects, and our dirty, expensive, complex transportation system should be taken as a lesson and cautionary tale. The same goes for invasive medical procedures for which we are now substituting safer alternatives.
Simpler is not only easier and less expensive, it is often "better" once we evaluate all the side-effects of the more complex. Taxonomy needs fewer formal names, not more.
-------Ken Kinman
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