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Re: Some thoughts on cladistics



<Unless you consider every species transitional, but if everything is
transitional, that nullifies the meaning of "transitional."  It's all or
none.>

Well, no.
Every species with one or more descendant species is by definition
transitional between its ancestor species and its descendant species.

<That's a fundamental flaw with a hierarchical system that assumes
archetypes.  Everything that is different must be a transition to those
archetypes from other archetypes, which is an idea that is inherently
flawed.>

Philosophically, an archetype is the unknowable (except by philosophers)
model that the observable is expressing imperfectly.  As I understand it, a
system based on observation is Aristotelian, not Platonic.  If you are
looking for what distinguishes a species from all other species, you are
diagnosing the essential aspects of that species.
It's interesting that in biology the word 'archetype' has been used to
define a basic body plan, a template for a variety of species.  That's an
attempt to formulate what looks like an archetype.  But since it's based on
commonalities in observation, I think it escapes being Platonic.  Or maybe
biologists are philosophers(?).

Still, science definitely has emphasized observation over inference.
Aristotle said that when two metal balls are dropped from a height, the
heavier will fall faster.  A guy named Galileo went to the top of a tower
and tested it.  Aristotle was wrong.
Inference can never replace direct testing in science, now can it?