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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
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
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?