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Re: Bats in the Battalion (final recommendation)
I agree with Jaime that many people do not make the distinction between
cladistic "classification" (phylogenetic taxonomy) and cladistic "analysis"
(in which computer algorithms are a major tool). I am a cladist when it
comes to analysis, but very much against strictly cladistic (phylogenetic)
classification, in much the same way as Benton and other Ashlockians. See
Mayr and Ashlock's 1991 textbook, "Principles of Systematic Zoology" for an
excellent (but slightly more conservative) overview.
This schism in biological systematics is several decades old and will
not be resolved quickly or easily. It is an unnecessary war in my opinion,
but about the best I can do is to try to mitigate the damage by warning the
participants (on both sides) of what I think is coming. Both sides
correctly believe that the other side has a few "bats in the battalion" (as
Jaime so cleverly put it).
My view of human conflict, either generally or in biology in
particular, has always been:
"Much of the wealth we seek is lost in war." I strongly recommend that both
strict eclecticists and strict cladists acquaint themselves with the
centrist views of Peter Ashlock (and Mayr and Ashlock's 1991 book is a great
place to start). Maybe we can minimize the casualties as the battles
continue, and discussing it from time to time is probably helpful as long as
it doesn't get too heated.
---Cheers, Ken Kinman
P.S. However, I agree this thread is going in familiar old circles (round
and round), and I'm getting a little dizzy and weary from it. It now seems
to be generating more heat than light. Have better things to do too. Happy
From: "Jaime A. Headden" <email@example.com>
Subject: Bats in the Battalion, Marching to War
Date: Tue, 30 Oct 2001 22:31:30 -0800 (PST)
In the last 24 hours, I've read now three different posts from three
different people referring to the conflict between Linnaean taxonomy and
cladistics. Why? Cladistics has nothing to do with taxonomy, it's a compuer
algorhithm used to find best-fit matches among input data in a field.
Geneticists use it, etc. There is confusion here, in spite of how many
times it is pointed out, and it continues to persist, so I guess it should
Cladistics is as above, a computer algorhithm, based on input.
Phylogenetic taxonomy (PT for short) is a system by which groups are
ordered by relationships and these are phrased by statements to which only
an ancestor--descendant relationship is assumed.
As discussed before, Linnaeam systematics is much more different in
practice and format, as well as the inclusion of nodes. Cladistics is a
practice, and a function only, and has nothing to do with the philosophies
of practical science. The argument of ranks is between PT and Linnaean
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