[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index][Subject Index][Author Index]

RE: Hanson 2006, Mortimer, Baeker response

> From: owner-DINOSAUR@usc.edu [mailto:owner-DINOSAUR@usc.edu]On Behalf Of
> No Way
> Hi
>   I have a number of problems with cladistics, not the least of which is the 
> almost entirely subjective nature of this
> method. It is about as non-objective as dousing rods but alluring just the 
> same because cladists use computers! It is
> science with your unconscious thumb on the scale of knowledge and your reward 
> the chance to name a branching point on a
> diagram you just drew!
>   Perhaps we should be content to await the inevitable rise of 'Neocladism' 
> from a melding of new thought & new
> discoveries, just as we saw the rise of Neodarwinism from a melding of 
> Darwinism, classical systematics & Mendelian
> genetics. Hopefully Neocladistics will have incorporated within it far more 
> stringent informational & analytical methodolgies.
Okay, so this has a certain Scandanavian underworld flavor to it, but I'll 
respond anyway.

You are clearly confusing taxonomy (the issue of applying names to groups) to 
cladistics/phylogenetic systematics (the analytical
practice of searching for the clustering pattern of taxa). The complications 
and confusions that were specifically being dealt with
in the emails to which you were responding had very little to do with 
cladistics proper, and far far more to do with taxonomic

And as someone schooled in both pre-cladistic and cladistic practices, I can 
tell you that the issue of taxonomy prior to cladistics
was just as woolly-headed and mixed up (if not more so) than post-cladistics. 
The majority of readers of this list have not read the
technical earlier taxonomic literature, but are more familiar with summary 
works like Romer's or Carroll's textbooks.

However, as this mailing list has seen far more discussion of just these 
particular subjects over the last decade plus, I don't see
much benefit rehasing them. I suggest most people interested in such a debate 
review the archive (http://dml.cmnh.org) for these
topics. If after such a review they find that they have a novel argument, than 
by all means post it!

                Thomas R. Holtz, Jr.
        Senior Lecturer, Vertebrate Paleontology
Department of Geology           Director, Earth, Life & Time Program
University of Maryland          College Park Scholars
        Mailing Address:
                Building 237, Room 1117
                College Park, MD  20742

Phone:  301-405-4084    Email:  tholtz@geol.umd.edu
Fax (Geol):  301-314-9661       Fax (CPS-ELT): 301-405-0796