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RE: Nomina Dubia Part II: Rapator

Jumping in for a second:

Tim Williams wrote:

<When we split or lump genera, nothing is being tested. Nevertheless, we 
are still doing science.>

  The explicit act of lumping taxa or splitting them is _aesthetics_, not 
_science_. You hit the nail there wher you state that it is not testing 
something, even the author's own premise. He makes a premise, then validates it 
with nomenclature, rather than testing it in some fashion.

  You argue that finding *Hesperosaurus* next to *Stegosaurus* is a valid test, 
but one can argue that taxa can be nested within others with different names, 
and sustain that nomenclature. We can argue for grades of taxa, rather than 
explicit clades, and still be "right." One cannot disprove the arguement 
"*Hesperosuchus* is different from *Stegosaurus*" without making a concordant 
set of arguments regarding *mjosi* and *stenops*, and finding ways to prove 
scientifically the existence of genera (as different from species) or the 
concrete definition of "species" that applies. Other than this, using the 
premise of clades as realistic entities, and applying phylogenetic 
nomenclature, we can make the argument that taxa can be subsumed or erected on 
that premise alone, but it is still not "science" as far as resolving questions 
or validating/invalidating premises.


Jaime A. Headden
The Bite Stuff (site v2)

"Innocent, unbiased observation is a myth." --- P.B. Medawar (1969)

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