Systematics as Art

D.R. Lindberg drl at UCMP1.BERKELEY.EDU
Thu Aug 3 21:38:45 CDT 1995

Warren Lamboy wrote:

> I think that
>good systematics is partly science (objective) and partly art (subjective).
>Systematics has been damaged considerably, I think, by the refusal of many of
>its practioners to recognize this.

Systematics was damaged and driven from university "science" departments
throughout this country in the 60's and 70's because of this very
proposition which was first stated by G.G. Simpson in _Principals of Animal
Taxonomy_  (1961).

 I think "good science" can be replicated and potentially falsified.  I do
not know how to do either with authority-based pronouncements of organismal
history.  I  know how parsimony algorithms work, but I am afraid I don't
understand "the marvelous integretive capacity" of my colleagues' minds and
I am therefore unable to rigorously evaluate their conclusions.  I guess if
its just art though all I have to do is decide whether or not I like it...

D.R. Lindberg
IB & UCMP, UC Berkeley
davidl at ucmp1.Berkeley.Edu

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