FWD>RE>FWD>True phyloge

Warren Lamboy warren_lamboy at QMRELAY.MAIL.CORNELL.EDU
Wed Aug 2 15:34:47 CDT 1995

        Reply to:   RE>>FWD>RE>FWD>True phylogenies

Dear Leonard:

I do not agree that "nature or evolution is parsimonious" is one of the
assumptions of phylogeny reconstruction.   Rather, we prefer the most
parsimonious tree because it requires the least amount of homoplasy.  It is
the simplest explanation consistent with the observed data.  Occam's Razor is
a statement about our explanations of reality, not about reality itself.

-  Warren

Date: 29/07/1995 19:41
To: Warren Lamboy
From: Leonard Krishtalka
On Fri, 28 Jul 1995, Warren Lamboy wrote:

> No one seems to fret about the assumptions inherent in phylogeny
> reconstruction methods.  Possibly this is because it is difficult to state
> exactly what they are.

        Not so. The three-word statement

        "Nature is parsimonious"

should cover it.  In the case of phylogeny reconstruction, the statment
becomes "Evolution is/was parsimonious".

        "Nature is parsimonious" is the elemental, overriding assumption
(hypothesis) not only behind phylogeny reconstruction but behind all of
science.  William of Occam stated it more eloquently hundreds of years
ago, and since then all scientists have shaved with Occam's Razor (pardon
the mixed metaphor, but it was too obvious to pass up).  Much of science,
then, is the discovery (quantitative and qualitative) of how far/often
nature has strayed from pure parsimony.

        Natural History Museum
        The University of Kansas

        "Nature is not as simple as its observers"

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Date:   Sat, 29 Jul 1995 19:02:23 -0400
From:   Leonard Krishtalka <kris at falcon.cc.ukans.edu>
Subject: Re: FWD>RE>FWD>True phylogenies
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To:     Warren Lamboy <warren_lamboy at qmrelay.mail.cornell.edu>
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