Phylogenetic subjectivity

Curtis Clark jcclark at CSUPOMONA.EDU
Mon Jul 31 09:39:39 CDT 1995

Date sent: 31-JUL-1995
Robin Leech wrote:
 >All phylogenies are subjective.  If we use the same materials (organisms),
 >your phylogeny will reflect your subjectivity, and my phylogeny will
 >reflect mine.  We cannot escape this truth no matter what parsimonies we
 >employ (including Occam's Razor).

This seems a rather broad statement.  It seems to me that this implies
that all science is subjective.  Inasmuch as phylogenies are (often)
created algorithmically, the only realms for subjectivity are choice
of data and algorithm.  How is that different from any other branch of

Curtis Clark                                       Voice: (909) 869-4062
Biological Sciences Department                     FAX:   (909) 869-4396
California State Polytechnic University, Pomona
Pomona CA 91768-4032                               jcclark at

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