James Francis Lyons-Weiler weiler at ERS.UNR.EDU
Sun Dec 7 08:10:19 CST 1997

On Fri, 4 Jan 1980, Jim Jarvie wrote:

> Dear Taxacomers,
> Interesting to see debated in current threads the use of Po
pperian principles in phylogenetic discussion.  Seems old, and related to
argument focused in dialectic Marxist literature where unsupportable tenets
need verification for a pre-defined understanding of the universe.
> Like the use of Popperian principles in (hopefully almost extinct)
political systems, could it be explained what relevance this debate is
to the current problems for the entities we study in systematics in the
present world?

        it seem short-sighted to reject Popper's views on science
        because others have misused and abused them.  Some wanted
        and still want to eject Darwin's models of evolution because
        others tried to apply them in social darwinism to their
        own gain and justification.  Popper's influence in felt
        in every field that uses inferential statistics (like the
        t-test, for instance), ANOVA, multiple regression,
        where patterns that seem obvious to the unaided eye are subjected
        to critical scrutiny before they are considered serious
        contenders.  Regardless of the warping of Popper by
        political entities, there is nothing better than a
        good, critical, severe test of hypotheses to help make
        a field into a science.

        James Lyons-Weiler

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