hypothetical construct

Thomas Schlemmermeyer termites at USP.BR
Fri Dec 12 12:23:43 CST 1997

To this thread I want to add one tiny little thought which a famous
dipterist presented on wednesday during the apresentation of his book
about phylogenetic systematics:

Many entomologists drink alcohol. The sensorial perception of the structure=
on the investigated insects under influence of alcohol may influence
character- and homology decisions.
I know other systematists who smoke or drink coffee during work. This is as
well a subjective factor which may influence theoretical decisions by way o=
practical inaccuracy.

I don't want to make a new prohibition campagne. But by analogy one may
understand difficulties in the molecular area as well. Now I remember that =
read in the Hillis and Moritz Book that one of the biggest problems in
molecular phylogenetics is the production of clean, reproducible, "true"

OK. Let's say we all don't drink, don't smoke and are the cleanest and best
lab workers one can imagine!
But even so, I think there is some fundamental perception problem. Characte=
and homologies are consequences of our neuronal processes which run after
contact with the object. These processes are subject to error and=20
subjectivity. We are confronted with our own biological limitations.


Thomas Schlemmermeyer
Museu de Zoologia, Universidade de S=E3o Paulo
Caixa Postal 42694
CEP 04299-970
S=E3o Paulo, SP, Brasil

Thomas Schlemmermeyer
Caixa Postal 00276
CEP 14001-970
Ribeir=E3o Preto, SP, Brasil

Fone, Fax: 016 6371999

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