Kinman and Clark debate

Tom DiBenedetto tdib at UMICH.EDU
Mon Sep 14 19:09:15 CDT 1998


On Mon, 14 Sep 1998 17:34:28 CDT, Thomas Yancey wrote:

> If a classification purports to reflect phylogeny of a
>group, it must try for the highest attainable level of accuracy, not just
>produce the highest level of precision in defining its components. The
>second aspect (precision) is important, but the first part (accuracy) is
>primary.
...
>When we end up arguing about precision in applying method, the
>discussion has drifted away from the concern of accuracy. Lets keep these
>discussion more aligned with evaluating the adequacy of the results.

I am a bit confused. Although I think that I agree completely with all of Thomas' points in general, I dont really see how
the discussion which Kinman has started has become focussed on precision rather than accuracy. If phylogeny is the
accepted criterion for classification, then a paraphyletic taxon is an inaccurate result, for it simply fails to represent a
natural historical descent group. I dont really see how this is seen as a consideration of precision.
-Tom

Tom DiBenedetto                   tdib at umich.edu
Museum of Zoology                 http://www-personal.umich.edu/~tdib
University of Michigan              734-647-2192




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