Hennig XVIII

Tom DiBenedetto tdib at UMICH.EDU
Wed May 12 15:24:09 CDT 1999

>I do not think this is fair. Does it means I can take somebody's else ideas
>(which, for some reasons -- the times were not ripe for it, the existent
>paradigm did not allow their consideration, etc. -- did not have wide
>distribution or acceptance), re-state them, and become a founder of
>Of course, I am not saying Hennig took knowingly Rosa's ideas (because I do
>not know).

If he took the ideas without attribution, then the credit should go to
the original work. If the original work was never noticed, and the
latter works were independently arrived at, and suceeded in convincing
some segment of the scientific community, then the latter work deserves
the credit. I think that this is the case.

>We have many examples in science pointing instead to grant priority to those
>who actually had the idea first. Consider the "rediscovery" of Mendel's
>results, for instance, at the beginning of this Century, nobody thought to
>make Correns, de Vries and others who arrived to conclusions similar to
>Mendel's as the "fathers" of Mendelism/Genetic.

I think this not a relevant example. de Vries et al. rediscovered
Mendel at a moment when they were prepared to appreciate its meaning.
Hennig did not rediscover Rosa's work and make it the basis of his own.

>I do not see any reasons why Rosa's contributions shouldn't be recognized in
>the same way, *now that we know about them*, for what they are worth.

Sorry if this sounds harsh, but Rosa simply did not make a
contribution, in the sense that, for whatever reasons, his ideas did
not play a role in the development of the field. I might agree that he
made some excellent points, and that, were there any justice in this
world, his work would have been noticed and respected. He *should* have
been the founder of phylogenetic systematics perhaps, but that is
simply not the way it worked out. He certainly deserves praise and
credit for being an insightful thinker, ahead of his time, but it just
so happens that phylogenetic systematics developed independently of his

>Dr. Carmine Colacino
>Herbarium Lucanum & Dept. of Biology
>University of Basilicata
>85100 Potenza, southern Italy
>Tel. ++39/097-120-2172; Fax ++39/097-120-2256
>e-mail: colacino at unibas.it
>url: http://www.unibas.it/utenti/colacino/mediterraneo.html

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