cladism (final words)

Ken Kinman kinman at HOTMAIL.COM
Mon Sep 20 17:06:07 CDT 1999

     I just wanted to set the record straight.  I never said clades are
arbritrary or not real.  What is arbitrary about cladism is the refusal to
recognize that paraphyly is ALSO real, as is cladism's insistence that
paraphyletic groups are unnatural.  It is arbitrary to assume that the
"mother" species becomes extinct at the moment of cladogenesis, and
misleading to then argue that we should never recognize paraphyletic groups.
  With my semi-paraphyletic groups, you have even less to criticize because
cladogenetic information is retained in the markers.   (I will not get into
the arbitrariness of parsimony and character analysis, which someone else
raised, for that has been widely debated in the literature.)
     And if you reread my post about your undergraduates, I never stated (or
even implied) you were authoritarian.  In fact, I clearly stated that a
student's reluctance to disagree can arise even if the professor does
nothing to cause this reluctance.  I just didn't think it was relevant to
the discussion, and just thought your perception of what they believe or
understand might not be totally accurate anyway.  I certainly was not
questioning your abilites as a professor.   If you inferred that I thought
you were authoritarian in your classroom, I am sorry and encourage you to
reread it in light of what I have just said.
                          -----Ken Kinman

>I see no point in continuing this "discussion" with Ken, but for the
>benefit of any of the rest of you that might be "muddy" on this point, a
>species and all its descendents constitute a clade. If species are real,
>and if evolution happens, clades are real, not arbitrary.
>And Ken, if you get a chance, you might try talking to some of my
>undergraduate students about my level of "authoritarianism".

Get Your Private, Free Email at

More information about the Taxacom mailing list