cladism's greatest weakness

Tom DiBenedetto tdib at UMICH.EDU
Thu Sep 23 13:13:04 CDT 1999

Richard Zander wrote:

>Realism, even the
>rational realism you describe, is, however, like teleology in explaining
>evolutionary events. It is so easy to say something like: the taxon evolved
>such and such a character to better survive - rather than describe a natural
>selection scenario.

Sorry, but for the life of me I dont see the connection between the
rationality that I described and teleology.

>Well, consider: God is in Heaven, the Devil is in Hell,
>and everything else is "out there." The first two statements are not
>appropriate subjects for scientific analysis or synthesis, so why is the

Heaven and hell are empirically inaccessable. The real world out there
is something we can percieve, formulate ideas and hypotheses about, and
return to test those hypotheses; i.e. we can do science with it.

>Where is "out there"?

On the other side of your pia mater.

>>  We develop conceptual tools to
>> describe and deal with the "things out there".
>What do you mean "we"? Some of us deal with what we remember of the past,
>with what we expect in the future, and with what we find about us in the
>here and now. This results in valuable guidelines for action and new
>expectation, a process which I think does not require an "out there" to work

The "we" I refer to is those of us who try to do science.

>Glad to hear from you again, Tom.

Nice to hear from you too Richard. I read your paper. I must admit
that I think it a bit bad form to plug for support of your research
program at the expense of other scientists. Why not go after redundant
bombers or milk price supports?

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