crocodile tears

Ken Kinman kinman at HOTMAIL.COM
Mon Feb 7 08:37:55 CST 2000

    I completely agree with your conclusion.  One of my biggest frustrations
with the strict cladists is that many don't realize that they are replacing
old assumptions with new ones.  Instead of minimizing arbitrariness, they
are often substituting cladistic arbitrariness for eclectic arbitrariness.
Therefore purely cladistic classifications generally gain very
little---hardly enough to justify sacrificing stability and usefulness.
     Unfortunately, the irritation the rest of us feel from purely cladistic
"classification", spills over into an overreaction to (and attacks on)
cladistic "analysis".  I think cladistic analysis can be misused (in my
opinion, Woese is a prime example), but if it is used correctly it can be a
very powerful analytical tool.  Therefore when it comes to cladistic
"analysis", I encourage eclecticists not to throw the baby out with the
                     ------Ken Kinman
>From: "B. J. Tindall
>I have been battling with this for some time now. It would seem that both
>phenetic and cladistic methodology picked up on being "theory-free", but
>then I seemed to have spent quite some time reading about the underlying
>theory in order to understand how it works. I came to the conclusion that
>what most people mean is not that it is "free of theory", but that the
>minimum number of assumptions are being made, which is something different.
>Brian Tindall
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