species/subspecies query

Richard Zander rzander at SCIENCEBUFF.ORG
Thu Nov 16 09:43:42 CST 2000

Again the "Just So Stories" nastiness comes up. The worst just so story is a
cladogram with no or poor support measures for the internal branches. This
corresponds to the "neutral hypothesis" of Pincer which are hypotheses that
are just or almost as specious if much changed. The best hypotheses of
evolution (or classifications) have embedded testable theories or hypotheses
in them. Using hypothetico-deductivist jargon, these
hypotheses/classifications are maximally demanding while still resisting

The embedded theories that enhance classifications don't have to be confined
to morphological or molecular data sets.

Richard H. Zander
Curator of Botany
Buffalo Museum of Science
1020 Humboldt Pkwy
Buffalo, NY 14211 USA
email: rzander at sciencebuff.org
voice: 716-896-5200 x 351

----- Original Message -----
From: "Curtis Clark" <jcclark at CSUPOMONA.EDU>
Sent: Wednesday, November 15, 2000 10:44 PM
Subject: Re: species/subspecies query

> At 08:07 AM 11/15/00, Ken Kinman wrote:
> >As long as there is the potential for genetic exchange between
> >populations A & C by way of the intermediate population B, it seems
> >preferable to regard it as one species which is in the process of
> >speciation.
> That's why species and speciation don't get any respect: it's all too easy
> to make up stories about them. "Potential for genetic exchange" becomes
> more important than actual genetic exchange, and its consequences for the
> organisms. "The process of speciation" can be invoked as an explanation
> even before there is any actual evidence that speciation is occurring.
> really not any better than "How the Elephant Got Its Trunk".
> IMO there are only two legitimate positions: (1) Species are not actual
> units of nature, and so species concepts are hollow rhetoric and
> is not a real process; (2) Species are units of nature that originate
> through a process or processes that we call speciation, and we can
> formulate testable hypotheses that help us to understand both the
> and their products.
> --
> Curtis Clark                  http://www.csupomona.edu/~jcclark/
> Biological Sciences Department             Voice: (909) 869-4062
> California State Polytechnic University      FAX: (909) 869-4078
> Pomona CA 91768-4032  USA                  jcclark at csupomona.edu

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