Continued Sarcasm or New Synthesis?

Thomas DiBenedetto TDibenedetto at DCCMC.ORG
Tue Apr 3 17:07:33 CDT 2001

I think there is a factor missing from the debate over the Phylo-code. We
see proponents of various alternative systematic philosophies bashing
cladists, and cladistics in general, as if the Phylocode were some necessary
extrapolation from cladistic principles. The authors of the Phylocode
certainly make the case that its principles are deduced from general
cladistic principles, but there are many of us, who considered ourselves
hard core cladists, who find the Phylocode to be absolutely dreadful and
wrong-headed. As a result of my own personal history, I have contacts with
at least two of the factions of cladists who are considered by most to be
the most "hard-core", and amongst them, I find the prevailing opinion of the
Phylocode to be unanimous and negative.
I suspect that the issues will be joined with increasing frequency and with
increasing heat in the months and years to come. I just wish to leave
everyone here with the understanding that the Phylocode should in no way be
considered as the prevailing view amongst cladists. There are some elements
of the phylocode proposals that are positive and important. Of course, the
use of ranks is unscientific, and has lead to some horrid "scientific"
analyses. And the underlying motivation of the phylocode proponenents, to
re-orient our nomenclature and classification with phylogenetic principles,
is very important and long-overdue. But other aspects of the proposal are
very badly thought out, and I doubt that they will find general acceptance.
Let the fun begin!


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