Continued Sarcasm or New Synthesis?

John Noyes jsn at NHM.AC.UK
Wed Apr 4 12:23:00 CDT 2001


I am not a hard-core cladist, but the major problem that I have with the
Phylocode is that it can work well only if the phylogeny for any particular
group is really well supported and not contentious. This is currently only
the case for less than 0.1% of all organisms. There are many groups
(probably the vast majority) where, for various reasons, well-supported
phylogenies are out of the question, whether they are based on molecular,
morphological data or a combination of both.


At 04:27 PM 4/3/2001 -0500, you wrote:
>     I'd be interested to know if there is any one thing that such hard-core
>cladists find particularly dreadful (or badly thought-out) about PhyloCode?
>                        ----Ken
>>From: Thomas DiBenedetto <TDibenedetto at DCCMC.ORG>
>>To: 'Ken Kinman' <kinman at HOTMAIL.COM>, TAXACOM at USOBI.ORG
>>Subject: RE: Continued Sarcasm or New Synthesis?
>>Date: Tue, 3 Apr 2001 17:07:33 -0400
>>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
>>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
>>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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John S. Noyes, Entomology Department, The Natural History Museum, Cromwell
Road, South Kensington, London, SW7 5BD, UK

Tel. +44 (0)207-942-5594  Fax: +44 (0)207-942-5229

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