"Fuzziness" (Continuity and classification)

Curtis Clark jcclark at CSUPOMONA.EDU
Fri Jul 27 11:20:04 CDT 2001

At 10:41 AM 7/27/01, Thomas DiBenedetto wrote:
>Namely, the notion of grounding names in
>relationships rather than characters.

It seems to me that the strength of the current code is its grounding of
names in *specimens*. I don't think Phylocode has adequately addressed that.

But the need for a system to name lineage groups is a separate question
from the rough edges in the (as yet unimplemented) Phylocode.

I have to admit that I'm taken aback by a lot of the hostility (most of it
from, or repeated by, Ken). Mayr rags on holophyletic groups, and yet
studies birds, a well-established holophyletic group. Many people oppose
Phylocode in any manifestation, almost as if they wanted to *prevent* the
naming of lineage groups. It's one thing to argue about the efficacy of
different methods for inferring kinship, but I detect (elsewhere as well as
here) a resistance to the entire idea of basing classification on kinship.
It's almost as if we should accept Aves because it is a grade, and the
evidence of its holophyly is one of those dirty secrets to be swept under
the carpet.

An understanding of evolutionary kinship has proven useful in many areas of
biology. Why is there so much resistance to it in the systematics community?

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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