: Real Science and propaganda

John Grehan jrg13 at PSU.EDU
Sat Mar 31 09:37:59 CST 2001

At 07:14 PM 3/30/01 -0500, you wrote:
>People have asked whether I was being sarcastic when I used the words REAL
>science. For those of you who don't know me, permit me to say that I have
>always clearly stated that nomenclature IS NOT SCIENCE.

It seems then that this distinction is nothing more than propaganda, and
a kind that one tends to see historically as a ploy to discredit opposing

 I will now go
>further and state: Those of us who use Linnaean nomenclature without
>applying Hennigian grouping and ranking criteria (synapomorphy, age of
>origin), need to warn their users.

Again this is a propaganda statment. It holds only if one accepts the

>Phylogenetic Warning:
>Comparing Linnaean Taxa above the species level may be injurious to your
>Science. Always consult a Systematist first.

Comaring anything may be "injurious" (rather obscure) to anything. Seems
to be a trite statement.

. The only really valid comparisons
>are those among sister-groups/clades (ala Mitter et alia).

Again, this is a particular philosophy of comparison. It might be true, it
might not - and then only against the specificed criteria.

nd Brent Mishler
>may also be right about the species level too, as clearly species concepts
>across the full span of life, from microbes to humans, are not comparable

The alternative philosophy is that everything is comparable to everything
else in some way or other. Vicariance cladists have attacked Croizat
for using non-monophyletic groups yet the analyses demonstrated empirical
geomorphic correlations (i.e. there was a corroboration in the real world).

>So, in short, one of the positive aspects of the PhyloCode is that it
>attempts to incorporate REAL science into its nomenclature.

Again, propaganda. Only true by the terms of the argument.

And that should
>force the others to admit that Linnaean nomenclature is an information
>retrieval system based on unique keys (names), but beyond that beware of
>what you attempt to derive from it.

Beware, perhaps, of everything.

>So to repeat my original warning:
>We should not be framing this issue as another paradigm war in which
>Linnaean nomenclature is going to be massacred* and the Phylocode is going
>to be triumphant.

Should, should not. Maybe, maybe not.

I fought in the evolutionary/Phenetic/Cladistic paradigm
>wars of the 1960s-70s. As a community we all lost.

Propaganda. It might be said that as a 'comunity' (another obscure reference)
be all gained in some way.

 So, today we need to work
>together, recognizing our strengths.

Working 'together' by attacking under the umbrella of "REAL SCIECE"

. Cladistic information is critical for our

'Our Science" - another nice obscure propaganda term. Perhaps if I had more
experience in language and propaganda analysis I could dissect this further.

. It
>focuses attention on Linnaeus' original idea of SEPARATING SCIENCE
>(taxonomy, diagnoses, etc.) from Nomenclature, words acting as unique
>information keys for effective communication.

Is this an explicit statement by Linnaeus?

How much Science should be
>built into our  nomenclature? And how?**** Let's address those questions,
>rather than throwing our lives down in "Linnaeus's Last Stand."

Oh yes 'lets' be followers.

>** Also, don't try to label us as "creationists" because we use "Linnaean

Any more than labelling nomenclature as not 'REAL SCIENCE'

John Grehan

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