(Fwd) Re: Galapagos scorpion and center of origin

Geoff Read g.read at NIWA.CRI.NZ
Thu Apr 25 13:29:31 CDT 2002

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Date sent:              Wed, 24 Apr 2002 14:12:40 +0200
To:                     Geoff Read <g.read at NIWA.CRI.NZ>
From:                   pierre deleporte <pierre.deleporte at univ-rennes1.fr>
Subject:                Re: Galapagos scorpion and center of origin

A 14:05 24/04/2002 +1100, Geoff Read wrote:

> I thank John Grehan for his tolerance 'under fire' during the scorpion
> thread, it being a close examination of one listmember's paper, something
> perhaps best not indulged in too often in this forum. I don't think views
> have changed but we might score it a win win, with hopefully some reciprocal
> illumination as the outcome.

I would like to join to Geoff Read 's comment: too much personalization on a
paper is effectively not recommended. Please consider that my own
comments aimed at a single target: making up my mind about the
panbiogeography logics. It's nice that John participates so patiently in this
already long-lasting debate on Taxacom (John even likes to restart the thread
periodically, if I remember well...!  :)

Beyond this or that paper or person, the requirement of using all relevant
evidence cannot be overlooked in discussing methods. It's just reasonable to
do so. Off list, Peter Hovenkamp suggested that it is not so easy to decide
what is "relevant". Agreed.  I think that the more explicit and coherent the
logics of a method will be (clear question at stake, explicit and justified
underlying assumptions for explanation, predictions and tests), the easier the
decision. Hence, the other way round, discussing the decision of keeping or
discarding some kind of distributional data in a biogeographic analysis (which
is counter-intuitive at first sight) is just one possible way to raise and
consider the underlying methodological questions.

More precisely: including the discarded data might have been neutral, or it
might have been misleading. Explaning which answer is correct and why, or
in which cases, could have been enlighting. But maybe we better take the
problem another, less personalized way. I'm interested in understanding the
general logics of panbiogeography, not some particular applications.

The possible controversial analysis of the Galapagos (or other) data apart:
this seems for me a promizing track to follow for enhanced "reciprocal
illumination" of competing approaches. A unique data set, an explicit series
of questions at stake, and every approach critically analysed for their
possible relevance to some questions, and the similar or alternative ways
they deal with them. I bet that many biogeography approaches will
immediately differ on the first point: which question at stake? Saving time and
energy by preventing basically ill-stated debates ("comparing" methods with
different goals).


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