Fwd: Re: Galapagos scorpion and center of origin

pierre deleporte pierre.deleporte at UNIV-RENNES1.FR
Thu Apr 25 13:43:28 CDT 2002

>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
>>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. The goal is not to "win", but to understand. It's
nice that John participates so patiently in this already long-lasting
debate on Taxacom (John even likes to start the thread again 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 different approaches critically analysed
for their possible relevance to some questions, and for the similar or
alternative ways they deal with them.
I bet that many biogeography approaches will immediately differ on the
first point: what is the question at stake? Time and energy may be saved by
preventing basically ill-stated debates ("comparing" methods with different


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