Cladistics and "Eclecticism"

Curtis Clark jcclark at CSUPOMONA.EDU
Sun Feb 3 12:24:08 CST 2002

At 11:16 AM 2/3/02, Barry Roth wrote:
>  Not so much a reply as a request for clarification:  did the term
> "Eclecticism" (should that be "Eclectism"?  we don't say "Cladisticism")
> exist before its usage in the threads of TAXACOM?

Yes. I first heard it in the early 1980s, referring to the group of
systematists who used "clique analysis" to construct cladograms and who
accepted "convex" groups, which included both mono- and paraphyletic
groups. It is IMO basically the same as the "evolutionary systematics" of

>And does it logically stand on the same footing as "-isms" like
>Cladistics, namely, having a fundamental group of principles, even though
>possibly with different ideas as to how to implement those principles?

Again IMO, yes, since "eclectics" explicitly accept both cladogenesis and
anagenesis as bases for classification.

*It is interesting how words take on propaganda value even in systematics.
"Evolutionary classification" is obviously better than all those
"anti-evolutionary" classifications, and of course who would want to use
the "arbitrary species concept" instead of the "biological species
concept"? Even "eclectic" has favorable connotations, especially when
contrasted with those "orthodox" cladists. Ironically, "Darwinian" is used
in a pejorative sense by both creationists and panbiogeographers.

Curtis Clark        
Biological Sciences Department             Voice: (909) 869-4062
California State Polytechnic University      FAX: (909) 869-4078
Pomona CA 91768-4032  USA                  jcclark at

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