Cladistics and Eclecticism

Thomas DiBenedetto tdib at OCEANCONSERVANCY.ORG
Tue Feb 12 12:38:13 CST 2002

-----Original Message-----
From: SKÁLA Zdenek 
Nice that we can agree.
Yes, this seems to be the last issue that is really in dispute:
...Only if you are defining the right history representation in the sense of
holophyly ("including all descendants") you can speak about
misrepresentation of history. Eclecticists evidently define right history
representation otherwise (having a common ancestor) and hence represent the
history correctly. Hence, again, this is a matter of definition what is
"true representation" and the discussion could easily become tautological.
I speak of misrepresentation of history because the tree and the
classifcation is proclaimed to be reflective of history. Given that the
history of lineage divergences is the historical framework of diversity -
given that the tree, if it is to refer to anything, refers to that history,
any presentation that distorts that historical framework is a
misrepresentation. If the eclecticists were to proclaim that their
classifcations were ahistorical, then I could not make this objection. If
they claim their classifications are historical, and used some other
framework (quinarian, for example), then no-one would confuse their
classifcation framework with the lineage history. Of course, they would have
to explain what it is about history that they mean to represent, but maybe
they could do so. But to use a hierarchy, a tree, and to claim the
classification is true to history, will inevitably cause everyone to assume
that the tree represents the framework of lineage divergences. Even in
Darwin's Origin (the source of the problem of eclecticism) , the one figure,
a tree, is unmbiguously meant to represent lineages through time. But the
distortions to the hierarchical framework that are inherent to eclectic
classification mean that the framework does not represent lineage
divergences.  Therefore they are confusing misreprentations.


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