Ashlock was treated badly

Robin Leech releech at TELUSPLANET.NET
Mon Jan 7 22:08:16 CST 2002

C'mon guys.  This is becoming a bun fight.
Robin Leech
----- Original Message -----
From: "Curtis Clark" <jcclark at CSUPOMONA.EDU>
Sent: Monday, January 07, 2002 8:35 PM
Subject: Re: Ashlock was treated badly

> At 02:07 PM 1/7/02, Ken Kinman wrote:
> >The "Holo" in holophyletic explicitly indicates a "Whole" complete
> >group, in contrast with monophyletic (mono means one, as in having one
> >origin, which says nothing about the group being whole or complete).
> Paraphyletic groups have a minimum of two origins: the origin of the
> inclusive clade and the origin(s) of the clades excluded from it. (T'Pau,
> one of Spock's mentors, says that to call such a group monophyletic is
> illogical.)
> >The strict cladists got their way, so
> >they could brand paraphyletic groups as "non-monophyletic", and since
> >are "incomplete" they should be branded as unnatural and destroyed.
> They *are* incomplete. Their incompleteness is in every sense but the most
> trivial a result of ad hoc human intervention, so they are unnatural.
> Unnatural groupings are not always bad (I think of the classification of
> books in a library), and paraphyletic groups are not necessarily bad,
> *unless they are presented as natural groups*. We strict cladists simply
> believe you can't have it both ways. Either a classification is natural,
> composed entirely of natural groups, or else it is artificial.
> (By "trivial", I mean that *every* paraphyletic group is natural in the
> sense that it can be described by boolean operations on clades, but since
> our classifications don't admit to a multitude of overlapping groups, the
> choice of a *specific* paraphyletic group and the rejection of others that
> overlap it is artificial.)
> >P.S.  And it strikes me as odd that Ashlock's attempt at precision should
> >regarded as illogical or unwarranted, and yet precision suddenly becomes
> >important when cladists want to distinguish "adjacency" and
> >of character states.  In most fields of human endeavour, "ordering"
> >encompasses both adjacency and directionality.
> There are places in the California South Coast Ranges where the adjacency
> of sediments is obvious, and consistent over wide areas. But, despite the
> second law of geomorphology ("newer sediments overlay older ones"), the
> directionality is not so obvious, since in other regions the same
> can be found in exactly the reverse top-to-bottom sequence. Subsequent
> studies showed that tectonic activities had folded the sediments like a
> taco, but initially there was no necessary relationship between adjacency
> and directionality.
> It seems to me that separating the two is a wise practice no matter what
> historical usage says.
> --
> Curtis Clark        
> Biological Sciences Department             Voice: (909) 869-4062
> California State Polytechnic University      FAX: (909) 869-4078
> Pomona CA 91768-4032  USA                  jcclark at

More information about the Taxacom mailing list