Paraphyly=mistakes? (There's the rub)

Herbert R. Jacobson HJJACOBSON at AOL.COM
Wed Jan 9 10:47:15 CST 2002

In a message dated 1/9/02 7:16:02 AM Pacific Standard Time,
tdib at writes:

> Thus we develop methods by which various hypotheses can be tested, and
> various inferences can be evaluated. I dont understand your objection to
> the use of the word "best" - clearly every science has methods for
> evaluating inferences, and consensus forms around those inferences deemed

       I have no argument about using best in the way that you have in the
above statement. Here best means the best "results" using a particular method
and evaluated by a particular criteria, for example the most parsimonious.
       But the only way you can use best when referring to the truth is by
comparing several competing hypotheses to the truth to judge which is best.
If you already know the truth, then why mess around with the rest of the
stuff. If you don't know the truth then you have no way of determining which
hypothesis is best in the sense of closest to the truth.
       We may wish with all our hearts to try and glimpse the truth, but the
many contradictory results produced to date indicate that we are not doing
well in the area, and it doesn't appear to be getting any better.


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