Darwin (was: Phylogenetic evidence)

Tom DiBenedetto tdib at OCEANCONSERVANCY.ORG
Sat Jul 13 14:19:24 CDT 2002

 Ken Kinman wrote: (quoting Knox)

>     "The distinction between systematization and classification has been
> politely overlooked or twenty years.  'Cladistic classification' is
> unattainable given the lack of class concepts in cladistics."

I seem to recall that the distinction is repeatedly raised from time to time. It strikes
me that there is a valid semantic point to be made, but I wonder about its relevance.
A systemazation of taxa can be presented, analyzed, discussed and used in a
manner that makes it indistinguishable from a classificaton. If anyone were to
demonstrate some harm that is being done by calling a phylogeny a classification,
then I am sure that we all would be more careful.

>      Knox does not quote Darwin, but alludes to such quotes:  "Darwin,
> Simpson, and others stated, in admittedly vague terms, that classification
> cannot be based solely on a knowledge of genealogy."

Don't you find that to be a silly statement Ken? Of course classification can be based
on geneaology alone - you and Knox may not wish to do so, but it is very obviously
possible to do.

>      It's a great paper, and reflects many of my own views on why monistic
> phylogenetic systematization is incapable of reflecting the dualistic (much
> less pluralistic) aspects of evolution.

Your views on why it is incapable? That is a strange way of putting it. It doesn't seem
to me to be much of a matter of opinion that phylogenetic systematics is "incapable"
of reflecting multiple aspects of evolution. It was never intended to do so - in fact it
was specifically intended not to do so.
The point of course is to allow for a coherent view of a single core aspect of
evolution, the geneaology.

Tom diBenedetto

More information about the Taxacom mailing list