Phylocode, Cladistics and Eclecticism ...
Pierre.Deleporte at UNIV-RENNES1.FR
Wed Mar 13 12:20:02 CST 2002
At 06:26 13/03/2002 +0100, Sigfrid Ingrisch wrote:
>It looks to me the difference between "cladists" and "eclecticists" has
>not to do with science but with definition (or call it belief or view of
>According to the definition of a "cladist" speciation always gives rise
>to two new taxa even if one of the daughter taxa is genetically
>completely identic with the parent taxon. According to this definition
>paraphyletic taxa are artificial and should be eliminated. They are
>The "eclecticistic" definition differs. If after speciation one of the
>resulting taxa is genetically identic with what it was before, it is the
>same species. According to this definition one species may give rise so
>several daughter species. Thus paraphyletic taxa do really exist. They
>are also completely right.
>Because their definitions differ, they cannot understand each other.
It seems from the ongoing discussion that "they" understand each other to a
large extent, and "they" just disagree about which kind of information(s)
should better be conveyed, and how, by scientific names of classes of
There is also some danger of unusefully biaising the debate in putting
"them" in the same bag, or in only two bags, and overlooking the details of
The recent lecture of Platnick ("true cladist"? but what need to class
people this way?) precisely suggests to take into account the particular
case of the "species level" in an otherwise strictly cladistic hierarchy of
names-ranks + codes.
How can you prophetise that "they cannot understand", when obviously some
people simply do, even if on partial points?
Now you can't reduce eclecticism to the species problem, higher taxa are a
main concern. The example of Ken Kinman ("true eclecticist"??) considering,
on this very list, the possibility of explicitely labelling paraphyletic
groups in order to avoid ambiguity when the names are used in texts out of
the context of his complete classification is quite remarkable for me (no
joke). I don't view it as a "middle point compromise" at all, but simply
the logic consideration that a given name should better be interpreted
unambiguously, whatever the context, by all potential readers of this time.
Scientists should better not completely despair of mankind, they belong to
it (fear I'm turning tremendo-terrifically serious).
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