PhyloCode: The real problem...again...and again

Richard Zander Richard.Zander at MOBOT.ORG
Wed Jul 9 11:52:21 CDT 2003

Evaluating the Phylocode's worth is problematic. Take any scientific or
pseudoscientific blackbox system. It says "A not B". There are many ways to
use "A not B" that result apparent advance or new knowledge, but until such
knowledge is tested, the advance is only apparent. Blavatsky needed WWII.
Lysensko needed a bad harvest.

Another example is the use of cladograms to guide interpretations of
biogeography. Generally the biogeographic conclusions are either not
obviously right or wrong, or they are untested in a larger context. They get

Thus, one might suggest that the Phylocode might enjoy some popularity for
the near term, but as a context involving additional information (and
additional ways of viewing phylogenetic relationships) is developed over
time, its limitations will be evident and the merits of the Linnaean system
will be recognized.

On the other hand, I think there is a clear (philosophically, financially,
academically) separation now between systematists and taxonomists, and this
is not a good thing in the short or long term.

Richard H. Zander
Bryology Group
Missouri Botanical Garden
PO Box 299
St. Louis, MO 63166-0299
richard.zander at <mailto:richard.zander at>
Voice: 314-577-5180

-----Original Message-----
From: Dipteryx [mailto:dipteryx at FREELER.NL]
Sent: Wednesday, July 09, 2003 7:52 AM
Subject: Re: [TAXACOM] PhyloCode: The real problem...again

----- Original Message -----
From: Ron Gatrelle <gatrelle at TILS-TTR.ORG>
Sent: Wednesday, July 09, 2003 12:42 AM
Subject: Re: PhyloCode: The real problem...again

..... it
needs to generate something of substance to maintain this impetus.

This is not to say I am not worried, but actual implementation may have the
effect that the proponents of the PhyloCode get themselves involved with
getting it to tick and with solving the problems it raises and thus may not
have time for "conquest". Also, maybe we will find out what the PhyloCode is
worth in practice.

Paul van Rijckevorsel
Utrecht, NL

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