paraplaying (and bullies)

Ken Kinman kinman2 at YAHOO.COM
Wed Apr 7 16:57:50 CDT 2004

Dear Pierre and others,
      Well, I watched the two main sandboxes (traditional eclecticists and strict cladists) for over 20 years, fighting over funding, and taxa, and philosophy, and new student adherents.  But by 1994, I was still convinced that neither side had all the answers, so I created a new sandbox between them.  In my opinion, the bullies on both sides just need to learn to get along.
     I did consider Pierre's suggestion, but I personally will never give up all formal paraphyly, because such taxa can be useful, stable, and widely recognized (not to mention anagenetically informative).  I will NOT throw the baby out with the bath water just to be holophyletically consistent (the price is just too high).  And in over 30 years, I have seen far too many cases of strict cladism butchering classifications and clogging up the nomenclature with clade names (many of which eventually turn out to be non-holophyletic).
     As for a "super-Kinman" classification, something of that sort might be necessary for certain super-complex or super-speciose groups like beetles.  And what's wrong with that???  Scientists who want to store all this complex information in classifications have computers that could easily handle them if there was a will to do it in a less disruptive manner.  I just want to do it in a way that does not compromise the usefulness of classifications to billions of potential users.  The onus should be on the scientists to super-classify in a way (coding, markers, or whatever) that general users (including many scientists) can just ignore the encoded complexity and uncertainty and be content with a relatively stable classification that is uncumbered by scientific confusion and politics.  Storing complex and uncertain information in a myriad of formal clade names is nonsensical in my view, both theoretically and in practice (and this seems just as apparent to me today as it did 30 years ago).
      Anyway, I will get out my reptile classification and try to compromise a bit more to try and unruffle some of Curtis Clark's feathers.  Will put in Archosauria, Diapsida, and a couple of other major clades.  The Kinman System has flexibility that has yet to be tapped into.  I compromise because it makes sense to me (not because it is politically correct).  However, I will NOT be bullied into strictly adopting a Hennigian convention that WILL continue to cause problems indefinitely.  Well, I'll now return to my own sandbox and see what I can come up with on reptiles.
              ------ Ken Kinman
Pierre wrote:
One classic way to quiet down schoolyard bullying is to offer several clearly labelled sandboxes furnished with a diversity of attractive toys....
Note: though I repeatedly suggested to Ken to use names for monophyletic groups and labels for coining possible paraphyletic acception of the same terms, he apparently prefers naming paraphyletic groups and coding for monophyly. I still don't understand why Ken doesn't like my sugggestion, kind of logical "mirror image" to his own one....
 Of course my (friendly ironic) suggestion boils down to "strict monophyletic naming" with possible additional labels for occasional, and facultative, paraphyletic acception of some terms (e.g. Dinosaurs implicitly including birds, and *Dinosaurs-D6* explicitly excluding them)....
Ken seems to really persist in seeing things from only one side of the mirror, fiercely rejecting consistent monophyletic naming....
 Trying to force all of them into an apparently unique classificatory system would require a kind of "super-Kinman" classification, with combined names, num

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