methods, implementations, passion

Nico Mario Franz nmf2 at CORNELL.EDU
Wed Mar 24 16:27:30 CST 2004

Hi Rich!

   I'm giving in to what may be a feature (of some) within our community
(if that exists) and overemphasize my miniscule disagreements with you,
while totally ignoring the overwhelming agreement.

   The somewhere-in-the-room notion that, when I took Kevin Nixon's
"Phylogenetic Systematics" class at Cornell and learned how to use his
program WinClada, along with reading mid-80s volumes of Cladistics, I
ALSO became a (more?) "difficult to deal with" person - is actually
more worthy of an attacker than of someone being attacked. There are
METHODS, and then there is a wide range in practice from rigid,
dogmatic, to flexible, tradition-accommodating ways to IMPLEMENT those

   It's a non sequitur that by using WinClada I also had to enter
confrontation-mode with most of my colleagues. I didn't. Articles and
textbooks may mix those issues up on occasion, but an individual
researcher should be given the benefit of the doubt. We expect no less
from others.

   Maybe something like a distinction of (1) being passionate about
organisms vs. (2) being passionate (to dogmatic) about methods would be
more helpful. Can we all team up against organism-disinterested, yet
one-rigid-method-enforcing "systematists"? My guess would be "no" since
"we" can't seem to team up against anything, other than ourselves of
course ;-)

Nico Franz

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