The nature of cladistics [...]

Curtis Clark jcclark-lists at EARTHLINK.NET
Mon Nov 22 07:45:35 CST 2004

on 2004-11-22 04:57 pierre deleporte wrote:
> A phylogeny is effectively a historical sketch (hence a "construct" of
> our minds, pace Curtis Clark). But, be it a view of the past or a view
> of the future, biological processes do not "act upon" any conceptions of
> the human mind in themselves.
> Strange to see how rampant reification still affects contemporaneous
> systematics.

I sit here thinking of how population geneticists and population
ecologists can't even agree on what constitutes a "population" (is it
even a "construct" if there is no agreement about it?), and I guess I
would have to say that "reification" in your sense still affects
contemporary science.

We can never directly study reality, but only our perception and
conception of it. It seems to me that, as scientists, we have to make
the assumption that our perceptions and conceptions have more than a
random relationship with whatever "reality" might be; otherwise we are
just another faith-based organization.

In any event, I totally reject your assertion that phylogeny is in any
way different from any other "useful construct" in biology, and I
explicitly include in that group "population", "individual", and "gene".

Curtis Clark        
Web Coordinator, Cal Poly Pomona                 +1 909 979 6371
Professor, Biological Sciences                   +1 909 869 4062

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