NOT-inflated Family Staphylinidae

Michael A. Ivie mivie at MONTANA.EDU
Fri Feb 11 13:05:53 CST 2005

Dear Ken,

If you are dyslexic, please let me know so that a medical difficulty in following written structure is not used against you.  But absent that, your argument techniques are so poor you really need to go take a basic English class, followed by a formal class in Logic.  The quoted word "drivel" in your response was 3 paragraphs away from the discussion of suborders, and referred to a class of your comments that was far broader than the way you tried to use it.  Since you routinely cut the message you respond to so as to obscure the references from that message, I think it must be intentional, which fits with your mastery of the non sequitur noted before.

What you "believe" is of no interest to a scientist, you should take that discussion to a faith-based list. Science is the subject here, and belief is not properly used as evidence.  I don't actually expect you to understand that, or anything else I have said, but am including it for completeness sake. So, the fact that your diversions were not on topic is just that -- a fact -- irrespective of your belief otherwise.  Overlumping has nothing to do with the situation under discussion, the groups are either internal to the taxon or not, and in this case, the 5 groups formerly recognized as families are internal to the taxon under discussion (the Staphylinidae, reiterated so you can stay on topic). They cannot be recognized as different families
in any useful, predictive, monophyletic system.  Further, the Staphylinidae cannot be usefully cut up mid-study just to satisfy some whim of "blance."  What we have now (the Staphylinidae, remember) is an excellent, predictive model for the group, based on the state-of-knowledge that is current. It will be modified in the future -- so what? Whether or not more basal clades are well understood or resolved has nothing to do with it.  Period.  Try to understand.  We are not discussing that.  Stay on topic!

Contrary to you avowals, you are not trying to prevent anything, because clearly you do not understand the issues, the characters, the taxa, nor the implications.  Your statement "I love cladistics" makes me very nervous.  Perhaps you should get out more?  It would appear that you are just looking to make noise and get attention.  DO NOT MISUNDERSTAND: this attention I am giving you is not to be confused with the respect you so clearly crave.

And, to the 47 private respondents (so far) who have supported this rebuff to a problem poster, thank you.

This is the end.  Ken will undoubtedly insist on the last word, so I will shorten the time to point that by signing off now.  I apologize to all of TAXACOM for this diatribe.


Ken Kinman wrote: Dear Michael:

>      Well, I believe my so-called "drivel" about coleopteran suborders actually is on topic.  To me the basal Polyphaga et hypothesis makes a lot more sense.  If Polyphaga are basal coleopterans, and Staphyliniformia keep sliding down toward the base of Polyphaga, we are talking about some really primitive beetles here.  Therefore, keep on expanding the Staphylinidae and you could end up with a family that is not only paraphyletic with respect to Scarabaeiformia, but even with respect to whole suborders (yikes!!!).
>       I am trying to prevent the creation of any paraphyly here, because that kind of paraphyly is not useful (but ironically it is strict cladists who often end up creating them inadvertently).  Overlumping can just as easily create paraphyly as prevent it (even more so in basal taxa), so it is a shame that cladistics courses increasingly fail to properly educated students about paraphyly (other than lumping it with polyphyly as "unnatural", which is totally false).  BTW, I would never call anyone a cladonazi, because I love cladistics, and some traditional systematists probably think I love cladistics too much (a few might even call ME a cladonazi).  But if someone wants to call you a "strictocladonazi", I would not object to that.  ;-)
>    ---- Ken
> P.S.  If some omnipotent deity did present us with a complete database on the interrelationships of all life forms (living and extinct), the rampant paraphyly that would become immediately apparent would be a strict cladist's nightmare (with the sudden realization that they HAVE been throwing the baby out with the bathwater).
> ******************************************************
> Michael wrote:
> As for your attempt to change the subject on the Coleoptera debate, I did not mention the subordinal tree at all, nor did Thayer nor Sikes.  You have no idea what any of us think about it, and it is not the subject of debate.  We were debating your idea of supporting non-monophyletic groups instead of a larger monophyletic ones in the Staphylinoidea.  Your diversion is another cheap attempt to change the subject after losing the argument.  We are talking about the Staphylinidae -- try to stay on topic.


Michael A. Ivie, Ph.D.
Department of Entomology
Montana State University
Bozeman, MT 59717

(406) 994-4610 (voice)
(406) 994-6029 (FAX)
mivie at

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