Predictivity vs Useful

Barry Roth barry_roth at YAHOO.COM
Mon Feb 14 08:29:44 CST 2005

Does anyone seriously doubt that, because of the fact of organic evolution, the
classification that maximizes predictivity will be the one most fully based on
genealogy/phylogeny?  For a given clade that is rich in homoplasy, prediction
of the distribution of unanalyzed or undiscovered characters will be more
chancey than in "better-behaved" clades, but this is true regardless of the
basis used for its classification.

I'm not sure why I would want to classify things to begin with,* unless I
thought I could get out of the classification more than I put into it -- and
this implies predictivity.  Therefore the search for the optimal classification
involves the search for the truest estimate of phylogeny.  At this moment in
history, the best tool kit happens to be the protocols of cladistic analysis.

Barry Roth

*The comfort or convenience of how I arrange taxa in my specimen drawers or my
mental file cabinet are surely trivial in this respect, no matter how it may
pain a taxonomist to say so.

--- Ken Kinman <kinman2 at YAHOO.COM> wrote:

>      The goal should NOT be to simply maximize predictivity (at the expense
> of other uses), but to maximize the overall level of usefulness.

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