Predictivity vs Useful

Richard.Zander at MOBOT.ORG Richard.Zander at MOBOT.ORG
Thu Feb 17 08:58:29 CST 2005

Support for emphasizing morphological data that supports molecular data vs
that which does not does not come from calling another scientist a cynic,
suggesting that statistics is a polemic, or calling on those of similar
mindset to be strong. The problem is scientific and interesting.

Richard H. Zander
Bryology Group, Missouri Botanical Garden
PO Box 299, St. Louis, MO 63166-0299 USA
richard.zander at <mailto:richard.zander at>
Voice: 314-577-5180;  Fax: 314-577-9595
Bryophyte Volumes of Flora of North America:
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4344 Shaw Blvd.
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-----Original Message-----
From: Peter Stevens [mailto:peter.stevens at MOBOT.ORG]
Sent: Thursday, February 17, 2005 7:07 AM
Subject: Re: [TAXACOM] Predictivity vs Useful

Indeed.  And I had already replied privately to Barry as follows:

>Absolutely!  But I can imagine a cynic's response - what about
>petiole anatomy (e.g.), what about flowers (which i could not look
>at for Peridiscaceae), etc.  But then one invokes yet other
>characters, and one might get involved in the molecules/morphology
>debate/polemics.  It is a grand life if you don't weaken.


>One must be wary of ascribing consilience to morphological traits that are
>discovered to happen to agree with molecular data when there exist possibly
>equal numbers of traits that do not agree (conformance rationalization) and
>support other arrangements. Jinking from one set of traits to another is
>okay if one set can be discounted in some way (e.g. statistically).
>Otherwise, the contrary sets remain to annoy.

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