Predictivity vs Useful

Barry Roth barry_roth at YAHOO.COM
Thu Feb 17 08:39:10 CST 2005

Yes, this is basically a restatement of the fundamental fact underlying the
endeavour of taxonomy:  characters do not all evolve in lock step.  (If they
did, most of our debates would disappear, and a lot of us would have to find
other lines of work!)

The verb "jinking" was a new one to me, and I take exception to its meanings
(to dodge, to make a sudden evasive turn [aeronautics], or to cheat) when you
apply them to inspecting data sets for congruence/incongruence.  My bad, maybe,
was saying the consilience was "neat," which is an aesthetic judgment.  Out of
correctness, I should probably have followed it up with a disclaimer, something
like "but we need to continue our studies."



--- Richard.Zander at MOBOT.ORG wrote:

> 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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