Latin names versus scientific names [was: So much for nomenclatural stability]

Ken Kinman kinman2 at YAHOO.COM
Thu Mar 10 22:56:49 CST 2005

     While what you state is true, I am pretty sure Thomas was using monothetic in a different sense----namely that cladistic classification reflects one kind of information (genealogical branching) and gives very little (if any) anagenetic information ("divergence").  (ADDED NOTE:  I just read Tom's response to you, and now I am very sure that is the sense in which he was using the term monothetic).

      In his 1979 paper, "The Limits of Cladism" (Systematic Zoology, 28:416-440), David Hull bemoaned the fact that "no methods have been set out thus far which permit the inclusion of both sorts of information [genealogy and divergence] in a single classification in such a way that both are retrievable."  This is understandable, for although I had devised such methods in 1977-78, they weren't published until 1994.  The Kinman System is polythetic, in the sense that it reflects both genealogy and anagenetic divergence.  It is also polythetic in that it maintains the predictivity of cladifications with sacrificing other important attributes (such as stability and utility).

      Strictly cladistic classifications lack the class concepts which allow multiple goals to be achieved simultaneously in a single classification.  This especially true as a classification extends beyond the taxonomic range within which most taxonomists work (at higher and higher ranks).  It's sort of like a form of taxonomic provincialism, and it's not really surprising that strict cladism has won a lot of converts.  For example, Hennig's methodologies work pretty well for the Diptera (where a larger percentage of taxa are extant and fossils are therefore relatively less important to phylogenetic reconstruction).  In any case, if anyone is guilty of trying to force a single classificatory methodology on all organisms, it is the strict cladists' monothetic approach, and Thomas Lammers is certainly correct in criticizing those who continue to display such a simplistic attitude.  Although the vast majority of taxonomists have just been silently rolling their eyes when confronting strict cladifications over the past few decades, some have actually been actively criticizing it (more in botany than in zoology).  The strict cladists have simply ignored their warnings, wallowing in blissful ignorance of the bigger picture, and now we have a quite a mess to contend with (although it would have been much worse if PhyloCode has been proposed earlier).  A new synthesis is not going to be easy, but it IS inevitable.
Date:         Thu, 10 Mar 2005 17:55:40 -0800
From:         Curtis Clark <jcclark-lists at EARTHLINK.NET>
Subject:      Re: Latin names versus scientific names [was: So much for
              nomenclatural stability]

on 2005-03-10 05:27 Thomas G. Lammers wrote:
> [...] monothetic view of
> cladistics.

This is a common misconception.  Even if there is only a single synapomorphy at a node, a cladistic classification is in no sense monothetic, since all the apomorphies above and below that node also help support its monophyly.

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