Boolean games (was: Latin names versus scientific names)

Ken Kinman kinman2 at YAHOO.COM
Fri Mar 11 08:36:39 CST 2005

      Yes, we are well aware that every paraphyletic group can be so specified by Boolean operations, but why should we ALWAYS have to do so just because you strict cladists DEFINE paraphyly as bad and unnatural?   Until relatively recently taxon Sarcopterygii referred to lob-finned fishes (and most of us would like to continue doing so).  Unfortunately, if we follow strict cladism's new definition, it includes all their tetrapod descendants as well (including us).

      Therefore, if we want to use your Boolean operations to specify lob-finned fishes, they become "non-stegocephalian Sarcopterygii".  That's even worse than dinosaurs becoming "non-avialian Dinosauria" ("non-avian Dinosauria" doesn't work any more since Aves was declared a crown group).  And for heaven's sake, should we avoid saying "reptile", when we could say "non-avialian, non-mammalian Amniota".  These Boolean games are just going to get worse (hundreds or even thousands of such tongue-twisters if this keeps spreading beyond herpetology).  Well, plain and simple, we've had ENOUGH of this, and we aren't just going to roll our eyes any more.  And this is just one of the many side-effects of "paraphylophobia" (which I define as the fear of formal paraphyly, which is clearly a learned response).
   ---Ken Kinman
Curtis Clark wrote:
     And keep well in mind that every paraphyletic group can be specified by Boolean operations on clades, and therefore paraphyletic groups *are also diagnosed by synapomorphy*. (A symplesiomorphy is simply a synapomorphy turned upside down, and every other character is a homoplasy. I'm sure you don't advocate classification by homoplasy.)

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