Inquiry re John Grehans studies of phylogeny reconstruction (was Re: Nature September 1 issue)

P.Hovenkamp Hovenkamp at NHN.LEIDENUNIV.NL
Mon Sep 12 14:31:03 CDT 2005

At 09:03 AM 9/10/2005 -0400, John Grehan wrote:

>It seems to me that equence studies involve the replacement in different
>combinations of four bases and deriving phylogenetic inferences from those
>combinations according to tree building procedures while morphology
>involves hypotheses of homology for each individual character in order to
>make three taxon statements. The methdological procedures are different in
>each case.

But John, have you analyzed the method yet?


>It seems to me that what is being said here is that if one conforms to a
>particular belief about the cause of similarities then one cannot be
>selective about characters. We would have to agree to disagree here.
>Shared primitive characters, for example, are not of the same status as
>shared derived. Combining the two in a way that would not allow their
>respective identification would produce illusary groupings.

Apparently, you have not.


>Or that they just have a different understanding of the principles of
>science (if there are really any such principles)

Sure there are. One of them is that we are willing to study a topic before
we pontificate on it.
By continuously pronouncing judgments on issues that John Grehan by his own
admission has not analyzed, he shows himself little better (if at all) than
a flat-earther who has never seen a ship disappear below the horizon, yet
is prepared to dismiss such observations as irrelevant.

Peter Hovenkamp

Peter Hovenkamp
Nationaal Herbarium Nederland - Leiden
Tel. 071-5274732

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