Consensus (was: Google for Internet Database of all life...)

Ken Kinman kinman2 at YAHOO.COM
Tue Mar 21 20:42:02 CST 2006

     The Kinman System is a methodology (just as Hennig provided his strictly cladistic methodology), certainly not a consensus classification per se.  It is a means, not an end.  But it is a method that I believe will better lead to consensus classifications.  And after presenting selected classifications of my own, I will often make changes when feedback from other researchers (or new discoveries) convince me to do so.  Other researchers can likewise use the Kinman System to provide an alternative to my classification.

     But the important thing is that many workers can converge on the same basic classification (Phylum X, containing Classes A, B, C, D, E, F and G), and yet still reflect very different phylogenies of those Classes by using different coding.  In other words, we would have a consensus classification, but NOT a consensus phylogeny!!!  Those workers can debate their individual phylogenies for years, but everyone else can simply ignore the varying codings and enjoy a consensus classification that is very stable (and much less cluttered by the numerous intermediate taxa which strict cladism eventually generates).

     I think it is pretty clear that the primary objection to the Kinman System is that it allows the use of paraphyletic taxa to achieve stability, usefulness, and consensus (while strict cladism chokes off that very valuable, and dare I say essential, option----wherein lies strict cladism's widespread failure to achieve those goals).  What strict cladists should remember is that my classifications can be easily converted into a strict cladification (although that would very often make them less stable).  And also remember that some of my classifications contain no paraphyletic taxa at all (because it wasn't deemed necessary).  It's actually a very versatile methodology which aims to bring strict cladists and everyone else closer to a consensus on classifications that can serve the needs of both.  Otherwise, we face yet another 35 years of unproductive bickering and cladistic instability.  I would love to try to convince someone at Google to use their resources to end this war.
    ------Ken Kinman
Jim wrote:
How can you have a concensus in a system developed and endorsed by a single person?  For a concensus system I would imagine you would need at least two groups to be involved.

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