[Taxacom] Position Announcement

John Grehan jgrehan at sciencebuff.org
Tue Oct 30 13:29:23 CDT 2007


A fair question indeed. I think I would avoid the pom-poms, but I would
not be as upset (or upset at all) with a solely morphological study
because I have my own bias which is that morphological analysis is
cladistically defensible as being cladistic whereas molecular methods
are basically phenetics dressed up in cladistic terminology and
techniques (I know, I know, others on this list think I am nuts).

But if the advertisement has said that they were only interested in
creating a molecular phylogeny then that at least would be precise. My
disagreement with that choice would not matter.

As in the first paragraph, I am not for the view that one is better off
doing both morphological and molecular approaches.

By the way, I submitted a paper on hominid origins that created some
strong objections from reviewers who did not at all like the idea that
molecular evidence could be wrong when morphology pointed to an
alternative (fortunately the editors took the position that a minority
view did not of itself preclude publication).

John Grehan

> -----Original Message-----
> From: taxacom-bounces at mailman.nhm.ku.edu [mailto:taxacom-
> bounces at mailman.nhm.ku.edu] On Behalf Of Richard Pyle
> Sent: Tuesday, October 30, 2007 2:11 PM
> To: taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu
> Subject: Re: [Taxacom] Position Announcement
> Hi John,
> Even though I quietly root for you from the sidelines in your campaign
> "molecules don't tell the whole story" (or, as I would put it "we
> know
> enough about molecules yet to read the whole story from them"); in the
> interest of fairness, I have to ask in the context of your comment:
> > Presumably not just from the molecular perspective?
> If the position announcement was for a morphological phylogeneticist,
> would
> you also jump in and comment, "Presumably not just from the
> perspective?" My hunch is, you would probably not (indeed, I bet you'd
> your pom-poms out the way I sometimes do on this list).
> I don't know why I'm writing this -- maybe just a bit ornery from
> insufficient sleep last night.  But I guess my point is that the same
> rationale that would cause one to presume "not just" one line of
> should work both ways.  Personally, I have no problem with studies
> involve only one kind of evidence or the other -- as long as the
> conclusions
> recognize the limitations.  Studies that involve a concordance of both
> kinds
> of evidence are better, of course (well...usually, anyway...) -- but
> you're going to condone studies involving only one kind of evidence,
> should also be prepared to condone those involving only the other kind
> evidence.
> Cantankerous from Kaneohe,
> Rich
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