[Taxacom] Lumping and Splitting

Peter Stevens peter.stevens at mobot.org
Fri Sep 7 08:26:35 CDT 2007

But the old problem was no better. The problem of "when is a gap a  
gap?", is rather like is the beam in my eye smaller than the mote in  
the other guy's eye? Also, if one is cautious about going from  
cladogram to classification, there may be rather fewer problems with  
this "cladogram du jour" than one might think.  Et puis?

On Sep 6, 2007, at 7:56 PM, Richard Pyle wrote:

> I haven't been able to figure out yet whether I'm a lumper or a  
> splitter.  I
> have at one time or another been accused (or have accused myself)  
> of being
> both.  I think my strongest bias is neither for lumping nor  
> splitting, but
> rather preserving existing nomenclatural stability unless given a  
> damn good
> reason to change things.
> My own belief is that much of the arguments about cladistc vs.  
> eclectic
> approachs to nomenclatural systematics (as well as arguments about  
> molecular
> vs. morphological characters in shaping nomenclatural  
> classification) is
> ultimately rooted in differences about what constitutes a "damn  
> good reason"
> to alter existing nomenclature.
> Aloha,
> Rich
> P.S. My use of the qualifier "nomenclatural" in front of  
> "systematics" and
> "classification" above is intended to reflect the fact that I'm  
> perfectly
> happy to see a million alternative cladograms representing alternate
> hypotheses about phylogenetic affinities among a group of organisms  
> -- using
> whatever metric any author wants to use.  It only represents a  
> problem when
> otherwise stable Linnaean nomenclature is contorted in order to  
> assert one's
> own cladogram du joir.
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