[Taxacom] Molecular data and synapomorphies

J. Kirk Fitzhugh kfitzhug at nhm.org
Wed Dec 3 16:10:57 CST 2008

Richard Zander wrote:
> Total evidence is not that, since we are combining in one analysis molecular data on genetic continuity with morphological data from studies searching out conservative probably selectively linked traits. Combining apples and orangs give cole slaw. 
Ah, but only if the requirement of total evidence could be so easily 
dismissed!  It can't -- which should come as no surprise, given that no 
philosophers of science have shown how one could rationally do without 
it.  The causal questions being asked of sequence data are no different 
from those asked of any other properties of organisms to which 
phylogenetic theories are being applied.


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