[Taxacom] The Reality (or not) of Species (again!)`

Curtis Clark jcclark-lists at earthlink.net
Mon Sep 15 21:43:21 CDT 2008

On 2008-09-15 05:40, Thomas G. Lammers wrote:
> Is anyone really advocating that?  I certainly am not. 

I'm relieved to hear that. I've heard plenty of "modern nominalists"
over the past two decades, who advocate exactly that (the "pattern
cladists" come to mind).

> I brought it up 
> because I think too many cladists have their noses so close to the 
> grindstone that they lose sight of the *reality* underlying what their 
> method attempts to reflect. 

I think that's an issue for a lot of scientists, not just cladists.

> I'll be clear.  I do not advocate ignoring anything.  In fact, THAT is my 
> accusation of many cladists: that they IGNORE too much reality in a 
> desperate desire to make their method "work".  It's a house of cards.

I agree that too much "reality" (whatever that is), or more
specifically, prior knowledge, context, and alternate explanations, are
ignored. I don't see that this makes cladistics any more a "house of
cards" than any other investigational approach. It's not the tools, it's
how they are used. And just because there is a "Church of the Sacred
Hammer", that doesn't mean that hammers are not useful.

Curtis Clark                  http://www.csupomona.edu/~jcclark/
Director, I&IT Web Development                   +1 909 979 6371
University Web Coordinator, Cal Poly Pomona

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