[Taxacom] The future of taxonomy

Stephen Gaimari SGaimari at cdfa.ca.gov
Thu Feb 19 14:18:03 CST 2009

Ken - I think you overstate the influence of "PhyloCode cladists". They are an outer-rim minority, who really don't have much influence on systematics or how it is done, as I see it. PhyloCode will never stick. And they aren't getting all the grant money either - not by a long shot (of course, it's not like systematics gets that much anyway compared to other sciences). The cladistic philosophy is not dangerous to taxonomy at all - it's not as though there is some evil cladistic empire preventing everyone who doesn't follow their dogma to publish. Also just to address your statement "[strict cladists are...] unwilling to compromise on allowing formal paraphyletic taxa" - I'm really not sure what you mean be "allowing", as if there is some group of people out there that are making the decisions to allow or disallow scientific hypotheses.
Dr. Stephen D. Gaimari
Program Supervisor (Entomology) &
Co-Curator, California State Collection of Arthropods

Plant Pest Diagnostics Lab
California Department of Food and Agriculture
3294 Meadowview Road
Sacramento, CA 95832-1448, USA

916-262-1131 (tel.)
916-262-1190 (fax)
sgaimari at cdfa.ca.gov 

>>> Kenneth Kinman <kennethkinman at webtv.net> 2/19/2009 12:02 PM >>>
       I wasn't to trying to imply any kind of conspiracy
among funding agencies. It's not particular researchers being given
preferential treatment, but the preferential treatment given to "strict
cladism" in general.  However, the result is still the same, and the
most extreme manifestation (PhyloCode) is terribly short-sighted.    
       Likewise, I don't think most in the financial
community thought that all their "derivatives" would result in our
current financial crisis. It wasn't a broad conspiracy as much as it was
a willingness to ignore the warning signs and enjoy the party as long as
it lasted. Trouble is that we are now all paying dearly for their
short-sightedness. I think strict cladism is dangerous to the long term
health of taxonomy and an acceleration in instability is going have
wide-reaching consequences in the future. And all because strict
cladists dislike paraphyly and are unwilling to compromise on allowing
formal paraphyletic taxa. PhyloCode is in my opinion a horrible mixture
of simplistic thinking and complicated language (like much of the
legislation generated by the U.S. Congress). 
                  --------Ken Kinman 


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