[Taxacom] Phylogenetic Classification?

Richard Zander Richard.Zander at mobot.org
Sun Jul 26 13:55:46 CDT 2009

One might even stretch Lammers' "religious dogma" aspect as follows: 

Cladists must avoid any direct implication that one taxon gives rise to another because such is contrary to creationist doctrine. A paraphyletic group is an ancestor. Of course it is. Should anyone recognize a paraphyletic group then anathema sit! A purely cladistic tree is of only nested descendants, and is inferred from a cladogenetic model (not using ancestor-descendant inferences). One might even suggest that clades of the animal and plant kingdoms match nicely the order in which organisms were created during the First Week. 

(Okay, it's a silly conspiracy theory, but we all enjoy conspiracy theories, right?)

Although cladists do use the phrase "shared ancestor," never are such ancestors named, because if they are named then all taxa would be paraphyletic, and collapse via holophyly classification into one taxon. The alternative to this is to abandon the Haeckel-Hennig system and go back to Darwin/neoDarwinian evolutionary taxonomy. But Darwin fought the creationists, didn't he. What would he think of classification by holophyly?

(The above is a silly conspiracy theory, right? Someone reassure me I'm joking.)

-----Original Message-----
From: taxacom-bounces at mailman.nhm.ku.edu [mailto:taxacom-bounces at mailman.nhm.ku.edu] On Behalf Of Thomas Lammers
Sent: Saturday, July 25, 2009 12:30 PM
To: taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu
Subject: [Taxacom] Phylogenetic Classification?

----- Original Message -----
From: kennethkinman at webtv.net (Kenneth Kinman)

I've said it before and I'll say it again: cladistics is a philosophically flawed approach to classification.  A wonderfully useful method for constructing phylogenetic hypotheses and inferring past evolutionary events has been corrupted and perverted into a scientically-bankrupt approach to classification, by those who seek a simplistic religious dogma to worship.  I wish that I were clever enough, sufficiently well-read in the pertinent literature, to deliver the coup de grĂ¢ce that this flawed philosophy deserves, but I am not.  On the other hand, I am not enough of an organic chemist to thoroughly analyze the chemical content of horse manure, either.  But I *do* know enough not to step in it.

Thomas G. Lammers, Ph.D.

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