[Taxacom] Phylogenetic classification?

Kenneth Kinman kennethkinman at webtv.net
Sun Jul 26 21:57:01 CDT 2009

Curtis wrote: 
      Actually, I find it offensive. Maybe Missouri doesn't
have any creationists, so it's easy to sling the term around as a
hypothetical, but here in California we accept creationism as a serious
Hi Curtis, 
       I can understand how you find it offensive.
Although I agree with Richard in finding strict cladism rather dogmatic,
the comparison to creationists seems a stretch (in that religious dogma
tends to be far more extreme and dangerous).   Therefore, creationism
seems to me to be much more of a threat, and however much damage I think
strict cladistic nomenclature might be causing, the damage caused by
creationists to biology is far more serious. 
       Therefore, my scientific debate will continue to be
with strict cladists, the vast majority who are clearly competent
scientists (although I clearly disagree with them on classificatory
philosophy).   Trying to debate creationists, on the other hand, is
almost a totally futile exercise (although necessary in some educational
contexts).  In any case, biologists really need to provide a united
front against creationism, so I don't think it is really helpful to
compare such allies (in that wider debate) to the hard-core creationists
(whose dogma is far more extreme and damaging). Since I doubt that we
have any creationists actively participating here in our paraphyly
debate, it seems counterproductive to continue bringing them into our
      However, this will not keep me from jumping on paraphylophobia
when I see it being expressed.   So within the above context, I think it
be would far, far more productive to discuss the ideas expressed in the
1998 paper by Eric Knox (1998) which I discussed yesterday.  It really
is a wonderful paper.
                              Ken Kinman

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