[Taxacom] Phylogenetic Classification?

Thomas G. Lammers lammers at uwosh.edu
Mon Jul 27 08:28:05 CDT 2009

At 08:08 AM 7/27/2009, John Grehan wrote:
>What is the scientific dogma of classification (and phylogeny) that you 

A loaded question.  I follow no dogma.  Dogma is anathema to science.

I have no problem with cladistic methodologies for reconstructing/inferring 
evolutionary history.  Best tool available for that job.

My quarrel is with the way in which the results of phylogenetic analysis is 
applied to classification, specifically paraphylophobia.  To state that 
paraphyletic groups are meaningless is an a priori assumption not supported 
by subsequent examination of the data.  Good science does not come to a 
conclusion first (e.g., Paraphyly Is Bad) before examining the data.  The 
data suggest that many paraphyletic groups are quite useful for 
classification purposes.

Thomas G. Lammers, Ph.D.

Associate Professor and Curator of the Herbarium (OSH)
Department of Biology and Microbiology
800 Algoma Blvd.
University of Wisconsin Oshkosh
Oshkosh, Wisconsin 54901-8640 USA

e-mail:       lammers at uwosh.edu
phone:      920-424-1002
fax:           920-424-1101

Plant systematics; classification, nomenclature, evolution, and 
biogeography of the Campanulaceae s. lat.

"Today's mighty oak is yesterday's nut that stood his ground."
                                                               -- Anonymous

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