[Taxacom] Phylogenetic Classification?

Richard Zander Richard.Zander at mobot.org
Tue Jul 28 13:51:15 CDT 2009

Macroevolution is defined variously but mainly as generation of species
and higher taxa. When one taxon changes into another (or two into a
third in the case of polyploidy following hybridization), that's
macroevolution. Gradualists see little difference between macro and
microevolution, punctuationalists and saltationists see something of a

Seems I hit a nerve. Your discussion of Reptilia and Aves seems to turn
on whether one higher taxon can turn into another, which then revolves
around whether genera and higher taxa exist as real things or
representing something in nature worth talking about. That's a long
discussion in itself. I kind of think genera are real things, not just
necessary fantasies in Linnaean classification.

No, no, my adversaries are not creationists (that would be conspiracy
thinking or standard business practice, whichever), but they are
certainly fellow travelers.

-----Original Message-----
From: taxacom-bounces at mailman.nhm.ku.edu
[mailto:taxacom-bounces at mailman.nhm.ku.edu] On Behalf Of Curtis Clark
Sent: Monday, July 27, 2009 7:15 PM
To: taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu
Subject: Re: [Taxacom] Phylogenetic Classification?

On 2009-07-26 22:04, Richard Zander wrote:
> Linnaean classification is in the process of being cleansed of any
> of macroevolution.

And that is worse than having it riddled with undefined macroevolution 
(either the pattern or the process), how?

Leaving aside your mosses (which I don't know enough about to 
challenge), I see nothing in the evolution of birds from dinosaurs, 
based mainly upon Ken's analyses (so not biased by 
cladophylocreationistic thinking) that would suggest any unusual 
macroevolutionary events beyond the usual speciation as seen though the 
window of fossilization. It's all well and good to say that the Reptilia

gave rise to the Aves, but at some point a reptilian egg had to hatch 
into a bird, and that either has to represent a documented (if, of 
course, testably hypothetical) macroevolutionary event, or else it's 

> I abhor creationism, and am sorry that it is such a scary thing in
> California. On the other hand, classification is the basis for
> scientific study of nature, biodiversity, and natural processes.
> Classification by holophyly is a major disaster for Western science.
> it is happening now.

To me, feeling the necessity of tarring your opponents by calling them 
creationists is the mark either of an intellectually bankrupt idea, or 
an intellectually bankrupt person. Take your pick.

Curtis Clark                  http://www.csupomona.edu/~jcclark/

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