[Taxacom] Robust argument

Richard Pyle deepreef at bishopmuseum.org
Sun Jun 28 16:14:16 CDT 2009


> Well, that morphology which is a combination of genetics plus 
> environment is only partly in the genome. The environment 
> part is not retrievable.

Ummmm...and to what extent is the environment part (i.e., without genetic
underpinnings) infromative about phylogeny (at least across what most of us
would refer to as evolutionary time scales)?

> And it's not just our inability to decipher that which is in 
> the genome, there's 2nd law of thermodynamics and maybe 
> Heisenberg uncertainty that limits how much can be stored 
> given the method and time of storage.

Double Grrrr!

Once again:  It is *NOT* my contention that a complete history of evolution
exists burried in the global genome.  Far, FAR from it!  I suspect that the
VAST VAST majority of information about evolutionary histories CANNOT be
extracted from the global genome -- even with a perfect and complete
understanding of how to extract such information from the Genome. In small
part because it may noth be possible (though I sort of doubt this), and in
large part because the information has long been
obscured/lost/"forgotten"/Heisenberg'd out of the genome.

Neither is it my contention that the global genome is the *only* source of
such information.  I was merely pressing John Grehan to answer whether he
thought the use of morphology for phylogenetic reconstructions was superior
to genetic/molecular analysis because morphology contains information useful
to that endeavor that does not exist in the genome, or because our ability
to *extract* the information from the genome was much less robust than some
people seem to think it is.  He answered that he believes the latter.


P.S. The aforementioned "Grrrr" growls were not directed at Richard Zander
or anyone else, but at my own seeming inability to express myself in a way
that is not so readily misunderstood.

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