[Taxacom] Underlying synapomorphy

Richard Zander Richard.Zander at mobot.org
Wed Mar 11 12:43:14 CDT 2009

I meant that when there are a number of alternatives, scientists generally feel they can act on one if the alternatives are improbable, and if the alternatives to the best are not so improbable, then they entertain the best, but do not necesarily act on it.
Also, regarding "stories," humankind is a storyteller. This is our strength. Relying on methods guaranteed by those who sell them to produce great results is an old, sad story. Stories are hypotheses and scientific stories are scenarios usually based on interesting preliminary data. Then we test the stories. Scientific laws are stories generally accepted as histories teaching lessons applicable to today's problems. 
"Stories" is a canard invented by postmodernists who shrug off all science as snippets of many stories stitched together into a new story.
Richard H. Zander
Missouri Botanical Garden
PO Box 299
St. Louis, MO 63166 U.S.A.
richard.zander at mobot.org
From: taxacom-bounces at mailman.nhm.ku.edu on behalf of Kipling (Kip) Will
Sent: Sat 3/7/2009 8:37 PM
To: taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu
Subject: [Taxacom] Underlying synapomorphy

"Underlying synapomorphy" is more or less equivalent to the notion of
atavism and largely overlapping with orthogenesis. Taken as hypothesized
explanations of observed patterns these are relatively harmless as long
as one recognizes what is actual observation and what is a good story.
But confusing pattern and process is a venerable part of our field I fear.

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