[Taxacom] More precise sound bite

Barry Roth barry_roth at yahoo.com
Fri Mar 27 23:45:48 CDT 2009

I'm not sure why I would want to make a classification unless I thought I could get something more out of it than what I put into it.*  And I think this boils down to predictivity.  Because of the fact of organic evolution, the classification that best serves this need / desire will be one strongly grounded in phylogeny.  As Darwin long ago pointed out.  This also makes me more look charitably on monophyletic (i.e., holophyletic) groups than paraphyletic groups.
*Ruling out purely aesthetic considerations.  Early in my career as a museum scientist, I did love it when a drawer of specimens was all neatly curated, and a notebook page of taxon names likewise.  You have to get it out of your system ...
Barry Roth

--- On Fri, 3/27/09, Mike Dallwitz <m.j.dallwitz at netspeed.com.au> wrote:

Mario Blanco wrote:

> This discussion is getting too long and going nowhere. Although it should 
> be obvious, no one in this thread has recognized that classifications are 
> mere instruments with no existence outside of the human mind. There is no 
> absolute superior classification. It's all dependent of what your 
> particular needs are.

I tried to point this out (perhaps too obliquely) in a short posting on 17 

"What do we want [a classification] to _achieve_? General predictivity? 
Providing convenient names for things we want to talk about?"

There were no responses. Perhaps the general opinion is that an argument is 
more entertaining if you don't define what you are arguing about.

> To say "my classification is better than yours" is merely a matter of 
> opinion

Not necessarily, provided that you specify the criteria for evaluating the 

Mike Dallwitz
Contact information: http://delta-intkey.com/contact/dallwitz.htm
DELTA home page: http://delta-intkey.com


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