[Taxacom] Usefulness (and paraphyly discussions)

Richard Zander Richard.Zander at mobot.org
Thu Dec 23 12:39:49 CST 2010

Paraphyletic groups are unnatural because they are structuralist constructions involving nonempirical hidden causes and unobservable or unnamed entities. They are relationships in the present. They are evidence that COULD be used to form theories, but unnamed "shared ancestors," if preserved as part of the solution, block that. 

If "some workers do go beyond mere phylogenetic analysis (and don't skip the theory part)" as you say, that's fine, and then the paraphyletic group becomes a theory of diachronic relationship, and is scientific, since you can name the node.

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Richard H. Zander 
Missouri Botanical Garden, PO Box 299, St. Louis, MO 63166-0299 USA 
Web sites: http://www.mobot.org/plantscience/resbot/ and http://www.mobot.org/plantscience/bfna/bfnamenu.htm
Modern Evolutionary Systematics Web site: http://www.mobot.org/plantscience/resbot/21EvSy.htm

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