[Taxacom] Phylocriminetics

Stephen Thorpe stephen_thorpe at yahoo.co.nz
Wed Dec 29 15:43:40 CST 2010

well, we may or may not agree, I'm not sure either, but one point: why does 
*everything* have to be judged on how "scientific" it is? Science is surely a 
tool for a purpose, and it must be used in conjunction with other tools (like 
information management), but it is surely a mistake to judge the *other* 
tools on how "scientific" they are? Just as an amusing analogy:
How good is she in bed? Well, OK, but just not quite scientific enough for me 
(though the white lab coat was a nice touch!!)

From: Richard Zander <Richard.Zander at mobot.org>
To: Richard Pyle <deepreef at bishopmuseum.org>; Stephen Thorpe 
<stephen_thorpe at yahoo.co.nz>; taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu
Sent: Thu, 30 December, 2010 10:27:00 AM
Subject: RE: [Taxacom] Phylocriminetics

Maybe we are agreeing since there may be a confusion between using the
term paraphyly, which I reject since there is an alternative:
macroevolution, and eliminating names because they cause other taxa to
be paraphyletic, which I also reject. 

The discovery and documentation of biodiversity comes first ONLY if
nomenclatural changes associated with elimination of paraphyly are
rejected. It is scientific to retain apophyletic (= autophyletic, or
paraphyly causing) names, particularly when the names represent
macroevolutionarily important taxa, e.g. polar bears or Cactaceae. It is
also scientific to reject the whole concept of using sister-group
analysis alone to make classifications, which was what my analogic
parable was about. 

I think I'm glad that I think we agree.

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

-----Original Message-----
From: Richard Pyle [mailto:deepreef at bishopmuseum.org] 
Sent: Wednesday, December 29, 2010 2:41 PM
To: Richard Zander; 'Stephen Thorpe'; taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu
Subject: RE: [Taxacom] Phylocriminetics

> How does retaining some paraphyletic groups for taxonomic
> purposes aid science? Which comes first, taxonomy or science?

The discovery and documentation of biodiversity should ALWAYS come
first. I
don't care whether you label this taxonomy, or classify it as
science....what matters is that as populations of organisms disappear
they are currently doing at perhaps unprecedented rates), the vast, vast
majority of them will leave absolutely no trace of their existence.
burning the last copy of a book, whatever secrets they had to share
the "pages" of their genomes will be lost forever.

Hypothesizing relationships and speculating about theoretical
of inferred evolutionary processes are nice intellectual endeavors, but
should take a back seat to pure discovery and documentation.



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