[Taxacom] sloppy cladistic analyses

Kenneth Kinman kennethkinman at webtv.net
Tue Feb 2 21:18:44 CST 2010

Dear All:
      Although I don't ALWAYS agree with Michael Mortimer, his cladistic
analyses are far better than most.  Therefore, I find his following
critique of many recent cladistic practices and shortcomings very
seriously.  It reflects a broader problem among computer generated
so-called "information" and an alarming trend of  internet
DISINFORMATION now competing with or even outpacing good information.
       What one now finds on the internet, including scientific
information, must increasingly be taken with a huge grain of salt.  The
truism about computers in the hands of more sloppy users is
unfortunately an increasing reality:  "garbage in, garbage out."  This
is certainly true of cladistic analyses by those who just don't
critically evaluate the codings of previously analyses and just cut and
paste them and add a few of their own.  Adding a little new information
to a database riddled with garbage, and the garbage can overwhelm the
new information (whether the new information might be helpful or not).
As Mortimer says, it can give a false impression of consensus in
something that may or may not be true.  Here's a link to his concerns:


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