[Taxacom] Tardigrades ----> to Nematodes

Doug Yanega dyanega at ucr.edu
Tue Feb 16 16:14:46 CST 2010

Mike Ivie wrote:

>Let us say that Kenman's ideas are
>nothing but what Gould called "just so stories."

Some are more "just so" than others, of course; there is one author 
claiming that the larvae of holometabolous insects are the result of 
lateral gene transfer from Onychophora. Put that scenario together 
with the proposal from another author that Onychophora are descended 
from Myriapoda, and you have a pretty convoluted story, indeed: 
insect larvae have prolegs due to genes that originated in myriapods.

Are all such hypotheses deserving of being tested, and if so, how 
much of NSF's budget should be devoted to them? (and how do I get me 
some of that there money - I can come up with LOTS of interesting 
hypotheses like these!)   ;-)

All kidding aside, *is* there a limit, some set of criteria, which 
distinguishes something worth pursuing from something NOT worth 
pursuing? It's virtuous and noble to have an open mind, but not so, 
to be gullible. I'm not trying to start a debate here, but - viewing 
the philosophy of science as an endeavor - the boundary between 
science and nonsense isn't always visible until AFTER the results are 
in, so how do we decide beforehand what is worth investigating?


Doug Yanega        Dept. of Entomology         Entomology Research Museum
Univ. of California, Riverside, CA 92521-0314        skype: dyanega
phone: (951) 827-4315 (standard disclaimer: opinions are mine, not UCR's)
   "There are some enterprises in which a careful disorderliness
         is the true method" - Herman Melville, Moby Dick, Chap. 82

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