[Taxacom] Reproducibility of phylogenetic analysis

Stephen Thorpe s.thorpe at auckland.ac.nz
Tue Jan 26 18:28:50 CST 2010

Objectivity in systematics is a myth, anyway! Take phylogenetic analyses, for example. It is only "objective" in the sense that anybody who starts with the same subjective character weightings will get the same end result. And if you try to avoid subjective character weightings, then trivial superficial characters have too much influence in the analysis ...

From: taxacom-bounces at mailman.nhm.ku.edu [taxacom-bounces at mailman.nhm.ku.edu] On Behalf Of Bob Mesibov [mesibov at southcom.com.au]
Sent: Wednesday, 27 January 2010 1:08 p.m.
To: phovenkamp at casema.nl
Subject: Re: [Taxacom] Reproducibility of phylogenetic analysis

Peter Hovenkamp wrote:

'Illustrative examples are easy to find, but "subjective judgments about similarities and relationships" are not part of them.'

I disagree, Peter. The branch of taxonomy I'm familiar with is rich in papers that say (in one way or another) that the author's subjective judgements about similarities and relationships agree with those of a previous author or authors.
Dr Robert Mesibov
Honorary Research Associate
Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery, and
School of Zoology, University of Tasmania
Home contact: PO Box 101, Penguin, Tasmania, Australia 7316
(03) 64371195; 61 3 64371195
Website: http://www.qvmag.tas.gov.au/mesibov.html


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