[Taxacom] serious questions about taxonomy ad ontogeny

Robin Leech releech at telusplanet.net
Wed Sep 15 12:29:12 CDT 2010

We have to start somewhere, be it with too much morphology or
too many molecules.  The thing is to start, and then to do something.
Othere can then build on what you start, modify it, improve on it, or
all of these and more.
Some people find it very hard to start something, but with ease they
can build, alter, improve, or whatever what others have started.

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Kenneth Kinman" <kennethkinman at webtv.net>
To: <taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu>
Sent: Wednesday, September 15, 2010 10:32 AM
Subject: [Taxacom] serious questions about taxonomy ad ontogeny

Hi Curtis,
       It's not like that is the only problem I write about.  There are
the problems of misrooting, as well as overreliance on morphology in
some cases and overreliance on molecules in others, irregularity in
so-called molecular clocks, failure to weigh characters, just to mention
a few.  But at least these problems are often acknowledged, even if
sometimes grudgingly.  However, acknowledgment of the problems caused by
Hennigian cladism aren't being acknowledged at all by his adherents.
The widespread attack on paraphyletic taxa continues, and PhyloCode will
only make it worse.  It's very worrisome, so I periodically bring it up
in frustration.
       As for conservation of species and biodiversity, I've made my
views known on those issues as well, particularly the need for human
population control (of our birth rates, wasteful consumerism, and far
too much mobility that wastes energy, spreads diseases, and pollutes the
environment), as well as curbing the capitalistic excesses that have
reached absurd levels in places like New York, Washington D.C.,
California, not to mention places overseas that are now marching
headlong down that same path of excess.  But not much chance I can do
much about the madness of 21st Century capitalism, but I can always hope
to contribute to curbing the excesses of strict cladism (which is still
in a state of denial, much like Wall Street was leading up to 2008).  My
policy has always been "all things in moderation", and there is nothing
moderate about attacking every paraphyletic taxon in sight.
        ----------Ken Kinman

Curtis Clark wrote (responding to my post):
       That is an *extremely* limited and limiting view.  Arguments
about paraphyly prevent no oil spills, save no whooping cranes, and
arguably get us no closer to characterizing the remainder of unknown
extant species.  Although this seems to be your primary raison d'ĂȘtre
for the time that I've e-known you, there's more to life, more to
science, and even more to systematics than this one issue.


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