[Taxacom] paraphylophobia

John Grehan jgrehan at sciencebuff.org
Thu Mar 17 11:04:31 CDT 2011

My point was that such terms are perjorative. Phobia is usually used in the context of not being rational. Technically anything that is not recognized is suppressed but whether such suppression is a phobia is another matter entirely. If paraphyletic groups have no real existence other than as arbitrary constructs then I'm not sure that 'suppression' could apply other than suppression of something that is not existent which would have to be existent to be suppressed. I'm no philosopher so perhaps this is nonsense. But back to my main point, calling viewpoints phobic is not productive anymore than I might call someone panbiogeographophobic or vicariancephobic etc.

John Grehan

-----Original Message-----

And finally, a rebuttal to John's
argument.  Paraphylophobia is real and being widely taught as if it is a
necessary part of modern taxonomy (which it isn't).  I see no evidence
whatsoever that "monophylophobia" exists---where people would suppress
clades (strictly monophyletic taxa) in a way that paraphylophobics
suppress paraphyletic taxa.  
      Anyway, here is the RBG Kew press release if you want to read it.
I still can't believe they said that "Flowering plants are less
significant than scientists throught".   Would they say that about birds


Paul (dipteryx) wrote: 
        It has nothing whatsoever to do with paraphyly,
but with assigning a rank to the taxonomic group that is informally
known as Angiosperms. Rank is relative, a matter of context. There is no
inherent reason why treating the Angiosperms as a subclass (with the
name Magnoliidae) would be either 'right' or 'wrong'. It is perfectly
silly (not to say highly arrogant) to make an ex cathedra statement like
"Magnoliidae are such-and-such a group"; a context must be specified for
it to make any sense (for instance: "according to Chase and Reveal the
Magnoliidae are the Angiosperms"). 


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