[Taxacom] Antw: Re: Information quantity and decision making / phylogeny

P.H. HOVENKAMP phovenkamp at casema.nl
Mon Aug 13 15:14:53 CDT 2012


A few questions.

Isn't it customary to discard a hypothesis only in favour of a better one, not just in favour of another one, if that happens to come along? 
If we accept your "new sets of phylogenetic hypotheses" instead of the old ones, dont we, in other words, consider them "better"? If only because they account for the additional data. 
On any other point of view, is there any point in accepting the new ones instead of sticking stubbornly to the old ones?


Peter Hovenkamp

Op 08/13/12, Kirk Fitzhugh   schreef:
> Fabian,
> The addition of more and more character data does not 'improve a 
> phylogeny.' What new observations are subsequently included simply lead 
> to new sets of phylogenetic hypotheses that replace the previous. The 
> notion of consistency cannot be applied to the type of inferences we 
> use, contra the old 'maximum likelihood' point of view. 'Improving' a 
> hypothesis, i.e. empirically assessing it's explanatory abilities, comes 
> by way of testing; something virtually never done in systematics.
> Good luck tackling taxonomic sufficiency, and all the attendant problems 
> that lie beneath the surface.
> Kirk
> -- 
> ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
> J. Kirk Fitzhugh, Ph.D.
> Curator of Polychaetes
> Invertebrate Zoology Section
> Research & Collections Branch
> Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County
> 900 Exposition Blvd
> Los Angeles CA 90007
> Phone: 213-763-3233
> FAX: 213-746-2999
> e-mail:kfitzhug at nhm.org
> http://www.nhm.org/site/research-collections/polychaetous-annelids
> ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
> On 8/13/2012 7:14 AM, Fabian Haas wrote:
> > Dear All,
> >
> > hope this email finds you well. I am currently writing a paper on water
> > quality and taxonomic sufficiency, i.e. which taxonomic level of id is
> > sufficient to actually make an appropriate rating of the water quality
> > and even decision making in the end. The topic comes up with DNA
> > Barcoding, and the time you spend to have an id, which goes then into
> > water scoring.
> >
> > Now, I do have some papers on Taxonomic Suffiency, but would attack the
> > problem from another side, namely in more general terms: if more
> > information really gives rise to better decisions, or if we get
> > overloaded with interesting but in the end useless information. I did
> > find a few older papers in scholar.google.com (up to 1990 that seems to
> > be a hot topic) and the like. But I am sure there is more: i would
> > expect that this problem has been looked at also in the perspective of
> > phylogeny with the advent of molecular sciences. Did this more of
> > information really improve the phylogenies (and what does improve mean
> > here...)
> >
> > I would be grateful if you could point me to some papers, or author
> > names, technical terms, so I can dig further. Like in Taxonomy its all
> > about having a name... PDFs are also welcomed (fhaas at icipe.org)
> >
> > best Fabian
> >
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