[Taxacom] All levels of organisation and manifestation should be acknowledged for the classificatory and evolutionary value that is inherent in them

Greg Davies greg at ditsong.org.za
Fri Nov 9 02:42:35 CST 2012


The reasons for the rejection of paraphyletic taxa were lucidly and 
explicitly outlined by Willi Hennig in his detailed response to Mayr 
(Hennig, 1975), in particular the assertion that paraphyletic taxa in 
classifications are more informative or useful (see particularly Hennig's 
point 6). In the 37 years since Hennig's evisceration of Mayr's arguments, 
there has been no logical or incisive riposte to Hennig's standpoint from 
those disagreeing, instead we get emotive and vague rhetoric (e.g., 
"holophyly worship"; "paraphyly bashing").

It is disappointing to see the low intellectual calibre of these "debates" 
on classification circulating on Taxacom. If you wish to be taken seriously, 
address the logic and theoretical basis to phylogenetic (cladistic) 
classification rather than dealing in bald assertions.

ref:
Hennig, W., 1975. Cladistic analysis or cladistic classification? a reply to 
Ernst Mayr. Systematic Zoology 24(2): 244-256.

Greg Davies

*************************************************
G.B.P. Davies
Curator of Birds
Ditsong National Museum of Natural History
(formerly Transvaal Museum)
P.O. Box 413
Pretoria
South Africa
0001

Tel: 012-000-0040
Cell: 074-467-1635
greg at ditsong.org.za
Street address:
Cnr Paul Kruger & Visagie Streets
Pretoria
Gauteng
25.45'11"S: 28.11'21.6"E
**********************************************


----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Ken Kinman" <kinman at hotmail.com>
To: <nicholasa at ukzn.ac.za>; <richard.zander at mobot.org>; 
<taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu>
Sent: Thursday, November 08, 2012 5:58 PM
Subject: Re: [Taxacom] All levels of organisation and manifestation should 
be acknowledged for the classificatory and evolutionary value that is 
inherent in them


>
> Hi Ashley,
>      Here, here.  Agree completely, and many others do too.  Not that our 
> heads would go on the chopping block, but our heads do get sore banging up 
> against that brick wall (of holophyly worship coupled with paraphyly 
> bashing).  You would think branding paraphyletic taxa with a "Scarlet 
> letter" P would satisfy them (Thomas Cavalier-Smith uses a * symbol, and I 
> use a % symbol for paraphyletic taxa).  But explicit marking of 
> paraphyletic taxa doesn't satisfy them, and they just want to destroy them 
> (not just bash them), no matter how informative and useful such taxa can 
> be.  Few of them seem willing to even discuss possible compromise of any 
> sort on this subject.
>                     -------------Ken
>
>






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