[Taxacom] methodological plurality

Kipling (Kip) Will kipwill at berkeley.edu
Thu Nov 22 11:47:39 CST 2012

>>Richard Jensen:
> I don't believe it will be possible, at least in the short term, to
> reach agreement on a single method.  That day may come, but I see it as
> a long-way off.

In the meantime, we should be explicit about which method(s) and why 
that one or those among the possible choices, don’t you agree?

> I do believe there is something worthwhile in looking for agreement
> among methods (and, as a committe member, I would disappointed if the
> candidate had not done that!).  If one uses a variety of methods on the
> same data set, or the same method on different data sets, one can look
> for consensus.  If a particular "clade" or "nested set" keeps showing
> up, then one might begin to believe that there is an underlying signal
> reflecting something interesting.  Of course, we would still have to
> agree on a consensus method, but a strong signal should still be
> identifiable.

Ah, well, I guess this exactly what I don’t like. I have already 
expressed my thoughts on most of this and so I won’t repeat them, but I 
will enumerate what causes me discomfort here:

1.	What is the worthwhile thing you are looking for and what do you do 
when you find it?
2.	I never want to tell my students to do things to do things to keep 
manuscript reviewers happy, placate grant proposal reviewers or appease 
committee member. If they have a strong justification for a position or 
idea argue it, but be willing to concede to logic and data.
3.	Confusing using a variety of methods on the same data set and the 
same method on different data sets is well, just confusing, and really a 


Contact info:

Kipling W. Will
Associate Professor/Insect Systematist
Associate Director,Essig Museum of Entomology

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