[Taxacom] Paraphyly again defended (and strict cladism promotes "disastrous nomenclatural practices)

Kenneth Kinman kinman at hotmail.com
Tue Apr 16 21:13:36 CDT 2019

      It is true that non-cladists can also proliferate small genera which lead to instability.  However, strict cladism generated a whole new wave of such practices.  Therefore, I disagree that the statement that you singled out is "nonsense".  What they state is true, even if some non-cladists have also needlessly over-split.
       More importantly, they point out that treating higher taxa (like Archaea and Bacteria) as strictly monophyletic (holophyletic) is among the most disastrous of nomenclatural practices.  It is among higher taxa that strict cladism is the most harmful.  It is a huge problem compared to the splitting of genera.  Thus by nitpicking on one particular statement, you seem to have deflected attention from the greater problem (which is at taxonomic levels above the family level).
                 ------------------Ken Kinman

From: John Grehan <calabar.john at gmail.com>
Sent: Monday, April 15, 2019 8:24 PM
To: Kenneth Kinman
Cc: taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu
Subject: Re: [Taxacom] Paraphyly again defended (and strict cladism promotes "disastrous nomenclatural practices)

"This can result in a proliferation of small genera and instances of nomenclatural instability," - this is typical nonsense. One can have proliferation regardless of the systematic method. Making decisions as to how broad or narrow a group is going to be is not systematics.

John Grehan

On Mon, Apr 15, 2019 at 9:20 PM Kenneth Kinman <kinman at hotmail.com<mailto:kinman at hotmail.com>> wrote:
Hi All,
      I just ran across this 2016 paper.  Yet another publication defending the reality and need for paraphyletic taxa (for a variety of reasons), and it labels strict cladism as promoting "disastrous nomenclatural practices":

"Yeast systematics has wholeheartedly embraced the phylogenetic approach. Central to this has been the unspoken convention that taxa at all ranks be strictly monophyletic. This can result in a proliferation of small genera and instances of nomenclatural instability, counter to the expected benefit of phylogenetic systematics. But the literature abounds with examples, at all taxonomic levels, where paraphyly is a reality that can no longer be ignored. The very concepts of Bacteria or Archaea, under the constraint of monophyly, are in peril. It is therefore desirable to effect a shift in practices that will recognize the existence of paraphyletic taxa."

Another Quote from the articles:
"Taxonomy sits at an ill-defined confluence of science, craft, ontology and the law. Conscientious systematists aim at making sense of the living world by organizing species into categories that are meaningful not only to themselves, but also to other biologists and the rest of humanity. The last decades have seen undue emphasis placed on creating categories that reflect an erroneous model of cladogenesis, one that is strictly dichotomous and symmetrical. A large proportion of taxa arise not by fission of an ancestral progenitor, but by a budding process that leaves the progenitor enriched by the presence of its offspring. The retention of cohesive parent taxa under a single designation, at the same rank as progeny taxa, has the potential to prevent disastrous nomenclatural practices."

                ------------------------Ken Kinman
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