Message 2001-06-0029: current usage (blunt talk)

Mon, 30 Apr 2001 08:44:19 -0600 (MDT)

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Date: Mon, 30 Apr 2001 08:44:19 -0600 (MDT)
Subject: current usage (blunt talk)

     Excuse me for being blunt, but I think your casual dismissal (of Mik=
Keesey's concerns) is short-sighted.   This kind of attitude (keep shovin=
g it
down their ignorant throats and they will eventually have to swallow it)
smacks of Ivory Tower elitism.
      If PhyloCode is to have any chance at all of catching on, the
hard-liners had better start listening to more moderate cladists like Can=
and Keesey.  Otherwise you not only risk the failure of PhyloCode, but a =
more widespread reactionary backlash against cladistics in general.  =

      As one who believes cladistic analysis is a valuable tool (as did m=
teacher Peter Ashlock), I fear such a backlash will be directed not only =
cladistic classification, but at cladistic analysis as well, and that wou=
ld be
a tragic swing of the pendulum away from the useful aspects of cladistics=
     Therefore, if you continue to equate "current usage" only with "clad=
current usage" (as your comments below would indicate), you are doing you=
more moderate colleagues a disservice, and PhyloCode won't stand a snowba=
chance in hell.  Again pardon my bluntness, but I see storm clouds fast
approaching, and your approach strikes me as similar to a certain lady wh=
opinion was "Let them eat cake".
     If you don't face these issues now (and Cantino and Keesey seem to b=
making a sincere effort to do so), the consequences will be just that muc=
worse when they finally catch up with you.  An ounce of prevention can go=
long way.
                  -----Ken Kinman
Michel Laurin <> wrote:
>On Mon, 30 Apr 2001, Michel Laurin wrote:
>> Hi all,
>> >Personally, I don't mind using _Synapsida_ (and _Therapsida_) as clad=
>> >I've done so for years. I'm just thinking of "selling" the system to =
>> >wider audience, some of whom may find these conversions (and those of=

>> >_Reptilia_, _Osteichthyes_, etc.) hard to swallow, especially when ot=
>> >names for the clades are already in existence (however obscure).
>>      Actually, I don't think that this will be a problem.  Many
>> vertebrate paleontologists (including myself) have been using
>> Synapsida in this monophyletic sense for so long, that I think this is=

>> already considered the normal meaning of that name.
>Good point. Fine for those taxa, then, but what about groups still used
>quite commonly (probably mroe commonly) in their traditional senses, lik=
>_Osteichthyes_ and _Reptilia_?
>(_Amphibia_ is not quite so bad, IMHO, since it still refers to the same=

>group in terms of extant taxa, and most biologists work with extant taxa=

        Actually, I know many paleontologists (again, including myself) t=
have used Osteichthyes, Reptilia, and Amphibia as clades for many years. =
think that this is a general issue (I suspect that most taxa have been us=
ed as
clades by now), and that people will just have to get used to the idea th=
the only taxa that are valid are clades (this has been a major tenet of
cladistics for fourty years, so this should not be controversial), so the=
should be no special problems with Osteichthyes, Reptilia or Amphibia.  I=

think that most people understand that sometimes, progress requires a cha=
of habits.  Anyway, that's my opinion.



        Michel Laurin
        Equipe 'Formations squelettiques'
        CNRS - UMR 8570
        Case 7077
        Universit=E9 Paris 7 - Denis Diderot
        2, place Jussieu
        75251 Paris cedex 05
        Tel. (33) 1 44 27 36 92
        Fax. (33) 1 44 27 56 53

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