Message 2001-06-0032: Re: current usage (blunt talk)

Mon, 30 Apr 2001 12:42:18 -0600 (MDT)

[Previous by date - Re: current usage (blunt talk)]
[Next by date - Subscribers]
[Previous by subject - Re: current usage (blunt talk)]
[Next by subject - Re: current usage (blunt talk)]

Date: Mon, 30 Apr 2001 12:42:18 -0600 (MDT)
Subject: Re: current usage (blunt talk)

Michel and Alastair,
      I completely agree that we have not yet seen a backlash materialize=
any great extent, but once PhyloCode is implemented it will undoubtedly
trigger one.  And it may well be much larger than even I anticipate, but =
it is
hard to predict.  The vast majority of scientists will be reactive, rathe=
than proactive, on this issue.  Just don't be surprised if hordes of clos=
"cladistics-haters" suddenly emerge and become very vocal after the
implementation of PhyloCode.
     Since I think cladistics is a great analytical tool (when used
correctly), my greatest fear is that the backlash will also damage that (=
most useful aspect of cladistics in my opinion).  I believe Cantino and K=
(among others) are trying to anticipate a hostile reception to PhyloCode =
proactively design remedies as best they can.  Otherwise, it will be neit=
efficient nor well-accepted, and only time will tell how strong the react=
will be.  Use of the word "cladistics" as an insult will probably skyrock=
    And many of them won't just be attacking PhyloCode, and you are likel=
y to
see many more Feduccias, Rubens, and Martins, who will be attacking cladi=
as a whole.   The bird origins debate is probably just a hint of what is
likely to blow up in your faces (and those of us who defend cladistic
"analysis" are going to get caught up in the mess as well).  =

                 -----Ken Kinman
"Alastair G. B. Simpson" <> wrote:
Michel Laurin wrote:

=2E.....I have not seen a backlash against cladistics because of the new
meanings that we give to many names, although I admit that a few people
don't like this.  But these are mostly people who don't like cladistics a=
(and they are systematists), so I don't expect them to like the Phylocode=

I am a (eukaryotic) microbiologist, and inhabit a world where
"cladist" is generally used as an insult.  As I read the phylocode, it
should be acceptable to people who think parsimony analyses of anything
are a waste of time, but who nonetheless want an efficient code for
classification.  I wouldn't give up on converting 'cladistics-haters' to


Alastair G.B. Simpson, PhD
Laboratories of Andrew Roger and Ford Doolittle,
Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology,
Room 8B, Sir Charles Tupper Medical Building,
Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia,
B3H 4H7, Canada.

Phone: 902 494 2881 (Country code 1)
  Fax: 902 494 1355 (Country code 1)

Get free email and a permanent address at


Feedback to <> is welcome!