Anonymous pretends to not know why my paper was rejected. I know, but Anonymous suggests through innuendo that there was something wrong with it, yet does not detail what. But really, Anonymous is not a coward. Bryonetters should not think so. Phylogeneticists are so vulnerable now that they must hide behind bushes and whimper imprecations.
Mind you, I agree that the tools of phylogenetic analysis are powerful, and my complaints are limited to (1) classification by holophyly is a threat to science in eliminating names for groups characterized by their macroevolutionary autapomorphies, (2) parsimony of morphological data sets is circular in that you get back, if lucky, the same intuitive data on relationships you put into the data set, though in a nice cluster analysis, and (3) molecular analysis ignores the possibility of ancient paraphyly, which is probably at the same level as modern paraphyly, and scrambles the order of splitting of lineages no matter how well supported any one lineage is.
Systematics should be the study of macroevolution and classification of macroevolution, not cluster analysis and classification based on clusters. “Clusters?” you say. Sure. Take a cladogram, draw a big circle around the terminal exemplars, then more circles around all groupings. Erase the top and bottoms of the circles and you get the usual nested parentheses of the Venn diagram for cladograms. The rest of the cladogram is not needed and is essentially ignored except as a way to fool people into believing lineages are somehow characterized. In cladistics, they are not.
In my opinion, classification should be first informed by direct inference of evolution (e.g. caulograms) when available, then secondarily by indirect inferences, such as cladograms. Direct inference of one taxon giving rise to another is more parsimonious in that the metaphysical concept of an unnamed and apparently unnamable “shared ancestor” is unnecessary.
Richard H. Zander
Web sites: http://www.mobot.org/plantscience/resbot/
Modern Evolutionary Systematics Web site:
From: Anonymous [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: Friday, December 18, 2009 3:25 AM
Subject: [IAB blog] New comment on [BRYONET] from Zander.