News from IAB

The mission of the International Association of Bryologists (IAB), as a society, is to strengthen bryology by encouraging interactions among all persons interested in byophytes.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

RE: [IAB blog] New comment on [BRYONET] from Zander.

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
Voice: 314-577-0276
Missouri Botanical Garden
PO Box 299
St. Louis, MO 63166-0299 USA
richard.zander@mobot.org
Web sites: http://www.mobot.org/plantscience/resbot/
and http://www.mobot.org/plantscience/bfna/bfnamenu.htm
Modern Evolutionary Systematics Web site:
http://www.mobot.org/plantscience/resbot/21EvSy.htm

*****************************


From: Anonymous [mailto:noreply-comment@blogger.com]
Sent: Friday, December 18, 2009 3:25 AM
To: bryonet-l@mtu.edu
Subject: [IAB blog] New comment on [BRYONET] from Zander.

 

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "[BRYONET] from Zander":

Gee! Can't think why that was rejected.



Posted by Anonymous to IAB blog at December 18, 2009 1:24 AM

1 comment:

  1. Zander really thinks I want to discuss this issue with him. I don’t. For the most part I do not understand what he writes about. Try, if you will, this, for example: “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”. Now the words are certainly English but I don’t know what in the world they’re supposed to mean or could possibly mean relative to paraphyly. Compare: According to Zander evidence for monophyly is evidence for paraphyly. In real terms this translates into: evidence for vertebrates is evidence for invertebrates; evidence for birds is evidence for reptiles. Is it? Try it. Does it work? Vertebrates have a vertebral column, invertebrates have…? Birds have a furcula, reptiles have a …? No, it doesn’t work. Take four taxa A-D. There is evidence (data, characters, synapomorphies, homologies) that suggests A and B are more closely related to each than they are to C and D. Question: What is the –phyly of C and D? Is there evidence to suggest anything at all? No. But Zander isn’t really concerned with evidence at all, he deals with imponderables: “…classification should be first informed by direct inference of evolution (e.g. caulograms) when available, then secondarily by indirect inferences, such as cladograms”. So…what is a caulogram (actually, and more importantly, what is direct evidence of evolution)…and talking of cowardice, why was your paper rejected?

    ReplyDelete

Followers