terms

David J. Patterson paddy at EXTRO.UCC.SU.OZ.AU
Tue Jun 21 08:01:21 EST 1994


Hi Mark,

The word 'monophyly' has a variety of meanings within the community of 
systematists.  The word 'holophyly' has a single meaning.  That provides 
the word 'holophyly' with a significant advantage.


The following is a quote about this particular issue:

'Although scientists not involved in a particular terminological squabble 
are likely to dismiss it as being "merely semantic", more than conceptual 
clarity is involved in such disputes.  By and large it is easier to say 
what one wants to say in one's own terminology than in the terminology 
preferred by one's opponents, even when on occasion their are fairly 
precise mappings ...  Getting one's preferred terminology adopted 
strongly biases the game in one's favor.  ...  If the terminology of a 
particular research program is adopted, subsequent generations will 
assume that this particular program succeeded, no matter how much the 
meanings of these terms may have been transmuted in the process.'


and also still in respect of this particular issue

'The dispute continues undiminished to the present.'

This was not written by a protozoologist.  Clearly, not everyone concurs 
that the matter is inactive.

Tolerance of diversity is a virtue.

David Patterson




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