From a book review by Anthony Campbell
"His main argument, which he makes repeatedly throughout the book, is that what might be called the family tree approach to palaeontology, in which fossils are arranged in a developmental sequence that purports to tell a story about how evolution occurred, is unscientific. Fossils are what they are; they don't come with a pedigree and it is impossible to say which are ancestral to which. Even though we may know that fossil A is older than fossil B, because it comes from a deeper geological layer, this does not negate the possibility that species B was really ancestral to species A. Alternatively, there may be no question of ancestry at all; the two organisms may simply have been cousins (all organisms on the planet are, ultimately, related to one another). Claims for developmental sequences are untestable and rest ultimately on the authority of the person who makes the claim, and this, according to Gee, is unscientific."
The author writes, as an example of a significant consequence of using cladistics to look at nature, "Historically, fish represent a group of equal status with reptiles and amphibians." But the - - "fishes do not form a natural group . . . the term 'fish' has no zoological meaning, as a category".
Cladologism aside, the era of biological evolution is essentially over due to our present state of existence in a very tiny segment of time. All current evolution is now of our doing and mainly exists in the social system. The Teilhard noosphere, if you like. The history of evolution of the noosphere could use the services of a competent cladologist.
posted on 06/09/2003 10:29:18 AM PDT
(gazing at shadows)
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