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On biological systematics and evolution

Wednesday, March 1, 2017 16:48
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Biological systematics (ie, the discipline of sorting of living organisms) is deeply split between what is called “evolutionary taxonomy” (acknowledging Linnean systematics) and “cladistics” (rejecting Linnean systematics).

The difference between them resides in the fundamental assumption concerning whether kinds are real or our inventions (ie, whether they can be found or not) – evolutionary taxonomy considering them to be our inventions and cladistics considering them to be real.

This difference governs the approach and the goal for biological systematics profoundly contradictory  by being orthogonal. It simply splits biological systematicians into two camps that are fundamentally contradictory.

The matter is thus actually simply about sorting things, but does none the less give rise to two fundamentally contradictory camps of sorters, and thereby to three kinds of differences between sorters: different sortings and different approaches to sorting (ie, considering the matter being about sorting or finding).

This situation in biological systematics actually illustrates our fundamental problem as humans to understand and explain reality.It illustrates that the problem does not reside in finding an understanding and explanation of reality, but in finding out whether we make up or find kinds in the first place, which is impossible.

The situation in biological systematics is what sooner or later occurs in a discipline that is about sorting of things. All possible opinions about the matter will sooner or later be occupied, resulting in a divergence of actual sortings instead of a convergence towards a final sorting. Reality splits us into three camps – different kinds and different kinds of kinds – sooner or later when we seek convergence. This natural law is what we call “evolution”. Evolution is thus not about “the survival of the fittest”, but about an unavoidable splitting.

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