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On Carl von Linné’s meeting with cladistics

Monday, March 20, 2017 16:04
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When Carl von Linné met the suggestion that the whole biodiversity may have originated by an evolutionary “origin of species” from a single ancestral species, he replied: no, not of species, but possibly of genera.

Why is that? What thinking led him to this reply? Well, the reason is that things, also like abstract “species”, in the evolutionary model have relationships, which the Linnean system illustrates with abstract “genera”, “families”, “classes” and so on, and that things in the evolutionary model thus ultimately descend from a single relationship, whereas relationships instead ultimately descend from a single thing, and Linné simply concluded that if there indeed is an ultimate ancestor to the biodiversity, then it must be a thing (ie, a “species”), and that the descendants then must be relationships (ultimately “genera”). Linné was simply consistent in his thinking, contrary to the proponents of the model of an “origin of species from a single species”. He realized immediately that this model is inconsistent.

So, what does it mean that the evolutionary model is inconsistent? Well, it means that there is no way to put facts together to produce a consistent (ie, lacking contradictions) such “species tree”. The idea that there is such a way, today called “cladistics”, is simply wrong. It is actually as wrong as something can be – an unbeatable record of failure. But, a success story for cladists… The worst problem with this idea is that it leads back into the race biology of the early 20th century (conveyed from then to now by the Nazi biologist Willi Hennig).

Another contribution to understanding of conceptualization


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