Archiver > GENEALOGY-DNA > 2010-03 > 1268710371

From: "Diana Gale Matthiesen" <>
Subject: Re: [DNA] Clades, Definitions, Discoveries, FTDNA
Date: Mon, 15 Mar 2010 23:32:51 -0400
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In-Reply-To: <>

> -----Original Message-----
> From: On Behalf Of Vincent Vizachero
> Sent: Monday, March 15, 2010 8:46 PM
> To:
> Subject: Re: [DNA] Clades, Definitions, Discoveries, FTDNA
> As much as it hurts for the world of science to move past
> your comfort zone, I'm afraid that's the state of affairs in
> genetics.

I wouldn't presume to pontificate on the "state of affairs in genetics," I'm not
a geneticist.

> And, honestly, there are people who should know a lot about
> phylogenetics (e.g. Spencer Wells) who have published the
> same kind of mindless drivel we see here on this list from
> time to time.

And what kind of "drivel" is that? Please give an example of Spencer Well's
"drivel." What have you published that debunks his drivel?

> The YCC and ISOGG trees are conceits, fashioned by committee
> with all the glory and gore that entails. At their best moments, they
> accurately reflect a snapshot of our understanding about the Y-
> chromosome phylogeny. But they suffer from some conventions that
> confuse many people who use them.

Conceits? "Suffering" from "conventions"? You gotta be kidding.

FYI, the haplotree is *supposed* to be a current "snapshot" of our knowledge.
That's its purpose. The people who are confused here are the laypersons who
stubbornly resist being educated as to its nature. Cladism is a *method*, not a
science; and cladograms are merely *tools*. Do you curse the lab equipment
because it doesn't crank out polished paradigms?

> It IS important to understand that the Y-chromosome phylogeny
> exists as a natural entity and that the YCC and ISOGG trees are
> merely human constructs.

That's what I've been saying all along.

> A person who remembers this will have a more intuitive
> sense that clades can exist without a SNP yet discovered to
> define it (or, indeed, without a SNP in existence at all).

Your personal "intuitive sense" is your own prerogative, but it's not science.
For the 5th time, now: I agree with you that the path of evolution exists as an
historical/biological fact, independent of our knowledge of it. I disagree with
the terminology you use to describe it, and I've absolutely no doubt my mental
image of it differs vastly from yours. We will simply have to agree to disagree
on that one. I believe I've said that before, too.

> And that SNPs can be derived in more than one clade. And so on.

I have never argued that the same SNP mutation can't be derived more than once.
In fact, if I would argue anything, it's that convergence is a more serious
problem than people seem to realize and that it will get more serious as the
size of the DNA database increases. Convergence has always been a major problem
in paleontology and systematics, so it's not going to come as a surprise to me
when we find it a problem here.

Sorry, I don't know what you mean by, "And so on."

> You can defend the ISOGG tree all you want, but know that's really
> outside the core of the discussion you interrupted.

The Y-DNA haplotree doesn't need defense. It's doing it's job, which is as a
*tool* to aid us in advancing our knowledge of human evolution. The failure
here is your expectation that it be something it's not.

As for "interrupting" anything, everyone on this list is free to participate
anytime they want.

> VV

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