It is about the relative merits of using parsimony (Occam’s Razor) versus Bayesian (likelihood) analysis in cladistics. The first is more causal, more deterministic, more rational while the second allows priors and opinions and “other stuff” to influence the output.
The Darwinian priors can be used in the 2nd, but are excluded from the 1st. So you would think Darwinians would like Bayesian, but they don’t; they seem to prefer parsimony. On the other hand, many have pointed out that parsimony merely looks deterministic, but smuggles in a lot of assumptions.
So perhaps the debate is between implicit versus explicit Darwinists–because as long as Darwinists can keep the assumptions implicit, no one can argue with them. Perhaps a biologist can tell me where the real dispute lies?
And if you understand this debate, what is the meaning of the last sentence of the Wired article?:
Darwin planted the tree over 150 years ago, and each day it thickens. Now scientists just have to figure out how to grow the thing without constantly trying to refresh its roots with the blood of patriots to its cause.”
🙂 Maybe it means that sensible people should go into a line of work other than cladistics?
See also: Maybe biological classification is more of an art exhibition than a science pursuit?
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