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You're a fuckin' monkey, mate!

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You're a fuckin' monkey, mate!
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hackenslashLime TordUser avatarPosts: 2244Joined: Mon Feb 23, 2009 3:43 pm Gender: Cake

Post Re: You're a fuckin' monkey, mate!

AronRa wrote:It seems my interlocutor doesn't want to come here. He doesn't want to engage where we can type complete sentences full of big words, where we can take turns in a sensible exchange. He only wants to troll on Twitter.


That's a real shame, not least because it's genuinely an interesting discussion, and he really does know his stuff.

I've advocated your position since the release of your video, because your explanation is coherent and logical, but his is too, and this sort of detail in nomenclature in biology is a bit out of my wheelhouse. As everybody here is aware, my interests are mostly in physics and epistemology.
Mon Jul 10, 2017 1:41 pm
AronRaContributorUser avatarPosts: 511Joined: Sun Mar 01, 2009 1:47 pm

Post Re: You're a fuckin' monkey, mate!

Sparhafoc wrote:Grist for the mill:

http://johnhawks.net/weblog/topics/phyl ... -2012.html

Humans aren't monkeys. We aren't apes, either.
18 Mar 2012

I don’t know why so many people who accept and promote evolution have such a dim view of phylogenetic systematics.

How else to explain why I so often hear the canard, “Humans are apes”?

My children can tell what an ape is. I work very hard to tell them why apes are different than monkeys. When they see a chimpanzee in a zoo, and other parents are telling their kids, “Look at the monkey!”, my children say, “That’s not a monkey, it’s an ape!”

Phylogeny is the relationship among different species. Phylogenetic systematics argues (among other things) that our taxonomy should reflect phylogeny. The result in anthropology is that we have rejected some taxonomic ideas. In the past, many anthropologists categorized chimpanzees, gorillas and orangutans together as “pongids”. Today, we recognize that these are not a natural group. Phylogenetically, humans are part of the group that includes orangutans, chimpanzees, bonobos and gorillas. Many anthropologists call this group “Hominidae”, although others would put this at a different taxonomic level than the family level (the level implied by the “idae” ending).

None of this is especially controversial. We disagree about the taxonomic level – some would retain “hominid” to refer to the human branch, and assign the great apes and humans to a higher-level taxonomic level. But the phylogeny is perfectly clear. Humans are hominoids, and hominids, and anthropoids, and primates.
He works very hard to confuse his kids, so that they can't tell what an ape is.
If you list every definitive trait held in common by all primates, you'll describe people.
If you list every definitive trait held in common by all monkeys [anthropoids], you'll describe people.
If you list every definitive trait held in common by all Old World monkeys [Catarrhines], you'll describe people.
If you list every definitive trait held in common by all apes [Hominoids], you'll describe people.
If you list every definitive trait held in common by all Great apes, [Hominids], you'll describe people.
If you list every definitive trait held in common by all hominins, you'll describe people.
If you don't list every definitive trait for any group, then how could you tell what an "an ape" is?
"Faith means not wanting to know what is true." - Friedrich Nietzsche.
"Faith is believing what you know ain't so." - Mark Twain
Tue Jul 11, 2017 7:20 pm
SparhafocPosts: 536Joined: Fri Jun 23, 2017 6:48 am

Post Re: You're a fuckin' monkey, mate!

AronRa wrote:He works very hard to confuse his kids, so that they can't tell what an ape is.
If you list every definitive trait held in common by all primates, you'll describe people.
If you list every definitive trait held in common by all monkeys [anthropoids], you'll describe people.
If you list every definitive trait held in common by all Old World monkeys [Catarrhines], you'll describe people.
If you list every definitive trait held in common by all apes [Hominoids], you'll describe people.
If you list every definitive trait held in common by all Great apes, [Hominids], you'll describe people.
If you list every definitive trait held in common by all hominins, you'll describe people.
If you don't list every definitive trait for any group, then how could you tell what an "an ape" is?


To me that's a mixed bag.

Yes, we're all primates, catarrhines, hominids, hominins. they're all valid classifications and monophyletic, meaning they are all descended from a common ancestor not shared with any other group, but the word 'monkey' and 'ape' are not.

The words 'monkeys' and 'ape' here seem very clearly to be unlike the others, and really only offer a problematic fill gap for a much more specific term - for example, you've used monkeys to mean both catarrhines and strepsirrhines, how can they both be 'a monkey' when the term should be right at the level specifying the division between them (suborder)? If it's the level above them (order), then aren't we really just using the word 'primate' but not using the word 'primate' for some unknown, and apparently anti-utilitarian reason? Back to the naive look, the kinds approach to taxonomy, even someone totally unversed in any form of classification system would not call an early primate a 'monkey', instead they might say 'rat' or 'squirrel' or even 'cat' because some of them basal primates were really odd. Bluntly, from the same perspective, many of the extant strepsirrhines are very not monkey like in the slightest, and no amount of massaging would fit them into that pseudo-category.

To me, monkey/ape has no place in the above, it's an odd one (two) out. Precursors to the catarrhines and strepsirrhines were not monkeys but primates, and I think it would just obfuscate to maintain the opposite.

Maybe I am missing something here: what informational content does the word 'monkey' bring that the word 'primate' hasn't already got covered? Can't find the utility here beyond communicating with non-scientists by joining them in their woolly words?

It's a lot like saying we are a fish. What's a fish? Surely, there are lots of types of fish, some with vastly ancient lineages, some of which may have branched off more recently than the branch which ultimately became terrestrial mammals, and consequently the term has no specifying quotient - there's no information in there really, it just doesn't say very much at all?

Obviously, I should note for clarity here (given the warblings of creationist lunatics in this thread) that I am not, in any way, denying evolution, common ancestry and the like, but rather just talking about sets, and how phylogenies do things that non-scientific English words don't do.

As an aside, Aron Ra and I are engaging in an ancient and ever morphing debate that breathes motivating life into the dusty souls of cladisticians, librarians and the like. I am not convinced any of them ever are solvable! It always becomes 'just how long is a piece of string?' :lol:
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Tue Jul 11, 2017 10:16 pm
hackenslashLime TordUser avatarPosts: 2244Joined: Mon Feb 23, 2009 3:43 pm Gender: Cake

Post Re: You're a fuckin' monkey, mate!

True, dat, though it's worth noting that, for some of us, the substance of the discussion is good, because it delves into specifics that even somebody as wizened and well-read as you or I might not have had the fortune to discuss pragmatically. I mean, in the time we've known each other, how often has this been discussed at any level other than beating the creationists with the wet end?
Tue Jul 11, 2017 11:31 pm
Dragan GlasContributorUser avatarPosts: 2859Joined: Mon Dec 14, 2009 1:55 amLocation: Ireland Gender: Male

Post Re: You're a fuckin' monkey, mate!

Greetings,

Personally, I'd draw a distinction - at least in general conversation - between the two terms based on whether or not they have prehensile tails.

Kindest regards,

James
Image
"The Word of God is the Creation we behold and it is in this Word, which no human invention can counterfeit or alter, that God speaketh universally to man."
The Age Of Reason
Wed Jul 12, 2017 2:48 am
SparhafocPosts: 536Joined: Fri Jun 23, 2017 6:48 am

Post Re: You're a fuckin' monkey, mate!

hackenslash wrote:True, dat, though it's worth noting that, for some of us, the substance of the discussion is good, because it delves into specifics that even somebody as wizened and well-read as you or I might not have had the fortune to discuss pragmatically. I mean, in the time we've known each other, how often has this been discussed at any level other than beating the creationists with the wet end?


Absofuckinglutely.

For clarity, I also agreed with Aron Ra's position in my first remark, insofar as we're all clear we're using woolly words. If someone with no background in anatomy, primatology, or any form of cladistic analysis uses the word 'monkey' to refer to all primates, then fairy muff - we all get what they mean. As with many scientific areas, you can either simply allow the lay explanation to ride and get on with it, or spend hours of your time explaining the basic information they need in order to understand why their usage is wrong. Often, best to just get on with it.

As you know, my background is in palaeoanthropology, and when I was studying this we spent many a tiresome hour on these definitions and the morphological and genetic details that define them, but that doesn't lend me any expertise in cladistics as a whole as I am pretty much completely restricted to talking only about primates and their clade, and there is a wealth of information about which I am wholly ignorant of all other orders. Aron Ra, however, specializes in this and communicates about it so well, so it's always productive to bash ideas like these together when both parties can communicate succinctly. And while Aron Ra may not know it, I've been a big fan of his science education public communication for many years, and have even pointed students at his video series. You are a legend, Aron Ra! :) Even here in Thailand!

I do, however, think there's a vital point to be made here though with respect to the woolliness of any human language, and the desired precision of scientific language.

Actually, I have written at length in the past (as Mr Slash might recall) that any and all forms of cladistics are essentially really about engaging in what Dawkins' called the Discontinuous Mind, where we pop our platonic boundaries onto a world which has no such categories just so that we have a chance to communicate with each other about stuff. I think cladistics is a form of illusion that still provides utility, so we can have generational conflict on how to define any given species, because what we're really arguing about is how best to push a square peg into a round hole, but the act of discussion does produce genuine knowledge. The model is not reality, but it's a window into it.
If a human disagrees with you, let him live! In a hundred billion galaxies you will not find another!
Last edited by Sparhafoc on Wed Jul 12, 2017 10:11 am, edited 1 time in total.
Wed Jul 12, 2017 9:57 am
SparhafocPosts: 536Joined: Fri Jun 23, 2017 6:48 am

Post Re: You're a fuckin' monkey, mate!

Dragan Glas wrote:Personally, I'd draw a distinction - at least in general conversation - between the two terms based on whether or not they have prehensile tails.


Indeed, and I expect that's what most people do, and do it with the respective vocabularies of their language. Either that, or consider them synonymous. Assuming you're talking about ape/monkey here.

Of course, it's still woolly because there are monkeys without tails, i.e. Barbary macaques who some even call 'Barbary apes' when they are assuredly not hominoidea.

Of course, even humans can have tails too: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chandre_Oram

Which doesn't, of course, mean that individual is not an ape, or a hominoidea, but actually does provide an instance where an exception can prove the rule and show that humans are descended ultimately from animals with tails (seen anyway through embryological development - raising that old Creationist favourite of phylogeny recapitulating ontogeny), and that it's a simple genetic switch that we inherited which curtails this inherited phenotypic form from expressing.
If a human disagrees with you, let him live! In a hundred billion galaxies you will not find another!
Wed Jul 12, 2017 10:08 am
he_who_is_nobodyBloggerUser avatarPosts: 3222Joined: Tue Feb 24, 2009 1:36 amLocation: Albuquerque, New Mexico Gender: Male

Post Re: You're a fuckin' monkey, mate!

I see a mistake that everyone seems to be making and that is focusing on traits seen in living taxa. The reason why humans are monkeys and birds are dinosaurs is because of ancestry. Cladistics is supposed to show us this ancestry by grouping organisms together based on their ancestral relationships. The traits that are used to define each species and clade are secondary to this. Basically, one cannot evolve out of their ancestry, thus it would be impossible to create a clade that excused apes and keeps old and new world monkeys together based on cladistics.

Image


Thus, according to the image above, if one wanted to call new world monkeys and old world monkeys monkeys, they would also have to include apes just based on the rule of monophyly. Trying to exclude old and new world monkeys would be creating a paraphyleticgroup for them.

Now, the real problem is getting this into the lay-public mind's. For whatever reason, the idea of birds still being dinosaurs does not appear to be as bad as trying to point out that humans are monkeys.

From Wikipedia and seems very helpful:

Monophyly wrote:
Image


Phylogenetic tree, the blue (left) and red (right) groups represent monophyletic groups, the green group (centre) being paraphyletic.
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SparhafocPosts: 536Joined: Fri Jun 23, 2017 6:48 am

Post Re: You're a fuckin' monkey, mate!

if one wanted to call new world monkeys and old world monkeys monkeys


Yes, but the question then becomes why you would want to do that when there's already a perfectly good label for both of them at the right taxonomic rank.

Again, the problem is like saying that humans are fish.

We're not. Many species of fish evolved after our branch split off. Most fish aren't ancestral to us, or in a parallel group with that common ancestor.

That's the problem with using the word 'fish' because it lacks all specificity from a cladistic perspective.
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Sun Jul 16, 2017 4:57 am
he_who_is_nobodyBloggerUser avatarPosts: 3222Joined: Tue Feb 24, 2009 1:36 amLocation: Albuquerque, New Mexico Gender: Male

Post Re: You're a fuckin' monkey, mate!

Sparhafoc wrote:
if one wanted to call new world monkeys and old world monkeys monkeys


Yes, but the question then becomes why you would want to do that when there's already a perfectly good label for both of them at the right taxonomic rank.


What perfectly good label are you talking about? In addition, if it is a different taxonomic system then cladistics, than the real problem is that we are just talking about two different systems of classification. That means we are basically using two different languages to talk about the same thing. That would also mean we are both right based on the rules we wish to stick with.

Sparhafoc wrote:Again, the problem is like saying that humans are fish.

We're not. Many species of fish evolved after our branch split off. Most fish aren't ancestral to us, or in a parallel group with that common ancestor.

That's the problem with using the word 'fish' because it lacks all specificity from a cladistic perspective.


Well, you would agree that humans are closer in relation to a trout, than a trout is in relation with a tiger shark, right? You would also agree that we are closer in relation to a coelacanth, than a coelacanth is to a trout, right? Again, that is what cladistics is trying to represent, our actual relationships based on our ancestry. Beyond that, fish is a huge clade in any taxonomic ranking, thus scientists should clarify if they were talking about Actinopterygii, Sarcopterygii, or Selachimorpha when talking about fish. This is also beyond the fact that a lot of people call things that live in the water fish1 even though they do not have backbones, let alone anything else that would make a fish a fish.

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Post Re: You're a fuckin' monkey, mate!

he_who_is_nobody wrote:What perfectly good label are you talking about? In addition, if it is a different taxonomic system then cladistics, than the real problem is that we are just talking about two different systems of classification. That means we are basically using two different languages to talk about the same thing. That would also mean we are both right based on the rules we wish to stick with.


That's what I am saying. In cladistics, there is no category 'monkeys'. There are catarrhines and platyrrhines (parvorder), simians (infraorder), haplorrhines (suborder) and primates (order). So one of those must already cover whatever is meant by 'monkey'.

Maybe I am completely wrong, but I've never encountered the term 'monkey' in place of one of these anywhere except in a woolly non-scientific way. Doesn't 'monkey' just mean 'simian'/'simiiformes'?


he_who_is_nobody wrote:Well, you would agree that humans are closer in relation to a trout, than a trout is in relation with a tiger shark, right? You would also agree that we are closer in relation to a coelacanth, than a coelacanth is to a trout, right?


And yet sharks and coelacanth are fish, but we're not even though more closely related to some fish than other fish are. Which is why the word 'fish' is completely unhelpful when it comes to drawing up clades. As with 'monkey' there is no 'fish' clade.


he_who_is_nobody wrote:Again, that is what cladistics is trying to represent, our actual relationships based on our ancestry. Beyond that, fish is a huge clade in any taxonomic ranking, thus scientists should clarify if they were talking about Actinopterygii, Sarcopterygii, or Selachimorpha when talking about fish.


I think you are making the same point as me. There is actually no clade called 'fish'. There are instead a number clades as you've labelled above, so the word 'fish' is a paraphyletic collection of taxa. And fish could never be monophyletic because any fish clade would necessarily include tetrapods which are not fish. In the past, the term 'Pisces' was used as the kind of overarching clade, but it doesn't work due to the group being paraphyletic.


he_who_is_nobody wrote: This is also beyond the fact that a lot of people call things that live in the water fish1 even though they do not have backbones, let alone anything else that would make a fish a fish.


YES! Exactly what I mean. The word fish as used by non-scientists employing Platonic notions via their vocabulary is precisely the same problem (albeit on a smaller scale) as with applying the word 'monkey' to mean that collection of taxa which tickles our sense of Platonic monkeyism.

It's not a problem with cladistics (although it has a slew of problems long discussed) but with using non-scientific language as if it's analogous and as rigorous as a scientific term. Monkeys and fish are words and concepts from another language, they don't work very well to describe what we see, and they can mislead people's understanding.
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Mon Jul 17, 2017 8:24 am
he_who_is_nobodyBloggerUser avatarPosts: 3222Joined: Tue Feb 24, 2009 1:36 amLocation: Albuquerque, New Mexico Gender: Male

Post Re: You're a fuckin' monkey, mate!

Sparhafoc wrote:
he_who_is_nobody wrote:What perfectly good label are you talking about? In addition, if it is a different taxonomic system then cladistics, than the real problem is that we are just talking about two different systems of classification. That means we are basically using two different languages to talk about the same thing. That would also mean we are both right based on the rules we wish to stick with.


That's what I am saying. In cladistics, there is no category 'monkeys'. There are catarrhines and platyrrhines (parvorder), simians (infraorder), haplorrhines (suborder) and primates (order). So one of those must already cover whatever is meant by 'monkey'.


Yes, and in cladistics that is usually simians. Beyond that, with all your orders, I see you are using Linnaean taxonomy. As I said, we are just speaking two different languages of taxonomy. Depending on the rules you wish to stick with, apes can or cannot be monkeys.

Sparhafoc wrote:Maybe I am completely wrong, but I've never encountered the term 'monkey' in place of one of these anywhere except in a woolly non-scientific way. Doesn't 'monkey' just mean 'simian'/'simiiformes'?


Yes. In addition, that clade includes apes.

Sparhafoc wrote:
he_who_is_nobody wrote:Well, you would agree that humans are closer in relation to a trout, than a trout is in relation with a tiger shark, right? You would also agree that we are closer in relation to a coelacanth, than a coelacanth is to a trout, right?


And yet sharks and coelacanth are fish, but we're not even though more closely related to some fish than other fish are. Which is why the word 'fish' is completely unhelpful when it comes to drawing up clades. As with 'monkey' there is no 'fish' clade.


I would say there is a fish clade, it just includes us. As I said earlier, that clade is so large in the first place that no one would ever refer to fish anyways. They would be far more specific and point out what clade within fish they were talking about. As an example, no biologist would ever refer to the tetrapods if they were talking about mice, humans, or birds; it is just too large of a clade to be useful. However, tetrapod is implied by talking about any of those groups.

Sparhafoc wrote:
he_who_is_nobody wrote:Again, that is what cladistics is trying to represent, our actual relationships based on our ancestry. Beyond that, fish is a huge clade in any taxonomic ranking, thus scientists should clarify if they were talking about Actinopterygii, Sarcopterygii, or Selachimorpha when talking about fish.


I think you are making the same point as me. There is actually no clade called 'fish'. There are instead a number clades as you've labelled above, so the word 'fish' is a paraphyletic collection of taxa. And fish could never be monophyletic because any fish clade would necessarily include tetrapods which are not fish. In the past, the term 'Pisces' was used as the kind of overarching clade, but it doesn't work due to the group being paraphyletic.


I would argue that there is a clade called fish and we are a part of that clade. As I said, that is just the rules of monophyly, one cannot evolve out of ones ancestry. Just like snakes and whales are still tetrapods, birds are still dinosaurs, and humans are still monkeys.

Sparhafoc wrote:
he_who_is_nobody wrote: This is also beyond the fact that a lot of people call things that live in the water fish1 even though they do not have backbones, let alone anything else that would make a fish a fish.


YES! Exactly what I mean. The word fish as used by non-scientists employing Platonic notions via their vocabulary is precisely the same problem (albeit on a smaller scale) as with applying the word 'monkey' to mean that collection of taxa which tickles our sense of Platonic monkeyism.


I would argue that Linnaean taxonomy falls pray to this platonic view of monkeyism. I mean, that is why people think humans and chimpanzees are not monkeys, because monkeys have tails. However, that is the same reasoning as to why people end up calling some macaques apes. Now, we would both agree that macaques are not apes, right?

Sparhafoc wrote:It's not a problem with cladistics (although it has a slew of problems long discussed) but with using non-scientific language as if it's analogous and as rigorous as a scientific term. Monkeys and fish are words and concepts from another language, they don't work very well to describe what we see, and they can mislead people's understanding.


I think monkey and fish are fine as terms as long as one sticks to the rule of monophyly. If we start to call one group X, we cannot simply start excluding other groups that are recently related because of some Platonic view of group X.
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SparhafocPosts: 536Joined: Fri Jun 23, 2017 6:48 am

Post Re: You're a fuckin' monkey, mate!

All forms of cladistics are Linnaean to some degree, because the language used to group animals is based on the system he proposed, i.e. orders, families, genera, and species through binomial nomenclature. For example, Homo sapiens.

This became more strongly formalized in the 50's with cladistics to focus on the biological fact that species, via evolution and descent, are nested hierarchies, where the common ancestor needs to be considered part of the group to be a valid clade and thereby avoid polyphyly.

Today, molecular biology and technology allow us another window into sorting species into the right groups, but these are still largely consistent with the way we've done it since Linnaeus, at least in terms of how we set about ordering groups of species and communicating them. Some details of previous characterization are shown wrong, but it still works within the same basic system of classification which involves splitting up stuff into like with like, and unlike without.

So I am not sure quite what your point is there. As far as I am aware, I am up to date with cladistics via phylogenetic nomenclature, and I am using the terms in the way you'll find them in any scientific journal.

Of course, there are proposed alternatives, but I don't think they would result in what I've said being a mistake either.

Nowhere in scientific language are monkeys and fish proper terms for talking about clades of animals. I really don't think that's contentious at all.
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Mon Jul 24, 2017 6:02 am
SparhafocPosts: 536Joined: Fri Jun 23, 2017 6:48 am

Post Re: You're a fuckin' monkey, mate!

Yes. In addition, that clade includes apes.


So 'monkey' is an acceptable alternative for 'simian'?

Sorry, but I just don't agree if we're talking science, firstly for the reasons I've pointed out, and secondly because my experience suggests that this is not how the terms are used in scientific literature or in the field generally. Perhaps I am wrong in fields other than my own, and if so, then apologies, but my own field includes both ends of the spectrum, from primate morphology to sociobiology and behavior of primates. And I just don't see other people in these fields using the term 'monkey' in the way you've proposed.

However, as I said in my first post, if you're talking to someone who doesn't know their arse from their elbow about evolutionary relationships, nested hierarchies, cladistics, or anything relevant, then 'monkey' is fine if the point being made is clear to such an interlocutor.


EDIT:

There are many aspects of your post I'd like to discuss, but I feel we need to clarify on certain points first. There's the whole discourse/praxis paradigm, but I genuinely believe that what I've said is in concert with both discourse and praxis, whereas even if your position were to be true of the former, it's not true of the latter.

But dang, I want to respond to many points you've made

I will restrain my response to this:

I would say there is a fish clade, it just includes us.


I just can't see the utility in such a system. That we ultimately descended from something we'd call a fish offers no utility whatsoever in communicating any details about our species other than that we descended ultimately from fish.

Sure, we could talk about the inner ear, or the vagus nerve or any of the other anatomy that results from ultimately being descended via tetrapod from a fish.... but the same is true of every other mammal, bird (there's another example of woolliness), and reptile. Where's the utility there in defining a species anatomically or genetically with a system that refuses to define the differences? To me, that all terrestrial and aquatic animals (not insects) is descended from a fish with legs is not in question - it's established beyond reasonable doubt, but the differences between them are the most fertile area of knowledge once that's accepted.
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Mon Jul 24, 2017 6:08 am
SparhafocPosts: 536Joined: Fri Jun 23, 2017 6:48 am

Post Re: You're a fuckin' monkey, mate!

I would argue that Linnaean taxonomy falls pray to this platonic view of monkeyism. I mean, that is why people think humans and chimpanzees are not monkeys, because monkeys have tails. However, that is the same reasoning as to why people end up calling some macaques apes. Now, we would both agree that macaques are not apes, right?


Bu.. je... I.... it... WAIT a minute! :o

viewtopic.php?p=179904#p179904

Sparhafoc wrote:Of course, it's still woolly because there are monkeys without tails, i.e. Barbary macaques who some even call 'Barbary apes' when they are assuredly not hominoidea.



Incidentally, why are you talking about Linnaean taxonomy? I am no more using Linnaean taxonomy than anyone else in the modern world. I am using the language of Linnaeus' taxonomy because so does everyone else in the world. Binomial nomenclature for species, and clade names for valid clades.
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Mon Jul 24, 2017 6:19 am
SparhafocPosts: 536Joined: Fri Jun 23, 2017 6:48 am

Post Re: You're a fuckin' monkey, mate!

For clarity here:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Simian#Cl ... _evolution

In earlier classification, New World monkeys, Old World monkeys, apes, and humans—collectively known as simians or anthropoids—were grouped under Anthropoidea (/ˌænθɹoˈpɔɪdiə/, Gr. άνθρωπος, anthropos, human, also called anthropoid apes), while the strepsirrhines and tarsiers were grouped under the suborder "Prosimii". Under modern classification, the tarsiers and simians are grouped under the suborder Haplorhini while the strepsirrhines are placed in suborder Strepsirrhini.[3] Despite this preferred taxonomic division, prosimian is still regularly found in textbooks and the academic literature because of familiarity, a condition likened to the use of the metric system in the sciences and the use of customary units elsewhere in the United States.[4] In anthropoidea, evidences indicate that the Old and the New World primates went through parallel evolution.[5]

Primatology, paleoanthropology, and other related fields are split on their usage of the synonymous infraorder names, Simiiformes and Anthropoidea. According to Robert Hoffstetter (and supported by Colin Groves), the term Simiiformes has priority over Anthropoidea because of the taxonomic term Simii by van der Hoeven, from which it is constructed, dates to 1833.[1][6] In contrast, Anthropoidea by Mivart dates to 1864,[7] while Simiiformes by Haeckel dates to 1866, leading to counterclaims of priority.[1] Hoffstetter also argued that Simiiformes is also constructed like a proper infraorder name (ending in -iformes), whereas Anthropoidea ends in -oidea, which is reserved for superfamilies. He also noted that Anthropoidea is too easily confused with "anthropoïdes", which translates to "apes" from several languages.[6]

Extant simians are split into three distinct groups. The New World monkeys in parvorder Platyrrhini split from the rest of the simian line about 40 mya, leaving the parvorder Catarrhini occupying the Old World. This group split about 25 mya between the Old World monkeys and the apes. "Monkeys" are a paraphyletic group (in other words, not a single coherent group).

Order Primates

Suborder Strepsirrhini: non-tarsier prosimians
Suborder Haplorhini: tarsiers + monkeys, including apes
Infraorder Tarsiiformes
Infraorder Simiiformes
Parvorder Platyrrhini: New World monkeys
Family Callitrichidae: marmosets and tamarins
Family Cebidae: capuchins and squirrel monkeys
Family Aotidae: night or owl monkeys (douroucoulis)
Family Pitheciidae: titis, sakis and uakaris
Family Atelidae: howler, spider and woolly monkeys
Parvorder Catarrhini
Superfamily Cercopithecoidea
Family Cercopithecidae: Old World monkeys
Superfamily Hominoidea
Family Hylobatidae: gibbons
Family Hominidae: great apes, including humans
If a human disagrees with you, let him live! In a hundred billion galaxies you will not find another!
Mon Jul 24, 2017 6:24 am
SparhafocPosts: 536Joined: Fri Jun 23, 2017 6:48 am

Post Re: You're a fuckin' monkey, mate!

I think I've realized a way I can communicate what I am trying to communicate.

Cladistic level language is universal, whereas every day language is culture dependent.

Names like 'monkey' and 'fish' are not scientific, and their meaning changes depending on who's talking.

In French, if you want to talk scientifically about the group of primates that are not tarsiers etc., then you would use the word ''simiformes'. If you wanted to talk scientifically about the group of primates that are the subdivision of that group from the Old World, you'd use the word 'catarrhines'. These words are not English or French, they are based on Latin and are specifically part of the language of science. They also convey all the information one needs unambiguously.

In English, you might call the animals within that group 'monkeys', but in French you'd call them 'singes', in Thai 'ling', in German 'affe', and so on.

In every language around the world, you'd have a different word for the animals in that group, but regardless of the nationality and language of those people, all scientists from that language will still use the same scientific terms as scientists from other language groups.

To me, this is where the rigor lies.

If you accept that the word 'monkey' is different in different languages, and accept that all scientists regardless of native tongue use the scientific terms to communicate with each other, then I think you now see my argument.

Monkey is not a useful word for any form of cladistic analysis, regardless how well it may seem to marry to simiformes. It causes confusion because it has a meaning to non-scientists that is incorrect with respect to rigorous standards of classification and will naturally lead to confusion or difficulty in communication.

There are valid scenarios when it simply doesn't matter what word you use as the thrust of the comment doesn't require specificity, but when it comes to speaking rigorously about the topic of classifying species, and having non-arbitrary definitions, then monkey and fish as clades lack any utility whatsoever.

Perhaps that will clarify what I've been saying since viewtopic.php?p=179580#p179580
If a human disagrees with you, let him live! In a hundred billion galaxies you will not find another!
Mon Jul 24, 2017 7:01 am
he_who_is_nobodyBloggerUser avatarPosts: 3222Joined: Tue Feb 24, 2009 1:36 amLocation: Albuquerque, New Mexico Gender: Male

Post Re: You're a fuckin' monkey, mate!

Sparhafoc wrote:All forms of cladistics are Linnaean to some degree, because the language used to group animals is based on the system he proposed, i.e. orders, families, genera, and species through binomial nomenclature. For example, Homo sapiens.


My point was that you are trying to stuff clades into the old kingdom, class, order, etc... system. There is no point in trying to make these amorphous clades fit into square wholes.

Sparhafoc wrote:This became more strongly formalized in the 50's with cladistics to focus on the biological fact that species, via evolution and descent, are nested hierarchies, where the common ancestor needs to be considered part of the group to be a valid clade and thereby avoid polyphyly.


Exactly! One cannot evolve out of its ancestry. That is why birds are still dinosaurs, snakes and whales are still tetrapods, and humans are still monkeys.

Sparhafoc wrote:Today, molecular biology and technology allow us another window into sorting species into the right groups, but these are still largely consistent with the way we've done it since Linnaeus, at least in terms of how we set about ordering groups of species and communicating them. Some details of previous characterization are shown wrong, but it still works within the same basic system of classification which involves splitting up stuff into like with like, and unlike without.


Yes. I am just saying get rid of the kingdom, class, order, etc... aspect of it and just stick to referring to them as clades. There is no point in trying to maintain that system with all the infra, super, and sub prefixes.

Sparhafoc wrote:So I am not sure quite what your point is there. As far as I am aware, I am up to date with cladistics via phylogenetic nomenclature, and I am using the terms in the way you'll find them in any scientific journal.


What is dinosaur? Is it a class or order? What about bird? Because, I have seen journals refer to the class of birds and the order of dinosaur. That does not make sense.

Sparhafoc wrote:Nowhere in scientific language are monkeys and fish proper terms for talking about clades of animals. I really don't think that's contentious at all.


I am not talking about strictly scientific language though. I am just saying that if one wants to call baboons and spider monkeys monkeys, than they necessarily also have to be calling humans monkeys based on modern cladistics. This is based on the rules of cladistics.

Sparhafoc wrote:
Yes. In addition, that clade includes apes.


So 'monkey' is an acceptable alternative for 'simian'?

Sorry, but I just don't agree if we're talking science, firstly for the reasons I've pointed out, and secondly because my experience suggests that this is not how the terms are used in scientific literature or in the field generally. Perhaps I am wrong in fields other than my own, and if so, then apologies, but my own field includes both ends of the spectrum, from primate morphology to sociobiology and behavior of primates. And I just don't see other people in these fields using the term 'monkey' in the way you've proposed.


It logically follows if one wants to refer to baboons and spider monkeys as monkeys. AronRa pointed this out, that is that we traditionally do not call apes monkeys. However, that was based on older systems that believed Platyrrhines and Cecpithecoids were closer in relation and to apes. Now we know that Cecpithecoids are closer to apes than the other monkeys. I honestly think it is dumb to throw out the rule of monophyly simply because one sub-field of biology refuses to play by it.

Sparhafoc wrote:However, as I said in my first post, if you're talking to someone who doesn't know their arse from their elbow about evolutionary relationships, nested hierarchies, cladistics, or anything relevant, then 'monkey' is fine if the point being made is clear to such an interlocutor.


I think if one wants to call baboons and spider monkeys monkeys, than it is clear that the whole group of simians should be called monkey. That is regardless of whom one is talking to.

Sparhafoc wrote:There are many aspects of your post I'd like to discuss, but I feel we need to clarify on certain points first. There's the whole discourse/praxis paradigm, but I genuinely believe that what I've said is in concert with both discourse and praxis, whereas even if your position were to be true of the former, it's not true of the latter.


I am just sticking to the rule of monophyly. Birds are dinosaurs, snakes and whales are tetrapods and humans are monkeys based on that rule.

Sparhafoc wrote:
I would say there is a fish clade, it just includes us.


I just can't see the utility in such a system. That we ultimately descended from something we'd call a fish offers no utility whatsoever in communicating any details about our species other than that we descended ultimately from fish.


Exactly! That being the utility. By one actually listing the clades of an organism, one is able to see its evolutionary history and how that relates to other organisms. I believe that is a very useful system since nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution.

Sparhafoc wrote:Sure, we could talk about the inner ear, or the vagus nerve or any of the other anatomy that results from ultimately being descended via tetrapod from a fish.... but the same is true of every other mammal, bird (there's another example of woolliness), and reptile. Where's the utility there in defining a species anatomically or genetically with a system that refuses to define the differences? To me, that all terrestrial and aquatic animals (not insects) is descended from a fish with legs is not in question - it's established beyond reasonable doubt, but the differences between them are the most fertile area of knowledge once that's accepted.


I honestly do not understand your objection here. They are defined differently, that is why there is the new clade of tetrapod that comes from it. Beyond that, like I already said, fish not having utility does not come from tetrapods being a part of it, but it being so large. You even hint at this in the above when you referenced birds. Large clades are woolly because they are large. That is why finer detail is always in place when talking about large clades.

Sparhafoc wrote:
I would argue that Linnaean taxonomy falls pray to this platonic view of monkeyism. I mean, that is why people think humans and chimpanzees are not monkeys, because monkeys have tails. However, that is the same reasoning as to why people end up calling some macaques apes. Now, we would both agree that macaques are not apes, right?


Bu.. je... I.... it... WAIT a minute! :o

http://theleagueofreason.co.uk/viewtopi ... 04#p179904

Sparhafoc wrote:Of course, it's still woolly because there are monkeys without tails, i.e. Barbary macaques who some even call 'Barbary apes' when they are assuredly not hominoidea.


Wow. I can remember the craziest things written down by dandan/leroy, but I could not remember that. That does say a lot about me.

Sparhafoc wrote:Incidentally, why are you talking about Linnaean taxonomy? I am no more using Linnaean taxonomy than anyone else in the modern world. I am using the language of Linnaeus' taxonomy because so does everyone else in the world. Binomial nomenclature for species, and clade names for valid clades.


In the above I am talking about how Linnaean taxonomy largely depended on external appearances of organisms. Thus, a tailless monkey gets called an ape, because people think of apes as monkeys that do not have tails. This is why in older systems anteaters and pangolins would be classified in the same "clade".

Sparhafoc wrote:For clarity here:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Simian#Cl ... _evolution

....

Extant simians are split into three distinct groups. The New World monkeys in parvorder Platyrrhini split from the rest of the simian line about 40 mya, leaving the parvorder Catarrhini occupying the Old World. This group split about 25 mya between the Old World monkeys and the apes. "Monkeys" are a paraphyletic group (in other words, not a single coherent group)...


As I keep saying, it is only paraphyletic because of tradition. How can one call baboons and spider monkeys monkeys and exclude humans? There seems to be no reason besides, "Well, this is how we have always done it."

Sparhafoc wrote:I think I've realized a way I can communicate what I am trying to communicate.

Cladistic level language is universal, whereas every day language is culture dependent.

Names like 'monkey' and 'fish' are not scientific, and their meaning changes depending on who's talking.


The same could be said about any none formal scientific name for any organism. The example we both used here were the Barbary apes. Should scientist abandon ape because the laity are using it wrong? We do have to remember that we are just arguing semantics and the scientific terminology will always take president over lay-terms. Thus, I know simians is the clade that includes baboons, spider monkeys, and humans. If I want to state monkey as a placeholder for simian (since people know the word monkey, but do not know simians), what mistake am I making? I have already made it clear that what I am talking about is the clade and I would be educated people about cladistics.

Sparhafoc wrote:Monkey is not a useful word for any form of cladistic analysis, regardless how well it may seem to marry to simiformes. It causes confusion because it has a meaning to non-scientists that is incorrect with respect to rigorous standards of classification and will naturally lead to confusion or difficulty in communication.


That is true of every none standard scientific term. They all can lead to confusion or difficulty in communication. Again, Barbary apes are not apes. Should we stop using the term ape because it might sow confusion when pointing that out to people? If one is clear with how they are using a word from the start, I honestly do not see a problem. Thus, what you seem to also be proposing is that you would not refer to baboons and spider monkeys as monkeys.

Sparhafoc wrote:There are valid scenarios when it simply doesn't matter what word you use as the thrust of the comment doesn't require specificity, but when it comes to speaking rigorously about the topic of classifying species, and having non-arbitrary definitions, then monkey and fish as clades lack any utility whatsoever.


Again, that is true of every none scientific term. That is exactly why we have the scientific terminology. Those terms are our meter stick to judge the rest of our language by. Again, if one is clear from the start and uses a different term as a placeholder with the scientific term, what is the real problem?
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SparhafocPosts: 536Joined: Fri Jun 23, 2017 6:48 am

Post Re: You're a fuckin' monkey, mate!

he_who_is_nobody wrote:My point was that you are trying to stuff clades into the old kingdom, class, order, etc... system. There is no point in trying to make these amorphous clades fit into square wholes.


Everyone still uses them. Cladistics is perfectly valid today, and phylogenetics both uses cladistic analysis (it being a form of cladistics) and is used for the purpose of exploring evolutionary relationships. They are wholly complimentary, not either/or as you seem to be suggesting. Do you think we're no longer Homo sapiens? I don't get what you're trying to say here.

And it's not Linnaean - Linnaeus knew nothing about the manner of inheritance, and couldn't see how these all fit together, even while acknowledging that all primates have similar bits.

As such, cladistics is where it begins to be concerned about evolutionary relationships, and consequently aspects like monophyly. And even though cladistics has changed a lot over the years (and will invariably keep changing), you seem to be suggesting that phylogenetic systematics is not a form of cladistics. To put it another way, all biological phylogenies are a form of cladistics, but not all cladistics are phylogenetics.


he_who_is_nobody wrote:Exactly! One cannot evolve out of its ancestry. That is why birds are still dinosaurs, snakes and whales are still tetrapods, and humans are still monkeys.


Um? What does it mean to not be able to evolve out of your ancestry? Seems to contradict everything about evolutionary biology.

What I don't understand about your position is where you think the utility is? Cladistics, of any stripe, is about categorising shit. We look at the component bits and match like for like, trying to find proper groups according to the rules of cladistics. There are many controversies, there are many errors, there are camps of splitters and groupers, but this doesn't detract from the fact that the entire point is to identify the differences, not just say we're all fish and call it done.

In reality, birds (Neornithes) are not 'dinosaurs' but evolved from a coelurosaurian theropod. They are birds, and they have a whole suite of defining characteristics that set them apart properly from 'dinosaurs' (another woolly name - see why it becomes a problem?), and make their group distinct enough to warrant a new clade. Again, yes they evolved from dinosaurs, but no one calls them dinosaurs in practice for the same reason they don't call them 'fish'.

Incidentally, according to your argument so far, you should be calling birds 'fish'. So birds are dinosaurs, archosaurs, reptiles, tetrapods, fish, wormy type things and so on and so on until they're single celled organisms? Tell me the utility in that long list of evolutionary predecessors for classification systems of species. No one here is disputing that Y evolved from X, but it's not how we engage in cladistics or taxonomy when it comes to defining species or clades, only the data in to do so, so your point seems to run contrary to the aim of the field.


he_who_is_nobody wrote:Yes. I am just saying get rid of the kingdom, class, order, etc... aspect of it and just stick to referring to them as clades. There is no point in trying to maintain that system with all the infra, super, and sub prefixes.


/shrug

Tell the scientific world, because these are used daily. Again, I am saying how it is, not talking about what should or shouldn't be.


he_who_is_nobody wrote:What is dinosaur? Is it a class or order? What about bird? Because, I have seen journals refer to the class of birds and the order of dinosaur. That does not make sense.


Because it's doing what you said would be ideal - noting the different nestings of the hierarchy of common descent. There is logically a hierarchy, from earliest to latest, if you accept common descent. Therefore, species, families, orders etc arise through shared ancestry of an initial 'type' or proto version of that group which eventually had sufficient offspring across sufficiently varied and isolated terrain to result in many different species.

To me, this is obviously useful, and we use the terms specifically to communicate these ideas.



he_who_is_nobody wrote:I am not talking about strictly scientific language though.


I am, except where I made a distinction in my first post.

I think I have been clear throughout that I am talking strictly about scientific language.


he_who_is_nobody wrote:I am just saying that if one wants to call baboons and spider monkeys monkeys, than they necessarily also have to be calling humans monkeys based on modern cladistics. This is based on the rules of cladistics.


Doesn't follow at all to me. If French people call baboons and spider monkeys 'singes' it doesn't mean they are obliged to call humans 'singes' too, because normal non-scientific language is not directed by rigorous classification, instead it arises through usage - praxis.

I also don't think the idea is even necessarily desirable. It's nice if normal language is informed and specific, but it doesn't need to include every single aspect of human knowledge in rigorous fashion. For example, we haven't stopped saying 'what time will the sun rise?' even though we know that it doesn't really rise and we just rotate round.



he_who_is_nobody wrote:It logically follows if one wants to refer to baboons and spider monkeys as monkeys.


With all respect to you, good sir, who has said they wanted to refer to baboons and spider monkeys as monkeys?

I think I've been more than clear that I want to refer to them as haplorhines.



he_who_is_nobody wrote:AronRa pointed this out, that is that we traditionally do not call apes monkeys. However, that was based on older systems that believed Platyrrhines and Cecpithecoids were closer in relation and to apes.


No, it's based on the usage of a language that is not directed towards science any more than it is directed towards economics or atomic theory. People either did or didn't (I've already given examples of both in this thread) call apes 'monkeys' based on the same woolly notions you are suggesting would be idea for communicating.

I can not disagree more. When I talk to someone in my field, I can be really very specific about what I am talking about because we have rigorous words that define these groups.



he_who_is_nobody wrote:Now we know that Cecpithecoids are closer to apes than the other monkeys. I honestly think it is dumb to throw out the rule of monophyly simply because one sub-field of biology refuses to play by it.


Well, it's the same as Pluto losing its 'planet' status. If we want to make rules, they have to be rigorous and applied universally, or they no longer serve a function.


he_who_is_nobody wrote:I think if one wants to call baboons and spider monkeys monkeys, than it is clear that the whole group of simians should be called monkey. That is regardless of whom one is talking to.


I think if someone wants to call baboons and spider monkeys 'monkeys' then they're making the same mistake as you. :D Don't take it the wrong way, but it's what you are saying - that they're all monkeys. I am saying that the term 'monkey' is not a scientific one, and that it is a woolly grouping that has no rigour, so clearly I am not in agreement with people calling haplorhines 'monkeys' when the word 'haplorhine' is vastly superior.


he_who_is_nobody wrote:I am just sticking to the rule of monophyly. Birds are dinosaurs, snakes and whales are tetrapods and humans are monkeys based on that rule.


And the rule is not being question, it's the application of the rule outside of its remit that is the confusing point for me. We don't need to tell every previous evolutionary relationship just to identify a species or even a clade, although phylogenetics can help inform us beyond what our superficial morphological analysis can show. Common ancestry isn't in dispute - naming things for clarity is what I am about here.


he_who_is_nobody wrote:Exactly! That being the utility. By one actually listing the clades of an organism, one is able to see its evolutionary history and how that relates to other organisms. I believe that is a very useful system since nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution.


I find this perplexing. This is not how language is practiced. You want both the rigor of scientific labeling describing evolutionary relationshios, but to not use the words generated by scientific rigor to do exactly that. Please explain to me what's wrong with the word 'haplorhine' or 'simian' and why you require 'monkey' to be inserted there. What utility does it offer above and beyond 'simiformes'?


he_who_is_nobody wrote:I honestly do not understand your objection here.


Good, that makes two of us! :D


he_who_is_nobody wrote:They are defined differently, that is why there is the new clade of tetrapod that comes from it. Beyond that, like I already said, fish not having utility does not come from tetrapods being a part of it, but it being so large. You even hint at this in the above when you referenced birds. Large clades are woolly because they are large. That is why finer detail is always in place when talking about large clades.


Nothing to do with the size of the group as far as I am concerned, but rather about gene flow. They are defined differently because that's the entire point of cladistics or taxonomy - to put proper labels on proper groups.


he_who_is_nobody wrote:Wow. I can remember the craziest things written down by dandan/leroy, but I could not remember that. That does say a lot about me.


:lol:

I actually wondered at one point whether you'd misread LEROY's post as one of mine.


he_who_is_nobody wrote:In the above I am talking about how Linnaean taxonomy largely depended on external appearances of organisms.


Yes, but even though I might be a little crusty, I am not from the 1920's or before! :D I studied human evolution in the late 90's, and I still read a fairly large number of scientific journals on a weekly basis, not least because I teach various courses on human evolution at university from comparative anatomy to primate behavior. This is what I am not grasping here: I am saying what actually is - the way language is actually used in the sciences, in scientific journals, between scientists, and explaining why it is rigorous and why shoving in woolly concepts from every day language has no utility.

If we're talking about every day speech, I've already pointed out the problems with that because every day speech is woolly and not restricted to scientific rigor, so speakers of various languages have vastly different word groups to talk about our nearest evolutionary family. I don't see how one could fix that any better than just getting all those speakers to use the scientific jargon that scientists from all round the world already use.


he_who_is_nobody wrote:Thus, a tailless monkey gets called an ape, because people think of apes as monkeys that do not have tails. This is why in older systems anteaters and pangolins would be classified in the same "clade".


Cladistics, evolutionary biology, genetics etc. etc. etc, has changed dramatically since their inceptions. Of course there were stupid mistakes made in the past, but that doesn't reflect on all cladistics now. Phylogenetics routinely informs cladistics these days, so we have both anatomical observation and genetic data. It has real utility, and the anatomical observations are still a valid and logically independent study.



he_who_is_nobody wrote:As I keep saying, it is only paraphyletic because of tradition. How can one call baboons and spider monkeys monkeys and exclude humans?


Sorry for the caps but WHO IS CALLING THEM MONKEYS? :| :? :roll: :facepalm: :P

I am not sure why you keep repeating this point. I haven't called them both monkeys. My entire argument is about rejecting calling groups by woolly non-scientific names because there's no bloody utility to it, so I am not sure why you are pointing this towards me. Actually, I would say that the problem you identify there is the same error you are committing. Calling baboons and spider monkeys 'monkeys' is wrong for the same reason as calling humans 'monkeys' or 'fish'. That's my position, for clarity's sake!


he_who_is_nobody wrote: There seems to be no reason besides, "Well, this is how we have always done it."


Errr, and the non-arbitrary morphological and genetic differences that we are labeling with these group names.


he_who_is_nobody wrote:The same could be said about any none formal scientific name for any organism.


Yes, and it would still be an error to either say that the non-scientific notion should take precedent, or expect every day language to apply the same scientific rigor to words commonly used.


he_who_is_nobody wrote:The example we both used here were the Barbary apes. Should scientist abandon ape because the laity are using it wrong?


I... sorry but you need to read what I've written in this thread.

Scientists don't use the word 'ape' - that's exactly my argument! No scientist in a relevant field turns to his colleague or writes in a journal about apes because 'apes' is an English word with no scientific rigour. Instead, we would talk about Hominoidea. I've gone into detail about this above, and the usage of 'ape' is wrong for the same reason that the usage of 'monkey' is wrong, insofar as they lack any rigor.


he_who_is_nobody wrote:We do have to remember that we are just arguing semantics and the scientific terminology will always take president over lay-terms.


In science, yes. But every day language is full of historical contingency.

I made a very clear distinction in my first post that I would not be talking about every day language because it simply does not matter. What matters is the rigor of scientific language, and it's that rigor which means neither a baboon or a human is called a monkey in scientific praxis or discourse for exactly the same reason.


he_who_is_nobody wrote:Thus, I know simians is the clade that includes baboons, spider monkeys, and humans. If I want to state monkey as a placeholder for simian (since people know the word monkey, but do not know simians), what mistake am I making?


From my reading, you are making the mistake of borrowing a word from every day language, and trying to get it to do a more rigorous job than its usage allows in the English language. You also thereby failing to address the erroneous usage of a thousand different languages all with their own erroneous words.

Again, regardless of where the primate scientist is from, if you say 'haplorhines' or 'catarrhines', everyone understands very specifically what's being talked about. The scientific jargon is specific, detailed, and non-arbitrary, whereas 'monkey' is woolly as per your very own examples of baboons.


he_who_is_nobody wrote:I have already made it clear that what I am talking about is the clade and I would be educated people about cladistics.


While I don't want to pretend to any expertise in cladistics, it was a required subject in my undergraduate course, and we had to really know it to pass. It was a hard topic for me and I struggled a lot with it initially, which meant I applied myself, and consequently that's why I now value the rigor there and don't want to join in the woollification of it!


he_who_is_nobody wrote:That is true of every none standard scientific term. They all can lead to confusion or difficulty in communication. Again, Barbary apes are not apes. Should we stop using the term ape because it might sow confusion when pointing that out to people? If one is clear with how they are using a word from the start, I honestly do not see a problem. Thus, what you seem to also be proposing is that you would not refer to baboons and spider monkeys as monkeys.


I have a feeling that you've been arguing all this time against a point I never made.

Could you do me the favour of reading through my first post so you can see what my position is. I clearly laid out a distinction between every day language and scientific vocabulary, and have been talking throughout this thread about the latter.


he_who_is_nobody wrote:Again, that is true of every none scientific term. That is exactly why we have the scientific terminology. Those terms are our meter stick to judge the rest of our language by. Again, if one is clear from the start and uses a different term as a placeholder with the scientific term, what is the real problem?


I am finding this perplexing because you are forwarding the usage of the word 'monkey', a completely non-scientific term, as being as valid, rigorous, and useful as 'simiformes' which it manifestly isn't.

As for the remainder, I think it's a prescription, not a description. Clearly, people do not use scientific language as an arbiter of every day language use, and if they did, they wouldn't call humans 'monkeys' because that would be woolly and non-scientific. In fact, calling humans 'monkeys' is exactly the non-scientific, woolly language use that science does not employ.
If a human disagrees with you, let him live! In a hundred billion galaxies you will not find another!
Mon Jul 24, 2017 7:01 pm
he_who_is_nobodyBloggerUser avatarPosts: 3222Joined: Tue Feb 24, 2009 1:36 amLocation: Albuquerque, New Mexico Gender: Male

Post Re: You're a fuckin' monkey, mate!

Sparhafoc wrote:
he_who_is_nobody wrote:My point was that you are trying to stuff clades into the old kingdom, class, order, etc... system. There is no point in trying to make these amorphous clades fit into square wholes.


Everyone still uses them. Cladistics is perfectly valid today, and phylogenetics both uses cladistic analysis (it being a form of cladistics) and is used for the purpose of exploring evolutionary relationships. They are wholly complimentary, not either/or as you seem to be suggesting. Do you think we're no longer Homo sapiens? I don't get what you're trying to say here.


I am saying that trying to stuff clades into infraorders and subfamilies is stupid and should be abandoned. The clades used, such as hominid, hominin, Homo, H. sapiens is fine without trying to match those clades to a order or class. I would never suggest getting rid of the binomial naming system.

Sparhafoc wrote:As such, cladistics is where it begins to be concerned about evolutionary relationships, and consequently aspects like monophyly. And even though cladistics has changed a lot over the years (and will invariably keep changing), you seem to be suggesting that phylogenetic systematics is not a form of cladistics. To put it another way, all biological phylogenies are a form of cladistics, but not all cladistics are phylogenetics.


I am not suggesting that. All I am saying is trying to stuff clades into superorders and subfamilies is silly. Why not just list the clades names and move on from there. The ranking used for placing things as family, class, order, etc... was arbitrary anyways.

Sparhafoc wrote:
he_who_is_nobody wrote:Exactly! One cannot evolve out of its ancestry. That is why birds are still dinosaurs, snakes and whales are still tetrapods, and humans are still monkeys.


Um? What does it mean to not be able to evolve out of your ancestry? Seems to contradict everything about evolutionary biology.


How does that contradict evolution? Is evolution not just the slight modification of preexisting forms at every level? Beyond that, that is just the rules of cladistics, the way one tries to order organisms is based on their ancestry. That means things that are closer in relation (no matter how they look on the outside) will always be placed close together.

Sparhafoc wrote:What I don't understand about your position is where you think the utility is? Cladistics, of any stripe, is about categorising shit. We look at the component bits and match like for like, trying to find proper groups according to the rules of cladistics. There are many controversies, there are many errors, there are camps of splitters and groupers, but this doesn't detract from the fact that the entire point is to identify the differences, not just say we're all fish and call it done.


I do not know anyone that just calls us all fish and calls it done. As I already said, in biology no one talks about fish anyways, they will always point out that they are talking about sharks, or ray-finned fish, or lob-fined fish, or something even far more specific. Instead of just saying fish and believing that everyone should know what you are talking about, it forces one to be far more specific and actually specify what clade they want to discuss.

Sparhafoc wrote:In reality, birds (Neornithes) are not 'dinosaurs' but evolved from a coelurosaurian theropod. They are birds, and they have a whole suite of defining characteristics that set them apart properly from 'dinosaurs' (another woolly name - see why it becomes a problem?), and make their group distinct enough to warrant a new clade. Again, yes they evolved from dinosaurs, but no one calls them dinosaurs in practice for the same reason they don't call them 'fish'.


Everyone is calling them dinosaurs now. That is why they use the term "non-avian dinosaur" to refer to the last mass extinction. This seems to be a perfect example of a commonly use words conforming to their scientific terms.

Sparhafoc wrote:Incidentally, according to your argument so far, you should be calling birds 'fish'. So birds are dinosaurs, archosaurs, reptiles, tetrapods, fish, wormy type things and so on and so on until they're single celled organisms?


Yes. What is wrong with that?

Sparhafoc wrote:Tell me the utility in that long list of evolutionary predecessors for classification systems of species.


It tells us exactly where they stand in relationship with other organisms.

Sparhafoc wrote:No one here is disputing that Y evolved from X, but it's not how we engage in cladistics or taxonomy when it comes to defining species or clades, only the data in to do so, so your point seems to run contrary to the aim of the field.


How can it run contrary to the aim of the field when the field is governed by the rule of monophyly? One still has to come up with characteristics to separate different clades, it is just those clades fall under the rule of monophyly.

Sparhafoc wrote:
he_who_is_nobody wrote:Yes. I am just saying get rid of the kingdom, class, order, etc... aspect of it and just stick to referring to them as clades. There is no point in trying to maintain that system with all the infra, super, and sub prefixes.


/shrug

Tell the scientific world, because these are used daily. Again, I am saying how it is, not talking about what should or shouldn't be.


I see it less and less. Most of the times people just give a cladiagram and do not attempt to rank the clades they are using to any order or class.

Sparhafoc wrote:
he_who_is_nobody wrote:What is dinosaur? Is it a class or order? What about bird? Because, I have seen journals refer to the class of birds and the order of dinosaur. That does not make sense.


Because it's doing what you said would be ideal - noting the different nestings of the hierarchy of common descent. There is logically a hierarchy, from earliest to latest, if you accept common descent. Therefore, species, families, orders etc arise through shared ancestry of an initial 'type' or proto version of that group which eventually had sufficient offspring across sufficiently varied and isolated terrain to result in many different species.

To me, this is obviously useful, and we use the terms specifically to communicate these ideas.


The different nestings are already being noted by defining the different clades. There is no use in trying to go back and arbitrarily place those clades in any order or family. Beyond that, the very fact that those clades can nest inside each other suggests that trying to shoehorn them into families or class seems asinine. There would be far to many clades.

Sparhafoc wrote:
he_who_is_nobody wrote:I am not talking about strictly scientific language though.


I am, except where I made a distinction in my first post.

I think I have been clear throughout that I am talking strictly about scientific language.


Than we have no disagreement. I agree that the scientific terms take precedence over anything else we use. Humans, baboons, and spider monkeys are simians. We both already agree to that.

Sparhafoc wrote:
he_who_is_nobody wrote:I am just saying that if one wants to call baboons and spider monkeys monkeys, than they necessarily also have to be calling humans monkeys based on modern cladistics. This is based on the rules of cladistics.


Doesn't follow at all to me. If French people call baboons and spider monkeys 'singes' it doesn't mean they are obliged to call humans 'singes' too, because normal non-scientific language is not directed by rigorous classification, instead it arises through usage - praxis.


This gets back to the semantics argument I pointed out later. The scientific terms take precedence over common use. All I am saying is that if I make it clear that by monkey I am referring to the clade simian, what is the real argument against calling humans monkeys?

Sparhafoc wrote:I also don't think the idea is even necessarily desirable. It's nice if normal language is informed and specific, but it doesn't need to include every single aspect of human knowledge in rigorous fashion. For example, we haven't stopped saying 'what time will the sun rise?' even though we know that it doesn't really rise and we just rotate round.


I already acknowledge that we are just arguing semantics.

Sparhafoc wrote:
he_who_is_nobody wrote:It logically follows if one wants to refer to baboons and spider monkeys as monkeys.


With all respect to you, good sir, who has said they wanted to refer to baboons and spider monkeys as monkeys?


I would think by calling them old and new world monkeys respectfully, it is implied that people call them monkeys.

Sparhafoc wrote:I think I've been more than clear that I want to refer to them as haplorhines.


Simian: classification and evolution wrote:Suborder Haplorhini: tarsiers + monkeys, including apes


Okay.

Sparhafoc wrote:
he_who_is_nobody wrote:AronRa pointed this out, that is that we traditionally do not call apes monkeys. However, that was based on older systems that believed Platyrrhines and Cecpithecoids were closer in relation and to apes.


No, it's based on the usage of a language that is not directed towards science any more than it is directed towards economics or atomic theory. People either did or didn't (I've already given examples of both in this thread) call apes 'monkeys' based on the same woolly notions you are suggesting would be idea for communicating.


Again, I acknowledge that we are argue semantics. I am just saying that if all you can do to back your argument up is point to tradition, than you are making AronRa's point about this. The scientific terminology takes precedence over common use, and if I want to match my common use with the scientific terms, what is wrong with that?

Sparhafoc wrote:I can not disagree more. When I talk to someone in my field, I can be really very specific about what I am talking about because we have rigorous words that define these groups.


Exactly! That is because of cladistics and that is because more clades are used to talk about specific fields.

Just an FYI about me, encase you think I am a novist at this and not apart of your field.

;)

Sparhafoc wrote:
he_who_is_nobody wrote:Now we know that Cecpithecoids are closer to apes than the other monkeys. I honestly think it is dumb to throw out the rule of monophyly simply because one sub-field of biology refuses to play by it.


Well, it's the same as Pluto losing its 'planet' status. If we want to make rules, they have to be rigorous and applied universally, or they no longer serve a function.


Exactly my point. That is why Pluto is not a planet and humans are monkeys, and birds are dinosaurs. Monophyly.

Sparhafoc wrote:
he_who_is_nobody wrote:I think if one wants to call baboons and spider monkeys monkeys, than it is clear that the whole group of simians should be called monkey. That is regardless of whom one is talking to.


I think if someone wants to call baboons and spider monkeys 'monkeys' then they're making the same mistake as you. :D Don't take it the wrong way, but it's what you are saying - that they're all monkeys. I am saying that the term 'monkey' is not a scientific one, and that it is a woolly grouping that has no rigour, so clearly I am not in agreement with people calling haplorhines 'monkeys' when the word 'haplorhine' is vastly superior.


Yep, the scientific terminology takes precedence over common usage. As I asked before, what if I want to make my common usage fall inline with the scientific terminology? I mean, do not get me wrong, but haplorhine does not roll off the tongue like monkey. That is besides the blank stairs one gets by using that term around the public.

Sparhafoc wrote:
he_who_is_nobody wrote:I am just sticking to the rule of monophyly. Birds are dinosaurs, snakes and whales are tetrapods and humans are monkeys based on that rule.


And the rule is not being question, it's the application of the rule outside of its remit that is the confusing point for me. We don't need to tell every previous evolutionary relationship just to identify a species or even a clade, although phylogenetics can help inform us beyond what our superficial morphological analysis can show. Common ancestry isn't in dispute - naming things for clarity is what I am about here.


In this instance it is about regrouping things that have already been named. I am all about clarity and I do believe that grouping organisms by their relationships is the best way to do this. That is utility in and of itself. That is, just because you accept universal common descent, does not mean you know all the relationships. Grouping things together like this allows one to look at clades and notice that things that they might have thought were closely related, actually are not and visa versa. That also allows the public to look at the scientific literature and see these relationships with ease. That is utility

Sparhafoc wrote:
he_who_is_nobody wrote:Exactly! That being the utility. By one actually listing the clades of an organism, one is able to see its evolutionary history and how that relates to other organisms. I believe that is a very useful system since nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution.


I find this perplexing. This is not how language is practiced. You want both the rigor of scientific labeling describing evolutionary relationshios, but to not use the words generated by scientific rigor to do exactly that. Please explain to me what's wrong with the word 'haplorhine' or 'simian' and why you require 'monkey' to be inserted there. What utility does it offer above and beyond 'simiformes'?


It offers not being stared at like a jackass for using a scientifically technical word when talking to children and their parents. Nothing seems to turn people off faster than talking down to them. Beyond that, you seem to think that languages do not also evolve and change. I am hoping to take English in this direction. You do not have to help.

Sparhafoc wrote:
he_who_is_nobody wrote:I honestly do not understand your objection here.


Good, that makes two of us! :D


:lol:

Sparhafoc wrote:
he_who_is_nobody wrote:They are defined differently, that is why there is the new clade of tetrapod that comes from it. Beyond that, like I already said, fish not having utility does not come from tetrapods being a part of it, but it being so large. You even hint at this in the above when you referenced birds. Large clades are woolly because they are large. That is why finer detail is always in place when talking about large clades.


Nothing to do with the size of the group as far as I am concerned, but rather about gene flow. They are defined differently because that's the entire point of cladistics or taxonomy - to put proper labels on proper groups.


Yes, but that is a bit different from what I am talking about. You are talking about living populations, that is easy to classify. I am talking about grouping those different species into groupings of some kind. I think it is best to group them based on their ancestry (that is recent gene flow).

Sparhafoc wrote:
he_who_is_nobody wrote:Wow. I can remember the craziest things written down by dandan/leroy, but I could not remember that. That does say a lot about me.


:lol:

I actually wondered at one point whether you'd misread LEROY's post as one of mine.


You are far to articulate for that to ever happen.

Sparhafoc wrote:
he_who_is_nobody wrote:In the above I am talking about how Linnaean taxonomy largely depended on external appearances of organisms.


Yes, but even though I might be a little crusty, I am not from the 1920's or before! :D I studied human evolution in the late 90's, and I still read a fairly large number of scientific journals on a weekly basis, not least because I teach various courses on human evolution at university from comparative anatomy to primate behavior. This is what I am not grasping here: I am saying what actually is - the way language is actually used in the sciences, in scientific journals, between scientists, and explaining why it is rigorous and why shoving in woolly concepts from every day language has no utility.


Like I have said a number of times before in this post, the scientific terms always take precedence. I just want my common usage of that language to also reflect the scientific terminology. What is honestly wrong with that?

Beyond that, you have not notice a decrease in the usage of trying to fit clades into orders and classes over the past (I want to say) five years?

Sparhafoc wrote:If we're talking about every day speech, I've already pointed out the problems with that because every day speech is woolly and not restricted to scientific rigor, so speakers of various languages have vastly different word groups to talk about our nearest evolutionary family. I don't see how one could fix that any better than just getting all those speakers to use the scientific jargon that scientists from all round the world already use.


I honestly do not see the problem with trying to get common usages of words to constrict far more formally to the actual scientific terminology.

Sparhafoc wrote:
he_who_is_nobody wrote:Thus, a tailless monkey gets called an ape, because people think of apes as monkeys that do not have tails. This is why in older systems anteaters and pangolins would be classified in the same "clade".


Cladistics, evolutionary biology, genetics etc. etc. etc, has changed dramatically since their inceptions. Of course there were stupid mistakes made in the past, but that doesn't reflect on all cladistics now. Phylogenetics routinely informs cladistics these days, so we have both anatomical observation and genetic data. It has real utility, and the anatomical observations are still a valid and logically independent study.


I am not saying that the anatomic observations are invalid (I would never state that). My point was that people, the public, call Barbary macaques apes because of the idea of apes are tailless monkeys (that should tell one something already). My larger point was, do you think that we should abandon the term ape because of this confusion?

Sparhafoc wrote:
he_who_is_nobody wrote:As I keep saying, it is only paraphyletic because of tradition. How can one call baboons and spider monkeys monkeys and exclude humans?


Sorry for the caps but WHO IS CALLING THEM MONKEYS? :| :? :roll: :facepalm: :P


They are known as new and old world monkeys.

Sparhafoc wrote:I am not sure why you keep repeating this point. I haven't called them both monkeys. My entire argument is about rejecting calling groups by woolly non-scientific names because there's no bloody utility to it, so I am not sure why you are pointing this towards me. Actually, I would say that the problem you identify there is the same error you are committing. Calling baboons and spider monkeys 'monkeys' is wrong for the same reason as calling humans 'monkeys' or 'fish'. That's my position, for clarity's sake!


Again, we are just arguing semantics. We both already agree on the scientific terms.

Sparhafoc wrote:
he_who_is_nobody wrote: There seems to be no reason besides, "Well, this is how we have always done it."


Errr, and the non-arbitrary morphological and genetic differences that we are labeling with these group names.


Which both put cercopithecine closer to us they to platyrrhinins. Again, we agree on this, we are just arguing semantics.

Sparhafoc wrote:
he_who_is_nobody wrote:The same could be said about any none formal scientific name for any organism.


Yes, and it would still be an error to either say that the non-scientific notion should take precedent, or expect every day language to apply the same scientific rigor to words commonly used.


I never said they should. Again, the scientific terminology always takes precedence and I want my common usage to reflect that.

Sparhafoc wrote:
he_who_is_nobody wrote:The example we both used here were the Barbary apes. Should scientist abandon ape because the laity are using it wrong?


I... sorry but you need to read what I've written in this thread.

Scientists don't use the word 'ape' - that's exactly my argument! No scientist in a relevant field turns to his colleague or writes in a journal about apes because 'apes' is an English word with no scientific rigour. Instead, we would talk about Hominoidea. I've gone into detail about this above, and the usage of 'ape' is wrong for the same reason that the usage of 'monkey' is wrong, insofar as they lack any rigor.


We are both reading different journals and books than. I see ape and monkey used all the time.

Sparhafoc wrote:
he_who_is_nobody wrote:We do have to remember that we are just arguing semantics and the scientific terminology will always take precedent over lay-terms.


In science, yes. But every day language is full of historical contingency.


Yep. Plus, language can evolve and I want to change mine to better reflect the scientific terminology. What is wrong with that?

Sparhafoc wrote:I made a very clear distinction in my first post that I would not be talking about every day language because it simply does not matter. What matters is the rigor of scientific language, and it's that rigor which means neither a baboon or a human is called a monkey in scientific praxis or discourse for exactly the same reason.


Yet, we both agree that they are simians and that baboons are closer in relation to us than either is to a spider monkey. I honestly must have not read your first post, because we already agree on the important things.

Sparhafoc wrote:
he_who_is_nobody wrote:Thus, I know simians is the clade that includes baboons, spider monkeys, and humans. If I want to state monkey as a placeholder for simian (since people know the word monkey, but do not know simians), what mistake am I making?


From my reading, you are making the mistake of borrowing a word from every day language, and trying to get it to do a more rigorous job than its usage allows in the English language. You also thereby failing to address the erroneous usage of a thousand different languages all with their own erroneous words.


Yet, language is a changing thing and I want my common usage to reflect science. What is wrong with that, besides going against tradition?

Sparhafoc wrote:Again, regardless of where the primate scientist is from, if you say 'haplorhines' or 'catarrhines', everyone understands very specifically what's being talked about. The scientific jargon is specific, detailed, and non-arbitrary, whereas 'monkey' is woolly as per your very own examples of baboons.


Even though I am a scientist, I come far more in contact with the public about this topic. Thus, I want my common usage of words to reflect the scientific usage. You act as if telling children, "do not call those monkeys, they are haplorhines" is going to do anything else but turn them off from their interest in monkeys.

Sparhafoc wrote:
he_who_is_nobody wrote:I have already made it clear that what I am talking about is the clade and I would be educated people about cladistics.


While I don't want to pretend to any expertise in cladistics, it was a required subject in my undergraduate course, and we had to really know it to pass. It was a hard topic for me and I struggled a lot with it initially, which meant I applied myself, and consequently that's why I now value the rigor there and don't want to join in the woollification of it!


I do not see how I am joining in on the woollification of this when I have made it clear exactly what I am talking about from the start. I also do not understand how thinking that you can tell children all these scientific terms (and not try to meet them half way) is going to lead to anything else but more confusion with cladistics down the road for them.

Sparhafoc wrote:
he_who_is_nobody wrote:That is true of every none standard scientific term. They all can lead to confusion or difficulty in communication. Again, Barbary apes are not apes. Should we stop using the term ape because it might sow confusion when pointing that out to people? If one is clear with how they are using a word from the start, I honestly do not see a problem. Thus, what you seem to also be proposing is that you would not refer to baboons and spider monkeys as monkeys.


I have a feeling that you've been arguing all this time against a point I never made.


You are correct. Sorry.

Sparhafoc wrote:Could you do me the favour of reading through my first post so you can see what my position is. I clearly laid out a distinction between every day language and scientific vocabulary, and have been talking throughout this thread about the latter.


We both have, and we agree on that point. I have just been going beyond that and asking why it is so wrong to use common vocabulary, besides it traditionally being wrong.

Sparhafoc wrote:
he_who_is_nobody wrote:Again, that is true of every none scientific term. That is exactly why we have the scientific terminology. Those terms are our meter stick to judge the rest of our language by. Again, if one is clear from the start and uses a different term as a placeholder with the scientific term, what is the real problem?


I am finding this perplexing because you are forwarding the usage of the word 'monkey', a completely non-scientific term, as being as valid, rigorous, and useful as 'simiformes' which it manifestly isn't.


No. I am saying I am using it as a placeholder because the public knows monkey and very few would know simians.

I honestly must have just missed your whole first post about this, because I would not have engaged, since we both agree on the scientific terminology and that is the important stuff.
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