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Axiomatic Panbiogeography

offers an application of incidence geometry to historical biogeography by defining collection localities as points, tracks as lines and generalized tracks as planes.
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 Vicariant Time
 Feb 10 2009, 4:15 am
From: Crawzat <>
Date: Tue, 10 Feb 2009 00:15:39 -0800 (PST)
Local: Tues, Feb 10 2009 4:15 am
Subject: Vicariant Time

"The passage or passing from a molecular clock-time of vicariance or dispersal in particular ages/epochs/places to an understanding of
vicariant time
is the death of Darwinism, and entry into
a vicariance of times

Crawzat   on Panbiog -L (Google Groups)
 Feb 13 2009, 11:37 pm
Mauro writes of the axiomatic panbiog website that "the ugly and
confuse[d]  nature of the not contribute to make these
contents accessible to anyone". This is a demonstrably false statement
because those contents were accessible to me, and I learnt something
from them, and I am still learning from said site.

 I never stated that a "new planetary sensibility" would be found
along Nietzchean-Deleuzean lines. What I did suggest was that if
boring Anglo-American philosophy of biology was countered with a more
exciting continental biology of philosophy along such lines , that
this would still be a philosophy of substance [and therefore not a

I don't see why this suggestion should be labelled as being made in a
"religious- like way ". I got the idea for this from reading Guy
Debord's Panegyric where he writes: "The phenomenon that is absolutely
new this time, and has naturally left few traces, is that the sole
principle admitted by all was that there could precisely no longer be
either poetry or art, and that something better had to be found".
Debord found his better something in founding the Situationist
International, but that was in the time of power, not the time of
terror. And Debord of course was so anti-religious that he expelled an
architect from the SI for designing a church!

It has become clear to me that Isidore Isou's kladology is to Willi
Hennig's cladistics as Guy Debord's psychogeography is to Leon
Croizat's panbiogeography [ on Debord's geography see e.g., A. Vidler
2006 Terres Inconnues : Cartographies of a landscape to be invented,
October 115: 13-30, p.18 "Debord's cartographic imagination ...offers
a way that has not been mapped before". T. McDonough 2005 Delirious
Paris : Mapping as a paranoic-critical activity, Grey Room 19: 6- 21,
"Yet if the map is a text, its codes may be subject to distortion,
disruption and critique"].

All this got me re-reading Croizat through the gaps and silences in
Michael Heads' history and philosophy of panbiog paper, to try to map
out an outline of what a panbiogeographic biophilosophy might look
like-to find that perfect point of imaginative intoxication between an
art of biogeographic discourse and a science of distributional
analysis. My name is Robin Craw and I say that Morrone is a
pretentious patzer.

Mauro Cavalcanti   on Panbiog-L (Google Groups)
 Feb 15 2009, 8:47 pm

I see your point and really do agree that Brad's "Axiomatic Panbiogeography"
is the first truly original contribution to the development of new
ideas along the  panbiogeographic research program I have seen in many

Malte Ebach must be the height of cladism

Malte Ebach must be the height of cladism. Totally incomprehensible on the back side of sense.

4 Responses to Malte Ebach must be the height of cladism

  1. You must join us on Panbiog-L. Some of us have just had some very lively discussions with Gareth Nelson (wasn’t he Wilkins’ supervisor at Melbourne) and David Williams (Ebach’s coauthor) on topics like “Was Hennig a Nazi?”, “Did Hennig plagiarise Rosa?”, “Is cladism really a disguise for German Idealism”- you get the idea. Gareth Nelson has thrown a hissy fit at my comment that “Hennig naturalised idealistic sytematics, Nelson information theorised Hennig, and Williams and Ebach via Brady anthroposophised Nelson,Etc” , and hasn’t got the guts any longer to discuss Hennig, cladism, German Idealism, Goethe, Nazi biology, Southern Hemisphere geology, biogeography,etc. with me anymore! So I’m not surprised his disciple Ebach acts in the same way. These people love dishing it out but they don’t like critique of their ideas.

    • Easy now! I’m just explaining that cladism (i.e., Hennig’s comprehension of dichotomously branching processes) is inconsistent (i.e., self-contradictory) and empirically wrong (i.e., not agreeing with the fact that time is relative). Together they mean that every deduction within the comprehension is wrong, and that the comprehension believes the impossible to be possible, and the possible to be impossible. It simply turns conceptualization of reality up-side-down, thereby returning to Parmenides’ comprehension of reality. It does indeed mean that Hennig was a Nazi principally in his partitioning of reality into kinds and their complemetary kinds, i.e., “natural” and “unnatural” groups, e.g., Greeks and barbarians, Vertebrates and Invertebrates, Mammals and Reptiles, “acknowledging one and “denying” the other. Whether it means that “Hennig plagiarised Rosa” or that “cladism really is a disguise for German idealism” is above my horizon. I’m just explaining that cladism is both insensible and wrong.

      This fact means that cladistic reasoning contradicts itself per definition. It means that one can show any cladistic reasoning to contradict itself in what it says (assumes) in the beginning by what it arrives to in the end. It actually contradicts itself in every logical deduction. It is consistently inconsistent. It jumps between incompatibilities, blinded by the belief that its circularity is undeniable, like all paranoias are blinded by a belief in themselves. As a principle, cladism has returned over and over again since Parmenides. This kind of reasoning has had a tendency to reappear again and again. As a belief, it rests on support and can’t stand critique, whereas science rests on critique and does not care about support. Right is right and wrong is wrong independently of support.

      Concerning Nelson, he’s a complicated nature. I would say that he has a great knowledge, but a confused reasoning. By confused, I don’t only mean the cladistic confusion of process and pattern, but also a confusion of cladism and the Linnean system. He simply confuses everything. He’s the opposite to me – almost right, although totally wrong.

  2. The Panbiog-L address is . You should join just to follow the archived discussions to see how Gareth Nelson reasons in the context of different robust and trenchant critique. Your comment about cladistics and paranoia is interesting because didn’t George Gaylord Simpson describe cladism as a paranoid system- I’ll see if I can find the reference. Your comment about Nelson and confusion is fascinating too, because Leon Croizat described Nelson as a “confusionist ” in correspondence with me in 1982. It’s interesting too, that you see Hennig as a “philosophical Nazi” because on Panbiog-L he has been exposed as literally a Nazi- the big questions are what unit/s of the Wehrmacht he supposedly served in on the Eastern Front or was he in “special services” [you probably won't know this but in 1937 Hennig received his initial career funding from the DFG whose president at the time was SS Brigadier General Ministeriel Direktor Professor Doktor Rudolf Mentzel!], and what was the nature of his later “war work” focused on epidemic control re the anopheles problem-was it in some way connected with the SS Ahnenerbe Entomological Institute at Dachau?

    You describe cladism as “consistently inconsistent” and this may be an accurate enough descriptor up to the time of Nelson. But in the hands of Williams and Ebach I say cladism has become Goethean propaganda, and through the work of Ron Brady (see the Epilogue of Williams and Ebach 2008 Foundations of Systematics and Biogeography entitled “Pattern Cladistics from Goethe to Brady”) anthroposophical nonsense (i.e. an application in biological systematics of Rudolf Steiner’s German theosophical doctrines). I know this sounds off beam but read Williams and Ebach, and Ebach’s paper in Janus Head 8(1): 254-270, 2005, “Anschauung and the Archetype : the role of Goethe’s delicate empiricism in Comparative Biology”. For example what do you think of this statement by Ebach on p. 262 “A classification based on the archetype needs no model. Anschauung, expressed as the extension of intuitive perception, provides us with the means to classify empirically without recourse to unifying models that generate a general synthesis”, or how about this on p.265 “Goethe’s delicate empiricism, die Anschauung, is a necessary step for comparative biology. Evolutionary biology, with its analytical mindset and generative models, has dominated biology for too long”. Beam me up Malte – Menvall you won’t get anywhere trying to reason with these people.
    Robin Craw

    • Extremely interesting!

      What I’m trying to explain is that the fundamental difference between science and cladism is that science rests on the axiom that objects exist, whereas cladism rests on the axiom that kinds exist. It means that they are the mirror images of each other without any common aspect (or perspective). This fact does, however, not say anything about whether both of them, any, or none of them is “correct”.

      If we define “correct” as “agreeing with facts”, cladism can be shown to disagree with the fact that time is relative, whereas science cannot be shown to disagree with any fact. Cladism is thus empirically wrong. This fact, itself, means that cladism also is inconsistent, since “consistent” involves agreeing with facts. (A closer examination reveals that the inconsistency resides in equalizing single things with several things in a row).

      The fact that science is correct (and thus consistent) is actually counter-intuitive for a phylogeneticist, since it means that simultaneity (or is concurrency a better word?) is more fundamental than continuity. This can also be expressed as that reality existentially consists of pieces (objects), which have no continuity. How this statement should be interpreted is an open question, but its importance for the controversy between cladism and science is that it denies (actually falsifies) cladism’s denial of paraphyletic groups, instead only acknowledging paraphyletic groups as monophyletic groups. In interpreting the meaning of this implication, we have to realize that presently existing members of holophyletic groups, which cladists call clades, actually form paraphyletic groups. I would say that the fact that time is relative means that we have to resolve changein time (i.e., as contemporary objects of the same kind) rather than over time (i.e., as consecutive objects of the same kind), which is what the Linnean system does. This is counter-intuitive for a person that is not schooled in (or does not accept) science.

      Your expanded discussion of this fundamental controversy is extremely interesting per se, but my main concern is getting it right from the start (i.e., from the axiom(s)). I’m actually not trying to discuss with “these people” (mainly because I know that believers do not discuss their faith), but trying to clarify that they advocate anti-science. The problem is not cladism per se, but the confusion of it with science. It is analogous to a confusion of the wolf with Red Hood’s grandmother.


"The crucial step in Bayesian dating of phylogenies is the selection of prior probability curves for clade ages. In studies on regions derived from Gondwana, many authors have used steep priors, stipulating that clades can only be a little older than their oldest known fossil. These studies have ruled out vicariance associated with Gondwana breakup, but only because of the particular priors that were adopted. The use of non-flat priors for fossil-based ages is not justified and is unnecessary. Tectonic calibrations can be integrated with fossil calibrations that are used to give minimum clade ages only."

Bayesian transmogrification of clade divergence dates: a critique

The infinity computable with a grossOne infinity computer permits one to make a difference in a point at infinity in space vs. time for a given form-making.  If life exists on Mars (and there is no reason that panbiogeography although originally cognized on Earth should not work off Earth) then the point at an effective infinity in space that a phylogenetic tree diagram projects to in space, may not be the same as that pointed to in time.  The relatively flat nature  (Kant’s “systematic constitution) of the solar system however makes this difference relatively small. Now if vicariant time exists then it may be represented within this computable difference for a given form.  One could use a reciprocal path analysis difference in form for the difference in the interation step applied to of space vs time. Thus a genus that vicariates later in the same space as another species ina different genus (but same space) could be discriminated numerically.  This would entail a dissection of sums vs multiplications in this new computational domain.


on Panbiog-L (Google Groups)

 Feb 20 2009, 2:47 am

From: Crawzat <>

Date: Thu, 19 Feb 2009 22:47:52 -0800 (PST)

Local: Fri, Feb 20 2009 2:47 am

Subject: Ghosts of Gondwana and Vicariant Time

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"Nothing wraps a man in such a mist of errors as his own curiosity in
searching things beyond him". Owen Feltham Resolves (1623), Of
Curiosity in Knowledge , p.xxvi
Members may be familiar with George Gibbs' 2006 book "Ghosts of
Gondwana", reviewed by Grehan in "Biogeografia". Grehan's review is
too diplomatic for Gibbs, like Morrone, is a recuperative decadent
with an even more ambitious plan - to synthesize Darwin and Croizat,
dispersal and vicariance through molecular clock-time: "The title of
his [Croizat's] last major work "Space, Time, Form", held the clue to
what was missing in his approach- the time factor. Clearly we need an
idea of when each particular biogeographical event took place in order
to be able to match it with the everchanging map of the world. This is
now becoming available with molecular clock analysis and improved
means of dating fossils" (Gibbs 2006:44).
Gibbs' concept of time in biogeography as a particular
palaeogeographical and/or fossil molecular clock-time is impoverished:
it immobilizes`and spatializes time as a binary opposition of late
Cretaceous-Paleogene Gondwanic vicariance age against a post-Oligocene
trans-oceanic dispersal age. But to Croizat biogeographical evolution
is the flow of life by form, through time and in space, along and
amongst the rifts, cracks, fractures and fissures of the earth - a
general process of becoming, not being, over the sum of
palaeogeographical and present space. Gibbs confuses the concept of
age with that of time in Croizat : "Let us conclude then that nothing
can be taken for granted and that time in evolution is not tantamount
to age...." (STF, p.6). In a very real way age and chronology are part
of the concept of space in Croizat.
The passage or passing from a molecular clock-time of vicariance or
dispersal in particular ages/epochs/places to an understanding of
vicariant time is the death of Darwinism, and entry into a vicariance
of times :
"Immanency is the supreme standard of life much sooner than particular
motion and change" (STF, p. 549).
Why pose and publish Gibbs on an author you have never read, let alone

Should vicariant time exist beyond a concept it implies that different classifications of living things in the same space may have different vicariant temporalities.  Thus vicariance would be able to be studied BOTH in space and in TIME.

 Thus palenotology would have a new discipline of attaching degrees and types of vicariances per geological period per lineage. Fractal self-similarity and tetrations using quaternions may be the mathesis necessary to add this dimension to evolutionary syntheses.

This methodological simulation "across the sky" as shadowed on Earth will reduce "Vicariance Zones" to the maths of Group Theory.
"As an aside, and because I was once a panbiogeography enthusiast, why haven't panbiogeographers leap on Google Earth as a tool to display "tracks"? If ever there was an opportunity to drag that movement out of the doldrums, this is it." panbiogeographers have not gainsaid the different color schematizations the large digital palate contains.
The visualization with GOOGLEEARTH
suffers from a psychological element but one that may prove useful if the "viewer" has the ability to work with the data while moving ("flying") among the data itself.

This would indicate a vicariant time temporality.

The failure to appreciate the existence of vicariant time seems textually to be embeded in Gould's comments of a possible melding into "harmony" of 'passive consequence' and 'ecological locking' ( Structure p.921).  As Allmon,Morris and Ivany point out in ("A Tree Grows in Queens", in Stephen Jay Gould:Reflections on His View of Life) 'Steve didn't like ... adaptive peaks "because it cedes too much ground to natural selection and ecology"' and yet they wrote "Steve's invocation of the metaphor of the wedge is particularly revealing.  The metaphor invokes an image of many independent entities...This seemed to be Steve's view of ecology."


This  is not the case as Darwin had written, "In looking at Nature...The face of Nature may be compared to a yielding surface, with ten thousand sharp wedges packed close together and driven inward..." (On Natural Selection p. 6).


Darwin's use gave a "surface" but Gould requires "tiers of time" and so the critics have converted space/volume into time. Rather it seems that vicariant time may be more approriate here regardless of the metrics. There was no quantitiatve framework for different classes of time. I will suggest how tetration can provide this frame.


There is also a methodological element in the distinction Ebach  theoretically raises with  Morrone (J. Biogeogr. (2005) 32, 2179-2187) as concerns the two categories stressed by Ebach (1 The geographical distribution of a taxon on a phylogenetic tree,2 The distribution of areas based on the relationships on a cladogram or an areagram) that depends on the relation of the theoretical catastrophe area to geographic lats and longs (but this space depends not only on the static geography of the Earth as a sphere but also on past extinctions etc of the lineage underconsideration as the history of the motion across the catastrophe boundary as well as the shape of the boundary itself are related to the area isomorphically that is the object of discussion.  A strict theoretical difference here is not as possible (as in the difference of theory vs method/experiment in physics) unless we knew better of course beforehand the catastrophe sets in terms of higher order collection points (higher order vertex organizations). Gareth Nelson may just say that this is not "panbiogeography" but then it is not "cladistic" either. Since this work comes originally from reading and thinking with Croizat and others who read him I do not know why vicariant time should not be considered as part of authentic panbiogeography.