On the misunderstanding of cladistics

Cladistics is an approach within biological systematics that searches for “the true tree of life”.

However, if there indeed is a single “true tree of life”, as cladistics presumes, then all other “trees of lifes” must be false trees of lifes, but what is “a false tree of life”? “A tree of life” is a single thing per definition, just like how “a human” is a single thing per definition, there simply aren’t any “true” of “false” such things, but just such things. So, cladistics’ search boils down to the question: what are “trees of lifes”, or what is a “tree of life” (like what are “humans”, or what is a “human”), which instead begs for a definition of the concept in question. And, given a definition of the concept in question, all such things are of course such things, there are no true or false such things.(Or, can we distinguish true and false humans among humans?)

Cladistics thus appears to have misunderstood concepts, like “tree of life” or “human”, as something that can be true or false. If they could, then a false thing of one kind would instead be a true thing of another kind, which would just produce a different classification. But maybe this connection is what cladistics actually aims at: an infinite reclassification of biological organisms. It does indeed appear as a pair of Golden Pants (also looking like science).

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