Crother and Murray (Cladistics 31: 573–574, 2015) criticize the statement by Assis (Cladistics 30: 240–242, 2014) that phylogenetic hypotheses are amenable to testing but not falsification. The claims by both sets of authors are based on long-standing misconceptions about testing developed within systematics. Testing phylogenetic hypotheses confuses the inferences of those hypotheses by way of abductive reasoning with their being tested via induction. Cladograms lack the causal details of the different hypotheses implied by those diagrams to make testing feasible, and falsification has been shown to be problematic for historical sciences.
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Fitzhugh, K. Phylogenetic Hypotheses: Neither Testable Nor Falsifiable. Evol Biol 43, 257–266 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11692-016-9381-8
- Abductive reasoning
- Phylogenetic systematics