A recent review by Dormann et al. (2012, Journal of Biogeography, 39, 2119-2131) has proposed that methods for the modelling of species distributions be considered as a continuum. We disagree with this thesis, and contend that attempting to present the diverse range of methods as a continuum is unhelpful and ultimately not convincing. It adds to the confusion about the strengths and weaknesses of the diversity of available modelling methods, what exactly it is that they model, and the most appropriate applications. We highlight variation within and between modelling methods that is obscured by the continuum framework and propose that context of application and clarity of method are critical elements for future discourse on the topic. © 2013 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.