Real Science => Sarcasm?

Zden�k Sk�la skala at INCOMA.CZ
Mon Apr 2 09:12:42 CDT 2001

> I have
> always clearly stated that nomenclature IS NOT SCIENCE.
I agree; perhaps it could be more clear to state that 'nomenclatural rules
are not science' (in the sense they are not and should not be relevant to
the systematic solutions).

> further and state: Those of us who use Linnaean nomenclature without
> applying Hennigian grouping and ranking criteria (synapomorphy, age of
> origin), need to warn their users.
Why? Since nomenclature is not science (your words), it has no relation to
the systematics behind and hence warning is superfluous. Instead, editors
should encourage authors to state the systematic background explicitly (and
this background need not be necessarily Hennigian...), in my opinion.

> Phylogenetic Warning:
Do you mean that cladists should always publish "Phenetic warning: this work
does not follow phenetic criteria despite the apparent similarity to
phenograms..."   ;-)

> ..., isn't sound Science. The only really valid comparisons
> are those among sister-groups/clades
Well, valid for cladistics; try to think about other approaches, too.

> So, in short, one of the positive aspects of the PhyloCode is that it
> attempts to incorporate REAL science into its nomenclature.
Nomenclature itself *is not a science* (your words above and I think most
will agree), be it PhyloCode, Linnaean or other.

Here is the point. You wrote:
> only an information system. Cladistic information is critical for our
> Science. The PhyloCode is attempt at improving how we communicate that
> information now (which is cladograms with Linnaean names).
> It
> focuses attention on Linnaeus' original idea of SEPARATING SCIENCE
> (taxonomy, diagnoses, etc.) from Nomenclature, words acting as unique
> information keys for effective communication. How much Science should be
> built into our  nomenclature? And how?

You should decide. Basically, should be the nomenclature separated from
systematic contents or not? If yes, why to build new *Code tailored on the
demands of one systematic ideology? If no, where is the validity of the
statement "nomenclature is not a science"? The basic problem, IMO, is the
exclusive focus to the cladistics, not recognizing other systematic
approaches, nor possible future developments.
Zdenek Skala
skala at

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