ICBN too

Ken Kinman kinman at HOTMAIL.COM
Mon Jul 16 00:15:02 CDT 2001

Richard and Mary,
     This precisely why a more stable cladisto-eclectic system of
classification is likely to evolve from the present mess of nomenclature.
When PhyloCode finally gets implemented, the cladists are going to get hit
with a wall of resistance that is pretty much unexpected, from scientists
(traditionalist eclecticists) and non-systematic scientists who are more
interested in identification and stability, and the various levels of
serious amateur naturalists (collectors, gardeners, or whatever).
     We can't really go back to the old traditional eclecticism as it once
way practiced (it was not rigorous enough in most cases), so a hybrid
(cladisto-eclectic) system is inevitable.  That is what I envisioned in the
late 1970's when I was working on the Kinman System, and I'm convinced that
something along these lines is a new common ground that all users of
classifications will find useful.  The problem is trying to convince both
sides that such common ground does exist if we work together to fashion it.
      I am quite weary of cladist vs. eclecticist, and town vs. gown.  In my
mind, it is a senseless waste of time and energy.  As I once said in one of
poems (on more economic matters), the wealth we seek is lost in war.   We
are wasting so much energy in a way that future generations will find hard
to understand.  There is no good reason that scientific names should be this
unstable, so much so that even common names seem preferable.  I'm sure
Linnaeus would find the present state of affairs rather shocking.
                  -----Ken Kinman
>From: Richard Rabeler <rabeler at UMICH.EDU>
>Reply-To: Richard Rabeler <rabeler at UMICH.EDU>
>Subject: Re: ICBN too
>Date: Mon, 16 Jul 2001 00:08:07 -0400
>I second Mary's comments.  Many folks I have dealt with do want a name, but
>they also want a name that will "stay".
>An example one of my colleagues provided in the early 80s comes to mind.
>This individual asked me what the scientific name was for White Campion.
>When I replied that the name she used would depend on her concept of the
>genera Lychnis and Silene and that the "correct" name in Silene was still
>the subject of some disagreement, she replied:
>"Gees. I don't really care why its Lychnis alba, Silene alba, or Silene
>pratensis ssp. alba (or now really Silene latifolia ssp. alba), it's still
>White Campion"
>Rich Rabeler
>University of Michigan
>-----Original Message-----
>From: Taxacom Discussion List [mailto:TAXACOM at USOBI.ORG]On Behalf Of
>Mary Barkworth
>Sent: Sunday, July 15, 2001 3:07 PM
>Subject: Re: ICBN too
>The other group of 'common name' users is that composed of people who
>are interested in the entities themselves, not their relationship
>(however interpreted) to other entities.  If I want to grow Scarlet
>Gilia in my garden, or use it in my landscape business, I really do not
>care whether it is called Ipomospis or Gilia, I just want to be able to
>know what to look for in references.  Yes, this group probably overlaps
>with those who do not care about how names are assigned and why they are
>changed, but there is a reason for the 'do not care' attitude. And when
>one lives in a country with officially recognized common names (such as
>the US), then 'common names' may well be more stable than scientific
>names.  Just look at the blasted Triticeae.  It does not seem to bother
>English name users that wheatgrasses are simply the old Agropyron and
>Ryegrasses the old Elymus.  Classification is irrelevant to a huge body
>of people working with plants. Names are not irrelevant, but a stable,
>recognized name is worth more than a less stable, less well-accepted
> >
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