First International Phylogenetic Nomenclature Meeting, Paris 2004

Richard Jensen rjensen at SAINTMARYS.EDU
Fri Jul 4 09:16:38 CDT 2003

Quoting Ron Gatrelle <gatrelle at TILS-TTR.ORG>:

 Civilized men, gentlemen, always make the same mistake.
> They
> consider reason and diplomacy as a first option - not forceful action.
> Nice guys really do finish last in everything that requires strong
> play.

You are quite the cynic, Ron.  Unfortunately, when it comes to some matters,
you may be right.

However, I have always believed, as Abe Lincoln (and others) said, the "Right
makes might," not vice-versa.  And, according to my understanding from reading
a discussion of the original attribution, critical punctuation and words are
missing.  Apparently the "Nice guys finish last" quote should appear in print
as: "They're nice guys; but they'll finish last."  Personally, I don't believe
that nice guys finish last is an axiomatic truth.  Of course it happens, but
it does not mean that we have to be rude, boorish, dishonest, uncivilized,
etc. to "win" the game.

I do agree that those opposed to Phylcode becoming, as a fait accompli, the
perceived wisdom of today's taxonomists and systematists must make their
opposition known and must present well-reasoned commentaries to express their
collective views.  The majority of us employ ICBN/ICZN and we must continue to
insist that these be the standard for nomenclatural propriety.  We can do this
in our roles as educators, researchers, reviewers, editors, and spokesmen for
our discipline.  We can insist that nomenclatural priority be given to names
published according to the currently accepted rules.

We do need to step up now and let the public know that the
coming "implementation" of the phylocode has nothing to do with the accepted
rules of nomenclature.

And, we can accomplish this through civilized, reasoned discourse.



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