First International Phylogenetic Nomenclature Meeting, Paris 2004

Richard Jensen rjensen at SAINTMARYS.EDU
Sat Jul 5 11:01:54 CDT 2003


Despite the tenor of my earlier comments, I share Rich's view.  Both systems
have something to offer the taxonomic community and those who rely on us for
systems that explain relationships, allow identification, etc.  The two
systems could exist in an environment of mutual understanding.

Perhaps my reading of the intent of those supporting adoption of Phylocode is
colored by my experiences as a participant in the phenetics/cladistics debates
of the '70s-'80s.  These two approachs to classification have different goals
and methods, but they can be part of a broader "mutualism" as long as one
remembers the strengths/weaknesses of each and as long as one clearly states
one's goal.

While I have no objection to the idea of a phylocode, and the desire for a
classification to reflect hypothesized evolutionary relationships, I also am
unconvinced that this approach to nomenclature (as it has been presented to
date) will in any way simplify/clarify our ability to communicate among
ourselves and, what's more important, to communicate what we hypothesize to
others.

Cheers,

Dick

Quoting Richard Pyle <deepreef at BISHOPMUSEUM.ORG>:

> Whether or not Phylocode succeeds or fails will depend almost entirely
> on
> whether substantial numbers of practicing taxonomists/systematists find
> it
> to be a useful tool for communicating information relevant to their
> discoveries, ideas, and hypotheses.  The exact same thing can be said
> about
> IC_N nomenclatural systems.
>
> There is a legitimate argument that the mere attempt to establish
> Phylocode
> may cause tremendous damage and confusion.  I believe that the
> Phylocode
> framers can eviscerate the legitimacy of such arguments with a few
> simple
> steps contained within the PhyloCode itself (e.g., a *mandatory*
> inclusion
> of some sort of symbol embedded directly within all Phylocode names --
> a
> feature that would be beneficial beyond just mitigation of confusion
> with
> Linnaean-based names).  If they refuse to take such steps to allow
> both
> systems to exist in (perhaps awkward?) harmony, I believe the chances
> for
> its success and adoption by sufficient numbers of practicing taxonomists
> is
> diminished, and the potential for the aforementioned damage and
> confusion
> elevated.
>
> Similarly, ceaseless drum-beating by the Phylocode detractors does not
> help
> the situation either.  I believe that the Phylocode was developed from
> a
> sincere perceived need for a more effective information dissemination
> protocol than what is available via traditional Linnaean nomenclature.
> I
> further believe that by shifting away from the use of Linnaean
> nomenclature
> as a tool to communicate purely phylogenetic hypotheses, a greater level
> of
> stability can be restored to the Linnaean nomenclature (thereby
> benefiting
> traditional taxonomists).
>
> Although I still maintain that a mutually beneficial (to practitioners
> of
> both nomenclatural systems) is indeed possible; after reading recent
> posts
> on this and other lists, I am increasingly convinced that it is
> exceedingly
> unlikely.  Shame.
>
> Aloha,
> Rich
>
> Richard L. Pyle
> Ichthyology, Bishop Museum
> 1525 Bernice St., Honolulu, HI 96817
> Ph: (808)848-4115, Fax: (808)847-8252
> email: deepreef at bishopmuseum.org
> http://www.bishopmuseum.org/bishop/HBS/pylerichard.html
>
>
> > -----Original Message-----
> > From: Taxacom Discussion List [mailto:TAXACOM at USOBI.ORG]On Behalf Of
> > Richard Jensen
> > Sent: Friday, July 04, 2003 4:17 AM
> > To: TAXACOM at USOBI.ORG
> > Subject: Re: First International Phylogenetic Nomenclature Meeting,
> > Paris 2004
> >
> >
> > 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.
> >
> > Cheers,
> >
> > Dick
>




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