PhyloCode: The real problem...again

Mike Barker barkerms at MUOHIO.EDU
Sun Jul 6 02:55:32 CDT 2003

Hello all,

      I just want to state that my intent with calling PhyloCode an
      essentially fascist nomenclatural system was not to invoke any
      sort of Nazi symbolism.  Rather, it is a word that nicely sums
      up a system that makes mandates the way PhyloCode does.  Here is
      the Merriam Webster dictionary definition for fascism: "a
      tendency toward or actual exercise of strong autocratic or
      dictatorial control."  I felt that it applied in this case, and
      the use of a thesaurus could give no better word to communicate
      the idea.  I apologize if its usage offended anyone; it was not
      meant to.

      And I would also like to add that the website I put a link to in
      the last e-mail seemed like somebody who is at least going to
      take some action directly to the PhyloCode conference.  I am in
      no way associated with them, and I don't agree with all of their
      interpretations (such as the stuff about species concepts).  I
      only wanted to communicate that to anybody who may be
      interested.  So don't kill the messenger.

      With regard to PhyloCode, I think that it could be great for
    people wanting to give names to clades in order to better
    communicate that information, in conjunction with the Linnaean
    system. And its fine with me if people want to use it to name
    clades that don't have a formal rank in the Linnaean system. The
    problem for me is that this system is being touted as a
    replacement for Linnaean nomenclature.  I just feel that if we are
    going to argue against the PhyloCode the argument should be based
    on the core problem:  that PhyloCode mandates analysis and
    methodological requirements in the naming system.  In all other
    areas PhyloCode would probably not be significantly better or
    worse than the current Linnaean system.  But its the mandate for
    cladistics lurking within PhyloCode that is the problem.  You just
    can't argue against it, its a simple fact.  In my opinion, the
    real question surrounding the PhyloCode debate is: Should our
    nomenclatural system make mandates about what types of data and
    data analyses are required to name groups, or should that be left
    out of the nomenclatural rules?

Best regards,
Mike Barker

"We should realize that the game is crooked,
but also that it is the only game in town."
- Cronquist on phylogenetic reconstruction, 1988

Mike Barker
Dept. of Botany         ph. 513-461-1260
Miami University        fx. 513-529-4243
Oxford, OH 45056        barkerms at


Sunday, July 6, 2003, 1:08:43 AM, you wrote:

CC> At 23:47 2003-07-05 -0400, Ron Gatrelle wrote:
>>That response was so predictable, I could have just wrote it into the
>>script.  So expecting it, yes.

CC> So you're a troll. I'll keep that in mind for the future.

>>THAT is rape.

CC> I know someone who was raped. All this nomenclature stuff seems pretty
CC> trivial to me in comparison to that. I guess we just have different priorities.

CC> --
CC> Curtis Clark        
CC> Biological Sciences Department            Voice: +1 909 869 4062
CC> California State Polytechnic University     FAX: +1 909 869 4078
CC> Pomona CA 91768-4032  USA                  jcclark at

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