[Taxacom] decline and fall of taxonomy

Peter DeVries pete.devries at gmail.com
Thu Jun 18 12:00:56 CDT 2009

OK, there have been many good comments ...  Uncle!  :-)
Can we agree that we need to improve how the field of taxonomy is perceived
and marketed?

Is there general agreement that a species description is a form of
hypothesis driven science rather than a descriptive science?1
Is there general agreement that we need to improve the documentation of
these descriptions so it is clearer
to other scientists why the authors came to the conclusions they did?2
*1) I don't think that there is anything wrong with descriptive science, but
some scientists argue it is not science.
  So, why fight that battle when you don't have to.

2) In many cases these are well documented, and it more about improving the
perception of these kinds of publications.


- Pete

On Thu, Jun 18, 2009 at 10:08 AM, Frederick W Schueler <bckcdb at istar.ca>wrote:

> Richard Zander wrote:
> > Peer review in taxonomy is superficial with a paper is reviewed for
> > publication, but is repeated every time a revision is done by the next
> > specialist, whether sooner or later. Don't we all peer review the grand
> > masters of the 1800's when we re-examine their types in light more a
> > century of additional collecting and development of more theory on
> > evolution and ecology? Taxonomy is a long-term study we all participate
> > in. Ever since, who? Caesalpino?
> * those who assert that peer review insures accuracy don't understand
> the process. All peer reviewers can do, except in rare cases of gross
> error or poorly manipulated fraud, is to improve the authors'
> communication of their findings, or to say that the findings aren't
> worthy of publication. We all know that many authors are so immersed in
> their research subject that their submitted attempts to communicate it
> are seriously defective, but reviewers can't evaluate data supporting
> statements such as "Peromyscus maniculatus and P. leucopus were
> reproductively isolated at this site" any more than they can correct
> indoors data such as "sedimentation rate was 3 g/sec."
> fred.
> ------------------------------------------------------------
>             Bishops Mills Natural History Centre
>           Frederick W. Schueler & Aleta Karstad
>        RR#2 Bishops Mills, Ontario, Canada K0G 1T0
>     on the Smiths Falls Limestone Plain 44* 52'N 75* 42'W
>       (613)258-3107 <bckcdb at istar.ca> http://pinicola.ca
> ------------------------------------------------------------
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Pete DeVries
Department of Entomology
University of Wisconsin - Madison
445 Russell Laboratories
1630 Linden Drive
Madison, WI 53706

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