[Taxacom] latin out of botany

Richard Zander Richard.Zander at mobot.org
Wed Jul 20 16:36:49 CDT 2011

I doubt this is ended with just the elimination of the Latin requirement.
Note that all scholarly discussion in any language is unnecessary since a molecular cladogram is now treated as a fact, and all other patterns (including traditional classifications, morphological cladograms) are relegated to it. The description or diagnosis is certainly unnecessary in this sense, and all that is needed is a cladogram. 
Sometime ago, I proposed as a challenge that the Code(s) might be changed to require that any new name that renders another name at the same rank to be paraphyletic must be rejected. The response from a taxacomer was that the Code(s) are concerned with nomenclature not taxonomy. Ah, but the Principle of Homophyly (strict phylogenetic monophyly) is not a scientific hypothesis or theory, it is a Principle of Classification, and therefore can be incorporated into the Rules of Nomenclature, along with the type method and the principle of priority. If we wish to incorporate it, and let discursive reasoning with scientific theory die.
The same goes with a cladogram, which is almost always (in the literature) taken as a fundamental pattern in nature, and which fully determines classification. If it fully determines classification, the rules of nomenclature must bow to it. Thus, any taxon higher than whatever an exemplar represents must be determined by the phylogenetic pattern or be rejected. All other taxon names are not scientific because they are not fundamental, and are created by a traditionalist with a finger under the chin saying, "Now what ineffable revelation, intuition or notion shall I follow in naming, well, gee, just anything?" Right? Is that what we do? Shall we capitulate and let the Code(s) slip down the Phylocode slope? Can we defend, exactly, our heuristics? Be wary.
This is, of course, just an opportunity to eristicate on my favorite subject, systematic idiocy, since perhaps the time has come for Latin OR English. Hey, why not Latin or Spanish? In any case, the passing of Latin in my opinion is a blow at scholarship, because discussion of macroevolutionary evolution in any language is no longer relevant to those who believe all molecular patterns are Markovian (which they are not, see recent article by Cartwright et al.) and all splits are speciation events (no justification for this). 
Richard H. Zander
Missouri Botanical Garden
PO Box 299
St. Louis, MO 63166 U.S.A.
richard.zander at mobot.org


From: taxacom-bounces at mailman.nhm.ku.edu on behalf of Jacques Melot
Sent: Wed 7/20/2011 8:43 AM
To: taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu
Cc: valery malecot
Subject: Re: [Taxacom] latin out of botany

  Le 20/07/11, à 15:21 +0200, nous recevions de valery malecot :

>Dear Donat,
>just to clarify, as I read "allow English to replace Latin" in your
>mail I understood "english only", while this may have been better
>given as is "allow English or Latin" which means
>- you can have the diagnosis in english only
>- you can have the diagnosis in latin only
>- you can have one diagnosis in english and one in latin
>in all these three situations your name will be validly published (if
>other validating conditions are respected)

[J. M.]   Quand on pense qu'il faut de nos jours
expliciter la conjonction anglaise « or » ! Nous
vivons dans un monde merveilleux ! Les diagnoses
en anglais : cela va être la tour de Babel (les
mêmes mots avec des sens différents).

    J. M.

>und entschuldigung, ich wusste nicht daB ihre Muttersprache war
>(This is the closest to schwiizertüütsch I can propose :)
>Donat Agosti <agosti at amnh.org> a écrit :
>>  Dear Valery
>>  I understand it is a Latin OR English, and not English AND Latin, and what
>>  is a few months - that's the time to write just the first descriptions
>>  without Latin...
>>  Donat
>>  -----Original Message-----
>>  From: t-bounces at mailman.nhm.ku.edu
>>  [mailto:taxacom-bounces at mailman.nhm.ku.edu] On Behalf Of valery malecot
>>  Sent: Wednesday, July 20, 2011 10:24 AM
>>  To: taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu
>>  Subject: Re: [Taxacom] latin out of botany
>>  Sorry Donat,
>>  don't take your dreams for reality, that will be now
>>  "In order to be validly published, a name of a new taxon [...] must be
>>  accompanied by a Latin or English description or diagnosis"
>>  thus latin is still there, it is not replaced, you'll just have the
>>  opportunity to use your mother's tongue also.
>>  Secondly, even if that will be endorsed next week at IBC, you will be
>>  allow to publish a new botanical taxa with an english-only description
>>  or diagnosis only on the 1st of january 2012, not next month. Wait a
>>  bit more...
>>  Sincerely
>>  Valery
>>  Donat Agosti <agosti at amnh.org> a écrit :
>>>  The nomenclaturial section at the International Botanical Congress in
>>>  Melbourne voted to allow English to replace Latin as a requirement for the
>>>  diagnosis or description to publish validly a new taxonon. This decision
>>>  is contingent by the ibc next week.
>>>  Donat Agosti

More information about the Taxacom mailing list