[Taxacom] LSID versus names

Jim Croft jim.croft at gmail.com
Wed Jun 20 08:07:41 CDT 2012


That's fine. But reliability and trustability is quite a different
beast to authority. And I suppose also 'truth'.

Yes, most of what we need from the literature is straightforward,
Which is why we use non taxon-experts to extract and document it. And
they did this particularly well. Because they are experts in
nomenclature.

In our indices it is simply not acceptable to say two names are
synonyms. That is 'making stuff up'. It is however quite acceptable,
desirable even, to record: "Rod Page reckons that Pithecanthropus
erectus and Homo erectus are the same bloody thing and he said this on
Taxacom on 20 June 2012 at 10:33 pm Australian Eastern Standard Time".
That is the difference between storytelling and science. And it is why
non taxon-experts can be trusted to do this reliably.

The problem Rod, is that you prefer to work with animals and
zoologists, rather than with plants and botanists... we botanists are
quite happy with this arrangement, btw... ;)

jim


On Wed, Jun 20, 2012 at 10:33 PM, Roderic Page <r.page at bio.gla.ac.uk> wrote:
> Dear Jim,
>
> By "authoritative" I mean the sense that if I go there and get an answer I
> can trust it to be reliable in most cases, not that it asserts "this is
> truth".
>
> Most of what we need is actually pretty trivial and not subject to much
> doubt (a name appears in this publication). We can fight over details (what,
> exactly, was the date this was published, etc.) but the basics are usually
> straightforward (cue long list of anecdotes about cases where it's not).
>
> It's also possible in many cases to say that two names are synonyms, at
> least at the level of names (e.g., "Pithecanthropus erectus" and "Homo
> erectus").
>
> A list that could tell give me the link to first publication of a name, list
> names which have been asserted to be synonyms (or any kind), ideally with
> references (i.e., to first use of a new combination) would make life a lot
> easier, at least for me...
>
> Regards
>
> Rod
>
> On 20 Jun 2012, at 13:20, Jim Croft wrote:
>
> This kind of thinking is a big problem and one of the reasons we get
> into messes like this. NONE of these databases is authoritative.  They
> are not mentioned in the Code, they have not legislated priority and
> have no official standing in nomenclature or taxonomy at all. They are
> at best useful and reliable indices to the literature (with the type
> and cited specimens, the real authority), at worst, incomplete
> perpetuators of falsehoods.
>
> There is no point looking for a single point of truth when there isn't
> one. Well ok, it might be core business for religion and politics. But
> it is not going to work for nomenclature and taxonomy, unless we
> change the Code radically and create one (ducks quickly, to avoid the
> ugly reg* word).
>
> jim
>
> On Wed, Jun 20, 2012 at 5:42 PM, Roderic Page <r.page at bio.gla.ac.uk> wrote:
>
> Plant people are
>
> somewhat better off with IPNI, although one could argue whether we should
>
> regard IPNI, Tropics, or the Plant List as the definitive authority.
>
>
>
> ---------------------------------------------------------
> Roderic Page
> Professor of Taxonomy
> Institute of Biodiversity, Animal Health and Comparative Medicine
> College of Medical, Veterinary and Life Sciences
> Graham Kerr Building
> University of Glasgow
> Glasgow G12 8QQ, UK
>
> Email: r.page at bio.gla.ac.uk
> Tel: +44 141 330 4778
> Fax: +44 141 330 2792
> Skype: rdmpage
> AIM: rodpage1962 at aim.com
> Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1112517192
> Twitter: http://twitter.com/rdmpage
> Blog: http://iphylo.blogspot.com
> Home page: http://taxonomy.zoology.gla.ac.uk/rod/rod.html
>



-- 
_________________
Jim Croft ~ jim.croft at gmail.com ~ +61-2-62509499 ~ http://about.me/jrc
'Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it's time to
pause and reflect.'
- Mark Twain
'A civilized society is one which tolerates eccentricity to the point
of doubtful sanity.'
 - Robert Frost

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