[Taxacom] Paper on taxonomic standards in herpetology

Raymond Hoser Snakeman Snakebusters Reptile Parties viper007 at live.com.au
Wed May 22 04:55:46 CDT 2013




Doug, you wrote:


“That is an extremely interesting statement coming from
someone who does 

not publish in peer reviewed journals.”


You are wrong here. 
Excluding the recent papers in recent journal I control which IS peer
reviewed (just not by your mates), I have published dozens of papers in other
recognized peer reviewed journals since 1980 of which I have no editorial
control or influence, which you would be aware of had you bothered to check
before sprouting false and defamatory comments here!


“ If you do not dispute this is the acceptable medium,
and support making peer review a criterion in the 

Code, then, unless I'm sorely mistaken, all of your papers would be 

excluded.”


See above – you are sorely mistaken.


An apology would be nice!


“You act almost as if you are the only person who has
ever been accused 

of taxonomic vandalism, and therefore believe that the larger issue to 

which I refer is centered upon YOU, specifically.”


That was not my intention. Refer to my last e-mail to
this forum where I identify the problem as being far wider than Hoser/Wells.


“We do not have to continue following the practices and 

policies that have been followed up to this point, however, and that is 

the larger issue.”


Excuse me, but we do – unless and until the rules are
changed.


Wuster et al. seek to act outside the rules now (see p.
20 of their blog).



It is inevitable the rules will be changed in the future, as they have in the
past. However without compliance you have chaos.  This is exactly what your friend Wolfgang
wants and you seem to be actively encouraging!


“The Commission is unlikely to issue any public
statements that either 

support OR condemn actions taken outside of the Code's jurisdiction.”


Thank you again Doug for confirming the falsity of the
claim of official ICZN support by Wuster, Kaiser and O’Shea.


For a more specific example of the lies by the Wuster
gang, cross-proven against your own statement (Doug) above, I refer you to a
recent Facebook post by Mark O’Shea on 19 March 2013 which reads


“The PoV also has the backing of the International
Commission for Zoological Nomenclature. Authors of herpetological papers
wishing to avoid the use of names by Hoser and Wells can cite this Point of
View. A Table of preferred names for each of the several hundred Hoser and
Wells coined names is also provided for clarity.


The Point of View
is an open-access paper so please feel free to circulate this pdf on websites,
forums and social network sites where other herpetologists may access and
benefit from it.”


 


Tell me Doug, how do you feel about the ICZN being
misrepresented this way by the authors of Wuster et al. (Kaiser et al) to
create taxonomic and nomenclatural chaos?


Are you going to tell them to “cease and desist”?


Are you going to concede that Wuster et al. have been
dishonest in their attempts to manufacture alleged support for their active
stepping outside of the rules?


I wrote


“So you know yourself, that Wuster and co are habitual
liars.”




To which you replied:

“Even if that were true, it would only have bearing upon your personal 

case, not the larger issue.”


>From the above copied lie by co-author O’Shea, (reposted
by others in the Wuster gang) about ICZN backing of his attack, you must surely
concede that this alleged official ICZN backing is not the case!


Doug your reference to stability trumping priority for names
not used since the 1800’s is a diversionary waste of time. It has no relevance
here. You are well aware of the fact that Wuster et al seek to boycott well
known, widely published names none older than year 2000!  You are century out of time!


If you bothered to read 23 of the code, you’d be well
aware of what the section includes and excludes for reversal of priority and it
is not for the purpose of renaming validly named taxa, for which the proper
names are well-known, widely published and databased!


And you cannot here deny that all the Hoser and Wells
names have been published at least twice in different and widely circulated
herpetological journals and are now well-known as being validly published and
available, one of course being a publication you seem to endorse, namely “Herpetological
Review”.


You would also be aware that the ICZN has already ruled
against the Wuster et al scheme several times, so how do you feel about promoting
instability in nomenclature so that a whole bunch of unnecessary cases go
before the commission and waste fellow commissioners time?


Or Doug how about just one specific case so we know
exactly where you stand ... do you seriously support Wuster’s push to rename
the snake genus Broghammerus? A name valid under the code and widely used for a
decade? Yes or no?


Now Doug, you seem to be confused as to the difference between
taxonomy and nomenclature.


Naming issues arise only if and when it is decided a
taxon is valid and unnamed. Wuster et. al. have implicitly assumed that the
Hoser/Wells taxa are valid and need renaming. 
This is clear for example in his online posts telling people to rename
Broghammerus.  You cannot claim no ICZN
jurisdiction now!


Do you support the Wuster plan of boycott of names and
renaming of taxa in breach of the three critical rules of, 1/ Homonymy
(Principal 5, Article 52 and elsewhere), 2/ Priority (Principal 3, Article 23
and elsewhere) and 3/ Stability (Principal 4, Articles 23, 65 and elsewhere) in
order to rename validly named taxa? Yes or no?


By the way Doug, you are wrong to allege I am defending
my taxonomic opinions. I have published the papers and they stand on their
merits.  I see no need to defend the
taxonomy at all.


Wuster et. al. have not specifically attacked the taxonomic
opinions in the papers in any serious way other than to make five minor
complaints about five of dozens of papers, none of which actually affected the
integrity of the descriptions.  By way of
example, no one on the planet has disputed a single genus created by myself in
the papers of 2012-2013, which isn’t surprising as they are backed by both
molecular and morphological data.


It is for others to decide if my taxonomy is correct. If
I am wrong and have described “non-taxa” nothing happens.


This is not what Wuster et al. is about and you are
scandalous in trying to assert it is.


Wuster et. al. is about stepping outside the ICZN rules
to rename taxa in violation of the three critical rules of, 1/ Homonymy
(Principal 5, Article 52 and elsewhere), 2/ Priority (Principal 3, Article 23
and elsewhere) and 3/ Stability (Principal 4, Articles 23, 65 and elsewhere) in
order to rename validly named taxa. (see p. 20 their rant).


Doug, you wrote:  “It
is perfectly possible that a person could publish 

500 Code-compliant names, not one of which represents a valid 

species-level taxon.”


I agree. That is not what Wuster et al is about. We are
dealing ONLY with those names agreed to represent valid taxa. Wuster himself
has spelt this out several times!


You wrote: “Having read a few hundred of your new taxon
names, 

I admit that as a taxonomist, I find the majority to be singularly 

lacking in "robustness" (typically failing criteria such as, say, 

molecular support, evidence for monophyly, and the sample size upon 

which they are based).”


Well you are obviously not reading the papers I wrote!


PS Either don’t accept the taxa, but please don’t
recognize and rename them in violation of the code!


You wrote:


“names that are 

controversial can and do cause instability *whether or not they are 

correct, and whether or not they are Code-compliant*, and when they do, 

then you can expect me, as a Commissioner, to take interest.”


Agreed and perfectly reasonable on your part.


BUT – there is no need to create instability and new (synonym)
names for the purposes of needing ICZN intervention!  The code is designed to avoid this so you are
now in effect stepping outside of it’s preamble by encouraging Wuster’s plan to
create instability of nomenclature!


Noting this, will you Doug, now tell Wuster et al to
cease and desist with their plan to destabilize the nomenclature?


Doug, you wrote:


“While the Code doesn't support "boycotting",
it also can't 

prevent it”


Yes it can and quite simply. This is by enforcing the
rule of priority. If this is not done, and if the Wuster plan gains support and
traction and is copied elsewhere (and perhaps with your active encouragement),
you WILL have taxonomic chaos and an end of the code.  This is exactly why the ICZN has ruled
emphatically against the Wuster-type shenanigans several times in the past!


Relevant here is the refusal of the ICZN to support
Sprackland’s attempt to reverse priority for the species Varanus keithornei
Wells and Wellington, because the commissioners knew of the tidal wave of similar
cases headed their way if they went with Wuster’s mate Sprackland for that one!


The ICZN published their “opinion” and it kept the Wuster’s
away for a generation!



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> Date: Wed, 22 May 2013 01:50:34 -0700
> From: dyanega at ucr.edu
> To: taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu
> Subject: Re: [Taxacom] Paper on taxonomic standards in herpetology
> 
> On 5/21/13 11:25 PM, Raymond Hoser wrote:
> >
> > Doug, I am quite alarmed at certain parts of what you have written.
> >
> The feeling is mutual, then.
> >
> > 1 – You seem to have accepted the demonstrably false and evidence free 
> > claims of Kaiser et al. (better known as Wuster et al.) as fact.
> >
> I have read more of your papers than you apparently think I have. They 
> constitute fairly damning evidence of at least one sort, as they are 
> full of self-aggrandizement and political diatribes that have no place 
> in scientific literature of any sort, taxonomic or otherwise. That, 
> however, is nowhere near the central issue (though it does seem to be 
> one of the reasons they claim your works should not be interpreted as 
> being published for the purpose of establishing a permanent scientific 
> record; that is, there is evidence that you have a different purpose in 
> mind, that is personal and political rather than scientific).
> >
> > Their blog, as it best described, published in a journal one of the 
> > authors is an editor at, bypassing effective peer review and editorial 
> > control or ethics
> >
> Pot, meet kettle.
> >
> > The preamble stating evidence based, peer reviewed papers are the 
> > acceptable medium is not disputed and has not been by anyone in the 
> > recent past.
> >
> That is an extremely interesting statement coming from someone who does 
> not publish in peer reviewed journals. If you do not dispute this is the 
> acceptable medium, and support making peer review a criterion in the 
> Code, then, unless I'm sorely mistaken, all of your papers would be 
> excluded.
> >
> > Doug, you also seem to accept the demonstrably false claim by Wuster 
> > here, of widespread support for the Wuster et al. / Kaiser blog from 
> > the wider herpetological community when the evidence is in fact to the 
> > contrary, (beyond the statement of the undisputed obvious in the 
> > preamble).
> >
> You act almost as if you are the only person who has ever been accused 
> of taxonomic vandalism, and therefore believe that the larger issue to 
> which I refer is centered upon YOU, specifically. You are, personally, 
> not quite that important (just as mine is only the opinion of a single 
> Commissioner who may well not represent the others). Yours is just the 
> most recent, and hence most visible, example of a problem that has been 
> ongoing, in various disciplines, for hundreds of years. Namely, whether 
> the taxonomic community is capable of policing itself, and in what 
> precise form that policing should be most effectively and fairly 
> implemented. We do not have to continue following the practices and 
> policies that have been followed up to this point, however, and that is 
> the larger issue.
> > You have confirmed also herein that the ICZN has not issued a 
> > statement in support of the blog and yet Wuster and co have repeatedly 
> > stated publicly this is the case!
> >
> >
> The Commission is unlikely to issue any public statements that either 
> support OR condemn actions taken outside of the Code's jurisdiction. You 
> will note, for example, that (unless I have missed or forgotten 
> something) there has never been an official statement from the 
> Commission regarding the unilateral actions of many lepidopterists who 
> refuse to recognize the Code's provisions requiring the changing of 
> adjectival species-level names to agree with the gender of the genera 
> into which they are placed; i.e., there are other people who have been 
> following a practice that is outside of the Code for several years now, 
> and the Commission has said nothing. We cannot prevent the community 
> from doing what they want to do, though individuals such as myself can 
> attempt to communicate with such individuals/groups if and when we feel 
> there may be some constructive purpose served by entering into a 
> dialogue (as Frank Krell and I did at a recent meeting of the 
> Lepidopterists' Society).
> >
> > So you know yourself, that Wuster and co are habitual liars.
> >
> Even if that were true, it would only have bearing upon your personal 
> case, not the larger issue. Nonetheless, it would be interesting if we 
> could have a poll of all the world's publishing herpetologists, I think. 
> With any luck, such a thing might even be possible in the near future.
> > Doug, you write here with tacit acceptance of the false claims of 
> > taxonomic vandalism by myself and others deemed like by Wuster et al., 
> > and including all non-peer reviewed works and names from the 1800’s 
> > including the likes of herpetological taxonomist Fitzinger and others, 
> > who have already seen some of their many names superseded by junior 
> > synonyms of the Wuster gang, causing unprecedented instability and the 
> > need (sooner or later) for the ICZN to waste time and effort ruling on 
> > each and every name that the Wuster gang seek to usurp by way of 
> > submission to resolve issues of stability and priority.
> >
> >
> Actually, this is precisely what LANs are designed to avoid; the 
> Commission only has to approve the LAN as a whole, rather than pass 
> judgment on all of the acts subsumed within the LAN itself. Those acts 
> can be in direct contravention of the Code, just so long as everyone 
> supporting the LAN agrees that this use of the Plenary Power is their 
> explicit intent. In effect, a LAN is a Declaration of Independence for 
> whatever discipline submits it, by which they tell the Commission that 
> they wish to control their own destiny. Also, do not forget that in the 
> present Code, stability often trumps priority, and this is not 
> restricted to herpetology, but the entirety of zoological taxonomy. If 
> there are names from the 1800s that the community does not wish to use, 
> and other junior names are in prevailing use, then the Code may give 
> them the authority to ignore the older names without involving the 
> Commission (e.g., via 23.9.2) - and even if not, the point remains that 
> no one can FORCE anyone to use the older names. Just read Articles 
> 23.9-23.12 to get a feel for what the Code actually supports. Hint: it's 
> NOT strict priority.
> > Notwithstanding the tacit acceptance by you here of the false claims 
> > of taxonomic vandalism, I am also astounded at your tacit support 
> > given here for stepping outside of the zoological code and effectively 
> > expressly supporting the taxonomic and nomenclatural vandalism and all 
> > the instability it causes, by the Wuster gang.
> >
> >
> Again, until and unless the Code specifically addresses some of the 
> issues that could be used as defining features of taxonomic vandalism, 
> it is not a matter of my acceptance of their claims or not, insofar as 
> my concern *as a Commissioner* is with the larger issue. Once the matter 
> has moved outside of the zoological Code, it cannot be supported, but 
> neither can it be rejected - that is precisely what "outside of our 
> jurisdiction" means. As things stand, you're faced with the challenge of 
> convincing the herpetological community that you are right and "they" 
> are wrong without using the Code as a defense - because you are 
> defending your taxonomic opinions (and publishing practices), which you 
> admit the Code has no jurisdiction over. My feelings as a taxonomist may 
> be different from my feelings as a Commissioner.
> > You have also side-stepped the central critical issue of the 
> > correctness of my taxonomic papers of the last 12 years, noting that 
> > all taxonomic decisions are based on robust evidence and that the 
> > obvious and real fear of the Wuster gang is nothing more basic than a 
> > dislike of the idea that they will have to use the “Hoser-names” for 
> > valid taxa and groups first named by the man they have declared war 
> > against for the last 15 years.
> >
> >
> Again, the correctness of your taxonomic papers is a matter that is 
> outside the Code. It is perfectly possible that a person could publish 
> 500 Code-compliant names, not one of which represents a valid 
> species-level taxon. Having read a few hundred of your new taxon names, 
> I admit that as a taxonomist, I find the majority to be singularly 
> lacking in "robustness" (typically failing criteria such as, say, 
> molecular support, evidence for monophyly, and the sample size upon 
> which they are based). But that is TAXONOMY, and when we are talking 
> about the Code, taxonomy is NOT the central critical issue - until and 
> unless it has carryover into stability. That, unfortunately for you, is 
> where the Code and taxonomy are going to overlap; names that are 
> controversial can and do cause instability *whether or not they are 
> correct, and whether or not they are Code-compliant*, and when they do, 
> then you can expect me, as a Commissioner, to take interest. Any 
> discussion should focus on that, and NOT the taxonomy /per se/.
> > In summary, do you honestly support the mass destabilization of 
> > herpetology (and in turn wider zoology) caused by the indiscriminate 
> > renaming of hundreds of taxa as advocated by the Wuster gang, 
> > (including the serious acts of vandalism I noted in an earlier post 
> > here, to which you havenot bothered commenting on) noting that this 
> > group includes taxa named more than 12 years ago and includes names 
> > now widely in use and noting that to do so is a breach of the central 
> > rules of Zoology, being retrospectively made by more than 12 years by 
> > a group of self-appointed and unqualified “rulers”.
> >
> >
> To the extent that we are talking about names that are genuinely in 
> prevailing usage, then I would - all else being equal - not be in favor 
> of replacing them, because that violates stability. That "all else being 
> equal" clause is rather important, however, because if there is a 
> community consensus that they should not be used (for whatever reason, 
> be it true or false), then things are not equal, and neither I nor the 
> combined "might" of the Commission can do anything but open a dialogue, 
> and see what comes of it (and, as I said earlier, I feel that community 
> consensus is the highest priority - assuming, of course, that the 
> consensus is both genuine and properly-informed; rest assured that I 
> realize that you dispute both points, in your particular case, so 
> there's no need to remind me). If, on the other hand, we are talking 
> about several hundred names which have found little or no use in the 
> herpetological literature (other than your own), and there are names 
> that ARE in broader use that are junior to them, then the younger names 
> would also have stability on their side, even though it isn't 
> Code-compliant usage. The point is that in that case, you cannot use 
> "mass destabilization" as an argument. It's simple enough, in the end; 
> if herpetologists want to use your names, they will, and if they don't, 
> they won't. While the Code doesn't support "boycotting", it also can't 
> prevent it - and establishing a full-fledged Registry would only serve 
> to prevent controversy beyond a certain point; how that would shake out 
> depends entirely upon the criteria that would be used to determine 
> whether a name was eligible for Registration.
> 
> Sincerely,
> 
> -- 
> Doug Yanega      Dept. of Entomology       Entomology Research Museum
> Univ. of California, Riverside, CA 92521-0314     skype: dyanega
> phone: (951) 827-4315 (disclaimer: opinions are mine, not UCR's)
>               http://cache.ucr.edu/~heraty/yanega.html
>    "There are some enterprises in which a careful disorderliness
>          is the true method" - Herman Melville, Moby Dick, Chap. 82
> 
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