[Taxacom] Wuster et al's attack on the rules of Zoological nomenclature - reply to Doug Yanega's last comments.

Raymond Hoser Snakeman Snakebusters Reptile Parties viper007 at live.com.au
Thu May 23 05:04:30 CDT 2013




Doug, at times you seem to engage in the evasive misrepresentations
like Wuster...


You wrote:


“by invoking the Code (as 

you do immediately above) you are offering a defense that only works 

against an accusation of Code violation - of which they are not accusing 

you.”


Excuse me, but you are totally wrong!


Let’s take a quote from Kaiser et al (which we’ll more
properly call Wuster et al here and in later posts on this list server): 


The gang wrote:


“We maintain
that AJH should not be considered a “public and


permanent
scientific record” and therefore fails a requirement


of the
Code (Art. 8.1.1; emphasis added) in both style and substance.


The AJH
is not a journal in the scientific sense. It is instead


personally
distributed by Hoser for unscientific purposes,


and
should therefore perhaps be best classified as advertising.”


 


Let me guess, Doug, am I to believe
that you overlooked this paragraph?


 


Doug wrote:


 


“> 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!

I was specifically reading and referring to the bulk of what has been 

published in AJH.”


 


And then you state you have no
interest in the detail of my papers ... which is it?


 


Tell me and with all due respect to
your lack of expertise with snakes (versus mine spanning more than four
decades), by way of example, what evidence is presently lacking, (either
morphological or molecular) for the genus Broghammerus Hoser, 2004 or Charlespiersonserpens
Hoser, 2013? – or should I just republish some of it here?


 


I put these to you, not to change the
focus from nomenclature, but you have thrown in unsupported adverse claims
against my taxonomy more than once as a diversion that needs to be addressed if
you seek to continue this way.


 


Doug wrote:


 


“I am not encouraging instability; (1)
I cannot prevent them from asking 

for a boycott, which is not the same as encouraging it, and (2) given 

that I *am* genuinely concerned about stability, there is nothing stable 

about having a constant tug-of-war between two sets of names in the 

literature - but if one set of names vanishes from the literature, then 

stability is achieved.”


 


But as a matter of common sense you
could simply ask Wuster et al, not to create the instability by creating an
unneccessary second set of names (in violation of the rules) in the first
place! 


 


Put another way ... why not ask your
good friend Wolfgang to comply with the rules of the code?


 


“Their plan appears to be to stabilize
the nomenclature by eliminating 

your names forever; if their plan succeeds, then that WOULD achieve 

stabilization. Under the Code, the opposite set of names would be the 

ones eliminated.”


 


Not so – my names have been in print
for over 12 years!  Instability would
remain until all copies of said publications destroyed – and that will probably
be never!  Why not go the simple route
and stop Wuster’s plan to create invalid names in the first place.


 


Of course, if you Doug were to allow
Wuster to get away with his intellectual theft, you are well aware of the fact
that others would copy them, creating yet more instability across all Zoology, as
they stated in their rant with:


 


“Last, it is
our hope that the model we present here to safeguard


herpetological
taxonomy (combining best taxonomic


practices,
ICZN support, self-policing by authors, reviewers, and


editors,
and society action) may emerge as a workable solution


for
other zoological disciplines facing similar challenges.”


 


As two others here on this list have
already said, you’d be commencing a slippery slope into total anarchy!


 


Doug
wrote:


 


“Enforce? Us and what
army? I am frankly more concerned about "chaos and 

an end of the Code" if we have large numbers of taxonomists who feel 

that the Code is full of unacceptable loopholes, and feel that the 

Commission is deaf to their concerns (e.g., that we specifically turn a 

blind eye to any and all "malfeasance" just so long as things are 

Code-compliant).”




Simple
solution:  Fix the alleged loopholes.  The code’s been rewritten three times already
and there is nothing preventing a fourth revision!


 


Doug
wrote:


 


“(P.S.) I see, as I'm
about to submit this edited post, that you replied 

to my unfinished draft after I specifically requested that you NOT do 

so. Bravo, sir. You have just created instability in this dialogue.”


 


Excuse me, but please don’t blame me
for your errors!


 


You posted comments, I answered them (as you'd expect),
you then post another post telling everyone to disregard the first post.


 


Too late, the horse had bolted!


 


If you don’t want people to read your
material – don’t post it!


 


My advice – think before you speak!


 


Yours Sincerely


 


Raymond Hoser


 


 


 


 


 


 


 



Snakebustersâ - Australia's best reptilesâ

The only hands-on reptilesâ shows that lets people hold the animalsâ.

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0412 777 211

 
> Date: Wed, 22 May 2013 21:35:24 -0700
> From: dyanega at ucr.edu
> CC: taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu
> Subject: Re: [Taxacom] Paper on taxonomic standards in herpetology
> 
> On 5/22/13 2:55 AM, Raymond Hoser wrote:
> >
> > 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!
> >
> >
> The Australasian Journal of Herpetology is the one publication I have 
> read, and I've seen quite a lot of it. It is clearly self-published, and 
> self-reviewed.I admit to not being familiar with your work prior to the 
> start of that journal, though I also recognize that there are many 
> journals that follow PRINO (peer review in name only). This is one of 
> the major sticking points of the entire "quality control in the Code" 
> debate over the years, and you yourself have accused Kaiser, Wuster, and 
> others of publishing in PRINO journals; it would not be surprising if 
> they or others accused you of the same thing. That kind of back and 
> forth nonsense gets us collectively nowhere. Over the many times the 
> issue has come up, one of the common remarks has been "We can't use peer 
> review, in and of itself, as a criterion, because peer review can be 
> biased" - and I agree. The follow-up comment is usually "The only thing 
> that works in the long run, separating good science from bad, is whether 
> people accept your work or reject it". What I have repeatedly suggested, 
> generally finding only ambivalent support (at best), is that all 
> nomenclatural acts be channeled through a public-access, public-review 
> online journal that covers all zoological nomenclature. Public review 
> exposes any bias, and falsehoods can't persist in the face of full 
> disclosure.
> >
> > “ 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!
> >
> I apologize to the extent that the peer-reviewed journals you have 
> published in would not qualify as PRINO journals. You'll forgive me if I 
> don't have time to do the necessary research to determine this - but 
> this is all the more reason I was trying to make it clear that the 
> specifics of your situation are not crucial to the bigger debate.
> >
> > 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!
> >
> There are already people who are refusing to comply with various parts 
> of the Code, so that sort of chaos is the status quo. The hope is that 
> any changes we make will improve compliance.
> >
> > 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."*
> >
> I was unaware of this quote, and can only offer two points regarding it: 
> (1) there were certainly discussions with Commissioners prior to the 
> publication of the PoV, during the review process, but it is - I agree - 
> not fair to equate "reviewed by members of the Commission" with "backed 
> by the Commission". In the most literal sense, since they criticize you 
> for things outside the Code's jurisdiction, and since the approach 
> advocates measures outside the Code's jurisdiction, the Commission's 
> position would be NEUTRAL. If we could stop taxonomists from acting in 
> non-compliant manners, that might change the equation, but we have no 
> such power, and even then, it could still devolve to a philosophical 
> debate (should we alwaysapprove of actions that follow the letter of the 
> Code but violate its intent, and reject actions that uphold the intent 
> but violate the letter?) (2) If you replace the word "Commission" with 
> "Code" then the above statement would read as a claim that the proposed 
> actions are Code-compliant - and such a claim is open to interpretation 
> and debate.
> 
> I will reiterate that actions taken outside the Code do not require 
> support from the Commission; whether they are followed is up to the 
> individuals that comprise the taxonomic community, and as far as I can 
> see, they will receive neither our blessing nor our curse, at least 
> under the present Code.
> >
> > 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?
> >
> I would say the statement above is misleading, though a more accurate 
> re-phrasing would not necessarily be to your satisfaction (i.e., if they 
> said "The Commission takes a neutral position on activities outside of 
> the Code's jurisdiction").
> > Are you going to tell them to “cease and desist”?
> I suspect they are following the discussion, and I would encourage them 
> to reconsider the phrasing of the above claim.
> > 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?
> Until and unless I gain the power of telepathy, I'm not in a position to 
> do anything but hypothesize whether dishonesty is involved, and on whose 
> part. Given that both sides in this case accuse the other of dishonesty, 
> it's not profitable to assume anything other than both sides believe 
> they are telling the truth.
> >
> > 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!
> >
> I'm quite familiar with Article 23, and it deals with issues surrounding 
> prevailing usage; I don't see the parameters "well-known", "widely 
> published" or "databased" mentioned in the text. The closest phrase 
> you'll find there is "used...in at least 25 works, published by at least 
> 10 authorsin the immediately preceding 50 years". And, that particular 
> section applies only to names not used since 1899, so it is not 
> pertinent. The pertinent article is (if anything) 23.9.3, which allows 
> authors to challenge ANY senior synonym if they feel it would "threaten 
> stability or universality or cause confusion", but requires that they 
> ask the Commission for a ruling. That article could indeed be invoked 
> for the purpose of renaming validly named taxa of recent vintage, though 
> it might definitely be a "hard sell" to convince the Commission to 
> support it if the senior synonym is in prevailing usage. And, once 
> again, you seem to be arguing as if you can use Code-compliance as a 
> defense - even if your names are fully Code-compliant, neither you nor I 
> can do anything to stop other people from ignoring your names and not 
> using them.You are standing up and saying "My names are Code-compliant, 
> and therefore you are forced to use them" and that is not literally 
> true, because the Code cannot force anyone to do anything - it tells 
> people what they SHOULD do in order to be compliant. There are LOTS of 
> taxonomists who do things that are not Code-compliant. Don't think for a 
> minute that, as a Commissioner, I am unaware of this and not bothered by 
> it. However, MY personal response to knowing that there are people 
> breaking the rules is first to understand WHY they are doing so, and 
> then considering the possibility that therules themselves might need to 
> be changed - just like we saw with paleontologists publishing names in 
> e-only journals *before* we changed the rules to allow them to do so and 
> still be compliant.
> >
> > 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”.
> >
> Again, you are fighting over details that change nothing even if they 
> are interpreted in your favor. The issue is that people are organizing a 
> boycott against your works, and your argument that they can't do that 
> because your works are Code-compliant doesn't seem to be working. You 
> might need to worry less about convincing people that you aren't 
> violating the Code and more about convincing them that your names are 
> WORTH USING. Worthinessis a taxonomic issue, not nomenclatural.
> > 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?
> You may not be aware that I have often advocated that we change how the 
> community and the Commission interact to allow the community to vote 
> directly on matters, rather than delegating all voting to the 
> Commission. Cases like yours are one of the arguments in favor of such a 
> mechanism. The mechanism I've proposed has the same benefits ofa LAN 
> application without the unwieldy bureaucratic aspects imposed by 
> publishing in the BZN and giving multiple years for commentsto be 
> published. Specifically, I advocate a mechanism which streamlines the 
> functions presently incorporated into Article 79 (especially see Article 
> 79.4) so that they can be applied immediately to individual names, and 
> without having to delegate the responsibility for the decision to the 
> Commission. Imagine if the day a publication comes out, it is posted to 
> a website where every practicing taxonomist (not just herpetologists) 
> can see it and vote whether to accept or reject the names therein for 
> inclusion into ZooBank. After a critical number of votes, and assuming 
> the votes are a significant supermajority (maybe as high as 90%), the 
> names are permanently fixed as either available or unavailable. The 
> interval of "taxonomic chaos" where no one knows whether or not they 
> should use a new name could be as little as a few weeks, depending on 
> how quickly votes accumulate. Under such a system, there is no 
> instability, and there is no wasting of the Commission's time. Under the 
> status quo, of course, if every practicing taxonomist simply ignores all 
> of your names, then no cases at all will be submitted to the Commission.
> > 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?
> Why would my personal opinion on that case matter? Where I stand is "I 
> see people arguing over names, and the arguments from both sides go 
> beyond the Code, so obviously we have a bigger problem on our hands".
> >
> > 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!
> >
> What the ICZN can say is: "The valid name for this taxon is 
> Broghammerus, and should be used instead of any junior synonyms." My 
> point is that simply saying this cannot *compel* people to use the name 
> if they choose to ignore the Code; if they choose to ignore the Code, 
> that choice puts them outside our jurisdiction. It's analogous to Alice 
> declaring "You're nothing but a pack of cards!"  - the Commission (and 
> you) can holler "Off with their heads!" but we can't actually implement 
> it if they refuse to recognize our authority.
> >
> > 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?
> >
> If their sole argument was something along the lines of "These names are 
> not Code-compliant, therefore we should ignore them"then I would 
> probably disagree with them. But throughout that paper, aside from the 
> one section about "Working with the Code", their arguments focus on the 
> quality of your taxonomy; viewing the issue as a Commissioner, opinions 
> about your taxonomy are not for me to either support or reject. They are 
> leveling criticisms regarding taxonomic issues, which the Code does not 
> (presently) cover, and they even specifically say "violating the spirit 
> of the Code" - as a Commissioner, I can't address violations of spirit 
> (even though as a taxonomist, I can). Again, if they were using the Code 
> itself as the basis of their claims against you, and suggesting a course 
> of action which is not Code-compliant as a result, that would not gain 
> much (if any) support from the Commission. In fact, they criticize the 
> Code itself as containing loopholes, and that is of considerable concern.
> >
> > 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.
> >
> It is becoming obvious that this is why the argument is drawing on so 
> long; you seem to be missing the point that Kaiser et al. are EXPLICITLY 
> claiming that you and Wells are practicing "unscientific taxonomy" (the 
> focus of most of the chapters in the PoV), and THAT charge is the one 
> you need to defend yourself against. Just because your works are 
> Code-compliant doesn't make them scientific; by invoking the Code (as 
> you do immediately above) you are offering a defense that only works 
> against an accusation of Code violation - of which they are not accusing 
> you.
> >
> > 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!
> I was specifically reading and referring to the bulk of what has been 
> published in AJH.
> >
> > 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!
> >
> I am not encouraging instability; (1) I cannot prevent them from asking 
> for a boycott, which is not the same as encouraging it, and (2) given 
> that I *am* genuinely concerned about stability, there is nothing stable 
> about having a constant tug-of-war between two sets of names in the 
> literature - but if one set of names vanishes from the literature, then 
> stability is achieved.
> > Noting this, will you Doug, now tell Wuster et al to cease and desist 
> > with their plan to destabilize the nomenclature?
> Their plan appears to be to stabilize the nomenclature by eliminating 
> your names forever; if their plan succeeds, then that WOULD achieve 
> stabilization. Under the Code, the opposite set of names would be the 
> ones eliminated.
> >
> > “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!
> >
> Enforce? Us and what army? I am frankly more concerned about "chaos and 
> an end of the Code" if we have large numbers of taxonomists who feel 
> that the Code is full of unacceptable loopholes, and feel that the 
> Commission is deaf to their concerns (e.g., that we specifically turn a 
> blind eye to any and all "malfeasance" just so long as things are 
> Code-compliant).
> 
> Sincerely,
> 
> (P.S.) I see, as I'm about to submit this edited post, that you replied 
> to my unfinished draft after I specifically requested that you NOT do 
> so. Bravo, sir. You have just created instability in this dialogue.
> 
> -- 
> 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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