[Taxacom] Call for Comments: Taxonomic Practice and the Code

Philipp Wagner philipp.wagner.zfmk at uni-bonn.de
Wed Jan 8 08:20:27 CST 2014


Raymond,

> Now if Philip you had actually read my papers, you'd also see that not a single taxon was diagnosed on the basis of 
>molecular data (clades).  Rather these were merely cited as a basis to support my decisions made on morphological 
>and other criteria 

Of course not, you have never diagnosed anything based on 
molecular data, but you are searching for phylogenetic 
studies showing unnamed clades in their tree. These you 
use to support "your" decisions.
Actually your paper about laudakian agamas show that you 
cet your morphological diagnosis and other criteria from 
field guides or other morphological studies and in this 
case I am 100% sure that you never had a laudakian agama 
in hands.

Philipp




















(when molecular evidence was
>available, which was not all the time, see for example 
>Adelynhoserboa and the other genera spun off from 
>Tropidophis), again as part of a sound science-based 
>framework.  Another good example of course is the genus 
>Broghammerus Hoser, 2004, quite obvious in fact to anyone 
>who has actually stepped away from their PC and looked at 
>the relevant snakes!  
> If there was any unnamed genus that needed to be created 
>and named, then Broghammerus was an obvious "no 
>brainer".There was never a need for a molecular biologist 
>like Leslie Rawlings to come along five years later and 
>validate the obvious (which she quite properly did - and 
>then used the correct name, Broghammerus), or for that 
>matter a bunch of thieves like Wuster and his mates to 
>publish a five word (yes five word) description of the 
>same genus a few weeks ago in a reckless attempt to 
>rename the same genus in a PRINO Journal that doesn't 
>even comply with the code and in a direct attack on the 
>code!That of course was a holotype example of taxonomic 
>vandalism of the worst possible kind!
> 
> 
>For the benefit of others here, the taxononomic papers of
> myself that the Wuster gang seek to use to rename all 
>the relevant taxa, were published in seven different 
>journals, six of which were not mine,
> or controlled by me and not just one controlled by 
>myself as you inferred above.  Now surely you are not 
>implying that these
> other esteemed editors, herpetologists and 
>herpetological societies are part of a big conspiracy to
> destabilize zoology and allow unscientific works 
>(allegedly) into their publications? However I will 
>perhaps mention one potential argument that has been 
>canvassed by some here, (which I do not agree with), and 
>that is the idea of the creation of 1/ A white list of 
>journals that can name taxa (all others being effectively 
>black listed or banned) and 2/ The ceding of nomenclature 
>and naming rights to a group of nine people, most of whom 
>who lack any relevant qualifications or expertise.This 
>seems to be the only direction ongoing debate can go. All 
>the best Raymond Hoser
> 
> 
> 
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>> From: philipp.wagner.zfmk at uni-bonn.de
>> To: stephen_thorpe at yahoo.co.nz; kim at kimvdlinde.com; 
>>taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu
>> Date: Wed, 8 Jan 2014 12:35:15 +0100
>> Subject: Re: [Taxacom] Call for Comments: Taxonomic 
>>Practice and the Code
>> 
>> Stephen,
>> 
>> to be honest, in most of your arguments I dont agree 
>>with 
>> you.
>> 
>> I love the code and I still think that the code is the 
>> best tool we can get in nomenclature. But the guy we are 
>> talking about is extrem in his way of working and in my 
>> oppinion we have to react especially to safe the code.
>> He just pick up trees from phylogenetic papers and 
>>search 
>> for unnamed clades. These clades are named by him in his 
>> own journal. And from the papers dealing with species I 
>>am 
>> working with it becomes clear that he has no knowledge 
>> about the taxa he is naming.
>> The problem is that in recent times it is very easy and 
>> cheap to create an own journal you can use for the 
>> description of species. You are absolutly right that 
>>these 
>> names are valid and described according to the code. 
>>But, 
>> as scientists I still think that we have the 
>> responsibility to refuse names described in such an 
>> unethical way.
>> We dont have to change the code, we dont have to give 
>>the 
>> commission a responsibility they dont want, but we could 
>> introduce something like a "nomen obliviscendum" so that 
>> we are able to simply tranfer his names into the 
>>synonymy.
>> 
>> Philipp
>> 
>> 
>> 
>> 
>> On Tue, 7 Jan 2014 21:03:54 -0800 (PST)
>>   Stephen Thorpe <stephen_thorpe at yahoo.co.nz> wrote:
>> > I have submitted through the formal channel (it will 
>>be 
>> >interesting to see if my submission sees the light of 
>>day 
>> >or disappears into the void).
>> >  
>> > In a nutshell, I think that several distinct issues 
>>are 
>> >being conflated. Is the problem poor quality taxonomy, 
>> >or bad ethics? Does the ICZN have any mandate to tackle 
>> >either of those two issues? Neither of them is directly 
>> >about zoological nomenclature. Some "bona fide" 
>> >scientists also have bad ethics, but in a more subtle 
>> >way. It is somewhat ironic that the ICZN is effectively 
>> >proposing to punish people who adhere strictly to the 
>> >Code, which is what the "taxonomic vandals" do, when, 
>>by 
>> >contrast, some "bona fide" taxonomists are often very 
>> >sloppy when it comes to Code compliance! Clearly, the 
>> >ICZN has misgivings about directly tackling the 
>>problems, 
>> >which would mean going against their number one 
>>principle 
>> >of not interfering in taxonomy, so they are trying to 
>> >offload the policing to the "scientific community". I'm 
>> >not convinced that the problem is widespread and/or 
>> >serious enough to warrant all this. Rather I suspect a 
>> >handful of "bona fide" scientists
>> > are irritated by some "taxonomic vandals", and have 
>>been 
>> >lobbying the ICZN accordingly.
>> >  
>> > Regarding any proposed new name, the only thing, I 
>> >suggest, we need to ask is: can it be applied to a 
>>taxon 
>> >by way of the description/illustrations/type(s)? If so, 
>> >then there is no problem and little or no reason to 
>> >invalidate the name. We should ask this question of all 
>> >names, not just those of the supposed "taxonomic 
>>vandals" 
>> >...
>> >  
>> > Stephen
>> > 
>> > 
>> > ________________________________
>> >From: Kim van der Linde <kim at kimvdlinde.com>
>> > To: taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu 
>> > Sent: Wednesday, 8 January 2014 4:11 PM
>> > Subject: Re: [Taxacom] Call for Comments: Taxonomic 
>> >Practice and the Code
>> > 
>> > 
>> > I will submit an comment through the formal channels, 
>> >and it will be 
>> > along the line of: HELL NO!
>> > 
>> > Kim
>> > 
>> > 
>> > On 1/7/2014 1:34 PM, Doug Yanega wrote:
>> >> Dear All: I and fellow ICZN Commissioner Mark Harvey 
>> >>have just published
>> >> a brief note, titled as in the subject header, in the 
>> >>Bulletin of
>> >> Zoological Nomenclature. The online version is 
>>available 
>> >>at
>> >>
>> >> *http://iczn.org/node/40405*
>> >>
>> >> I feel it is arguably the most important such 
>> >>solicitation in the
>> >> history of the ICZN, as it could potentially affect 
>>one 
>> >>of the most
>> >> fundamental principles of the Code; namely, that the 
>> >>Code and Commission
>> >> remain neutral regarding violations of standards of 
>> >>taxonomic practice
>> >> and ethics. As such, I wish to draw people's 
>>attention 
>> >>to it, and take
>> >> this opportunity to emphasize several things:
>> >>
>> >> (1) For everyone reading this, YOUR participation is 
>> >>crucial, whether
>> >> you are a practicing taxonomist or not, because 
>>everyone 
>> >>who studies
>> >> living organisms is affected by controversies 
>> >>surrounding the correct
>> >> names to be used for those organisms. This is far too 
>> >>important an issue
>> >> to allow a tiny handful of people to have undue 
>> >>influence over the
>> >> course of the discussion, and the future of taxonomy. 
>> >>The Commission is
>> >> not likely to undertake fundamental changes in the 
>>Code 
>> >>unless there is
>> >> a CLEAR MAJORITY in terms of public opinion. As such, 
>>I 
>> >>am hoping to
>> >> have hundreds, if not thousands, of responses 
>>submitted 
>> >>in response to
>> >> this solicitation, so we on the Commission have a 
>>truly 
>> >>significant
>> >> sample size to work with. I therefore encourage 
>>everyone 
>> >>reading this to
>> >> forward this message (in its entirety) to all of 
>>their 
>> >>colleagues.
>> >>
>> >> (2) PLEASE do not respond to this solicitation here, 
>>in 
>> >>this newsgroup.
>> >> *Instructions for submitting comments can be found at
>> >> http://iczn.org/content/instructions-comments*(and 
>>also 
>> >>see additional
>> >> important details in the solicitation itself). This 
>>is 
>> >>NOT a call for a
>> >> public debate - I would even prefer to receive 
>>personal 
>> >>e-mail requests
>> >> for clarification, however numerous, rather than have 
>> >>this turn into a
>> >> public free-for-all, because it is a very contentious 
>> >>subject.
>> >>
>> >> (3) PLEASE read the solicitation carefully. We tried 
>>to 
>> >>make it concise,
>> >> and explicit. I wish to emphasize that the question 
>>at 
>> >>hand is a GENERAL
>> >> one, regarding the *role of standards and ethics in 
>>the 
>> >>practice of
>> >> taxonomy and nomenclature*. I will quote the 
>>pertinent 
>> >>passage, in order
>> >> to reinforce the idea:
>> >>
>> >> "We must stress that this is a very broad issue, 
>>which 
>> >>manifests in many
>> >> ways, affects many disciplines, and has occurred 
>> >>throughout the history
>> >> of taxonomy. We also recognize that the most 
>>prominent 
>> >>and timely
>> >> concerns relate to issues such as plagiarism, 
>> >>falsification of data,
>> >> criminal activities, and practices that subvert or 
>> >>circumvent the
>> >> process of peer review (which is considered an 
>>essential 
>> >>element of all
>> >> scientific practice, taxonomy included). This is, 
>> >>emphatically, not a
>> >> referendum on professionals versus amateurs (or other 
>> >>cultural
>> >> stereotypes), nor a referendum on the merits (or lack 
>> >>thereof) of peer
>> >> review. Basically, what we seek to know is whether 
>>the 
>> >>taxonomic
>> >> community wants to continue dealing with these issues 
>>at 
>> >>their own
>> >> discretion, or whether they want the Commission to be 
>> >>empowered to do so
>> >> (or something in between); we will not do so on our 
>>own 
>> >>initiative."
>> >>
>> >> (4) For those of you seeking a "nutshell version" of 
>> >>what the heart of
>> >> the controversy is that triggered this solicitation 
>>in 
>> >>the first place,
>> >> I can offer the following: "Are there, or are there 
>>not, 
>> >>circumstances -
>> >> when the opinion of the community is that a work has 
>> >>been produced in a
>> >> manner incompatible with standards of taxonomic 
>>practice 
>> >>and ethics -
>> >> where names or nomenclatural acts in a work should be 
>> >>treated /as if
>> >> they had never been published/?". Note, however, that 
>> >>this is not the
>> >> only possible approach! If you have a clear opinion 
>>on 
>> >>this, or
>> >> alternatives, then please communicate your thoughts 
>>to 
>> >>the Commission
>> >> for consideration.
>> >>
>> >> Sincerely,
>> >>
>> > 
>> > 
>> > _______________________________________________
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>> 
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>> The Taxacom Archive back to 1992 may be searched with 
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>> Celebrating 26 years of Taxacom in 2013.
> 		 	   		  

----------------------------------------
Dr. Philipp Wagner
[www.philippwagner.net]

Research Associate:
Department of Biology
Villanova University
800 Lancaster Avenue
Villanova, Pennsylvania 19085, USA

Home Institution:
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