[Taxacom] why Martin Fikacek resign

Stephen Thorpe stephen_thorpe at yahoo.co.nz
Fri Oct 9 17:12:02 CDT 2015


I hate attention, but I feel obliged to try to carry a debate through to a reasonably satisfactory outcome.

Mike said [quote]They are not difficult for a reasonably intelligent person qualified to be handling nomenclatural maters [sic!] who can read ... [unquote]

Easy to say, as a device of rhetoric, but prove it! We've already seen the very intelligent and excellent taxonomist John Noyes make a statement about neotypes which you quite rightly corrected.

Face it Mike, you are trying to refute something which actually has very little precise meaning (i.e. that designating neotypes is, in some unspecified sense, "difficult"). If you set the unspecified level of difficulty too high, then it is too easy to refute, and if I set it too low, then it is too easy to defend! The argument has become pure rhetoric! Let it go, if you can ...

Stephen

--------------------------------------------
On Sat, 10/10/15, Michael A. Ivie <mivie at montana.edu> wrote:

 Subject: Re: [Taxacom] why Martin Fikacek resign
 To: "Stephen Thorpe" <stephen_thorpe at yahoo.co.nz>, "taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu" <taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu>
 Received: Saturday, 10 October, 2015, 10:48 AM
 
 [sigh]  It is not
 difficult, but you do have to follow the strictures in 
 the Code.  Think of those strictures more as a
 road map to success than 
 difficult
 barriers.  They are not difficult for a reasonably
 intelligent 
 person qualified to be handling
 nomenclatural maters who can read either 
 the Official English or French versions of the
 Code, or one of the 
 unofficial translations
 into Chinese (Simplified), Chinese 
 (Traditional), Czech, German, Greek, Japanese,
 Russian or Spanish.
 
 Further, the issue of whether it is difficult
 to DESIGNATE a Neotype is 
 separate from
 whether or not a Neotype is allowed, which is what John 
 and I were discussing.  But, that is not hard
 either.
 
 Exceptional (def.)
 adjective, unusual; not typical.
 
 Clear to those who want it to be, perhaps not
 to those who want attention.
 
 Mike
 
 On
 10/9/2015 3:00 PM, Stephen Thorpe wrote:
 > All of which further proves my point that
 the Code requirements for neotypes are somewhat
 "difficult", or else we wouldn't be having
 such divergent opinions offered from veteran
 entomologists!
 >
 >
 Q.E.D.
 >
 >
 --------------------------------------------
 > On Sat, 10/10/15, Michael A. Ivie <mivie at montana.edu>
 wrote:
 >
 >   Subject: Re: [Taxacom] why
 Martin Fikacek resign
 >   To:
 taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu
 >   Received: Saturday, 10
 October, 2015, 6:47 AM
 >
 >   Dear John,
 >
 >   That (a
 Neotype) would only be
 >   valid if there is some
 confusion about
 >   the
 >   identity.  The Code does not
 allow Neotypes in cases where
 >   there is
 >   no confusion about what
 the
 >   species is.  In this
 case there is nothing
 >   known that is even close to
 it, so its identity
 >   is not
 confused.  The
 >   authors
 covered that
 >   well in the
 description.
 >
 >   Mike
 >
 >   On
 >   10/9/2015 3:30 AM, John Noyes
 wrote:
 >   >
 >   Hi,
 >   >
 >   > It seems that
 >   in this case it should be
 possible to designate a neotype
 >   from an extant, preserved
 specimen. So muDear ch the better
 >   if the neotype is the
 holotype of a previously described
 >   species so that the 
 "new" species can be treated
 >   as a junior synonym [although
 in this particular case that
 >   seems unlikely]. It can be
 safely assumed that the
 >   photographed holotype no
 longer exists. So long as the
 >   specimen designated as
 neotype is pretty damned similar to
 >   the one in the photograph and
 all other conditions of
 >   designating a neotype are met
 according to the ICZN then I
 >   cannot see a problem.
 >   >
 >   > Maybe that is too
 mischievous??
 >   >
 >   > John
 >   >
 >   > John Noyes
 >   > Scientific Associate
 >   >
 >   Department of Life
 Sciences
 >   > Natural
 >   History Museum
 >   > Cromwell Road
 >   > South Kensington
 >   >
 >   London SW7 5BD
 >   > UK
 >   >
 >   jsn at nhm.ac.uk
 >   > Tel.: +44 (0) 207 942
 5594
 >   > Fax.: +44 (0)
 207 942 5229
 >   >
 >   > Universal
 >   Chalcidoidea Database
 (everything you wanted to know about
 >   chalcidoids and more):
 >   >
 >   www.nhm.ac.uk/chalcidoids
 >   >
 >   > -----Original
 Message-----
 >   > From:
 Taxacom [mailto:taxacom-bounces at mailman.nhm.ku.edu]
 >   On Behalf Of Stephen
 Thorpe
 >   > Sent: 07
 >   October 2015 21:04
 >   > To: taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu;
 >   bayshark at exemail.com.au
 >   > Cc: penev at pensoft.net
 >   > Subject: Re: [Taxacom]
 why Martin Fikacek
 >   resign
 >   >
 >   > I'm
 >   sure that people are playing
 right into Lyubo's hands by
 >   adding to the publicity about
 this (any publicity is good
 >   publicity!) Pensoft are a
 commercial publisher. I have
 >   pretty much given up on them
 as well, largely because
 >   Biodiversity Data Journal has
 now become little more than a
 >   venue for promotional papers,
 miles away from its initially
 >   stated philosophy.
 >   >
 >   >
 >   Nevertheless, many of the
 reasons cited against describing
 >   new species from photos are
 quite unconvincing. Why is
 >   palaeontology considered to
 be science? An impression in
 >   rock, or a partly obscured
 amber inclusion are both on a par
 >   with a photograph, given that
 you can't see all the
 >   relevant characters, you
 can't dissect, and you
 >   can't extract DNA (most
 of the time).
 >   >
 >   > It would be a very
 >   bad idea to describe a new
 species of hydrophilid beetle
 >   (Martin Fikacek's
 speciality) from photograph(s) of a
 >   live specimen, but this may
 not apply equally to other
 >   groups of organisms.
 Iterestingly, Fikacek does describe
 >   fossil hydrophilids!
 >   >
 >   > One thing, however, that
 Marshall &
 >   Evenhuis
 did misinterpret from the Code relates to
 >   "Designation of an
 illustration of a single specimen as
 >   a holotype is to be treated
 as designation of the specimen
 >   illustrated". This is
 actually quite irrelevant!
 >   Designating a specimen as
 holotype via a photograph, is what
 >   Marshall & Evenhuis have
 done. This is very different
 >   from designating a photograph
 of a specimen as holotype! The
 >   above quote from the Code
 simply reduces the latter to the
 >   former, but that is
 irrelevant here.
 >   >
 >   > As for Vratislav's
 P.S.: >If this
 >   will
 continue, anybody can create not just new species, but
 >   complete new family using
 just Photoshop.<
 >   >
 >   > Anybody can and
 >   always could do effectively
 that anyway. Write a verbal
 >   description based on
 fictional characters, maybe add a few
 >   fanciful drawings, and
 conveniently claim the holotype to
 >   have been subsequently lost.
 Lost holotypes do not
 >   invalidate described taxa.
 >   >
 >   > Stephen
 >   >
 >   >
 >   >
 >   --------------------------------------------
 >   > On Wed, 7/10/15, bayshark at exemail.com.au
 >   <bayshark at exemail.com.au>
 >   wrote:
 >   >
 >   >   Subject:
 [Taxacom] why Martin
 >   Fikacek resign
 >   >   To: taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu
 >   >   Received:
 Wednesday, 7
 >   October,
 2015, 9:44 PM
 >   >
 >   >
 >   >
 >   >   https://www.facebook.com/martin.fikacek.7/posts/10206448754731807
 >   >
 >   >
 >   >
 >   >
 >   >
 >   >   I just
 >   resigned for the position of
 editor in ZooKeys for  two
 >   reasons: by  the recent
 publication of a description of a
 >   new species  based on
 photos  ZooKeys evidently decided
 >   for the direction of
 "bad science  and good
 >   publicity" which is the
 direction I cannot support.
 >   In  addition, they 
 recently introduced a new automatic
 >   system
 "bullying"
 >   >   editors,
 which now
 >   >   makes
 editors basically
 >   non-paid
 slaves with very limited  decision power. I
 >   simply cannot work for such a
 journal anymore. Sorry to
 >   everybody, and  thanks for
 years of author-editor
 >   cooperation.
 >   >
 >   >
 >   >
 >   >   My
 >   letter to editors is attached
 below:
 >   >
 >   >
 >   >
 >   >   Dear
 editors,
 >   >
 >   >
 >   >
 >   >   I was
 >   really shocked when I
 discovered the paper entitled
 >   "New species  without
 dead bodies: a case for
 >   photobased descriptions, 
 illustrated by a  striking new
 >   species of Marleyimyia Hesse
 (Diptera,
 >   >   Bombyliidae)
 from South
 >   >   Africa"
 published few
 >   days ago in
 ZooKeys. The paper is  exremely dangerous  for
 >   several aspects:
 >   >
 >   >
 >   >
 >   >   (1) It
 misuses the weak parts
 >   of
 the Code which were  originally designed to  keep some
 >   very old names valid, which
 were described in  historical
 >   publications mostly in 18th
 century. In difference to what
 >   the authors are  writing in
 the paper, this Article was not
 >   designed to solve  the
 situation  with lost holotypes, but
 >   to keep valid the names which
 were  really based  only on
 >   illustrations in times when
 no rules were given as  it
 >   concerns the  quality of
 taxonomic descriptions. Using the
 >   same Article  for today is 
 really ridiculous attempt to
 >   use this Article to cheat
 the  system. Moreover,  note the
 >   word "illustration"
 in the text of the Article
 >   (i.e. NOT a
 >   >   photograph!!!)
 >   >
 >   >
 >   >
 >   >   (2) It
 >   makes a very dangerous
 precedence for future  generations.
 >   Now  everybody may try to
 describe a new big insect
 >   (cetonid  beetle, wasp,
 >   >   butterfly)
 based just on the
 >   photographs. I am sure good 
 entomologists will  not do
 >   that, or would at least do
 that only once all needed
 >   characters are  really
 visible. Unfortunately the
 >   entomology is full of  crazy
 individuals  focused only in
 >   describing new taxa and
 producing new names,  no need to
 >   give  examples as everybody
 knows some of them. These
 >   individuals  were
 difficult  to deal with even until now,
 >   basically producing chaos
 in  taxonomy of  particular
 >   group and partly causing that
 taxonomy is often  considered
 >   as  non-scientific. You now
 opened a brand new way for
 >   these  people how to do 
 even worse work!
 >   >
 >   >
 >   >
 >   >   (3) In
 >   my opinion neither the
 authors of the above paper,  nor the
 >   editorial  board is
 evidently not aware of the reason why
 >   voucher  specimen
 (holotype)  is needed when a species is
 >   describe. It is not because
 the  author should  have it
 >   easy to illustrate all needed
 characters. It it  because
 >   only the  specimen itself
 form a firm base for the name.
 >   All taxonomic  work, 
 identification of next specimens
 >   found etc. is in fact 
 testing the  hypothesis that the
 >   specimens in your hand are
 conspecific  with the
 >   holotype.  To test that
 hypothesis, you may re-examine
 >   the holotype, extract  new
 characters which were not stated
 >   or illustrated in the 
 original  description etc. Testing
 >   the hypothesis and providing
 the  way how to falsify  it
 >   is what makes taxonomy a
 science! In case of the new  South
 >   African  species, nothing of
 this is possible - nobody will
 >   ever be  able to test the 
 hypothesis that the specimens
 >   in hand are conspecific
 with  the holotype (and  no other
 >   characters will be ever known
 than those  illustrated on
 >   the  photos). This basically
 moves this paper (and taxonomy
 >   in
 >   >   general)
 REALLY
 >   >   OUT OF
 SCIENCE. Hence, this
 >   is a
 step backward, not an  innovative way as you  present
 >   it.
 >   >
 >   >
 >   >
 >   >   I
 >   appreciate the effort of
 Pensoft and ZooKeys to try
 >   innovative ways of 
 taxonomic publishing. However, I would
 >   expect that you would  think
 about  your steps and
 >   decision properly, evaluating
 the possible  risks of such
 >   steps for the future of
 taxonomy. I did not notice
 >   anything  like that in 
 your actions and decisions within
 >   last months, including the 
 publication of  the above
 >   paper. Editorial board is
 never consulted in such  cases,
 >   and if  the editors provide
 their critique, this is rarely
 >   followed.
 >   >   In
 opposite,
 >   >   you
 recently introduced a
 >   system of
 "bullying" the editors.
 >   >   I
 understand all
 >   >   these
 actions in the way that
 >   editors are just workers
 you  use FOR FREE (we  are not
 >   paid for that), but never as
 partners with whom
 >   problematic things  should
 be discussed.
 >   >
 >   >
 >   >
 >   >   To sum
 >   up - by publishing the
 photo-based description of
 >   Marleyimyia,  ZooKeys moves
 into the position of journals
 >   trying to break  up the
 good  practices in taxonomy for
 >   the sake of publicity. Its
 not  only "the border of
 >   taxonomic malpractice",
 it is in fact the "border
 >   of  non-science". I do
 not  want to provide my time
 >   to the journal going in this
 really  dangerous  direction.
 >   That is why I am resigning
 immediatelly from the  editorial
 >   board  of ZooKeys.
 >   >
 >   >
 >   >
 >   >   Thanks for
 understanding!
 >   >
 >   >
 >   >
 >   >   With
 >   best regards
 >   >
 >   >
 >   >
 >   >   Martin
 >   >
 >   >
 >   >
 >   >
 >   >
 >   >   Vratislav
 >   >
 >   >   (name)
 >   Vratislav Richard Eugene
 Maria John Baptist
 >   >
 >   >   (surname)
 of Bejšák (read
 >   as a
 >   >   Bayshark)-Colloredo-Mansfeld
 >   >
 >   >   website:
 >   www.coleoptera.org
 >   >
 >   >   address:
 P.O.Box 3335 ,
 >   Redfern,
 NSW 2016  AUSTRALIA
 >   >
 >   >   phone : +61
 0420602040
 >   >   http://www.facebook.com/bayshark
 >   >   alternate
 email: bayshark at ymail.com
 >   >   (to
 iPhone)
 >   >
 >   >
 >   >
 >   >   _______________________________________________
 >   >   Taxacom
 Mailing List
 >   >   Taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu
 >   >   http://mailman.nhm.ku.edu/cgi-bin/mailman/listinfo/taxacom
 >   >   The Taxacom
 Archive back to
 >   1992 may
 be searched at: http://taxacom.markmail.org
 >   >
 >   >   Celebrating
 28 years of
 >   Taxacom in
 2015.
 >   >
 >   >
 >   _______________________________________________
 >   > Taxacom Mailing List
 >   >
 >   Taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu
 >   > http://mailman.nhm.ku.edu/cgi-bin/mailman/listinfo/taxacom
 >   > The Taxacom Archive back
 to 1992 may be
 >   searched
 at: http://taxacom.markmail.org
 >   >
 >   > Celebrating 28 years
 >   of Taxacom in 2015.
 >   >
 >   _______________________________________________
 >   > Taxacom Mailing List
 >   >
 >   Taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu
 >   > http://mailman.nhm.ku.edu/cgi-bin/mailman/listinfo/taxacom
 >   > The Taxacom Archive back
 to 1992 may be
 >   searched
 at: http://taxacom.markmail.org
 >   >
 >   > Celebrating 28 years
 >   of Taxacom in 2015.
 >
 >   --
 >   __________________________________________________
 >
 >   Michael
 A. Ivie, Ph.D.,
 >   F.R.E.S.
 >
 >   Montana
 Entomology
 >   Collection
 >   Marsh Labs, Room 50
 >   1911 West Lincoln Street
 >   NW
 >   corner of Lincoln and
 S.19th
 >   Montana State
 >   University
 >   Bozeman, MT 59717
 >   USA
 >
 >   (406)
 >   994-4610 (voice)
 >   (406) 994-6029 (FAX)
 >   mivie at montana.edu
 >
 >
 >   _______________________________________________
 >   Taxacom Mailing List
 >   Taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu
 >   http://mailman.nhm.ku.edu/cgi-bin/mailman/listinfo/taxacom
 >   The Taxacom Archive back to
 1992 may be
 >   searched at:
 http://taxacom.markmail.org
 >
 >   Celebrating 28 years of
 >   Taxacom in 2015.
 >
 >
 
 -- 
 __________________________________________________
 
 Michael A. Ivie, Ph.D.,
 F.R.E.S.
 
 Montana Entomology
 Collection
 Marsh Labs, Room 50
 1911 West Lincoln Street
 NW
 corner of Lincoln and S.19th
 Montana State
 University
 Bozeman, MT 59717
 USA
 
 (406)
 994-4610 (voice)
 (406) 994-6029 (FAX)
 mivie at montana.edu
 
 



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