[Taxacom] Why Defend the Code?

Ivie, Michael mivie at montana.edu
Fri Oct 9 21:13:41 CDT 2015


Here here, bravo!
________________________________________
From: Scott Thomson [scott.thomson321 at gmail.com]
Sent: Friday, October 09, 2015 8:10 PM
To: Taxacom List; Luis Ruedas
Cc: Ivie, Michael; Stephen Thorpe
Subject: Re: [Taxacom] Why Defend the Code?

Hi,

I just got asked to share the comment I alluded to in my recent post. I apologise I assumed that since it was in BZN everyone here would have access to it in one way or another. However please find it attached.

Cheers, Scott

On Fri, Oct 9, 2015 at 10:39 PM, Scott Thomson <scott.thomson321 at gmail.com<mailto:scott.thomson321 at gmail.com>> wrote:
Well I am going to stay out of whatever personal issues are going on here, I too have been criticized on occasion for my interpretations of the code. I am not here to argue with that.

I too agree that our system of nomenclature is under attack, but not just attack it is suffering from complacency. One of the reasons I put in a comment recently with such a large authorship was not just to impress anyone, I wanted to show that there is support for the ICZN and its code, from non taxonomists. Many of the authors of that comment are not taxonomists. These people also want stability, not the stability we define in the code, they want the code to stand as it has for many years as this pillar of how we name our species. But they cannot tolerate what has been happening either.

Please do not jump to the conclusion I am just referring to herpetology, I am well aware of cases in other groups of organisms and cited some in fish in my comment. I am aware this is or has occurred in other organisms too.

I see several major issues for the code and in my response to Harvey and Yanega I tried to outline some. First of all is the code does need to evolve with the times, I know there are efforts to come out with a new version, however, it also needs to evolve within reason. Yes there is no absolute compliance to the code, we follow it willingly, unfortunately not everyone follows it the same way. This is in part due to sections that do need tidying up, their language clarified, we are all aware of this. I am hopeful that in the revisions of the code that the confusing or ambiguous language is being removed.

Another major issue is how little taxonomy is taught these days, and what is taught does not cover nomenclature very well if at all. I try to teach the code, I even write a blog on it, it's not easy and many biologists do not have a great understanding of the code. I will say that based on my experiences of trying to explain the code to many biologists. My blog has had 3000 views from just under 2000 visitors in the last 12 months. Its no rock band site for numbers, however, I think that does show there are people interested and its certainly more than I expected, I receive many questions about the code since I started writing it also. This means people still want to comply with the code, they still want it there. We said in the comment that Nomenclatural Taxonomy is at a tipping point. If the code is not presented and followed in a way that is scientifically and ethically viable then it may not last, which I think is a tragedy, and there are alternatives on the table. This is the tipping point, people are considering alternatives. But they do not want to, they feel they have to.

So I am not trying to add to a public criticism but we need to stand up for this code and apply it. We need to make sure all biologists understand it. Taxonomy needs to be taught again.

Please forgive my moment of rant.

Cheers, Scott

On Fri, Oct 9, 2015 at 9:12 PM, Stephen Thorpe <stephen_thorpe at yahoo.co.nz<mailto:stephen_thorpe at yahoo.co.nz>> wrote:
And that "correspondent in New Zealand" wouldn't be called Rich, by any chance, would they? You know, that well-known, objective, humanitarian/philanthopist ... cough!

Stephen

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

 Subject: Re: [Taxacom] Why Defend the Code?
 To: "Stephen Thorpe" <stephen_thorpe at yahoo.co.nz<mailto:stephen_thorpe at yahoo.co.nz>>, "Taxacom List" <TAXACOM at mailman.nhm.ku.edu<mailto:TAXACOM at mailman.nhm.ku.edu>>
 Received: Saturday, 10 October, 2015, 12:28 PM

 Stephen,

 Well, since that first line
 was taken from an email from a correspondent
 in New Zealand, and was not my line, and not
 attached to any name,
 clearly it must not
 apply to you, because after all, you have an
 honorary something.  You see, Stephen, not
 everything is about you.

 Mike

 On
 10/9/2015 5:13 PM, Stephen Thorpe wrote:
 > Putting to one side the personal attacks
 aimed at me, and the associated false claims (e.g., I do not
 have "no position", I have an honorary position),
 I actually agree with Mike that "our system of
 nomenclature is under attack", and that this is a
 problem to be solved. I disagree with Mike that the way to
 solve it is to mindlessly defend the Code as it is. The Code
 needs to change in order to solve this problem.
 Specifically, it needs to be simplified so that increasing
 numbers of people don't just throw their hands up in
 despair about it and walk away. Claiming that anyone with
 half a brain can easily understand the Code is only going to
 frustrate those perfectly intelligent people who find it to
 be more difficult. Make it easy to do nomenclature, and the
 problem will solve itself.
 >
 > Stephen
 >
 >
 --------------------------------------------
 > On Sat, 10/10/15, Michael A. Ivie <mivie at montana.edu<mailto:mivie at montana.edu>>
 wrote:
 >
 >   Subject: [Taxacom] Why Defend
 the Code?
 >   To:
 "Taxacom List" <TAXACOM at mailman.nhm.ku.edu<mailto:TAXACOM at mailman.nhm.ku.edu>>
 >   Received: Saturday, 10
 October, 2015, 12:02 PM
 >
 >   This may have been
 precipitated by a
 >   recent
 set of events, but it is
 >   targeted at a broader group
 of messages that put me over the
 >   edge on the
 >   last one.  No individual
 person, living or dead, if
 >   specifically
 >   referred to below.
 >
 >   I just received a private
 email asking why I would waste my
 >   time
 >   challenging someone with no
 position, no credibility and
 >   well known as a
 >   pedant and seeker of
 attention?
 >
 >   Why indeed.  Because I am an
 educator and a
 >   systematist.  It is time
 we
 >   all wake up to a few
 things.  First, our system of
 >   nomenclature is under
 >   attack.  Few students are
 given a class in its use,
 >   most are told the
 >   rules are difficult and
 arcane.  This is giving rise to
 >   a movement to
 >   simply do away with
 compliance.
 >
 >   Second, compliance with our
 Code is voluntary.  There
 >   is ZERO
 >   enforcement available.  We
 are just a thin line from a
 >   break to anarchy.
 >
 >   Therefore, when someone wants
 to, repeatedly, claim the Code
 >   is poor, is
 >   difficult, is not well
 thought out, or otherwise in need of
 >   endless
 >   negative blather, there are
 people who read that.
 >   Hundreds more are
 >   exposed to this forum than
 ever post to it.  If such
 >   negativity comes
 >   from someone who projects a
 facade of expertise, people may
 >   even believe
 >   him or her.
 >
 >   I understand the Code is not
 perfect, but it does
 >   work.  It does require
 >   diligence, and takes time
 from other activities that may be
 >   more fun,
 >   but it is not that hard.  We
 need to reinforce in the
 >   minds of our
 >   peers, and especially the
 younger members of our profession,
 >   that using
 >   the Code is what is expected,
 and it is not something to
 >   dread.  And,
 >   when mindless attacks are
 made claiming it is defective,
 >   difficult or
 >   irrelevant, we must defend it
 vociferously.
 >
 >   Mike
 >
 >   --
 >   __________________________________________________
 >
 >   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<tel:%28406%29%20994-4610> (voice)
 >   (406) 994-6029<tel:%28406%29%20994-6029> (FAX)
 >   mivie at montana.edu<mailto:mivie at montana.edu>
 >
 >   _______________________________________________
 >   Taxacom Mailing List
 >   Taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu<mailto: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<tel:%28406%29%20994-6029> (FAX)
 mivie at montana.edu<mailto:mivie at montana.edu>


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Celebrating 28 years of Taxacom in 2015.



--
Scott Thomson
Museu de Zoologia da Universidade de São Paulo
Divisão de Vertebrados (Herpetologia)
Avenida Nazaré, 481, Ipiranga
04263-000, São Paulo, SP, Brasil
http://www.carettochelys.com
ORCID: http://orcid.org/0000-0003-1279-2722
Lattes: http://lattes.cnpq.br/0323517916624728<https://wwws.cnpq.br/cvlattesweb/PKG_MENU.menu?f_cod=1E409F4BF37BFC4AD13FD58CDB7AA5FD#>
Skype: Faendalimas
Mobile Phone: +55 11 974 74 9095




--
Scott Thomson
Museu de Zoologia da Universidade de São Paulo
Divisão de Vertebrados (Herpetologia)
Avenida Nazaré, 481, Ipiranga
04263-000, São Paulo, SP, Brasil
http://www.carettochelys.com
ORCID: http://orcid.org/0000-0003-1279-2722
Lattes: http://lattes.cnpq.br/0323517916624728<https://wwws.cnpq.br/cvlattesweb/PKG_MENU.menu?f_cod=1E409F4BF37BFC4AD13FD58CDB7AA5FD#>
Skype: Faendalimas
Mobile Phone: +55 11 974 74 9095




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