[Taxacom] Why Defend the Code?

Scott Thomson scott.thomson321 at gmail.com
Fri Oct 9 23:02:42 CDT 2015


Heya Stephen,

you missed the point of that example, it was not about what the ICZN could
do about about the taxa concerned, you are right that is taxonomy and not
the ICZN's concern. It was about the impact this had in South America where
there was confusion incurred when some followed this nomenclature and
others did not. So it was about the flow on effects to other areas of
biological research and the impacts of a dual nomenclature on species
management and as venomous species, medical safety. However its still not
something the ICZN can do anything directly about. These were examples that
illustrated the harm being done, to nomenclature and to the ICZN.

As we also said in the same paragraph: "This example illustrates how the
output from AJH can proliferate and the harm that can potentially result
from this dual nomenclature."

However, in the comments here I was referring to our more generalised
comments on the effects on nomenclature in general, not to Ray Hoser
specifically. I did not mention him at all earlier and he is not the only
person who has done harm to nomenclature, nor is this limited to
herpetology. I was very specific about what I referred to from that paper
and deliberately avoided the issue of Ray Hoser because this is not about
him, its about problems facing taxonomy and nomenclaure. Yes I am sincere
about that because after 20 years of doing it I happen to like this field
and don't want to see it destroyed. So my sincerity is not faked.

Cheers, Scott

On Sat, Oct 10, 2015 at 12:32 AM, Stephen Thorpe <stephen_thorpe at yahoo.co.nz
> wrote:

> You just can't resist, can you Scott? "Sincerity, I can fake that!"
> Anyway, Hoser really is an attention seeker, and all this must be really
> getting him off! I'm not entirely certain of the best way to solve the
> "Hoser problem", but allow me to comment on the published plea to the ICZN
> that you have co-authored with a whole bunch of others, including, I see,
> entomologist Manfred Jach (who has tried in vain for years to stop Dew
> Makhan from publishing, for similar reasons). The main point which makes me
> cringe is passages which fundamentally misunderstand zoological
> nomenclature! For example:
>
> >An example of developing dual nomenclature is Hoser’s attempted
> resurrection of three rattlesnake genera (Aechmophrys, Caudisona, and
> Uropsophus) from the synonymy of Crotalus, along with the description of
> new genera and subgenera<
>
> Resurrection of genera from synonymy is taxonomy, not nomenclature! In
> fact, it is just a matter of rejecting published synonymies (i.e. if the
> scientific evidence for a proposed taxonomic change is thought, by the
> reader, to be insufficient, then the reader has every right to ignore it -
> this is the difference between science and dogma!) The ICZN has absolutely
> no mandate to interfere in such matters (i.e. matters of validity as
> opposed to availability). Anybody is free to reject proposed subjective
> synonymies, or to accept them as they choose. This has nothing directly to
> do with the Code or the ICZN. There simply isn't a single "officially valid
> name" for any taxon, except by default. So, if you are going to go in
> mob-handed against Hoser, at least get your facts right!
>
> Stephen
>
>
> --------------------------------------------
> On Sat, 10/10/15, Scott Thomson <scott.thomson321 at gmail.com> wrote:
>
>  Subject: Re: [Taxacom] Why Defend the Code?
>  To: "Stephen Thorpe" <stephen_thorpe at yahoo.co.nz>
>  Cc: "Taxacom List" <TAXACOM at mailman.nhm.ku.edu>, mivie at montana.edu
>  Received: Saturday, 10 October, 2015, 2:39 PM
>
>  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>
>  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>
>  wrote:
>
>
>
>   Subject: Re: [Taxacom] Why Defend the Code?
>
>   To: "Stephen Thorpe" <stephen_thorpe at yahoo.co.nz>,
>  "Taxacom List" <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>
>
>   wrote:
>
>   >
>
>   >   Subject: [Taxacom] Why Defend
>
>   the Code?
>
>   >   To:
>
>   "Taxacom List" <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 (voice)
>
>   >   (406)
>  994-6029 (FAX)
>
>   >   mivie at montana.edu
>
>   >
>
>   >   _______________________________________________
>
>   >   Taxacom Mailing List
>
>   >   Taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu
>
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>
>   >   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.
>
>
>
>
>  --
>  Scott
>  Thomson
>  Museu de Zoologia da
>  Universidade de São PauloDivisão de Vertebrados
>  (Herpetologia)
>  Avenida Nazaré,
>  481, Ipiranga04263-000, São Paulo, SP,
>  Brasilhttp://www.carettochelys.com
>  ORCID: http://orcid.org/0000-0003-1279-2722Lattes:
> http://lattes.cnpq.br/0323517916624728Skype:
>  FaendalimasMobile 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
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