[Taxacom] Why Defend the Code?

Scott Thomson scott.thomson321 at gmail.com
Sat Oct 10 10:14:13 CDT 2015

Hi Stephen,

this thread was about why defend the code, not about particulars of a
comment I was involved with which was for a specific case before the
Commission. I used it in general terms in my part of that discussion but I
did not mention the case as its not relevant to the thread. I responded to
you once but if you want to discuss that case and the comments on it, start
another thread I shall do so. But I am not further taking this thread from
its original intent.

Cheers, Scott

On Sat, Oct 10, 2015 at 2:00 AM, Stephen Thorpe <stephen_thorpe at yahoo.co.nz>

> Heya Scott,
> Gosh, I seem to be missing a lot of points today! Must be gettin' old, or
> something! I'm sure your written with the utmost clarity, and I, for some
> reason, just cannot understand! So, let's recap for a mo': You are
> basically writing an open letter to the ICZN, in which you are pleading for
> them to render the entire run of AJH as effectively unpublished for the
> purposes of zoological nomenclature, right? I may or may not want that plea
> to be accepted, but at least it makes sense. If accepted, it will mean that
> nobody is obliged (by way of the Code) to use any of Hoser's new names for
> any taxa. So, we don't have to use a name for genus of dangerous venomous
> snakes which is based on the name of Hoser's pet dog, or whatever, right?
> So far so good. Where I lose the plot is all this talk of "dual
> nomenclature". That makes no sense to me at all! If we take Hoser's newly
> coined names out of the picture, that solves one problem and partly solves
> another, but at
>  least part of what you seem to mean by "dual nomenclature" is "dual
> taxonomy". If Hoser wants to resurrect old names, that are not his names
> (e.g. Aechmophrys Coues, 1875; Caudisona Laurenti, 1768; Uropsophus Wagler,
> 1830), to split genera, then that is a purely taxonomic matter, and anyone
> is free to accept/reject those taxonomic changes. They don't have to be
> published, in the sense of the Code, so the ICZN is powerless, and I
> therefore do not see the relevance of this issue to the problem. The ICZN
> cannot stop Hoser from physically publishing AJH, or "unpublish" what is
> already published. At most, it can only suppress any names that Hoser has
> coined as new. If people in South America, or wherever, choose to follow
> Hoser's taxonomy, then they are free to do so, and they can do so in a Code
> compliant way if they just ignore any names that Hoser has coined as new.
> In reality, "dual nomenclature" and "dual taxonomy" are more often a result
> of various
>  biodiversity databases (CoL, WoRMS, etc.) either disagreeing with one
> another and/or being more or less out of date. Maybe taking all of Hoser's
> newly coined names out of the picture might remove his motivation for
> tinkering with the rest of the taxonomy and/or might stop most people from
> paying any attention to him, but maybe not. In the bigger picture, one core
> group of herpetologists, however powerful, does not have the right to
> enforce their version of reptile taxonomy on the world, by taking out the
> competition (in this case Hoser). The reader is free to choose, and that is
> giong to result in different names being used for the same taxa. Take
> Nothofagus for a good example. That important genus was recently split by a
> couple of apparently repectable botanists, but their reasons were at best
> weak. I'm ignoring their proposal. It is still Nothofagus to me!
> Cheers, 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, 5:02 PM
>  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

Scott Thomson
Museu de Zoologia da Universidade de São Paulo
Divisão de Vertebrados (Herpetologia)
Avenida Nazaré, 481, Ipiranga
04263-000, São Paulo, SP, Brasil
ORCID: http://orcid.org/0000-0003-1279-2722
Lattes: *http://lattes.cnpq.br/0323517916624728*
Skype: Faendalimas
Mobile Phone: +55 11 974 74 9095

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