[Taxacom] I'm furious over article: On typeless species and the perils of fast taxonomy

Michael A. Ivie mivie at montana.edu
Tue May 10 18:15:27 CDT 2016


Stephen,

I was not disagreeing with you, but the concept attributed to the 
Brazilians.  You clearly say "I detect two possible underlying concerns 
which may be motivating the reaction against holotypes designated via 
photos...(2)
  This might encourage amateurs to describe new taxa."  It was clear you 
did not agree with these motivations.  I was agreeing, stongly.

I was simply stating that bashing amateurs is a bad reason for 
anything.  But, Sharp was a physician by trade, so was an amateur 
entomologist. As for Broun "As a result of this work, in 1894 Broun was 
appointed to the Department of Agriculture as government entomologist at 
Auckland," clearly a professional.

It is not a PhD that distinguishes the two,  it is a paycheck.

Mike


On 5/10/2016 5:04 PM, Stephen Thorpe wrote:
> Mike,
> I know that you take great pleasure in disagreeing with me on Taxacom (all part of the fun), but you appear to have read my words as the polar opposite of what I wrote! I (as basically an amateur myself) fully agree that there are some excellent amateurs and some shoddy professionals. That was my whole point! I was trying to say that some professionals are not of the same opinion, which may be why they object to description by photo. I wasn't agreeing with them, I was disagreeing with them. So what the heck are you trying to say??? Just for the benefit of those who don't know, actually Sharp was a professional (with a PhD) and Broun was more or less an amateur (and lacked formal qualifications). Sharp was better in this case, but Broun was OK too.
> Cheers, Stephen
>
> --------------------------------------------
> On Wed, 11/5/16, Michael A. Ivie <mivie at montana.edu> wrote:
>
>   Subject: Re: [Taxacom] I'm furious over article: On typeless species and the perils of fast taxonomy
>   To: taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu
>   Received: Wednesday, 11 May, 2016, 10:37 AM
>   
>   Stephen,
>   
>   Limiting myself to your point
>   #2, at least in North America and Central
>   Europe, entomology has been well served by many
>   truly excellent amateur
>   taxonomists who are
>   welcomed by the professionals as equals worthy of
>   respect and admiration.   I am not
>   talking about the likes of LeConte
>   and Horn
>   back in the 19th century, but those alive and active
>   today.
>   There are also professionals that
>   lack that respect and admiration by
>   their
>   peers.  Even in your neck of the woods, Broun was a
>   professional,
>   Sharp was an amateur.  That
>   chestnut simply does not fly.
>   
>   Mike
>   
>   On
>   5/10/2016 4:30 PM, Stephen Thorpe wrote:
>   > Cris said: "I also think there is a
>   troubling political side to this case. All 14 authors are
>   from the same mega-diverse country"
>   >
>   > My reply: Yes, I
>   think you are correct that there is a troubling political
>   side to this case, but nothing to do with Brazil. In BZN
>   73(1)(2016), there is another hard-hitting critique of the
>   controversial new fly description, this time by three Swiss
>   (Switzerland not being particularly
>   "mega-dicerse"!), who appear to have a similar
>   agenda, though they conduct their criticisms somewhat more
>   collegially. Reading between the lines, I detect two
>   possible underlying concerns which may be motivating the
>   reaction against holotypes designated via photos:
>   >
>   > (1) This might
>   endanger continued funding to museums which look after type
>   specimens; and
>   >
>   > (2)
>   This might encourage amateurs to describe new taxa.
>   >
>   > Well, I'm not
>   sure what I think about (1). I don't think that it is a
>   big deal. Instead of insisting upon a global ban of
>   description from photos, one might better lobby to the
>   effect that description by specimen is better, which I
>   don't think anyone denies! Also, I very much doubt that
>   funding responds in such a simple way to single factors
>   influencing how taxonomy is carried out in practice.
>   >
>   > As for (2), it COULD
>   BE a good thing! It all depends on whether or not the
>   taxonomy is done adequately. It is way too simple to think
>   that all and only professional taxonomists can do taxonomy
>   adequately. I suspect that it really has more to do with
>   control. Traditional professional taxonomists just can't
>   handle the thought of losing control over who can do
>   taxonomy, and who can have access to types, etc.
>   >
>   > The most important
>   thing is that arguments for or against are based on good
>   reasons, not misinterpretations/manipulations, etc. Even the
>   BZN article misrepresents the disadvantages of photos. Their
>   same argument could be just as easily applied to argue
>   against the description of new taxa from fossils or
>   non-perfect specimens in some way. A determined faker, as I
>   already pointed out, is by no means limited to photographic
>   manipulation!
>   >
>   > And
>   there is also the issue of peer review: again I ask how 14
>   authors, at least 2 reviewers and an editorial team for a
>   supposedly good journal all managed to let such basic errors
>   slip through?!
>   >
>   >
>   Cheers, Stephen
>   >
>   >
>   --------------------------------------------
>   > On Tue, 10/5/16, Cristian Ruiz Altaba
>   <cruizaltaba at dgcc.caib.es>
>   wrote:
>   >
>   >   Subject: Re: Re: [Taxacom]
>   I'm furious over article: On typeless species and the
>   perils of fast taxonomy
>   >   To: "Stephen
>   Thorpe" <stephen_thorpe at yahoo.co.nz>
>   >   Cc: taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu
>   >   Received: Tuesday, 10 May,
>   2016, 6:29 PM
>   >
>   >
>   >   Hi Stephen,Well, I for one
>   am
>   >   prepared to say
>   publicly that photographs are evidence. So
>   >   we are two already. A reply
>   should be written.
>   >   The
>   point on faking evidence is not mine. It is in
>   >   Santos et al, when they argue
>   that an image can be
>   >   manipulated (and not a
>   holotype, alas). I should add that
>   >   too many taxonomists naïvely
>   think that photographs are
>   >   superior to drawings. It
>   depends on intention, of course.
>   >   However, at least in
>   malacology, it seems most reviewers
>   >   prefer a fuzzy photograph
>   over a crisp drawing --obviously
>   >   ignoring the art of
>   Photoshop. And what is taxonomy about,
>   >   altogether. (A nice path is
>   in the works of Lou Grande, who
>   >   depicts complex fossils with
>   good photographs side-by-side
>   >   with accurate drawings of the
>   same specimen).
>   >   I also
>   think there is a troubling political side to
>   >   this case. All 14 authors are
>   from the same mega-diverse
>   >   country. They want to stress
>   the need for support towards
>   >   museums. Yet, they got a red
>   herring instead. It is
>   >   worrisome that they do not
>   accept the possibility of
>   >   expanding their taxonomic
>   tools, even when it is perfectly
>   >   clear that the pace of
>   (old-fashioned) description is orders
>   >   of magnitude below the
>   (current) estimated rate of
>   >   extinction. This is a
>   globally relevant issue.
>   >   All the
>   >   best,Cristian
>   >
>   >
>   >
>   >   -----Stephen Thorpe
>   >   <stephen_thorpe at yahoo.co.nz>
>   ha escrit: -----
>   >
>   >   Per a: Stephen Thorpe <stephen_thorpe at yahoo.co.nz>,
>   >   Cristian Ruiz Altaba <cruizaltaba at dgcc.caib.es>
>   >
>   >   De: Stephen Thorpe <stephen_thorpe at yahoo.co.nz>
>   >   Data: 10/05/2016 12:43AM
>   >
>   >   a/c: <taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu>
>   >   Assumpte: Re: [Taxacom]
>   I'm furious over
>   >   article: On typeless species
>   and the perils of fast
>   >   taxonomy
>   >
>   >
>   >
>   >   Hi Cris,
>   >   Judging from the off-list
>   replies,
>   >   this issue would
>   seem to be a "sensitive" one,
>   >   with all who replied in full
>   agreement with me, yet not
>   >   prepared to say so publicly.
>   So far, it seems like only
>   >   dipterists have taken notice,
>   but the taxonomic issue are,
>   >   of course, quite general. It
>   is odd that nobody is forcing
>   >   anyone to describe new
>   species from photos, yet Santos et
>   >   al. seem to want to impose a
>   ban on anyone doing it! There
>   >   are certain parallels with
>   homophobia! As for the photo
>   >   faking argument, I think you
>   may have slightly misunderstood
>   >   their point? Yes, drawings
>   and verbal descriptions can also
>   >   be faked, possibly even
>   easier than faking photos, but their
>   >   point was that a preserved
>   type specimen is there to be
>   >   checked against descriptions
>   and illustrations, which cannot
>   >   be done if all that you have
>   are photos. This is true, but
>   >   in practice a determined
>   faker would have many options
>   >   regardless. They could
>   deliberately damage or even destroy
>   >   the holotype, and the
>   availability of the new name would be
>   >   unaffected, with only the
>   description and illustrations left
>   >   to use for ID. They could
>   refuse access to the holotype if
>   >   they also had control of the
>   type repository, or they could
>   >   simply stay quiet and hope
>   that nobody bothered to check.
>   >   So, while the lack of a
>   checkable specimen is one reason
>   >   against description from
>   photo only, it needs to be weighed
>   >   against reasons for. Also, a
>   specimen and even species is
>   >   only as good as the
>   associated data, and collecting data is
>   >   very easy to fake, with
>   little or no way to confirm. So the
>   >   possibility of faking photos
>   doesn't really introduce
>   >   anything new.
>   >
>   >   Cheers,
>   >   Stephen
>   >
>   >   --------------------------------------------
>   >
>   >   On Mon, 9/5/16, Cristian Ruiz
>   Altaba
>   >   <cruizaltaba at dgcc.caib.es>
>   wrote:
>   >
>   >
>   >
>   Subject: Re: [Taxacom] I'm furious
>   >   over article: On typeless
>   species and the perils of fast
>   >   taxonomy
>   >
>   >
>   To: "Stephen Thorpe"
>   >   <stephen_thorpe at yahoo.co.nz>
>   >    Cc:
>   >   taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu
>   >
>   >
>   Received: Monday, 9 May, 2016, 6:46 PM
>   >
>   >
>   >    Hi
>   >   Stephen,The paper is
>   indeed
>   >
>   >    dangerous. I have read it and feel
>   just the way you do.
>   >    Indeed, the
>   main issue is that the authors
>   >   believe they know
>   >
>   >
>   very well the Code... when in fact they obviously
>   >   don't.
>   >
>   >
>   >
>   Santos et al. want to make a point in support of
>   >    "old-but-not-outdated
>   taxonomy".
>   >   However,
>   they
>   >
>   >    also want to dress this quarrel with
>   a legal varnish.
>   >
>   >
>   >
>   Particularly infuriating is their invocation of
>   >    Fontcuberta's photographic work.
>   He has
>   >   played a lot
>   >
>   >
>   with the illusion of truth in photography. He even has
>   >   a
>   >
>   book portraying himself as a follower of
>   >   Osama Bin
>   >
>   >
>   Laden, his whole biography with numerous
>   >   photographs...
>   >    almost all of which turn
>   >   out to be false. The only
>   real one
>   >
>   >    portrays what seems a joke: a bottle
>   of something
>   >   called
>   >    Mecca-Cola. His point is simple
>   yet
>   >   worthwhile --it
>   >
>   >
>   doesn't matter what the support might be, what counts
>   >   is
>   >
>   the genuine sincerity in the message.
>   >   This we know as the
>   >
>   >
>   Golde Rule, which holds all of science together. Surely
>   >   we
>   >
>   all could point at one paper at least
>   >   where taxonomic
>   >
>   >
>   characters were drawn or reproduced with mistakes (if
>   >    not intentional fake). Why should we
>   suspect
>   >   that the
>   >
>   >
>   photographs by Marshall and Evenhuis are a fake, while
>   >    taking all works produced by all
>   Brazilian
>   >   dipeterologists
>   >
>   >    as
>   fault-proof?
>   >    So what is the point
>   in
>   >   Santos et al? Hard to
>   tell. At
>   >
>   >    any rate, they end up advocating for
>   field
>   >   work. Yet, that
>   >
>   >    is
>   exactly how you are most likely to photograph
>   >   unknown
>   >
>   >
>   species.
>   >    I do think that this
>   paper
>   >   deserves an answer.
>   May I
>   >
>   >    propose a joint reply by several
>   members of this list?
>   >    All the
>   >
>   >
>   best,Cristian
>   >    Cristian
>   >    R. Altaba
>   >
>   EvoCog,
>   >   University of
>   the
>   >
>   >    Balearic Islands
>   >
>   >
>   
>   >
>   >
>   -----"Taxacom"
>   >
>   >
>   <taxacom-bounces at mailman.nhm.ku.edu>
>   ha escrit:
>   >    -----
>   >
>   >
>      
>   >    Per a:
>   >   <neale at bishopmuseum.org>,
>   >    <samarsha at uoguelph.ca>
>   >
>   >
>   
>   >    De: Stephen Thorpe
>   >    Enviat per:
>   >
>   "Taxacom"
>   >
>   >
>   >    Data:
>   09/05/2016 12:29AM
>   >    a/c: taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu
>   >
>   >
>   Assumpte: [Taxacom] I'm furious over
>   >    article: On typeless species and the
>   perils
>   >   of fast
>   >
>   >
>   taxonomy
>   >
>   >
>     
>   >
>   >    Hi
>   all,
>   >
>   >
>   >
>   I'm furious
>   >    over this new
>   article:
>   >
>   >
>   >   http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/syen.12180/abstract
>   >
>   >
>   >
>   
>   >    They say: However, according to
>   Article
>   >   16.4 of the
>   ICZN
>   >
>   >    (1999), only holotypes of extant taxa
>   should be housed in
>   >   a
>   >    public scientific collection.
>   >   Marleyimyia xycolopae is
>   >
>   >
>   obviously an extant species. Accordingly, its type
>   >   specimen
>   >    should be deposited in a
>   >   scientific collection ... In
>   short,
>   >
>   >    Marshall and Evenhuis published a
>   nomen nudum because
>   >   their
>   >
>     discovery is backed only by a
>   >   photograph and not by a
>   type
>   >
>   >    specimen.
>   >
>   
>   >
>   >    Art.
>   16.4 actually says:
>   >
>   >    16.4.2. where the holotype or
>   syntypes are
>   >    extant specimens, by
>   a statement of intent
>   >   that
>   they will be
>   >
>   >    (or are) deposited in a collection
>   and a statement
>   >    indicating the
>   name and location of that
>   >   collection.
>   >
>   >
>   
>   >
>   >    Extant
>   SPECIMENS,
>   >   NOT extant
>   SPECIES!!!
>   >
>   >
>   >
>   The argument offered against
>   >
>   the
>   >   availability of the
>   name Marleyimyia xycolopae is
>   >
>   >
>   clearly based on a gross misinterpretation of the Code,
>   >   and
>   >
>   is makes the whole article by Santos
>   >   et al. utterly
>   >
>   >
>   pointless! I am extremely alarmed that nobody out of 14
>   >    authors, at least two reviewers and
>   an
>   >   editorial team from
>   a
>   >
>   >
>     supposedly reputable journal could not catch this
>   >    fundamental error before it went to
>   print.
>   >   Peer review just
>   >
>   >
>   doesn't work, it would seem.
>   >
>   
>   >
>   >
>   Stephen
>   >
>   >
>   >
>   >
>   >
>   _______________________________________________
>   >
>   >
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>   
>   >    Channeling
>   >   Intellectual Exuberance for
>   29 years
>   >
>   >    in 2016.
>   >
>   
>   >
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>   
>   --
>   __________________________________________________
>   
>   Michael A. Ivie, Ph.D.,
>   F.R.E.S.
>   
>   US Post Office
>   Address:
>   Montana Entomology Collection
>   Marsh Labs, Room 50
>   1911 West
>   Lincoln Street
>   Montana State University
>   Bozeman, MT 59717
>   USA
>   
>   UPS, FedEx, DHL Address:
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>   Lincoln Street
>   Montana State University
>   Bozeman, MT 59718
>   USA
>   
>   
>   (406)
>   994-4610 (voice)
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>   mivie at montana.edu
>   
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>
> .
>

-- 
__________________________________________________

Michael A. Ivie, Ph.D., F.R.E.S.

US Post Office Address:
Montana Entomology Collection
Marsh Labs, Room 50
1911 West Lincoln Street
Montana State University
Bozeman, MT 59717
USA

UPS, FedEx, DHL Address:
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