[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 18:32:53 CDT 2016


Stephen,

OK, rereading what I wrote, I guess I can see how you took it that way, 
sorry.  I apologize for not being clear,

Mike


On 5/10/2016 5:15 PM, Michael A. Ivie wrote:
> 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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>>   >
>>     >
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>>   >    The Taxacom Archive back to 1992 may
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>>   >
>>   >
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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:
>>   Montana Entomology Collection
>>   Marsh Labs, Room 50
>>   1911 West
>>   Lincoln Street
>>   Montana State University
>>   Bozeman, MT 59718
>>   USA
>>       (406)
>>   994-4610 (voice)
>>   (406) 994-6029 (FAX)
>>   mivie at montana.edu
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>>     Channeling Intellectual
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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:
Montana Entomology Collection
Marsh Labs, Room 50
1911 West Lincoln Street
Montana State University
Bozeman, MT 59718
USA


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