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

Stephen Thorpe stephen_thorpe at yahoo.co.nz
Tue May 10 18:39:06 CDT 2016


Mike,
Language is difficult to make clear at the best of times. I'm still not sure what you mean, but I certainly think that the Swiss authors (and probably also the Brazilians) want to keep amateurs out of taxonomy. Have you read the article in BZN? [Quote]Publications such as those of Marshall & Evenhuis (2015) or Minteer et al. (2014) may also stimulate non-experts to describe new species based on photographed specimens[unquote] While "amateur" and "non-expert" are not exactly the same thing, I think that the intended meaning is clear enough. By the way, Broun was never employed as a taxonomist per se. That he did in his own time. Being "government entomologist", for a short while, involved other duties. See: http://www.teara.govt.nz/en/biographies/3b52/broun-thomas
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: "Stephen Thorpe" <stephen_thorpe at yahoo.co.nz>, taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu
 Received: Wednesday, 11 May, 2016, 11:15 AM
 
 
   
     
   
   
     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
  >   
  >    
  >    
  >    
  >   
  _______________________________________________
  >   
  >   
  
  >    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
  >   
  >   
  
  >    Channeling
  >   Intellectual Exuberance for
  29 years
  >   
  >    in 2016.
  >   
  
  >
  _______________________________________________
  > 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
  >
  > Channeling
  Intellectual Exuberance for 29 years in 2016.
  
  -- 
  __________________________________________________
  
  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
  
  _______________________________________________
  Taxacom Mailing List
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  http://mailman.nhm.ku.edu/cgi-bin/mailman/listinfo/taxacom
  The Taxacom Archive back to 1992 may be
  searched at: http://taxacom.markmail.org
  
  Channeling Intellectual
  Exuberance for 29 years in 2016.
 
 .
 
 
     
     
 
     -- 
 __________________________________________________
 
 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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