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

JF Mate aphodiinaemate at gmail.com
Wed May 11 02:24:50 CDT 2016


"It is curious that you see the situation as a reduction of
information/data, when it can equally be seen as an expansion of the
available methods for taxonomy, and the utilisation of data where it
exits, even if only in a photo."

My point is pictures + other stuff. A picture without the subject is
actually less information. Also, photography is not a novelty either,
so it really doesn´t expand much, unless you accept the argument that
"cameras are so good that we can do away with the subject", to which I
have to politely disagree for reasons already expressed. What is a
novelty is the idea that we should be content, by choice, with just a
picture and a shiny new tag. In fact, I don't mind the description as
much as the "cool" novelty factor varnish applied all over by
suggesting that this is a way forward for taxonomy or somehow
inevitable. Like bogus nutritional studies, the public will gobble
this up.

Jason

On 11 May 2016 at 15:09, Stephen Thorpe <stephen_thorpe at yahoo.co.nz> wrote:
> Jason,
> It is curious that you see the situation as a reduction of information/data, when it can equally be seen as an expansion of the available methods for taxonomy, and the utilisation of data where it exits, even if only in a photo. While more data is preferable, if you only have a photo, why waste it? Maybe you can wait for more data, but it might be a long wait! Hopefully if more data does come, after description, it can be used to confirm/refute the original hypothesis. The lack of a type specimen does not necessarily preclude that, I don't think.
> Cheers,
> Stephen
>
> --------------------------------------------
> On Wed, 11/5/16, JF Mate <aphodiinaemate at gmail.com> wrote:
>
>  Subject: Re: [Taxacom] I'm furious over article: On typeless species and the perils of fast taxonomy
>  To: "Taxacom" <taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu>
>  Received: Wednesday, 11 May, 2016, 4:55 PM
>
>  Not a ban, more like an
>  overt show of displeasure. All the scenarios
>  that you mention are true but they are just
>  reductio ad absurdum:
>  "...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. " So your solution
>  is less data?
>  That is essentially what you are saying really. This is
>  not like going from hand-drawings to high red
>  colour pictures, this is
>  going from a
>  multivariate, potentially ever-expanding data matrix and
>  collapsing it down to a bunch of pixels. I
>  don´t care how good the
>  pixels are, or who
>  took them, or why they took them, the end result is
>  data poor. We have a minimal description and
>  that is it.
>
>  If it weren´t
>  because it comes on the coat-tails of Minteer et al this
>  whole argument would probably be academic, even
>  trivial. But the truth
>  is that taxonomy
>  isn´t flavour of the month; on the one hand various
>  groups advocating no-take policies and on the
>  other those spousing
>  more
>  "efficient" approaches (DNA barcoding). In the end
>  it is all the
>  same, reducing multiple
>  sources of information to one
>  true/infallible/convenient/acceptable one. But
>  nature is not definable
>  by one axis and if
>  collecting and descriptions based on physical
>  evidence fall prey to ignorant bureaucracy or
>  well-intentioned but
>  foolish faux
>  conservation, then we might as well give up and do
>  something else because the vast majority of the
>  world´s biota will be
>  an indistinguishable
>  morass.
>
>  Best
>
>  Jason
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>  Channeling Intellectual
>  Exuberance for 29 years in 2016.



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