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Date: Wed, 22 Dec 2004 14:55:49 +0100
From: David Marjanovic <firstname.lastname@example.org>
To: PML <email@example.com>
Subject: Re: Death of the PhyloCode?
This post seems to have ended the discussion... I'd just like to mention that I agree with its arguments and their convincing presentation (because it isn't yet in the archives http://phylocode.miketaylor.org.uk/sitemap.html, I've appended it below). Perhaps relevant to this topic, I have now uploaded the (very small!) PowerPoint files of my talks in Paris. They can be found near the top of my homepage, http://dino.eu.tc. Without the text, however, they are probably not worth much. I'll try to upload the text, too, in separate files. Merry Christmas and a happy new year to everyone! :-) ----- Original Message ----- From: "Jonathan R. Wagner" <firstname.lastname@example.org> To: <email@example.com> Cc: [...] Sent: Saturday, October 23, 2004 2:23 AM Subject: Death of the PhyloCode? > Pardon the long post. Please bear with me... > > By extension of the arguments in Joyce et al., there is no unequivocal, > historically accepted *concept* for any taxon. Despite this imprecision, > most workers apparently subscribe to one of a small number of "clusters" > of > fundamentally similar concepts for taxon names. Under the PhyloCode, we > ask > systematists to accept a single concept for all time. The bulk of the > objections to the PhyloCode have centered on the fixation of a definition > that does not correspond to the concept to which the author of the > critique > subscribes. > > We might assume that any well-constructed definition should please at > least a fraction of workers. However, the crown-clade convention asks > scholars to adopt concepts that have NOT been traditionally accepted. I > suspect every expert has his "breaking point": the number of unpalatable > taxon concepts he can accept before a proposed taxonomic system becomes > too > cumbersome or objectionable to use. What will happen as we step farther > from the current "box" and adopt concepts (or names) not generally > accepted > by anyone? > > I accept the prediction of others that the taxon concept issue may well be > the death of the PhyloCode. Under the rank-based codes, a worker can > simply > ignore the taxonomic decisions of those authors who use the "wrong" > concepts for taxa. Resistance to Phylogenetic Nomenclature in general > suggests to me that people consider this flexibility more desirable than > having stable definitions (as noted in print by Bryant and Cantino). > > I previously accepted the crown-clade convention: we do have to pick one > concept to hang the name on, why not pick one that serves a purpose? That > purpose is the de facto "correction" of nomenclatural messes made by > others. However, doesn't it demean our colleagues to assume that we must > alter nomenclature, rather than believing they have the capacity to use > nomenclature properly? > > I appreciate the efforts of many members of the ISPN to formulate a Code > that is, in many ways, an ideal nomenclatural system. As with most things, > it is impossible to optimize two attributes, idealism and practicality, in > the same document. We should decide as a group whether we want to solve > all > of the problems of nomenclature at once, and risk the Code being > abandoned, > or solve just one problem (explicit definitions) and concentrate on > gaining > widespread acceptance. > > If we decided to optimize for acceptance, the Code's best hope is > horizontal transmission and/ or sneaking in under everyone's noses. In > order for "sneaking" to occur, the Code must be transparent, such that it > can be used without drawing any attention to itself. In order to sell the > Code to others, it should be simple, ask for minimal changes, and offer > benefits in exchange for the sacrifices it asks. Kevin Padian's proposals > at the Paris meeting, as well as the points made by Jason Anderson and > others regarding crown clades and panstems should be formally > reconsidered. > Any rules or suggestions that indicate a particular name, type of name, or > formula for newly coined taxa violate nomenclatural freedom and should be > abandoned. > > If we want to create an ideal system, this should be decided now, so that > those who want to see an acceptable Code can consider re-allocating their > time appropriately. > > Wagner > > > > My sincerest apologies to Jason or anyone else if I have inadvertently > repeated their arguments without appropriate citation.