Message 2005-05-0020: Fw: PhyloCode

Mon, 14 Mar 2005 11:32:50 +0100

[Previous by date - Re: PhyloCode]
[Next by date - Re: PhyloCode]
[Previous by subject - Fw: Pan-clades, good or bad?]
[Next by subject - Fw: PhyloCode]

Date: Mon, 14 Mar 2005 11:32:50 +0100
From: [unknown]
To: PML <>
Subject: Fw: PhyloCode

Sorry, the original went to another mailing list... here's it again..=

----- Original Message -----
=46rom: "David Marjanovic" <>
To: "DML" <>
Sent: Monday, March 14, 2005 10:43 AM
Subject: Re: PhyloCode

>> Ok my rule can be dropped in such cases such as in this case in wh=
>> note
>> must be taken that if you tell people they have eaten dinosaur or =
>> when they eat bird they will take it that you lied to them as the =
>> was not meant for that context.
> As the president (Kevin de Queiroz) said: The word "bird" will not
> disappear. The word "Aves" will not disappear either. Under current
> classifications, you can already tell people they have eaten verteb=
> for
> dinner without being wrong -- and this doesn't any damage to "bird"=
> "Aves".
>> All well and fine but for other cases my principle should be appli=
ed. No
>> word can even in theory be strictly speaking defined 100% because =
>> can't as Quantum Mechanics teaches give a perfect measurement
>> to anything without the act of measurement altering what is being
>> measured. What's a measurement hasn't even been defined
>> according to everyone. We can define things even
>> without knowing much at all about it. What is a human being?
> Here in biological nomenclature, we don't care at all what a human =
> is.
> We're not trying to measure. Nomenclature (unlike phylogenetics!!!)=
> consists
> _purely_ of _arbitrary definitions_. Just like mathematics. "1 + 1 =
=3D 2" is
> absolutely true _because and only because_ of the ways "1", "+", "=
=3D" and=20
> "2"
> are _defined_. In the same way, it is an absolute truth* that Dinos=
> consists of "the most recent common ancestor of *Megalosaurus buckl=
> and *Iguanodon bernissartensis*, and all its descendants". Why? Sim=
> because we say so and call that a definition.
> Now what a dinosaur is, which organisms are and are not descendants=
> that
> common ancestor, or what that (currently unknown) "most recent comm=
> ancestor" is, _this_ is left to science. To solve these questions, =
we need=20
> a
> phylogeny -- that is, a phylogenetic _hypothesis_, a phylogenetic t=
ree, to
> which we can _apply_ the nomenclature. Making and disproving phylog=
> hypotheses is the job of the science of phylogenetics. Being a scie=
nce, it
> does not make definitions; it applies them.
> * Well, it's not, because the PhyloCode is not yet in effect.
>> We still haven't completed figuring out every last piece of geneti=
>> information on that question.
> If we had, we'd have a very good understanding of phylogeny. But th=
is is=20
> not
> needed for phylogenetic _nomenclature_. The very idea of phylogenet=
> nomenclature is that the resulting names should be applicable to _e=
> imaginable phylogenetic tree.
>> You can say that a spider scientifically is not an insect.
>> You cannot say a dog is an insect.
> These are (or at least could be) examples of applications of phylog=
> definitions to a particular phylogenetic hypothesis. :-)
>> Words have to be viable. PhyloCode cannot fully win in science if =
all it
>> has conquered are the scientists.
> Here I agree. The makers of definitions must think through the pote=
> consequences of the definitions they want to coin. There are severa=
l rules
> and recommendations in the current draft of the PhyloCode that are=
> concerned
> with this. As I've mentioned, some of those can already be interpre=
ted as
> not allowing the currently (in narrow circles) "popular" definition=
> Reptilia.=20


Feedback to <> is welcome!