Message 2005-05-0025: PhyloCode

Mon, 14 Mar 2005 19:32:18 -0500

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Date: Mon, 14 Mar 2005 19:32:18 -0500
From: [unknown]
Subject: PhyloCode

Your right dictionaries are only human (a subspecies called Homo Sapi=
Dictionarius to be exact) and I find that you have to use different o=
nes and
take them with a grain of salt. It's like learning an alphabet withou=
hearing how it sounds. Dictionaries are useful and human like scienti=
only their made out of paper (I mean the dictionaries hopefully not t=
scientists). Your right about the diversity in species naming. Ask a =
what's a particular kind of fish and you are going to get a regional =
unscientific not incorrect just unscientific and therefore not the mo=
official and general usage. Languages themselves are very interesting=
 as far
as how we define what they are. What language did Galileo speak? Answ=
Italian. But in his day Italians from different regions could not und=
one another. There are two Scandinavian countries that speak the same
language in that they can understand each other and yet they are list=
ed as
having two separate languages. Chinese is the language most spoken if=
label its written form alone a language. Which is good for nationalis=
t ego
but bad for two Chinese actually trying to talk to one another when o=
ne of
them doesn't understand "Standard " ie:Mandarin Chinese. Finally many=
it seems like Americans and British people speak two different langua=
Who is British? The English? Ok but it also means from the United Kin=
But I digress and yet I don't. We're arguing about defining words usi=
words already defined or perhaps not, in order to define words! Words
naturally have first to be used before they can be defined. It's quit=
indefinable or shall I say undefinable when you can define a word. I =
very well that my proposal
would produce arguments as to how to apply it. What's a dictionary fo=
r if
not for that? I thought of a new proposal to end the perhaps impasse =
has come about in the replies to my original and modified proposals. =
It was
inspired by your humorously expressed response which allowed me to th=
ink it
up using the Thanksgiving Turkey analogy of appropriately of all peop=
le one
of the heads of the PhyloCode (I insist on being allowed to write Phy=
I'm a bit of a language heretic) Dr. Kevin de Queiroz. I will retract=
insistence for my original proposal wherever a Thanksgiving Day
qualification is added to words PhyloCode redefines namely a qualific=
saying that you are giving a more general definition of a word but th=
at is
not how people would understand it if they were told the word ordinar=
For other words whenever a would be PhyloCode definition for a word w=
otherwise differ from a definition already accepted even from PhyloCo=
de that
new term is to be made instead with the otherwise old name being decl=
=66rom the point of view of PhyloCode as describing a nonexistent cat=
egory. Of
course deciding on when a word is redefined would be defined by the o=
Phylocode organization. So if we would not be able to tell someone he=
eating a Brontosaurus or whatever they call it nowadays,  if they are=
a T Rex (I can't say Trex I see as it wouldn't be understood. So much=
heresy with this), due to the Thanksgiving Day qualification we could=
the same word and say that a T Rex is a Brontosaurus.


P.S. Humans are Homo Sapiens Sapiens. What is PhyloCode going to do w=

----- Original Message -----
=46rom: "Jaime A. Headden" <>
To: "Yisrael Asper" <>;
Sent: Monday, March 14, 2005 4:03 PM
Subject: Re: PhyloCode

> Yisrael Asper ( wrote:
> <To an extent you are right. But the terminology gets included in
> dictionaries as lets say definition #1, 2 etc. People who are not
> scientists rely heavily on dictionaries. Dictionaries in turn rely
> exclusively on the people. A scientific conference can get its way =
in a
> dictionary once it has been immediately even accepted by the people=
>   Language is funny. Seriously.
>   Take the word "dude," for example, now used in slang alliteration
> without much of a concrete concept, yet not a hundred years before =
> referred to a gentleman. The presence of "dude ranches" in the Amer=
> West were established under this old terminology before language ch=
> the meaning gradually.
>   "Evolution" had a connotation of development towards a maximum (k=
nown or
> unknown) or ultimate condition, such as the "evolution of life towa=
> man" and was used primarily in explaining the progressive embryonic
> development through "all the stages of life," as it has been descri=
bed in
> the past. The word now means something else, and perhaps something =
so less
> exact in meaning it requires volumes to describe it. We could as ea=
sily be
> using another word, but instead we use "evolution."
>   There are things even in other languages that cannot be "defined"=
> those languages, such as Japanese _maru_.
>   My #1 problem with dictionaries is that dictionaries are written =
> people. People make assumptions and mistakes. Dictionaries contain
> assumptions and mistakes. They may not carry the weight the word br=
ings in
> truth, and they are made from sometimes concensus opinions, referen=
ce to
> older dictionaries, or regional usage. Brits and Yanks can argue on=
 how to
> spell colour, and the word "Yank" means something different to an A=
> or a Britishman -- or an Aussie. Tom Holtz starts his class telling=
> the difference between a moose and an elk is not what you think, de=
> on where you're from. There's a Florida panther, cougar, and puma, =
> which actually occur as recognized subspecies of *Felis concolor* (=
> *Puma concolor*); but my dictionary says they're the same thing. Th=
> dictionary is both right and wrong. "Dinosaur" means something to t=
> layfolk it does NOT mean to those who study them, and vice versa, a=
> lately "Reptilia" is undergoing a shift wherein phylogenic studies =
> revising how we look at groups of animals and whether names for gro=
> should reflect their biology, or not. Then there's the vernacular f=
> "birds," which means anything between the clades Maniraptora and th=
> common flying rat---er, pigeon, yet any person will tell you what i=
s and
> is not a bird if you give them a few pictures.
>   Birds are like pornography, perhaps.
>   Cheers,
> Jaime A. Headden
>   Little steps are often the hardest to take.  We are too used to m=
leaps in the face of adversity, that a simple skip is so hard to do. =
should all learn to walk soft, walk small, see the world around us ra=
than zoom by it.
> "Innocent, unbiased observation is a myth." --- P.B. Medawar (1969)
> __________________________________
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