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Re: Sinking the New Code

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Posted by Scott Thomson on March 11, 2002 at 06:01:21:

In Reply to: Re: Sinking the New Code posted by Richard Wells on March 11, 2002 at 00:55:14:

Hi Richard,

in another post you said:

"Of course, I do know that the existance of an older unused synonym may not matter a Rat's Rectum, for the new Rules now make it easy to just ignore an older name if it has not been used for so many years, bla, bla, bla. Therefore, Hoser and others might well argue that, even if a technically prior synonym is appropriate for the dark-coloured population, because the older name is an unused name it now has no standing, and Hoser's new name should be the valid name."

This is the statement I was referring to. What you say is technically correct but not complete. Your statement could be miss-conscrued to mean that any unused name can be declared nomen oblitum. This as you well know is not true and only under specific circumstances can it be invoked.

The rest of your post I actually agreed with and have backed you up in other posts.

We have spoken on the issue of the code being utilised to destroy the work of others. I do not perceive it to be this way. The code is not a science it is a document. We do not meet it with a 95% confidence limit. A publication either meets the code or it does not. I told you once that I disagreed with the attempt to have your 1985 work suppressed, I think the ICZN made a correct decision when they refused to accept that proposal as it would have been wrong if they had accepted it (both morally and outside their charter).

In another post I looked at Ray Hoser's python paper, my comment on wether it meets the code was yes it does. That was all because that was all that is needed to be said. Adding useless comments such as barely or any other comment is pointless as a description either meets the code or it does not. All other issues in that paper are not relevent to the code.

I am not into suppression and control, I want to see descriptions written that are useful and correct. Nothing more and nothing less. I am the last who should be accused of such things and a number of Ministers around Australia will probably (begrudgingly) agree with me, particularly those on my spam list of idiots in charge of oppressive Wildlife Agencies.

If I saw a paper that clearly manipulated the code for their own ends then I would attack that paper. I have seen none within my field of turtles, however have seen this occur elsewhere. However, not to the degree nor the way you are obviously suggesting.

I would encourage you to write what you like, if you believe the ICZN has been hyjacked then publish the evidence. The world will judge you by what you write and publish, thats how science works.

"I saw your other nonsense in relation to a list of approved journals in taxonomy. Far from creating stability, this would be the perfect act to unleash total chaos in systematics."

Just how would this create chaos? I said in that post, or one of the responses to it, (not sure which) that I presented it as a basal idea and that it would need to be worked on to make it workable. I am not so naive as to believe it would be perfect but I certainly think it would be an improvement on what we have now.

I do not gain any "comfort" from demanding a literal use of the code. I just do it because I am a Taxonomist, its my job. You may be right, I do it in the same way that a lawyer applies the law. I do not consider this wrong. I consider this the correct way to be a taxonomist. I am vehemently against the idea of destroying other peoples works, this is plainly obvious in my C. oblonga paper where I have tried my best to salvage Gray's legitamate descriptions of C. oblonga and C. colleii. Despite them being destroyed by the incompetence of a number of very recent herpetologists. I have done this while under incredible pressure from many quarters including my own boss to destroy Gray's work so that a pack of ecologists and Park Service idiots don't get confused. I was quite happy to put Macrochelodina oblonga back to the Northern Long Neck (where it belongs) and resurrect C. colleii for the Perth species.

However, when I look at a paper, as I did with Hoser's paper and yours, I look to see if its valid, it either is or it isn't, end of story.

Cheers, Scott

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