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Old Friday 31st January 2020, 17:06   #26
Kratter
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P


(1) A description that should not have been published like that and (2) SACC yet again forgetting the "two wrongs don't make a right" mantra and repeating poor behaviours. I think that is clear, no?


OK.
As mentioned by others, Krabbe is not a member of the SACC. This proposal comes from outside the SACC. The only action taken by the SACC so far is releasing the proposal to its public website.

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Old Friday 31st January 2020, 17:12   #27
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To me it looks like a balanced SACC proposal written by Krabbe. I don't see anyone else being so clearly upset as you Thomas.


It does really appear that B.L.-L. names the bird after himself in a skewed manner, so I can understand that this would cause conflict with others. Since you know him personally, maybe you could share some thoughts on just how big his ego is?


.- (1) A description that should not have been published like that and (2) SACC yet again forgetting the "two wrongs don't make a right" mantra and repeating poor behaviours. I think that is clear, no?


(1) Agreed.
(2) I have no idea what you mean tbh. I have noticed that one in five of your posts is a direct attack on SACC, and you have also gone to extraordinary lengths in writing a paper condemning the committee. What happened to all your comments that you posted on the SACC site?

Currently, you just take a swipe at them whenever you get the opportunity on Birdforum which is becoming tiresome given the detail you go into, as if anyone cares. Please tell me it's not an Anglo-American thing.
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Old Friday 31st January 2020, 17:36   #28
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It does really appear that B.L.-L. names the bird after himself in a skewed manner, so I can understand that this would cause conflict with others. Since you know him personally, maybe you could share some thoughts on just how big his ego is?
I don't know how that is measured, but refer you to the etymology section of his paper!

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Currently, you just take a swipe at them whenever you get the opportunity on Birdforum which is becoming tiresome given the detail you go into, as if anyone cares.
I apologise for being tiresome and will now stop that - it's been a while since I was on BF anyway. The paper linked above goes through several failings at SACC and makes constructive suggestions for its positive reform.

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Please tell me it's not an Anglo-American thing.
Yes [i.e. yes it's not such a thing].

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Old Friday 31st January 2020, 19:09   #29
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Without going into the deeper politics of SACC and the history of anyone here in relation to SACC, I did read the proposal as a touch of a hatchet job, but I don't feel that it is necessarily out of place given these specific circumstances. What did kind of surprise me is to have a detailed proposal written, of course, with the intent of a NO vote and thus maintaining the status quo, when in reality merely ignoring the paper would have been the easier path. But it's of course up to each person how they wish to spend his time. I do not know Niels, but respect him and his work, and do not mean to judge him for writing this proposal.
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Old Friday 31st January 2020, 19:51   #30
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Josh, this is not all that anomalous. SACC appreciates receiving proposals on any taxonomic issue that falls in their jurisdiction, whether the proposal is to support change or maintain status quo. I wrote such a proposal on Glaucidium (brasilianum) tucumanum a couple of years ago, for example. Any of the footnotes in the list is a kernel for a proposal, and several are such issues. In some cases, simply offering a review of a taxonomic issue that is poorly supported just to have an "official decision" from the committee is of value. At times, it may provide a fleshed-out reason why the committee hadn't acted on a taxonomic issue that has been adopted by other taxonomic bodies... perhaps because the latter didn't evaluate the evidence carefully, just adopted a change (e.g., the Glaucidium proposal).
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Old Friday 31st January 2020, 20:32   #31
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Dan - perhaps I didn't word my comment the most clearly, sorry for poor communication. I understand the desire and rational for setting a precedent. I read BLL's Cinclodes paper a while back, and I sort of chuckled both at it, and at the polemic discussion it started among the Argentine community. I guess I viewed it as enough of an outlier that I never expected it to account for a SACC proposal, and I would be shocked if any other taxonomic bodies acted on it. Nothing more, nothing less :)
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Old Saturday 1st February 2020, 14:17   #32
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My two cents as someone involved in a similar issue of dubious self-published taxonomy.

I do think it's better to just sort of pretend these papers don't exist. Even acknowledging them and arguing against their points gives them more credence, as it results in the impression that the paper is something worth serious scientific discussion. A few years back a German amateur had described a new genus and species of seal off of basically undiagnostic material with almost no age constraints, in a pay journal with no peer review. A colleague and friend of mine wanted to get a bunch of us experts together to write a detailed rebuttal. I convinced him otherwise because it would be work that would distract from actual useful scientific endeavors, and give the air of merit to the the original paper if it is a topic of scientific discussion.

Granted this is not a 1:1 scenario. The specimen didn't have enough features to actually tell what it was beyond being a seal, versus a bird that is still flying around and presumably could be diagnosable if those diagnostic features exist. Still I think a comparable situation: the time spent on the proposal could have been used on some actually pressing taxonomic issue that SACC could/should address, and it gives publicity to a paper better ignored.
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Old Saturday 1st February 2020, 14:24   #33
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I just love a spat that doesn't involve me for a change.....
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Old Saturday 1st February 2020, 14:48   #34
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A few years back a German amateur had described a new genus and species of seal off of basically undiagnostic material with almost no age constraints, in a pay journal with no peer review.
Can you say more, please?
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Old Monday 3rd February 2020, 01:39   #35
Niels Kaare Krabbe
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poor proposal

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Presumably this is in jest. Not on good terms with that lot these days...! And anyway, I don't defend the description, I criticise the SACC proposal critique of it.


It's odd you would think that, as the message accuses BLL of doing something that is in bad taste and bad manners, conflicted and ought to be prohibited! [For what it's worth, I've met BLL a few times when he worked in Colombia over a decade ago, and corresponded extensively with NK in the past.]


(1) A description that should not have been published like that and (2) SACC yet again forgetting the "two wrongs don't make a right" mantra and repeating poor behaviours. I think that is clear, no?


OK.
I must admit that Thomas is right in his critique of the proposal. It is ad hominem, vitriolic, and makes the same mistake that it accuses BLL of making, i.e. fails to focus on alternative explanations of the thesis (the thesis in this case being that it is not a valid species). I am sorry for that. I never wanted to write the proposal in the first place and shouldn't have, but apparently no one else wanted to do it. I got mad at having to plough through 34 pages that could have been 7, and analyzing a large number of recordings to estimate if this new species really did differ vocally. Bernabe is a friend of mine, that is why I was so harsh.
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Old Monday 3rd February 2020, 10:35   #36
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I must admit that Thomas is right in his critique of the proposal. It is ad hominem, vitriolic, and makes the same mistake that it accuses BLL of making, i.e. fails to focus on alternative explanations of the thesis (the thesis in this case being that it is not a valid species). I am sorry for that. I never wanted to write the proposal in the first place and shouldn't have, but apparently no one else wanted to do it. I got mad at having to plough through 34 pages that could have been 7, and analyzing a large number of recordings to estimate if this new species really did differ vocally. Bernabe is a friend of mine, that is why I was so harsh.
If he's a mate, any chance of persuading him not to publish such [word deleted]?

"...I was in my garden today and I saw 2 apparent Eurasian robins. One was in a bush and the other on the ground. From the clear difference in habitat preference I was able to divine that they are newly evolved sister species. There is no way of telling them apart, and their DNA is identical. Some of the sounds they make are subtly different..."

(Surely this sort of thing is damaging to his reputation. He clearly has the time and resources to be able to make genuine contributions. But it will be difficult for me [at least] to take him seriously if he continues in this vein: a shame.)

On the selective consideration point, we try to catch and catalogue emendations but must miss vast numbers: we live with that. Maybe this latitude could be extended?
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Old Monday 3rd February 2020, 11:29   #37
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Hi Thomas

So I find myself in a possibly unique position of agreeing and disagreeing simultaneously with yourself and Niels over this issue. Ive read your open letter, found it largely constructive and I agreed and disagreed on aspects of that too. I also read BLL’s publication, as well as Niel’s proposal and I agreed with the conclusions and the frustrations expressed in the latter. I didnt find the proposal vitriolic (a harsh word in itself!), just strongly-worded and justifiably critical.

But without focusing too much on this one publication, I wanted to raise a few points about "pseudoskepticism" and the need to explore "alternative hypotheses" when producing such proposals. In principle ok I see where you are coming from, however the point of a proposal is to make a recommendation for action by the Committee and by its nature it needs to be somewhat impartial. I dont see it as the role of a proposal writer to second guess the conclusions of the author of a paper or to come up with hypotheses or scenarios not proposed by the authors. It is the job of the author to convince the proposal writer of the soundness of their conclusions, I mean if plausible alternative hypotheses exist, why would the original author omit mention of them? The proposal writer of course also has the obligation to do this to the best of their abilities and to be unbiased in their judgement. What they should not be doing is rewriting papers when they disagree with conclusions.

Authors are also subject to certain codes of conduct, ethics and practice that MUST be adhered to. It is clear that most people (at least try) to adhere to these rules, and a small minority of people do not. The application of this process of open-mindedness in review can ONLY apply in instances where an author is playing by the rules of the game that everybody else is playing by. The application of fair rules of process to those who refuse to adhere to basic standards of good practice does not lead to better science. It leads to certain individuals obviating the rules for their own ends.

I see a serious danger in allowing people to self publish whatever they want and then insisting it be treated as good science, with any criticism of that behaviour and its results being labeled as an ad hominem attack. Highlighting work that fails to meet basic standards of conduct is a necessary part of the scientific process, NOT an ad hominem attack (the nature of which infers calculated bullying of an innocent party). We can do without the introduction of screams of “fake news” and “snowflake” in science.

Of course science needs to be open to new ideas, but that is absolutely not a justification for bad practice. There is nothing to be gained by painting those who do not play by the rules as victims of the vitriol of those that do. Nobody gets to just make it up as they go along. However well-intentioned this approach may intend to be, I fear what climate change deniers and creationsists would do with the widespread adoption of this uncritical approach to good practice. It is to the benefit only of those who wish to hide their work from proper scrutiny.
Cheers
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Old Monday 3rd February 2020, 13:16   #38
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Thanks Paul. Good post and thoughts, generally agree with some reservations below.

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I see a serious danger in allowing people to self publish whatever they want and then insisting it be treated as good science, with any criticism of that behaviour and its results being labeled as an ad hominem attack. Highlighting work that fails to meet basic standards of conduct is a necessary part of the scientific process, NOT an ad hominem attack (the nature of which infers calculated bullying of an innocent party).
Any such accusations can be avoided simply by those who criticise poor works (be it so-called "taxonomic vandalism", climate change deniers, creationists or other pseudo-science) by criticising the words on the page of the relevant paper and the concepts - rather than making accusations of motive, incompetency, track record, clouding views on different issues or otherwise of a speculative nature about an author.

Making derogatory comments about authors should not be an acceptable part of grown up academic discourse, and those who do it regularly bring their proceedings into disrepute. The most effective way of engaging critically with "bad science" is to hit the bad scientist or pseudo-scientist where it hurts, with a strong rebuttal on the facts. Fighting pseudo-science with pseudo-scepticism devalues the critical process and calls its actors into question. Some of the SACC papers discussed in the Open Letter include examples of pseudo-sceptic attacks, or ad hominem or political positioning, which ultimately ended up going wrong for SACC in that incorrect taxonomies were then adopted by them (at least, breaches of the ICZN Code and some other silly-isms).

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There is nothing to be gained by painting those who do not play by the rules as victims of the vitriol of those that do.
I would argue that there is nothing to be gained in responding to pseudo-science with pseudo-scepticism, such as vitriol.

[As an aside, re-reading the above I was too strong in criticising Niels Krabbe, whose works in general and ornithology I admire greatly. And I did not raise those thoughts privately with him in the first instance, as I should have, which of course means the above postings include some indicia of pseudosceptism! I also know Bernabe sufficiently well to speak for him as a decent person and a committed field biologist and conservationist; and to stand up for him against some of the above allegations of egomania. But then, it's a bird chat forum, not a SACC committee. Apologies for being so hard, but hopefully it's a lively discussion.]

PS some papers not everyone may be aware of:
Carlos Daniel Cadena, Bernabé López-Lanús, John M. Bates, Niels Krabbe, Nathan H. Rice, Frank Gary Stiles, Juan Diego López Palacio, Paul Salaman. A rare case of interspecific hybridization in the tracheophone suboscines: Chestnut‐naped Antpitta Grallaria nuchalis × Chestnut‐crowned Antpitta G. ruficapilla in a fragmented Andean landscape. https://www.semanticscholar.org/pape...2374bddc0b6eb2

Paul G. W . Salaman, Bernabé López-Lanús and Niels Krabbe. C r i t i c a l l y e n d a n g e r e d : Y e l l o w - e a r e d P a r r o t O g n o r h y n c h u s ic t e r o t is in C o l o m b i a https://www.neotropicalbirdclub.org/...1999-39-41.pdf

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Old Monday 3rd February 2020, 14:08   #39
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Hi Thomas

Thanks for your thoughtful reply. Again I agree with it to a point, but I sense there is an element of utopia in what you are suggesting. Bad faith actors exist and by definition they act badly. They will always be a step ahead of good faith actors and we should not be prepared to compromise on the running of a system that has worked just fine for thousands of years to accommodate them. A demonstration of good faith is a minimum requirement to access the benefits of a system that depends on it in order to function correctly. The requisites for doing things properly are really not so demanding so I find no convincing argument for trying to excuse the shortcomings in the work of those who do not. It is not up to scientists to prove Flat Earth arguments incorrect, it is up to Flat Earthers to demonstrate that their claims are worthy of discussion by meeting the same standards as scientists hold themselves to.

Peer review is a relatively painless and easy way to show INTENT of good faith. I see no justifiable reason not to go through that standard process unless you have reason to believe that either a) your work wont hold up to scrutiny or b) the world is against you. Failure to do that raises suspicions as to both the intent of the author and the quality of the data. That does not constitute an ad hominem attack, it constitutes a perfectly reasonable suspicion that can be easily dispelled by proper action on behalf of the author.

“Any such accusations can be avoided simply by those who criticise poor works (be it so-called "taxonomic vandalism", climate change deniers, creationists or other pseudo-science) by criticising the words on the page of the relevant paper and the concepts - rather than making accusations of motive, incompetency, track record, clouding views on different issues or otherwise of a speculative nature about an author.”

In an ideal world I would agree, but its not an ideal world and the only outcome of that is to give an air of respectability to concepts that do not pass the test. Forums exist for these kind of inane discussions that do not include the inference that they are supported by any evidence and are thus scientific positions to hold. We are not obliged to hold discussion groups on what kind of cheese the moon is made from - it isnt made from cheese, what else is there to talk about? Once we allow ourselves to be sucked into that kind of alternate reality by those who have little or no respect for the process, then the game is over I am afraid.

Cheers
Paul
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Old Friday 7th February 2020, 14:26   #40
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It is not up to scientists to prove Flat Earth arguments incorrect, it is up to Flat Earthers to demonstrate that their claims are worthy of discussion by meeting the same standards as scientists hold themselves to.

Peer review is a relatively painless and easy way to show INTENT of good faith. I see no justifiable reason not to go through that standard process unless you have reason to believe that either a) your work wont hold up to scrutiny or b) the world is against you. Failure to do that raises suspicions as to both the intent of the author and the quality of the data. That does not constitute an ad hominem attack, it constitutes a perfectly reasonable suspicion that can be easily dispelled by proper action on behalf of the author. .... We are not obliged to hold discussion groups on what kind of cheese the moon is made from - it isnt made from cheese, what else is there to talk about?
I think ultimately, this whole discussion above is just a specific case study on "confirmation bias". Or as one ornithologist described it once to me, "clinging on to a hypothesis bunny". [I like my hypothesis and I want to hug it forever and never let go.] Whilst the Cinclodes paper might be explained in such terms, the same concept is also a major risk with peer review. The establishment (e.g. senior scientific community) abhors nothing more than a new idea or conclusion that they had not come up with before, which differs from previously accepted views. This seems true even if on something as humdrum as a new way of thinking about species limits in a particular genus.

There is a difficulty of "confirmation bias" probably in some bad studies. And there is also a difficulty of "confirmation bias" (or other biases) which causes defects in the peer review system and ultimately can justify people seeking out low-review or no-review venues. In a strange way, both can be considered as unable to subsist without the other!

https://fs.blog/2017/05/confirmation-bias/
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Old Tuesday 11th February 2020, 11:24   #41
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The most effective way of engaging critically with "bad science" is to hit the bad scientist or pseudo-scientist where it hurts, with a strong rebuttal on the facts.
Those interested might like to read SACC member Nacho Areta's recently published commentary, which plays a straighter bat to the problem and mentions this BF discussion briefly:

http://www.museum.lsu.edu/~Remsen/SACCprop846.htm
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Old Friday 15th May 2020, 08:28   #42
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Proposal (846) to SACC

Accept Cinclodes lopezlanusorum as a valid species
DID NOT PASS
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Old Tuesday 9th June 2020, 06:47   #43
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Proposal (838) to SACC

Treat Cinclodes olrogi as conspecific with Cinclodes oustaleti
DID NOT PASS
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