Re: Future of Species paper

Harvey Newstrom (
Sat, 16 Jan 1999 11:40:34 -0500

Max More, Ph.D. wrote:

> I recently completed a draft of a paper that I'm going to send to
> philosophy journals. I want to get it off ASAP, but I'd appreciate
> feedback before doing so.

I'm not sure why you would submit suggestions for new species classifications to philosophy journals. I realize that your expertise is in philosophy, but if this is a serious suggestion for the extension to the biological nomenclature, you need to send it for peer-review to those who develop and confirm said nomenclature. Unless the philosophy journals you are considering are specifically intended to address the philosophy of biological nomenclature, I would suggest that your submission might be misdirected.

If it has not been reviewed by a biologist, and if you do not have specific training in biological nomenclature, you could easily be including very basic mistakes in your paper that would mar its serious consideration. Just as an example, are you aware that biologists curse the term "homosexual" as being unscientific? It uses the Latin root instead of the Greek prefix as do the terms "asexual," "bisexual," "heterosexual," "polysexual," and the like. Whoever invented this term did not know the proper biological conventions. If you are not trained in biological nomenclature, you could be making similar mistakes.

As with any international standards, there are committees and international agreements within the scientific community as to which standards are acceptable and which are being developed. If you publish your suggestions outside the system, this could also mar its serious reception. Imagine if someone published a suggested change to astronomical nomenclature on their own, or to mathematical notation on their own. It would not only be ignored, but would probably be directly denounced by the standards bodies as being apocryphal and unapproved. They may even pass a standard against its use. The committee that developed HTML was so angered by Netscape and Microsoft publishing "HTML 3 compliant" browsers before the standard approval and with unofficial and conflicting extensions, that they skipped version 3 and proclaimed that any product claiming "HTML 3" was fraudulent.

I don't mean to sound negative here, but I just wanted to warn you about some of the pitfalls you might encounter in proposing scientific nomenclature if you are not aware of the proper procedures to do this.

Harvey Newstrom <> <>
Author, Engineer, Entrepreneur, Consultant, Researcher, Scientist.