What's the main problem of Thach's work? How can we deal with the colonialism and anti-intellectualism in the taxonomy?
Thach published works on Mollusca without peer review and many articles point out the mistakes ( Páll-Gergely et al. 2020; Sutcharit et al. 2019). Now Thach et al. (2020) use the simple but blurry morphological evidence to show his taxonomic actions are valid. These are evidence-limited and endless arguments. No one can tell which taxonomic actions are wrong only based on morphological characters in the much variable species complex (I don’t think Amphidromus is an independent species). Both of them didn’t use the molecular or phylogenetic methods to persuade each other but only focus on the limited and variable morphology. How can we avoid it in the further malacological studies? And how can we deal with the colonialism and anti-intellectualism in taxonomy?
A) The Colonialism What I notice now is the malacological work on Mollusca species from SouthEastern Asia usually face the problem. Usually, studies don’t contain molecular and inner morphological (e.g. genital systems, jaw and radula) data and the studied species are always variable. The collecting localities are not clear and usually claim a large distribution. The unclear localities information would hint that the studied specimens are from trade. And little conservation information is studied, so the trade can be crazy. As I see on Facebook, specimens trade of SouthEastern Asia are usually unethical, local people collect too many, though the destroying of inhabited is the most probable damage, the bulk business would replace inhabitation destroy in the role of species extinction if no actions are taken in the future. The similar issue sees Zhang & Wu (2020), the story of J. He, taxonomic destroyer and his shell business. Don’t blame local people, the species protection is always related to local economic developments. They have the right to try to live better like developed countries. Economic developments is also a historic issue, such as triangular trade. These problems both present in scientists with or without employment by the academic institutions. But I haven’t seen these problems in the team of Panha and Sutcharit. Another crucial thing is that Thach and other related malacologists now start or have started to collect and study specimens from China illegally. I still have to warn the malacologists to follow local laws. Additionally, I have to warn that Dr Thach now actually offends Chinese Laws. If he enters the territory of China, I think, he will be fined and so on in theory. I also want to mention malacologists working on Chinese Mollusca obtained by the illegal methods, the nature of the research from you and any other colleagues is chauvinism and colonialism at the new age. Type specimens went abroad and can’t come back anymore. It’s not easy for local malacologists and the future malacologists to check them anymore. Even some local traitors cooperated with the specimens predators, leading the holotypes to leave abroad. Also, in Thach’s book, the name of specimens predators will be remembered by the history of taxonomy, very ugly names. The colonialism taxonomic actions would loose much many information, such as environment, accurate locality information even the soft body. This is unethical action, hurting local future developments of science and the malacology. This action is only deserved for their personal silly honour and even would lead to the presence of the taxonomic destroyer. B) The Anti-Intellectualism If no more information show, I can’t make sure which person is right. No genital systems, no radula, no jaw, no molecular data. The soft body lost? Why we should spend time on these so subjective views? Why ICZN doesn’t protect the Eu-Science? How can we do? It’s just wastes of time and money. How can we defend the taxonomic destroyer out from the taxonomy and malacology? And why the museums don’t behave well and receive specimens not considering the ethics? C) I beg you all, taxonomy and malacology are not the personal business, and please do not do a lot of things that are not conducive to the development of taxonomy and malacology for your personal benefit. D) References Sutjarit et al. (2019) Thach et al. (2020) Páll-Gergely et al. (2020) Zhang & Wu (2020)