There is nothing to force anyone to use or not use the Phylocode (PC), or the established ICZN code (the Code). However, and it is a big however, the ICZN Code is effectively universally used by zoologists and required by editors (where they are well enough informed to know what the rules are) because it has been the standard for a long time (essentially 100+ years for the Code in its various versions and 250 years for Linnaean binominal names on which it is based) and is the product of international agreement among scientists (who worked together despite world wars, etc).
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Should I use Phylocode?
There are three main differences:
- general practicalities of adoption.
The main difference between the ICZN Code and Phylocode is philosophical. PC assumes adherence to a particular philosophy of phylogenetic definitions which underpin the way it requires scientists to define and hence name clades, whereas, the ICZN Code is independent as far as possible of scientific (and especially taxonomic) judgments.
A second major difference between Phylocode and the ICZN Code is that PC does not have the same mandate from the scientific community. The Code is ratified by the Executive Committee of the International Union of Biological Sciences acting on behalf of the Unions General Assembly, part of the International Council of Science. The ICS is a non-governmental, non-profit body representing an international membership of numerous affiliated scientific bodies, and consequently the wider scientific community of biologists, the end users of taxonomy who we should be serving.
There are many practical problems with the proposal to adopt PC, for example:
The ICZN Code should be used in preference to Phylocode because the ICZN Code supports nomenclature which is specific, stable and effective enough to provide a consistent means of communication between scientist, and flexible enough to accommodate new information. It is usefully independent of philosophy and politics as to be universally and internationally applicable but at the same time is compatible with phylogenetic and most other conceivable theories of classification.