"....The truth is out there."
-- Dr. Jerome Jackson, 2002 (... & Agent Fox Mulder)
“There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy.”
"All truth passes through 3 stages: First it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as self-evident."
-- Arthur Schopenhauer
Tuesday, August 23, 2005
Am beginning to wonder if IBWO skeptics believe that American moon landings were mere Hollywood smoke-and-mirror stunts!? Talk about an extraordinary event! -- Every aspect of the astronaut moon landings can be given an alternative explanation if one is bound-and-determined to do so and deny they ever happened. We believe in such events ONLY out of blind trust in the reports of people who in large part we don't even know.
IBWO skepticism stems from a flawed notion that "extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof," as if such a thing as indisputable "proof" even exists. Most birders would be hard-pressed to truly "prove" ANY OF THE SIGHTINGS on their life-list, especially in a day when even photographic and video evidence can be readily faked. Yet 'extraordinary' standards have been set for this one species (...in some instances possibly by individuals whose reputation/credibility have a stake in the bird NOT being found). Like everyone, I too would love to see the definitive photograph or video happen, but we ought to err on the side of protecting this bird, not denying it. Declaring (or assuming) a species extinct (and that assumption is behind most of the skepticism) is itself an extraordinary (and dangerous) claim!... which should ONLY be taken when evidence indicates it BEYOND a reasonable doubt -- in the case of the Ivory-bill, and it's many potential sightings across decades, that threshold has NEVER even been close to met. Jerry Jackson made the rational case for the bird's existence back in the '80s, and the decades since have only improved the potential for IBWO survival. In short, better that we assume a species exists and act accordingly, only to find out 50 years later that it was extinct all along, than to assume it extinct and find out 50 years later that it's been hanging on by a thread with no help from us.
The numbers of animal species that go decades without ever being seen only to be "rediscovered" continues to grow (not to mention totally NEW species discovered each year); only Man's entrenched arrogance allows some scientists to believe that 'dumb' creatures can't possibly elude our superior capabilities for years on end.
Just maybe Cornell will be releasing the evidence needed, at this week's AOU meeting, to bring everyone into fuller accord and focus, so that the absolutely crucial work ahead, may proceed in earnest and with some unanimity. Or so one can hope....
Ignore the skeptics.
The bird carries on.
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