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IVORY-BILLS  LiVE???!  ...

=> THE blog devoted to news and commentary on the most iconic bird in American ornithology, the Ivory-billed Woodpecker (IBWO)... and... sometimes other schtuff.
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"....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.”

-- Hamlet

"All truth passes through 3 stages: First it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as self-evident."

-- Arthur Schopenhauer






Monday, August 08, 2005

 

- Science: Good, Bad, and Ivory-bill - an essay (...rant)


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In the midst of a paper critical of the Arkansas Ivory-bill claims first being much ballyhooed and then suddenly withdrawn just prior to actual publication, there has been much discussion across the internet about good and poor science. The question I have is...: WHERE THE HECK was all THIS discussion for the last 50 years when academics and writers were blindly regurgitating limited info/data to prematurely proclaim the species extinct!? When James Tanner's very tentative conclusions and small sample-size-based generalizations were hardened into standard truths in the IBWO literature where then were the keenly-honed scientific minds who should've been questioning, not following lockstep, those conclusions???
Quite simply, there has never been a solid basis for assuming this species extinct (an extremely serious step), yet few academic ornithologists have been willing to say it out loud, cowed into silence by a naysaying, shortsighted majority. Field biology, by its nature, is a weak, imprecise science, but the rush to judgment on the Ivory-bill, and treatment of the likes of optimists John Dennis and George Lowery over the years (not to mention lesser figures), has been especially egregious and consequential.
Should whatever remaining IBWOs be found and well-studied, only to then die out forever, the blame for extinction will suddenly fall not just with the loggers and hunters/collectors of yesteryear, but with some of the most prominent names in modern ornithology, who 'fiddled while Rome burned' through prior decades, routinely scoffing when they could've/should've been pursuing thorough, open-minded scientific inquiry to find and save this species.
Oyyy veyyy!!!
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Comments:
I wouldn't blame the loggers. I would blame the "suits" that sent the loggers. Oh well, I would imagine those virgin sweet gums at the Singer tract made for some mighty fine tea boxes back in merry old England.

Now that the bird is "back", it is amusing that the same type of crowd that declared it extinct is very much involved in deciding what needs to be done.
 
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