"....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
Friday, March 31, 2006
Most of us are probably tiring of the back-and-forth sword-fighting at this point (over points that can likely never be resolved in print), but worth noting that Van Remsen of LSU (who headed the 2002 Pearl River search) says the next Auk edition will include a piece in rejoinder to Jackson's Jan. article -- it's almost ashame that so much time/energy has had to go into such rebuttal activity, but yes, that is how 'science' works. Moreover, the contentious quality of the arguments at this point may leave scars in the ornithological community for years to come, assuming resolution is eventually reached. Hmmmmm... maybe a TV or Hollywood movie in the making here (...Harrison Ford as Dr. Fitzpatrick, perhaps : - )
No one is more responsible than Jerry for keeping the IBWO off the Gov't.'s official extinction list; indeed one has to wonder if it was not for Dr. Jackson's work over the last 20 years, would folks at Cornell even have taken Gene Sparling's claim seriously. Jerry has been touting the possibility of IBWO survival publicly and at risk to his own credibility and professional standing for decades, while others (some of whom are now suddenly very vocal) stood by timidly, quietly, and safely on the sidelines.
As others have already played armchair psychologist on this, I will too, and speculate that it must have pained Dr. Jackson to see Cornell suddenly showered in glory for bringing forth evidence he viewed as no stronger than the evidence he'd compiled for 20 years and often had ignored or even scoffed at. If there are some resentments and bitterness involved I can't fault him for that; it would be natural. I'm not fond of his Auk piece, but he knew a more analytical piece was already in the works for Science, and he has the right (indeed obligation) to express his opinion in whatever form and publication he chooses -- also, I doubt he had any idea how the press would latch onto certain elements of the Auk paper and run with them, and wouldn't be surprised if he now regrets some of the phrases or statements written.
I wish somehow, we could all just get along... but unfortunately, we may have passed a point-of-no-return for that possibility. Still let's hope that years from now we believers can all sit around a table somewhere, drinking a cold one and discussing the ongoing successful Ivory-bill recovery program, and recognize and respect one another for the various contributions made to the effort at different times by different people. That's really what it's all about... or should be.
I take issue with the following, however:
"I doubt he had any idea how the press would latch onto certain elements of the Auk paper and run with them, and wouldn't be surprised if he now regrets some of the phrases or statements written."
He has repeated some of his more combative language in the press and in lectures. Even if he did not anticipate the impact his words would have, he should have. He's a published author; he knows the importance of choosing his words carefully. He also knows politics. "Faith-based" and "wishful thinking" are exceptionally loaded terms, and only a person of extraordinary naivete would fail to realize that.
"Where's your Ivory Bill now?" '
I love it! Although I think my fellow anonymous poster meant Edward G. Robinson TO Moses (or better yet TO the Cornell search team).
The report seems a bit dated at this point in its optimistic assumptions, now that we're 5 months into the search without any positive news, but it's a fun video to watch regardless.
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