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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.

Web ivorybills.blogspot.com

"....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, April 17, 2006


-- Hype or Hope --

While we await Cornell's May analysis/summary of their current search evidence we can also wait for a presentation by Ivory-bill sighter Bobby Harrison on May 5 at a Birding Festival in Decatur, Alabama. Bobby, of course, has been travelling around giving his version of events to enthusiastic crowds for quite awhile now, but this particular talk is promoted with a bit more promise than the usual presentation:
"Harrison said presently he can't comment about whether he's had more bird sightings, but he said he will show new video that proves the bird's existence.
'One of the videos has not yet been made public and will be shown for the first time during the catfish and barbecue dinner,' he said."


Addendum: here are some additional talks Bobby has scheduled in May:


I'll go way out on limb here and predict the video will be very brief and out of focus. It will look exactly like an IBWO to many Believers, including Harrison, and will look like a blob of something to most other people, including all Skeptics.

It will not clearly show an IBWO, that is for sure.
The close-mindedness and intellectual bankruptcy of many "skeptics" could not be more clearly illustrated than by the utter certainty of the preceding post. This is not science, skepticism, or anything except dogmatic belief in received wisdom that is impervious to evidence.

The poster cannot possibly know what the video will or will not show.
It also amazes me that the first poster has already made up their mind before even seeing the evidence.

That view is simply close-minded.
Seems to me that the first poster is simply stating what might be expected, based on what type of video has passed muster for Harrison in the past. Had Harrison not previously said that a blob on a brief out-of-focus video was an IBWO we would have no reason to think he would produce something like that now. The first poster is not being "close minded" he/she simply has experience with what Harrison considers to be "proof" of the existence of an IBWO. Unless his standards for assessing "proof" have changed we know what to expect. I think that is why Cyberthrush named the post "Hype or Hope".
Let's be honest here. The first poster wrote: "It will not clearly show an IBWO, that is for sure." That is not an ambiguous remark or a suggestion about what "might be expected". It is a flat statement of absolute certainty, without any nuance or discussion of Harrison's past claims. You can spin it any way you want, but that's what was written.

At this point, we can't even be sure whether what Harrison is showing will be new at all; the reporter could have garbled the quote. As a person who has been convinced by the evidence that's been presented thus far of which the video footage is but one piece, I wouldn't presume to make any assumptions about the contents of Harrison's video. I find it telling and more than a little ironic that self-proclaimed "skeptics" are so prone to prejudging without examining the evidence.
Opinions should be withheld until evidence is reviewed. Do do less than this is not scientific, but pure unwarranted speculation.
There's any number of reasons to believe that this will turn out to be inconclusive:

There is the 1/4 second Harrison "Ivory-bill" video that most of us have never seen, although it has been presented publicly before.

Harrison is a bit of a "loose cannon" on the Cornell team, in my opinion. Cornell doesn't seem to back his claims of his two (there is a second flyby briefer than the first) IBWOs shown in that clip.

If this is a video that clearly shows an IBWO, this isn't the way Cornell would be presenting it.

None of these exciting rumors has yet turned out to be definitive to the world of science.

If it clearly shows an IBWO, that will be great, and I will believe. But based on experience and common sense, it almost surely won't.
Well, let's really be honest here. The position of the first poster, and any bias it may contain, has been formed by the evidence presented in 2005 and what the "IBWO team" has done with that evidence. The post shows that Harrison has a rather full speaking schedule based on a blurry out-of-focus video. Harrison's desire to capitalize on a video of that quality has left him open to question. Fool me once shame on me, fool me twice......

While I presume this is meant to be an apolitical blog, the parallels with “evidence" for Iraq being a threat three years ago and current "evidence" for Iran being a threat demonstrate why people should be wary of those who in the past have made major claims on evidence that is not really there.
I will withhold my opinion until I have had an opportunity to review the information in question.

Only after reviewing the information will I form an opinion.
Harrison is just doing what every true American would do. Make money and get fame while the gettin' is good. And you Skeptics would do the same thing if you could! You are just jealous that you didn't see the IBWO.
The analogy to Iraq has already been debunked. It's pernicious and utterly false. The case for WMD's was presented by people who had no first hand knowledge. The UN inspectors, who were there on the ground, found nothing, and reported that fact.

The people on the ground are seeing ivory-bills. The skeptics are just arriving conclusions from miles away, without any first-hand knowledge.

And as might be expected, when called on the disingenuous nature of certain arguments, they resort to smear tactics, attacking Bobby Harrison as a "loose cannon" and a profiteer. That kind of thing is - more than patriotism - the true last refuge of scoundrels.
Yes...scoundrels...well said.

And I bet most of the Skeptics who hate Harrison also hate Bush and all the good things he stands for. And I bet they are Liberals too!
The analogy to Iraq has already been debunked

I was thinking that it was more of a metaphor.
A metaphor for stupidity?
The IBWO/WMD analogy of people using flimsy self-serving evidence to advance their own agenda with the help of a naive government and public has been debunked?

I must have been out of town that weekend. Was it in the papers?
Debunked in the papers? No, no. It was on the radio. Don't you listen to Rush Limbaugh?
Umm. . .Actually it was debunked for the reasons I gave in a previous thread. As one who never believed that Iraq had WMDs, I'm deeply offended that the Iraq war is being dragged into this discussion to attack Cornell and the people out there in the field, whether as analogy or metaphor.

It's a red-herring and a smear. There is simply no comparison, and to suggest that Cornell or anyone else is acting in bad-faith or has in any way prejudged the case is utterly unsupported by any evidence.

You may think the case is flimsy, but the CLO did not "fix the facts around the intelligence"; it got reports from people in country; it followed up on them; it reached conclusions based on evidence, and it published the results. There's simply no similarity between Cornell's actions and the Bush administration's, and it's truly vile to suggest that there is.
I should have written, "It was debunked in a previoius thread, for the reasons I gave.
Yes. You are right. The CIA...err CLO...reached conclusions based on evidence. Sure they had blurry satellite photos...err video.... of WMD sites...err IBWO birds, but how can you Skeptics even suggest that Fitz and Iraq could be similar in any way.

I mean, come on, one is a person and one is a country. So take that Skeptics!
Actually at first, I was kind of amused by comparisons to WMD and IRAQ. But the more I think about it and the more you talk about it. Instead of debunking it, you actually make the case stronger.

WMD vs. IBWO. Blurry satellite images vs. video. Inability to find WMD's or IBWO's. Stubborn Bush vs. stubborn Fitz. It is beginning to sound very similar.
There's really no point in debating with people who so radically distort the opposing arguments and rely on misleading and inflammatory analogies to make their points. It's that kind of discourse that belongs on talk radio.

Not all skeptics are intellectually dishonest, but it's unfortunate that so many of them seem to be.
So we are agreed then?

Bush and WMD are very similar to Fitz and IBWO?

Can't we at least agree on the obvious?
Let's just say the you are right and that UFO's do exist because all those trained airline pilots can't all be wrong.

Shouldn't we then be putting up "UFO Welcome" signs and making habitat for them?
No, we aren't agreed on anything. And what's "obvious" to you is patently absurd to me.

When you can't argue the merits, attack, distort, mischaracterize, resort to sarcasm and ridicule. Right out of the talk radio playbool. Pathetic.
Confirmed, if there were any remaining doubts:

There is no possibility of intelligent discourse on this subject via the internet.
So, I repeat, we are agreed?

There is no intelligent discourse possible when discussing possible sightings of IBWO?

So we are agreed that IBWO's must be extinct? Because no intelligent discourse on the internet could possibly be intelligent when discussing he possible existence of IBWO.

Ok, at long last, we all agree on something.
And finally, when you're really desperate, put words in other peoples' mouths.
"Because no intelligent discourse on the internet could possibly be intelligent when discussing the possible existence of IBWO."

Well said. In fact, very well said.
We need people to believe in IBWOs, Bigfeet, UFO's, Cold Fusion because they are the people that make the big discoveries, like WMD in Iraq.
The most recent string of posts eloquently demonstrates the inability to distinguish between one's personal opinon and truth. This is a characteristic of the delusional, the psychotic, children, and the dishonest. It is not, however, a characteristic of "intelligence."
Gee. I wonder what side that guy is on?
Bigfeet? I prefer Bigfootsies as the plural. Not sure which is right however.
Okay so it might not have been a good analogy

and may have been a metaphor or even a simile, but it was behind a tree for most of the time. Just don't start a major conservation effort (or war) over it.

Either way...

I don't think they can find their own ass in the shower with both hands.
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