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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






Thursday, June 08, 2006

 

-- Objectivity In Science --

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...rarely exists. Objectivity is an ideal, that honest scientists usually admit doesn't exist in pure form in their endeavors. Contrary to the public view of science as a gathering of raw facts/data/information, which through the use of reason, is turned into theories and "laws," it actually is often the opposite: scientists start with unspoken theories, prejudices, 'hunches,' 'gut feelings,' and consciously or unconsciously attempt to fashion facts or experiments to support (usually) or refute same.
And so we have a dilemma in the Ivory-bill arena: some have questioned Jerry Jackson's objectivity of the Cornell data due to his lack of involvement (or even knowledge) of the initial search. David Sibley, Kenn Kaufman, and many others, were previously on record as believing the IBWO was extinct, and their objectivity or willingness to say they were wrong and shortsighted can also be questioned. And certainly skeptics will claim that the Cornell principals have so stubborny painted themselves into a corner that they are unable to honestly or fairly view any objections to their case. I'm not saying that ANY of this is necessarily true, only that it is the public perception we now face. In short, there is likely NO ONE left out there who's judgment or expertise is fully trusted by both sides (believers and skeptics), again leaving glossy indisputable photos or videotape as the sole means to resolve the debate (and it can only be resolved in one direction, since the LACK of such evidence resolves nothing). This is an unfortunate state of affairs to say the least; a sort of undercurrent lack of trust and yes, even faith, in the competency and objectivity of those involved that has developed. If the Ivory-bill is never documented it is difficult to see the rift ever repairing itself, but if/when those photos/video do arise EVERYone will suddenly rush together in unified support for this magnificent species and its habitat... it's just that the contributions of some of those supporters will be far far more deserving of recognition than that of others.
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