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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

Saturday, October 14, 2006


-- Of Photos, Sagan, and Sincerity --

Photos, photos, bring on the photos... skeptics keep imploring that a good photo will persuade them --- that's all that's needed. Good photos however can be faked (actually faked fairly easily, and with more effort and skill even a video can be faked)... it STIIIIIIILL ultimately comes down to a matter of trust... if you don't trust the individual submitting the photo(s), then the photos are of little value. Cynics don't believe the sightings that have been reported because they don't trust those doing the reporting --- they trust their own strained mental gymnastics but not multiple peoples' on-site observations.

Astronomer Carl Sagan believed in the existence of extraterrestrials, not because there was any hard evidence to support it (there is virtually none), but rather because there was virtually no evidence against it (except for decades of flimsy efforts to make radio contact in a few locales of the Universe), and therefore probabilistically it becomes likely. The same holds true in Ivory-bill land, except that there ARE ongoing reports decade after decade. Fa-a-a-ar more evidence exists for IBWOs than for extraterrestrials.

Given the extent of habitat rarely set foot upon by birders, and a bird that can be invisible inside tree cavities or high, dense canopies, there will be NOTHING remarkable in a confirmed discovery of Ivory-bills after 60 years. And some skeptics, having arduously painted themselves into a tight corner will sound disingenuous if they exclaim with born-again enthusiasm how great it is that the birds, yada, yada, yada, have finally been found and documented... at that point some of us will be justly skeptical of their truthfulness --- more likely certain cynics (they know who they are) would be chagrined and galled at the confirmation of this species and the skewering/spoiling of their personal credibility --- their judgments (on endangered species at least) being reduced to naivete. In a face-saving measure any such finding will be deemed 'miraculous' rather than admit that there never was any compelling evidence for the species' extinction.
The prospect of living, breathing Ivory-billed Woodpeckers is likely now threatening to many (no, not all) who will be sorry to see even a single member of this species posing for a camera... but don't expect any cynics to admit this, nor to take any responsibility for the 50-year delay in finding the birds.


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