"....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
Tuesday, January 09, 2007
-- Or Perhaps Not --
"Perhaps we can dismiss the photographs that George Lowery presented to the ornithological community. Perhaps we can dismiss the sightings reported by Whitney Eastman. Perhaps we can dismiss the sightings by John Dennis. Perhaps we can explain away the Dennis' tape recordings that were analyzed by Hardy (1975). Maybe there is a miniscule chance that the recording made by Reynard (Reynard and Garrido 1989) isn't an Ivory-bill. Perhaps we can dismiss the response to tape recordings that were heard by Robert Manns, Malcolm Hodges, and myself or the birds heard by Fred Sibley and Ted Davis. But the list goes on and on --- right up to the present. If each of these observations has any probability at all of having been real, these probabilities add up. It is unlikely that all of these reports are misidentifications."
--- Jerome Jackson, reporting to US Fish & Wildlife in 1989 on the likelihood that the Ivory-bill was still extant
Perhaps John Terres, and Agey/Heinzmann, and Garratt, and Kulivan, and Gallagher/Harrison/Cornell, and Hill/Hicks/Rolek, and 100's of others, all got it wrong; each and every one of them.
....and perhaps, the moon is made of green cheese.
Cavities, sightings, 'sound detections,' update:
There was an excellent article on this written a few months ago.
We would like to know what were the odds calculated on 12/23/06 that on 12/24/06 all three people in AU's camp would report strong field evidence and a robust sighting of a female IBWO if there are IBWOs and of there are no IBWOs?
Same question for each of the days over the next two months?
But then he has inconsistancies.
In Cuba some brief glimpses were probably or definitely IBWO (note it is possibly a different species than IBWO in Cuba per recnt study). Todays literature, birding culture and scientists treat it as a given that the bird existed into the late 80s in Cuba.
A similar set of evidence for US birds, actually nuch more evidence was/is not treated in the same manner here in the US. It was/is savagely critisized by some, even though the detail of the sightings are similar or better here (some robust), the US sightings are more numerous, there was an order of magnitude more audio evidence here, AU had bark adhesion data and some dichotomous roost data.
Also there are degrees to proof..... as JJ pointed out all these single observations...pretty much starts statistically putting crushing weight on the extinction and your all wrong in your sighting explanation. At some point you can overwhelming evidance that approaches but falls a fraction short of absolute, 100% proof.
Just because there a tough (not impossible) to interpret video doesn't mean tarnish all the other evidence that certainly amounts to much more than is mysteriously enough in Cuba.
Thats where JJ and many others are inconsistant.
Cuba was good enough but in the US with more data we suddenly reverted back to the need for 100% proof via photo. Now forty sightings, 30 eyewitnesses aren't enough even though its 4 times the witnesses in Cuba.
Strange double standard that they drove at us while hiding behind many (not all) ambiguous frames of the video.
well thanks and keep up the good literature finds! those in the field keep up the great work!
I hope that photographic evidence will be as clear as possible as early as possible. But I fear that in the short term it will be less than stellar and there will be an even greater impasse in ornithology than currently exists. The threshold for action is not and has never been certainty. Where I fault Jackson is his implication that if we do not have "proof," again undefined, we are not basing management decisions on good science. Good science consists of finding the best hypothesis that explains the data, and that is always subject to uncertainty. It is highly unlikely that we are going to get "killer" images, or even "clear" images of ivory-bills in every area that they occur. We are probably going to have to use indirect evidence to assess their numbers and distribution. That should not stop us from taking action.
I have always wondered if the following analogy is a good one to show a flaw in the logic of the way we judge evidence .
If there are one hundred thousand hard core birders out there and we all have good to excellent looks at an IBWO but no pictures or proof for the other less hard core 900,000 people do those 900,000 have a point when saying hey there is not 100% proof? Its all putative.
Links to this post: