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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

Wednesday, June 27, 2007


-- Nelson Retires! ;-) --

From The Arkansas Game and Fish Commission report for June 27:

"LITTLE ROCK (AP) _ As the outgoing chairman of the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission, Sheffield Nelson has seen everything from wildlife management areas grow in numbers to the first of the Arkansas Youth Shooting Sports Program state championships.
The Little Rock lawyer's term ends June 30. Nelson was appointed by Gov. Mike Huckabee in 2000...
During Nelson's tenure, the state received international attention when, in 2004, the ivory-billed woodpecker was found not to be extinct, but living in Arkansas.
The several sightings in Arkansas have been mostly in an area north of Brinkley near the Cache River and Bayou DeView."

Meanwhile, as we patiently await final report summaries for the prior search season, including full disclosure of all sightings and acoustic data, and automatic camera data continues to be monitored/processed, some skeptics are rushing to declare the searches forever done... in a manner more reminiscent of 17th century witch hunts than 21st century science, many continue to operate from wholly unproven (and unprovable) assumptions (about IBWO habits/behavior/needs) misleadingly offered up as facts. Here's a likely FACT: Most Ivory-billed Woodpeckers had feathers and two eyes! Skeptics' presumptions aren't even in the same ball park as true facts. For myself, I'll stick with the presumption that at least one of the sightings from the last few years is authentic, simple as that.

Russell and Whitehead spent a couple hundred pages proving that 1 + 1 = 2, as part of their effort (1000's of pages) to demonstrate that mathematics was a complete and internally consistent system of logic (...in the end they failed, once it was shown that unprovable assumptions always lurk behind the scenes). Unrecognized, deceptive notions underly all scientific debate, from truly rigorous fields like mathematics to the mushy likes of field biology... in the end, sometimes such assumptions turn out to be true; the problem is they can never be assumed so ahead of time while the debate rages; and yet that is exactly what many choose to do, rather than waiting for all evidence to be gathered.


Field biology is only mushy when people of your ilk are involved
I don't do field biology myself thank you. But the point is, that not all science is equally precise or rigorous, and sciences whose subject matter is living organisms involve inherent weakness because of the multitude of unknowable and uncontrollable independent variables in play -- there is a higher level of complexity and perforce a lower level of certainty/precision.
Studying the movement of planets or billiard balls is considerably different science than studying the biology or behavior of IBWOs (or for that matter amoebas); and some of the attempts to 'quantify' biological data by slapping statistics on it are virtually laughable in their oversimplicity. Biological science is obviously worth doing, but must be granted a wider swathe of uncertainty than physical science (which can have its own set of interpretive difficulties).
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