Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Making it simple

OK let me violate my own principles here and "cherry pick" four frames of the Luneau video to make a point loud and clear. I highly recommend you also look at my longer analysis of many more frames in context, including all the favorite frames of the "It's a Pileated, stupid" school of thought.

Here are frames 33 and 483. To accept the analysis of Sibley, Collinson, Nelson, et al we have to believe that the dark fringe on the left edge of the white blob in the first image is real but the dark fringe on the right edge of the white blob in the second image is imaginary. Actually, to me the "imaginary" dark edge looks darker and clearer than the "real" one...

(Frames 350 and 467) Similarly, we have to believe that the black smudge to the left of the white in the first image represents a black trailing edge to the white underwing, but the black blob on the right in the second image represents nothing at all.


As no explanation is given why, in both cases, the first smudge is real while the second smudge is imaginary, we must accept these things as matters of faith, I suppose. Has anyone seen my golden plates and magic spectacles lately?

6 Comments:

At 6:42 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

MM in NY

Thanks for turning the "faith" and "belief" terminology on its head, something that should have been done a long time ago.

Almost from the start, the debate over the IBWO has been infected with a talk-radio mentality; the tactics and rhetoric of many of the self-proclaimed skeptics are largely to blame. Many of them would do well to examine their own preconceptions and dependence on received wisdom instead of hurling insults and attempting to bully their adversaries.

 
At 10:46 AM, Anonymous Tom Isanasjol said...

Bill, I've been following this controversy for a LONG time and it's obvious to me that notorious skeptic Tom Nelson happens to be one of many individuals--including scientists and non-scientists alike--who jumps quickly to conclusions. Your previous "The Lunatic Fringe" post touched on this issue.

We are all biased to some degree and some individuals (like Tom) happen to be more tenacious in defending their personal biases than others. Tom staunchly believes the IBWO is extinct, weapons of mass destruction existed in Iraq, and current global warming is merely a natural cycle. He may be right on all three issues, but I doubt it. I happen to be uncertain with all three issues although I do tend to lean toward a particular view for each.

I think it's wiser to accept uncertainty with controversial issues than to insist that one's personal bias is absolute truth and ridicule all those who disagree. But then again, what makes controversies so entertaining--and in this case very entertaining--is when people like Tom Nelson, John Wall, Tim Allwood, Tim Gallagher, John Fitzpatrick, Mike Collins, et al., behave as they do.

 
At 5:59 AM, Blogger Martin said...

As no explanation is given why, in both cases, the first smudge is real while the second smudge is imaginary,

Carefull Bill. Maybe the first smudge is real and the second imaginary, or maybe the second is real and the first imaginary. Either way the bird is unidentifiable. QED :-)

 
At 6:14 AM, Blogger Bill Pulliam said...

I've got no major beef with those who look at the vid in detail and conclude the bird is unidentifiable to species with existing (lack of) knowledge about IBWOs and how they flew/fly. My beef is with people who look at the video and point at these smudges and say "see, they show it's a PIWO" or even "they show it is probably a PIWO," or those who don't look at the vid in detail at all and just declare that the ID from some other authority is truth handed down by the bird gods. There's a widespread belief out there that the bird has been proven to be a PIWO, which in my scientific judgement (not just personal opinion) is JUST PLAIN UNSUPPORTABLE (one could even say, junk science...)!

Actually, what irks me most is the people who write smug little things essays about groupthink and expectation bias and the like in reference to what some derisively term "IBWO true believers," when they themselves are engaging in the same sort of group mentality, selective seeing of evidence, and "faith-based science" that they criticize others for...

 
At 7:25 AM, Blogger Martin said...

Actually, what irks me most is the people who write smug little things essays about groupthink and expectation bias and the like in reference to what some derisively term "IBWO true believers," when they themselves are engaging in the same sort of group mentality, selective seeing of evidence, and "faith-based science" that they criticize others for...

If I see any of those people, i'll tell them to grow up

 
At 7:37 AM, Blogger Walt Farmer said...

In my opinion God would not allow such a hoax to continue. I have faith the IBWO is alive and well. I live in South Texas and have seen many supposedly extinct Jaguarundi but am always dismissed or called a fool.

Walt Farmer

 

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