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Below, FYI, I am copying something I posted to the BIRDCHAT, which has already drawn a lot of replies, some pro, some con and some not understanding my point. Before reading it, please be assured that I am not finding fault with Messrs. Jackson, Prum and Robbins, who wisely did not publish, and who should not be criticised for something they did not do.

This whole discussion  has been somewhat bizarre. First, we are told that 
Jackson, Prum and Robbins are going to publish a paper challenging the 
conclusion that the bird in a brief, blurry video is an IBWO. As a result, 
lots of subscribers to this [i.e. to BIRDCHAT] and other birding lists get themselves into a 
dither, and refutations of the non-paper appear on line before it even gets 
printed. Then we are told that two of  the authors of the still-unpublished 
paper, Prum and Robbins,  have heard some Cornell sound recordings and 
pronounced that not one but two IBWO's really do exist in Arkansas. As a 
result,  everyone -- or at least nearly everyone --  suddenly seems to be 
satisfied that IBWO still lives after all.

Who are Jackson, Prum and Robbins that they can turn the hopes and emotions 
of the birding community off and on like a light switch without actually 
publishing anything?  Has either Prum or Robbins ever heard an Ivory-billed 
Woodpecker? I doubt it. How is it then that their decree about the sound 
recordings is given such weight? Meanwhile, what has happened to the value 
of 16 recent sight observations of a male IBWO in Arkansas?  Have reports 
that Cornell's sound recordings persuaded Prum and Robbins to pull their unpublished 
paper given back to the sight observers a credibility that leaks about the paper took away?

It is time to blame a usual suspect  -- "the media."  Please note that the 
principal sources for much of the now-ended "Ivory-bill Controversy" were 
newspaper stories.  I'm all for a constitutionally-protected free press. It 
must be allowed to do its job (selling newspapers). But the time and place 
for evaluating scientific claims is when they actually are published and 
answered in respected scientific journals. It's a frustratingly slow process 
sometimes. But the end result is more reliable.

Bob Fisher
Independence, Missouri
[log in to unmask]

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