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Mission Ivorybilled | IBWO #2

April 21, 2022

[Posted by Chuck Almdale]

There’s more information out there than I (and it seems most other people as well) was aware of that there really may be some Ivory-billed Woodpeckers (IBWO) alive and kicking. One scientist-blogger recently put it like this: “my Bayesian priors have bumped up a notch.”

Link to IBWO #1.

I really liked the discussion below. It’s by people who live in the area, have been out there tromping through the woods and paddling up the creeks, heard rapping and caught glimpses. Their descriptions of their experiences pass my BS-test with flying colors. They have details, are careful, are experienced, yet are not eager to convince anyone. One “sat on his sighting” for years to avoid harassment – of the birds and of himself. This Zoom video is part of a series to raise awareness of IBWO, primarily because if the IBWO is officially and prematurely declared extinct, survival of any remaining birds could suddenly get a lot tougher. My only adverse criticism is they could take a bit more care with their dates. Watching it after-the-fact by months or years one can lose track of which year they’re talking about. Definitely worth your viewing time.

Your Host: Matt Courtman

They make several references to Dr. Michael Collins and a “flyunder” video. I think they’re talking about this video, which is definitely worth your viewing.

Here’s a link to Michael Collins’s paper discussing IBWO flight behavior.

One of the speakers in the first video, a man with at least 30 years experience in investigative work, mentioned the “Dunning-Kruger effect” when it come to people’s ability to accept new information or change their opinion.

The Dunning-Kruger effect is a type of cognitive bias that causes people
to overestimate their knowledge or ability, particularly in areas
with which they have little to no experience.

Dunning-Kruger effect, in psychology, a cognitive bias whereby people with limited knowledge or competence in a given intellectual or social domain greatly overestimate their own knowledge or competence in that domain relative to objective criteria or to the performance of their peers or of people in general.

According to the researchers for whom it is named, psychologists David Dunning and Justin Kruger, the effect is explained by the fact that the metacognitive ability to recognize deficiencies in one’s own knowledge or competence requires that one possess at least a minimum level of the same kind of knowledge or competence, which those who exhibit the effect have not attained. Because they are unaware of their deficiencies, such people generally assume that they are not deficient, in keeping with the tendency of most people to “choose what they think is the most reasonable and optimal option.” Although not scientifically explored until the late 20th century, the phenomenon is familiar from ordinary life, and it has long been attested in common sayings—e.g., “A little knowledge is a dangerous thing”—and in observations by writers and wits through the ages—e.g., “Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge” (Charles Darwin).

In my opinion: Doubt Certainty.

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