I have tried to avoid participation in the current "John Young's Fig-Parrot"
debate but Ian May's diatribe beggars belief [and please note I make no
disclaimer as to this being personal or somehow a neutered response]. In
one fell swoop he condemns all those who have dared query John Young's claim
as somehow being self-seeking bigots - the "gormless wimps" of his unbiased
He further confounds his non-personal spleen on those who have questioned
the find by accusing them of making unsubstantiated attacks. His reasoning
here borders on the absurd. A claim, a rather sensational claim, has been
made. Some have asked for further evidence of the find. How is asking
questions unsubstantiated? Some have indicated the type of evidence they
would need to see to accept the claim. Again, how is this unsubstantiated?
The substance must come from those making the claim not from those seeking
clarification of the claim.
Not in Ian's eyes apparently. To seek verifications, we are told, is simply
kowtowing to the System; indeed that the System of scientific verification
itself is an irrelevance and little more than a lapdog escaped from the
"academic cave". Does he recall the doctor of a few years back who claimed
to have found an irrefutable cure for cancer and was prepared to administer
his cure for financial considerations? A certain Queensland Premier was set
to open the State?s health coffers to him but on being questioned by those
with a little more medical knowledge that an overrated peanut farmer the
doctor "disappeared" [to eventually resurface elsewhere]. No doubt in Ian's
view those medical experts from the "academic cave" were also "gormless
It would also appear that Ian himself suffers from a little metrophobia;
those that reside in cities are clearly befuddled in the ?smog and haze? and
incapable of making scientific discoveries of any note; or rather, if we
read between Ian?s lines, of making scientific discoveries without feeling
compelled to add a wealth of evidence to support their finds.
I would suggest to Ian that the only thing that remains ?beyond doubt? is
that John Young, a skilled naturalist, has made a somewhat sensational
claim. I make no allusions to his credibility; I have never met the man and
know him only by his excellent reputation as a guide. But those attributes
in themselves are not justifications for allowing him to bypass the
?academic cave?, a system designed to do no more than sift through presented
verifications and evidence before bestowing John with ornithology?s highest
To compound his bizarre dialogue, Ian then proceeds to make a number of
unsubstantiated innuendoes himself. We are to understand than only
kowtowing scientists ? all no doubt from they city rather than from the
outer reaches of civilization- bother with scientific verifications of their
claims; as John?s is a ?private discovery? [which he chose to make public]
normal rules of evidence apparently do not apply. We are left to suppose
that as John Young has pontificated, this is to be read as Gospel.
Further, Ian would have us believe, that the real agenda behind some asking
for authentication is no more than peeved ?desk jockeys? who planned to
"gazump" him; those ?scavengers to a roadkill? who blow like reeds in the
wind with their noses out of joint.
And of course simply because Ian May is Ian May and has offered us his
unjaundiced view, his has to be the last word on the controversy. It doesn?
t quite work that way sunshine, not from out of the ?academic cave?. From
here some of us would still welcome ? and rejoice in- John Young?s
verifications for claiming to have discovered a fourth Fig-parrot.
I don?t think John Young needs support like yours. He has been in this game
long enough to know the rules ? and accept them with other work he has done.
As David Torr put so succinctly, if you claim to have discovered a tiger don
?t be too surprised if it bites you when you tug its tail. Parry that tiger
with bucketsful of tidbits.
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