Lyrebird mimicry "evidence"

To: Birding Aus <>, <>
Subject: Lyrebird mimicry "evidence"
From: Angus Innes <>
Date: Fri, 12 Feb 2010 16:16:37 +0000

Fellow Aus Birders,

As every true sceptic should, Richard Jordan looks to whether the evidence 
supports the proposition which he queries.

A possible flaw in his approach occurs in the execution of his enquiries. 
Evidence is not what Richard accepts or rejects, but it is found in the direct 
observations of reliable witnesses. All our great early bird guides were 
written by experienced observers who wrote about what they saw and heard. That 
is still the basis of many accepted rarity records in leading birding countries 
around the world. So if a relaible observer says I saw a lyrebird and heard it 
making a mechanical sound of a chain saw, or whatever, that is evidence. The 
use of camera and tape recorder are latter day aids - and valuable, but do not 
make observation non-evidence.

In a passing observation  that is not directed in any way to Richard, the 
problem of persons with new kit, or techniques, debunking the old, can be seen 
throughout the modern world. The observations and opinions of persons on the 
ground are dismissed as anecdotal - and not properly validated. The validation 
process employes thousands of consultants at great expense, who often 
regurgitate what they were told by the experienced persons on the ground.

Back to my short point, you have got to respect reliable observers. What they 
say they saw or heard is evidence.

Angus Innes (Yes, I am a lawyer).

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