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COGrizzly

What Is The Statistical Probability That All Sightings Are False?

380 posts in this topic

Sas, what an interesting social experiment you are suggesting.

However, can we go one step further and maybe pick an animal that isn't so close to our current cougar/mountain lion? (I would think that the only difference is tooth length from a layperson's perspective).

However, with fossil records already in existence of the saber tooth, how can we be SURE there aren't more running around?

;-)

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We actually kind of just went through that here in Ontario Saskeptic, particularly sw Ontario. For years and years locals reported seeing cougars. Barn doors being scratched up, first hand sightings, vague blobcat photo's, people almost hitting them with cars, the whole mix. The MNR, and a local wild life experts kept saying, miss-identification, and the usual, "No, there are no cougars in sw Ontario, thats silly" Hunters reporting the cats, heard it all, from bobcats,to lynx,to big barn cats, and so on. But the cougar is now confirmed, and the MNR relies on eyewitness to gather info.

Here are some sample news articles,if someone took the time to google it all,you would see the progression from skepticism, to confirmation.......with out a body btw.

http://easterncougar...garNews/?p=3092

http://www.torontosu...551121-sun.html

http://www.thestar.c...rowl-in-ontario

Edited by JohnC
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Saskeptic,

Does proving that people lie make everyone liars? Does proving that people make mistakes make everyone mistaken?

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Your analogy might be more apropos if you were prepared to allege that the BFRO stretched back into antiquity in its role as a false report generator.

That said, I don't think anyone is alleging that witness reports should be considered proof, but they are clearly evidence, with a value as varied as the people reporting the encounters.

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Sounds like a great idea Saskeptic, go for it. Just remember, no spiking of the punch bowl if you don't get the results anticipated. :lol: Better yet, let's see what Goggle has to say about modern day saber-tooth cat sightings. (goggling now)....

Back. it's looks like most modern day saber-toothed cat sightings come from South America and Africa. No North America reports THAT I KNOW OF (gotta practice what I preach). But hey, you never know, you might get some hits. Time will tell.

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Well, we already have an excellent example of lots of people reporting something that clearly wasn't there in the red panda story. The real point of my analogy was to illustrate why we don't get a lot (any?) saber-toothed cat reports: there's no infrastructure encouraging reporting of such sightings. A collateral benefit would be to take an example like that and postulate ahead of time how many of those reports we would need to collect before it became reasonable to conclude that there must be real saber-tooths behind the sightings.

. . . it's looks like most modern day saber-toothed cat sightings come from South America and Africa.

raises eyebrow Spock-style: "Fascinating . . . "

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Does proving that people lie make everyone liars?

Nope. No more so than proving that people tell the truth makes everyone truth-tellers.

While I'm willing to consider the possibility that a witness was correct in their observation, would you be willing to consider the possibility they weren't?

RayG

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RayG,

I can only speak to the accuracy of my own sighting, not someone elses. Having seen one myself changes the way I see other reported sightings though. It does not mean I accept them all at face value. I certainly don't dissmiss them all.

Does this apply to Saskeptics argument?

Circular cause and consequence

Circular cause and consequence is a logical fallacy where the consequence of the phenomenon is claimed to be its root cause. This is also known as the the chicken or the egg fallacy.

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Saskeptic,

That is a very interesting idea!

You would most certainly get reports. No doubt about it. The fact that we have some people out there whose interpretation of this world and its "reality" is extremely suspect and open to severe question is not in doubt...! At least not to me. However, the fact that "some" people live in a fantasy world does not mean that all of them do. Nor do all people lie or easily misinterpret their surroundings....

That said....

We have the occasional reports of big cats (mountain lions) here in the Northern portion of my home state of New Hampshire. We also know that big cats do indeed exist in N. America. This fact would contribute to the false sightings Saber Tooth Database. Every bobcat, lynx, mountain lion, feral tom cat (!) and even the occasional jaguar that get reported on our Mexican border *could* be misinterpreted as a Saber tooth!

However, a large extinct cat being reported in a country that has a population of small & large cats seems rather different to me than an ape-man being reported in a continent that as far as we know has no primates other than man....

Your point is well taken but still it doesn't get to the heart of what I was wondering in my initial post.

There is misinterpretation then there is misinterpretation.

One cat thought to be another type of cat....well. I can *sort of* see that mistake even thought seeing a saber tooth in 2012 is a pretty **** big mistake! I find it a lot harder to believe that people who encountered a bear or moose or elk and consistently over time, culture etc. misinterpret one of these quadrupeds as a bipedal ape..... That to me is another issue….

Again I have to ask again......." How likely is it that all these people from different times, cultures & languages all misinterpret the same general thing...? "

And it is always as an ape? Why not a variety of different creatures...?

The British Isles come to mind at this point.

A bit of a different situation there....equal and opposite if you will. Large cats are reported in Britain when there is no know large cat population living in the wild.... I don't want to get to off the mark here but why do they see big cats in Britain when according to the government there are none? What are the British people living on the moors seeing and "mistaking" for big cats? Are all these sightings house cats gone feral? If that were the case there would be report of big cats running loose all over England....the world!

This is in a way it is a similar question as the Sasquatch sightings. Mistaken identity, lies, hallucinations....? Some sure....but all reports?

So I wonder (I don't know) if there are not a few wild cats/pumas escaped or let go roaming the wilds of Britain....maybe.... Since there doesn’t appear to be any large predators left in the British Isles which can be mistaken for a large cat left…… what are they seeing? It has to be a *mistake*….right?

Back to BF -- There are no know apes save man in the US & Canada so what are all the Sasquatch witnesses seeing……well I wonder about that.

Why are so many people over a long period of time ALL misinterpreting their encounter(s) with known fauna of N.America as an ape? Why not a Saber tooth? We DO actually have big cats? It would be a little bit easier to forgive & dismiss. Removing the loonies, liars and honest mistakes.....can that really included EVERYONE? And ALL of these people for a few hundred years are wrong….. in the EXACT same way? What is the statistical likelyhood of that?

I truly don't know but it does get harder to just dismiss out of hand IMHO.

To answer your second question. "Would their accounts read as any less reliable than the bulk of bigfoot accounts? (I'd say no.)"

I agree. The loonies, liars & people who need glasses notwithstanding. Their reports would likely read as credible....because they probably saw one of our native big cat species (provided they were not from the liars group)..... Not exactly the folks who you’d want to work in the CIA interpreting data on threats to our country…….

Nothing people do or say surprises me. However, I wonder what one could expect to receive as far as numbers of these types of reports on our Saber tooth Cat Sighting Report Database? A few dozen...Maybe a hundred? Over what time period? 1, 5, 10 yrs...? How would those figures compare to the number of Sasquatch reports in the same period of time?

Then there is the physical evidence….but that’s for another thread!

I have no doubt people make mistakes etc etc.... but (to beat a dead horse)do they all do it in the same way over time describing a species clearly NOT native to this continent and very different than the native fauna?

Lastly, all of the credible saber-tooth reports on our fictional DB would leave us right where we are with BF... We need a body! :-)

Best Regards,

RIG

Sorry, If I rambled I wrote this w/ a 2 yr old on my lap “helping†me…!

Edited by rig416
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Well, we already have an excellent example of lots of people reporting something that clearly wasn't there in the red panda story. The real point of my analogy was to illustrate why we don't get a lot (any?) saber-toothed cat reports: there's no infrastructure encouraging reporting of such sightings. A collateral benefit would be to take an example like that and postulate ahead of time how many of those reports we would need to collect before it became reasonable to conclude that there must be real saber-tooths behind the sightings.

raises eyebrow Spock-style: "Fascinating . . . "

I presume that everyone knows that bigfoot sightings are subject to all kinds of artificially bloated statistics. That's a given. The panda story already emphasized that. I suspect there would be some unicorns reported using a similar experiment. But the difference here is the size of the sample set, which IMO demonstrates that the general public must find bigfoot the most plausible cryptid, and worthy of bloating the stats. Which is the most likely cryptid to have eluded classification by now? A human offshoot, of course. This has been borne out in recent polls, but don't ask me to cite a reference. :)

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Actually, Saskeptic, I am slightly interested in how you explain the existence of the false-report generating infrastructure. Why does it exist in the first place?

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It sounds like a fantastic idea. Then after creating the database, you can create the Saber Tooth Forums, change your name to Sabeskeptic, and hang out there all day telling everyone how wrong they are about what they saw. Good times.

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raises eyebrow Spock-style: "Fascinating . . . "

Indeed. The crypto sites are already all over it and are poised and ready to recieve any saber toothed cat report from anywhere in the world. Like I said though, most saber-toothed cat reports come from South America and Africa, none from North America...... that I know of.

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There ya go, now I am aware of one report. See how stating "that I know of" helps?

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