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What Is The Statistical Probability That All Sightings Are False?


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#121 Cotter

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Posted 20 February 2012 - 03:17 PM

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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#122 JohnC

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Posted 20 February 2012 - 03:28 PM

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, 20 February 2012 - 03:30 PM.

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#123 indiefoot

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Posted 20 February 2012 - 03:36 PM

Saskeptic,

Does proving that people lie make everyone liars? Does proving that people make mistakes make everyone mistaken?
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#124 Guest_exnihilo_*

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Posted 20 February 2012 - 03:39 PM

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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#125 WesT

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Posted 20 February 2012 - 03:42 PM

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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#126 Saskeptic

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Posted 20 February 2012 - 04:12 PM

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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#127 RayG

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Posted 20 February 2012 - 04:24 PM

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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#128 indiefoot

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Posted 20 February 2012 - 05:04 PM

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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#129 rig416

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Posted 20 February 2012 - 05:28 PM

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 damn 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, 20 February 2012 - 05:34 PM.

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#130 Gigantofootecus

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Posted 20 February 2012 - 05:49 PM

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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#131 Guest_exnihilo_*

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Posted 20 February 2012 - 06:19 PM

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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#132 arizonabigfoot

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Posted 20 February 2012 - 06:32 PM

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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#133 WesT

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Posted 20 February 2012 - 06:50 PM

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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#134 Guest_Jodie_*

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Posted 20 February 2012 - 07:00 PM

I found you one in Utah back in 1988:

But anyway, here it is........http://www.aliendave...fe_1987cat.html


Here is a ghost sighting of a saber toothed tiger near Seattle:

http://www.mania.com...cle_110846.html

Edited by Jodie, 20 February 2012 - 07:02 PM.

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#135 WesT

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Posted 20 February 2012 - 07:16 PM

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

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Posted 20 February 2012 - 09:26 PM

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.

Actually, that infrastructure already exists, it is called "the Internet", and there are reports. These sightings mostly come from Central America. I did come across some from N.A., but they may have just been exaggerated bobcats or pumas with amputated tails (none of them mentioned canines).

Making things a little more crazy, is that Central America was also home to a saber toothed marsupial. So there is question as to whether it is one or the other.

So yes, it is a very neat experiment, but it is already reality.

Even the "chupacabra", which is almost certainly a creation of the imagination, is seen regularly, and every confirmed report of a chupacabra has turned out to be a coyote with bad mange. It is certainly strange, the other way around. The made up chupacabra has been realized as a mangy coyote. The thing is, everyone describes a mangy coyote. They do not see a mangy coyote and embellish it into a chupacabra. They see a mangy coyote, fail to equate it with a coyote, and so call it a chupacabra, but faithfully describe a mangy coyote.

If anything, the chupacabra experiment shows that eye witness accounts are reliable. Not because the witness conclusion; mangy coyote = chupacabra is correct, but because it is self-consistent; mangy coyote = chupacabra = mangy coyote.
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#137 Saskeptic

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Posted 21 February 2012 - 01:21 PM

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?

Do you mean cognitive infrastructure or the infrastructure like websites and investigators who've called for reports?
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#138 antfoot

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Posted 21 February 2012 - 01:44 PM

Saskeptic,

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


No but it does mean that we have to take that possibility into account. Without supporting evidence we just can't say we know.

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.


I had a conversation with a friend once about his boyfriend. He told me that his boyfriend played the guitar, but what I heard was that his boyfriend played the saxaphone. For over a year I thought that he played the sax until they asked me where I got that idea ffrom. I also for the longest time thought I was being abducted by aliens. Nothing anyone said could dissuade me from that. These are two examples of how someone may believe something that isn't true. For me this is due to hallucinations with a biological cause. I can't say I know this to be the case for you but can you reallly say there is absolutely no possibility of hallucination in your case? Remember, I said the same thing.

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....

For the bigfoot phenomenon all we need is for the people who report to be mislead, hallucinating, or lying not everyone else. How large a portion of society has to "live in a fantasy world" to match the numbers of people who claim experiences?

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.


Man is already the most sasquatch like primate in north america (and europe, asia, and australia too) and can easily supply the basic stimulation for seeing a bigfoot. Especially if the witness has some knowledge of bigfoot stories to drawn from for inspiration. There isn't a single american who hasn't heard of bigfoot or the abominable snowman. When we see a human walking in the shrubbery in twilight we can easily conjure up a monster. Then there is the propensity for hoaxing. Very underrated in my opinion. All too many people think too few people would find this fun or worthwhile to do in the deep forest with no one else for miles around. But it only requires a few.
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#139 Guest_exnihilo_*

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Posted 21 February 2012 - 03:00 PM

Do you mean cognitive infrastructure or the infrastructure like websites and investigators who've called for reports?


The people spreading the viral meme of BF, that filters back to the source as reports such as BFRO et al., why do they exist in the first place?
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#140 Saskeptic

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Posted 21 February 2012 - 03:27 PM

^
In general, I suspect that it's because folklore is an important component of cultures all over the world. People have been telling tall tales for various reasons for as long as there have been people.

Specific to bigfoot folklore, I suspect that the reason we have a BFRO is because we had a Roger Patterson. I suspect that the reason we had a Roger Patterson was because we had a Ray Wallace. We had a Ray Wallace because we had Albert Ostman. We had Albert Ostman because he most likely encountered bits of Native American/First Nations folklore either directly or from old-timer miners and trappers, etc.

Why did Native American/First Nations have such folklore? I suspect it's because such folklore was widespread in their ancient ancestors in the Old World. It's entirely possible such stories could be traced all the way back to a time when real Homo sapiens were still encountering H. s. neanderthalensis, but this is more dorm lounge discussion material than anything I can can really engage from an informed and mature understanding. Note there are some who view bigfoot folklore as not at all associated with ancient cultures in the Americas, but rather something made up whole cloth by white folks and clumsily tied to certain traditions among Native Americans and First Nations peoples. Note that such traditions could emerge even without a physical organism serving as the "bigfoot" model being contemporary with H. s. sapiens for many thousands of years.
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