WSA

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About WSA

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  • Have you ever had an encounter with a sasquatch-like creature?
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  1. I've had hundreds of clients. but Sasquatch is hands-down my favorite of all of them.
  2. No, really Randy, they don't have to do that. All they have to do is take a shave with Occam. I don't have to vet witness statements in the field to come to make my predictions. One accurate report equals 100% certainty for existence. Absent a unified, 100% accurate and infallible combination of hoaxes and mistaken identity (.000001 % probability of THAT....not a scientific conclusion, but probably a good working prediction) you make the case for Sasquatch, going away.
  3. (And yet, and yet...hunters correctly identify and kill hundreds of thousands of ungulates each year) I say again: If your probabilities of Sasquatch existing depends on thousands of humans being 100% consistent in their misidentification, and never-ever getting that wrong (err...right), you are basing a conclusion on something that occurs very, very rarely....up to a point of approaching a virtual certainty this cannot be true. I've long felt skepticism on this topic owes more to miscalculating and misapprehending probabilities than any other factor you could name.
  4. So, there are some probabilities of occurrences so vanishingly remote, their lack of occurrence approaches that of a certainty. Thus it is with misidentifications. (Aaaaand done)
  5. I've never put an expert witness up for deposition, or up on a witness stand in front of a jury without emphasizing this to him/her: If you don't know, say you don't know. Nothing will kill you deader than an expert who thinks their credibility requires them to know EVERYTHING. Quite the opposite, really. I once gleefully cross-examined an expert who insisted he was an expert on "anything that moved." Oh boy, pack a lunch...
  6. As with all of this stuff we discuss around here, probabilities rule. Never-ever-always statements, and similar absolutes are things I try to avoid like the plague. Science does too...or should. Have there been misidentifications? The probabilities are bound to be good some have been made over the last century or so. But every sighting? That is a level of consistency I've never experienced in any other area of human behavior in my entire life, and absent from all the history I've read so far (i.e., "lots"). Which leaves us a high probability there has been at least one accurate sighting of a Sasquatch. Vegas would probably only pay you even money to bet that side. One is all that has ever been required to blow the entire skeptic thesis out of the water and to smithereens.
  7. Ditto on the links for me too Cricket....blank pages. Still, you've given me something to chew on, and thank you very much. I don't think I have the chops to make cogent taxonomic arguments either way, but I like to try and grasp as much as possible on the topic.
  8. Completely clueless as to what you are driving at Hiflier. Please feel free to clue me in if you can.
  9. Dmaker, agreed. But as far as I can tell, being an outsider to the whole process, is the people ARE the process to hear some tell it. Gone are the days (thankfully) when some holder of a significant discovery can horde that knowledge for years until they are good and ready to publish. Traditionalists would of course bemoan what they perceive to be a move towards a lack of rigor, and there certainly is some truth to that. What you do gain, I think, is an almost immediate sharing across disciplines. This was Berger's "Ah-Hah!", when he realized he needed experts in multiple fields to look at his evidence before he felt comfortable making any conclusions. Back to my original point though. Those in the BF field are going to have to devise a better way of making physical evidence accessible to more people. The very nature of the stuff makes that difficult. I'm realizing more and more this might be the field's #1 stumbling block to progress. That, and greed. Not just greed for money, but greed for notoriety, fame and credit. What Berger had going for him is a lack of lust for being "The Man". Put that to the side and a whole universe of possibilities open up. It is a rare quality in any field, but especially in this one.
  10. Dmaker, no special dispensation requested or required here. Look around you. Count how many traditional processes have been disrupted by technology. Do you honestly think the traditional peer review process is immune to that? You want to see a real life example? Read Lee Berger's book on the discovery of H. naledi. He'll walk you through it. Being a very hidebound and traditional field, this is still in the early stages of evolution, but crowdsourcing scientific conclusions is already happening. I consider the BF Forum to be a nascent exercise in this new way of looking at it. What I mean to emphasize is that there are Scientists who already are sidestepping the gate-keeper approach to advancing scientific knowledge. Discoveries in some fields get out ahead of the mainstream's ability to process them in a timely way. Berger's are just one example of that. I am of the opinion there is no grand conspiracy or failing of "mainstream" science, well, there might be that too, but I also believe the old workflows are failing us, or at least they are not as efficient as what Berger devised. Expect more of that.
  11. Dmaker said: This is what I am talking about. This type of claim made constantly by you and DWA, and others. Where is one supposed to rebut his conclusions? They are not presented in the accepted scientific channel--peer review. You cannot hold up a lack of rebuttal to something as somehow a strength, when that something has never been presented to the proper channel for rebuttal in the first place. You are claiming a victory in a game you never played. That is precisely my point. I'd concede the point that we don't have peer reviewed studies, at least in the sense you are asking about. I can't vouch for Dr. Meldrum's reasons for not submitting those, or confirm he has submitted them only to be rejected. I know he had a profile in a 2007 edition of Scientific American, but that is about all I've seen. But that is not the kind of rebuttal I am talking about, although I agree it would be appropriate if a peer reviewed article was published. BF studies so far is more (only?) an internet and self-published exercise. So, to use the example of Meldrum's conclusions in his monograph on primate locomotion, or Bill Munns' conclusions, I'd be satisfied if somebody, anybody, would and could rebut those on just the same level they were published. Take them on point by point and tell me why their conclusions are wrong. That is a form of peer review, and one the field should welcome. And talk about claiming victory...letting the desire to have a perfect review be the enemy of a perfectly good look at the evidence? If you don't do the first kind, you'll never get to the more formal review you are asking about. You got to start seriously looking at the evidence first, at whatever level you are able to get it. My original point though was (and still is), with a few exceptions, IF a finding was published the nature of the evidence makes it difficult to share it to allow others to try and reproduce the results. No matter at what level you review the conclusions, that is going to be a hindrance tht will need to be addressed.
  12. Dmaker, as I stated, for all the reasons I stated in support of it, I don't believe the nature of the evidence lends itself to ease of sharing. Most reproducible tests in science are either of things readily observed by anyone with the right tools (i.e., a telescope, a microscope, a particle accelerator, etc.) or concern an object readily obtainable (a cadaver, a mineral, a tree, an ecosystem...etc.). Here, not so much. I do think the plaster casts are one of the more accessible things on my list, viewable with permission of the owner and some money for travel expenses....although the original track way is far more valuable to a scientist, and tracks are ephemeral things. You can of course make a cast-of-a-cast as well, and FedEx would be glad to oblige. Dr. Meldrum has an extensive collection of those, some of which are known hoaxes, but as far as I know, nobody with his level of credentials has rebutted his conclusions about others. His casts might be a prime candidate for publication and peer review. I have read at least one monograph by him on the subject, but I'm not able to say if this was submitted for publication, or just self-published. His thesis, accept it or not, is that track casts can serve as objective proof of the anatomical characteristics of the animal that made it. I would just say if anybody should know that, he would. I've never read any serious challenges to his qualifications as an expert on primate locomotion, and I'd presume he wouldn't have the position he holds if it were otherwise.
  13. "Offered where? What you propose already exists--it's called peer review." The problem as I see it, as I stated above, is one of equal access to forensic evidence. Without solving that, science will continue to spin its wheels.