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Debunk The Debunking

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I have some ideas for a series of conversations focused on debunking some of the more common debunking tactics/arguments with respect to everyone's favorite hairy bipedal crytid hominid.

I am interested in hearing from believers and skeptics alike which ones you would like to see discussed.

My intent is to remain as respectful as possible, I would like to minimize discussions of specific characters, or their character, and focus instead on the relative strengths and weaknesses of those arguments.

While I am sure this will be fun for believers, it could be an opportunity for skeptics to refine their arguments and rhetorical skills as well.

So what argument or tactic is of interest to you?

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Thoughts on ‘not enough habitat’

A common skeptical argument with respect to the existence of Bigfoot is that there is not enough potential habitat for a breeding population (size unknown but estimates range from several thousand to potentially tens of thousands) of large primates in the continental United States.

I have always found this to be a questionable statement at best based on my own experience and observations throughout the Midwest, Intermountain West, Desert Southwest, and Pacific Northwest, but that is still basically only anecdotal so I decided recently to dig into this a bit more and get some numbers to either back-up or disprove my belief about the vastness of our beautiful land.

I have not specifically mentioned it here before, but in addition to my work as a contract Engineer, I am a licensed Commercial Pilot who has been flying since ’87, I am also an avid motorcyclist and fourwheeling fan, lately getting into expedition wheeling. I bring these activities up because they have afforded me some great and up-close exposure to various wilderness areas over the years, as compared to just cruising the highways or flying in airliners.

I will begin by picking only states I have spent some time in, either on the ground or flying in lightplanes. For the purposes of this evaluation, I will look at New Mexico, Colorado, Utah, Arizona, California, Nevada, Oregon and Washington.

Next, I will consider what makes up potential habitat. I will start by identifying the total landmass for each of the states listed above, then identified the total wilderness areas managed by Bureau of Land Management (BLM), Fish and Wildlife Service (F&WS), National Forest Service (NFS), National Park Service (NPS), Federal Military Reservations, and State Forest Services. Admittedly, this is not going to all be ‘pure’ wilderness untouched by man, however, usage statistics exist for most of these agencies with the exception of Military Reservations that provide some insight into the level of utilization.

I also plan to consider population density for each state, to help get some idea about the number of people present, however this has some notable statistical limitations.

Looking specifically at a state like California for example, a surprisingly large amount of land is essentially uninhabited or sparsely inhabited, in direct conflict with what passes as conventional ‘wisdom’. For example, San Diego and Los Angeles counties contain nearly 40% of the population of the entire state (3.2M for San Diego and 10.4M for LA), even though they only account for 6% of the landmass (4526 sq. mi for San Diego , 4752 sq mi for LA, out of 163,696 sq. mi).

California has more than 15 million acres (23,438 sq. mi. or 14% of the landmass of the state) classified by wilderness.net/University of Montana as wilderness, and a total of 24.4M acres managed by NFS and other Federal entities, fully 23% of the state’s landmass .

And this is the most populated, 3rd largest state in the Union.

I have just started this particular evaluation, and will post updates as I make my way through a bit more.

Once all it is all put together, I will make the raw data available for others to review and use.

Edited by infoman

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Guest

Well you took the topic I was thinking about. I had done some research on statistics for the U.S. as far as urban versus rural/farm land. I don't think bigfoot necessarily limits themselves to just strictly rural areas. What I found when I looked was that the U.S.population is primarily located in urban environments. It said, "In 2002, urban land in the United States was less than 3 percent of total land area, but housed 79 percent of the U.S. population." Here is an article that defines land usage according to the U.S. census:

http://www.ers.usda.gov/publications/EIB14/eib14g.pdf

Only about 20% of the U.S. population lives in rural areas.

There are 2.3 billion acres in the United States. Here is a breakdown of how many acres are used for farming, woodlands, and conservation for 1997, 2002 and 2007 Census of Agriculture:

http://www.ers.usda.gov/statefacts/us.htm

So the argument that nothing as large as bigfoot could live in the United States without being detected doesn't ring true to me based on these statistics and comparing them to sightings maps. This is another reason I don't think the bigfoot population is as low as guesstimated. You only have a narrow percentage of the population that are mainly located in rural areas, or passing through rural areas that have sightings. That begs the question of how many sightings are legitimate? Out of every sighting that seems legitimate, for every bigfoot seen, how many are not seen?

You do occasionally get reports of bigfoot being seen on the periphery of urban areas. In those cases, I think you have to look at whether there are major waterways that pass through those urban and semi-urban areas, what kind of topography is around the city or town. Is it an urban area surrounded by rural areas? I haven't necessarily seen that noted in the all of those reports, what few there are. I can't say that I have read every report out there but reports of bigfoot sightings close to urban areas tend to get my attention more so than the rural reports because I expect them to be in rural areas.

Edited by Jodie

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Guest

I wish you luck in this endeavor, but I have to be honest: nothing you or I or any other neutral or proponent can say is going to budge the opinion of 99% of the "skeptics" on this forum one micrometer. They have their conclusion (no BF) and only a slab monkey is going to budge them from that position. Any lesser degree of evidence (inlcuding DNA unfortunately) will be deemed at best "inconclusive". Any arguement based on reason and logic will be dismissed as "ad hoc rationalizations".

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Guest RayG
So what argument or tactic is of interest to you?

Some of these will sound more like myths or excuses than arguments, but I have seen each either presented or implied by proponents over the years:

  • there is evidence of unknown primate DNA and unknown primate = bigfoot
  • there is a government/timber industry conspiracy to cover up bf's existence
  • there would have to be some sort of coordinated army of hoaxers
  • bf lives in all habitats -- forest, desert, mountains, etc. -- but leaves scant evidence of his passing
  • bf is highly secretive/reclusive and seldom seen
  • bf is frequently seen on or near highways
  • bf cannot be adequately photographed
  • bf is real because Indigenous people are describing an actual animal
  • no road kill because ___________ <-- insert excuse
  • gait of subject in PGF can't be duplicated by humans
  • no bigfoot bodies/bones are ever found because _________ <-- insert excuse
  • bf is able to detect and avoid trail cams
  • skeletal anatomy can be determined from bf footprints/cast
  • footprints/casts can't fool an expert
  • credibility/honesty can be determined by bigfoot investigator
  • no scientist has ever received grant money for bf purposes
  • dogs won't track bf
  • Teddy Roosevelt/David Thompson saw bf
  • humans couldn't possibly fake all those footprints
  • hoaxers certainly wouldn't make tracks where no one would find them
  • hoaxers are in danger of being shot, while bf is not
  • scientists refuse to look at bf
  • bf migrate
  • many people have claimed to have worn the suit in the PGF
  • no one makes money off bf
  • your occupation makes you a more reliable/credible witness/investigator
  • bf is highly intelligent, more so than any other forest creature
  • bf do not use their intelligence for 'comfort' purposes -- houses, clothing, fire, etc.

That's a start anyway.

And to address your "common skeptical argument with respect to the existence of Bigfoot is that there is not enough potential habitat for a breeding population", that's not a skeptical argument I would support.

RayG

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Guest

I wish you luck in this endeavor, but I have to be honest: nothing you or I or any other neutral or proponent can say is going to budge the opinion of 99% of the "skeptics" on this forum one micrometer. They have their conclusion (no BF) and only a slab monkey is going to budge them from that position. Any lesser degree of evidence (inlcuding DNA unfortunately) will be deemed at best "inconclusive". Any arguement based on reason and logic will be dismissed as "ad hoc rationalizations".

Why don't we try to let this thread "go with the flow", before we start making predictions.

I believe we can have a great discussion here. :)

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Guest

Why is there no fossil record of a North American primate?

I see that question a lot on here. I am not as up on all the different branches of primates that I should be to really engage in a debate about this but I did do some research on how fossilization occurs. It's a crap shoot really, and conditions have to be just right. For every fossil formed, this is just a small percentage of what actually existed and not a complete catalog by any means.

Basically what I found was that during the cretaceous period large segments of North America were covered by a shallow sea, mainly in the west coast and the southern portion of United States pretty much as far north as Kansas. There were primates located in Wyoming in the forests that existed at that time.

Fast forward to the Pleistocene era. There were 11 glacial events world wide, 4 were major events. The flora and fauna were particularly hard hit by this era in North America. During the lower Pliestocene era only the fossilized remains of Homo Erectus can be found,not complete by any means, and as I understand it, none in North America. But there is a site called The Calico Dig that is controversial and may indicate a hominid presence in North America as far back as 200,000 years ago:

http://www.calicodig.org/text

So no skull, as of yet, has been found, but that doesn't mean it isn't out there. There have been very few searches in North America for fossilized hominid remains because it is believed that we have not been here on this continent long enough to have a fossil record. Dates are being pushed back all the time. Here in my area of the country clovis points have been found on the Savannah River that date back to 40,000 BC.

Take into consideration the weather conditions and topography of North America through the ages that may not be conducive to fossil formation, the lack of research for an ancient hominid presence in North America, the limited number of hominid fossils that exist in comparison to what is estimated to have actually existed period, and the numerous missing transition fossils still yet to be found before assuming that a fossil record for a primate doesn't exist in North America. It is equally possible that it just hasn't been found yet.

Another possiblity is that if a bigfoot species still exists or existed in the recent past, and the migration theory over the Bering Strait is accurate, why would it be out of the realm of possibility that bigfoot migrated to North America just like human's did? I've never understood why that point is overlooked in the debates I've read.

That leads to the argument that no remains of a recent bigfoot have been found. That goes back to argument above that there haven't been many searches done in North America for that sole purpose, we may not be aware of what has been uncovered in times prior to the white settlement of what is now the Unites States. European and African history have a much longer record of written history and scientific endeavor than exists in the Americas, whether it ever existed or was destroyed in the process of colonization. If bigfoot exists or existed, they seem to reside in the 97% of the country where we aren't building and cultivating crops. It's not likely with those stats that you will run across any kind of hominid remains, fossilized or fresh, in my opinion.

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Guest RayG

Yes, never mind the fossil record, as you say, no remains of a recent bigfoot have ever been found. No road-kill. No nothing.

That seems to defy logic, unless one accepts that bigfoot bury/hide/dispose of their dead, though we have no evidence of that.

RayG

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Guest

RayG thanks for the suggestions and your position on the habitat argument - they are taken in the spirit in which you shared them - I'll review the list in more detail and maybe pick a few.

Jodie, thanks for your contribution as well.

I have been looking at the Black Bear population in California to draw some analogies with BF since they are similar insofar as being omnivorous mammalia megafauna. I am still pulling the information together but California F&G estimates Black Bear population is 25-30,000 animals covering roughly 52,000 square miles of habitat (1/3 of the State, and half of which is not Federal/State land). Black Bear range in size here to 400 lbs and occasionally reach 600 lbs. Treeknocker shared some suggestions for resource papers via PM that I am going to examine as well. The immediately obvious conclusion is that there appears to be more than adequate food, shelter and water for large omnivores, as well as Elk and Deer which reports suggest make up at least part of a potential BF diet.

I wanted to touch on this subject because I have done a lot of lightplane flying over the West and it has always surprised me just how wild and desolate (in terms of civilization) vast expanses of land are out here - even in a state like California which has 33 million people. I am primarily talking about AZ, CA, UT and NM here but I have also flown over WY and OR a bit and it is even more pronounced up there.

Believe me, when you are flying in a single engine lightplane you pay a lot of attention to where the nearest airport is, and what the terrain below looks like, just in case. This focus has provided the opportunity for many observations about the profoundly wild areas of the West.

The saying goes that a picture is worth a thousand words, so I have posted some photos I took on a cross country flight my daughter and I took from San Diego to our home in Albququerque a couple months ago as an example. This flight covered about 600 miles by air, and had us fly over San Diego, Phoenix and then Albuquerque, but between these population centers there were huge expanses of sparsely populated land. Some of these shots were less than 20 miles from cities with half a million or more people in them.

IMAG0073-1.jpg

IMAG0078-1.jpg

IMAG0074-1.jpg

IMAG0068.jpg

IMAG0061-1.jpg

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Guest

All efforts appreciated :) Regarding mention of possible SasQ remnants .. Rob Alley in his book talks about a hairy foot seen in a stream, that was seen by at least two different couples. Nearly recovered it but the stress and trauma of taking it to town was too much for one of the pair in ea situation. (OF COURSE ! What would you expect ? ) The other references are to a large skeleton and a jawbone found under a cliff on a hillside, all the above in SE Alaska. The fossil record for hominids seems poorly represented to me so .. why would this be any different ? Especially reflecting on how nature works with skeletons and the dynamics with the general publics take on skeletons and carcasses..and questions about rarity.

Imho, BF reports MAY reflect present day increasing population expansion. One individual could perhaps provide a series of different reports in many areas over time. With possible physical appearance changes over time who knows how many reports that one individual could be responsible for. Not having a good handle on our predators..(This is a problem in the states they are expanding into and for reasons parallel to that of our favorite mammal..) <_< Here, people often do NOT report their findings to the local game and fish agency. The anger toward them is significant. Many people are tired of being talked down to. Sound familiar ? So that suggests that other reports that are out there may never come in..

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Huntster

Yes, never mind the fossil record, as you say, no remains of a recent bigfoot have ever been found. No road-kill. No nothing.

That seems to defy logic, unless one accepts that bigfoot bury/hide/dispose of their dead, though we have no evidence of that.

There are a few other (and should be ) obvious explanations:

1) They are exceedingly rare

2) Their exposure to roads is extremely limited

3) A combination of the above............

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Guest RayG

There are a few other (and should be ) obvious explanations:

1) They are exceedingly rare

Yet supposedly there have been thousands of reported sightings/interactions/encounters.

2) Their exposure to roads is extremely limited

Yet bf is frequently seen on or near highways.

3) A combination of the above............

But isn't their rarity and limited exposure to roads undermined by these thousands of encounters, a great many of them occurring on or near roads?

RayG

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Guest Grazhopprr

One of the problems with most researchers, it seems, is that they concentrate on published "reports". This might be good to find patterns, but,,,,the vast majority of sightings and knowledge of BF, are not reported. Most of the lowlands and farm areas, have had BF living among people for centuries, but no one wants to report about it, for various reasons. The BF moves along stream and creek, between farmlands, living among farmers and ranchers, adaptive to the situations. Plenty of food still around, and plenty of stream and creek areas to hide in. It isn't just about large forests or large parklands between populations. Vast areas of farm and ranch areas, remain unexplored because, "they just can't live in that kind of area".

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xspider1

But isn't their rarity and limited exposure to roads undermined by these thousands of encounters, a great many of them occurring on or near roads?

RayG

It should be obvious even to most 'believers in Bigfoot' that most reported sitings are in fact mis-identifications and/or the result of hoaxes. That is an unfortunate characteristic of the phenomenon for sure but, it does not increase the very slim chance that the vast amount of evidence is all bad.

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Guest

Two points for Grazhopprr. Bear show up in places people cannot imagine. Why? Wildlife corridors. Guessing someone else uses them. How many make an effort to tell people they dont know.. about their experiences? What is the motivation for this? Fear, unknown..emotions. Now.. when those things are conquered.. and if everybody else knows about it..talking family members and neighbors.. who wants to deal with outsiders ?

Edited by treeknocker

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