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So Why Are The Skeptics Obsessed With Bf?


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C'mon Saskeptic, you know what I'm talking about.

I do, but I'm interested in probing this a bit, and I hope you'll indulge me. If it's interesting enough I might start a new thread.

Since at least Krantz's time, a common mantra of bigfootery is that science won't give it a fair shake. No "real" expeditions have been conducted, no scientists are willing to examine it, no journals will publish it, etc. When you look at it, however, these claims aren't exactly true.

There have been expeditions to find bigfoots. Does not Matt Moneymaker sponsor them at least monthly? He's an amateur, I know, but we have a long tradition in natural history of amateurs making important discoveries. There's nothing preventing Moneymaker and his people from doing likewise. Perhaps seen as more legitimate, there were several yeti expeditions in the 1950s and 1960s, attracting such prominent individuals as Sir Edmund Hillary, Marlin Perkins, and Jimmy Stewart. (For our younger readers, imagine John Glenn, Jeff Corwin, and George Clooney getting publicly involved in bigfoot expeditions today.) Are there not expeditions going on right now to find wildmen in Russia and China, and Orang Pendek in Sumatra? While similarly small parties went 2 for 2 in the discovery of mountain gorillas and saolas, these bigfoot, yeti, and wildman efforts have so far come up short. It's not that people haven't looked, it's that people haven't found.

What about an individual scientist being the "champion?" If I was Jeff Meldrum, I might be a little insulted by your suggestion that there's no champion. Regardless of what I might think of his work, Meldrum has been consistently willing to stick out his neck for bigfoot, as did Krantz before him. There are other scientists, including several on the list I provided, who have publicly and to their fellow scientists, made their case that bigfoot is clearly out there, or at least that it very likely could be. Heck, when Jane Goodall throws her support behind bigfoot, that's a far more visible endorsement that John Fitzpatrick proclaiming that we've got Ivory-billed Woodpeckers.

Some of the lesser-known people on the list I provided are authors of bigfooty papers that have been published over the last few years. Admittedly, some (not all) of those papers refute bigfoot evidence, but to come to their conclusions, those authors (and I just listed for you the first authors of multi-authored papers) actually had to conduct research on putative bigfoot data. They are scientists who have examined bigfoot data. Just because their analysis of that data has failed to convince them that there are real bigfoots does not mean that their work should be dismissed.

Finally, here are some of the journals that have recently published bigfoot papers: TRENDS in Ecology and Evolution, Nuclear Instruments and Methods in Physics Research, Journal of Biogeography, and Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution. I don't know about the physics journal, but the other three are big-time journals in my field, and I'd be thrilled to publish in any one of them. Doing so would absolutely advance my career. Clearly there are benefits to analyzing bigfoot data - it's not the career poison that many people seem to think. If you do good science, you can publish that work - even if it's about bigfoot. Perhaps there is no better indication of the welcoming of bigfoot analysis in mainstream journals then Henry Gee's multiple public announcements following the discovery of Homo floresiensis that he, the science editor for Nature, was very willing to consider analysis of putative extant hominid data for that most prestigious of journals.

This is, as you wrote, "what science is all about." The fact that the science has not yet led to where you expect it to should not be interpreted as the science not having happened. If you'd like to see more science devoted to the search for bigfoot, that's fine. It begins with someone making a case to the NSF or similar research funding body that it should allocate a certain amount of its resources to doing that kind of work. This is how particle accelerators get built, how distant galaxies get photographed, how people collect mosquitoes and figure out how many of them carry West Nile virus, how biofuels get squeezed out of switchgrass, etc.

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Guest HairyGreek

Ludo, I personally can't speak for anyone else. I don't see your type of skeptic bad for the board. I think it not only a neccesity to have you around, but it would really be no fun at all to come on here without skeptics. I don't thiink anyone would think critically or learn anything and that would just plain suck. I am technically a skeptic myself.

I can tell you exactly what bothers me. There are those that come here from so-called skeptics boards. If you go over there, you can see them making fun of the types of people and beliefs that are on this board. I don't think it is done in fun. I think it is done with an air of superiority and a very rude demeanor. Some of us know about them and their nasty comments and "jokes" from these other locations and it becomes very hard to remain civil with people you know have no interest in being convinced of anything. If Sas is ever proven (something I am equally completely unconvinced will ever happen), these are the types of people who will slither back in their holes and not come back out due to the overtly critical things they said.

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I would be more than happy to indulge you, Sir. Although I may not always agree with what you have to say, I'm always interested to "hear" it. I enjoy hearing the scientific point of view and, even though you are a skeptic, you are objective, reasonable and consistent. My interest here (in Bigfootery) is to see the mystery solved, once and for all. I've been around for about as long as this mystery and I would like to see it put to bed someday, regardless of the outcome. I don't have a dog in either of the hunts.

As for Mr. Moneymaker. Yes, he is out there on a regular basis. Strictly based on what I have seen, heard and read about him my opinion is that he could spend the next 50 years doing his particular form of "research" and we'll STILL be sitting here having the same discussions. While I do believe that it's entirely possible for an amatuer to solve the question, I believe that, should that wind up being the case, it's more likely to be thru luck and happenstance. There are a LOT of amateurs out there (many of them which are members here)and I'm sure a lot of them spend an extraordinary amount of time doing the research. My point in the posts was that, 50 years later and despite their best (and commendable, in my opinion) efforts, nothing has been resolved. I'm convinced that it's not a matter of talent, knowledge, drive or want to verify Sasquatch...it's a matter of resources. They HAVE found a multitude of evidence, but no proof. Science demands proof. All that I'm saying is that science is happy to sit back and discover this species thru status-quo methods. I don't believe that Sasquatch is a "status-quo" animal.....and that extraordinary circumstances require extraordinary measures. The expeditions that you refer to were conducted 40 and 50 years ago, as well. We have made huge advances in technology since then and, frustratingly to me, those searches were conducted and a much harsher (and, yes, remote) environment than, say, the PNW. Why travel to Siberia or the Himalayas? Expend the effort and the resources here where we have much more evidence and could easily narrow the search area down.

I would hope Mr. Meldrum would not be offended by my call for a champion. I hold him in pretty high regard. He has done a lot of work. I'm sure he's taken his fair share of lumps and laughter over his work, as well. As I said before, though, all of his efforts (as well as the efforts of the other scientists) have still advanced us nowhere. They have had success in that theories have been presented and evidence has been collected, but science is still holding to the "bring me a body and we'll look at it" paradigm. Once again...we're not talking about oxen or gorillas here, we're talking about a very unique creature. I am actually kind of surprised that Ms. Goodall's endorsement didn't carry a little more weight. Then again her statements were made years ago.

What I would like to see is someone (or some group) pick up the ball and lead the charge. There is a plethora of evidence out there. If the laws of probability are valid, there IS something out there. Science can't just apply it's laws when it benefits them. Scientists should also be unbiased. If someone seriously (and objectively) looked at all of the evidence I don't see how they could fail to see that it warrants investigation, and I'm talking about SERIOUS investigation. I'm not talking about a handful of amateurs running around the woods at night beating on trees, call blasting and giving Sasquatch even more reason to avoid us. I'm talking about a coordinated, concentrated, high-tech, well funded, comprehensive long term study.

edited to fix typos

Edited by BeachFoot
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How many of us are really true believers? For those of us that have seen something out there, there is varying degrees of belief. Probably this is a result of what was observed. Whether it was a track, a strange noise, a fleeting glimpse or you clearly watched it eat berries for a half an hour.

If you claim you clearly watched it eat berries for half an hour your either A) Delusional or B ) Not familiar with large mammals or C) You observed a species of Hominoid that is not documented by science.

And it's that 33% chance of something tangible, something real that keeps us all coming back for more, including Kitakaze, Saskeptic and all the rest of us.

There is also something scientific in my mind that gives it a chance as well. With the discovery of the Hobbit (Flores man), I think that really shows just how little we know about primate evolution and that nature probably has a lot of curve balls left to throw us before our knowledge of the past becomes much more complete. What's even more tantalizing is that there were oral MYTHS AND LEGENDS surrounding the Hobbit told by indigenous peoples in the region long before science ever showed up on the scene

A big plus one for indigenous knowledge.

I also had my own experience with tracks one time in my life and I have wrestled with them ever since. I have gone over and over in my mind as to what they could have been and what they were not.......by using logic and reason, I feel I was observing tracks made by a large unknown biped. In the "In the field" section of our forum I have a thread up that is titled "Selkirk Expedition", I just posted up some photos and one of them is that of a bear whose track has slid in the mud. How many people would come across that track and think it to be a Sasquatch track? If the track had not been observable in a track way with other evidence to consider I bet quite a few would think it to be something other than a bear. So tracks are not something I jummp to conclusions about easily.

All of this still boils down to one thing, where is the body? Tracks are nice, recordings are grand, pictures and video often times seem more trouble than what they are worth. (Quick tangent) Sas and I often argue about the value of footage, I recently got some bear footage on my stealth cam and I will post it at some point this winter. (My internet connection with wild blue is pretty slow but thinking about switching to verizon) The point Iam trying to make is that I couldn't convince anyone it's a Bear anymore than a Squatch, because it's three short videos of something black and hairy messing with the camera. Why the **** camera doesn't turn on until the Bear is right on top of it? I have no idea......as I'm positive the Bear isn't sneaking up on the camera. And YES it's a bear, I see his tracks and observed his scat......its a black Bear to be sure. Anyhow most 200 dollar hunter style cameras suck balls unless your taking pictures of something dim witted enough to simply stand there and chew it's cud and dully stare at the camera while it's picture is being taken. Although I'm sure there is some hunter out there with beautiful pictures of bears frolicing in their natural state in front of his game camera......in which case I simply hate you (not really). When I get some money ahead, I'll attempt to purchase something better, as I've read the manual over and over and have the el cheapo set to it's fastest trigger time.

But back to the body.......most amatuer Bigfooters? Are not in the game to recover a body unless it grew old and died of a heart attack or could no longer gum it's food to death (good luck finding one not scavenged and scattered behind identification). If your Bigfoot club sees dozens or hundreds of these creatures every year? And you are not proactive in putting one on the ground? Then your simply not in the business of proving it's existence in my mind at least. Science requires a body....it clearly states that. Nobody is moving the goal posts anywhere. It may be messy or immoral or distasteful in some of your minds but there it is.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Type_(biology)

Let's freakin KILL ONE and be done with it, then we can pass legislation to help PROTECT it.

I'm a hunter.......with that said I do not covet great apes hanging on my wall or a rug on my floor. Nor do I have a culinary taste for Squatch stew. But with a hunter mindset what I'm pursuing must be something tangible.....something that eats, breathes, poops and procreates. No matter how rare the animal. Too often with true believers what I hear is something supernatural or illogical to explain away why humans cannot close the deal with one. I've heard that it's smarter than humans, that it shape shifts, reads minds, changes dimensions, or that they catch rides in UFOs. In my mind at least they take one very hard to prove mystery and start dogpiling even harder mysteries (borderline fantasy) to prove on top of it.

And even if Squatch IS catching rides in UFOs he is still freakin fair game while he is on the ground plodding around. :)

But don't go out there with your milky way bar and your video camera and expect to prove anything to science. If your trying to prove something to yourself all is good and well. And I'm sure your video will give all of us crazy people who follow this subject closely SOMETHING to talk about!!!

Anyhow I think most of us are in varying degrees skeptical in one way or another. A few of us saw something definitive with our own two eyes, a few of us have a religious type of belief in the creature and a few of us find the idea so stupid that they will never consider it until they see on in the zoo.

Edited by Art1972
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Guest HairyGreek

Cervelo, I thought you got mad at the general's "shooting a bigfoot" Sierra Kills story. Have you changed your stance?

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I'm a skeptic. I love the idea of bigfoot and I dearly want it to exist. The reports fascinate me, as do many of the images, the track casts and some of the audio recordings. I'm not here to mock or feel superior. I'm here because I'm captivated by bigfoot and the possibility that it's real. But as I say, I'm an utter skeptic. I'm proof it's possible to be this and to find bigfoot enthralling. I'm not closed-minded or blinkered - there's a point where I would be convinced that the animal exists. I'm not there at the moment, though.

Being skeptical doesn't mean being immovable or stubborn or choosing to occupy some high-ground from which to deride others. It's also not personal. But I sense it does become so for some believers, simply because, to reduce it right down, they're saying they've seen something, and the skeptics are replying that they don't believe the something they saw exists. The implication is that the witness is wrong (nobody likes to be wrong), lying (nobody likes to be called a liar) or possibly deliberately misled (nobody likes to be gullible). For such people it's a personal attack and that's that.I'd be upset if most people on the BFF thought that skeptics were poisoning the BFF well. It simply isn't true that skeptics can't, or for some reason shouldn't have a genuine interest in bigfoot. I really think they're not here to persuade anyone that the animal doesn't exist or to ridicule those who have had encounters or do otherwise believe. I do understand that it looks like they (we) are perverse for visiting and posting on a site like this but I think most are here because the subject is simply fascinating.

I also do not think this can be helped. There are those that saw it while trying to go about their daily lives and they feel victimized when people debate if such a creature CAN exist. For them they are already past that question of "can exist"......it DOES exist.

For somebody like me that only saw tracks? I'm not so full of myself that I cannot consider the possibility that my conclusion is WRONG. I question my own experience and replay what I observed, so I'm my own best skeptic.

But for all of the stories I hear from witnesses? I remain polite and non confrontational no matter how strange or bizarre the story (at least I hope I have). Some stories are very compelling and some are straight from the twilight zone. Either way I think it's important that if we want people to share their experiences with us, then we must at least be accepting and cordial to these people no matter what our own opinions are.

And really for the most part on this forum I feel that people do a good job of this. Yes discussions can get heated, but overall a good job by all.

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Let's freakin KILL ONE and be done with it, then we can pass legislation to help PROTECT it.

Heck, some skeletal remains or something/anything resembling physical proof would set the scientific world on fire.

But as those claiming to be "in the know," what do I know? I'm a mere armchair jealous researcher.

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Heck, some skeletal remains or something/anything resembling physical proof would set the scientific world on fire.

But as those claiming to be "in the know," what do I know? I'm a mere armchair jealous researcher.

Yes but as a hunter (and I think I can speak for most hunters) I can tell the difference between a Bear and a Sasquatch through a rifle scope.

I CANNOT how ever tell the difference between a Bear toe bone and a Squatch toe bone. I could make out what a complete Squatch skeleton was but finding something whole at least in my corner of the woods is more remote than the question of Squatch itself.

With that said, this is obviously the preferrable way to collect a type specimen.....I just don't hold out much hope in this method, at least not by amateurs.

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Guest HairyGreek

@Norseman - Do you think an accomplished hunter would be able to correctly identify a decently sized peice of flesh with hair on it that had been shot off an animal?

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There is a huge difference between being skeptical and being a skeptic. Some folks treat science as a religion and some have become quite evangelical in their thinking. They seem to be on a crusade to make converts of all the "romantics" and make "critical thinkers" of them.

Do they fear young boys and girls and impressionable people being led astray by our fanciful tales?

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Your question from post 168: "Could you share with us the reports you do not consider erroneous?"

From post 172, my direct response to your question:

"Obviously, there are no anecdotal accounts of bigfoot that I "accept." Given that the reports are anecdotal, however, there are almost none that I can refute, and neither can anyone else refute them. We may be a little more skeptical based on specific details of the encounter - let's say a dumpster-diving bigfoot in an urban area - but what I'm talking about is more broadly geographical.

I just checked the BFRO database. There are 218 accounts listed for Ohio. When I approach this phenomenon and try to come to a better understanding of what I'm trying to evaluate, my only source is to read what proponents have to say about bigfoot. One thing they say is that, on at least 218 different occasions, these creatures have been encountered in the Buckeye State. I don't have to accept all 218 accounts to conclude that if bigfoot is real then some of them live in Ohio."

If you are going to accuse me of intellectual dishonesty, please at least have the courtesy of reading my responses.

In other news, I've probably posted 1000 times on the BFF 1.0 and 2.0 that I will remain unconvinced of a physical bigfoot until such a time that someone collects a physical bigfoot. That's the standard required for the description of a new species, it has been that standard since the mid-18th Century, and I see no justification for relaxing that standard in the case of bigfoot. You must be confusing me with someone else.

I'm accusing you of semantic footsie..........I asked you what reports you did not consider erroneous. I don't consider all reports to be anecdotal in nature. The Patterson-Gimlin film is one such example. Reports including physical evidence like footprints would be another example. Perhaps you classify these a separate category and that is why there is some confusion.

So, to rephrase the question: From the sum total of bigfoot/sasquatch reports, which do you not consider erroneous?

edited for punctuation

Edited by John T
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Guest HairyGreek

There is a huge difference between being skeptical and being a skeptic. Some folks treat science as a religion and some have become quite evangelical in their thinking.

I believe dogmatic would be a better word here.

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