Sasquatch Coffee

Is Bigfoot “Bad” Science?

Posted by: Craig Woolheater on May 22nd, 2007

In the post here on Cryptomundo regarding Ben Radford’s review of Jeff Meldrum’s book, Sasquatch: Legend Meets Science, Ben mentions his having just returned from Pocatello, and the fact that he met with Meldrum.

Here are some additional details of that meeting published last week in the Idaho State Journal.

Is bigfoot “bad” science?

POCATELLO – The editor of Skeptical Inquirer magazine, Benjamin Radford, worries valuable research dollars are being wasted on topics such as the Loch Ness Monster, Bigfoot, UFOs and little green men.

Radford is convinced such researchers damage the name of science by studying fiction and calling it fact.

But Jeff Meldrum, a leading expert on Bigfoot and an associate professor of anthropology and anatomy at Idaho State University, takes exception to Radford’s label for his work – “bad science.”

The skeptic and the believer traded arguments Thursday night at the Pond Student Union ballroom after Radford concluded a speech delving into the harm that can be done when impostors are treated as the equals of scientists by the public.

About 50 people attended the speech, organized by ISU biology staff members and others.

Radford said he’s seen far too many people dedicate their lives to unworthy causes, only to retire after unfulfilled careers.

“It’s not what’s possible, it’s what’s probable,” Radford said during his 45-minute talk. “These things deal with empirical questions. Either it is or it is not. Either Bigfoot exists, or he does not exist.”

Radford noted many people believe in ghosts, aliens and other natural phenomena because they often misunderstand what science is. They consider personal anecdotes to be evidence which supports their claims supporting the existence of monsters and UFOs.

However, these stories cannot be taken seriously because people don’t take scientific considerations into account, such as control groups, validity, or the scientific method, Radford argued.

But Meldrum sees no reason why anecdotes should be so easily dismissed. Many Sasquatch sightings and stories have been reported by knowledgeable and experienced experts, such as forest rangers, veterinarians and wildlife biologists.

Regardless of the reported sightings, Radford claims that the evidence for Bigfoot is no better now than it was five, ten, or even 50 years ago.

Sasquatch enthusiasts argue that better evidence would exist if there were more money and more opportunity for research, Radford said.

“Research should follow good evidence and not the other way around,” Radford said.

Last year, Radford came to the Bigfoot conference at Idaho State University hoping to see new evidence, but instead found that a film from 1967 was still being analyzed as one of the most supporting pieces of evidence.

Another supposedly new piece of evidence was that of a body print found in the woods believed to have been left by a Bigfoot. Radford believes that the print could just as easily have been left by a kneeling elk.

Responding during the question-and-answer session of the speech, Meldrum asked Radford what constituted evidence to him. Radford answered that evidence should be tangible and testable. There have been no Bigfoot bones found or anything more concrete than an ambiguous print in mud, the skeptic said.

Even the 1967 film offers evidence to Meldrum. Every time the film is studied, Meldrum said something new comes up.

Furthermore, he said he and other scientists have compared the Bigfoot print – he notes it was actually found in clay – with a print from a kneeling elk.

They didn’t match.

When the elk print was made, Meldrum said Radford asked to see it but was denied access due to his lack of expertise.

Meldrum notes his research on Bigfoot is just one facet of his larger research at ISU. His main emphases are human locomotion and bipedalism.

If Bigfoot does exist, Meldrum said it would help humans to learn more about themselves, as well as the North American ape.

And if it doesn’t exist?

Meldrum still feels that his studies will have had a purpose – helping to prove that Bigfoot doesn’t exist is worthwhile, in his estimation, too.

Whether Bigfoot is real or not, and whether it is “bad” science or “good” science, the legendary creature is still leaving footprints on today’s scientific world. – Idaho State Journal
May 18, 2007

About Craig Woolheater
Co-founder of Cryptomundo in 2005. I have appeared in or contributed to the following TV programs, documentaries and films: OLN's Mysterious Encounters: "Caddo Critter", Southern Fried Bigfoot, Travel Channel's Weird Travels: "Bigfoot", History Channel's MonsterQuest: "Swamp Stalker", The Wild Man of the Navidad Destination America's Monsters and Mysteries in America: Texas Terror - Lake Worth Monster, Animal Planet's Finding Bigfoot: Return to Boggy Creek and Beast of the Bayou.


129 Responses to “Is Bigfoot “Bad” Science?”

  1. Ceroill responds:

    Craig, thanks for this enlargement on the information. Interesting.

  2. fuzzy responds:

    Ho Hummm… same old apples/oranges, square peg/round hole nonsense.

    Why can’t we recognize the differences between the anecdotal and empirical sciences, and accept that it’s gonna take a lot of work – or luck – to accumulate enough data to bring Sasquatch from the one to the other, instead of performing all this macho posturing and chest pounding?

    Sounds simple to me.

  3. Daniel Loxton responds:

    Furthermore, [Meldrum] said he and other scientists have compared the Bigfoot print…with a print from a kneeling elk.

    They didn’t match.

    When the elk print was made, Meldrum said Radford asked to see it but was denied access…

    This item stands out for me. To cite evidence but deny critics the chance to examine it would be very shady practice. I hope this part of this news story is in error.

  4. elsanto responds:

    I agree with Daniel Loxton’s point. That section of the article was unsettling. On the other hand, the individual screaming, “It could have been made by a kneeling elk,” should be prepared to support his claim with solid evidence as well. Could Radford, being an “expert” on what consists good science, not have devised a process to explore and prove or disprove his hypothesis?

    Even so, he should have been given access to Dr. Meldrum’s print, I think…

    Just my two cents.

  5. elsanto responds:

    A couple more cents:

    Is it not the application of scientific principle and methodology that determines “good” or “poor” science, rather than the subject to which one is applying scientific method?

    I also have to reject Radford’s dismissal of anecdotal evidence — in so doing, he dismisses all the social sciences, does he not?

  6. shovethenos responds:

    The thing is “anecdotal” evidence IS evidence. When ornithologists see an Ivory-billed Woodpecker it is considered evidence, it is just evidence that needs to be confirmed if it can be. The same thing holds true for other animals for which sightings are reported. And of course the more people that see something at the same time, the more credible that evidence is – when a whole car, ferry, or campsite full of people have the same sighting it has much stronger evidentiary value.

    With some of the knee-jerk skeptics you just have to sit back and point out the problems with their arguments. There are more cameras out there than ever before, and technology is improving all the time. Eventually some of the cryptids that do exist will be documented.

  7. silvereagle responds:

    Just give me Radford for one evening. I think I know how to take care of a card carrying Bigfoot skeptic. Or perhaps I should just leave it up to the Bigfoot. They may have some pretty good ideas as well. The only question will be, how many times he has to change his underwear.

  8. springheeledjack responds:

    Point 1)

    Radford talking about damaging science by studying fiction and calling it fact.

    It’s only fiction to him. IT is his opinion, and strictly his opinion that it is fiction, but it is not fact. Anyone here look back into history and see how many discoveries have happened in science, in any field, where researchers started with an idea/hypothesis/possibility, AND discovered something new. Happens all the time. Going out on a new avenue of discovery always brings naysayers and those who do not want to accept new ideas.

    Point 2)

    Valuable research dollars are wasted on these Crypto-topics.

    According to whom? Ben Radford? There are plenty of other people out here, and at this site and in my home to name a few that think money and time put into the science of Cryptozoology is a very worthwhile thing indeed. How many discoveries of new species happened last year? No, Ben I don’t think that is fiction. There was a turtle just last week, new deep sea critters, and new species are popping up every day. So don’t tell me it’s all fiction, and don’t tell me money is being wasted–why do you waste so much money and time naysaying on this. Wouldn’t your money and time be better spent pursuing topics you do find worthwhile?

    Point 3)

    “Radford said he’s seen far too many people dedicate their lives to unworthy causes, only to retire after unfulfilled careers.”

    How the heck does he know their careers were unfulfilled and who is he to judge what is an unworthy cause. That is my BIGGEST problem with people like Radford…they think they know what is best for everyone and think they know what everyone else should be doing and meddle in others lives by telling them so, when they should be pursuing their own interests.

    For the sake of argument, if BF, Loch Ness and others are all hokum, then who cares? What’s it to Ben if I waste my time looking into the mysteries? It hurts absolutely no one, and it’s my own time. Same goes for scientists, researchers and other Cryptozoologists who want to spend their time on it. Wasting dollars? Seriously, how much money is going into these campaigns?

    Not so much that it is sucking dry other areas of research–I do not see the pharmaceutical companies wringing their hands because research money is drying up in favor of Loch Ness projects, and NASA is hardly being crunched because of the various BF organizations horning in on their action.

    Get REAL Ben…that’s a big load of invalid argument looking for a place to happen.

    POINT 4)

    Good Science vs. Bad Science

    Again, another example of what I call “Science as religion.”

    When people start deciding based on their own personal beliefs what makes scientific exploration “good” and “bad”, then it is not only limited in thinking, but it is trying to force one’s own ideas on others just because you are threatened or afraid of what is being researched.

    I said it before: if we want to research BF and Loch NEss and spend our hard earned money toward it, what’s it to you? Ben should put his money and time toward the things he thinks should be researched and quit wasting his time and energy and money fighting against a group of Cryptozoologists that aren’t going away.

    Because Cryptozoology is not going away. With the Internet, the Crypto-community has gotten stronger and more organized, with sites like Cryptomundo. We have the capability to share information and talk about all of these topics that are dear to us. We have the ability to contact organizations that are out there hunting for cryptids and yes, to give some of our hard earned money toward those endeavors when we can’t actually go hunting ourselves.

    Whatever, I personally find the topic of Cryptozoology very valid, not to mention fascinating and entertaining. Through my investigations into lake critters, I have actually expanded my knowledge of science–I have read more on zoology, geology, paleantology, herpetology just to name a few, in order to try to better understand what the possibilities may be.

    And I suspect most of you on this site have done similar things. So Cryptozoology hardly leads us away from science or the scientific process…because in actuality it leads us to it.

  9. alanborky responds:

    Craig, in response to the assertion, better Sasquatch evidence’d be provided with more money, etc., Ben Radford states, “Research should follow good evidence and not the other way around,” adding, “It’s not what’s possible, it’s what’s probable”.

    Which is to say, gi’me the evidence, not your theories!

    However, the other sceptical manoeuvre, when confronted with ‘unacceptable’ data, (viz Halton Arp’s anomalous Red Shift observations, etc.), is to demand such observations be accompanied by an ‘acceptable’ explanation before the observations’ll even be considered.

    Which is to say, gi’me your theory, not your evidence!

    But setting aside the issue of playing a game where the rules keep changing, Ben Radford also states, “These things deal with empirical questions. Either it is or it is not. Either Bigfoot exists, or he does not exist.”

    But if we were to follow the peculiar logic behind that statement, not to mention the earlier mentioned, “Research should follow good evidence and not the other way around,” as well as, of course, “It’s not what’s possible, it’s what’s probable”, then all the decades and vast sums of money spent on researching hypothetical phenomena like dark matter and gravitons’d be immediately brought to a permanent halt.

    In addition, the sort of research which led to, for instance, the detection of black holes, pulsars and, indeed, extraterrestial planets all over the show’d never’ve been permitted.

  10. shumway10973 responds:

    All in all, big foot and all other cryptids are “bad science” as much as “theological evolution” (where someone has ideas that can’t be proven, but gets taught as fact). I thought it interesting the interviewer is from the skeptical inquirer magazine. There are other scientific endevours he could go after, such as dark matter. We are spending millions, maybe even billions, in search of something that neither can be proven or even needs to be there. Same can be said for just about any research going on today. Most are looking for something without any real evidence ahead of time and the “evidence” they come up with is so vague that most people just go, “okay, you are the expert” and never question how they came up with their conclusions. At least big foot, loch ness and several other cryptids have had sightings. There are witnesses that will attest to having seen them. That is better than most “conventional” accepted “science”. All I want to find are the facts, even if it rocks the boat. Does this magazine’s readers also believe the world is flat?

  11. alanborky responds:

    P.S.

    Jeff Meldrum’s use of the supposed elk print to buttress his own position, while at the same time refusing Ben Radford permission to see it, (supposedly because of his lack of expertise), smacks of exactly the same dubious manoeuvring normally associated with the sort of ‘proof’ skeptopaths use to ‘demolish’ their opponents.

    Not good, not good at all.

  12. UKCryptid responds:

    Not only hypocritical in places but false in many as well. What people tend to do is find what they feel is a potential kink in any research then try and make it 10 times bigger than it is and then hope nobody notices. Just the very fact that he raised the anecdotal evidence situation instantly proves that this persons word is no different to the ufologists, bigfoot hunters etc etc, that he has just made out to be wastes of funding. Nobody can deny the existence of some one thing thousands, maybe even millions have seen. In all of the cases he provided, one could probably find enough in there to match the amount of evidence needed to convict someone in a UK or US court.

  13. kamoeba responds:

    I would have bought into Radford’s view if he had said that the money used to fund cryptid research would be better off used to research a cure for cancer, to feed the homeless, or something of that nature. Or if he had said that funding the likes of Tom Biscardi and his ilk should be cut because they are more interested in self-promotion than to scientifically examine evidence of cryptids. But to ignore something because it’s possible but not probable, I don’t think that’s “good” science.

  14. DWA responds:

    Now HERE is a telling quote, Ben.

    “Radford said he’s seen far too many people dedicate their lives to unworthy causes, only to retire after unfulfilled careers.”

    Wouldn’t be referring to oneself now, would one?

    And here’s Mr. Lends Legitimacy to the Bigfoot Search. True colors are always refreshing to see.

  15. DWA responds:

    And I do have to add:

    GREAT COMMENTS here. Man, I thought mine was gonna be first. You all really got on this! :-D

  16. DWA responds:

    and because there’s so much good stuff up here:

    I think this blog more than any other points out how very little Ben Radford understands about science and the way it’s done in the real world that the rest of us live in.

    His theory actually is that we should only research WHAT WE ALREADY KNOW. As has been pointed out here, we wouldn’t know about our own solar system, much less the others we’ve found, and we’d still be afraid to sail off the edge of the world, if people like Radford defined what was real.

    I know flat-earthers when I smell them.

    And I suppose I should add in the interest of fairness: Ben should have been allowed to look at the Skookum cast. It would have been an excellent opportunity for him to make a fool of himself.

    One more suggestion: you wanna fund a worthwhile endeavor in crypto? Fund silvereagle and Radford, together in the field, as silvereagle suggests. Only silvereagle: let’s shoot for the moon here. I say a WEEK. If you and the Bigfoot can endure that long.

  17. elsanto responds:

    DWA, that is a CAPITAL suggestion! I’d be all for it!

  18. DWA responds:

    I’m sorry, forgive me. So many holes, my arms are getting tired!

    ————–

    Ben Radford also states, “These things deal with empirical questions. Either it is or it is not. Either Bigfoot exists, or he does not exist.”

    ————–

    This makes many of the other things Ben says rather inexplicable. Like focusing on the personalities in the search, and a few dubious pieces of evidence, rather than the whole picture. Like saying that every day that passes by without the sas’s discovery increases the probability that the animal doesn’t exist, as if the passage of time or our perceptions have anything to do with the existence of things outside of them.

    And most especially this: Like setting himself up as the Bigfoot Existence Committee. Ben, Ben, Ben. THE ANIMAL EXISTS, OR NOT, REGARDLESS WHAT YOU THINK. Didn’t you, um, just say that? The proponents got there decades ago. There’s still room for you, man.

    And maybe this is why Meldrum indeed misstepped, if he didn’t allow Radford access to the Skookum cast. There was no reason to exclude him; not only could the proponents of that cast’s authenticity blow any of Radford’s so-called counterarguments away like a spent cinder, but his thoughts have no bearing on the topic, one way or another. Either the critter exists or he doesn’t.

    Me, I’m an interested (and informed) bystander. I just can’t be bothered with the likes of Radford. Their utter lack of curiosity about the universe leaves me cold; they’re timewasters except to hone my typing speed and touch up the ol’ rapier. I joust with him for fun and for the general traffic in ideas that all of our pinging off him generates, not because I take him so seriously, personally.

    But he’s a real problem to people like Meldrum, who have trouble pulling forces to their side because any potential allies in this search have to surf the Radfordites as the price of entry, and they’d rather just look quietly for new marmosets and not be bothered by the hoi polloi. I can have fun with Ben. Serious sas researchers, though, see him and his ilk, and rightly, as a barrier to serious science. To them the Skeptical Inquirer looms as the vanguard of the great unwashed public, unleashed to pass unwarranted and uncalled for judgment on topics they don’t know a thing about.

    So I can sorta get Meldrum barring Radford from the cast. He must have just thought, who needs more noise from this guy?

    But maybe a public undressing of a scoftic is what the field needs more than anything right now. Just a thought.

  19. sasquatch responds:

    Who cares about the “skookum print”? I’ve never thought much of it; First of all, their was no unknown hairs found there (correct me if wrong about this) and I’ve never thought that a bigfoot would timidly lay in the mud and r-r-e-e-a-c-ch over to grab an apple. They boldly walk right up to peoples porches and steal boxes of apples and meat from freezers (supposedly)! Another thing -why didn’t they point a game camera at the the area surrounding the apples? DUH! Lay a trap with no trap? huh? We don’t need the skookum cast-We’ve got a color film of a sasquatch! And it’s been totally available for research and study for 40 YEARS! No-one’s succesfully debunked it and the only real scientific scrutiny it’s undergone has come out on the “REAL” side.

  20. Benjamin Radford responds:

    It’s interesting that my talk was about 45 minutes long, only about 5 or 10 of which was spent discussing Bigfoot. That was not the central issue, and I can hardly be blamed for not discussing it in-depth. Nor am I to blame for the reporter’s characterizations of my talk, which some here (see SpringheeledJack’s comments) are criticizing me for.

    For example, in one of DWA’s latest misunderstandings, he wrote:

    “Now HERE is a telling quote, Ben.

    “Radford said he’s seen far too many people dedicate their lives to unworthy causes, only to retire after unfulfilled careers.”

    Actually that’s a quote from the reporter, not me, so I don’t know how “telling” it is…

  21. Benjamin Radford responds:

    “I said it before: if we want to research BF and Loch Ness and spend our hard earned money toward it, what’s it to you? ”

    Once again, that’s not what I said. If you’d heard my speech (which I’m not blaming anyone for not doing, but at least recognize that you are reacting and responding NOT to anything I said or wrote, but a reporter’s condensed and summarized interpretation and version of what I said), you’d know that I agree with this. I don’t have any problem at all with people spending their time or money looking for cryptids, I think it’s great.

  22. Benjamin Radford responds:

    kamoeba wrote: “But to ignore something because it’s possible but not probable, I don’t think that’s “good” science. ”

    I agree, and I have NEVER suggested that anyone ignore Bigfoot or Bigfoot research…

  23. Benjamin Radford responds:

    sasquatch asks, “Who cares about the “skookum print”?”

    Jeff Meldrum does, for one! He thinks it’s just about the best evidence… if you have doubts, take it up with him!

  24. DWA responds:

    Wow, things-in-the-woods, you were right about Ben!

    But let’s pull a Ben here. Note that I never said that BEN said what I quoted above. But the reporter said Ben said it! Did Ben say it, or didn’t he? Isn’t that the critical point?

    THIS IS SO BEN! “I just pooped all over Bigfoot. But I only took five minutes doing it. And that’s the reporter saying what I said; that’s not ME…”

    That’s kind of our point, Ben. You not only say nothing that you can stand by for five minutes…and keep right on saying it… but you spend almost no time on it. What qualifies you to even talk about it? And you still haven’t answered the best question I’ve seen on this thread: if it’s pointless…why do you spend so much time (even the almost-nothing that you do spend is, trust me, way too much) contributing NOTHING to it but interference and catcalling?

    [OK, that one's sharp...next rapier...]

  25. springheeledjack responds:

    DWA, case in point, set, match, etc…

    Exactly…Radford will never pin down in text anything he believes or does not believe because then it can be scrutinized, picked apart, etc…and much easier to dance around positions without having to actually take a stand on something.

    Also, that is what sets the Crypto community apart from the scoftics…we take our lumps and keep right on searching and researching.

  26. MultipleEncounters responds:

    Mr. Radford,

    You and I have never engaged in a conversation before here or elsewhere. You truly do need to spend a few days and nights where one of the more experienced reserved bf researchers conduct research. Your experience will surely cure your skepticism FOREVER. You would need to have an open mind, and yes maybe some extra shorts. But unless you are willing to take such steps in examining what you debate about, then I’m not really sure how you can rightly speak authoritively on the subject.

    Dave Rodriguez
    Springfield, Oregon

  27. Benjamin Radford responds:

    ps. I never said or wrote that “Bigfoot is bad science,” as this piece is titled. My problem is that much of the “science” brought to bear on Bigfoot is clearly flawed, but the topic itself is not.

  28. Benjamin Radford responds:

    Dave says: “You truly do need to spend a few days and nights where one of the more experienced reserved bf researchers conduct research. Your experience will surely cure your skepticism FOREVER….But unless you are willing to take such steps in examining what you debate about, then I’m not really sure how you can rightly speak authoritively on the subject.”

    Actually, I have spent a fair amount of time in wilderness areas where Bigfoot have been reported. I have also spent more time in the field doing lake monster research than just about anyone else, so I don’t think that my skepticism comes from a lack of field experience.

  29. Benjamin Radford responds:

    Springheeled Jack and DWA think that “Radford will never pin down in text anything he believes or does not believe because then it can be scrutinized, picked apart, etc…and much easier to dance around positions without having to actually take a stand on something.”

    I don’t dance around the topics at all; I think I have been very clear about where I stand, but my position is a nuanced one. Maybe DWA and others prefer their positions black and white, but there is very little in BF that is black and white. The sort of “either/or” thinking is more suited to schoolyards.

    DWA admits he doesn’t read any skeptical arguments, so how would he know what I think?

    Which question, exactly, are you confused about my position on? I’ll be happy to clarify.

  30. MultipleEncounters responds:

    Ben says: “Actually, I have spent a fair amount of time in wilderness areas where Bigfoot have been reported. ……….., so I don’t think that my skepticism comes from a lack of field experience.”

    Then you may not know what you are doing out in the field in respect to these creatures. Simply going where bigfoot have been reported does not a bigfoot make. I really don’t think you understand what is actually required Ben, because if you did, you would not be taking the same podium you have been.

  31. Benjamin Radford responds:

    “Then you may not know what you are doing out in the field in respect to these creatures. Simply going where bigfoot have been reported does not a bigfoot make. I really don’t think you understand what is actually required Ben, because if you did, you would not be taking the same podium you have been.”

    Okay, Dave, what’s actually required? You apparently have much more field experience than I do… what do you have to do to get good quality Bigfoot evidence?

    Which of your field expeditions brought back Bigfoot teeth, bones, hair, or other evidence? What are some of your successes?

  32. DWA responds:

    Ben, you don’t read anything, apparently, including my posts. I’ve thoroughly dissected your stuff. And I’ve put my dissections up, right here. How do you think I know you so well?

    And as to this: “Which question, exactly, are you confused about my position on? I’ll be happy to clarify.”

    I want to know what your POSITION is. Here’s my intensely nuanced, multicolored postion, in a nutshell: I’m a skeptic on the sasquatch. I, not you, am what a true skeptic sounds like. I am skeptical on all strains of thought on this animal, pro, con, and on the fence. Until the sasquatch is documented, nothing can be assumed. There is not a position on the existence of the sasquatch I do not question, strongly.

    Except this. This is utterly unquestionable: the evidence presented for the sasquatch is so compelling that no truly objective scientist can give it even as much review as I have and not come out for further research, if he’s being honest.

    What’s yours, Ben?

    I suspect that your response to this will be more suited to a schoolyard. Or as springheeled jack places it, a dance floor.

    You haven’t disappointed me yet.

  33. Rick Noll responds:

    I actually like Ben Radford’s lake monster book. Wish they would have done a little more experimenting but it was a good effort. But I also see that it came from a slanted view point. It seemed that every case presented in it bolstered only the authors.

    For once I would like to see science in one of these books about cryptids. You start with the authors premise and then go seek out observations made by others, reporting all things, change the premise a bit to fit those and then do experimentation and refine once again. I think this would make a very strong case and there was a hint of this in the book when some observations could not be accounted for by the author’s theory.

    This article though… tsk, tsk, tsk.

    During the conference I video interviewed Ben about the book for over an hour on his theories, Bigfoot and generally the cryptid biz. He seemed to have his head on his shoulders then and had some very good answers.

    This article could have been more balanced with a panel of writers consisting of a neutral person, with no prior knowledge, someone who is a proponent of the creature and one who is not. Oh and force them all to really read the book. It just seemed that each of them were taken to task in the book and had to counterpoint it.

    Maybe Ben was a little miffed sharing the article, slash, commentary, slash book review with others. Just not his style.

  34. Benjamin Radford responds:

    I agree with Rick that the article left something to be desired; in fact, the reporter did not even speak to me. All the quotes were from my talk, which is okay I guess, but left no chance to clarify or correct anything!

    As for the book review, I’m not sure that getting the “man on the street” opinion is best. Usually we look for people who are knowledgeable about the topic to comment, which is what we did. Daegling, an anthropology expert, talked about his field. Ditto with Matt Crowley and others.

    I fully agree we need less shouting at each other, and more discussion and debate. I spoke with Jeff Meldrum a few days ago, and he’d also like that. Hopefully we can arrange that at a future Bigfoot conference.

  35. Benjamin Radford responds:

    “Maybe Ben was a little miffed sharing the article, slash, commentary, slash book review with others. Just not his style.”

    Oh, and I wasn’t “miffed” at sharing anything, in fact it was my idea to invite Daegling, Dennett, and Crowley to co-write the review.

  36. MultipleEncounters responds:

    To clarify a few things about myself, I only decided to begin ‘researching’ sasquatch last year, mainly because of the various encounters I have had with them over the decades. My last visual encounter was 3 years ago while deer hunting. He came loudly through the timber and cut me off on the trail at dusk. The only way to my vehicle was to approach him even closer, I sidestepped my way past him within a distance of 22′ and calmly spoke to him, with my rifle pointed in his direction as I passed. He just stood there and observed me, never acting aggressive but he was apparently perturbed that I was hunting in his territory. Did I take pictures? Hell no, I was so afraid you cannot possibly comprehend, nor did I have a camera. Even if I did under such close proximity, I would not have even tried. That encounter almost kept me out of the woods for life, but then I just decided to never go back to that place again. Until a year ago, where that has become my research location and has yielded many interactions with them. Some documented in recordings, some not.

    I do my research in the daytime, I like having a small amount of control of my environment. I’ve never even done the night thing alone but know people who do. No expeditions here, I’m a seasoned hunter who simply knows his environment. No bones, no teeth, but several good audio recordings and tangible evidence in the field which they leave. I go out alone because it makes me less threatening and have come very close numerous times. Just yesterday I heard a wood knock and got some new recordings. Where I research, there were no people but me.

    Trying to explain to you here in this forum how it is done is not possible. There is no written method that can be taught to someone without sufficient field savvy. You either have to know how it is done or be with someone who does. Some like myself are lucky enough to be self taught thru experience. It’s like big game hunting for a specific species, you can’t explain how to do it in a few short paragraphs. So while you want me to corner myself in not being able to explain how it is done, or provide you that solid evidence, it would be you who would be required to engage yourself beyond what you have.

    Of course, as with the core part of this discussion, if I had sufficient financial resources, I COULD provide much more evidence. Yeah, myself like a few others here, know where and how to find them. But affording the proper equipment is my biggest barrier. But maybe that is generally what you oppose, more resources towards research?

    Time for my shower, will check in after. Ben, if you are at all honest with yourself in this matter, you would need to engage yourself much more then it sounds like you ever have in order to learn the facts. You won’t be satisfied here.

  37. Benjamin Radford responds:

    Hi Dave

    ” if I had sufficient financial resources, I COULD provide much more evidence. Yeah, myself like a few others here, know where and how to find them. But affording the proper equipment is my biggest barrier. But maybe that is generally what you oppose, more resources towards research?”

    That’s always the argument, if only… if only there was more money… if only more people were looking… if only scientists paid attention… if only this, if only that. With all due respect, these are excuses, and poor ones at that.

    I don’t oppose more resources toward research, just don’t use my tax dollars for it. There are plenty of rich benefactors; Tom Slick did quite a bit. Besides, you don’t need money to find Bigfoot, just some free time and a good pair of boots. Hit the trails, find a live or dead one, and the mystery will be solved..

    Anyway, you have to get a shower, and I have to get to work… perhaps I’ll check in later.

  38. DWA responds:

    MultipleEncounters:

    Jane Goodall – who is directly or indirectly responsible for about 85% of what we know about the chimpanzee – might have responded to a similar question in the same manner you did about 47 or so years ago.

    As Daniel Loxton put it – much to his credit, I think – those of us who are openminded skeptics on the existence of the sasquatch simply are not operating from the privileged position you are. You have had close encounters; we haven’t.

    I once saw what looked to me like tracks, in a remote part of the California Siskiyou. If they were tracks – and I have never seen anything that looked remotely like this that wasn’t tracks – they were sas tracks, period. They were old. I couldn’t make out toes. But the manlike shape of the prints was compelling, and they were HUGE. And I didn’t make so much as an impression in the substrate that these were penetrating almost an inch. And I was wearing a heavy (!) pack. That fact alone had me doubting the whole thing for years – until I read that, well, that’s a characteristic of sas tracks.

    But still. I didn’t take photos; who would do anything with them? How would I get the quality that would compel somebody to pay them any mind? This was well pre-internet; I think BFRO was only a gleam in somebody’s eye at this point. John Green? Who? It was all scattered stories to me, even though I had some inkling that debunking the phenomenon had so far gotten nowhere. Ben may think that things are no different now from what they were then. He’s flat wrong. The public reaction to bigfoot was totally different then (1986) from what it is now. The woods were so dark – at noon – that I couldn’t take a hand-held shot; I had only a monopod; and I just went, shoot, I don’t care. I’ve seen it; that’s all that matters to me.

    But I still have doubts. There’s only been that one time. Nothing else unusual, smelled, seen, heard or otherwise experienced. And until we meet, you – and every other account by a witness I’ve read – are a bunch of ones and zeros on a computer screen. So I – and the rest of us who haven’t experienced it up close and personal – are, as Loxton said, stuck.

    But some of us think that you guys saw something we want to know more about. I wish I understood why Ben doesn’t feel that way. Or why he so misunderstands what “evidence” means.

    Multiple encounters – with something very susceptible, to all appearances, to the scientific method – are EVIDENCE. If you don’t understand that you aren’t a scientist. Or, you just don’t get what scientists do.

  39. Kathy Strain responds:

    Well for one, I have to commend Ben for even coming in here and taking some of the abuse he does. He’s a better person than I am!

    Secondly, it should be noted that the Skookum Cast doesn’t belong to Meldrum…it isn’t his cast to deny anyone access to.

    Lastly, if I were Ben, I’m fairly certain I wouldn’t be taking up any of the offers from folks in here to go into the field….I’m sure he’d like to come back!

  40. DWA responds:

    Ben says:

    “That’s always the argument, if only… if only there was more money… if only more people were looking… if only scientists paid attention… if only this, if only that. With all due respect, these are excuses, and poor ones at that.”

    No. They’re facts; but we all know that. That one poor guy didn’t get the memo doesn’t really change it. Look up there, and you’ll see EXACTLY what the field needs more of. Those of us who are familiar with science, the outdoors, and how the two go together get it, right in our bootsoles. Ask the Bornean rhino who just got his picture taken – for the first time – after being scientifically confirmed for, um, how long now?

    “I don’t oppose more resources toward research, just don’t use my tax dollars for it. There are plenty of rich benefactors; Tom Slick did quite a bit. Besides, you don’t need money to find Bigfoot, just some free time and a good pair of boots. Hit the trails, find a live or dead one, and the mystery will be solved..”

    Yep, free time, good pair of boots, and….um, what has Ben come up with, hmmmm? And what would he say to you…oh, MultipleEncounters already knows that, doesn’t he?

    That’s kinda yer flat earth take, eh? Good thing Ben doesn’t get to say what exactly his tax dollars get used for. We might still be wondering what the moon tastes like.

  41. mystery_man responds:

    Wow, this debate has really taken off and due to the time difference I face, it seems I have come in at the tail end of it. I am not in the mood today to get caught in the middle of another skeptic versus proponent brawl at the moment. I have made my thoughts on the issue pretty clear in previous threads. Perhaps if this debate is still going later, I will, but frankly I am sick of the infighting and wish that some rational dialogue with Radford could be reached rather than being at each other’s throats.

    That being said, I did have some thoughts on the main idea of this article and that is whether studying Bigfoot is “bad science”. Of course it isn’t. Is it bad science to take circumstantial evidence and then want to investigate further, build a hypothesis, and look for the answers? If no one ever acted on the desire to shed light on the mysteries of the universe, a lot of the things and knowledge we take for granted would have never come to be. As others have similarly said, we’d still be living on a flat world with a sun revolving around us. Telecommunications would still be “impossible”, airplanes would be “pure fantasy”, and we would still think that animals spontaneously appear in empty water. I could go on and on, but in the end there is nothing wrong with pursuing avenues of research such as Bigfoot if the research is done right. I agree with Ben in that some of the methods used may have some holes in them and not be particularly viable, but instead of saying that it is a “waste of time”, maybe we should put our heads together to come up with better approaches to researching this phenomena. I honestly think the squabbling is not helping anoone’s cause.

    I may get roasted for this, but it doesn’t seem to me that Mr. Radford is denying the possibility of Bigfoot’s existence. He may sometimes unnecessarily attack possibly good avenues of Bigfoot research, and he may say things that I don’t agree with at times, and he may get people here riled up, but he doesn’t seem to be saying that Bigfoot is a myth or that it doesn’t exist. I definitely tend to think that perhaps the skeptical arguments need a bit more consideration around here. I was actually much worse back in my scoftic days and would routinely denounce Bigfoot’s existence. I gave it absolutely no possibility whatsoever and I won’t even go into the Devil’s advocate reasons why at this time, but rest assured they were a lot more unreasonable than any challenges to the research that Mr. Radford has put forth. At least Mr. Radford is somewhat open to the idea, let’s remember that.

    On another note, I really like something another poster, springheeledjack said here earlier. He said that cryptozoology has opened his eyes to the world of science and urged him to read up on various fields of science. What an absolutely marvelous thing! I happen to be a science teacher myself and place a great importance on educating my students about the world we live in, so this statement moved me. You try keeping the attention of a class of High School students and trying to convince them that science is cool or worthy of pursuing or even some adults for that matter. To me, at least a grasp of basic fundamental scientific principles is a very valuable thing, and not enough people in this world have that understanding. I meet people who still think whale’s are fish, fer Pete’s sake! So as someone who is interested in this sort of education, SHJ’s comment made me think. If cryptozoology can inspire someone to want to go out and learn more about science, is that not “good science”, regardless of whether there are any Bigfoot out there or not? Just a thought.

  42. DWA responds:

    Oh. One more thing.

    I think that the moon’s core IS made of green cheese. With so many rich benefactors out there, just waiting for a buncha numbskulls to excoriate them in the press, could one of them just fund a study of this proposition? I mean, nobody has a moon core sample yet…

    One rich benefactor? ONE? C’mon, Radford tells me they’re all OVER…

    Oh, and Kathy. Ben richly merits every scrap of abuse he gets. :-D

  43. Benjamin Radford responds:

    “I just want the truth. If it’s an elk, then so be it…if it’s not, then we have more work to do.”

    I could not agree more. I just want the truth behind it; to me, Anton’s argument is pretty solid; it looks a lot like an elk imprint, and it had elk hairs on it. Still, Jeff and others determined that it could not be any known animal (and said so in an ISU press release). That’s a pretty strong conclusion, and I hope that those who came to that conclusion will look objectively at the analysis and admit if they were wrong.

  44. Benjamin Radford responds:

    Mysteryman sez ” in the end there is nothing wrong with pursuing avenues of research such as Bigfoot if the research is done right.”

    I absolutely agree!

    “instead of saying that it is a “waste of time”, maybe we should put our heads together to come up with better approaches to researching this phenomena.”

    I could not agree more; for clarification, I never said searching for Bigfoot was a waste of time. However, I would argue that not doing it using good science is clearly a waste of time.

    A also agree that Bigfoot can help teach people about what good science is; in fact I’ve been doing that for years.

  45. DWA responds:

    mystery_man: thanks for checking in.

    You may have more patience that some of us do. But there’s been more than enough effort, I think, to engage Ben here. Zip in the way of response. None of us – and I mean none, me included – responded to him this way when I first came on this site. But after a while you see the leopard isn’t going to change his spots. If he’d engage, he’d see more engagement. But we have thoroughly dissected everything he’s put up…and he keeps coming back with it!

    Anyway, SHJ is indeed right, and it was great of you to point it out. As a matter of fact, I take the optimistic view that, rather than being a squabble, this thread is an excellent example of how far our delving into crypto has taken us into science – compared to somebody who won’t even bother to open the door.

  46. Jason P. responds:

    MultipleEncounters – Are your recordings available online anywhere? If not, why not? If you can record voices/sounds/whatever, why can you not also take pictures of things you see during these encounters, even if it’s just trampled grass/branches?

  47. MultipleEncounters responds:

    “That’s always the argument, if only… if only there was more money… if only more people were looking… if only scientists paid attention… if only this, if only that. With all due respect, these are excuses, and poor ones at that.”

    “If only” is true, but it really doesn’t matter to me what most scientists think or if more people were looking. More generally doesn’t mean better in anything. Sure if I could afford the EXACT type of cameras and motion gear I needed, and certain other gear and costs, then that compelling video or other evidence would be a whole lot closer. A big problem that most have not come to fully recognize, is they do appear to be able to see the Infra Red spectrum, so this little problem makes nearly everyone’s attempts to document them futile. Unfortunately to get beyond that takes some significan cash which I don’t have. I am not alone. So yeah, “If ONLY!”

    I beat the brush big time and I don’t follow the trails Ben. I also have my own proof, seen with my own eyes. I do wonder though, if you ever did see a sasquatch at close quarters, and had no evidence to show for it, how could you ever accept knowing without a doubt in the world, that they are real? If your own eyes and all your other senses provided YOU absolute unequivocal proof, you would then have to accept something so profound in which you have apparently been close-minded to for a long time. How would you deal with that?

    The fact of the matter is Ben, you are close-minded, and that may keep you where you are. Maybe you enjoy it maybe not? But how far you come is entirely up to you. If you enter a situation or field experience with a closed mind, don’t be surprised by the outcome.

  48. Benjamin Radford responds:

    “The fact of the matter is Ben, you are close-minded, and that may keep you where you are”

    I am open to the possibility that Bigfoot exists; you are certain that it exists.

    Therefore, my friend, it is you who is closed-minded, as you are not open to the possibility that Bigfoot does not exist.

  49. DWA responds:

    If we don’t now have the classic Radfordism, we never will.

    “I am open to the possibility that Bigfoot exists; you are certain that it exists.

    Therefore, my friend, it is you who is closed-minded, as you are not open to the possibility that Bigfoot does not exist.”

    Hello, Benjamino, he’s SEEN THEM, MORE THAN ONCE. Up close. Has he ever seen you?

    I am certain that the robin, the house sparrow, and the cardinal exist. I must be close-minded. On the other hand, I am open to the possibility that Ben Radford doesn’t exist. HIM I’ve never seen.

    See the problem, mystery_man? :-D

  50. Benjamin Radford responds:

    It’s weird, whenever DWA posts something, it’s all blurry.

    Like in the Peanuts TV specials, when the teacher talks and it sounds like “wah wah wahhh…” maybe my brain just knows from past experience that nothing sensible will be contained in the message, so it blocks it out.

  51. MultipleEncounters responds:

    “I am open to the possibility that Bigfoot exists; you are certain that it exists.

    Therefore, my friend, it is you who is closed-minded, as you are not open to the possibility that Bigfoot does not exist.”

    Talk about word contortions. Ben, ya gotta loosen your belt a little more. I’m glad you are open to the possibility that bigfoot exists, that is a good step, but it really does require more then just saying it. I really do wish you could experience seeing one Ben. Then frankly your life as you know it would change forever. I wish I knew the secret to help you accomplish this but you seem to be such a long ways from getting there.

  52. mystery_man responds:

    DWA- I suppose that is a good point about this being not a squabble so much as a learning experience of some kind. I for one definitely come away from these debates with a thing or two to think about from all sides of the fence. I guess I am a bit more patient than some of the others here, aren’t I? I suppose it comes from me having been a hard core denialist at one time and because of that Ben doesn’t seem to be really so bad as people think in comparison to the way I was. You would have hated me back in those days! :)

    I can see what you mean about Mr. Radford not changing his views, but a lot of people in this field are guilty of precisely the same thing. I wish that instead of railing against each other, there could be some way to reach an agreement on what constitutes good evidence and good research, that way we could get on with the search. I know that is probably a pipe dream, but one can hope. Steadfast denialism will not help that cause and neither will holding on to any assumptions or poor scientific methods that may not be accurate. I for one am interested in ways that the current research methods may not be up to scratch and so I am somewhat interested in what Mr. Radford has to say, regardless of whether I agree or not. I in no way mean to speak for him and I am not trying to defend his position, but I tend to see Mr. Radford as just wanting Bigfoot research to meet some sort of standard that isn’t being reached, whether this is actually the case or not, and this suggests to me an interest in finding an answer to the phenomena rather than denying it. So in that respect, I don’t think discussions with him are totally unsalvageable. There has to be some approach where the mystery can be discussed in a constructive way.

    I know that you, things-in-the-woods, myself, and others here are skeptics, and these are the opinions that I value around here. Mr. Radford’s ideas may at times be very critical, but I think that there certainly areas of Bigfoot research that are lacking and are susceptible to poor scientific practices, so I don’t mind if they are pointed out by someone for our consideration. It will only make the research stronger in the end if we can correct any of these possible missteps, and so I welcome anyone’s skeptical criticism.

    I have no problem acknowledging that the lack of undeniable physical evidence after so much time spent is discouraging but, as you and some other posters here surely think, there may be reasons why other than “Bigfoot doesn’t exist”. In my opinion, considering all of the hard to explain circumstantial evidence, it seems at least likely enough to warrant further investigation. I say let’s make sure that investigation is done right.

  53. Benjamin Radford responds:

    “Talk about word contortions. Ben, ya gotta loosen your belt a little more.”

    This is not a weird contortion at all; I think if you think about it for a minute, you will see the elegant logic. It’s crystal clear to me.

    No one knows for certain what Bigfoot is, yet you claim to have seen something that fits that description. You are 100% certain that you could not have been mistaken.

    You are certain that whatever you saw was Bigfoot, that it is impossible that you were wrong. That is closed-minded.

    “I really do wish you could experience seeing one Ben.”

    Me too. I’d love to see one.

  54. DWA responds:

    Not only have we now TWO classic Radfordisms.

    I’ve been paid one of the best compliments I ever have on this site!

    I’m gonna step back here, as Ben slides from scoftic to ninny, and let the man be his own commentary.

    But since I’ve been told many times that one of my specialties is giving good advice, my advice is that you might want to step back a bit, Ben. In previous threads, I had to hand it to you. You sidestepped and danced around and didn’t-say stuff and sent people on wild goose chases and threadjacked and had some credulous people – right after you insulted them, pretty much to their cyberfaces – actually complimenting you on being so NICE to them and such a thoughtful skeptic!

    And now, well, um….go get dressed, man. I think all the effort finally caught up with you. I knew that the cycle of the more sense I made the less you thought I made would be a problem for you eventually. Maybe we’re there.

    Remember, man. For all my incisive and illuminating commentary, I’m just a dude having fun on the internet. You have a CAREER invested in this. You NEED people to take you as seriously as they take me.

  55. DWA responds:

    OK, more proof our resident scoftic is coming unglued.

    “Jeff and others determined that it could not be any known animal (and said so in an ISU press release). That’s a pretty strong conclusion, and I hope that those who came to that conclusion will look objectively at the analysis and admit if they were wrong.”

    Let’s parse. These scientists did science on the evidence, came to strong conclusions, beyond Ben’s ability to criticize, and now they’re supposed to look objectively at the objective analysis they made and admit THAT (what Ben really meant) they were wrong. On Ben’s say-so (what Ben really meant).

    No, Ben. Scientists have done their science. YOU debunk it.

    You can’t.

    And keep in mind that this isn’t a piece of evidence I and many others conversant on this topic even care about, one way or the other.

    If that’s stumping you, we won’t even bother you with the good stuff.

  56. things-in-the-woods responds:

    I recently suggested Ben was arrogant and dismissive.

    I then felt bad about it.

    I read some of the stuff mystery_man and Kathy wrote about how hard we all are on Ben, and felt even worse about saying it.

    Then Ben posted this;

    “It’s weird, whenever DWA posts something, it’s all blurry.

    Like in the Peanuts TV specials, when the teacher talks and it sounds like “wah wah wahhh…” maybe my brain just knows from past experience that nothing sensible will be contained in the message, so it blocks it out.”

    Ben may think BF researchers damage science (and, who knows maybe they do), but if people like Ben are the ambassadors of rationality then we might as well all give up.

  57. mystery_man responds:

    Things-in-the-woods- You are right, that comment was a bit uncalled for, wasn’t it? I missed it at first and then noticed it when you mentioned it. It is definitely out of line, and this kind of flaring booby traps any good points Ben might make.

  58. Benjamin Radford responds:

    Yep, you got me. Even I get tired of it.

    I just get tired of wasting my time with anonymous critics like DWA who don’t bother to read or understand others’ arguments. He says stupid and uninformed (yes, I wrote stupid, because that’s what it is) things like that all evidence is unverifiable anecdote.

    And things like “These scientists did science on the evidence, came to strong conclusions, beyond Ben’s ability to criticize”…

    Really? Exactly what “science” did Meldrum et al. do on the Skookum cast? The cast was so contaminated, by their own admission, that there was little forensic evidence. They looked at ambigious imprints in mud; that’s hard science?

    Maybe you’d feel the same if you were in my position, having to clarify and re-explain to people like that. But you’re not.

  59. things-in-the-woods responds:

    One further little thing-

    I agree that its a bad show that Meldrum didn’t let Ben have a look at the skookum cast. I can see no good reason why Ben shouldn’t be allowed to see it.

    My question is; to what end does Ben want to see it? Is Ben now an expert in Elk biomorphology? Ben criticises Meldrum as being unqualified to talk about claimed BF footprint evidence. He also criticises Meldrum for drawing on the work of scientists acting outside their speciality.

    What does Ben think he would have been able to contribute there?

    Of course, its possible Ben just wanted to take a look at it out of curiosity. Fair enough. But then Meldrum’s refusal to let him see it is perhaps impolite, and petty, but hardly any impediment to the application of science.

    (Or perhaps it’s just that Meldrum realised that even if he did show it to Ben, Ben would need further ‘scientific’ confirmation that it did exist- after all, we all know how unreliable peoples perception is… ;) )

  60. DWA responds:

    Ben, your career is a waste of time. (Hey. We AGREE.)

    Try sas research. You might actually get somewhere, like MultipleEncounters, who’s gonna feel a whole lot better than you when he sees the fruits of his labor.

    Heck, he already has. How’s your gig working?

    “He says stupid and uninformed (yes, I wrote stupid, because that’s what it is) things like that all evidence is unverifiable anecdote.”

    Never said that, intimated it, nor thought it. Because it IS stupid. Man, yer wheels are comin’ off.

    If you would just try a new tact – like listening, brush up on that skill, and reading, go for some courses there – you might be fun to talk to.

    But you need to pull the plug on this act, ’cause man it is getting old. Pretty soon you aren’t even going to be fun to make fun OF! :-(

    This site, wanted to make sure you knew, is about cryptozoology. It is about the QUEST, buddy. It is about CURIOSITY. It is about THOUGHT. It is about expanding our concept of the possible, something that science has been doing an admirable job of, given how often it seems to have its foot up its [sasquatch].

    It is so NOT about whatever prison you’re shut in. At least get a cell by a window.

  61. DWA responds:

    Well, things-in-the-woods, yeah.

    Meldrum et al looked at a bunch of ambiguous contaminated impressions in mud and saw evidence of sasquatch. That’s not scientific. REAL science is looking at a bunch of ambiguous contaminated impressions in mud and being utterly certain it’s – wait for it – a KNEELING ELK! That is SO science, dude-san!

    Of course, how do we know that cast even exists? How do I even know where qwertyuiop is on my keyboard? I mean, Ben’s right. None of us really has any power to perceive at all. Is that a door? Send someone else through first, man!

    And, um, Ben? Puh-leeze omit from your act the comments on my intellect. They have a tendency to draw the audience’s attention, unerringly, to yer missing pants.

  62. things-in-the-woods responds:

    Hi Ben,

    I understand that you get frustrated, we all do. We all need to try and rise above it. I don’t agree with everything DWA says (or necessarily his way of saying it), but you are simply wrong to say that everything he writes is rubbish. He actually makes some good, sensible, insightful points (and he’s also got enthusiasm for the subject like no-one I know). And as I pointed out elsewhere earlier (in fact in relation to pretty much every time you respond to something I post), you are not above ‘not bothering to read or understand others arguments’.

    The thing is Ben, I’m pretty much ‘on your side’. I’m coming from near enough the same position as you (with a few disagreement over epistemology and your occasional lapses of basic logic) (in fact, on the grand spectrum of views on this site, so is DWA-although he won’t thank me for saying so). And yet, I’ve not encountered anyone more likely to put my hackles up. I fear that for all your best intentions, the way you go about putting across your arguments (at least on this board), you only serve to polarize the debate, and turn people away from perhaps thinking a little more rationally about their positions.

    I think it’s sad that most of us on the ‘skeptical’ end of the debate seem to spend most of our time squabbling amongst ourselves (and I am including myself in this)- it reminds me of left wing student politics, the leninist-marxists fight with the trotskyists who fight with the socialists who fight with the Stalinists who fight with anarchists, and while all that is going on the capitalist machine rolls on and on…

  63. Kathy Strain responds:

    I guess no one reads what I write, so let’s try this again. The Skookum Cast does not belong to Meldrum. He denied NO one the opportunity to see it. The call to not allow Radford access was by Matt Moneymaker alone.

    And yes, I think that many comments made in here towards Ben are rude and pointless. Attack the idea, not the person (and please, unless you are two years old, don’t say that Ben started it first).

  64. DARHOP responds:

    No wonder nobody can find the BIG guy… All this bickering has got him running far and fast…. I think I’d be running too…. Poor guy…

  65. Kathy Strain responds:

    To be fair thing-in-the-woods, I have stopped reading DWA’s posts too. I’m sure there are some good points in them, but you gotta get through too much to get to it. Sorry, DWA…

  66. DARHOP responds:

    And you are right Kathy….

  67. things-in-the-woods responds:

    Okay, so the conclusion is that none of can be bothered to read what the others write…

    I’m outa here.

  68. Kathy Strain responds:

    No, the conclusion is that if you attack the person and not the idea, no one is going to read what you post.

  69. Jeremy_Wells responds:

    Poor Jeff and Poor Ben… I can tell from this brief article that both have been quoted out of context.

    While I don’t agree with everything Ben says in his posts or articles I know that, when you have a real conversation with him, he is a likable and reasonable person, perfectly willing to listen and consider someone else’s comments (even if he will turn around and pick them apart).

    While I feel Ben can be a bit “dogmatic” in his own dismissal of what he often calls “bad” evidence (what I call compelling circumstantial evidence that demands further scrutiny), he and other “hardcore skeptics” do serve a valuable role, in that, if our evidence is still compelling after standing up to that level of scrutiny, we’ll know we have something worthwhile. (And please Ben, realize I use the adjective “hardcore” only because I consider myself a skeptic as well,just a little more open than you can seem at times.)

    Now, as far the research being a “waste” of “time” or “funds”, well, if I want to spend my vacation time and hard earned cash (or my evenings after work) purchasing and pouring over topo maps and annual rainfall percentages and the locations of historical sightings, I think we can all agree that doesn’t hurt anyone or cut into the availability of funds for any “worthwhile” scientific endeavors.

    And if educational institutions are suddenly shelling out some cash for cryptozoological pursuits, tell me where to get in line, because these gas prices are impacting my ability to do research.

  70. SharkFisher responds:

    Dr. Radford (I’m assuming Dr.),

    Thank you for your time discussing this matter in our forum. I just recently logged on and got up to date on these discussions. I am a thesis away from a master’s degree from Eastern Washington University and I understand the scientific process. My degree is coming in a social science, sports psychology, but even here we understand the need for scientific data and evidence to support our theses. I very much appreciated your skepticism on the Sasquatch debate because if these are one day scientifically proven to exist it will be from someone in your corner.

    I found your ” closed minded ” argument the most effective because been open to all possibilities is in fact necessary when doing any type of research. Hopefully we have not scared you off because I believe your input is necessary and vital to continuing research in this field.

  71. DWA responds:

    Don’t worry, things. I’m still reading you. ;-)

    If folks read – and I’ve noticed too many here can’t be bothered – it’s LACK of ideas that ticks me off.

    And who cares who OWNS the Skookum cast? If Satan owns it, why didn’t Satan let Ben see it? The person isn’t the issue…only way too often in crypto, it seems to be.

    [sigh]

  72. Benjamin Radford responds:

    Kathy is correct. It was not Jeff Meldrum but Matt Moneymaker who refused to let me see the cast. The reporter misunderstood.

  73. Jeremy_Wells responds:

    DWA wrote — “And who cares who OWNS the Skookum cast? If Satan owns it, why didn’t Satan let Ben see it? The person isn’t the issue…only way too often in crypto, it seems to be.”

    The problem, DWA, as you note, is with the individuals, not with the evidence itself (at least in the case of the Skookun cast which is what we are talking about in this case) and I don’t even care if your observation tells you it is “real” or “fake”.

    The problem, it seems to me, is that some individuals seem to have a vested interest in the mystery remaining a mystery, so the rubes will shell out their nickel to peek under the tent flap. This goes for folks shouting “look at the amazing thing in the tent” and those shouting “ignore it, there is nothing here to see” (knowing full well that the best way to get someone to peek is to tell them there is nothing to see *cough* Penn and Teller *cough*).

  74. Benjamin Radford responds:

    And thank you, Travis (and Kathy), I appreciate it. I’m pleased to have real discourse with people who make an attempt to see other points of view.

    ps. I don’t have a PhD, I have a BA, just to clarify.

    Now, I gotta run. Until next time..

  75. Jeremy_Wells responds:

    Ben Radford wrote: “Kathy is correct. It was not Jeff Meldrum but Matt Moneymaker who refused to let me see the cast. The reporter misunderstood.”

    Ben,

    Did you not get the opportunity to view the cast on display in San Antonio before or after your talk at the “Bigfoot in Texas?” exhibit?

    I know that version was a “cast of a cast”, but it seemed to me that, if the impression I saw there was an impression of an elk leg, that fellow was pretty big, even for an elk.

  76. fuzzy responds:

    Kathy – I read everything you write.

    But wading thru some of the other convoluted comments gets a little tiring, ‘specially when they go over and over the same arguments ad infinitum ad nauseum.

    Please, folks, let’s stick to the topix, if only in the interest of brevity.

  77. Buzzardeater responds:

    When Ben Radford shouts B.S., he is right to some degree. There is no physical evidence to speak of. The testimony of people that have been close to one (and I’ve been as close as anyone), IS anecdotal and not verified by anything other than their word. I would also add that Ben is the ideal candidate for a ride-along with Multiple or Silvereagle, because he would gain something from a sighting and treat it with the respect of inquiry that such an occasion merits. Until a few skeptics are swayed, progress will be impeded by their misguided (but well-intentioned) objections. Until someone offers to show him otherwise, how is Ben to know that we are not all delusional? I had a face to face sighting in a suburb, not two miles from some of the most intensely monitored border in Canada. There are all kinds of sensors and optical devices aligned along that stretch of border because of smugglers. Doesn’t matter. They either don’t see them or won’t report them. My point is, there is plenty of evidence all over the place that is suppressed, ignored or destroyed. The powers that be are actively quashing reportage through official channels. Backdoor research is the only avenue open, so we better make the best of it. That means working together, not ridiculing each other on radio or the internet. If the attendees of this site could work together, progress could be made. That would require everyone acting like they are all grown up, though. As an aside, the ONLY good print is one you can follow!

  78. DWA responds:

    I’ve just seen some more posts that might have done their time in Moderation Purgatory before getting here.

    mystery_man and things-in-the-woods: as usual, great contributions. To tell you the truth, I soak off Ben (1) because it’s fun and (2) so you don’t have to. ;-)

  79. DARHOP responds:

    You know…? I’d almost be reluctant to put any evidence I found regaurding Big Foot on this sight for fear of ridicule… I honestly believe that if I took a honest photo or video of Big Foot & presented it to this site it would be bashed… It would be a man in a suit or it would be photo shopped… I wonder why that is…?

  80. DWA responds:

    DARHOP:

    What makes you think anything you put up here would be as good as Patterson/Gimlin?

    My God, there’s a MOVIE of one, and people aren’t through bashing it 40 years later – even though no one’s been able to come up with anything indicating it’s not the real McCoy.

    Back then, irrationality was allowed to rule the day, and zoology has suffered for it ever since. How could anyone have just jumped to the conclusion – seeing what else was available at the time, man-in-suit-wise – that it was faked? But that’s what happened.

    We’re all now victims of a massive and terminal case of groupthink. We can’t even mount a decent-size effort to follow up something that, if it hasn’t been proven fake by now, I think it’s safe to say will never be. Because we’re all scared of taking that common-sense approach. We can’t come to consensus because each of us is afraid – jobs, family, things we want to keep – of even talking about it except in places like this.

    I wouldn’t put anything up here either, not if I wouldn’t give it to a scientist to look at first.

    But you wouldn’t give it to the Skeptical Inquirer, would you?

    I’d settle for being happy I knew, and wouldn’t care who else did.

    If you’ve seen one of these you’re one of the world’s luckiest people. Why care what the rest of us think?

    On this topic, we are flatly irrational. And it’s too late to change that barring proof no one can doubt.

  81. Benjamin Radford responds:

    okay, I’m back for a bit more abuse…

    “Did you not get the opportunity to view the cast on display in San Antonio before or after your talk at the “Bigfoot in Texas?” exhibit?”

    Actually, I finally saw the cast in Pocatello, Idaho, last year. Rick Noll was very helpful and knowledgeable, not at all afraid to share evidence with a skeptic.

    “If the attendees of this site could work together, progress could be made.”

    Absolutely; this forum has some very sharp participants (and a few dimwits I won’t name), and I would heartily love a discussion/debate. Perhaps whoever organizes the next Bigfoot conference might arrange a debate/discussion with leading researchers. All this cross-talk and name calling gets no one anywhere.

  82. Jeremy_Wells responds:

    Buzzardeater,
    Ben, or any other person with a skeptical mind (myself included) is only going to benefit from one of those “ride alongs” if they have an undeniable visual sighting. Even prints, although they can help some suspend that skepticism or disbelief for a minute or two, aren’t enough. “Wood knocks” and “psychic communications” from ‘squatch aren’t going to cut it. Shoot, I’ve seen what appeared to be bare footprints deep into some of the nastiest muck and tangled brush I’ve ever been in, where no one in their right minds (I never claimed to be real stable) would be WITH shoes on, much less barefoot, and I still can’t say I “believe” in Bigfoot.
    The only thing short of a body that will ever “prove” the existence of Bigfoot beyond a shadow of a doubt is a good, close, clear video or still photo. One that stands up to scrutiny. Even then some folks will choose not to believe (the same way some folks think the moon landings were staged). But wood knocks and hoots just aren’t going to cut it. Vocalizations and the like might be valuable tools in narrowing your search area, but they aren’t proof.

    Permission for a ride-along field trip denied. Now get back to class before the hall monitors find you, and no, I won’t extend your hall pass. You have 5 minutes left on this one.

  83. MattBille responds:

    To Mr. Radford:

    Ben, I respect you, your organization, and your magazine. You do a lot of good work. Where we part company is with CSI’s tendency to lump cryptozoology in as part of the “paranormal” and “pseudoscience.”

    I argue that, even if you think cryptozoology is worthless in practice, it still does not belong there. The reason is that cryptozoology is a true science because it is based on falsifiable hypotheses.

    One cannot disprove, for example, the existence of ghosts or visiting extraterrestrials – you might prove them, but you can’t disprove them.

    However, the hypothesis “There exists a large predatory animal in Loch Ness” can be proven (by finding the critter) or disproven (if, for example, a thorough search with the highly sophisticated antisubmarine capabilities deployed by the US Navy showed nothing.) The resources to prove or disprove a given hypothesis may not always be available, but the logic still applies. You can argue cryptozoology is unnecessary (i.e., that finding new mammals is part of mammology, finding new insects is entomology, etc.), but once again, this does not invalidate the proposition that cryptozoology meets the basic definition of a science and ought not to be lumped in with the paranormal.

    Regards,
    Matt Bille

  84. Benjamin Radford responds:

    Hi Matt

    “You do a lot of good work.”

    Thanks, I work hard at it.

    “Where we part company is with CSI’s tendency to lump cryptozoology in as part of the “paranormal” and “pseudoscience.” I argue that, even if you think cryptozoology is worthless in practice, it still does not belong there. The reason is that cryptozoology is a true science because it is based on falsifiable hypotheses.”

    I agree; I don’t consider cryptozoology a pseudoscience, nor paranormal. Our organization doesn’t just focus on paranormal topics, we cover fringe science, quack medicine, critical thinking, miracles, etc. So I’d say we agree on this.

  85. Daniel Loxton responds:

    A word or two on terminology:

    No, cryptozoology is not, strictly speaking, “paranormal.” At least at its best, it is also not pseudoscientific. (Mind you, I think we all agree that this field contains a great deal of pseudoscience.) Looking for unrecognized species is, in itself, a perfectly respectable, mainstream scientific pursuit. (Of course, cryptozoology might well be redundant, as MattBille suggests, since mainstream science does in fact search for and describe new species.)

    When skeptics lump cryptozoology in with paranormal topics like ESP and ghosts, we’re not using language in a precise way. This is just a casual short-hand that reflects pop culture convention and the fact that there is great overlap between proponents of each of these topics. (ie, Many of the arguments for each are similar; people who support one of these topics are relatively more likely to support others.)

    In the same way, UFOlogy is not strictly a paranormal area of research, although UFOlogical claims very frequently feature paranormal elements. On the other hand, homeopathy is not usually called “paranormal” in everyday speech—but in technical terms it’s about as clear an example of a paranormal claim as you could hope to find.

  86. springheeledjack responds:

    I love this!!!! I went away around 9am central and there were maybe twenty posts and I come back tonight a mere ten, twelve hours later and we’re closing in on a hundred.

    Seriously, there are just too many things to comment on…whew! AND, I heard (alright fine, quibble, I read it, but relax Kathy…sheesh) Ben expound the possibility of Bigfoot…AND I heard (yeah, yeah, yeah) him say that he did not lump Cryptozoology in with pseudoscience–now he didn’t exactly give it his blessing, but it is a small step…

    And DWA…sheesh people the man is passionate and he gets worked up when he’s on fire…all I have to say is stones and glass houses…DWA is not the first or last to get heated here—SO ignoring his words because he is who he is…well,

    Kathy, that’s exactly why I don’t trust you to decide what BF sightings are valid and worth being catalogued and which are not (I’m shooting back to an earlier discussion, but…oh yeah, I’m gonna say it…are you ready for it….she started it!!!). You are doing exactly what you accused DWA of, attacking the man instead of the information.

    Now, I do believe Ben had a good idea (I am seriously going to a bad place when I die for saying that…:) Debate.

    I think we should get Craig and Loren and John and Rick involved in spring boarding our own debate on Crypto. Could we set a topic ahead of time…I don’t know throw out three or four topics for debate, have some kind of vote on which to end on…then give people a week or two to brush up on their knowledge of the subject and then devote a post here to that debate.

    The Big Four (Craig, Loren, John and Nick) can set some ground rules, and decide on a time, make a post and then let us alllllllllllllll have at it.

    Keep it civil, present facts and evidence as we all see fit and debate the pros and cons.

    In the end, I doubt we will all change each other’s minds, BUT I think it will be fun, we can all learn some more about our topic and the whole debate process, and we might just accidentally do something constructive.

    Weigh in people!

  87. Kathy Strain responds:

    SHJ – where did I attack DWA? I said nothing about him personally – not his intelligence level, his career, or hygiene habits. I said that I don’t read his posts anymore because I can’t get through them. If you think that’s a personal attack, then you really should look up what it means…cause it’s not.

    As far as deciding which reports are valid and which aren’t…I do it everyday…it’s about 1 out of 10. One of the valid ones is being posted on the website in the next few days, I hope you enjoy it.

  88. springheeledjack responds:

    I think I will assemble my own evidence, Kath, thanks anyway…

    And as for attacks, I think if you can’t be bothered with his posts, then you shouldn’t bother commenting on him because you’re not even aware of what he’s saying or not saying.

  89. dontmean2prymate responds:

    Yeehaw! What took years now takes moments. Books, articles, commentary and criticism, and especially beliefs and feelings are reduced to one day’s worth of postings. Where in this accelerated cycle is any new evidence? Show me the Bigfoot. Are there bigfoot searchers in the forest reading this, and/or why not? Didn’t they take any satellite link-up communication devices? Will their touch of the keyboard scare away a survivor of the last great extinction? Someone is working hard at proof tonight, but it isn’t anybody here. Reminds me of priests arguing over how many levels of heaven exist, while someone is inventing and using the telescope. There are probably some bigfoot individuals who are working very hard to convince others that we exist, but since we never arrive, must be mythical.

  90. proriter responds:

    This is all so disheartening. Apparently more than a few people don’t understand the difference between forensic standards of evidence and scientific standards. While eyewitness testimony and anecdotes may be permissible in a courtroom as evidence, in a courtroom the goal is to establish truth beyond a reasonable doubt–i.e., to establish probability. Scientific standards are much less forgiving.

    Roughly half the people in the lifeboats when the Titanic sank said the ship broke in half and then went down; the others said it went down in one piece. The former were right, as Ballard’s explorations have shown. Where does that leave the sworn eyewitness testimony of the latter? It’s meaningless, because while eyewitness testimony may be evidentiary, it’s not evidence. And in absence of definitive, documented evidence — real evidence — the testimony of the former group is worthless, too.

    Comparisons with dark matter and black holes aren’t valid. The existence of these natural phenomena was mathematically proven decades ago by Einstein. Math is proof. A carcass is proof. A sighting by one, ten, or a hundred people isn’t proof. If it were, Elvis could be found working at dozens of Michigan 7-11s. I personally remember my father picking up a 1963 Chrysler and holding it over his head when I was three years old, but that doesn’t mean it happened. As Mark Twain said, “Pretty soon I’ll remember everything, whether it happened or not.”

    Mr. Radford is right (if he did indeed make the statement): The legitimate hunt for Sasquatch hasn’t much progressed beyond where it was five, 10 or 50 years ago. On the other hand, quackery, hoaxes and fraud are proliferating, with the most absurd videos being given oh-so-serious consideration in this forum and others. What does that tell us?

    Show a scientist a video or a carcass or a bone that is subject to only one objective interpretation and you will have made a believer out of him. On the other hand, it’s much less intellectually challenging — and more fun — to bash Mr. Radford, isn’t it?

  91. DWA responds:

    springheeledjack: Not to worry. The people that don’t read me aren’t the people I’m writing for. (I’ve never seen anyone here who writes for everybody. And no one should hold their breath for me to start.)

    But thanks anyway. ;-)

    dontmean2prymate: and here you are, stuck here with us. :-D Honestly, I might be willing to bet more bigfoot searchery got done here in the past 24 than in the field. (Radford excepted. Some roads have speed bumps.) I’d love to be proven wrong on that. That’s PROVEN.

    I think we should be funding MultipleEncounters. (Speaking of anybody here.) Anyone want to take up a collection?

  92. Jeremy_Wells responds:

    *ahem*
    If I may, if anyone wants to fund any group, I’d suggest the TBRC. They are non-profit (tax deduction for you!), have an admirable, reputable board of advisors, and they have real people out in the field doing real research, using proven techniques for photgraphing rare wildlife, spending lots of their own money, and using up vacation time, to do the kind of footwork that needs done if this critter is ever going to be proven real.
    Just a suggestion.

  93. mystery_man responds:

    Don’tmean2prymate- I guess that since some of us actually aren’t in the field, or don’t have the money for it, or have wives and kids and, oh I don’t know, live half a world away from Bigfoot, then we shouldn’t talk about it? Is that what you want to say? Because I may happen to have a job, which by the way is teaching about science to young people, and I spend time researching other known animals, then I am not qualified to post about this topic and that we should shut our mouths? I’m sorry if that people coming together here to discuss things without having the means to actively search somehow offends your sensibilities. Some people cannot actively participate in this field no matter how much we would like to, due to many factors. I have a lot on the burner and I am involved with worthwhile pursuits other than clicking this keyboard, thank you very much. Coming here to talk is like people talking madly about sports, but don’t actually play, don’t you think? Like talking shop about a movie without actually having helped make it, I feel. The one’s who can go out there and find this evidence, do. The one’s who can’t, well, quite frankly I am happy this site is here and all us amateurs who are scaring away bigfoot with our keyboards can come together and talk about this stuff.

  94. DWA responds:

    proriter: always great to be lectured to about evidence.

    And always good to find out who’s in the boat that says: we’ll believe when one walks up to a hillbilly’s truck and sleeps in the rear bed.

    Let’s talk evidence, dude. Thanks for giving me the Titanic to use against you. Whaddaya think happened there, hmmmm? The people who said one thing: evidence. The people who said the other: evidence. The people who found the ship followed up the evidence to a CONCLUSION. Sure some of the eyewitness testimony was wrong. ABOUT HALF OF IT WAS RIGHT. Without the followup, who would ever have known? Or cared?

    (I could add: next to documenting a spectacular animal, whose discovery – I laugh when I write that, please, it’s been discovered, science just doesn’t know it yet – could indirectly lead to the protection of millions of acres of wild land from rape and pillage, who the heck SHOULD care about how many pieces the Titanic’s in? But that may be just me.)

    The only thing I’ve ever said here is that it’s an irresponsible attitude for science to sit on its hands until it has proof dumped in its lap; for science to say that hand-sitting is its job; or for people like Radford (and it sounds like, you?) to encourage scientific hand-sitting because science doesn’t have proof yet. You yourself say – thanks for that! – “And in absence of definitive, documented evidence — real evidence — the testimony of the former group is worthless, too.”

    How do you get definitive, documented evidence? YOU FOLLOW UP WHAT YOU HAVE, IN THE FIELD. To find out whether the two-halves people or the one-piece people were right, so to speak.

    And math or no math, the sasquatch’s existence is a matter of much more import here on earth than is the existence of black holes. That science fails to understand this, or why it’s true, says much about science that, well, ain’t too good. More scientists need to get off their bloody butts, stop slandering and libeling the bravest of their kind, and DO something for the world. And ferpetesake have more fun. The halls of academe seem unbearably stuffy when somebody opens those doors.

    And as to Ben: bashing is deserved when ignorance presents itself as arrogance. I’m not sure why he comes here. I wish he would stop. But I try to make it uncomfortable when he does, until he contributes something to the argument. Something, oh, you know, intellectually challenging.

    And if this weren’t fun I wouldn’t be here. What about you? What the heck could anyone on this board be so disheartened about? :-D

  95. Benjamin Radford responds:

    I don’t think I could have phrased it much more clearly than proriter did in his last post. Excellent examples!

  96. Jeremy_Wells responds:

    “Comparisons with dark matter and black holes aren’t valid. The existence of these natural phenomena was mathematically proven decades ago by Einstein. Math is proof.” proriter

    While I’m with you that we need hard, physical evidence (a bone, a body, a clear and unrefutable photo or video) , I just can’t agree with the above statement. When we are talking about advanced physics, so much of that must be taken on faith. I won’t pretend that I even begin to understand the math that is involved in these “proofs”, so to me, if I “believe” what these scientist say, there is no difference between that “belief” and the belief of medieval peasants who took the word of priests as gospel because they couldn’t decipher the Latin mass.

    My own ability to understand or interpret the math aside, there are some experts who disagree with the math, who offer their own math (that I don’t pretend to understand) to prove that stars are not so distant/old, or are more distant/old than other scientists believe they are. Again, I can’t help but draw a comparison to medieval clerics arguing over interpretations of doctrine (and burning heretics at the stake).

    I don’t KNOW that Bigfoot exists any more than I KNOW that star X is Y light years away, and so I search.

    If admitting my own ignorance and seeking to correct that deficiency, in any way, makes me a heretic, I’m ready to play with that fire.

  97. silvereagle responds:

    Radford’s acceptance or rejection of Bigfoot evidence and/or the likelihood of the Bigfoot’s existence, is irrelevant. Researchers do not have to get past Radford, to make their case to the general public. There will always be Radfords. Get used to it. Roll with the punches.

    Many cryptozoological and supernatural topics, cause discomfort among people. Even widespread circumstantial evidence, will not persuade the Radfords to accept the existence of something that causes them discomfort. They are looking for irrefutable visual evidence for them to see up close and touch. Everything else will be discounted by the Radfords. Even running bipedal footsteps in the woods at night, with no flashlight showing and no sound of tripping, will be discounted by the Radfords. Which is about all they are ever going to get, if they are lucky.

    The Feds currently have a policy of seeing to it that no body will be ever be available for viewing by the public. Dead bodies are way too scary. The Bigfoot tells some researchers back east, that the Feds are stockpiling Bigfoot bodies in cold storage. Even that cargo net of bodies spotted, prior to being coptered away after Mt. St. Helens, is still on ice. So they are likely still out there, just not available to either the public or to the Radfords because the Radfords are far too important to the Feds, for the purpose of arguing for the Bigfoot’s non-existence.

    The Radfords will site only one film, and say that it is not enough. The Radfords will ignore the Freeman footage, the Redwoods footage and the more recent Sylvanic footage, which will soon be available at a theater near you. The Radfords will refuse to either view them on Youtube, or continue to claim that they were hoaxed, despite the unlikelihood of them being hoaxed.

    The Radfords do not give credit to “highly likely” and “highly probable”. Absolutely irrefutable, face to face, visual evidence is all that the Radfords will accept. Since it is also highly likely, that Bigfoot is interdimensional and thus invisible most of the time, the likelihood of the Radfords ever being presented with irrefutable visual evidence is consequently, minuscule. So arguing with the Radfords of this world, is a complete waste of time. Time that you will never get back.

  98. DWA responds:

    I don’t think I could have phrased it much more clearly than jeremy_wells did in his last post. Excellent examples!

    (And thanks, Ben! ;-) )

    One must always remember Dr. DWA’s Rule #145 (or is that #54. See what I mean about science? :-D ) Scientific evidence is whatever science says it is. If you are a slave to someone else’s math, good for you. I say: yep, whatever there, Mr. Astronimicalperson, until better evidence becomes available. Not arguing with you or anything. But, um, you been there lately?

    Footprints are kinda, um, more tangible than math, take it from me. And the evidence for the sasquatch is at least as good, actually it’s way better, than the evidence for the most distant “known” quasar.

    Or for any fossil animal “known,” if you think about it.

    Science sets its own comfort levels. Science decides what it’s comfortable with. And that becomes the shared cultural view of the real.

    Until, of course, better evidence becomes available.

    Science is an almost perfect discipline. Practiced by people no better than you and me. Genuflecting before its purple robes is sort of a risky game.

  99. DWA responds:

    silvereagle:

    You’re right when it comes to arguing with such as Radford.

    Which I don’t think I and others here are doing.

    I’m sure as heck not doing it. Because everything you say is correct. A body is all that will sway his ilk.

    I’m educating people who come on here, and don’t know much about this topic and are looking to know more, about a kind of cynicism (call it what you want, scoftic is pretty good but only a word) that eats away at science, that chases it from legitimate areas of study (“no way am I exposing myself to that Skeptical Inquirer crap, I have a life and marmosets are more fun than scraping that off my boots”), and that misinforms a public that comes into the discussion with a pretty pathetic knowledge base as it is. (“So why hasn’t somebody shot one yet? Why haven’t we found a body? Why hasn’t someone hit one with a car?” “Duh, um, good point.”)

    Believe me, I don’t waste my time here. Not only is shooting at Ben fun, it counteracts what he’s trying to do: scare folks away from serious inquiry.

    Or whatever the heck it is he’s trying to do. He certainly can have the effect of doing that. For the un-inoculated, that is.

    Now I would NEVER argue with you, silvereagle. Who knows what the bigfoot might do to me if I did. They might just turn my bed wrong way around in the middle of the night but I can’t be sure.

    Not that they should. Heck, they should either like me, or owe me.

  100. fuzzy responds:

    DWA: Sometimes you seem to stand a little too close to the fire… you say,”…next to documenting a spectacular animal, whose discovery…could indirectly lead to the protection of millions of acres of wild land from rape and pillage, who the heck SHOULD care about how many pieces the Titanic’s in?”

    Well, ship designers, for one, should care.

    And if she had floated longer, maybe more people could have survived, so their families should care.

    And posterity: posterity should care, a LOT, about the lives and potentials lost when that ship went down, and should try its best to make sure it doesn’t happen again!

    “But that may be just me.”

  101. fuzzy responds:

    DWA: OOO, ooo, I spotted another one to play with: (”So why hasn’t somebody shot one yet? Why haven’t we found a body? Why hasn’t someone hit one with a car?”)

    I know you’re quoting somebody else, but I just wanted to point out again, that the flames are awfully close.

    Several people claim to have shot Squatches, with scope-mounted high powered rifles even, hitting the animal solidly enough to knock it down – but where another large mammal would have stayed down, the Squatch got up, roared at the shooter, and promptly disappeared into the flora!

    How can we know whether anybody has “found a body” – what you probably mean is that nobody has found a Squatch body and made it available to Science, right? What about Jacko, or the creature Sanderson examined frozen into a block of ice, with an apparent visible bullet hole – THAT report relates to both of these claims!

    In Maryland, in the early 70s, a guy driving thru a woodland park smacked into a Squatch hard enough to smash the front of his vehicle and knock the beast into the roadside ditch – whereupon the Squatch got up, roared at the vehicle, and promptly disappeared into the flora!

    The danger here is that in broaching these aspects of the mystery (and there are other edgy areas, too – like trackways terminating in mid-field), you’re venturing perilously close to… dare I say it… the Paranormal???

    Uh Oh!

  102. MultipleEncounters responds:

    Thanks DWA, I’ll take the appeal for funds as a compliment. Now if I could just see one when I want to while holding my Hi 8 at the ready. LOL The truth of the matter is, these creatures are much more apt to approach ‘lone’ individuals out in the field then they are small organized groups of people. Long before the vehicles even pull into an area to park, the wood knockers have already signalled their alarms. In certain cases, the expeditions may even have futile expectations, but of course they do have some major successes as well (the Skookum Cast being a prime example), and I am sure the events are a valuable experience for everyone.

    Some of those night time tromps with strategically placed listening posts do get close to our hairy friends in the darkness, and do give a few people an experience they will never forget when something big is heard walking thru the brush nearby on two legs in pitch blackness, but that and a few tracks may be the typical extent of the evidence trail under those scenarios. Somehow, our big friend knows where all the ‘well placed’ cameras, emitting what may be a bright IR bean of light to ‘them’, are hidden. Of course, partnering up is also the wise thing to do for our own safety in the woods. But it may be the lone individual who is more apt to have a regular face-to-face encounter. Does that mean I can find the courage inside myself to wander into the blackness of the forest off-trail in the dark, solely relying on faith that I will be safe in their company, I don’t think so. So I am burdened by daylight.

    A few have taken it one step further and know how to coax these creatures to come within near touching distance in the darkness, but then those individuals are often passed on by the gatekeepers of bigfootery, as being fantastical stories. I imagine some of those accounts would even be thrown out because some, who could not conceive such contact as possible, would therefore rule the claims as invalid. This may be the big shortcoming of where science must step forward to meet this particular subject.

    It is the Big Man who sets the rules of engagement, what is “good or bad’ science may actually be a bit of a misnomer, because we have yet to adapt to the rules they set for us. We are still early in the learning curve to adapting our methods of research to fit the subject.

    When Dian Fossey began her work, she had to develop a trust with her subjects, which she worked long to establish. This often meant being alone with her subjects in order to build their trust, even though her guides were not far away. She was later able to bring cameramen in following strict protocols. She didn’t bring in a bunch of people to surround the gorilla’s territory either. That may be another area where science discipline has yet to meet the sasquatch. When bf begins to start feeling surrounded, they are out of there. As long as they feel in control, then chances for interaction increase. Even at my site, I can’t take my friends there, and some take it personally. I can only try to explain how bf’s might perceive others being there as to why I can’t bring them with me. I worry about the occasional nosey forest visitors, as that can even be construed in the subject’s eyes, as something organized by more then one human, or worse, to be seen as an act of betrayal on my part.

    It was Louis Leakey who first applied the field method to wild primate research, envisioned by an even earlier scientist he worked under, whose name escapes me. Leakey brought together Jane Goodall, Birute Galdikas and the Late Dian Fossey, soon known as Leakey’s Angels. Maybe there should have been a 4th angel, but for whatever reason there wasn’t, likely because sasquatch was merely seen as a myth. Oh how times (and science) haven’t changed in some respects.

    DWA, I am a little confused by the following. I will assume you were merely stating a scenario and not a judgement, because I don’t think I have ever stated anything that would imply that I don’t understand evidence. “Multiple encounters – with something very susceptible, to all appearances, to the scientific method – are EVIDENCE. If you don’t understand that you aren’t a scientist. Or, you just don’t get what scientists do.”

    Silvereagle, I wouldn’t place too much credibility on Sylvanic just yet. The guy is showing some serious contradictions in his story and he’s a promoter, which should be a red flag. This ‘buildup’ of public fanfare through self promotion is a poor sister act to science. He previously claimed a 2′ X 2′ hole through a mountain chain hides Sylvanic. When have you ever encountered a 2′ X 2′ hole concealing a chain of mountains? Doesn’t this sound a little bit of a geologically impossible difference in scale? There is also no geographic references known as Sylvanic on the North American continent that I have ever been able to find. Could the name actually be imaginary or concocted from a fictional novel from the term Sylvan? It is also appears as though Mr. Standing may have hired some actors in early 2005, which happens to be the SAME Summer he claims to have taken the first videos. Doesn’t hiring actors BEFORE the video ring as just a little peculiar? What serious newcomer researcher do you know who would hire actors before/during the same year of an initial encounter allegedly caught on video? These are serious red flags. Of course he even launched his website BEFORE his own alleged video encounters ever took place. Use caution Silvereagle.

    Yeah DWA, what’d I’d do with an operating budget. I can only dream for now and do what I can with limited resources till then. If I knew who would take a grant application seriously, I’d write one. You see, while for whatever unexplained reasons I have had more then my share of encounters with these creatures over the decades, I am ‘new’ as a researcher per se. Sure I have taken the fast track to learning, and have some very valuable first hand experiences to draw from, but science has yet to meet sasquatch. So I must proceed as best as I can, developing my own protocols with that limited budget. At the risk of being ridiculed myself, I’ll share one of my recent successes a few weeks ago at my feed station where I had a audio recorder hidden in the middle of the woods. With food on a plywood table of sorts, I hung a small metal tube-shaped new whistle (REI brand) on a lanyard from a branch about 8′ up off to the side. When I returned to check the station a few days later, I found this new whistle laying on the ground, so I figured the wind must have somehow blown it off and I returned it to its hanger. But as I’m listening to the lengthy recordings for that session a few days later, and I could hear faint noises of something moving around. And then whatever was there, literally blew through that whistle TWICE and then made some other noise I can’t decipher. It did not fumble with the whistle, it did not use the maximum capacity of its lungs to blow hard, it gently tested the whistle for its sound. I am certain it knew exactly what this object was for, a whistle. Using deductive reasoning, and certain that no humans have found my feed station, I doubt any four legged animal blew that whistle. A plane soon approached the area so he apparently dropped the whistle on the ground, where I later found it.

    That is the kind of minor experiment and small success that develops alongside other successes and experiments with real research, hopefully leading to more meaningful results. He or she blew a whistle I left them. It was so exciting. This minor success was a major major reward for me, but it was also so fleeting. But that is their nature too, fleeting. Is it evidence for the masses? No, but it serves as evidence and a positive stroke for my efforts. It becomes part of my personal record journal, and maybe it becomes a component for other experiments. I don’t have a PhD, but I can surely research using protocol, collecting evidence when I can, and documenting what I can.

    This last time I left a child’s puzzle there for them (ages 3-5) with two pieces left incomplete off to the side. Unfortunately we got a good rain and the recordings indicate a bear showed up to ruin everything. Of course I also securely hung sort of a monkey type doll on another branch, and it was found on the ground nearby but not torn up the way I would expect a bear to do. Odd but not enough to call it evidence.

    Whew, sorry for the long winded one.

  103. DWA responds:

    fuzzy: thanks for the worry, but the fire feels just fine.

    Given that yep, one of these could have an impact on a small but by no means insignificant portion of the human race, and that the other might have an even bigger impact on the long-term habitability of the planet…thanks for making the case that bigfoot research and Titanic research are at least equal in priority.

    Now to get the scoftics out of the way so we can do the former.

    OH. And. if the anecdotal evidence presented by the two-piece set had not been followed up upon, we would have learned, exactly, what?

    The trick, fuzz, is to stand close enough to the fire so you can stay warm….and far enough away that you’re not blinded by the light. ;-)

  104. DWA responds:

    fuzzy: thanks for your argument that sas research and Titanic research should be equal in priority. OK, the sas should be higher on a Pareto-optimality basis. Good. Lower priority, done. One down, one to go. Now to get the scoftics out of the way.

    re: dead and wounded sas, cars, etc. I know that you know that I know about the reports you’re talking about – and the one where the guy killed one with one shot. My point perzackly. And I’ve talked elsewhere about my virtual certainty that a number of sas carcasses have been come across by people who wouldn’t get close enough to confirm what they were seeing. THERE’S a place where a sas might be mistaken for a bear.

    You stand at the right spot near that fire, always, so that you can both stay warm and not be blinded by the light. ;-)

  105. DWA responds:

    Uh-oh. A System Burp might have led to a whoopsy! followup post above. No apologies. Double yer pleasure, double yer fun! Pick the best one. (The second says more in fewer words. :-D)

  106. Jeremy_Wells responds:

    fuzzy wrote: “The danger here is that in broaching these aspects of the mystery (and there are other edgy areas, too – like trackways terminating in mid-field), you’re venturing perilously close to… dare I say it… the Paranormal???

    Uh Oh!”

    I know you are just being a stinker here Fuzzy. But I’ll take the bait.

    Just because these aspects are reported (and unexplainable) does not necessarily throw the whole field into the realm of pseudo-science and paranormal studies though.

    These topics (which I would argue are perfectly valid subjects for social science based approaches to the field) no more invalidate the potential flesh and blood reality of the Sasquatch than mythologized stories of vicious gorillas kidnapping women made the mountain gorilla “not real”.

  107. DWA responds:

    MultipleEncounters: as to this paragraph:

    “DWA, I am a little confused by the following. I will assume you were merely stating a scenario and not a judgement, because I don’t think I have ever stated anything that would imply that I don’t understand evidence. “Multiple encounters – with something very susceptible, to all appearances, to the scientific method – are EVIDENCE. If you don’t understand that you aren’t a scientist. Or, you just don’t get what scientists do.”

    I didn’t mean your handle! I meant multiple encounters with the sasquatch. :-D

  108. fuzzy responds:

    MultipleEncounters: “I can surely research using protocol, collecting evidence when I can, and documenting what I can.”

    What about the whistle? Fingerprints? DNA from breath moisture?

  109. MultipleEncounters responds:

    “What about the whistle? Fingerprints? DNA from breath moisture?”

    That was lost even before I thought it simply fell from the branch and put it back. Of course not having proper equipment and therefore not being being able to go thru the hours of audio recordings immediately kind of limits ones ability. If I were able to walk back to the ‘research trailer’ enter the audio file into a dedicated laptop, look for spikes, we’d be on an even keel. But why was any evidence lost? The whistle had been on the ground in the weather for a few days, there was no DNA or prints to consider. If it were fresh, yes saliva could render DNA, but then exactly where would I get the money to fund the analysis?

    There are limits Fuzzy without being able to stay at a research location for several days/weeks at a time, and therefore you must drive over an hour each way instead. In fact, staying in a trailer nearby might also attract the wrong attention to me and therefore contaminate my efforts. So unfortunately there is also a balancing act to this. At some point I might be able to secure a permit to camp far behind closed gates, but that too is a ways off.

  110. DARHOP responds:

    DARHOP:

    What makes you think anything you put up here would be as good as Patterson/Gimlin?

    Um… How bout technology… Ever hear of a zoom lens… Let me see, then & now P/G 1967 if I remember right… Now 2007… I think 40 years of technology mioght give ya a better film… Man, now I’m getting it… A zoom lens would of mage a big difference in the film don’t ya think…?

  111. DARHOP responds:

    This thing has really taken off… WOW…!!!!

  112. DARHOP responds:

    Why would I care what anybody else thinks… I wouldn’t, not really… But if I did and I have not seen one of these animals, I would want to share my experience and any proof of what I saw with others… I guess it wouldn’t matter though… No body no proof… Kinda suck’s…

  113. Benjamin Radford responds:

    Silvereagle sez: “Researchers do not have to get past Radford, to make their case to the general public.”

    True enough! And BF researchers have failed miserably when making their case to the public, that’s why so few people believe in Bigfoot. Try science!

    He also writes: “will not persuade the Radfords to accept the existence of something that causes them discomfort.”

    Interesting how Bigfoot is assumed to cause me “discomfort.” Not sure how something that may or may not exist is supposed to make me uncomfortable; Bigfoot causes me no discomfort whatsoever. It is not a personal issue for me; I have no stake in its existence or non-existence. I don’t really care either way, I just want to see the evidence.

  114. MultipleEncounters responds:

    “I didn’t mean your handle! I meant multiple encounters with the sasquatch. :)

    Yeah I did kind of pick a universally utilized phrase as a handle, didn’t I? ;)

  115. DWA responds:

    DARHOP:

    “Um… How bout technology… Ever hear of a zoom lens… Let me see, then & now P/G 1967 if I remember right… Now 2007… I think 40 years of technology mioght give ya a better film… Man, now I’m getting it… A zoom lens would of mage a big difference in the film don’t ya think…?”

    SURE! I mean look how great the results have been in the 40 years since P/G! How many great shots do we have? Thousands! I guess technology finally documented that sasquatch, all right. On to Mothman! ;-)

  116. DWA responds:

    “BF researchers have failed miserably when making their case to the public, that’s why so few people believe in Bigfoot.”

    Hmmmmm. Why is 2007 the busiest Bigfoot year I’ve seen in the past 40? Why is the P/G film being talked about more than ever? Why is this site – which is basically bellwethered by the sasquatch, let’s face it – being given Webby awards for its futuristic forward thinking? Why are books about the sas showing up on the science shelves of major book vendors? Why are major museums having sasquatch exhibitions? Why are people still seeing the same animal people were seeing 40 years ago? What is the Loch Ness Monster again? Why are Bigfoot organizations being given tax-exempt status?

    I just like to give our readers occasional breaks for reality checks. ;-)

  117. DWA responds:

    DARHOP:

    I’ll be a little less flip here, presuming you might actually want to go out there with your 21st century tech and bring something back, and I’d sure like to see it when you do.

    Much more than tech goes into getting the discovery shot, as my flip comment fliply pointed out. P/G combined preparation and execution and persistence to bring about good luck. They had the exact same thing happen to them that many, many horsepackers have had before and since with wild animals (and who knows how many reticent ones have had such an experience with the sasquatch? Actually, a number of other riders that I’m aware of HAVE had it; they just didn’t come with cameras because they weren’t looking to film a sas). Horses don’t seem to spook wildlife like people on foot do. And you cover lots of ground. Go where lots has been happening, on horseback, and stay out there for weeks prepared to document, and all you need is 1967 technology to get a film that, if it were one of my relatives, I’d know which one. (Hee hee, I think it acutally is one of my relatives. One of yours, too.)

    Modern technology needs to be combined with the same old sweat equity that worked 40 years ago.

  118. springheeledjack responds:

    Ah, I knew I could count on the rest of you to keep this thread a-going:)

    I’ve yet another point to make here…and it’s gonna take me minutes to find what I wanted from above to quote so that I won’t be raked over the coals…cause you know the coal raking would upset me terribly…

    Sheesh that took likfe forever…okay…here we go…

    Radford says, “I am open to the possibility that Bigfoot exists; you are certain that it exists.

    Therefore, my friend, it is you who is closed-minded, as you are not open to the possibility that Bigfoot does not exist.”

    As one who has delved into these topics (and again BF is not my favorite or strongest suit, but I have seen some of the highlights), I do not believe that to be so. Personally, I have wrestled with those ideas long and hard, and I do so on a daily, weekly and monthly basis. How could proponents of BF and other cryptids not be open to the possibility that cryptids do not exist (and I am talking about the grail cryptids—BF, Loch Ness, etc)? Belief in the possibility of such things meets with opposition and smirks and eye rolling on a all of the time outside of these forums.

    Have I looked at the possibility that BF and Loch Ness and other critters are not real? Of course. And I constantly weigh that in my mind as I look into these things. In the face of decades of hunting for these things, it is frustrating to come up against the no-shows again and again without thinking that what you are looking for may indeed not exist.

    It is a shallow statement, though, to think that any of us have not considered the possibility, and do not continually face that possibility all of the time.

    However, in light of evidence (and I do count sightings…not as the be end all, but as clues to the fact that there is something going on in the forests and the lakes and the oceans), I have come to be swayed that there are critters out there that have evaded detection and concentrated scrutiny.

    The bottom line is that Radford and like minded people choose to ignore eye witness testimony and choose to attribute what was seen as sticks in the water and bears on steroids.

    I choose to see the eye witness testimony as evidence that there is some animated creature living in the forests and lakes and oceans that has evaded classification so far, and that to get to the real truth continued research and exploration are not only worth my time, but worth my attention, money and own research.

    Back to our glorious Titanic analogy, the fact that fifty percent of the people were wrong and fifty percent were right has no real bearing…what matters is they could all agree that the damn boat went down. That they all could not agree on the details of how it happened, the truth was that the Titanic did sink…it was not a mirage, a floating log or mass hysteria.

    And that is why eye witness testimony has merit. Not the details per-se, but the fact that something indeed did happen.

  119. MultipleEncounters responds:

    “Jason P. responds:
    MultipleEncounters – Are your recordings available online anywhere? If not, why not? If you can record voices/sounds/whatever, why can you not also take pictures of things you see during these encounters, even if it’s just trampled grass/branches?”

    Jason,

    I just now came across this question of yours. Sorry about that. I have noticed that when people post here and leave the comment window open for a while, then finally post a message they have been working on, it gets posted inline at the time window was opened and not when submitted. This causes other posts to be relocated and thus sometimes posts are overlooked. I wish it posted at time of Submission instead.

    Anyway, I have one audio recording from last Winter at the feed station posted at Stan Courtney dot com under his Guest’s Unknown Sounds, but I have not uploaded any of this year’s new recordings anywhere.

  120. dontmean2prymate responds:

    This site is entertaining. I’m here faithfully, same as watching the Cubs lose, O’Reilly ranting, or Three Stooges beating themselves up. The singular possibility of this thing’s existence that makes me hope for something more from this thread than comments on comments on footage and tracks that were inconclusive forty years ago (even to me as a boy). I haven’t waited decades for someone to reproduce them, but for endless new footage of the exact same creature at different times and places. Still waiting and wanting, because it would change our understanding of this world as a place created for humans, or wherein humans are the ultimate superior freaks of nature. Much larger birds would be exciting, or survivors of the fossil record, or variations on sea creatures, but specifically this challenger to our primate authority would open a door to all that science doesn’t know and can’t prove. Same for religions. The new witness’ accounts carry the weight, and the witnesses carry the burden. Twenty years from now maybe science will enable comparable opinion to be beamed directly into my brain, but I’ll be just as disappointed if it’s about the Patterson film not having been proven fake, and that “science” won’t confirm eyewitness accounts. That’s it, I’m tired of this, I’m going out tonight and bring this thing back alive and kicking; don’t wait up.

  121. DWA responds:

    dontmean2prymate:

    The issue isn’t the information we don’t have, but the non-information we do have. The big guy is enough like us to know that withholding increases interest. OK, most men don’t know that so maybe the big guy is smarter than half of us. The big guy thrives on our ignorance. He may have infrared ultraviolet saffron vision, and hearing better than a bat’s let alone a dog’s, but he walks around with pine pitch over his eyes and pinecones in his ears because he knows our ignorance is what shields him and he loves to walk the line. He’ll never shave, download or buy a Saturn. He lives off the land, whatever it tosses him. He doesn’t take what the defense gives him; he takes what he wants. You go after him, and he goes home with you.

    I’m practicing your style in case that last sentence comes true. But if you find the giant squid instead, that’ll be the scoop.

  122. fuzzy responds:

    Ben & DWA: “BF researchers have failed miserably when making their case to the public, that’s why so few people believe in Bigfoot.”

    Bit of a slip, ain’t it – on the banana peel of “belief”?

  123. DWA responds:

    Fuzzy: I’d say Ben sure did.

    I know I didn’t bother helping him up; I’ll try to be more gentlemanly next time.

    This club runs on evidence; and I think a whole lot more people see that evidence as convincing than any of us realize.

  124. mystery_man responds:

    Wow, I’m away for a day and this thread has still been going strong! There’s too much to really comment on and I’m way too far behind the discussion, but I just wanted to air some of my thoughts on science being “bad” or “good”.

    I think DWA made a point earlier that I kind of wanted to elaborate upon. He said that science is nearly a perfect system, but used by fallible humans. This is very true, in my opinion. As far as I’m concerned, science is the best way to understand the world we live in and how it works. It is a system for finding out facts from theories, and if used properly, it can open our eyes to the wonders of this universe. However, one of the very important things that one needs to keep in mind in any sort of scientific endeavor is that an unbiased approach to the data and evidence is essential if good research is to be done. The problem is, we humans are not particularly good at being completely unbiased. We are not cold, logical machines. We have passions, wants, beliefs, emotions, and desires, and all of these can influence us no matter how much we try to eliminate bias and look at the data with a “zen” mind as I like to say.

    This can cause problems in any field, really, and I think very much so in cryptozoology, where passions are obviously running high on both sides of the fence. This is what leads to the cherry picking of data and using of evidence to fit into preconceived theories, often the ignoring of other perfectly good data that happens to contradict one’s one hypothesis, that happens here and indeed in mainstream science as well. The proponent side and the skeptical side are both guilty of this I feel. The way I see it, there is a lot of “bad” science going around but it is not because of the topic at hand, but rather how the data and evidence are approached. Science is a tool, and like any other tool, it can be used to good effect, or it can be misused or even abused. Don’t blame the science, blame the people using it.

    In this sense, I have to say that Mr. Radford and I agree on one point very strongly, and this is that the science has to be done right. All of the evidence has to be considered from every angle. If there are skeptical opinions made, I don’t think we should be blowing them off, but rather looking at these opinions and evaluating just how good the methods being used are. These skeptical ideas may turn out to be wrong, but to not at least consider them would be unscientific, I feel. Science is a framework in which to operate so it is up to anyone doing this sasquatch research to make sure that they are respecting the proper way of doing things and not leaning to far towards any one assumption. Follow the data, do not make it follow you.

  125. DWA responds:

    mystery_man: good post.

    And as we’ve been doing a lot of jousting with Ben here, it provides me an opportunity to say where our differences lie.

    Things-in-the-woods pointed out: “The thing is Ben, I’m pretty much ‘on your side’. I’m coming from near enough the same position as you (with a few disagreement over epistemology and your occasional lapses of basic logic) (in fact, on the grand spectrum of views on this site, so is DWA-although he won’t thank me for saying so).”

    Well, actually, that didn’t even make me wince. As things goes on to point out, Ben regularly gets his hackles up. (He just inspires me to educate. ;-) ) Where our difference with Ben lies is that things and mystery_man and I and some others here question all assumptions on the sasquatch. There are many assumptions Ben doesn’t question; he just presents them as givens.

    Chief among them is the assumption that if it isn’t scientific evidence, it isn’t evidence. Well, science would certainly be stuck, on all fronts, if that were the case. We wouldn’t have penicillin or aspirin yet. We might not have the wheel. Evidence leads to proof; it never suffices as proof in itself. (Even scientific evidence is such only so far as it is diagnostic of something already proven.) At some point, science has to go: what might this mean? I think we’re at that point on the sasquatch, and that any scientist who knows as much about it as even I do would have to agree. He might say that there are other things on the plate right now that are more important; but he’d have to agree that there’s a worthwhile pursuit here, that certainly appears to be leading somewhere. George Schaller seems to think that the search should remain in the hands of those already doing it; but he’s on the record that “a hard-eyed look is essential.” Much of the evidence on which Schaller basis this statement is eyewitness testimony. It is always to be suspected, and never swallowed without further evidence to substantiate it. But the patterns seen so far seem to transcend that problem, and suggest places and ways for the search to proceed.

    Another basic assumption Ben seems to make is that the track record of the searchers is tantamount to the probability of the animal. If you’re truly skeptical on this, you question everything the searchers are doing. Is the TBRC’s traditional approach still the way to go? Do we need a Jane Goodall soloist in the bush for months at a time, resupplied solely by water or air? (BTW: I think it should be a woman. ;-) ) Are game cameras – the more the better – the ticket? But you look at the evidence, not the searchers, for what to do next. The searchers’ missteps mean nothing to the existence of the animal. In fact, it’s the witnesses, not the searchers, who provide more of an index of the animal’s probability. Those who don’t believe this need to get there.

    Another basic assumption is one we’ve haggled to death here: that if one tiny facet of the hoax is possible, then the hoax is likely. This old shibboleth must be tossed. The only effective counter to the almost overwhelming volume of evidence that this animal exists is a cohesive, comprehensive and reasonable scenario – taking into account every scrap of evidence, including a thorough familiarity with the anecdotal data – showing how ALL of it, or at the very least a significant portion, could be the result of lie, hoax or misinterpretation. Skeptics wield a peashooter until one or more of them comes up with this scenario. Saying it could be, or probably is, so, without showing how, simply implies – if not directly points up – unfamiliarity with the scope and depth of the evidence. Most of the skeptic camp doesn’t seem to understand that if what they recognize as the “crown jewels” of sasquatch evidence were all conclusively shown to be fakes tomorrow, I would not have to change a word of this paragraph.

    I don’t know whether Ben’s tack will change; but it really doesn’t matter one way or the other. The animal’s out there – or not – whether we think it is, or not.

  126. old crow responds:

    “POCATELLO – The editor of Skeptical Inquirer magazine, Benjamin Radford, worries valuable research dollars are being wasted on topics such as the Loch Ness Monster, Bigfoot, UFOs and little green men.”

    In the end its all about who gets the money.

  127. DARHOP responds:

    Modern technology needs to be combined with the same old sweat equity that worked 40 years ago.

    Agreed…. And your right, I think one of them BIG GUYS being seen is my long lost uncle… Unhappy Jack…awhoooooeeeeeeeehehehe I kill me sometimes…

  128. silvereagle responds:

    “POCATELLO – The editor of Skeptical Inquirer magazine, Benjamin Radford, worries valuable research dollars are being wasted on topics such as the Loch Ness Monster, Bigfoot, UFOs and little green men.”

    Research dollars? What dollars? What money? What grants? I have not heard of any Government money being spent on proving and/or researching any of the above topics. Instead, the Government money is likely spending millions of tax payer dollars on on disproving, psyops, anti-propaganda, disinformation, helicopter rental, cold storage structures for bodies, hangers for UFO’s, rental for satellite NSA offices, mobile phone location tracing equipment, phone monitoring, phone harassment of private researchers. I estimate that the Government has at least 20 full time employees spread across the country, that are involved in maintaining the secrecy of Bigfoot, UFO’s, aliens, and an assorted list of interdimensional beings.

    In the May 16th Biscardi internet radio show, the Feds appeared to cut out the person being interviewed, exactly when he was explaining that “interdimensional people that have not been often observed wearing clothes, likely have an” NSA APPEARS TO INTERRUPT PHONE LINE FROM INTERVIEWEE FOR ABOUT 5 SECONDS! What was blanked out was “orb phase!” You can hear is for yourself, the U.S. Government in action. Your tax dollars at work.

    So Radford, is afraid of something that does not exist. Rather, the opposite exists. No significant government grants go to researching Bigfoot, UFO’s or other things that may upset the hundreds of millions of Americans who are hanging onto reality by their fingernails. U.S. Government money all goes to fighting the acquiring and the spread of, dare I say it, KNOWLEDGE !

  129. DWA responds:

    I forgot to add another very basic erroneous assumption the skeptic camp continuously makes. It shows up most recently on the thread featuring the Daegling review of Meldrum’s book.

    Daegling takes Meldrum to task for not seriously considering the man-in-a-suit or movie-special-effects alternatives to the possibility that the P/G film shows a real, unclassified animal.

    THIS IS NOT MELDRUM’S JOB.

    In science, if you propound a thesis, YOU are responsible for backing it up. That skeptics continually fail to recognize this is telling. They ask proponents to back up their theory that we have a new animal here. (Good job, proponents!) Then they ask the proponents to consider – “seriously” – the proposition that this is a guy in a suit. Actually, this HAS been seriously considered; it is the basis of every analysis ever done of the Patterson film. The critter presents itself, prima facie, as something new to science. There is nothing in that film that says “guy in suit.” (Look at Sixties ape suits.) One might as well have made such an accusation against the first live coelacanth. Bipedal does not a human make. Ask any bird. Be that as it may, no analysis has shown how this could be human.

    The only thing proponents are required to do is substantiate their proposition that this is an undocumented animal. As the skeptical counterclaim that it isn’t has not a scrap of evidence backing it up, they cannot offload onto the proponents their own dismal failure to put even one thin reed, much less a crutch, under their own proposition.

    Other than the above, yep, Ben and I are around the same place on the Bigfoot-“belief” continuum.



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