Sasquatch Coffee

David Daegling’s Flawed Science

Posted by: Craig Woolheater on December 15th, 2006

With the recent mentions of David Daegling around these here parts, I thought I would share some thoughts and communiques that I have had with him in the past. For more on David Daegling and Bigfoot, check out these posts here on Cryptomundo.

After reading Daegling’s article entitled "Bigfoot’s Screen Test" from Skeptical Inquirer magazine, I had a hard time accepting his "scientific" studies.

In the article, Daegling attempts to replicate the compliant gait of the subject of the Patterson-Gimlin film, under ideal laboratory conditions (Daegling’s own words). That’s where I took serious issue, so I decided to email him and ask about that. Following is my email to Daegling.

Dr. Daegling,

I enjoyed reading your book. I found it an engaging skeptical take on the subject, as opposed to Greg Long’s book on the Patterson film.

I do have questions about your take on the compliant gait that is witnessed being used by the subject of the film. The first being that your figures for the length of stride using the compliant gait were, in your own words quoted in the article "Bigfoot’s Screen Test" from the Skeptical Inquirer, May/June 1999, done "under ideal laboratory conditions".

That was far from the case with the subject being filmed. The filmsite covers some rough terrain. That doesn’t take into account that if it were hoaxed, and if it was a man in a suit, then it WAS a man in a suit, with, I imagine far less mobility than someone unencumbered with a bulky suit, peering out of the eyeholes in a mask. I imagine that would increase the difficulty by many magnitudes, yet the film subject moves quite fluidly. It manages to make its way over the rough, uneven terrain for the length of the film without stumbling or even hesitating.

I find it far more difficult to believe that a man in a suit, supposedly strapped with water bottles to give the illusion of moving muscles under skin and hair could keep that up, than that the subject was a bipedal ape.

Craig Woolheater

Here is Dr. Daegling’s reply:

You raise an interesting point, and the question of how the terrain at Bluff Creek would effect gait is interesting and presumably testable. My impression (from the film) is that the site is relatively flat and that there were some obstacles to be negotiated. What might be the critical variable is the compliance of the soil and sand and how that affects gait. The wildcard is subject velocity, and with the film speed unknown this is problematic. We can’t even be sure what the distance traversed is during the film sequence. Unfortunately everyone has to deal with estimates of unknown validity here.

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.


34 Responses to “David Daegling’s Flawed Science”

  1. DWA responds:

    A relevant quote:

    “Preconceptions seem to determine what scientists are prepared to see, and one thing most scientists are definitely not prepared to see is apelike creatures in the American Northwest”
    (Cremo & Thompson, Forbidden Archeology)

    Science’s Achilles’ heel: great templates. The problem comes when one never puts them down; they don’t exactly improve one’s vision.

  2. DWA responds:

    And we have an example in Daegling’s article, which I skimmed enough of to put it down with confidence.

    No discussion of how an extremely nonstandard ape costume could have been made to fit that closely to a standard human figure in 1967. (Or now for that matter.) No discussion of how that costume got to that remote location. No discussion of how the costumed actor knew just when those guys were coming and to be ready.

    Etc.

    It is conceivably possible that the P/G film was faked. (Or that every single trackway, every single sighting, every single compelling encounter involving smell and sound, was either faked or somebody’s overstimulated imagination. Good luck with that.)

    That it COULD have been does not mean it WAS.

    I want to know HOW IT WAS DONE, by someone recreating it in front of me. OK, on TV will be fine. If you can’t do it now, you surely as hell is hot could not do it in 1967. Sez me.

    Bigfoot lives. Until you kill him.

  3. rifleman responds:

    The problem with conventional wisdom is…well..it’s so conventional.

  4. Sergio responds:

    Mr. Woolheater,

    A suggestion for your research wing, the TBRC: put someone in a gorilla suit with full head covering, with water bags underneath, and prosthetic feet, and let them run through the woods (as in the Danny Sweeten video), or walk as in the Patterson-Gimlin film along a partially dry creekbed while filming them, to see just how difficult it would be to film such a subject and pass it off as even inconclusive.

    I suspect that it will decidedly look ridiculous.

  5. One Eyed Cat responds:

    It is a pity some require wasting man hours and power to reveal the obvious.

  6. alanborky responds:

    MAYBE WE’VE BEEN GOING ABOUT THIS…BACK TO FRONT (OR WORDS TO THAT EFFECT)

    In deference to Dr. David Daegling, I’ve read the paper through twice, and it’s obvious he and Dr. Daniel Schmitt really did spend a good deal of time thinking over and testing the hypotheses promoted by the likes of Grover Krantz: the criticisms they made, and faults they found, therefore, were perfectly fair and totally justified.

    As they rightly say in their conclusion, “Bigfoot proponents have long decried the undeniable fact that detailed scientific investigation of the Patterson-Gimlin film has been lacking. There are, however, intractable difficulties involved in obtaining reliable data from image analysis where conditions are far from ideal. The potential for calibration errors in analyses of the Patterson-Gimlin film has undermined attempts to extract quantitative data from it.”

    What strikes me, though, is they were only dealing with everybody else’s attempts to derive things like height and weight data from the image of Patty.

    Might it not be possible, however, to go about this the other way round? So far as I know, Patterson’s height at the time is known, (though of course allowances would have to made for things like height increment due to heel size); and so far as I know the model of camera is known too; and as Dr. Daegling observes, the terrain the Patterson Event occurred on was “relatively flat”, in which case why not forget Patty for determining the “desired reference plane” and use Patterson?

    The very least this approach could provide is the maximum functional elevation of plane possible to that particular model of camera when borne by someone of that particular man’s height; and once you knew Patterson’s height and the position of the camera’s lens in relation to that height, all you’d need from that point on is a laser pointer appropriately attached to a suitably long pole.

  7. bill green responds:

    hey craig wow interesting new article about the p/g filmfootage. im sure there will more updates about this article. thanks bill

  8. Patrick Bede responds:

    alanborky said:

    “In deference to Dr. David Daegling, I’ve read the paper through twice, and it’s obvious he and Dr. Daniel Schmitt really did spend a good deal of time thinking over and testing the hypotheses promoted by the likes of Grover Krantz: the criticisms they made, and faults they found, therefore, were perfectly fair and totally justified.”

    No they weren’t, perfectly fair and totally jusitifed, that is. They were comparing pineapples to muscadine grapes.

    It is completely irrelevant whether or not it’s possible for a person to replicate the so-called compliant gait in a laboratory setting. (THAT is even debatable. When viewing them do it, they appeared comical, and did not even come closeo to appearing fluid, and this was without a costume.)

    What’s relevant is whether or not a person can do it, and do it convincingly (like the subject in the film), while wearing a hairy suit, with rubber feet, a mask, water bags under the suit, while walking outdoors in a dry creek, turning and looking back, smoothly, fluidly without so much as slightly tripping. Also, it has to be done with a suit that is sufficient to defy all attempts to discover hoaxing.

    I submit here and now that if it can be done (which I doubt), it can only be done with exceeding, almost impossible, difficulty.

    That’s the point. Daegling even conceded as much in his correspondence with Craig Woolheater. It was like: “Ahem. Uh, yes, that’s right, Craig, uh you have a point, but tah, well, this is the best we could do. Yeah, that’s it, this is the best we could do. That counts, doesn’t it??”

    Uh, no, David Daegling, it’s NO BUENO PARA CACA.

  9. stompy responds:

    The evidence in the P-G film has still not been “discovered”. Give us a frame by frame break down and it is all there. Can you do that for us Craig? Even if you get a layout which includes every 10th frame- the evidence is there. Can you post that for us? I want to see as many frames as possible. In still. Not moving. Post them all if ya can. If you will. Thank You.

  10. voodoochild responds:

    In viewing the stabilized version that M.K. Davis is credited with (wrongly or rightly) for the (probably) 30th time tonight, I realized something that I had not noticed before, especially considering some of the above comments.

    Patty does not appear to ever look down at her footpath (you know, looking down in front of her to make sure there’s not something in front of her to trip over etc.) It is as though she had either most likely traveled that same footpath before, or just had enough confidence walking on that type of terrain to not HAVE to look down. I don’t know about anybody else, but usually when one walks in the woods, a dry creekbed, etc., they have to look down occasionally to make sure there aren’t any obstacles in the footpath ahead to trip over. (I know I have to do this, anyway).

    Then, if you consider if it is a guy in a suit, whose vision would be somewhat limited, looking through “eyeholes”, I would think they would have to look down every couple of seconds, just to make sure they didn’t trip up. JMHO ;-)

  11. mystery_man responds:

    The one real big sticker for the man in suit argument is the fact that I find it hard to believe that someone in such an elaborate get up could move so smoothly. Actors in movies are constantly complaining about how hard it was to don even a simple suit and get around the set, let alone act out scenes. Factor in the terrain at Bluff Creek, and it just seems implausible to me that a guy in a suit could have pulled it off as well as the subject of the P/G footage seems to do. I found the above comment from voodoochild so compelling that I went back and looked at the footage and he’s right. The creature doesn’t really look down (at least as far as I can tell). That’s very odd for some one wearing a suit of that kind of bulk and I think it was a good observation. None of this is going to hands down eliminate the man in suit possibility, but I find it worth considering.

  12. DWA responds:

    If there’s one thing I hate it’s fetishising old evidence.

    I like to discuss Patty in these terms: never debunked. Next?

    But of course! That’s the most convincing thing about the film. (You gotta admit Patty has, well, a pretty funny butt. But then so does the mandrill.) That animal is comfortable, in its skin and where it is. It knows the terrain; it’s clearly on its home ground.

    This is why I hate the Daegling crap. The proponents were forced to do it to shut up the man-in-suit crowd. They should have; they showed that if this were what was done, it would be an incredibly hard task, beyond the talents of any of the principals.

    Daegling: you’re worrying the wrong bone. There’s a mountain of evidence.

    Get a shovel.

  13. Craig Woolheater responds:

    voodoochild and mystery_man,

    Exactly the point I made with my statement to Daegling:

    The filmsite covers some rough terrain. That doesn’t take into account that if it were hoaxed, and if it was a man in a suit, then it WAS a man in a suit, with, I imagine far less mobility than someone unencumbered with a bulky suit, peering out of the eyeholes in a mask. I imagine that would increase the difficulty by many magnitudes, yet the film subject moves quite fluidly. It manages to make its way over the rough, uneven terrain for the length of the film without stumbling or even hesitating.

    I find it far more difficult to believe that a man in a suit, supposedly strapped with water bottles to give the illusion of moving muscles under skin and hair could keep that up, than that the subject was a bipedal ape.

  14. DWA responds:

    Speaking of flawed science.

    Here’s another statement from Daegling’s article:

    “Glickman uses an allometric equation based on living primates to calculate a body mass for the film subject of 1,957 lbs. – absurdly large unless one wishes to posit that Bigfoot is constructed of nonstandard biological tissues.(12)”

    OK, let’s parse this.

    Restated: Glickman makes a reasonable estimate of the subject’s weight. Only it’s absurd.

    Let’s leave alone that I think Glickman’s estimate might be high, by at least several hundred pounds, given the figure’s dimensions. If Glickman used “an allometric equation based on living primates,” it stands to reason that he got a reasonable, if not accurate (as in, how would we know without a body anyway?), result. If it was based on living primates — which presumably do not have “nonstandard biological tissues” — how in the name of science could the resulting estimate be absurd?

    They don’t say. Nor would I expect them to.

    Boy. Can’t wait for their scathing debunking of Meldrum. Someone else read it for me, OK? I’m buying Meldrum’s book. I like to read science.

  15. DWA responds:

    Wow. Here’s some more! (Nice to read this stuff without having to pay for it!)

    —————————
    “Krantz’s estimate of the film subject’s stature is 6[feet]6[inches] (198 cm), well within human limits, but he argues that the chest width of the subject is incompatible with the human form: “I can confidently state that no man of that stature is built that broadly.”(13) Assuming that these parameters are measured without error, this assertion may be refuted by a quick consultation of the Anthropometric Source Book (1978). Chest width is measured by Krantz in the same fashion as a distance known as “interscye” in the anthropometric literature. In a sample of 1,004 men of the German Air Force, interscye of the ninety-fifth percentile is 49.6 cm, a good 3 cm larger than Bigfoot’s impossibly wide thorax. The ninety-fifth percentile stature is 187.1 cm in this group, less than 4 inches shorter than the film subject. Unless Krantz would argue that taller Air Force personnel necessarily have narrower chests, his confident statement is admirable for its faith but not its veracity.”

    ——————–

    Here Daegling does what he insists we should be very careful we don’t do: stating uncertain parameters as facts. Or at least using them that way. Just as I’m uncertain about Glickman’s weight numbers, I think Krantz’s height numbers might be off (and I’ve heard estimates for Patty almost a foot higher than Krantz’s). But here’s Daegling saying that Krantz is wrong — when I think it’s very possible, indeed probable, given the context of his piece — that Krantz was simply saying: take a walk. Take a million of them. How many people do you see built like that?

    And, maybe implicitly: so Patterson and Gimlin scanned the percentile charts before specially cherrypicking the freakiest-looking human they could find, then making him a custom suit…? And, oh right, in addition finding a guy with arm-length proportions that might have been met by, oh, five people in the US at that time, if that?

    Hmmmmm. Maybe to find such a triple-freak, they had to put in a phone call to the German Air Force. Yeah, that’s it, that’s the ticket….

    Again and again, this article makes the proponents’ point: Doing this would have been so absurdly difficult, it’s just easier to go with the ape, OK?

  16. DWA responds:

    And another thing.

    I remember coming up to a view, at sunset, unlimbering the camera; the tripod; the cable release; readying the lenses; steadying on the best shot; shoot shoot shoot; bracket; shoot shoot shoot…bracket….then packing up everything and turning around to walk away.

    Then thinking: wait a minute. Did you even see anything? Go back and ENJOY THE VIEW.

    Scofftics. Stop analyzing someone else’s numbers to make the same point they do. ENJOY THE VIEW. What is that thing on that film? Tell us.

    And be reasonable, OK?

  17. mystery_man responds:

    I definitely think that in order to make some of these skeptical theories more plausible as evidence, they are going to have to build a suit with water bags, put a person matching the freakish dimensions of Patty in it, then have them negotiate the rough terrain without hesitation in a believable way. Then show how it was organized by Patterson and Gimlin in the 60s as well as how is was funded. This would be a scientific way to debunk the film, and would make their case more compelling to me. I am open minded about the P/G footage, but some of the skeptical theories seem a bit implausible to me, going on the “it could have happened, so it must have happened” approach. Well, sorry skeptics. That doesn’t fly for Bigfoot proponents, so it shouldn’t for you either.

  18. mystery_man responds:

    Also, I possess a healthy mix of skepticism. I am perfectly willing to accept that the P/G film was hoaxed. But it is going to take more than the theories and notions that have been presented from the skeptic side thus far, a lot of which are just speculation. I look at the evidence from both sides but the most glaring hole that I see is the lack of anyone able to produce the same effect as the film. Let’s face it, that is very telling. If it can be done, then why not do it and put all this to rest? Funding? Well, Patterson and Gimlin were not excectly rich and they did it. Unwillingness to go through the trouble? Imagine the fame and books and documentaries you could put out if you were the one able to recreate the hoax so convincingly, to convincingly debunk the footage. But this has not been done to an acceptable degree and I find this in and of itself to be a very strong argument for the believers out there. I am not saying I am 100% convinced Patty is a sasquatch, just that I have not seen anything that has really compensated for the lack of anyone able to recreate the film and this is curious to me. I have seen the gait reproduced in a lab setting, theories of water bag suits, etc, but this is conjecture on the skeptic’s part. It does not prove that is what happened. The easiest way to get at least myself to consider all these ideas is to just go out and do it, and do it to a degree that I watch it and think “hey, they may be on to something.”

  19. DWA responds:

    The four biggest problems Bigfoot proponents face:

    1. People who are supposedly on their side of the argument, until they tell us how shape-shifting and dimensional travel make the big guy invisible so that he can continue his mission on behalf of Other Worlds.

    2. Tabloid journalism. Thanks, guys. Save the fun for Saddam and Osama, OK?

    3. The proponents’ inability to argue this thing the way the skeptics do: by clearly pointing out, for example, how a skeptic’s viewpoint can usually be shown ignorant on at least four relevant topics in the first 60 seconds. (The BFRO’S FAQs do this pretty well. Memorize them.)

    4. The way proponents participate with the skeptics in their own game, the only one available to them: repeated rehashing of old evidence, the continuance of which, one might point out, only reveals the power of the old evidence.

    5. (Started out with two. I’m feeling like Monty Python here.) The denial, refusal, inability or ignorance that makes them incapable of pointing the skeptics to what the skeptics must address: The sheer volume and nature of the evidence. I’ve heard that some proponents would like the Patterson film to go away for this very reason: too many skeptics think that’s the only evidence! Sightings are evidence. All scientific knowledge, if one looks at it right, starts with a sighting by a layman. Without sightings there is no science. In my opinion, the sighting reports I have read are the most compelling evidence, by far. It’s funny how eyewitness testimony from solid sources convicts humans in court, and sometimes sends them to jail or to their deaths, but does nothing to advance the case for the sasquatch.

    If you’re a skeptic, I point you to the BFRO and TBRC websites (and there are others), and tell you to come back to me when you’re educated.

    (Ben.)

  20. Benjamin Radford responds:

    I can’t speak for Daegling’s work, but I believe many here have missed his point. It is clearest in his final sentence: “Unfortunately everyone has to deal with estimates of unknown validity here.”

    I think Daegling would be the first to admit that his estimates of the P/G subject (like Meldrum’s, and everyone else’s), are imprecise. In fact, that is his very point: that those like Meldrum and Glickman have no scientifically valid basis upon which to draw any real conclusions about what the subject is, or its precise height or weight.

    I think this is self-evident, as the film is still being debated 40 years later. Meldrum and others are the ones claiming that reliable answers can be found in the film, not Daegling. Therefore it is up to Meldrum et al. to prove that the estimates they derive are correct, and they have no basis upon which to do that from two-dimensional images on a film, without a body to compare Patty to. It’s all guesswork and conjecture.

    DWA and others keep coming back to the strange idea that it is up to skeptics or critics to prove the P/G film is a hoax. This of course has it totally backward; the burden of proof is on those making the claim to prove it is real.

    That’s how science and the real world work: If a drug company offers a drug, the burden of proof is on them to prove it is effective; it’s not on the FDA or critics to prove the drug DOESN’T work. If a person is charged with a crime, the burden of proof is on the courts and police to prove the person is guilty, as claimed–not on the defendant to prove he is innocent.

    This is a basic logical error and it’s time it was put to rest.

  21. Benjamin Radford responds:

    …And I guess as long as I’m correcting some obvious errors, I should briefly address this old chestnut that DWA clings to:

    “Sightings are evidence. All scientific knowledge, if one looks at it right, starts with a sighting by a layman. Without sightings there is no science.”

    Yes, sightings ARE evidence, but very poor evidence, as decades of valid studies and research (and any psychologist or police detective) can tell you. (I have a degree in psychology; I wonder if DWA does.) I explained this in my book Lake Monster Mysteries and in my article “Bigfoot at 50,” which few Bigfoot believers bother to read or address.

    No skeptics I know of totally reject sightings, and many noted researchers agree with skeptics on this point. Loren Coleman, among many others, admits that the vast majority of Bigfoot sightings are mistakes or misidentifications. (Again, something DWA would know had he bothered to read some skeptical analysis.)

    So much for the stunning validity of sightings… psychologists, police, detectives, skeptics, and cryptozoologists agree: sightings are unreliable. It seems that DWA is nearly alone in his amazing faith in eyewitnesses.

    The problem is that sightings by themselves are a dead end. A sighting is simply a psychological experience and cannot give any sort of hard evidence. There is not a single thing we know for sure about Bigfoot that has come from the tens of thousands of sightings that DWA is so impressed with, not one.

    “All scientific knowledge, if one looks at it right, starts with a sighting by a layman.” The difference is that all other scientific knowledge is empirically verifiable: gravity, photosynthesis, zoology, etc. With all REAL science, there is a way to check the validity of those observations (or “sightings”); not so with Bigfoot.

  22. DWA responds:

    Ben, Ben, Ben. I thought you’d promised to go away and let true discourse continue! But aaaaaah, angry people never do.

    The usual ruthless parsing follows, ID’d by my inimitable @@@. (If you’ve seen that anywhere else it was faked. :-D)

    I’m not trying to convince Ben, as his tired rehash shows he can’t be reasoned with, but to entertain us true skeptics. ;-)

    ———————————

    …And I guess as long as I’m correcting some obvious errors, I should briefly address this old chestnut that DWA clings to:

    “Sightings are evidence. All scientific knowledge, if one looks at it right, starts with a sighting by a layman. Without sightings there is no science.”

    @@@Nobody needs to cling to the truth, Benjie boy; it clings to everything.

    Yes, sightings ARE evidence, but very poor evidence, as decades of valid studies and research (and any psychologist or police detective) can tell you. (I have a degree in psychology; I wonder if DWA does.)

    @@@Psychology! Pseudoscience. Now I’m impressed. Why would I WANT a degree in psychology? I have of course heard why people who major in it do, as I trust you did too, Ben… To find out what’s wrong with them!
    :-D

    I explained this in my book Lake Monster Mysteries and in my article “Bigfoot at 50,” which few Bigfoot believers bother to read or address.

    @@@We’ve seen your “arguments,” which would convince no skeptic and hasn’t here; and we sure don’t need to address any other books using it. Maybe when you address us, we’ll address back; but our experience with your M.O. shows a relentless refusal to address the important stuff. Onward….

    No skeptics I know of totally reject sightings,

    @@@And now Ben shows us why sightings are crap, but we’ve heard it all before….”We don’t totally reject them…we just think they’re bunk….” Um, Ben, didn’t you just say that above?

    and many noted researchers agree with skeptics on this point.

    @@@Conveniently ignoring, again, the ones who don’t. If this weren’t so fun it would be tiring, Ben! And watch how you use “skeptic.” You’re talking to real ones here; we don’t like being tarred with your brush. Refer to yourself as “scofftic” or “grim denier” from now on so’s we may recognize you. :-D

    Loren Coleman, among many others, admits that the vast majority of Bigfoot sightings are mistakes or misidentifications.

    @@@Anyone who’s serious about the field knows that, GD; TBRC rejects flatly 80% of the reports it gets, Ben. And look how many are left!

    (Again, something DWA would know had he bothered to read some skeptical analysis.)

    @@@I know that — as you have just seen, GD — from reading the analysis of TRUE skeptics, like the ones at TBRC, who are actively looking for proof and won’t consider themselves done until they get it, and not even then. But do tell me what YOU’VE been reading, dude-san.

    So much for the stunning validity of sightings… psychologists, police, detectives, skeptics, and cryptozoologists agree: sightings are unreliable. It seems that DWA is nearly alone in his amazing faith in eyewitnesses.

    @@@Are you doing a scofftic caricature here, or what? Everybody you just mentioned knows how CRITICAL eyewitness testimony is. Um, ever been to court? (You may go. For impersonation of a skeptic! :-D)

    The problem is that sightings by themselves are a dead end.

    @@@How many books did it take you to learn that? I think most of us knew that by the time, well, I was no older than ten.

    A sighting is simply a psychological experience and cannot give any sort of hard evidence. There is not a single thing we know for sure about Bigfoot that has come from the tens of thousands of sightings that DWA is so impressed with, not one.

    @@@Um, Ben. That’s semantics and nothing else. 99% of what we know about the dinosaurs, if you think about it for one second, AIN’T KNOWLEDGE! But it is something. Evidence. And taken in toto — after, remember, tossing 80% of them — pretty impressive evidence. Or does Mr. Psychologist think every sighting — or even most of them, keep in mind AGAIN, Ben, AFTER tossing 80% — comes from a nut? (Nod, Ben.)

    “All scientific knowledge, if one looks at it right, starts with a sighting by a layman.” The difference is that all other scientific knowledge is empirically verifiable: gravity, photosynthesis, zoology, etc. With all REAL science, there is a way to check the validity of those observations (or “sightings”); not so with Bigfoot.

    @@@Then what are you even doing here? Why don’t you just run off and play and let us look for your body for you? :-D

    Thenk you, thenk you, thenk you, ledeez un gennlemun. It has been mon plaisir to once again shoot ze scofftique full of holes pour vous.

    (En anglais: You promised to go, man. Clearly you’re not being taken seriously.)

  23. DWA responds:

    But because some people can’t get enough holes shot in them, let me put a few more in Grim Denier’s #21 above.

    There’s a lot of evidence for the existence of an unlisted North American ape that has never been debunked. (Including the P/G film. Ferpetesake, IT’S A FILM OF AN APE. That should be EASY to debunk, fellas.) See, this is kinda like a murder that remains unsolved, for you law enforcement out there. (I don’t know WHAT would work for you psychologists out there. Enlighten me, Freud. :-D) If science can’t debunk the evidence, and still doesn’t consider the topic worth further research, science is falling down on its job. Because there the evidence stands, AND NO ONE IS FOLLOWING UP ON IT. Unless you count those truly dedicated people with, unfortunately, low funds for this, and real lives and real jobs in other fields hence low time for this, that nonetheless know good evidence when they see it, so have decided to soldier on while science reclines on its [divan] and picks its teeth.

    THAT’s the logical error. And science needs to correct it pronto. Fortunately some scientists know that. A sampling of names: Krantz; Meldrum; Goodall; Schaller; Bindernagel; Swindler; Naish….I could keep going, but I need to reload my shotgun…just a sec here…

    And to further reinforce GD’s lack of more than passing acquaintance with Daegling: Daegsie may be a bona fide skeptic. It may be more the way GDs like Ben are treating his findings that’s the problem. Because, as I have repeated to Benjie’s deaf ears more than once, showing that one facet may have been faked in no way shows either that that facet was faked, or that all the facets that need to come together to create a well-done hoax indeed did.

    Right, Ben? (Ben would love to read Matt Crowley. He could give Ben lessons on true skepticism. So Ben probably hasn’t heard his name. Or has misinterpreted grossly why he’s a “Bigfoot agnostic.”)

    Oh. Coming from a skeptic, “inconclusive” sounds a lot like: I think it’s an ape. BUT I CAN’T SAY THAT….

  24. Benjamin Radford responds:

    DWA managed to completely avoid the points and issues I raised. Well done!

    I can only hope that most people read and compare the above three posts, see which of us is following a reasonable, logical train of thought, which of us is avoiding answering the simple criticisms. Like they say, give ‘em enough rope and they’ll hang themselves…

    I’m trying to explain to people here why it is that most scientists don’t take Bigfoot seriously. The problem is not some conspiracy, or inability to accept new ideas, it’s a lack of good science in the search.

    If DWA and others of his ilk would prefer to call names, avoid the issues, and not genuinely try to understand the skeptical point of view, that’s fine with me. I don’t care; most scientists and the general public are on the skeptical side anyway. It’s not the skeptics who always complain about a lack of respect and scientific standing, it’s the Bigfoot believers.

    Until and unless open-minded Bigfoot searchers try to understand why exactly it is that science is denying them respectability, no progress will be made in finding Bigfoot.

    DWA and others don’t seem to stop to ask themselves: If the evidence for Bigfoot is really as strong, as valid, as scientific as they claim, then why aren’t more scientists studying it? Why hasn’t the evidence for Bigfoot gotten stronger over the years?

    Talking to true believers like DWA is a waste of time; it’s people shouting at each other instead of listening to each other and trying to understand the other’s position. If and when people are interested in genuine debate and rational discussion, I’m happy to do so.

  25. Sergio responds:

    Benjamin Radford said: “I believe many here have missed his [Daegling’s] point. It is clearest in his final sentence: ‘Unfortunately everyone has to deal with estimates of unknown validity here.’”

    That point was taken. However, it still does not abdicate him [Daegling] of his responsibility to conduct tests that support (or refute) his supposition relating to costumes, gait, water bags, etc. Merely demonstrating that a human MAY (in a very contrived manner) be able to walk in a laboratory setting using a so-called compliant gait did absolutely nothing to demonstrate his overall hypothesis, which is, that the subject in the Patterson-Gimlin film footage was a person in some sort of custom costume with complete mask, head covering, rubber, realistic, unclumsy feet, in 1967, who fluidly executed the so-called compliant gait, with water bags or some such underneath the costume to act as musculature, while negotiating a creek bed strewn with stumps and debris in Northern California, while keeping chin down below the shoulders, etc., etc., etc.

    If Daegling, or anyone else, has a theory or hypothesis about how the film was perpetrated, it is absolutely incumbent on him/them to demonstrate how it was done. Merely showing that it is possible for a human to walk using a compliant gait demonstrates absolutely nothing relevant to the film subject.

    Those who believe the film subject was an unknown species have a responsibility to somehow validate that theory, most likely through obtaining film of another kindred subject.

  26. Craig Woolheater responds:

    DWA,

    Ben and Matt are acquainted with one another. See this post here on Cryptomundo for the evidence.

    I suggest that we cool the personal attacks and name calling and see if we can discuss the issue calmly and rationally.

    Craig

  27. Benjamin Radford responds:

    Sergio:

    Thank you for your reasoned response and lack of sarcasm; it’s a refreshing change, and merits a response.

    “Merely showing that it is possible for a human to walk using a compliant gait demonstrates absolutely nothing relevant to the film subject.”

    Again, I can’t and won’t speak for Daegling (it’s his research and comments, not mine), but I think he was responding to the specific claim that was made that Patty’s locomotion COULD NOT be duplicated. I do not think that Daegling’s research shows that the P/G film is definitely a hoax, nor do I think he ever really claimed that.

    For that matter, I’m not sure that you are correct that his hypothesis is necessarily that:

    “the subject in the Patterson-Gimlin film footage was a person in some sort of custom costume with complete mask, head covering, rubber, realistic, unclumsy feet, in 1967, who fluidly executed the so-called compliant gait, with water bags or some such underneath the costume to act as musculature,”

    We don’t know if it was a costume or not; if it was, we don’t know for certain that there were any water bags or anything like that for the musculature; there simply isn’t enough detail and info in the P/G film to make such assumptions. We don’t know for certain that the feet were clumsy or not. This is part of the problem. Yes, if it’s a hoax then it’s a costume, but there is no way of knowing for certain what kind it was, how much it weighed, what the feet were like, etc. One can guess, but that’s all it is, guessing.

    The Patty film is very similar to the famous Champ lake monster photo I investigated. One believer dismissed a hoax explanation as saying that the subject was clearly an “excellent, full size model of a monster” out on the lake. Yet that was a simple guess; the photo simply showed a dark, ambigious, curved form in the water, not an excellent, life-sized model. In the same way, people need to not go beyond the evidence, and admit that there’s little to go on.

  28. DWA responds:

    Ben: re: your post 25:

    “DWA managed to completely avoid the points and issues I raised. Well done!”

    It’s what you’ve been doing with mine, Ben. But wait, another post!

  29. DWA responds:

    My problem with what I’ve seen as the skeptical take on this is simply that the sasquatch exists (or doesn’t) independent of what we say about him. In other words: one can’t simply react to someone else’s statement and call the job done. (Particularly if it’s an unreasonable statement.) One must either present or debunk evidence. Proponents have presented it much faster than debunkers have debunked it.

    That the Patty walk could not be duplicated is not exactly a scientific position to take. As such, it’s not worth responding to. Humans are, if not the best, at least the most versatile mimics in the animal kingdom. Of course it could be duplicated: the question is whether it is likely that someone did so, in great form, in a bulky, cumbersome suit that had to get there somehow, under the conditions that existed on Bluff Creek, CA in 1967. Showing that a human can do it unencumbered (as Sergio points out) in no way contributes to the discussion of whether the critter on the film is a real animal.

    Science doesn’t just respond to critics making invalid points (and “that walk CANNOT BE DUPLICATED” sounds a little true-believer for a skeptic like me). Science adds to the analysis of the film, not to the analysis of spurious comments people make about the film, regardless of those people’s stance on its validity.

    Said another way: that a proponent, in analyzing the film, made a stretch comment — and that-cannot-be-duplicated is quite a stretch, and I’d say wrong — in no way weakens what was really his point, if the point was that a human isn’t very likely to do that, and look that nonchalant doing it, on take one, in a suit like that, in 1967 on Bluff Creek, CA.

    Science must address that point, and show (as Sergio says) whether the complete execution of the hoax, or the animal, is more likely. I believe that the great preponderance of such analysis shows the latter to be the more likely.

    Just a skeptic talking. If it’s a man in a suit, you have to show me. And obviously, no one who says it’s a real animal is right until we get final proof that the species exists.

    And BTW: where the general public stands on this issue really means nothing. After all, science led them there, and if science is wrong so are they. At one time it was a standard belief that the earth was flat.

    And good science is the responsibility of scientists. You know, science. The people complaining about the lack of scientific involvement aren’t true believers; they’re non-scientists, in the possession of powerful evidence, frustrated at having to do the heavy lifting because establishment science has gone ivory-tower on this one.

    It may just be that science is not more involved on this one because science is WRONG on this one. Says this skeptic, not knowing and not having any way to know until science gets involved.

    Which it may not, ever, because of fear of the irrational ridicule that dogs anyone who’s really interested in an answer. Part of the reason so many of us have to use initials instead of give our real names.

  30. DWA responds:

    Oh.

    The evidence for Bigfoot gets stronger and stronger every DAY. It’s why we’re here. It’s why YOU’RE here, Ben, if you thought about it for a second.

  31. DWA responds:

    And one more thing.

    No one’s going beyond any evidence here.

    As I’ve said on another thread, this ain’t lake monsters, and Patty isn’t a full-scale model or a dark, curved form in the water. Patty’s a bipedal animal. The only question is whether the bipedal animal is wearing a suit.

    There’s plenty for science to go on. Science only has to go on it. Scientists waiting for non-scientists to bring science to the debate is kinda like the garbagemen’s union wondering who the heck’s gonna pick up all this trash.

    Following up on the copious evidence is science’s job. Researchers have told them precisely where to look and what to look for. That’s why the folks whose names I’ve cited here are doing what they’re doing. It’s their job.

  32. mystery_man responds:

    The more years that go by, the more I think that the P/G film is never going to amount to any kind of hard, undisputed evidence. There are always going to be people who debunk it and people who hold it as the Holy Grail of Bigfoot evidence. It is an old piece of footage that leaves very little that can be scientifically proven or disproven. Too many variables and unknowns that we cannot ascertain from it. Personally, I feel the film is very compelling and the fact that nobody seems able to precisely duplicate it is telling, however this in and of itself will not put the whole issue to rest. True, it is a very fascinating piece of footage, but I feel that unfortunately it just is not going to be enough to hold up as the unassailable proof that Bigfoot exists. I don’t think it will ever be conclusively be proven NOT to be Bigfoot either, although I admittedly am willing to accept either outcome. We are going to need new footage of similar quality to compare it with and test the P/G footage against. I feel it is a mistake to put too much hope, skeptic or otherwise, on this one piece of evidence which in the end will probably not be shown, without a doubt, to be real or fake.

  33. DWA responds:

    Well, I’d have to agree with you there, mystery_man.

    If it hasn’t gone either way by now, it’ll never go either way, which is probably why so many proponents wish it would just go away. All the rehashing has now degenerated to rehashing of rehashing.

    While my personal response to it is almost exactly yours, I am most certainly willing to let this one go. What I would like to see happen now is science putting more time, money and effort into this search.

    I simply don’t buy the idea that science should be sitting back and picking its teeth waiting for a bunch of weekend warriors with real jobs and real families to raise to do its work for it. Which so far is precisely what’s been happening (with the notable exceptions). I think that Bigfoot researchers are seeing enough smoke to lead a reasonable man to conclude there’s a fire out there someplace.

  34. DWA responds:

    But here, from our own Craig, is why mainstream “science is denying them [Bigfoot researchers] respectability…”:

    —————————-

    “Mainstream scientists don’t want anything to do with it,” he [i.e., Craig] said. “They’d be risking their careers by sticking their necks out.”

    “It’s the amateur scientists who are out there, trying to solve the mystery.”

    ———————–

    From the San Angelo Standard-Times, San Angelo, Texas, “Some Texans claim Bigfoot is among us,” by Rick Smith, Sunday, August 14, 2005.

    Just for the record. And oh so correct.

    Science is denying Bigfoot researchers respectability in what may eventually amount to a backfiring effort to preserve its own.

    I won’t say “intellectual cowardice.”

    Promise.



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