True Believers Have No Place In Cryptozoology

“Let’s get this business about belief straight. The believers are the scientists, they’re the ones who are clinging to a belief. The people who think that there are Sasquatches are the ones who are investigating – the ones who have become convinced on evidence. The scientists are the ones going on pure faith and don’t actually know much about it and make darn sure they don’t know anything about it.” – John Green

“Belief is the providence of religion, and believing has more to do with faith than science. I accept or deny the evidence, the patterns of reports, the eyewitness testimony, and those investigations inform me as to whether or not I feel this is an event, a hidden animal, and/or a cryptid of interest to cryptozoology.” – Loren Coleman

The following what written by T. Peter Park in 2004:

As one leading contemporary Fortean, the cryptozoologist Loren Coleman, has stressed, “pursuers of the unknown, Forteans all, believe in nonbelief” (Loren Coleman, Mysterious America [New York: Paraview Press, 2001], “Some Concluding Thoughts After Some Years on the Trail,” p. 289). An “open-minded attitude to the many unexplained situations,” he
feels, is “the stock and trade of the Fortean.”

Coleman and his fellow cryptozoologists can “accept concrete answers, actual flesh and blood critters as the foundation to monster accounts.” However, he adds, “a psychological answer may be at work with some of
these accounts, and the rational conventional undiscovered animal answer may not be viable for all reports.” He sees “room enough to consider many possibilities.” However, he emphasizes that as a cryptozoologist he does not “believe” in monsters. Cryptozoology, he reiterates, is “not about ‘belief.'” Believing is “the realm of religion,” but “cryptozoology, like all sciences,” is “about gathering the data and evidence to develop trends, patterns, and evidence which lead to hard facts and discoveries” (Coleman, Mysterious America, p. 289).

Thus, Coleman suggests on the one hand that quite probably “some monsters in America are chimpanzee-like dryopithecines,” “some cats and maned lions are relict populations” of Panthera atrox, and “some lake monsters are unknown long-necked seals.” However, he feels that there is also “room” in his “cosmic jokebox” for “teleporting alligators, Dover Demons,” and “phantom clowns that imitate UFO’s in all aspects but flight.” (Coleman, Mysterious America, p. 289)….He professes himself “not afraid to say ‘I don’t know.'” (Coleman, Mysterious America, p. 289).

(From T. Peter Park’s long essay, “Forteanism and Experience Anomalies.”)

Aren’t we, in essence, in agreement with the so-called “Skeptics”?

About Loren Coleman
Loren Coleman is one of the world’s leading cryptozoologists, some say “the” leading. Certainly, he is acknowledged as the current living American researcher and writer who has most popularized cryptozoology in the late 20th and early 21st centuries. Starting his fieldwork and investigations in 1960, after traveling and trekking extensively in pursuit of cryptozoological mysteries, Coleman began writing to share his experiences in 1969. An honorary member of Ivan T. Sanderson’s Society for the Investigation of the Unexplained in the 1970s, Coleman has been bestowed with similar honorary memberships of the North Idaho College Cryptozoology Club in 1983, and in subsequent years, that of the British Columbia Scientific Cryptozoology Club, CryptoSafari International, and other international organizations. He was also a Life Member and Benefactor of the International Society of Cryptozoology (now-defunct). Loren Coleman’s daily blog, as a member of the Cryptomundo Team, served as an ongoing avenue of communication for the ever-growing body of cryptozoo news from 2005 through 2013.

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  1. I’m going out on a limb and guessing flame 821 meant religion in terms of the whole creation vs. evolution aspect. As in, if we indeed prove the existence of another upright primate more similar to us, what will it do to religion in terms of that.

    Globally, probably not a lot. Personally, it may affect how some people see the world. From my perspective, people are awfully good at seeing what they want to see, even in the face of “facts.” I doubt proof positive will shake the fanatics.

    I still stand by the belief that believing in something doesn’t mean you have to ignore evidence or non-evidence, as the case may be. In fact, it’s when you start ignoring facts in order to hang onto your belief that you go down that road of the “true believer” or the “scoftic” and then we start rolling our eyes at you, no matter what your stance.

    People who believe in BF to the point that everything that happens in the woods links to BF is just as bad the people who completely ignore the thousands of sightings and say it’s all just guys in oversized bigfeet shoes and costumes running through the woods all over the country. Narrow mindedness is the poison to truth and enlightenment–I forget who said that.

  2. As to the existence of the soul…that’s a whole other thread:) you’ve got people all over the fence on that one. A lot of faiths drop the soul with humanity. And even if we were to prove the existence of the big guy, it wouldn’t necessarily kick him into equality with humanity, granting him a soul. First it would have to be proven that BF had that “whatever” we have that gives us a soul and separates us from the rest of the world.

    Now on another tangent, there are also factions that grant animals souls too–dogs and cats have gotten that honor in a lot of circles…so maybe having a soul really comes down to humanity itself…if we have souls, perhaps we can give souls to our favorite things…like cats, dogs, etc. Thereby extending to BF if people hold him/her in high enough regard? I’m getting off topic, but again, you know…that’s what I do…maybe I’ll have to go to Theo-mundo to hash that one out…

  3. Actually I was questioning something someone else upstream wrote regarding religion. (Please don’t ask me to look again, I’m getting blurr from reading all the posts) I don’t even want to get into the creation vs evolution argument here, it isn’t the place or the time.

    I think a ‘soul’ is too open to interpretation to claim whether or not it exists in humans, let alone any other animal or, in a religion such as Shinto, where everything has a soul, living or not. (stones, rivers, animals, etc)

    I think a level of intelligence or self awareness would be a better bar to shoot for regarding how ‘human’ a living primate might be. Of course there are others who feel only DNA or Physiology should be the deciding factors and I’m in no position to argue with them (actually I don’t think anyone is in a position to argue this until we actually have something to test it on).

    I think the first thing we have to do is come to an agreement on the definitions of words. One person’s understanding of ‘belief’ is not the same as another. Just as one person’s concept of a ‘soul’ is not the same as another. Even within organized religions there seems to be a great deal of wiggle room for what, exactly, the soul is and how to recognize (or measure) it.

    @ DWA since you are so familiar with the eye witness accounts, I’m curious regarding your theories. Do you think Bigfoot is an unknown primate, an out of place primate, a bipedal mutation of a known animal (much like the Matschie Tree Kangaroos that are walking bipedally on a regular basis), or do you think it is something else entirely?

  4. flame821:

    No doubt in my mind that if the sasquatch is real, it’s a primate we haven’t made the acquaintance of yet, taxonomically speaking.

    (i.e., unknown primate.)

    I don’t even hold to the “Giganto hypothesis,” which makes the sasquatch a descendent of the Gigantopithecus genus of giant – possibly but not certainly bipedal – fossil apes. I think we may not have found the fossil progenitors of this animal yet.

    Now, shoot, it could be something else, so technically, put me down for a scintilla of doubt. But the evidence – particularly the trackways and the eyewitness accounts – points firmly in the direction of “primate.” Not only physical characters but behaviors characteristic of primates show up metronomically, or at least significantly, in encounter reports:

    1. the midtarsal break in the foot (known from fossil hominids and current apes, it’s not only evident in numerous trackways, but described by more than one eyewitness who, not technically familiar with the science involved, described foot movement notable to him that couldn’t easily be explained any other way);

    1a. the foot itself (no other animal but us living now has anything close; all the animals that do are fossil primates);

    2. facial features that are uniformly described as resembling (and I’d expect this to be subjective) an ape, a “monkey,” or even a human (and most frequently, some ape and some human features);

    3. intimidation behaviors (“shadowing” while disrupting vegetation; bluff charges; pushing over large dead snags) identical to those reported from current apes, and being described by witnesses with no experience with known apes in the wild;

    4. hands, frequently reported (nothing else but primates has them);

    5. the animal’s general appearance, closest to that either of man or of the numerous bipedal fossil primates;

    I could go on, but you get the idea.

    This critter is different enough from anything known – but aligning with primates on more than enough characters, including curiosity frequently exhibited on visits to the occupied fringes of its wild habitat – for me to make a reasonable assertion that it’s a primate. Whether ape or human or something else needs to await the classification process. Which yep, requires a specimen.

    But I think we know – or, OK, can give a very educated guess – enough to say, this is a primate, and it ain’t on the roster of known animals.

    Yet.

  5. Well I am happy to call myself a true believer, which in my case springs from belief in (seeking ) the truth and being open minded. I think scepticism as a posture is an unhappy one (in german ‘unglucklich’ sums it up) and makes for negativity and the treading on spring flowers. Scepticism about a particular issue is a useful tool but broadcast willy-nilly like permanent cold rain. Balanced reasoning beats scepticism by a long shot and this is the what cryptozoologists should be proud of, not being sceptics as a kind of defence against far gone sceptics !

    This is a grand moment in history where we are approaching the unveiling of sasquatch, so why don’t you make the most of it remembering the journeys the thing. I image if Sanderson or Heuvelmens were here they would be ecstatic. Randi’s miserable face and questionable utterance kinda illustrates this negativity imo. What kind of role model is he ?

    I wouldn’t make a totem pole out of sasquatch but i feel it is intrinscly part of the god in all and everything. Atheists should be able to appreciate this as they look at the wonders of the universe, without compromising their beliefs. (?).

    Even inanimate matter has potential for that something special which is imo
    god/good/conciousness etc. It is worth looking at Cameron, the attractive female robot in The Sarah Connor Chronicles tv series to start you wondering what may be the soul potential of so called inanimate matter as Cameron struggles with what she is and her feelings for John connor and his for her. Worth watching anyway this brilliant series . So even greater reason to accept sasquatch as having that indefinable something which we have as human beings..

    My impression is that very important DNA results are on the way for sasquatch and that along with all the other evidence should have hugh potential for bigfoots status such that the quibblers and naysayers will be left high and dry. When to continue to argue for a bigfoot corpse will seem to be bordering on the vindictive. A body is not needed by science to confirm a new species with all the background evidence there is for sasquatch. A new species of crocodile has just been made on the basis of a fossilised skull discovered in Dorset UK. Sasquatch should far outrank this relic even without DNA !

    So please do not argue for a body on the basis that ‘science’ cannot and will not accept it as proof. The point is scientists should and could otherwise they are authorising hundreds of guns if not thousands to spray bullets all over north america mainly injuring and maiming and killing, what the evidence shows to be are sentient beings.

  6. @ DWA

    Thanks for the response. My feelings tend to drift between relic hominid (close cousin on family tree) and undiscovered New World Ape. The mid-tarsal break does make me think of tree dwelling primates so I have to wonder if maybe we should be looking up a bit more than we are.

    # Norman-UK

    So please do not argue for a body on the basis that ’science’ cannot and will not accept it as proof. The point is scientists should and could otherwise they are authorising hundreds of guns if not thousands to spray bullets all over north america mainly injuring and maiming and killing, what the evidence shows to be are sentient beings.

    Did you, in one small paragraph, just insist that science accept something without so much as a bone to go on? As well as blame them for any shootings that may possibly occur at any future date? Really?

    That new croc species was based on a skull, I promise you if someone brought the skull of a Bigfoot in, we would have a taxonomic basis and decent definition of the animal we call Bigfoot. No cadaver necessary. But what you are asking for is that science disregard all president and simply accept something because “a lot of people believe it” or “we have a lot of witnesses and footprints”. None of which is going to give us any idea of what animal Bigfoot is. Granted Dr. Meldrum can give us a very good GENERAL ideal of the TYPE of creature Bigfoot might be, but that doesn’t make it into the science books. And speaking as one of those skeptical-minded atheists, I assure you, my life is far from glum or negative. It sounds to me as though you are allowing your prejudices to influence your opinions a just a tad.

  7. @flame821:

    The midtarsal break has been found on what appear to have been ground-dwelling, bipedal fossil hominids. Evolution doesn’t always work the way we think it might, because it’s essentially random, a suite of mutations some of which *just happen* to improve the organism’s fitness for a given niche. Apparently the sasquatch foot has evolved along the general human model in some ways but not (yet) in others. (One could say – and I happen to think this – that the sasquatch foot as theorized by Meldrum, Krantz et al. is significantly better biomechanically adpated to locomotion on steep slopes than ours is.)

    Then again, there are a number of reports of animals answering to the general Nape description being seen in trees. They’ve been postulated to be juvenile sasquatch. I can tell you from eyewitness experience that a bear cub can get up a tree one heck of a lot faster than an adult, and they’ll frequently do so while mom stays on the ground. So maybe juveniles justify the occasional look upward.

    I used to consider the sasquatch-as-hominid idea whacked. Then of course the usage of the term got expanded. A member of the genus Homo seems a way bit of a stretch; but as a scientist recently noted of a homin find, we haven’t truly defined what Homo sapiens is yet. A compelling argument to wait-and-see on how this will be classified is made by Alley in his book “Raincoast Sasquatch,” for my money about as good a read as there is on the topic, right up there with Meldrum’s in my opinion. Upright ape is easy. Then again, that’s how we think of ourselves when we let our pride down.

  8. @norman-uk:

    Remembering indeed that “the journey’s the thing,” I’d like to see it proceed according to scientific Hoyle. To me, that’s one of the primary delights of science: seeing it done right.

    We classify fossils because that is all we will ever have (unless we find another coelacanth). We allow fuzzy shots taken by amateurs to kick Pluto out of the planet club; P/G is orders of magnitude less fuzzy then Eris, the distinctions that elevate Eris to ‘proven’ discernible only to the eggheads. But count on this: one of the distinctions is that it will be centuries if not eons before man sets foot on Eris. The sasquatch, if it’s real, is right here. We’re not willing to wait to set foot on other worlds to consider them real; indeed how would we have gotten to the moon if that’s how it worked? (How do you run the calculations of sending men to something you don’t accept as real?) But we hold zoologists to a higher standard of proof because, well, the animal should be right here on earth and obtainable. Right?

    In Bhutan there is a yeti reserve. I like that. There should be. I wish we could set up sasquatch reserves, that we would agree to hold inviolate on what appears the darned good chance that the animal is out there. It’s not only evidence of an elevated morality; it’s the scientifically sensible thing to do. When you save ‘sasquatch habitat,’ you save everything in it, even if the sasquatch remains unconfirmed. There is nothing that needs saving now more than unaltered nature. There is no such thing as a flimsy excuse for doing that.

    That said: I don’t think science should confirm an animal because something unsavory might happen if they don’t. Taxonomic blackmail doesn’t seem in the best interests of science or its masters (which would be, us).

    Besides which: the many reports of hunters who had a sasquatch dead to rights, but for a number of very human reasons didn’t shoot, argues that we needn’t worry about a hail of bullets. Hunters, generally speaking, aren’t that way.

    And scientists aren’t “authorizing” anything by refusing to do what science doesn’t allow. Indeed, given that huntiing regulations tend to forbid the killing of anything not specifically authorized, one could argue that confirming the sasquatch is more of a positive step toward killing them.

  9. flame821
    What sasquatch is is a difficult puzzle because of the lack of recognized body/body parts, possibly mouldering in some museum. Someone might like to mine the Smithsonian for them or the British museum ? I am not sure there is any case for a version of homo erectus which I understand had leg bones adapted for fast running (which saquatch is supposed to be able to do) and a good pattie type pelvis, again a shortage, of foot bone fossils and footprints which may or may not show the midtarsel break. Of course might be more than one relic hominoid in n america ? I speculate threfore I am!

    I wouldnt dream of expecting science to accept a new species on a little bit of bone only, but if there is dna as in denisovan man, certainly! But with sasquatch have you seen its history, its provenance and every day it seems more likely that more dna results will give its prospects a bounce, I would expect scientists to at the vey least drop their politicaly correct scepticism and grasp a historic opportunity with both hands and an arm and a leg. As for the croc, have you seen its evidence, a bit of flattened fossil, mimimal and risky I would call it.

    As for scientific precedent, it has to earn its keep and should and could be subject to revision and be an aid to discovery not a straitjacket. We now have dna with all its wonderful promise and this will and is establishing new precedents.

    It would be wrong to ask scientists to accept something because a lot of people believe in it and even more so not to accept it because a lot of people don’t , wont or cannot believe in it who happen to hold the reins. Clearly eyewitness reports and all the other evidence have given a considerable idea what sasquatch is and you can look up good descriptions based on evidence but not everything I am glad to say is discovered nd this is the case with most hominids.

    Sorry I don’t see you as a sceptic per se and I think science and god at full circle come together but that takes some explaining and quite a lot of the human three score years and ten to work out! Yes I have my predjudices and preferrences but do not expect them to be the issue.

    Scientists are partly respnsible for the current situation vis a vis sasquatch and if they acted on the evidence responsibly and applied science properly then there should be no need or encouragement for armed gangs or individual to raid the forests of n america to make victims of sasquatch. They need to meet their obligations to society not abandon them. There are of course heroic exceptions.

  10. DWA
    Didn’t quite get ”scientific Hoyle”. Would you please explain this reference to me?

    Fossils are often necessarily limited leading to arbitrary and imprecise definitions. For example from fossils, young have been catergorised as a seperate species to the adult version. But fossils can have a matrix of facts from which the subject can be understood and identified. More and more specimens help too and in time I expect additional imformation can be winkled out including tissue samples. Currently research is going on into Afarensis Sedepa (an early S African hominoid) to see if tissue is recoverable from some promising fossil material. I do not rule out the possibilty absolutely of getting dna!

    What I am getting at is that a fossils dont have to be abitrarily specified because of no hope of more data, but they may be. Sasquatch on the other hand has a hugh evidence base which may include dna so why not give it acceptance even on a provisional basis. With that kind of credibility it should become respectable and then the physical specimens will start appearing.

    I quote from my above blog what I think about a probable effect of the public face of much of science just now.

    ”Scientists are partly respnsible for the current situation vis a vis sasquatch and if they acted on the evidence responsibly and applied science properly then there should be no need or encouragement for armed gangs or individual to raid the forests of n america to make victims of sasquatch. They need to meet their obligations to society not abandon them. There are of course heroic exceptions.”

  11. norman-uk:

    “Didn’t quite get ‘’scientific Hoyle”. Would you please explain this reference to me?”

    “According to Hoyle”: an old Britishism referring to doing things by the rules.

    Who’s the Hoyle? Here’s a good link.

    What I meant was that science needs to behave by the rules, and not let those rules get bent by expediency, pseudo-moral considerations, etc.

  12. norman-uk:

    “Sasquatch on the other hand has a hugh evidence base which may include dna so why not give it acceptance even on a provisional basis.”

    I argue this point in another blog. We have the P/G film, for which no one has unearthed evidence of a fake, despite the tools being in place to do so for, well, 45 years this October. A number of qualified experts vouch for its authenticity. We also have Meldrum’s ichnotaxonomy paper, including in the type description tracks left by the P/G subject, and a mountain of eyewitnesses providing consistent descriptions. Fakes are not an issue, any more than two clowns inside a zebra costume is evidence against the zebra.

    This is more than enough to provisionally identify a new species awaiting full scientific classification.

    This is more, in fact, as Meldrum notes, than we have for the ape that science accepts which advocates consider a possible sasquatch progenitor, Gigantopithecus. And yes, more than we have for most species in the fossil record.

  13. DWA

    Thank you for your link which was not about dear old Fred Hoyle, some of whose ideas might yet turn out to be at least partly right. Edmond Hoyle’s accord sounds a difficult path to follow !

    In accord with the highest authority: In accord with a set of strict rules. Wow !

    Richard Feynman might be better with his reference to cargo cult speudo-science and stress on integrity and honesty. Wouldnt do the sasquatch problem any harm

  14. “On belief:

    Everyone believes. Scientists believe. Investigators believe. Skeptics believe. Beliefs are opinions (Humphreys 1968) and everybody has them. Specifically, opinions are “linguistically infected, relatively sophisticated cognitive states – roughly, states of betting on the truth of a particular, formulated sentence (Dennet 1981)

    Polyani (1958) denoted four distinct belief states for any given statement, designated as [p]:

    – I believe [p}
    – I disbelieve [p] (known as a contradictory doubt)
    – I believe [p] is not proven (known as an agnostic doubt)
    – I believe that [p] cannot be proven.

    Belief and disbelief are two sides of the same coin. -Chad Arment, Cryptozoology Science and Speculation (2004), page 29, chapter two
    A Scientific Foundation.