Sasquatch Coffee

True Believers Have No Place In Cryptozoology

Posted by: Loren Coleman on March 15th, 2012

“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.


64 Responses to “True Believers Have No Place In Cryptozoology”

  1. bigfoots responds:

    hmmm…
    well, having seen, smelled, heard and had rocks thrown at me by bigfoot, I consider myself a “true believer”

    so ?? color me “Truly confused” by this line of thought..

  2. graybear responds:

    I’m afraid that I can’t wholly accept your statement that “belief is the providence of religion.” There are many things that I and many other people “believe in” that are not a part of a religious belief system. I believe my wife and children when they say they love me, even though such an emotion cannot be measured. I believe that if I leave my shirt off on a spring day before I’ve had a chance to tan I’ll get a sun burn. If someone sees just one sasquatch, that person will automatically believe that there are more, if someone finds a new frog in New York, people who hear of the discovery will believe that it is real, even though they may never see said frog. I believe in radioactivity, in gamma and cosmic rays even though I cannot feel or see them. I believe there were glaciers which covered the Northern hemisphere, even though they were gone long before I was born. I’m certain that, with all the evidence you have collected that you ‘believe’ in sasquatch even though you may never have seen one personally.
    Belief is not merely the provenance of religion. It is the provenance of the human mind to believe in those things that we cannot or will never see while trusting to others whom we find trustworthy to share their experiences that we may never have had or ever have. If we don’t have belief in our lives then we can only ‘believe’ in those things we personally have seen, touched, tasted. smelled, heard. And to not believe in some of those things we can’t see, etc. will not only impoverish our lives, it can shorten them considerably. Or have you never gotten a vaccination, which you can only ‘believe’ does any good at all.

  3. davidk responds:

    Loren,

    This isn’t just an issue with cryptozology. It’s apparent in a number of disciplines. Most notably climate science -whatever ones views on that are. Faith based belief from the public is one thing. But we see it there as well – on both sides of the argument at times. The sad part is that the media reinforces it. The Red Deer cave people story (wonderful read) you have published today is a case in point. The forensic “mockups” of what these fossils looked like is taken as “evidence” by the media, the public and some less scientific academics. Yet they are merely reasonable guesses. Flesh doesn’t fossilize, neither does fur. The species *could* have been covered head to foot and looked more like this:
    http://www.themandus.org/

    The above link is an excellent book, if you’ve not read it. Certainly outside of the box, not necessarily correct but certainly worthy of consideration.

  4. DWA responds:

    bigfoots/graybear:

    You “believe” all those things you “believe” based on evidence.

    Believing in something means accepting it without evidence.

    Speaking of true believers: if that craggy guy up there is James Randi, yep, he’s pretty amazing, and a true believer in a number of things.

  5. flame821 responds:

    I think too many people confuse the term ‘belief’. To believe is to accept on faith. To accept without evidence for or in spite of evidence against.

    When I say “I believe there is an unknown primate in North America, often called Bigfoot” I am not taking that on faith, or despite evidence that shows no such animal exists. I am using my logic and rationale to weigh through what evidence there is and come to a conclusion. I may be right, I may be wrong, but the fact that I accept and understand that I may be wrong is pretty much the opposite of faith/true believer.

    To fall under “True Believer” replace the word ‘belief’ in any sentence with ‘know’.

    Such As:

    I KNOW there is a pot of gold at the end of every rainbow.
    I KNOW the crocoduck is real.
    I KNOW there is a God(s).
    I KNOW unicorns live in Wales.
    I KNOW how the Universe came into existence.

    There is no independent evidence for any of these statements, (lots of hypotheses and oral traditions but not evidence) therefore if you Know/Believe them you are a “True Believer”.

    If you can replace ‘belief’ with ‘think’ in any of the above sentences and understand evidence may prove you right or wrong, AND be able to change your opinions in light of new evidence then you are not a “True Believer”.

  6. Larry responds:

    It is true that we all “believe” many things in the conventional sense of the word. But, in almost all cases, we believe those things because of the evidence we have in our everyday existence. The believers that Loren and James Randi are talking about are those people unwilling to change their views as evidence comes in and new theories are developed.

    Really, the better term here would be that we “accept” or “know” rather than believe. For example, I know a rock will fall to the ground if I drop it because I have seen it happen consistently. I do not “believe” that gravity makes it fall. Rather, I accept that gravity makes it fall because that is the best explanation given all the facts. It is possible that microscopic hummingbirds push rocks to the ground. But, until I see some evidence to the contrary, gravity remains the best explanation and the one I accept. The same goes for evolution via natural selection. In the absence of verifiable evidence to the contrary, I accept evolution as the basis for speciation.

    So, at present, I do not accept that bigfoot (and that’s the plural) exist because there is no credible verifiable evidence to support the proposition (meaning a sample). But, there are hints and clues and credible people who “believe” they saw a bigfoot because that is what their personal experience tells them. That’s fine and those people can hold that belief in the face of contrary evidence. But, all that does, for me at least, is create an interest in having trained, credentialed, experts in the field trying to figure out whether there are such creatures out there.

    Being willing to change your views on the basis of new evidence is what distinguishes science from belief. If someone drags a bigfoot out of the woods, no scientist will say it does not exist. On the other hand, every day thousand of people are willing to declare that bigfoot do exist on nothing more than one good piece of film and a collection of anomalies including blobsquatch photos, ambiguous howls, “tree knocks” of unknown origin, and eye witness testimony. I think it is interesting that Dr. Meldrum, an apparently reputable scientist, focuses on footprint evidence because that is, so far, the most tangible, verifiable evidence that can be subject to review by credentialed, reputable peers. That’s science.

  7. TheForthcoming responds:

    All of my friends that love science (I like it too)
    have told me at times: They believe in science,
    they believe in Evolution, they believe in the
    laws of physics, etc.

    Belief is not just for religion (which is something
    that comes natural to all human beings btw)

    I think greybear said it best.

  8. DWA responds:

    Larry:

    Science is also understanding that eyewitness accounts are evidence and must be treated in that light, if they possess frequency (lots of people are reporting) and coherence (what they are reporting is consistent).

    One does not have to be convinced the sasquatch is real by the evidence. But the volume and depth of it – including the many guidebook-consistent eyewitness accounts, over a long period of time, by both Native and European observers, of an animal that Meldrum considers a plausible maker of the tracks – makes the sasquatch the leader among the competing theories, because it is the only one backed by a large, consistent volume of evidence.

    Skeptics – read Randi up there – don’t understand this. They think there is no evidence because there is no proof, and they think that nothing is evidence that is not proof. (Jurisprudence, at the very least, disputes them.) If you put it to them this way, they may say, duh, or something to that effect. But their statements show what they believe.

    Or should I say, believe IN.

    (If you tell me you saw a unicorn, I will ask you to direct me to the Unicorn Database. Until you show me lots of people are seeing them, you have one tale.)

  9. Larry responds:

    DWA: I am with you up to a point. I agree that the eye witness accounts, along with the footprints provide enough “evidence” to make further inquiry worth while. They do not, in and of themselves, do anything more than that. There have been many cases of people “seeing” things for which there is no other evidence. That consistent and voluminous data does not add up to something that can be accepted as fact. I’m thinking mainly of UFO’s, but ghosts, psychics and supernatural demons are in the same category. Are we really supposed to accept that ghosts exist because lots of people claim to have seen them and some have even taken pictures allegedly showing ghosts? Given everything else we know about how the universe works, I don’t think consistent and numerous reports add up to anything. The bigfoot question is much more grounded in science: there is one tantalizing piece of footage and numerous apparent footprints. Unlike ghosts or UFO’s the laws of physics don’t rule out an undisclosed big primate in North America. So, it’s worth a look.

  10. WinterIsComing responds:

    Saying that science is understanding that eyewitness accounts are evidence is just …well its wrong…that has nothing to do with science. If it can’t be tested or demonstrated and reproduced than it isn’t scientific evidence. You can’t say that listening to peoples eyewitness accounts uses the scientific method.

    It is one thing to say that you believe it is possible for bigfoot to exist but don’t accept it to be true based on evidence, but those who act as though it is already decided to be true (the people on finding bigfoot) are just going on faith that bigfoot is real.

    The problem is that people love to argue semantics to try and make their argument look more viable. Like the whole “scientists say the BELIEVE stuff all the time blah blah blah” When you know there is a difference…

    And don’t even get me started on the comment about religious belief being something that comes NATURALLY to humans

  11. DWA responds:

    Larry:

    You’re saying exactly what I think.

    The volume and consistency of the evidence add up to something science should consider worth a further look.

    Proof? No.

    But science sneering at the evidence because it isn’t proof? Unwarranted.

    The only difference between proof and evidence is that science accepts the former.

    I could argue that for the paranormal stuff you state, the consistency really isn’t there. “I saw the ghost of Andrew Jackson” is a waaay different thing from hundreds of eyewitnesses describing an animal, from scratch, with no reference point (and most don’t have one).

  12. DWA responds:

    WinterIsComing:

    “Saying that science is understanding that eyewitness accounts are evidence is just …well its wrong…that has nothing to do with science. If it can’t be tested or demonstrated and reproduced than it isn’t scientific evidence. You can’t say that listening to peoples eyewitness accounts uses the scientific method.”

    That’s the skeptical misconception: that if it isn’t proof, it isn’t evidence.

    Of course sightings are evidence. And sightings put a testable premise in front of the scientist: go there, and look, and you will find this.

    Reproducible means nothing if science won’t touch the evidence, but just sneers without reviewing it.

    “Listening to eyewitness accounts” is not accepting them as real. It’s reviewing them for volume and consistency, and for whether a further look is warranted. If every able-bodied clear-eyed man and woman in a town has seen something, and described it consistently, I’d have to consider something wroing with a scientist who would simply insist that they are wrong. I’d feel the same way given the thousands of accounts that there are, their extraordinary consistency, and their squaring with track finds.

    I would, in fact, consider that scientist to be a True Believer In the Mundane.

    Blowing off a notion without reviewing the evidence is not science. It’s scoffing, which is Believing In something in the extreme.

  13. flame821 responds:

    I would, in fact, consider that scientist to be a True Believer In the Mundane.

    I think this would fall under the ‘extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. But I agree we won’t find anything if we don’t bother to look.

    Blowing off a notion without reviewing the evidence is not science. It’s scoffing, which is Believing In something in the extreme.

    While I agree with you wholeheartedly, I can also see the scientists point of view. Due to the, let’s be kind and call them ‘showmen’, antics within the Bigfoot Community over the past 40+ years it is nearly impossible to take any claims of sightings seriously. This in no way reflects on the sincerely of the witnesses (who run the gamut from seasoned outdoors men to woodland novices to interesting folk who hand out garlic to large furry bipeds) or the veracity of the reports. The sad truth is for most researchers and scientist Bigfoot is tainted and until we get rid of that point of view very few scientists will ever look at it seriously. (the notable exceptions currently being Dr. Meldrum and Dr Ketchum)

    This, quite frankly, sucks. But when grants are harder to find then hen’s teeth, many scientists can’t take the risk of being painted with the ‘kook’ brush. Outside of the mentioned Drs Meldrum and Ketchum, our best bet for actually finding indisputable proof rests solely on the shoulders of private researchers and someone like the late Steve Irwin. You need a charismatic, educated person to lure the public back into the ‘Hey, look at this! They can’t all be wrong, they can’t all be seeing things. Something is out here and it is our duty to find and protect it.’ Currently I don’t see a person like that on the horizon. And as amusing and entertaining as these Bigfoot as the boogie man movies are, they don’t help the situation.

  14. semillama responds:

    The problem with the sightings are evidence argument is that it needs to be clear what sightings are evidence OF – Sasquatch? no. Sightings are evidence that HUMANS are seeing something they interpret as not a scientifically described animal. Like other folks say, semantics matter. Clarity of thought and communication matter – a problem that has been especially prevalent in discussions on cryptozoological issues.

    I will argue that sightings are important as a step in gathering actual scientific evidence that hopefully will result in the documentation of a new species. but on their own, even as a group, they cannot be taken as evidence of the existence of the species. See the Ivory-billed Woodpecker for a great example of this. I can “believe” that several people have recently seen it, in that I think they are credible people who have studied the bird and are intimately aware of the similar characteristics of the related Pileated Woodpecker; but sightings without evidence that can be independently evaluated cannot be used in a scientific argument for the continued existence of the bird, so therefore I cannot say that the bird still exists. But if an Ivorybill sighting was accompanied by a high-resolution photo or film, or a physical piece of evidence such as a recently shed feather? Whole different kettle of fish. Same goes for Sasquatch.

    I find the actual evidence for Sasquatch compelling enough to warrant further investigation, without seeing the need to argue that sightings are equal to types of evidence that can be repeatedly and independently investigated.

  15. bigfoots responds:

    its kind of funny because in court eye-witness testimony is golden…
    but it seems like any eye witness testimony outside of the realm of a court room it is just merely scoffed at..

    I understand that “science” needs more tangible evidence in order to be published and accepted as fact. I get that.

    One of the first things i did when i got into this was start looking into human origins…
    i thought to myself if im going to figure out what these things are it might be a good idea to figure out where we “humans” originated from..

    What i found is that human origins are far FAR murkier than the whole bigfoot phenomenon..

    so even a body is just going to tell us a little bit of the whole picture…

    people are so caught up in their own little world that they refuse to see the big picture..

    its a big world out there..an even bigger universe and a virtually unlimited multiverse..

    don’t box yourself into small thinking…

    keep an open mind and remember we dont have all the answers.. infact we have very few answers in the grand scheme of it all.

    wasnt it socratates that said “all i know is that i know nothing”

    just saying… think for yourself… you dont need someone to tell you what is and what isnt..

  16. DWA responds:

    flame821:

    “I think this would fall under the ‘extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. But I agree we won’t find anything if we don’t bother to look.”

    I have always had a problem with the “extraordinary” part of that statement. Claims require evidence. The fossil record is full of enough like the sasquatch that it’s not really THAT extraordinary. When lots of people say they are seeing something; it’s consistent; there is no good discernible motive for them to lie nor any clear evidence that they were impaired; and the species we are talking about is the animal kingdom’s preeminent observer…well, you don’t have to take it as proof. But you can’t explain to me why anyone should laugh at it.

    Scientists should let the need for open enquiry overrule their urge to “be experts” and pronounce when they don’t know. It actually undermines my confidence in what they say.

    Our ability and willingness to avoid seeing something we don’t want to see is what’s extraordinary. But there’s lots of extraordinary evidence of that.

    ” Due to the, let’s be kind and call them ’showmen’, antics within the Bigfoot Community over the past 40+ years it is nearly impossible to take any claims of sightings seriously.”

    Not really. Not for me. The sightings, as I have said many times here, stand totally apart from the antics. I’ve read them, and I’ve talked to people who claim sightings and vouch for the scientific validity of the overall evidence. The sideshow is just that, a sideshow that I ignore except to laugh at it. If you see two kids in a zebra costume at the school play, is that evidence against the zebra? Same exact thing from a logical standpoint. I frequently hear the counter “but zebras are known to exist,” which is irrelevant. Sasquatch sightings describe something so far removed from the antics as to be easily separated from them. One knows this if one has read them, and I doubt anyone on this site has read more than me.

    But actually, you agree with me: “This in no way reflects on the sincerely of the witnesses (who run the gamut from seasoned outdoors men to woodland novices to interesting folk who hand out garlic to large furry bipeds) or the veracity of the reports.”

    Precisely. I cut the antics (and consider the ‘interesting folk’ part of the antics until they show me otherwise) adrift and let them float. It’s the sincerity, veracity and integrity of the witnesses I care about. Once again, one cannot take them as proof. But one can certainly consider them part and parcel of the enormous pile of evidence – more than has been accumulated for any phenomenon in human history that remains unproven.

    And I know no one with my level of exposure to the evidence who disagrees.

    Your point about scientists considering the subject tainted has merit. But really, scientists should know better than to go off half-cocked on a topic, or to pronounce on it without reviewing the evidence – something that too few of them do before spouting. It’s easy for me to toss the junk. Should be easier for a scientist, wouldn’t you think? Well, apparently not.

    (I’d add John Bindernagel, Daris Swindler and John Mionczynski, at least, to the “notable exceptions.” Ketchum? Junk.)

  17. WinterIsComing responds:

    I wasn’t saying to sneer at all eyewitness accounts and write them off as nut jobs…but they aren’t evidence of anything…other than the fact that people say they see something…it isn’t even evidence that something was there.

    And saying eyewitness accounts is golden is crap too…if that was all the evidence someone brought to the table then the chances of that case going well aren’t very high…And I am sorry but if you want someone to take bigfoot seriously you need to bring up something better then a group of people saying they saw a furry man running through the woods. Research costs money, and lots of it. So in order to be willing to go research something you need to have a good reason to.

    So we can argue over what proof and evidence mean in respect to one another all you want it won’t change the fact that people saying they see something is not going to be a sufficient reason for any real scientific inquiry.

  18. DWA responds:

    bigfoots:

    “its kind of funny because in court eye-witness testimony is golden…
    but it seems like any eye witness testimony outside of the realm of a court room it is just merely scoffed at..”

    Exactly.

    The scientific attitude toward cryptid sighting reports means – no, it does – that jurisprudence’s attitude toward eyewitness testimony, as powerful a weapon as there is in a courtroom, is laughably, no, dangerously, deranged.

    Period. Exact logical parallel.

  19. DWA responds:

    And I should have added, bigfoots:

    Or…it means that science is, in terms of the harm done to the integrity of the discipline, disastrously wrong.

  20. WinterIsComing responds:

    And to be fair , I would love for someone to prove that bigfoot is real, that would be fantastic, but to not be skeptical about things that lack sufficient evidence of existence is just being dishonest with yourself. And I think that is where this whole topic comes in. It doesn’t do science any good to just say something is real with no reason to accept it and if people want cryptozoology to be taken seriously instead of being seen as a joke than there need to be less people taking it on blind faith and more people being skeptical, because if you already assume it to be true, then you are more likely to see everything presented as sufficient evidence.

  21. DWA responds:

    semillama:

    “The problem with the sightings are evidence argument is that it needs to be clear what sightings are evidence OF – Sasquatch? no.”

    Then when I say I can place the murderer at the scene, because I watched the murder happen, you just laugh and tell me to go home, because all that is is evidence THAT I SAW something, like, um, a MURDER?

    No you don’t. You call me in; and the appearance of lil’ ol’ me, just me, causes everyone on the defense table to sweat through their suits, and for the defendant to start imagining, hard, what a lethal injection feels like.

    It isn’t proof; but o boy.

    In other words: my testimony is evidence that the defendant committed murder.

    Sightings of sasquatch are testimony to sasquatch.

    Or we are killing people over trash.

    “I will argue that sightings are important as a step in gathering actual scientific evidence that hopefully will result in the documentation of a new species. but on their own, even as a group, they cannot be taken as evidence of the existence of the species. ”

    Um, you contradict yourself. There is a simple quick easy way to say your quote straight through the word “species.” And that is:

    Sightings are evidence that the species exists. WHY IN THE WORLD! would it count as a step otherwise?

    Right? Thank you.

    Once again, THERE IS A DIFFERENCE BETWEEN EVIDENCE AND PROOF!

    (Science accepts the latter. Only difference.)

  22. DWA responds:

    WinterIsComing:

    You are still confusing evidence and proof!

    “I wasn’t saying to sneer at all eyewitness accounts and write them off as nut jobs…but they aren’t evidence of anything..”

    In other words: sneer at them and write them off as nut jobs. Same EXACT thing.

    “And saying eyewitness accounts is golden is crap too…”

    Then, why would you say they’re golden? Pray tell. I sure don’t. “Golden” is tantamount to proof. Did I say they were proof? No.

    But nothing else short of proof gives you a better idea where the proof might be.

    We are near-flawless observers. (Think of your average day, negotiated almost totally with your eyes. Think of everyone else’s. Same thing.)

    When we say we see something, and there is no good reason to believe we are lying, and no good motive for us to lie, then it is irrational to presume that.

    Saying that sightings are not evidence? Presuming that. Period.

  23. flame821 responds:

    Actually, in a court of law, eye witness testimony is notoriously unreliable.

    At the same time, numerous psychological studies have shown that human beings are not very good at identifying people they saw only once for a relatively short period of time. The studies reveal error rates of as high as fifty percent — a frightening statistic given that many convictions may be based largely or solely on such testimony.

    These studies show further that the ability to identify a stranger is diminished by stress (and what crime situation is not intensely stressful?), that cross-racial identifications are especially unreliable, and that contrary to what one might think, those witnesses who claim to be “certain” of their identifications are no better at it than everyone else, just more confident.

    (http://writ.news.findlaw.com/dorf/20010516.html)

    But disregarding the whole eyewitness angle, (for the sake of argument) I do feel the need to defend the scientist who are afraid to risk their reputations and careers to publicly lend their voices to the possibility that Bigfoot is real.

    While you understand the nuances between many sightings and have a good idea of what passes the sniff test regarding witnesses the public, in general, does not. So all they get is the sound byte that ‘Dr _____ believes in Bigfoot’ and what comes to their minds? Blobsquatch photos and videos? Jokers with huge wooden feet strapped to their boots? The misinformation that the P-G Film was a proven hoax? Biscardi, Finding Bigfoot, that facebook group that sees Bigfoot in every photo and comes up with the most amazing analysis of details (I want their monitors, cuz obviously they have some cutting edge stuff in that office). And when they are proven wrong they never seem to issue a correction, let alone learn from their mistakes. (I half think they’re trolling the community)

    While most of us on this sight realize that those examples are nothing more than idiots, tricksters and misinformation the public in general does not. Now, PERHAPS if science was better funded it wouldn’t matter so much, but when you have only your reputation to bring to the table as you fight for grants and funding in order to perform research many scientists cannot afford to take such a huge risk. Not to mention the finite money is being divided between cures for cancer, AIDS, Alzheimers and diabetes vs renewable energy sources vs rumored bipedal primate in North America, where do you think the money is going to go? I wish politics and money didn’t play into science or medicine as much as it does but wishing doesn’t do us any good.

    My hat goes off to the scientists and researchers who are putting their money, time and reputations on the line to keep plugging away at this research. I know you think Ketchum is a lost cause but, if by some chance, the DNA analysis can show that something unknown is out there our chances of getting funding have just increased dramatically. Whereas if it doesn’t show much of anything we haven’t really lost a lot from our current position.

    Although I absolutely agree with your opinion regarding dismissing the subject out of hand. Most scientists know better than to do such a thing, they will normally respond with “I don’t have detailed knowledge on that subject” or “I haven’t really given it any thought” or the ever popular “That’s not my area of expertise” rather than simply stating something is bunk without evidence to back that opinion up.

  24. DWA responds:

    “It doesn’t do science any good to just say something is real with no reason to accept it and if people want cryptozoology to be taken seriously instead of being seen as a joke than there need to be less people taking it on blind faith and more people being skeptical, because if you already assume it to be true, then you are more likely to see everything presented as sufficient evidence.”

    Somewhere in there I’ll see where you disagree with me.

    Nope.

    But for people to stop looking at crypto as a joke, cryptos better start understanding how to look at evidence.

    If science worked according to the murder rule, the sasquatch would be real.

    THERE IS ZERO – ZERO – evidence for the skeptical fringe’s belief in the nonexistence of sasquatch. And it’s not because “you can’t prove a negative.” It is because there is a mountain of evidence the skeptical fringe has done nothing to debunk. If you can’t debunk it, it stands for someone to review and tell the rest of us what it is. When you ask a skeptic why sasquatch isn’t real, he ASKS QUESTIONS.

    (Where are the bodies? Why hasn’t anybody shot one? Why hasn’t anyone hit one with a vehicle?)

    WRONG! YOU BACK A SCIENTIFIC POSITION WITH EVIDENCE, not questions! If you haven’t done your homework, don’t be so dang obvious about it!

    To say “that could have been a man in a suit” and presume that is true ain’t science, people. What is your evidence?

    Eyewitness testimony has been the great discoverer in scientific history. One goes nowhere without it.

    To say otherwise is to profess ignorance of the history of science.

  25. DWA responds:

    flame821:

    Well, you’re right about the unreliability of witness testimony…mainly because of all the reasons witnesses are motivated to misrepresent what they saw. Payola; eagerness to please; eagerness to incriminate; eagerness to protect; intimidation of witness; nervousness…etc. etc. etc. I’m not sure what reason there would be for someone to come out and say they saw something the world laughs at, other than that they saw it. There are very very few sighting reports I have read that bear a chance the witness was innocently mistaken. Dangerously deranged, maybe; lying like a rug, maybe. But if neither of those…doubtful. And I just don’t think a significant minority of them, much less all of them, are crazy people or liars. Possible; but I wouldn’t bet a real coin on it. And I’d give a plug nickel only under duress.

    Your other points may be well taken. But that is no excuse for the scientific community to quash interest and curiosity among its members. It’s a violence done to science that needs to stop. No one should be afraid to say “this appears legitimate; it’s had legs too long. Maybe we should be encouraging more research rather than laughing at people spending their own time and money pushing frontiers.”

    THAT’S science.

  26. WinterIsComing responds:

    Well there you go, you said it. NEAR-flawless, and I wouldn’t even be willing to give us that much credit anyway. People make mistakes. They don’t always see what they think they see. Period.

    And I wasn’t the one to introduce the notion of eye-witness accounts being the end all of sufficient evidence I was responding to bigfoots post. So I’m not sure what you were trying to do with that.

    And no, not seeing their account as sufficient evidence is not the same as sneering and writing them off. Sorry if you can’t see it. If all someone has is an eye-witness account, no matter how reliable, it doesn’t mean much on its own. It doesn’t mean they are crazy or that we are looking down on them, but honestly what can we do with their account? Best case scenario go to the same spot and sit there hoping to see something too…thats about it…and if you get enough witnesses together then you have a larger area to look around in. While it is true that it gives us an idea on where to look…sort of… There is nothing else to corroborate their sighting.

    ev·i·dence :that which tends to prove or disprove something; ground for belief; proof.

    proof: Evidence or argument establishing or helping to establish a fact or the truth of a statement.

    maybe you can point out where I am getting confused…

  27. flame821 responds:

    Technically sightings by people are anecdotal as all humans are subjective to greater and lesser degrees. -although the more unrelated witnesses in one area reporting the same thing does add a great deal of credence to any sighting.

    Just for the sake of argument, think of how our cultures, race, and gender influence how we see the world, how we relay information and how we ‘hear/process’ data. Heck, consider the difference between how Western men and women see and process colours, which tends to go well beyond the gender differences of rods and cones in the eye. Or how Eastern vs Western Cultures see and describe the same photo.

    Photographs, videos, etc. would be considered evidence. -once proven to not be hoaxes, honest misidentifications or other known animals

    Hair, blood, scat and foot prints with proper forensic testing would be considered evidence.

    A physical specimen, living or dead, would be considered the Holy Grail of evidence.

  28. WinterIsComing responds:

    DWA are you actually implying that bigfoot is given validity because of a lack of evidence to its…non-existence? People don’t have to prove things dont exist. If you make a claim that bigfoot is out there then you have to provide proof for it…and telling me that I shouldn’t be skeptical because I haven’t debunked your evidence…which is a bunch of crappy blurry pictures, videos, casts of “foot prints”, shouting in the woods and eye-witness accounts…then I’m afraid you don’t really have an argument.

    People have to back of claims of existence…and before you say that means I have to back up a claim of something not existing…no…just don’t. The default position on this topic has to be bigfoot isn’t real until proven…otherwise it’s just blind faith. Or here I will at least give you this “it’s possible bigfoot is real but there is no reason to accept it as such until proper evidence is aquired.”

  29. WinterIsComing responds:

    ” When you ask a skeptic why sasquatch isn’t real, he ASKS QUESTIONS.

    (Where are the bodies? Why hasn’t anybody shot one? Why hasn’t anyone hit one with a vehicle?)

    WRONG! YOU BACK A SCIENTIFIC POSITION WITH EVIDENCE, not questions! If you haven’t done your homework, don’t be so dang obvious about it!”

    ….yes…a skeptic asks questions…and yes science backs ideas with evidence…but to say that science shouldn’t ask questions is probably the most ignorant thing I have ever heard. If you say bigfoot is real….the obvious thing is to have you prove it…what else is science suppose to do? give you a bunch of reasons why he isn’t Which by the way is why you are asked about bodies and things of that nature because well…that would be proof…

  30. flame821 responds:

    @DWA

    I don’t think most of us on this sight disagree with many of your points. I think we just don’t give the same weight to data that you have. You seem to have had a person experience with this subject that reinforces what you ‘know’ to be true. Most of us have not so we have only the raw data before us.

    Many of us feel the data is compelling and deserves a closer look but we also understand that the field is so polluted with hoaxers and showmen that it is ridiculously hard to get anyone with scientific clout to their names to take the time to really delve into the subject. And that’s not even taking into consideration the time and financial issues. We all regret and lament this situation but we know we have to find better evidence, gather more data, become almost cynical in our evaluation of the latest blobsquatch clip on YouTube, because we have to. If it can’t pass our basic evaluation, it certainly won’t pass closer scrutiny.

    Mr. Coleman has made a career out of Cryptozoology, Mr Woolheater has been involved in this field for (I think) at least 2 decades. How many times have they come across a photo, footprint or video that didn’t give them second thoughts? How many have been posted on this site that haven’t gotten shot down as hoaxer or misidentifications?

    I think this is where the ‘True Believer’ statement in the post came from. You will always have extreme outliers in any group. Some will never believe (flat earth, moon landing was fake) no matter what proof you give them. Some will believe anything that their ‘gut’ tells them is real (little winged faeries, inner Earth). Both of these groups are the ‘True Believers’.

    Most of us lie in that big area of the middle, perhaps leaning a bit to one side or the other. Ideally that is where all the scientists and researchers should be too, but people being people, they don’t often do what they ‘should’ they do what they want.

  31. bigfoots responds:

    science=eyewitness testimony…
    thats what science is…

    for example…someone brings in a dead bigfoot..

    now it becomes fact only because now everyone gets to witness it..

    think about it..

  32. nzcryptozoologist responds:

    it is true wisdom to say “I Dont Know”

  33. DWA responds:

    WinterIsComing:

    “ev·i·dence :that which tends to prove or disprove something; ground for belief; proof.

    proof: Evidence or argument establishing or helping to establish a fact or the truth of a statement.”

    You just defined “proof.” Twice.

    flame821:

    “…the more unrelated witnesses in one area reporting the same thing does add a great deal of credence to any sighting.”

    The sighting reports to which this support applies are legion.

    “You seem to have had a person experience with this subject that reinforces what you ‘know’ to be true. Most of us have not so we have only the raw data before us. ”

    Actually, no. But I have the raw data. I’ve read it. Too many gloss over the sightings who haven’t read sighting reports. I’ve read tons. They are evidence, as strong as the footprints. (Hint: John Bindernagel.) That isn’t an opinion. But if you haven’t read them, you wouldn’t know that.

    One cannot enter a scientific debate ignorant of the evidence. The reason the crypto discusson doesn’t sound like a scientific debate is that neither side is armed. OH, sorry. The cryptos are; but they can’t find the ammunition that they themselves have compiled.

    Here’s the deal: cryptos are being massacred by the James Randi types, people who essentially do just what he says is wrong in his Bold Framed Quote up there. The reason? Cryptos by and large don’t understand the difference between evidence and proof, any more than Randi does.

    The evidence massacre is overwhelmingly in favor of the cryptos, but they fail to understand this, and are getting “out-argued” by people who have no argument. You think I’m wrong? Why isn’t science on the sasquatch beat? The skeptics. That’s why. They just ask questions. And the cryptos answer with: they are the most elusive thing ever (they aren’t); they bury their dead (evidence?); they are In League With Saucer People (oh, OK). You ever notice how the skeptic fringe never argues with Meldrum? They can’t. They lack the chops. But they don’t have to, because people who don’t understand how to look at this lump Meldrum and Bindernagel (whom few proponents have read) in with Georgia Boys. They turn to the proponent fringe, and simply use those people’s own beliefs against them.

    Sightings are evidence. NOT an opinion.

    And until cryptozoology understands how to (1) work together and (2) use evidence…well, a sasquatch could come to your door every day for sugar, and science will never know.

    And cryptozoology will never become science.

    RSR! (Ask. Someone will tell you.)

    Next thread.

  34. WinterIsComing responds:

    Bigfoots come on now really? Eye-witness accounts and “witnessing” a dead body are not the same thing and you know it. When someone says “I saw a giant purple unicorn in my back yard” thats it….thats all we get, there is nothing that can be analyzed, nothing to be tested, at best we could go to his back yard and look but if it isn’t there he could still say it was earlier.

    Now if we went out to his place and he brought the damn thing out on a rope…thats demonstrable, its there, we can do tests on it.

    you are stretching things again. Oh if someone brings in a body we WITNESS it…so eye-WITNESS accounts must be just as viable as any evidence on their own merits right? No…I’m sorry.

    I’m not saying everyone who has ever claimed to see something is lying or wrong. I am just saying that with no physical evidence that can stand up to any real testing (DNA) it’s just speculation and it is not likely that anyone is going to be willing to put forth the time or money to research something on the word of some local people, no matter how reliable they are, not because they are liars or con men or crazy…but because there just isn’t enough to go on.

    If I told you that I placed one million dollars in a box in a huge forest somewhere, would you just go look for it? on my word alone? or would you want some assurance it was really out there? Or to make the idea more accurate, what if a bunch of people also said they saw me walking around the forest with a box in my hand. Would you go look then? They have no real reason to lie, and maybe I was walking around with a box in my hand, but that doesnt prove there was a million dollars in the box. People say they see stuff all the time, lying isn’t the only way for them to be wrong, the most honest person in the world could say they saw bigfoot and truly believe it but that does not remove the possibility that they made a mistake.

  35. DWA responds:

    OK.

    I’m back.

    I had to answer this from WinterIsComing.

    “The default position on this topic has to be bigfoot isn’t real until proven…otherwise it’s just blind faith. ”

    That’s wrong. There IS NO DEFAULT POSITION on something that is not proven to exist. That “default position” is Believing In Something, in other words, blind faith. Judgment in science is always suspended until proof is accepted.

    Faunal models of North America don’t say “disbelieve that bigfoot nonsense, it ain’t real.” They don’t address bigfoot (or Tyrannosaurus rex, outside of its status as a fossil; or little green men from Mars) at all.

    One of the great mysteries on this board is how so many seem to think that one of the board’s outspoken skeptics is a proponent of the sasquatch.

    Um, that would be me. I am a SKEPTIC. It’s just that folks here are so used to arguing with people who call themselves skeptics while having blind faith in stuff – like Randi up there – that they don’t know true skepticism when they run across it.

    Skeptics question every comfortable assumption. Including the blind faith that this sucker ain’t real. We question with evidence. Is the sasquatch real? You tell me. But the evidence says, very clearly, that science should be finding out.

    Again. If you don’t think the encounter literature is evidence as strong as one can get short of proof (learn the difference), you simply haven’t read it.

    “Finding Bigfoot” is trash. The truly exciting stuff, most in this discussion never see. Including, one is tempted to think sometiimes, the clowns on that show.

    And it’s THEIR DATA. (Count on it: they couldn’t make that stuff up. Doubt me? Watch “Finding Bigfoot” once. Shoot, all I have to do is come here for my FB, and I know that.)

    Sharon Hill recently said that while BFRO is careful and systematic, they fall well short of scientific. She’s right; and I rarely agree with the skeptic fringe. BFRO has an excellent tool for pulling together the accounts of eyewitnesses. How to exploit that data for scientific breakthrough? Uh, er, not so much.

    I’ve heard more than once that the eyewitnesses are the most compelling moments of FB. Wonder why?

    We’re the nonpareil witnesses in nature. Why would we pick this to uniiformly screw up?

    If you’re curious, you should wonder about that.

    And if you’re curious: you never have a “default position” backed by no evidence.

    Because – on topic! – a scientist can’t believe in anything.

  36. mandors responds:

    We need to add the so-called “professional scientists” to the believers category. Though they routinely bash religion and people of faith, they are all too often ignorant of their own intellectual biases and inadequate theories to which they cling tighter than a bible. One only has to look at the decades of archaeological covering up of evidence of pre-landbridge settlements in North America, or the dissonance and outright libel that Dr. Christy Turner faced when proving cannibalism among the Anasazi to see that “modern science” is often neither.

  37. DWA responds:

    mandors: precisely. (OK, fine, I’ll stay here to 100 posts. It’s worth it to get this right.)

    John Green says it, right up there: “The believers are the scientists, they’re the ones who are clinging to a belief. … 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.”

    Which brings us back to that notion of “default positions.”

    As I said: it is untenable to have a “default position” for which no evidence exists. “Bigfoot isn’t real until proven” is a BELIEF. A scientific position MUST be backed by evidence. Ask someone who considers that phrase in quotes their default position to back it with evidence. You already know their response. It will be:

    You can’t prove a negative.

    Then what, exactly, is the point of that position in quotes?

    ANY scientific position MUST be susceptible to proof. If it isn’t…it’s nonsense.

    How can you say “Bigfoot isn’t real” when it may be? It is nonsense.

    And much of the scientific community holds to this nonsense.

    If scientists truly believed what all of them must in order to be true to science – that no position even exists, in scientifc terms, that is not backed by evidence – we would be satisfied on the sasquatch question.

    It’s blind faith that is hampering the search.

    And it is NOT the blind faith of the proponents.

    The semantic difference between

    “Bigfoot isn’t real until proven”

    and

    “Bigfoot isn’t proven yet”

    …is the difference between day and night; science and superstition; intellectual freedom and intellectual chains.

    The first is tantamount to religious faith. (Try arguing with a nonbeliever. They’re worse than true believers.)

    The second is science, looking for answers.

  38. mandors responds:

    DWA,

    I think a lot of what you are arguing can be summed up in a scientific axiom that for some reason is applied to every other area of scientific inquiry BUT Bigfoot and that is:

    THE ABSENCE OF EVIDENCE IS NOT EVIDENCE OF ABSENCE.

  39. bigfoots responds:

    @ WinterIsComing

    Everyone says.. you need a body to prove bigfoot..
    and for what? so that EVERYONE can WItNESS it with their own eyes..

    are you still going to say its not real when you become an “eye witness”?

    so look at the logic here..

    people only say its not real because THEY have not seen it yet..

    its actually quite simple math…and it all boils down to witnessing said evidence ..in this case i have used a dead bigfoot body as said evidence..

    which brings me back to my point…
    i dont need someone else to tell me something is real or not..
    if you want to live your life waiting for someone else to tell you what is and what isnt than i feel sorry for you…

  40. DWA responds:

    mandors: Maybe, except that in the case of the sasquatch there’s an abundance of evidence. Science just hasn’t pursued it to proof, yet.

    It’s certainly true, though. “The unicorn doesn’t exist” isn’t a scientifically tenable statement for that reason. If you are betting on iunicorns being real, heh heh, good luck to you! But you can’t prove a negative. “Absence of evidence…” is really – when one thinks about it – another way to say the very same thing.

    And a correction opp! Rewrite from my last post:

    ———————————–

    The semantic difference between

    “Bigfoot isn’t real until proven”

    and

    “Bigfoot isn’t proven yet”

    …is the difference between night and day; superstition and science; intellectual chains and intellectual freedom.

    ———————–

    If one cares about language: parallel structure, always.

  41. DWA responds:

    bigfoots:

    I’ve long said: scientific knowledge is anecdotes, backed by advanced degrees.

    It actually is. How many papers have you read that you were there for all the research and can vouch for it? You’re taking their word for it to a great extent; little of what they actually did was personally witnessed by you. Right? So with the people refereeing the paper (which is why we occasionally have it surface that the paper shouldn’t have been approved because the research wasn’t done. Whoops!).

    There are two kinds of proof: societal proof (it’s accepted by the society at large) and personal proof (you know because you have seen it).

    The second is just as valid as the first to the individual involved, maybe even more so.

    If I see a sasquatch tomorrow, all the skeptics are wrong. And I won’t think that; I will KNOW it.

    The society, of course, still needs its proof.

  42. springheeledjack responds:

    I cannot! believe this post got by me and I missed it…sigh…ah, such a good one to get into a nice long involved discussion.

    The only thing I add for posterity is such: I have no problem with belief in and of itself. Graybear did say it well…so have so many of the rest of you.

    The problem comes in when people BELIEVE in something to the point that they can no longer look at it without those blinders on. For people who take belief to the point of then becoming a zealot, that’s the danger and that’s when you can no longer trust the things they have to say. A zealot does not look at facts, does not continue to test the data, test his own theories and try to come up with an honest solution to the question.

    In the case of cryptozoology, we’re looking for creatures that have not as yet, been recognized by science/the mainstream of society (though the latter is a little more dubious). I have no issue with those who believe in BF or those who do not, as long as they approach that in an effort to get at the truth.

    It’s those on both sides that take the extreme position–BF doesn’t exist because we have no body, or those that are so sure BF exists and they know exactly what it is and so on–that I take issue with…or just plain like to argue with. Absolutes in this world are few and far between, and I’ve seen enough ‘contradictions to the rule’ to not be able to keep an open mind.

    And that’s what we’re really discussing here. Or more accurately, maybe we should be discussing just what does put you over the line from belief and investigating to zealot.

  43. bigfoots responds:

    @ DWA

    Thank you…

    exactly..
    I’ve never seen a Thylacine but im pretty convinced they were real based of the “evidence” I’ve seen…sure it wasn’t a dead body laid out in front of me…
    and you can bet when a bigfoot is brought in.. if.. a bigfoot is brought in only a handful of people will see that in the flesh… but you will see documentation of it on tv and pictures, blogs, websites, radio, magazines etc etc..just like the Thylacine.

    I’m glad we have used bigfoot as our test subject in these talks because its the perfect candidate for this topic.

  44. bigfoots responds:

    btw…bigfoot is special in the crypto world in that it probably has the most hard evidence to support it and in that its one of the most human cryptids…
    particularly it has many religious implications…
    ones that of course bring us back to our own human origins…
    there are some VERY vested interests that would rather you didn’t worry yourself with those implications… ;)
    lets just leave it at that…

  45. norman-uk responds:

    I cannot agree with the proposition that belief has no place in cryptozoology. It is a useful term where a person is not in a position to know something for certain but considers or thinks that it is true for possibly very good reasons. Believer or belief and related words are words of nuance and could quite reasonably be used in regard to cryptics. Clearly any belief is open to challenge and a purple unicorn for example would likely fail any reasonable enquiry.

    The problem is sceptics fasten on the nuance of the word belief where it could just be blind faith and apply it to cryptozoolgy. Those interested in cryptozoology should not accept this interpretation in the case of sasquatch, which has at its heart the notion that it has no credible case or a case that makes sense. Sasquatch over abundantly has a case, has evidence and believers in that should be cogent and confident about that to all and sundrey.

    One thing that they should do, in my opinion, is not waver in the face of the cult of scepticism in an effort to seem open minded a balanced argument is surely open minded enough!

    An example of this is eyewitness sightings, dismissed by sceptics and often weakly defended by sasquatch believers.

    Quote from flame821

    ”At the same time, numerous psychological studies have shown that human beings are not very good at identifying people they saw only once for a relatively short period of time. The studies reveal error rates of as high as fifty percent — a frightening statistic given that many convictions may be based largely or solely on such testimony.”

    So remarkable at least 50% of sasquatch eyewitness sightings are not in error! (Historicaly Loren puts this figure at something like 5%). My guess is it is somwhere between the two even though it should be relatively easy to distinguish between a sasquatch and the more usual human. This bad eyewitness idea and quoting from research is normaly utilised by sceptics and tends to get believed. When what should be believed is that eyewitness reports, used with discretion, are a valuable and extraordinary resource and go a long way to proving sasquatch is real in context with other evidence.
    if scientists waste their time on hoaxes and jokesters like Biscardi they really ought to be embarassed and maybe will shortly with the prospect of enlightenment by DNA from those scientists who have seen the light!

  46. TheForthcoming responds:

    DWA says:

    “There are two kinds of proof: societal proof (it’s accepted by the society at large) and personal proof (you know because you have seen it).”

    = False Dilemma / Bifurcation Fallacy.

  47. Kopite responds:

    Oxford English Dictionary definition:

    “Believe: accept as true”

    That’s all that the word means to me. No more, no less.

  48. flame821 responds:

    Please remember, Mr. Coleman did not say belief was a bad thing. He was talking about “True Believers”. Basically someone who knows what the answer is (or should be) and discounts anything that contradicts their desired results. As opposed to others who let the evidence lead them to a result and can change their minds if the evidence points them in a different direction. I believe this falls under that ‘nuance’ discussion from earlier. Along with the differences between colloquial terms and scientific terms (such as theory having much different meanings between the two)

    PS, pretty much all science starts with an observation and a questions. “Oh, look at that. I wonder how it works/why it does that. Can I replicate it? What happens when I change this or that.” etc.

    PSS the quote I put up there is not from a skeptic. It is one of many papers done by psychologists and criminologist regarding the reliability of eye witness testimony in criminal cases. Since we haven’t found a body yet, we have NO IDEA how accurate or inaccurate any eye witness statements have been. All we can do is look for similarities and trends in the hope of discovering more useful information. (When/where are they active, is there any commonality between sightings? Weather patterns, possible food sources, etc)

    I KNOW (not believe, not feel) the Thylacine was a real animal because biologists, zoologist and many, many others studied it in detail and documented it’s existence, even though it (supposedly) died out before I was born. Same thing with dinosaurs. Now, as an educated adult I know enough to take artists renditions with a grain of salt as we have very few skin/feather impressions from fossils, and the colours are always a gamble. But I don’t have to witness an animal for myself to accept its existence when others who are trained and much more knowledgeable about these things than myself have verified and studied them at length.

    If a Bigfoot carcass is ever pulled out of the woods it may or may not be identified as a Bigfoot. It may well be a relic hominid, a large North American Primate, or another large bipedal animal unknown to science until that point in time. Although I don’t understand how proving Bigfoot would have religious implications as a commentor upstream mentions. Could someone please clue me in on that? I know Native Americans/First Nation People have histories regarding interactions with Bigfoot but did they worship them?

  49. DWA responds:

    TheForthcoming:

    No dilemma; no fallacy.

    If you aren’t saying there are, say, three or four or 25 kinds of proof, then there are indeed two.

    I’m not sure I care what anybody thinks if I see a sasquatch. I will immediately know that everyone else is wrong. (Except for those who, for the same reason, know what I do.) And I will be right, although I wouldn’t expect society to agree with me until the proof was well and fully in as far as the scientific mainstream was concerned.

    All I’m sayin’.

  50. DWA responds:

    flame821:

    As far as I am concerned, the sasquatch doesn’t have any religious hangtags. I sure don’t see any major religious texts being rewritten if it’s real.

    Native cultures attach all kinds of supernatural behavior to the animal; but shoot, they do the same for all the animals we know about. I mean, Coyote and Raven created the world, right?

    I do, however, think that religion could possibly have something to do with the society’s inability to come around as a body to the possibility, and do something about researching it. We seem quite chary about acknowledging the current existence of anything this close to us anatomically. It’s almost like the “God made man in his own image” thing is getting more challenged than some people like. (If that’s my image, or God’s, well, one of us needs a body shave at least.) Like we have competition or something.

    Then there are the proponents who think that human-like feet (actually the intelligent speculation is, not so much) and an upright carriage mean we have a man with a soul. Um, er, OK there, but I think that the reality (if that’s what it is) is rather more mundane. Not that souls are confirmable by science with current tools.

    So I do think it’s possible that religious beliefs could be muddying the water rather more than I personally find agreeable. It’s an animal. Let’s confirm it (or not) already.

  51. springheeledjack responds:

    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.

  52. springheeledjack responds:

    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…

  53. flame821 responds:

    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?

  54. DWA responds:

    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.

  55. norman-uk responds:

    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.

  56. flame821 responds:

    @ 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.

  57. DWA responds:

    @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.

  58. DWA responds:

    @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.

  59. norman-uk responds:

    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.

  60. norman-uk responds:

    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.”

  61. DWA responds:

    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.

  62. DWA responds:

    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.

  63. norman-uk responds:

    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

  64. TheForthcoming responds:

    “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.



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