Posted by: Loren Coleman on September 14th, 2012
Guy Edwards posted on September 7, 2012, this, “Look Out Meldrum, There’s Another Bigfoot Anthropologist in Town.”
Edwards’ posting was about anthropologist Zach Throckmorton (shown below, with a friend).
I posted, in two comments, some ponderings (framed, with my apologies, in my dislike for the use of the word “pseudoscience,” I’m sure). I did this in the comments section, after reading Edwards’ quick essay:
“Why would anyone who is not a scoftic or debunker, even if they are excluding Sasquatch studies from the labeled area, use the term ‘pseudoscience,’ unless they accept the political-emotional parameters that are part of using that word?”
“He probably uses ‘pseudoscience’ and the conceptual emotional barrage of that word because his advisor is John Hawks who *seems* to have a harsh pseudoscientific view of Bigfoot.”
I was just poking into the darkness, looking for non-scholarly answers, with no disrespect to him or John Hawks, whose anthropology blog I very much appreciate.
Zach wrote back.
Here’s his reply:
I’ve followed your work for years and am sympathetic that your work is often dismissed unreasonably by close-minded academics.
* * *
I’d be happy to discuss how my research on variability in the modern human foot arch relates to work on Bigfoot. I’m also working on a paper about hallucal abduction that’s relevant to the discussion. I’d also be happy to discuss scientific and pseudoscientific approaches to work on Bigfoot. You questioned why I would use the term “pseudoscience” to describe cryptozoology in general (and Bigfoot in particular), if I am not a debunker, and insinuated I use that term because my adviser uses that term. I think there is usually a clear delineation between good science and laughable pseudoscience. Cryptozoology is burdened with pseudoscientific baggage, which is why it is generally dismissed by mainstream science. I think this is unfortunate, because there is also a lot of excellent, rigorous scientific work on cryptids that deserves attention. As an anthropologist, I give weight to stories and oral traditions of creatures like the orang pendek and the legion of stories about men of the wilds from all over the world. I think it is important to be skeptical and to keep an open mind on (some) cryptids, such as Bigfoot.
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