Answering the Bigfoot Skeptics

Posted by: Craig Woolheater on January 18th, 2006

Published on today is an article written by a Cryptomundo commenter, Benjamin Radford, editor of the Skeptical Inquirer, entitled, "Rare Woodpecker Search Sheds Light on Bigfoot." Going to the site, I found it humorous that the ad for the page is the Canadian Sasquatch for the Discovery Channel’s show "Mythbusters."

Some of what is included in Mr. Radford’s article has been discussed here on Cryptomundo in the past. 

Read the article on the website, then read our rebuttal below and offer your thoughts and comments. Hopefully Mr. Radford will join us here for this discussion. 

Pseudo-logic ( sū ‘ dō-lŏ’ jək) n. A system of deduction that initially appears to be based in solid inferential reasoning, but upon closer examination is determined to actually be without logical foundation.

Initially, the position staked out here by Benjamin Radford appears to have a logical foundation. He asserts that when a well-equipped team of professional and amateur scientists conducts a field study in the woods of rural Arkansas, and reports no sightings of the undocumented creature referred to as “bigfoot,” that it somehow validates or strengthens the position of those who claim that the animal does not exist.

Come again?

Actually, hundreds of excursions across North America take place every year by groups and individuals who fail to mention sightings of large, bipedal, hair-covered primates. However, Mr. Radford also seems to be ignorant of incursions into the American outback by groups and individuals who do report sightings of large, bipedal, hair-covered primates. In fact, one month-long expedition in 1967 even yielded film footage of what is possibly the animal Mr. Radford says doesn’t exist. 

Mr. Radford seems to imply that simply because the well-equipped team who rediscovered the Ivory-billed Woodpecker wasn’t actually looking for large, unknown, bipedal apes, that if they reported a sighting, the sighting would somehow have some special merit that sighting reports by others in the past do not have. After all, the Ivory-billed Woodpecker researchers included biologists from Cornell University, as well as quite a few volunteer part-time field assistants. So, what if the team had reported a sighting of a sasquatch or recorded some primate-like vocalizations while out in the field? Would it have given Mr. Radford and others like him cause for consideration regarding the matter of bigfoot?

There are teams of professional and amateur scientists who have reported such encounters (including the Texas Bigfoot Research Center, a network of amateur and professional scientists dedicated to investigating the sasquatch mystery in Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas and Louisiana), and there are individuals who happen to be anthropologists, wildlife biologists, psychologists, law enforcement and forest service professionals who have reported sightings, but apparently Mr. Radford and others like him simply choose to sweep such reports aside, citing wishful-thinking, misidentification and hallucination as the cause of such reports.


Apparently, what scientists don’t see is more important to Mr. Radford and others like him, than what scientists do see.

We also have many reports from hunters, who happen to be the most prolific witnesses in terms of bigfoot encounters, resulting from their sustained incursions into the remote and densely wooded areas said to be the habitat of sasquatches. While their business in the American wilderness is not of an investigatory nature, hunters are nevertheless out there for prolonged periods. However, Mr. Radford refuses to acknowledge the significance of their eyewitness reports.

Why is it that Mr. Radford seems to be more enamored with the fact that the Ivory-billed Woodpecker researchers did not report having sasquatch encounters than he is that large numbers of American and Canadian hunters, in addition to groups of researchers, comprised of amateur and professional scientists, have reported such encounters?

Mr. Radford apparently dismisses many such sighting reports because they, in his opinion, are from “believers” (which somehow invalidates their findings). Apparently, Mr. Radford is very adept at overlooking or ignoring important little facts. For example, many of the amateur and professional scientists who have reported encounters were not “believers” until they actually had the encounters; the vast majority of the hunters and motorists who reported such encounters were not “believers” at all until they actually saw something for which they had no conventional explanation. So, just because they reported a sighting (making them “believers”), are witnesses suddenly lacking credibility as individuals and scientists?

There’s more to ponder:

It is likely that, given the probable rarity of the species, there were no unknown North American apes in the area of southeastern Arkansas where the Ivory-billed Woodpecker researchers were searching.

This brings up another question: Has Mr. Radford actually talked to all the biologists and field assistants who were searching for the “grail bird” regarding what they saw or heard?

Sixteen square miles is not a very large area. Although it would certainly seem big to a person wandering around within it, it’s a drop in the bucket in terms of available habitat. To assume that an animal not observed within a prescribed area during a specific time frame must not exist anywhere is silly. How many mink did the biologists and volunteers see in that area? River otters? Did they observe black bears? Many woodpecker holes are constantly being monitored. Did the observers see flying squirrels, common animals that live in tree cavities? How many of these folks saw bobcats or gray foxes? All of these species should be expected in the ivory-billed study area. By Mr. Radford’s logic, if any of these species were not observed, they must be extinct.

Mr. Radford insinuates that the place where the woodpecker was observed is a prime sasquatch area, but is it? When was the last time a credible report emerged from that specific vicinity? The BFRO has posted on their website only one report, in Cleveland County, of a regional bigfoot sighting. This is over 60 miles southwest of the Big Woods of Arkansas. The Texas Bigfoot Research Center has not received any reports, credible or not, from the area. Characterizing an entire state as “prime Bigfoot territory” illustrates ignorance regarding animal distribution patterns in general. When biologists say that any mammal may be expected within a certain approximate area or range, it does not mean that the species will be found everywhere within that area; it may possibly be found wherever suitable conditions are found within that area. The same holds true for the sasquatch.

The current well-publicized attempt to further document the Ivory-billed Woodpecker is only the late
st of such efforts over the years. This active species is very large, diurnal, and quite noisy. Yet, the documentation effort, to this point, has been a disappointment. How logical is it to conclude that a rare nocturnal animal like the sasquatch, an animal the birders are likely not even thinking about, does not exist if it’s not seen?

The extensive search for the Ivory-billed Woodpecker was conducted almost entirely during daylight hours; no night vision or infrared devices were employed. Most sasquatch researchers believe that their quarry is primarily nocturnal because there are as many or more sightings of sasquatches during the night than during the day; far fewer humans are active at night than daytime, therefore, nocturnalism of the animal is probable. Furthermore, there are very, very few reports of diurnal bigfoot vocalizations. The vast majority of reports regarding purported sasquatch vocalizations result from nighttime encounters.

The Ivory-billed Woodpecker researchers were not, in even the most remote way, looking or listening for an unknown bipedal primate. If they had recorded sasquatch vocalizations, it’s unlikely they would have expended much effort pondering what they were hearing; their search was for a large diurnal bird with a “kent” call. They were fixated on that, during the day. However, even had they made such recordings, Mr. Radford and others like him would most likely remain dismissive and cynical, continually citing “no hard evidence.”

There also exists the extremely remote possibility that one or more of the Ivory-billed Woodpecker researchers did have some type of encounter, but like others before them, they hesitated to report it. Few researchers would be brazen enough to risk the loss of project funding, or risk their personal and professional reputations, by coming back with anecdotal reports of sasquatch encounters, exposing themselves to ridicule and insinuations from Benjamin Radford and others like him that such sightings were caused by wishful thinking and/or misidentifications. 

Following the line of reasoning presented by Mr. Radford, the fact that the TBRC and investigators such as Chester Moore and others have not reported any Ivory-billed Woodpecker sightings in Ivory-billed Woodpecker habitat areas, despite spending an exorbitant amount of time in such places (like the Big Thicket in Southeast Texas), must in some way invalidate the findings of the birders who obtained four seconds of woodpecker footage and a couple of purported ivory-billed vocalizations. Obviously, this is a conclusion that reasonable people would never seek to assert, but it is tantamount to what Mr. Radford has written. 

The Texas Bigfoot Research Center is not a group made up of individuals who, on a whim or dream, choose to waste a huge amount of time and finances, risking personal and professional reputations, to validate an animal that can’t possibly exist. The Texas Bigfoot Research Center continues to maintain that the body of contemporary sighting reports, ecological patterns and relationships arising from the study of those reports, the physical evidence that has accumulated during the last fifty years, and our own personal observations while in the field, all serve to indicate the existence of a living species that has yet to be documented.

This response was written by Daryl Colyer, Alton Higgins and Craig Woolheater of the Texas Bigfoot Research Center. 

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

23 Responses to “Answering the Bigfoot Skeptics”

  1. The Toad responds:

    Very well put.

  2. Sasquatchery responds:

    I agree, very well put Craig. Another thing I think plays into this is that most researchers gear their entire behavior in the woods to finding one specific animal. The type of movement and observation required to find a woodpecker may actually be detrimental to finding a sasquatch. There also seems to be the expectation that one can just stumble upon a sasquatch like one stumbles upon bears, hogs or deer.
    But as you, I and many others have said before, these types of skeptics suffer as many lapses in logic as many of the “believers” do.

  3. fuzzy responds:

    Let’s all remember a basic research axiom: “Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.”


    As is so eloquently stated in the text above, even tho field researchers do not spot ivory billed woodpeckers or thylacines, plesiosaurs, sasquatches, pterodactyls, mothmen, elves, guardian angels or ghosts during their relatively short period roaming around a specific target area, that does NOT mean that such “creatures” were not there at that time, or at some other time, or that they have never been there, or that they aren’t, simply, somewhere else.

    Debunkers utilize broad paintbrushes, espousing vague but empty rationale to “explain” the unexplainable: the late Phil Klass would dismiss the sighting of a formation of aerial lights maneuvering over a packed football stadium as the planet Venus or an advertising blimp, altho neither was viewable in that part of the sky at that time.

    The sincere researcher’s job is to gather evidence, analyze it and act on that information. Since Mr. Radford suggests gathering NO evidence, he has nothing to analyze and cannot, therefore, act… at least, not intelligently.

    Let’s dismiss time-wasters, and get on with our Search.


  4. Benjamin Radford responds:

    Hello there! I thank Craig and the others for bringing this up, and giving me the opportunity to respond.

    There is far too much to respond to, but let me make a few points which I hope will clarify matters. First, while I happily embrace the term “skeptic,” I think many mainstream cryptozoologists are skeptics as well. I DO NOT assume that those searching for Bigfoot are deluded boobs “wasting their money on a whim or a dream,” as it was put.

    Since the post dealt with logic, I’ll mention the biggest logical problem I see in the post, which is the straw man argument—- criticizing an opponent for a position they never took.

    A few examples:

    • I don’t think that my piece suggested that the fact that (apparently) no Bigfoot were seen in the woodpecker search “validates” the position that Bigfoot do not exist. In fact, I specifically ended my article by stating that searchers currently in the field may yet find Bigfoot. I don’t think it’s likely, but it’s possible, and I stated so. I find it odd that Bigfoot searchers are so pessimistic about it, if they really are so sure Bigfoot are out there.

    • “…possibly the animal Mr. Radford says doesn’t exist.” I have never, ever said that Bigfoot, or any cryptid doesn’t exist. That would be unscientific and a logical fallacy. I don’t think they do, but I’m open to the possibility, and I limit myself to the evidence.

    • “Radford simply choose to sweep such reports aside.” and “Radford refuses to acknowledge the significance of eyewitness reports.” This is WAY off subject. I was not sweeping any Bigfoot eyewitness reports aside. I am aware of the hard work and research done by TBRC, as well as the many eyewitess reports. I was specifically writing about the search for the woodpecker, not Bigfoot sightings in general.

    • “To assume that an animal not observed within a prescribed area during a specific time frame must not exist anywhere is silly.” I absolutely agree; I never wrote, and do not think, that just because no Bigfoot were reported in that place at that time implies that Bigfoot do not exist. I was simply pointing out that the woodpecker search would have been an excellent chance to find Bigfoot. Given that such an intensive, sustained search is expensive and rare, does anyone really disagree?

    The irony here is that I agree with much of the “Answer” to my article. My piece was not meant to debunk Bigfoot or discredit researchers or eyewitnesses. My point in the article was simply to address one specific claim often made by Bigfoot researchers: That Bigfoot evidence is lacking because there are few well-equipped researchers out in the field for extended periods of time. I was just giving one excellent counter-example. That’s it, nothing more.

    Speaking of logical fallacies, cryptozoologists can’t have it both ways, claiming on one hand that Bigfoot are seen all the time, but that more evidence is lacking because those who see Bigfoot aren’t scientists in the field and well-equipped to gather evidence. Which is it? If eyewitness reports are all you need to verify Bigfoot, why hasn’t it been documented? And if you need hard evidence (which we all agree on), then the woodpecker search should be a good opportunity to find that evidence. That’s really all I was saying, and I don’t think there’s any logical errors in that at all.

    I hope we can have this debate face to face, perhaps over a few beers sometime!


  5. Questor responds:

    B. Radford said – “I don’t think that my piece suggested that the fact that (apparently) no Bigfoot were seen in the woodpecker search “validates” the position that Bigfoot do not exist. In fact, I specifically ended my article by stating that searchers currently in the field may yet find Bigfoot. I don’t think it’s likely, but it’s possible, and I stated so. I find it odd that Bigfoot searchers are so pessimistic about it, if they really are so sure Bigfoot are out there.”

    My response – Mr. Radford’s piece absolutely makes the implication that the lack of sasquatch evidence gathered by the Ivory-billed Woodpecker researchers gives credence to the argument that the sasquatch doesn’t exist. Isn’t the crux of his entire position, that the whole matter is lacking in evidence, and any evidence claimed by researchers has been hoaxed or misidentified, so that we don’t really have anything at all? Isn’t that what’s implied by the statement of sasquatch tracks having anything from “one to 12 toes?” Obviously, the TBRC is not pessimistic in the least about what they’re doing, or they wouldn’t continue to expend huge amounts of personal time, finances and resources to document these creatures to the level that mainstream science is now requiring. They’ve obviously proven the creatures’ existence to their own satisfaction, thus the statement on their website that their own personal observations, “indicate the existence of a living species.” That doesn’t sound very pessimistic to me.

    For Benjamin Radford to say that he has never ever said that the sasquatch doesn’t exist is analogous to the Pope saying “I have never ever said I am Catholic.”

    Maybe Mr. Radford has never uttered or penned those exact words and it would be unscientific to do so. But it is just as illogical to go on national television and tell me and every other eye witness that our eye witness reports are not reliable, and that the chances are that we just didn’t see what we think we saw.

    Perhaps Mr. Radford didn’t explicitly sweep any bigfoot reports aside in this piece, but again, it’s implicit. Come to think of it, it’s implicit in quite a few pieces that he’s written, and quite a few statements that he’s made.

    B. Radford said – “I was simply pointing out that the woodpecker search would have been an excellent chance to find Bigfoot. Given that such an intensive, sustained search is expensive and rare, does anyone really disagree?”

    My response – Yes, I really disagree. The “woodpecker search” was not an “excellent chance” to find bigfoot. The TBRC writers explained that the search was not even in an area where there have ever been bigfoot sightings and that the search was not even remotely geared toward listening or looking for bigfoot. How is that an “excellent chance?”

    B. Radford said – Bigfoot researchers claim that “evidence is lacking because there are few well-equipped researchers out in the field for extended periods of time.”

    My response – First of all, I don’t believe that evidence is lacking. Second, I have absolutely no doubt that if a team of bigfoot researchers could be well-funded for a search over a protracted period of time (not less than one year) in an area with a history of sightings, both aged and recent, that these creatures would be documented to the level presently required by mainstream science. No doubt whatsoever. How’s that for pessimism?


  6. Benjamin Radford responds:

    Wow! I may not have to eat for a week, with all the words being put in my mouth!

    “Isn’t the crux of his entire position, that the whole matter is lacking in evidence”?

    Nope. In fact, in my Skeptical Inquirer article on Bigfoot, I wrote that there’s plenty of evidence; the problem, I contend, is that most of the evidence isn’t GOOD evidence, such as hard evidence (bones, body, etc.).

    I’m pleased that the TBRC has proven Bigfoot “creatures’ existence to their own satisfaction.” The problem is, of course, that they are also seeking scientific validation, which requires a somewhat higher standard of evidence. The pessimism I was referring to was that few researcher seem to think that there’s even a slight chance that the current woodpecker search will find evidence of Bigfoot.

    Whether Questor or anyone else believes I am open-minded about Bigfoot is irrelevant. I go by evidence, not belief. If I were certain that Bigfoot did not exist, and that all eyewitnesses were crazy or liars, I wouldn’t waste my time taking it seriously.

    “But it is just as illogical to go on national television and tell me and every other eye witness that our eye witness reports are not reliable, and that the chances are that we just didn’t see what we think we saw.”

    Frankly, given all that we know about how easily the human eye and mind can misinterpret what it experiences, I find it arrogant and presumptuous for any eyewitness (whether to Bigfoot or a crime scene) to state with such certainty that their interpretation was exact and infallible. Apparently such eyewitnesses admit that study after study shows that OTHER people can make mistakes, but not them! No, they don’t make mistakes!

    “Perhaps Mr. Radford didn’t explicitly sweep any bigfoot reports aside in this piece, but again, it’s implicit.” COUGH, COUGH… More words in my mouth. For the last time: My short article was not about Bigfoot eyewitnesses nor Bigfoot reports, it was the fact that if Bigfoot were in the Arkansas woods at the time, searchers probably would have seen them. Instead of reading into what I wrote, how about sticking to what I did write?

    Questor and Craig do do have a point; I may have overstated the likelihood of a Bigfoot being in the area (as compared to Washington state, for example), but it’s not as if the Arkansas woods are lacking in Bigfoot sightings.

    Questor says, “I have absolutely no doubt that if a team of bigfoot researchers could be well-funded for a search over a protracted period of time in an area with a history of sightings, these creatures would be documented to the level presently required by mainstream science.” Well, every previous expedition has failed to do so, but sure, go ahead. I think it’s a great idea, and I honestly hope such a team finds a Bigfoot.

    Of course, even if a dream team is assembled, and does all Questor wishes, if it fails to find Bigfoot there will be the same excuses: it knew we were looking; it hid from us; it didn’t happen to be there when we were. There’s the basic logical fallacy: you can always explain away a failure. I hope one day to meet a Bigfooter who says to me, “If we go to this place, with this equipment, for this long, and still fail to find hard evidence of Bigfoot, I will admit that it probably doesn’t exist.” Perhaps Questor will be the first?

  7. Sasquatchery responds:

    Craig, I had an idea. Why don’t we try to have a face-to-face roundtable discussion at the 2006 conference and invite some prominent Skeptical Enquirer-types? I think it would make for interesting debate and maybe keep the blog from becoming a forum.

  8. Questor responds:

    So now, we can’t even trust our own eyes and ears! That’s right, folks. Don’t trust your own eyes and your own ears. Seeing is not believing, folks. How convenient. Yet Mr. Radford maintains that he’s never questioned the validity of eye witness accounts?

    The world’s most powerful nation of 300,000,000 million individuals has staked its entire judicial system on the merits of eye witness testimony, but according to one Benjamin Radford, anyone who claims with certainty about what they witnessed is arrogant and presumptuous. Yet, he claims that he has never downplayed or dismissed eye witness accounts? I am seriously scratching my head over that dichotomy.

    Why would I “admit” that bigfoot doesn’t exist when I know that they do exist? Oh yes, I almost forgot, because Benjamin Radford tells me that my own eyes and ears are unreliable in a moment of crisis.

    That is a very convenient position for Mr. Radford to take. After all, it absolves him of ever putting ANY stock in ANY eyewitness accounts.

    Gosh. How can I be sure about anything anymore? How can I be sure that the light is green when it may be red? How can I be sure that the deer at which I am aiming is not a person for whom I am misidentifying a deer?

    Also, folks, remember the next time you find cougar tracks on your property, that the cougar wasn’t really there, since tracks don’t constitute “good” evidence that the cougar was there, or that cougars are even in your area. Forget the wildlife kills as well. It doesn’t matter that you now have three mutilated hog carcasses, and you found what you were certain were cougar tracks around your hog pen and the carcasses. Those tracks are misidentifications for something else. Misidentifications for what, I am no longer sure, since we can’t really be sure of anything we see or hear anymore.

    Unlike Mr. Radford, who happens to be the true “believer” here in that he thinks or believes that bigfoot doesn’t exist, I am a “knower” in that I know first hand that bigfoot exists.


  9. norman-uk responds:

    It is true that the searchers for the ivory billed woodpecker might have stumbled upon bigfoot and perhaps found the kind of evidence that I assume Mr Radford would not rate too highly, of which there is a plethora. Perhaps they did and felt that to mention it would have compromised any reports they might make about the potential rich prize of finding the Ivory billed woodpecker! On the other hand they might not have seen or heard anything of bigfoot, not surprising as the way NOT to find evidence of an elusive and rare ground dweller is to focus off the ground in the trees looking and listening for an elusive and rare bird! Fat chance!
    It is reasonable to cite new discoveries or rediscoveries of creatures as supporting the possibility of the reality of bigfoot wether or not they are each different in some way. What would sceptical magazine have said about the Coelacanth if at some point there was evidence but not proof? They would have said not in a million years never mind 70!
    It is true that most new creatures found are small but there are enough large discoveries to make it almost certain that more will be discovered. Especialy as the net is closing. In recent times there have been at least one whale(big enough), a shark,(vu quang)ox ,chacaon peccary, Bili ape etc.and even a hominid the wonderful hobbit!
    So all these creatures may have some existing connection,present or past(though I am not sure about the ox and the hobbit) But how can anyone state that bigfoot has no connection with any known animal when we do not know what bigfoot is? Despite some DNA evidence and possible fossil links.
    There are two auguments that get mixed up here, one is the probability for something and one is the evidence which is what counts. In my opinion there is plenty of evidence for bigfoot,if not absolute proof but probably the proof is not far off!

  10. fuzzy responds:

    Like I said far, far above…
    “Let’s dismiss time-wasters,
    and get on with our Search.”

  11. 2400bc responds:

    To write so loosely that readers see insinuations which were not intended indicates a lack of compositional skill; yet if that looseness itself was intentional to allow a way of escape from the preferred insinuations and a claim to the more conservative literal wording then perhaps it actally reflects a very skilled writer – one that can have it both ways as he can enjoy the satisfaction of criticizing something indirectly (knowing like-minded people will “read inbetween the lines”) all while having the option to claim “innocence” as he points to the literal wording in defense when his underlying critique is revealed.

    I do not have respect for such journalistic shell-games.

  12. darkrabbit responds:

    It would be unfair to Sophists to refer to Skeptical Inquirer as a work of Sophistry. Sophists made nonsense logic sound sensible. SI can’t even do that.

    I am not familiar with Mr. Radford, but I am with Joe Nickell, the token skeptic who documentary film makers on paranormal or cryptozoological critters go to for the mandatory “balanced” viewpoint in response to the believers’ side.

    I cannot believe that such a man can be so small-minded without batting an eyelash and unsubtly imply that people he’s never met are liars, hallucinators or just plain ignorant of what their own eyes and ears have witnessed.

    To SI, because Bigfoot as a phenomenon is so counter to its logic, the PGF must have showed a man in a great suit. Because these documentaries show Joe Nickell who goes to unbelievable extents to deny others’ sensory perceptions and experiences, he cannot be for real either.

    Therefore, Joe Nickell must be an elaborate puppet.

    Look and listen closely; that’s not real intelligence moving his mouth.


  13. darkrabbit responds:

    “Please, sir, a Nickell for the blind.”

  14. Benjamin Radford responds:

    Questor betrays a sad ignorance of both the scientific literature on misperception and our judicial system in his comments, especially if he believes that “The world’s most powerful nation…has staked its entire judicial system on the merits of eye witness testimony.” It is exactly BECA– USE eyewitness testimony is proven to be unreliable that courts usually require hard evidence such as DNA, forensic evidence, videotapes, etc. to convict defendants, instead of just “Well, I saw him do it.” Perhaps Questor should spend a little time talking to police detectives, psychology researchers, or anyone knowledgeable about the topic. I happen to have a degree in psychology, and I have done the research.

    Questor asks, “How can I be sure that the deer at which I am aiming is not a person for whom I am misidentifying a deer?” Sadly, he seems unaware that exactly that situation has repeatedly occurred; in fact, in my upcoming book, I devote a chapter to the case of Dennis Plucknett, an experienced Florida hunter who in Janury 2004 shot his son in the head, mistaking his son’s black cap for a large, living boar. Go tell Mr. Plucknett how ridiculous it is that he would be mistaken.

    “Yet, he claims that he has never downplayed or dismissed eye witness accounts?” I did not write that I never downplayed the validity of eyewitness accounts; what I said was that IN MY ORIGINAL ARTICLE, the topic of this post, I did not do that; it was about the lack of Bigfoot in the search for the woodpecker, not eyewitness accounts.

    2400bc suggests that the mistaken assumptions those have read into my piece (a few of which are listed in my original reply) were somehow either intended or the result of poor or coy writing. I offer it’s neither; people are jumping all over me for assertions that I never even made. Clear thinking requires clear and precise word usage, while fuzzy thinking thrives on fuzzy words and concepts. It’s easy to jumble topics together, to extend logic inappropriately, etc. I am probably more literal-minded than most people, but that should not be taken as a sign of deceit. Refusing to accept someone else’s interpretation of what I wrote, or of my position, is not a “journalistic shell game.” I think that if we had an open and honest debate, my position would me much clearer and more understandable, and at least some of the apparent misdirections would evaporate.

    “He who does not understand his opponent’s arguments does not fully understand his own.”

  15. Questor responds:

    Actually, and sadly, the only ignorance on display in this exchange is that exhibited by Benjamin Radford. I don’t remember Benjamin Radford being a member of the jury, of which I was jury foreman, who convicted a man to three consecutive 30-year terms in prison, based on the single eyewitness testimony of one child. Perhaps Benjamin Radford should spend a little more time in the real world, in real court rooms and in real juries, where people are sentenced to prison every day on single eyewitness testimonies.

    Sadly, Mr. Radford seems acutely unaware that thousands of deer and wild hogs are seen, correctly identified and shot every year by hunters who thought they were seeing deer and wild hogs. Regardless of exceptions, such as the one involving my very own grandfather, who was shot by another hunter while hunting, the overwhelming, vast majority of cases involve hunters who correctly identified what they were seeing. The proof is in the thousands of deer and wild hogs that are slain every year.

    “Seeing is believing.”

  16. fuzzy responds:

    Yadda Yadda, Yadda etc…

    Some say that debunkers’ real function is to distract us from the subject, to divert the conversation from the real meat of the matter with meaningless drivel, thus convincing us that the whole thing is an illusion and that there’s nothing of value here…

    Many years ago, during the Adamski uproar, I read Danald Menzel’s book whitewashing UFOs, and almost bought his arguments. Almost. Menzel was my first recognized debunker, but his techniques were specious and transparent, and I quickly learned to avoid broad-brush arguments.

    Debunkers have an answer for everything, and the woods are full of them (pun intended), so be wary.

    Like I said far, waaaay far above…
    “Let’s dismiss time-wasters,
    and get on with our Search.”

  17. KenMD responds:

    Boy this really seems ridiculous!!!
    I can’t believe all the bickering.
    One thing is for certain, without some STRONG evidence there will always be someone skeptical. Just think about it, we are talking about a huge hairy ape. Do I think it exists? Likely given all the eyewitness testimony and yes its certainly possible given fossil evidence of Giganto which really isn’t that long ago. And, certainly it could have came across the Bering just like the native americans. Could it be smart enough (or scared enough) to stay away from humans and travel at night, etc., etc.,? Sure.
    But until I see one I may never know.

    Important thing is that both sides of the argument have solid reasons. And the hunter example is good. Yes people do shoot thousands of animals that they see, but also people do mistake things and shoot their kid in the head.

    Personally I think it is great that Mr. Radford is here to keep us in line. Remember, we have the burden of proof. We are not looking for a recently “extinct” bird. There has never been any proof that the scientific community says is valid (or at least that is publishable). We need to find that.

    Don’t construe this into that I don’t believe any of the sightings or tracks etc. I have hunted for years and if I saw a big hairy bi-pedal creature it would have to be A.) bigfoot (whatever that is) or B.) a man in a suit. By the way I don’t believe in the other options I’ve heard about an alien or a mystical paranormal being. To me saying that makes you even sillier.

    We also know another something else, people do fake this stuff.

    So why all the fighting with the diehard skeptics???

    I agree with the previous post by Sasquatchery that there should be a round table forum with skeptics at the next conference in Texas. The only stipulation would be that those included must not be the extremists from both sides of the argument. Each side must be willing to accept the others view, otherwise there will just be more fighting, which is useless. You might be able to learn something from each other.

    If you believe that bigfoot really is an undiscovered primate then we all need to be professional and document its existence. DOCUMENTING IT. Thats the key. Its not whether you believe it or not. Some do, some don’t. If you have seen it then I bet you will always believe. If you haven’t seen it, but believe because of the available evidence, then great. If you don’t believe any of it, then I respect that, I won’t try to convince you, I’ll just work harder to get some definitive evidence.

  18. KenMD responds:

    Oh by the way we don’t need any follow up about all the good evidence there is. I’ve read all that, and its fairly convincing to me.
    We need some unconventional ideas on how to get good photo or video evidence.
    Or how to capture, tranquilize, hopefully not shoot one, or find a dead body.
    Also might be able to obtain some form of foundation money in the form of a grant to help fund expeditions if you have people like Jane Goodall helping. There are over 70,000 foundations and they fund things sillier then what we talk about at times.

  19. vjmurphy responds:

    “which I was jury foreman, who convicted a man to three consecutive 30-year terms in prison, based on the single eyewitness testimony of one child.”

    But you did have a body, right? And evidence other than that of a child? So you didn’t convict based upon single eyewitness testimony, I would assume?

    If the McMartin preschool trials (among others) has taught us, the memories of children are especially malleable.

    But science isn’t a courtroom. Eyewitness testimony isn’t ever enough for science. It is, however, good for focusing on finding good evidence.

  20. CryptoInformant responds:


    No one is ever convicted on eyewitness testimony alone, but it IS a major factor. If a tree falls in a forest with no one around, it still happens, it still makes a sound. Bigfoot sightings don’t just happen where people are there, and they don’t just happen where there are a lot of Bigfoot. We need to make a survey of all Bigfoot sightings except the definite hoaxes, and send a crew out to do widely dispersed infrared, visual, and sound searches of the biggest hotspot for an extended period.
    While the eyes are usually reliable, they do get fooled. One time I coulda swore I saw a beaver, but it was just a chunk of wood.
    As for that roundtable forum, it needs an online part for those that can’t be there in person.

  21. Drat responds:

    Well, imho, such extreme disagreement to the point of ad hominem attacks on Mr. Radford makes it hard to take the arguer seriously, whatever the point may be.

    A roundtable discussion is a great idea, and will give more legitimacy to the 06 conference. Instead of being a bunch of people who already believe in bigfoot talking about how awesome bigfoot is, it can be a group of people interested in getting to the truth.

  22. darkrabbit responds:

    The Skeptical Inquirer can’t handle the truth.

    Fight fire with fire, I always say.

    Bugs Bunny

  23. CryptoInformant responds:

    Hey Benjamin Radford! Some are saying that DINOSAURS never existed! They need a good broadbrush debunker to back them up, so why don’t you join them?

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