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Q-C

Killing Bigfoot with Bad Science

29 posts in this topic

Posted (edited)

I thought this was an excellent article, albeit an older one. But it raises some comments and questions from me: Please read, it's good.

http://skeptoid.com/episodes/4011

1) Ray Wallace. I agree that Ray Wallace's fake feet can't be used to completely negate the existence of the creature Bigfoot. However, I believe the influence on the legend's growth and spread could've been significant.

2) PGF.How I hate to bring it up, but Dunning did in the article so I will briefly comment. I have always felt the thigh muscles looked real and huge, yet the face was not convincing for me at all.

This is what I am most interested in.

3) Meldrum. A good scientist "The work of responsible scientists like Dr. Meldrum is exactly what true skeptics should be asking the Bigfoot community for, not criticizing him for it."

Dunning had a lot of good things to say about Meldrum. If Meldrum is so good and credible and just what skeptics need, how seriously do we need to take his collection of prints? How do his academic credentials, knowledge, and activities weigh in? Do we defer to his expertise? Why not? How do you separate a good scientist from bad science? Or, cohabitate the two? etc

I think the three believer's cases of "bad science" he mentions are a given, even though we hear them all the time.

Edited by QuiteContrary
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I used to think Meldrum was a good thing. But, after further review, and correspondence, I know he is not. He actually almost fell for the " captured live Bigfoot " fiasco at that Texas Bigfoot joke of a club. He actually wasted time on it. Then the Blimp thing....

And, the casts....

How many Biologists are out there?.......A lot.

How many acknowledge they think Bigfoot exists?........1, Meldrum.

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Posted (edited)

I thought this was an excellent article, albeit an older one. But it raises some comments and questions from me: Please read, it's good.

Good article which criticises both sides of the investigations. His last paragraph reads:
I know you're going to listen to all of this and conclude that I'm the pro-Bigfoot guy. I'll admit to being a Bigfoot hopeful (a hope based more on emotion than on any actual likelihood), but certainly not a believer. My point is simply that both sides of every debate contain a lot chaff along with the wheat. Both sides of every skeptical issue believe that they're right, but even those on the side that is right (and by that, I mean whichever side you're on) can probably stand to clean up their act a little, no matter what the issue is.
Edited by NatureBoff

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Posted (edited)

I used to think Meldrum was a good thing. But, after further review, and correspondence, I know he is not. He actually almost fell for the " captured live Bigfoot " fiasco at that Texas Bigfoot joke of a club. He actually wasted time on it. Then the Blimp thing....

And, the casts....

How many Biologists are out there?.......A lot.

How many acknowledge they think Bigfoot exists?........1, Meldrum.

Oh, I am in your camp, Sakari.

I was referring to the article and wondering how a skeptic reconciles this conflict. I'm trying to understand this POV on a "good, credible, knowledgeable" scientist as being unworthy of criticism, and even beneficial to skepticism , while at the same time, he has a bf foot casts collection, etc.

How we should separate his being unworthy of criticism as a scientist, yet at the same time, how should his bf beliefs effect his credibility as a scientist and worthiness of criticism?

Edited by QuiteContrary

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If we should accept him as a good, credible, knowledgeable scientist, why should we dismiss his foot casts? This is his "specialty". And if we then chose to accept his foot casts, we'd have excellent evidence for the existence of this creature. Would we not? And if we dismiss his collection how is he credible and unworthy of criticism as a scientist?

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Criticism (as in being critical of something, weighing it's merits) is part and parcel of science. If any scientist can't handle critical views of their work then they simply chose the wrong profession.

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How many Biologists are out there?.......A lot.

How many acknowledge they think Bigfoot exists?........1, Meldrum.

How many are willing to acknowledge a sasquatch-like creature could exist (not as a thought-exercise, but given the alleged physical evidence and witness testimony) in the area in question?

Answer - you don't know.

Normally, Sakari, I would agree with you as you exhibit critical thinking, but in this case you have let your bias override that.

Sure, Meldrum is the only high-profile, media-driven personality from that field expressing their opinion to the positive, regarding the question of sasquatch. But that does not mean he is the only biologist who might consider sasquatch a very real possibility.

Your comment above is an example of the "bad science" that is trying to kill sasquatch. And it comes from cynicism, not skepticism.

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I enjoyed the article and I agree with many of his statements.

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How many are willing to acknowledge a sasquatch-like creature could exist (not as a thought-exercise, but given the alleged physical evidence and witness testimony) in the area in question?

Answer - you don't know.

Normally, Sakari, I would agree with you as you exhibit critical thinking, but in this case you have let your bias override that.

Sure, Meldrum is the only high-profile, media-driven personality from that field expressing their opinion to the positive, regarding the question of sasquatch. But that does not mean he is the only biologist who might consider sasquatch a very real possibility.

Your comment above is an example of the "bad science" that is trying to kill sasquatch. And it comes from cynicism, not skepticism.

Maybe I should have said :

How many have come out and said........

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One might ask, "How many scientist have come out bashing Meldrum?"

The lack of credible scientist who are bashing him and belittling his name and results speaks as loudly as the ones who would endorse his work.

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One might ask, "How many scientist have come out bashing Meldrum?"

The lack of credible scientist who are bashing him and belittling his name and results speaks as loudly as the ones who would endorse his work.

I have never seen nor heard bashing from Scientists to other Scientists in any field. They are professionals, and adults. I would not call the lack of " bashing " anything at all, except mature and normal.

Silence is not consent. Silence has never been consent. Silence will never be consent.

Edited by Sakari

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or they just don't see it as worth their time.

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My OP isn't meant to be about bashing...it's about struggling with an existing credibility for a scientist's mainstream work, and extending that credibility to a collection of evidence (foot casts) for sasquatch. Or, secondly, lowering the (existing) crediblity of that scientist's mainstream work. Or, thirdly, co-existing the two.

Importantly and Because M's collection relates to his field of expertise, this is his thing. It relates to what he knows and studies-- anatomy, anthropology, functional morphology, vertebrate locomotion.

If you choose to continue to support him as a good researcher and respect his mainstream work in his field--

Should you/would you then, take this phenomenon of bigfoot more seriously and accept his expertise as applied to his foot casts as a well? Why not?

Edited by QuiteContrary

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I have never seen nor heard bashing from Scientists to other Scientists in any field. They are professionals, and adults. I would not call the lack of " bashing " anything at all, except mature and normal.

Silence is not consent. Silence has never been consent. Silence will never be consent.

Then you haven't been paying attention. Scientists in all disciplines point/counterpoint each other all the time. When they do it it's called scientific discussion and open debate. * snip *

Edited by Saru
Removed personal attack

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I wouldn't call point/counterpoint bashing.

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Should you/would you then, take this phenomenon of bigfoot more seriously and accept his expertise as applied to his foot casts as a well? Why not?

I would give Dr. M more credibility in his assessment of Bigfoot casts than I would most other Bigfoot proponents who don't have his education and expertise. However I would also weigh that against the fact that I think he very well could be on a wild goose chase. If his expert assessment is couched in fact that is plainly evidenced and explained then I would have to give him the benefit of the doubt. Conversely if his assessment is more along the lines of 'don't question me, I'm an expert' without the requisite data to back his claim then that will always raise a red flag to me. As always, follow the evidence, the rest doesn't matter.

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I would give Dr. M more credibility in his assessment of Bigfoot casts than I would most other Bigfoot proponents who don't have his education and expertise. However I would also weigh that against the fact that I think he very well could be on a wild goose chase. If his expert assessment is couched in fact that is plainly evidenced and explained then I would have to give him the benefit of the doubt. Conversely if his assessment is more along the lines of 'don't question me, I'm an expert' without the requisite data to back his claim then that will always raise a red flag to me. As always, follow the evidence, the rest doesn't matter.

I have to agree that there is a huge probability that there is nothing because so many sightings turn out to be misidentification or straight up hoaxes, and when you take into consideration the "social media" side that's come into play, you simply have to wonder.

Edited by keninsc

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I wouldn't call point/counterpoint bashing.

It's bashing on an academic level, which is not to be confused with internet flaming.

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One might ask, "How many scientist have come out bashing Meldrum?"

The lack of credible scientist who are bashing him and belittling his name and results speaks as loudly as the ones who would endorse his work.

Ken, I would put forth my theory that most scientists who don't agree with Meldrum generally don't waste their time discounting him, because as we all know, its pretty damn hard to prove a negative. I think most scientists who don't agree with Meldrum and others just regard them as largely irrellevant and get back to whatever they were doing.

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Ken, I would put forth my theory that most scientists who don't agree with Meldrum generally don't waste their time discounting him, because as we all know, its pretty damn hard to prove a negative. I think most scientists who don't agree with Meldrum and others just regard them as largely irrellevant and get back to whatever they were doing.

Ah, but do they read/credit/use/etc M mainstream science findings in his field, or lump it all "irrellevant"? That is what I am trying to get at...

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Ah, but do they read/credit/use/etc M mainstream science findings in his field, or lump it all "irrellevant"? That is what I am trying to get at...

I am just guessing - not being a scientist or researcher of any kind here, but most commonly research scientists tend to focus on reading things that are related to their own area of research. Bigfoot research is generally not considered legitimate in most areas of science, and so is probably watched with curiosity, but disregarded in any meaningful way professionally. Essentially Meldrum is trying to answer a question that mainstream science isn't even asking really. Cryptozoology is in its own little backwater bubble.

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Honestly, I've seen little from anyone other than Meldrum. On occasion there's been the odd comment about there being no credible evidence. On that point I have to agree. However, of late....in the last ten years I have noticed a marked decrease in scietific bashing in the media. I don't know if this is due to a change within the community itself or simply a more tolerant mindset is now coming to the forefront and simply doesn't comment unless a study is put out for peer review. Melba Ketchum comes to mind right this red hot minute.

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It's bashing on an academic level, which is not to be confused with internet flaming.

That just seems like semantics. Discussion of points within the scientific community is how theories are developed.

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I am just guessing - not being a scientist or researcher of any kind here, but most commonly research scientists tend to focus on reading things that are related to their own area of research. Bigfoot research is generally not considered legitimate in most areas of science, and so is probably watched with curiosity, but disregarded in any meaningful way professionally. Essentially Meldrum is trying to answer a question that mainstream science isn't even asking really. Cryptozoology is in its own little backwater bubble.

I mean M is an anthropologist who studies things other than sasquatch. Is (or should or why not) his mainstream science work in anthropology irrelevant or less credible by default because of his purported bf evidence (foot casts) which directly pertains to his mainstream field of expertise?

Or, should we assign more credibility to his cast collection as evidence of sas because it pertains to his mainstream field of expertise?

Can we have our cake and eat it too. Or do we throw it all up?

Edited by QuiteContrary

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That just seems like semantics. Discussion of points within the scientific community is how theories are developed.

Not semantics really, theories are postulated and discussed for both confirming the theory is sound or the theory doesn't hold up to scrutiny. Both are part of the scientific process. Einstein use to write letters to other physicists of his day and they would talk through them. The same is true today. Why? Same reason I posted a thread here once on what might be done to capture a live Bigfoot instead of shooting one, because I wanted to be sure I'd considered everything before going out and shooting one.

Granted, it's not as grandiose as deeper thinkers in academia will take it, but the reasoning is the same. To be sure my reasoning held up to the scrutiny of others.

The reason you rarely ever hear of the negative side is because once the theory is pretty much shot down, it's dropped.

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