There is a Yeti in the back of everyone’s mind; only the blessed are not haunted by it. ~ old sherpa saying

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Seeing Bigfoot From Space?

I was going to title this "Bigfoot From Space" then I realized that'd give the wrong impression. This time I'm not talking about the idea of Bigfoot coming from space, but seeing Bigfoot from space, as well as other cryptids.

Benjamin Radford is an arch skeptic. He’s one of the standards that appears on UFO, Bigfoot and other Fortean documentaries; like Michael Shermer and Joe Nickell, Radford appears on these programs to offer us their reasons on why bigfoot, or UFOs, or abductions, etc. don’t exist.

Radford’s recent article for Live Science: Satellite Searches Could Spot Bigfoot, Loch Ness Monster, offers the suggestion that satellites could prove these creatures existence.

He acknowledge the difficulty of finding a Bigfoot in “heavily wooded areas” but comments that:
While satellites would be of limited use in heavily wooded areas, Bigfoot creatures have been reported in many places with relatively little forest, including Nevada, New Mexico, Utah, Texas and Arizona. A single 12-foot Bigfoot may or may not be hard to spot, but a family of them would be easier to find

He then makes a weird turn on the logic train:
Of course, if such searches are done and still reveal no solid proof of the monsters' existence, few minds will be changed. Diehard believers can always claim that all the monstrous beasts somehow hid undetected or are masters at camouflage. Or the searchers didn't look long enough or in the right places. It only takes one live or dead Bigfoot or lake monster to forever prove that they exist, but no amount of failed searches will ever prove they don't.

Well, if a satellite search doesn’t turn up a Sasquatch -- “twelve foot” tall or not -- that doesn’t prove anything. It’s only data: a search was done by satellites, nothing found. The conclusion that “there is no Bigfoot” is merely interpretation of that data. An assumption that none exists. It isn't proof it doesn't exist.

I recall seeing footage of some kind of giant snake (anacondas?) on some documentary af few years ago. They were filmed from the air, and these things were huge. There they were; on film, and even so, denial of exactly what they were, how big they “really” were, and so on, continued. Pretty amazing stuff, this footage, and yet it slowly sank from the cultural milieu. Now if you bring up “giant anaconda’s” you’re treated like a kook. (We also have film footage of Big Cats and there's still debate on that.)

So, if we spend the money on satellite searches for Bigfoot and other cryptids, and we do get images of these creatures then what?

Will further argument about their existence cease? Will all the thousands of witnesses be vindicated? Will the pathological skeptics and debunkers apologize to those they’ve insulted, and worse, once it’s shown there “really is” a Bigfoot?

I’m not against any kind of satellite search for these creatures. I just don’t care. For those that have seen them, they have the proof. For others, like myself who’ve never seen a cryptid, that’s okay. I’m fine with it. I tend to think they exist, but if it’s somehow proven they don’t (and how can that ever be proven?) okay. And if it’s proven they do, I’ll have mixed emotions.

On the one hand, it’ll be nice to know, and everyone can relax. But it will also lead to all kinds of issues about protection of the species and its environment. We’ll also have questions and controversies surrounding the new question: “Okay, we know it exists, but just what exactly is it? Which leads to the possibility of killing one for study, something I am absolutely against.

I find it a little topsy turvy that an industrial strength skeptic like Radford would urge satellite searches for Bigfoot and other cryptids. On the one hand, he dismisses such “beliefs” with typical scofftoid aplomb. On the other, he considers using high technology to search for the things. What does he want to do with such knowledge if one of these cryptids is found? Would he be okay with further study, including expeditions to kill one?

I think those skeptics who dismiss the possible reality of Bigfoot and other creatures, yet suggest ways to look for the things (like the use of satellites and so on) need to take another step forward and tell us what they think they'll do with such knowledge, er, "proof" if one is ever found. It'd be interesting to know where they stand on such issues. Do they support a kill policy? Work towards protection of habitats? That's a good question for all concerened, skeptic or not.

Thanks to Lisa Shiel of Bigfoot Quest and Nick Redfern, There’s Something in the Woods. Lisa has a poll right now about science searching for Bigfoot.


Lisa A. Shiel said...

Radford probably feels free to suggest using satellites to search for Bigfoot because a) he knows it'll never happen; b) he realizes satellites would have basically zero chance of spotting a Bigfoot; or c) if a satellite did catch a photo of a Bigfoot, he would dismiss it anyway as fake.

Photos will never prove any cryptid exists. You need a body, dead or alive, to prove the existence of an unacknowledged animal.

Lisa A. Shiel

R. Lee said...

Hi Lisa,
Yes, who's going to approve and pay for satellite service? And let's pretend such a thing would happen, as I said, it wouldn't prove a damn thing; just more photos for everyone to endlessly argue over.