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

Sunday, December 9, 2007

“Show me the body”

Only a cold hard body will do . . .

In the article Bigfoot: Fact or Fiction as a sidebar to They’re on a mission to find Bigfoot in California, Michael Shermer, persistent uber skeptic, had this to say:
Show me the body,” says Dr. Michael Shermer, executive director of the Altadena-based Skeptics society. “No one names a new species based on anecdotal evidence such as something spooky they heard in the night.”

Anecdotal evidence is still evidence however, and valid evidence. It isn’t enough to shout to the world Sasquatch exists, but it’s a start. That isn’t what has me shaking my head in a moment of surreal cognitive dissonance ; it’s the following comment by Shermer in response to Dr. Jeff Medlrum's plans to start an on line journal (The Relic Hominoid Inquiry,”) devoted to discussion and research on the topic:
Such efforts, Shermer says, are an exercise in futility.

Yes, but isn’t looking for something not yet proven to exist kind of scientific and all? If you want to find out if a thing exists, and you reject anecdotal evidence, why reject other avenues of exploration? Particularly avenues of exploration from your colleagues? (Yes, Mr. Shermer, Dr. Meldrum is too a scientist.) Isn’t making available and encouraging discussion of the thing you want to find out about a right step on the road to scientific discovery? Or at least inquiry?

Do faux skeptics even want Bigfoot to be found?

Let’s do it the uber way for a moment; going about it following the proper channels of the Scientism Code of How We Do Things. Anecdotal evidence, out! Okay. So the only other way to see if Bigfoot exists is to go out and look for it, right? And take castings of prints that could be, might be, of the big hairy darling. And chronicle the associated events in the context of Bigfoot encounters/sightings; wood knocking, rock throwing, scents, calls. Gather data.

And even encouraging other scientific individuals -- instead of the average Joe these pathological skeptics dismiss with such snooty rejection -- to communicate with each other.

And yet, confusingly, the Shermers of the world don’t see these endeavors as good things, or even well meaning but misguided things. Their minds seem to be made up, even while making dramatic demands: don’t waste time looking for Bigfoot or seriously studying the topic, but do please bring me a dead body.

Mr. Shermer seems more concerned with the evils of the imagination than looking for Bigfoot:
People have genuine experiences. The question is – what do those experiences represent?” Shermer says. “People have incredible imaginations. We're really good at just making stuff up.”

Let’s play their game and ask for proof, or at least really good evidence, that this is so. Shermer made a statement, now let’s see him prove it. Why and how do we make things up, and to what end? Why would the Bigfoot encounters share similarities? How does that all work; how and why do our minds create a big ass hairy monster in the woods? And why is that this hallucination, for lack of a better word, appears to more than one person at times (multiple witnesses) ? If we are to use the stale and often abused Occam’s Razor, Shermer’s “explanation” seems the less likely one. Are we to seriously accept that people, particularly those that live in rural and remote areas, are so unfamiliar with the local flora and fauna, so out of touch with the natural rhythms of their environment, so distanced from the behavior and personalities of their own pets and animals (cattle, sheep, etc.) that they have to “make stuff up?”

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