Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Benjamin Radford "explains" The Top Ten Reasons Bigfoot's a Bust

While perusing my fellow blogger in arms' (psychic bigfoot) site, I found this little tidbit from Radford. I'll have a crack at some excerpts of his thoughts, mine will be in BLUE:

Ten Reasons Why Bigfoot's a Bust:

1.) The Empty Fossil Record:

First on his list: the fossil record. Why, he asked, would a legacy of large mammals reported to exist throughout North America (and beyond) simply disappear from the same soil that has preserved everything from the dinosaur bones pictured here, to wooly mammoths, to tiny marine crustaceans?

"There's no fossil record of anything fitting the description" of Bigfoot, said Radford. "There's simply nothing there."

He makes an excellent observation here, however I would prefer more objectivity and critical thinking because WE don't know everything and have yet to discover Everything:

American Primate Fossil

Can you see what I mean? Yea, It's an ancient monkey and not a Bigfoot, but did SCIENCE know this primate existed in N. America until just recently?

2.) Forget Fossils, Where Are the Bodies?

Putting aside paleontology, Radford points out that today, if Bigfoot exists, it must disappear when it dies. "There's no hard evidence in the form of bones. There are no hair samples, there are no live or dead specimens," he said.

Bigfoot believers argue that the soil in areas where the creatures live -- such as the region surrounding Bellingham, Wash., seen here -- is acidic and quickly breaks down the bones. Nonsense, says Radford: "There's nothing to that, because Bigfoot has been reported in every state but Hawaii."

Very valid argument, however dismissing soil acidity, decomposition characteristics and environment with a simple "There's nothing to that" is more of a pessimist's point of view. Good, No Nonsense, Critical thinking is the KEY.

3.) Where Do Bigfoot Babies Come From?

Even for mammals that are relatively rare in global terms, such as the chimpanzee, it takes a decent population size to maintain a species. "If Bigfoot is a zoological reality," said Radford, "there has to be a breeding population."

For that population to be big enough to account for even a fraction of the sightings, there would need to be tens of thousands of the creatures in North America alone. "Think about that for a second. Tens of thousands of Bigfoot, living, breathing, doing what they do. Where are they? Why don't they get hit by a car?" asked Bradford. "The numbers just simply don't add up."

Think about this for a moment. In Georgia, for example, the estimated population of Black Bear is calculated on an average of 1 Bear per every 25,000 acres of Wilderness. Bears certainly maintain a species and they have a "breeding population", so I don't really think that it requires "tens of thousands" to maintain a Bigfoot species. I would like to see where Radford obtained this data.

4.) Your Lying Eyes

The majority of "evidence" for Bigfoot, says Radford, consists of eyewitness accounts. Yet as psychologists and schooled juries know, such accounts are famously inaccurate.

What's more, says Radford, "the problem is, that's not evidence, it's an anecdote....It's interesting and you shouldn't dismiss it out of hand, but it's not evidence."

Congratulations, Mr. Radford. You have officially earned the Southern Bigfooter's title of Skepti-pessimist. Let me remind the good readers that some of these "famously inaccurate" sightings were submitted by Forestry, Law Enforcement and Military Personnel who, in most cases, are TRAINED in OBSERVATION.

5.) The Ever-Mysterious Blobsquatch

Radford calls it a Blobsquatch. Aside from eyewitness reports, blurry images like this are what most Bigfoot believers rely on.

But it's no proof, said Radford: "These photos show something that is probably alive, it's probably dark, it's not a cat, it's not a camel. It could be a Bigfoot, or it could be a deer or it could be a guy in a suit."

"Ultimately," he concludes, "it's a two-dimensional image. It's pixels."

The "Blobsquatch" is without a doubt MY biggest pet-peeve, but not because I think there is always intent to defraud. In some cases, I believe that it's no more complicated than the lack of proper equipment. In an earlier post, I have stated that a researcher should arm themselves with the appropriate photography equipment and this will serve them well at "crunch" time.

6.) Doctor Who?

For Radford and other skeptics, the only acceptable standard of proof is the scientific one. Why, when there are countless researchers probing the far corners of every continent, is there no rigorous, documented, peer-reviewed evidence for Bigfoot? Only one answer makes sense, says Radford: Bigfoot isn't real.

Jeffrey Meldrum, Ph.D.

Associate Professor of Anatomy & Anthropology

Adjunct Associate Professor, Dept. of Anthropology,
Dept. of Occupational and Physical Therapy

Affiliate Curator, Idaho Museum of Natural History


Room 308/9 Gale Life Sciences Bldg

Evolutionary Morphology Lab
Functional morphology, Evolutionary Anthropology

Send this gentleman an email and I think he can supply a list of his peers that are on board with the reality of a Bigfoot species in N. America.

7.) The Case of the Ivory-Billed Woodpecker

Speaking of science, Bigfoot believers sometimes complain that funding for Sasquatch Studies is hard to find. But scientists are notoriously good note-takers, Radford points out, even about subjects they aren't directly studying.

Consider this league of biologists scouting for the elusive ivory-billed woodbecker in Arkansas' White River National Wildlife Refuge, an area where Bigfoot sightings have been made.

"There was a huge, hardcore investigation. They were well-equipped, well-funded and made a sustained search," noted Radford. "What I found interesting was, what didn't they find? They didn't find Bigfoot."

Woah, Since this group DIDN'T find Bigfoot, that must mean they don't exist.
I can read the headlines now, "SKEPTI-PESSIMIST Proves Bigfoot doesn't exist after studying Ivory-billed Woodpecker expedition".

8.) This Katydid Couldn't Hide

Dozens of new species, previously unknown to science, are discovered each year. But for the most part, they are tiny: microorganisms and insects such as the newly discovered katydid pictured here. Could Bigfoot really hide in such a peopled world?

Come on down to North Georgia and let me show you the vastness of the wilderness. Any way, it'll be a nice break for you.

9.) If It Walks Like a Hoax ...

This ruddy strand, about 70 micrometers in diameter, could be taken as a hair. But it isn't -- it's a carpet fiber.

A similar thread was once claimed to have fallen from Bigfoot's back. Later, it was shown to be synthetic Dynel fiber, said Radford. An alleged vial of Bigfoot blood once turned out to be transmission fluid, and many Bigfoot sightings, in the end, are admitted fakes.

"There is no category of Bigfoot evidence that doesn't have a string of hoaxes attached to it," said Radford. "If you're studying a subject in which virtually all the evidence either comes down to being inconclusive or a hoax, something's wrong."

Carpet fiber and hoaxers aside, Bigfoot doesn't really walk like a hoax in this little piece of film, or you'd have been able to prove that by now, right?


10.) The Case of the Missing Footprint

Authentic or not, footprints and other physical artifacts are meaningless scientifically, says Radford, when there is no standard to measure them by.

"Some of the footprints have three toes, some have four toes, and some of course have five," he noted. "Even if I'm certain a certain track wasn't made by anything else, how do I know it's Bigfoot? You can't."

Once again, contact:

Jeffrey Meldrum, Ph.D.

Associate Professor of Anatomy & Anthropology

Adjunct Associate Professor, Dept. of Anthropology,
Dept. of Occupational and Physical Therapy

Affiliate Curator, Idaho Museum of Natural History


Room 308/9 Gale Life Sciences Bldg

Evolutionary Morphology Lab
Functional morphology, Evolutionary Anthropology

Athens, Georgia Nature Center hosts Bigfoot Exhibit

How does this question grab you?

"Could an undiscovered ape live in Georgia?"

A really big one, as tall as your ceiling at home, maybe more, with feet the size of car mats.

That's what naturalists at Sandy Creek Nature Center are asking those who dare slip into the corner of its interpretive science area, where one exhibit challenges conventional thoughts on, you guessed it, Bigfoot.

"We think it's fun from kind of a natural science standpoint," said Randy Smith, the facility supervisor. "Why couldn't there be one? We're kind of arrogant to say we know everything."

But he and his staff certainly understand why people do question the legitimacy of what's believed to be an unidentified hairy species that appears more man than ape and is expert at hiding from people.

The exhibit probes the cultural intrigue surrounding the mystery, as well.

Part of the encased-glass display includes a bottle of Sierra Nevada's Bigfoot beer, a movie poster for "Harry and the Hendersons" and a reference to a popular television advertisement for beef jerky titled "Messin' with Sasquatch." The takeaway line: "Feed your wild side."

What the center is encouraging, however, is visitors feed their minds. Camouflaged material, life-size cutouts, leaves and tree shrubs provide the display's backdrop. Replica footprint casts of those collected by credible scientists as well as images isolated from the 1967 Patterson-Gimlin film are presented as possible evidence.

Perhaps the most compelling context clues show other mysterious species, which were once considered fiction before being found. Among them: Photos and explainers on the Laotian rock rat as well as a particular fish that stymied scientists for decades until 1938. It's called a coelacanth.

"It's a really fascinating story," Davis said. "There were all these stories about these strange fish. Smart, sciency people didn't believe it until the '30s, when (someone) actually caught one in South Africa."

In the same vein is a photo taken of a model developed from actual fossil finds from Southeast Asia named Gigantopithecus blacki. And yes, the replica looks a lot like what we perceive today as a Bigfoot.

"I don't see any reason why there can't be," said Berkeley Boone, a naturalist who helped put together the exhibit. "It would be fun and add a lot to science."

A flat-screen video that plays an hour-long loop of a Discovery Channel documentary probing the Bigfoot mystery accompanies the display at Sandy Creek.

But what most captivates visitors, Boone said, is the chart relative to Georgia. All sightings reported to Bigfoot Field Researchers Organization are referenced.

There is only one sighting listed for Athens-Clarke, according to the organization's Web site, www.bfro.net.

"People seem to take the, 'Hmm, that's interesting (approach),'" Davis said. "That's the kind of the response we hoped for."

The sightings listed on the chart do not include the national hoax launched last month in Georgia. Two Clayton County men claimed they recovered the corpse of a Bigfoot, before selling their ice-covered "creature" to a promoter in California. But when the freezer contents melted, a rubber costume emerged.

Naturalists at Sandy Creek put up the display months before the firestorm that captivated serious researchers as well as nonbelievers.

It's a good thing.

Just as their exhibit suggests, Bigfoot remains a scientific mystery.

"No one can make a decision," Boone said. "We'll leave it up to you."

Erin Rossiter is a staff writer for the Athens Banner-Herald and can be reached at erin.rossiter@onlineathens.com.

Originally published in the Athens Banner-Herald on Saturday, September 06, 2008

Sasquatch Watch Radio

Billy Willard's new radio show seems to be off and running. I missed his initial debut broadcast but I listened to the episode from last night (09-08-08) posted below and I must say it was well done.
I'm glad Billy's decided to continue being an informed and informative source in the BF community and I know that he'll maintain the level of integrity required to remain a viable resource to all listeners. The fact that he's cut all professional ties with the "Hoax Crew" is a big plus in my book.

Enjoy the show: