I’ve been accused in the past of being dismissive of cryptozoological “research” and not taking the topic seriously. Well, I’m not altogether unhappy that I missed this:
I’m glad that the Ned Smith center found an event that brought them some funds and attention because I’m all for supporting nature centers. But, it’s just more of the same Sasquatch myths and legends. I’m not sure the Bigfoot community understands that this kind of thing does not aid in their quest for legitimacy.
Here’s a quote:
Lightening the mood keeps non-believers and skeptics from dismissing the idea outright, said Scott Forker, a member of the Pennsylvania Bigfoot Society and the host of a weekly radio show about Bigfoot.
“Most people we talk to think it’s nuts,” he said. “But as long as you have a sense of humor about it, you can show people you are serious.”
I don’t think Bigfoot believers are nuts. I think they are not considering the evidence in a scientific way. That’s OK. Most people don’t think critically in daily life. Bigfoot sounds like such a fantastic idea, many of us WANT it to be true. Wishing doesn’t make it so. Making light of it smooths over differences but does not gain you legitimacy.
I’m disappointed I missed an opportunity to meet Loren, hear what he and others had to say, and talk about differing opinions. It might have been fun. Note this from the article:
And then there was Quatchi, a stylized Sasquatch creature, who will serve as the mascot for the upcoming Winter Olympic Games in Vancouver. Bigfoot researcher and professional crytozoologist [sic] Loren Coleman, was selling small stuffed mockups of the mascot to help fund his Bigfoot museum in Maine.
“It’s kind of a cultural moment that it would come to the elevation of being a mascot,” he said.
OK. Consider that however you wish. My impressions are unchanged.
But, I’m thinking I might have been in the minority at this festival. I’m not a fan of Bigfoot films and plaster casts aren’t very impressive to me. I would have felt a bit out of place.
I’m unclear as to the purpose of this event and others like it around the country. Was it to talk about Bigfoot as real or as a cultural icon? I’m disappointed I could nab a seat and find out. (Apparently the place only accommodated 50 people.)
If the purpose is to try to establish Bigfoot as real, I’m confused. To be taken seriously, “professionals” perhaps need to publish papers on their alleged mystery hair samples. (Publishing in a closed journal does not count.) Is participating in a fun festival or appearing on documentaries is really a good way to convince people that you need to convince – those that will fund expensive expeditions that might provide some solid evidence? (The same can be said for creationist views.) One has to be willing to run the gauntlet with a theory and possibly have it beaten down. If it’s worth something, you refine it and try again. Where is the progress or refinement here? There’s a guy in a Bigfoot suit walking around!
I disagree that you can circumvent the well-established scientific process and just appeal to the masses in order to achieve legitimacy. I would like to see the data published and the theories tested.