I had a discussion with Melba Ketchum today on Twitter regarding her continued claims that Bigfoot will be proven true. Some of it spilled over to Facebook – her favorite communication outlet. I was surprised she responded and it went on for quite a while. For those of you who missed it, good for you. But here it is mostly in its entirety (a few other tweets weren’t worth adding); see what you can glean from this.
For background, note that my site, Doubtful News, has been critical of Melba’s work with good cause. I also wrote a chronicle of the history of her project for Skeptical Briefs (which you can see here The Ketchum Project: What to Believe about Bigfoot DNA ‘Science’ – CSI) and in Skeptical Inquirer. I’m not some lone skeptic picking at her claims. She has the entire scientific community against her. She revels in being the maverick, persecuted, pulls the Galileo gambit. I find it distasteful.
This is the first time she responded to me in public. She should totally stop doing that.
[View the story “Melba Ketchum defends herself. Poorly.” on Storify] Or see transcript below.
The Facebook posts:
Don’t flatter yourself (again). Gee, she thinks pretty highly of herself. This is not a battle. It’s supposed to be a discussion. I also don’t think I was unprofessional. She is making some seriously OUTRAGEOUS claims, not me.
There is good reason to attack the “journal” and good reason to criticize this work. She is in denial about that. We come from such different starting points that there was NO chance that we could agree on some premises and progress. Especially on social media. But I hope this was enlightening to at least reveal where she is coming from and where I am coming from.
If you’re interested in my background, click on Bio. I’m not a n00b, Melba.
Melba Ketchum defends herself. Poorly.
My discussion with Dr. K today reveals quite a bit about her mindset, her lack of science literacy (for a so-called scientist) and some terrible logic. Observe.
Melba stated on Facebook (that also went to Twitter) that the additional video footage available of “forest people” is excellent and convincing. But she can’t show it because she doesn’t own it. (Erickson does.) She then deleted that post on Facebook after someone brought up they hoped it wasn’t the Chewbacca-mask footage again. Then, I got involved.
“You people”? Ouch. What am I chopped liver? I only specialize in Science and the Public. And for DN, my audience is the public and some well respected scholars as well.
She could have commented. I would certain have allowed that. But, granted, she would not have had an easy time considering the format in which she typical responds.
Her Facebook posting (and all her other online media posts) have been INCREDIBLY unprofessional – with terrible arguments, spelling and grammar errors and the same nonsense over and over. I’m astounded at her ignorance of how ridiculous she looks by trying to argue her case on Facebook and still expects to be taken seriously. You, ma’am, are no Jane Goodall.
It has been looked at, and it was SO BAD, that it did not pass muster. Competent scientists would have an answer to the criticism instead of lame excuses of baseless persecution. Your data should speak for itself. Sadly, the Ketchum study was poor.
It’s a shame I have to state the obvious that this is another ridiculous false comparison. What a name dropper! Recall that she once said her work was worthy of a Nobel.
Which peer reviewers, the one that “approved” your paper or the ones from Nature who gave you ample opportunity to fix the egregious errors? Nevermind…
Why? You made your case with the paper, press releases, and in public. There was nothing new to ask you. I consulted experts instead to make sure I understood it correctly. That’s the skeptical process.
The case for this should not be made to a blogger. It should be spelled out adequately in a published journal. Your journal did not allow rebuttals or letters, if I recall correctly. How were scientists to respond in line with traditional scientific publishing? This study was unorthodox in its presentation. Red flag.
Red flag number two (a GIANT one). If your results are inconsistent with the main tenet of biology, one of the most established theories on earth, you need to seriously consider that you are totally WRONG.
There’s that “you people” again. Consider me the public, Melba. I have a right to question the extraordinary claim you made and to criticize your responses to those questions. I was also the voice of many who felt the exact same way and had similar concerns. I had been following the project for a long while and did comprehensive research on it. I’m not sure why she thinks I haven’t seen everything that was made public on it.
Doctor Atlantis (Blake Smith of MonsterTalk) chimes in politely.
HOLY COW this is awful. I can’t believe she quoted Fox (Faux) News. She is not aware of false balance.
She does not understand the purpose of Doubtful News. At all. I’ve never said I was a jouralist. Never. Maybe I should send her my bio…
I guess good questions from the skeptical public don’t count. Why only talk to journalists? You got a mountain to climb to convince the scientific community that you aren’t completely bonkers with these ideas. That takes a LOT OF WORK and some THICK SKIN. Stop trying to one-up me on Twitter, or telling me you know how science should work. Go do some sound research instead. Convince the scientists. That will shut me up.
She bragged about how she was having this nasty discussion with me on Facebook. I responded saying it wasn’t nasty, in my book. But it was pointless. I wish she WOULDN’T respond to me. There is no need. Your science should speak for itself. And my work speaks for itself. I’ve been more than fair with Melba (compared to some real nastiness from others in the Bigfoot community) and my commentary was mostly about her study, not her personally. But her personal beliefs became so entwined with her claims, and her belief biases everything she says, that I can’t take her seriously. Just stop, Melba, you only dig your hole deeper. If she is this committed to protecting the Forest People, she needs to go back to the drawing board and do better next time. They are poorly served by her research and behavior.