Monday, October 17, 2005

Bigfoot Center Beats ID at Research

According to Yahoo News, there was a Bigfoot conference recently.

You might be surprised by this, but I actually have more respect for Bigfoot enthusiasts than I do for Incompetent Design advocates. The Bigfoot enthusiasts are at least out in the field actively looking for evidence to prove that their hypothetical creature exists. They go out into the woods with cameras and bags of plaster, and they come back with plaster casts of footprints and dubious photographs. Granted, decades of effort have yet to produce anything convincing, but at least they're making a good faith effort to find evidence to support their theory instead of sitting in an ivory tower trying to poke holes in somebody else's or force public schools to include Bigfoot in biology textbooks.

Granted, they're not being entirely scientific about it. According to their own website, the Texas Bigfoot Research Center is starting from a premise ("Bigfoot exists") and looking for supporting evidence:
The Texas Bigfoot Research Center exists to validate what we believe to be an undocumented species of bipedal primate, an animal commonly referred to as the Sasquatch or Bigfoot.
They're arguably doing their science backwards (working from conclusion-to-evidence instead of from evidence-to-conclusion), which means they have something in common with Creationists and IDers, but at least they're looking for legitimate evidence that other researchers will be able to study. Their methods are questionable (you can read an account of one of their field expeditions), but at least they document their work for all to see. That puts them miles ahead of the ID community in my book.


Orac said...

Actually, it's not so unscientific if you look at the contention that "Bigfoot exists" as a hypothesis to be tested. The problem is, however, that such a hypothesis is not unfalsifiable. You can never find evidence that will conclusively prove that Bigfoot doesn't exist; you can only fail to find evidence that it does.

Lord Runolfr said...

True, it's possible that I was being a little bit hard on the Bigfoot researchers. You can at least argue that they've proposed a hypothesis based on existing evidence (old footprints, photos, film clips, and witness accounts) and they're simply trying to find more evidence to confirm that hypothesis.

RogerWebster said...

They don't begin with the premise that it exists; their stated position is that the body of anecdotes and the study of patterns indicated in those anecdotal reports, in conjunction with the existing physical evidence, indicates that a living species exists and is undocumented.

Also, if you choose to probe further into their work, you will see that they have had plenty of experiences, both aural and visual, which ultimately led them as skeptical individuals to firsthand knowledge of the animals' existence. Now, they are engaged in validating their own finds and experiences on a much larger scale. Nothing unscientific about that.

Lord Runolfr said...

Based on RogerWebster's more in-depth study of their website (and my own reflections from my prior comment), I'm forced to conclude that the Bigfoot researchers are even farther ahead of the ID crowd than I had previously concluded.