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mike3
2nd January 2010, 02:49 AM
Hi.

I'm wondering: how much evidence would it take for a formally trained, paid academic researcher to take seriously the idea of, say, Bigfoot existing, enough to do a real investigation program to actually determine its existence or lack thereof to high certainty levels, or at least make it a credible topic for further scientific investigation without ridicule? If it's the same amount as is required to prove it exists, then what's the point of the investigation program? And if no trained, etc. researcher would do it without this evidence, then the evidence would have to come from one that wasn't a formally trained and/or paid academic researcher. Would that bias them against the evidence and make them take a less than objective view of it? Would this create a self-reinforcing effect that would make difficult any progress in the area, even if Bigfoot did exist?

wardenclyffe
2nd January 2010, 03:00 AM
I suspect it would be the same amount as is required to prove it exists. Academics tend to study things that exist (at least when it comes to animals), not whether animals exist. I think academics have seen all the evidence that currently exists for bigfoot and it does not seem to have them convinced.

Ward

athon
2nd January 2010, 04:31 AM
I'm wondering: how much evidence would it take for a formally trained, paid academic researcher to take seriously the idea of, say, Bigfoot existing

That would depend on the formally trained, paid academic researcher, now wouldn't it?

There are formally trained, paid academic researchers who take the bigfoot phenomenon seriously. Other formally trained, paid academic researchers might need observations that can't easily be hoaxes, or might require something that would be repeatable and might account for previous observations (or lack thereof).

If it's the same amount as is required to prove it exists, then what's the point of the investigation program?

First point; proof is a mathematical term. Science depends on the weight of evidence.

Second point; evidence is not a universal, objective trait that automatically convinces all people at the same time of the validity of a phenomenon. Some people will believe in an idea sooner than others, with less critical thought or with a different standard of evaluation.

And if no trained, etc. researcher would do it without this evidence, then the evidence would have to come from one that wasn't a formally trained and/or paid academic researcher. Would that bias them against the evidence and make them take a less than objective view of it? Would this create a self-reinforcing effect that would make difficult any progress in the area, even if Bigfoot did exist?

No. Science doesn't work that way. There is no establishment called 'science', no body of 'formally trained, paid academics' who pump out scientific knowledge. There is no us versus them. There are people, and people will always observe and talk about their observations. Others will ask questions about them and wonder what accounts for them. There will always be people who walk through the forest and stumble across things they don't understand, people who bring forward 'evidence' that turns out to be hoaxes and people who claim to have seen or heard something unusual.

IMO, all observations of bigfoot can be accounted by hoaxes and tall tales. When something is brought forward that can't be described so conveniently, that's when I'll pay attention.

Athon

EHocking
2nd January 2010, 05:06 AM
Hi.

I'm wondering: how much evidence would it take for a formally trained, paid academic researcher to take seriously the idea of, say, Bigfoot existing, enough to do a real investigation program to actually determine its existence or lack thereof to high certainty levels, or at least make it a credible topic for further scientific investigation without ridicule? If it's the same amount as is required to prove it exists, then what's the point of the investigation program? And if no trained, etc. researcher would do it without this evidence, then the evidence would have to come from one that wasn't a formally trained and/or paid academic researcher. Would that bias them against the evidence and make them take a less than objective view of it? Would this create a self-reinforcing effect that would make difficult any progress in the area, even if Bigfoot did exist?Physical evidence would help.

One of the favourite ploys by crypto proponents is to disparage "scientists" by misrepresenting the first discovery of new animals, mountain gorillas, okapi and platypus seem to be their favourite campfire "stupid scientist" stories. Of course, the truth is not as they portray it. Let's take the Platypus as an example.

When the first specimen pelt and drawing was sent from Australia to Britain in 1798, it was viewed with a degree of scepticism and some thought that it was a hoax. This was not due to the scientist's stupidity, but due to the fact that there was a history of sailors returning from the new world(s) brought back pelts of "new" animals that indeed were hoaxes (mermaids and all sorts of monsters).

It took only 2 years before the animal was confirmed to be real and being taxonomically classified, this due to the good science of observation and evidence gathering (and of course, scientific curiosity).

This 2 years is quite remarkable considering the communications and travel delays in 1800. In fact it wasn't until 1884 that science confirmed that Platypus were egg layers. Again, confirmed through rigourous scientific effort.

So - physical evidence is the key.
Find a body or other firm undeniable evidence for a new creature and someone, somewhere will take it seriously and investigate it.

There are enough wonderous actual discoveries to be made in nature without scientists chasing fairy stories.

PixyMisa
2nd January 2010, 06:51 AM
I think one bigfoot should do it.

Gord_in_Toronto
2nd January 2010, 07:10 AM
I think one bigfoot should do it.
And it would not even have to be a BIG bigfoot. It could be a baby. ;)

Dancing David
2nd January 2010, 07:21 AM
Hi.

I'm wondering: how much evidence would it take for a formally trained, paid academic researcher to take seriously the idea of, say, Bigfoot existing, enough to do a real investigation program to actually determine its existence or lack thereof to high certainty levels, or at least make it a credible topic for further scientific investigation without ridicule? If it's the same amount as is required to prove it exists, then what's the point of the investigation program? And if no trained, etc. researcher would do it without this evidence, then the evidence would have to come from one that wasn't a formally trained and/or paid academic researcher. Would that bias them against the evidence and make them take a less than objective view of it? Would this create a self-reinforcing effect that would make difficult any progress in the area, even if Bigfoot did exist?


Wow it is just amazing, you set up a fallacy of construction to pretend that people would not study Bigfoot. Why so you can talk about the 'dgma' that prevents research?

How about some evidence?

You know when the last grizzly bear was shot in Mexico, 1958.

The problem is that there is no good evidence. That is the problem, no exotic fur samples, no pelts, no poop, no video footage.

Some hairbrained fakes but no real data. A video camera set on a game trail will capture all sorts o woodland critters, but not a bigfoot.

W.D.Clinger
2nd January 2010, 07:32 AM
I'm wondering: how much evidence would it take for a formally trained, paid academic researcher to take seriously the idea of, say, Bigfoot existing, enough to do a real investigation program to actually determine its existence or lack thereof to high certainty levels, or at least make it a credible topic for further scientific investigation without ridicule?
Academic researchers would consider the cost/benefit analysis.

Determining that Bigfoot exists would make an academic researcher's career. Determining that Bigfoot does not exist would offer the researcher no benefit at all, because that is already the accepted view.

The estimated cost of doing the research required to demonstrate that Bigfoot exists is enormous, because many people have spent a lot of time on this but failed. The estimated cost of doing the research required to demonstrate that Bigfoot does not exist is irrelevant, because there is no benefit.

The estimated probability of successfully demonstrating that Bigfoot exists is miniscule, because so many have failed in their attempts to demonstrate that. It seems likely that Bigfoot does not exist, in which case the probability of success is zero.

Getting back to the original question, an academic researcher would be a fool to embark on the proposed investigation without substantial evidence that would change the above cost/benefit calculation. There being no benefit to proving Bigfoot does not exist, the only way to change the cost/benefit calculation is for the new evidence to show that Bigfoot probably does exist.

If it's the same amount as is required to prove it exists, then what's the point of the investigation program?
For reasons explained above, there is no point.

If we were talking about something that hadn't already been investigated so thoroughly, with such convincingly negative results, there would be more of a point to launching a new investigation.

And if no trained, etc. researcher would do it without this evidence, then the evidence would have to come from one that wasn't a formally trained and/or paid academic researcher. Would that bias them against the evidence and make them take a less than objective view of it? Would this create a self-reinforcing effect that would make difficult any progress in the area, even if Bigfoot did exist?
Previously unknown large species are often discovered by (or already known to) non-academics, because encounters with them are mostly a matter of chance, which favors the larger population of non-academics over the smaller population of academics, and those who spend a lot of time outdoors in the new species' habitat over those who shelter within the ivory tower.

Hence this bias does not appear to be a serious impediment to progress.

Hindmost
2nd January 2010, 08:40 AM
This guy is an "academic," but I don't think all his brain cells are working together in a scientific manner. His belief is overshadowing the non-existent evidence.

glenn

http://www.physorg.com/news82037218.html

mike3
2nd January 2010, 03:27 PM
Wow it is just amazing, you set up a fallacy of construction to pretend that people would not study Bigfoot. Why so you can talk about the 'dgma' that prevents research?

How about some evidence?

You know when the last grizzly bear was shot in Mexico, 1958.

The problem is that there is no good evidence. That is the problem, no exotic fur samples, no pelts, no poop, no video footage.

Some hairbrained fakes but no real data. A video camera set on a game trail will capture all sorts o woodland critters, but not a bigfoot.

So if the "evidence" was collected by an amateur, and you were a professional researcher, and this amateur submitted it, what would you do? Because as a professional you need evidence to go looking in the first place, so no evidence would ever come from professionals if it did exist.

mike3
2nd January 2010, 03:29 PM
Academic researchers would consider the cost/benefit analysis.

Determining that Bigfoot exists would make an academic researcher's career. Determining that Bigfoot does not exist would offer the researcher no benefit at all, because that is already the accepted view.

The estimated cost of doing the research required to demonstrate that Bigfoot exists is enormous, because many people have spent a lot of time on this but failed. The estimated cost of doing the research required to demonstrate that Bigfoot does not exist is irrelevant, because there is no benefit.

The estimated probability of successfully demonstrating that Bigfoot exists is miniscule, because so many have failed in their attempts to demonstrate that. It seems likely that Bigfoot does not exist, in which case the probability of success is zero.

Getting back to the original question, an academic researcher would be a fool to embark on the proposed investigation without substantial evidence that would change the above cost/benefit calculation. There being no benefit to proving Bigfoot does not exist, the only way to change the cost/benefit calculation is for the new evidence to show that Bigfoot probably does exist.


For reasons explained above, there is no point.

If we were talking about something that hadn't already been investigated so thoroughly, with such convincingly negative results, there would be more of a point to launching a new investigation.


Previously unknown large species are often discovered by (or already known to) non-academics, because encounters with them are mostly a matter of chance, which favors the larger population of non-academics over the smaller population of academics, and those who spend a lot of time outdoors in the new species' habitat over those who shelter within the ivory tower.

Hence this bias does not appear to be a serious impediment to progress.

So then your answer here would be that the "big investigation" has already been done, but has not yielded any gold, so it's put to rest. Is that right?

wardenclyffe
2nd January 2010, 04:05 PM
mike3,

Can you think of any "formally trained, paid academic researcher" who takes any claims of unproven mythical creatures of any kind seriously? It's not their job. They study real animals. Your question is "What would make a scientist go on a snipe hunt?". The answer is "Proof that the snipe exists."

Ward

W.D.Clinger
2nd January 2010, 04:13 PM
So then your answer here would be that the "big investigation" has already been done, but has not yielded any gold, so it's put to rest. Is that right?
Not exactly, but that may be as close as you can come to understanding the situation.

Will

drkitten
2nd January 2010, 04:21 PM
So if the "evidence" was collected by an amateur, and you were a professional researcher, and this amateur submitted it, what would you do?

Examine the evidence collected.

That's actually fairly typical. Most rare fish, for example, (the coelecanth is a good example) were first discovered by fishermen and then shown to a biologist. Which makes sense. Your average working fisherman, especially a net fisherman, will see hundreds or thousands of fish a day, and 99% of them will be some fairly obvious type of fish that he's planning to catch and sell.

But this also means that a strange-looking fish, to a fisherman, is blatantly obvious. And because there are thousands of fishermen to every professional ichthyologist, and your average ichthyologist doesn't catch nearly as many fish (what would an ichtyologist do with 5,000 pounds of bluefin tuna other than sell it?), they rely on the fishermen to spot things.

Similarly, the Audubon Society has been doing a Christmas bird count for well over a century, using the devoted labor of tens of thousands of amateurs to look at what and where the birds are. If there's a new eagle's nest outside Bozeman, MT, then there's a good chance an amateur will find it first and report it to the Society.

Bring in a Bigfoot pelt and show it to me, and I'll make sure the biology department looks at it. Of course, when they run the DNA study and it comes back "wolf," don't be surprised if they don't rush off to go study the area where you found your wolf Bigfoot.

Gawdzilla
2nd January 2010, 04:25 PM
The real researchers have answered this many times. A body, or a part of a body that has truly unique DNA in it. Bring this to a scientist and they may be willing to test it. Better yet, pay for the tests yourself and have the scientist repeat them independently and see what turns up.

The faux researcher, that's a different story.

BenBurch
2nd January 2010, 04:32 PM
Roadkill (or rail kill) would have provided us with a bigfoot LONG ago if they existed in numbers able to support a viable population.

So, one can conclude that, if they ever existed, they are now extinct or will soon be.

T.A.M.
2nd January 2010, 04:42 PM
What would convince me...easy.

Two or more sets of independently collected DNA samples of a unique species of primates whose origins are in the continent of North America, and these samples were collected from the remains of a fur covered creature, apelike in appearance, that walked upright.

That is what it would take.

TAM:)

kellyb
2nd January 2010, 05:20 PM
"How much evidence" would depend on the quality of the evidence. High quality evidence (say, a full skeleton) would probably get lots and lots of attention fairly easily.
On the other end, even a significant amount of low quality evidence (anecdotes, supposed footprint molds) might be seen as a waste of time, I'd imagine.

drkitten
2nd January 2010, 06:28 PM
"How much evidence" would depend on the quality of the evidence. High quality evidence (say, a full skeleton) would probably get lots and lots of attention fairly easily.
On the other end, even a significant amount of low quality evidence (anecdotes, supposed footprint molds) might be seen as a waste of time, I'd imagine.

.... which makes sense. A footprint mold can be made in a few hours. A reasonably small organization such as the American Bigfoot Society could crank out hundreds or even thousands of such molds in a weekend.

Uncayimmy
3rd January 2010, 01:03 AM
Think quality not quantity and remember that the quantity of virtually useless evidence is inversely proportional to the likelihood of quality evidence being found.

kellyb
3rd January 2010, 04:02 AM
.... which makes sense. A footprint mold can be made in a few hours. A reasonably small organization such as the American Bigfoot Society could crank out hundreds or even thousands of such molds in a weekend.
Yes.
And from what I understand, hominids didn't make it this far from Africa. Only true humans did. No great apes have been found in N America besides us humans. Not even parts of skeletons. And although human remains can be found all over the place, not a single non-human ape bone has been found.
How could so very many ancient native american bones be found, but zero bones be found for another ape species living here at the same time? And the evidence for bigfoof is anecdote?
Color me beyond skeptical.

Dancing David
3rd January 2010, 05:50 AM
So if the "evidence" was collected by an amateur, and you were a professional researcher, and this amateur submitted it, what would you do? Because as a professional you need evidence to go looking in the first place, so no evidence would ever come from professionals if it did exist.

Keep beating that dead horse, it still is a fallacy of construction. the evidence would be examined and often is.

I will ask you this Mike3, how are most comets discovered?

And cryptozoology just counters your whole argument, it is still a fallacy of construction, who found Sue the T. Rex?

Dancing David
3rd January 2010, 05:53 AM
So then your answer here would be that the "big investigation" has already been done, but has not yielded any gold, so it's put to rest. Is that right?

No, a lot of little investigations have been done. You really misundestand science as a whole.

No one here said "it's put to rest", that is you beating the dead horse again. Don't blame science for the lack of evidence.

Dancing David
3rd January 2010, 05:56 AM
mike3,

Can you think of any "formally trained, paid academic researcher" who takes any claims of unproven mythical creatures of any kind seriously? It's not their job. They study real animals. Your question is "What would make a scientist go on a snipe hunt?". The answer is "Proof that the snipe exists."

Ward


Halton Arp? :)

Great mpeople have farther to fall?
http://www.haltonarp.com/articles/quasars_and_gamma_ray_bursters

BenBurch
3rd January 2010, 03:38 PM
...
I will ask you this Mike3, how are most comets discovered?
...

NOW, most comets are discovered by automatic sky surveys, but lets pretend it is still like it was before just recently -

The CRITICAL difference is obvious;

When an amateur reports a comet, professionals look based on their report and THERE IT IS.

When a fossil hunter finds "Sue" professionals go to dig it out and THERE IT IS.

When an amateur reports a cryptid, 99.999% of the time they cannot produce a verifiable cryptid for the professionals or anybody else to see. Most reports are pure malarky, and the rest are some form of misinterpretation of an observation, perhaps salted with some self-deception.

Every so often an amateur discovers a new species. Often not a cryptid per se, but an animal whose existence was not hitherto suspected. For example, some high school students recently discovered, based on DNA analysis of insect parts, an entirely new species of sub-species of cockroach in NYC.

CapelDodger
3rd January 2010, 09:08 PM
I think one bigfoot should do it.

Dead or alive.

CapelDodger
3rd January 2010, 09:14 PM
So then your answer here would be that the "big investigation" has already been done, but has not yielded any gold, so it's put to rest. Is that right?

What has been done is a thorough rubbishing of all data presented as substantiating a native myth. It's not difficult, takes little time and resource, and it could earn a few minutes on Discovery Channel.

It's a crank issue. There ain't no such animal.