Thursday, January 19, 2006

More stuff Tom Nelson won't post

The latest rebuttal comment of mine that he declined to post, in its entirety. It was in response to his latest blurb about expectation-influenced perception. Similar comments have been dumped by him before. This seems to be a point he really does not want to allow anyone to make. Hardly see how there is anything abusive, inappropriate, or (his favorite expression) ad hominem in this:

"The USFWS recovery team is in the process of planning searches elsewhere.

"Mammalogists don't see bigfoot. Astronomers don't see UFOs. Yet, birders and ornithologists have seen Ivorybills, including recently in Arkansas. You can conclude that experienced bird people are especially sloppy in their observational skills, or you can conclude that there is something more to the Ivorybill reports than just wishful thinking and subjective seeing.

"Birders pioneered field ID of living animals in the wild without collecting them. I don't think it is the former."


At 7:04 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mammalogists don't see bigfoot. Astronomers don't see UFOs.

Apparently Jane Goodall believes they are likely to exist, as does the following anthropologist:

"Either the most complex and sophisticated hoax in the history of anthropology has continued for centuries without being exposed, or the most manlike (and largest) non-human primate on earth has managed to survive in parts of North America and remains undiscovered by modern science." - Forensic anthropologist George W. Gill, Former Director of the American Board of Forensic Anthropologists

UFOs are unidentified flying objects, so the "experts" would presumably be pilots and air traffic controllers. There are many reports of these people seeing what they believe to be alien spacecraft. It doesn't constitute scientific proof, however.

At 7:35 AM, Blogger Bill Pulliam said...

When Jane Goodall or one of her students reports actually having seen a bigfoot, I'll consider it.

UFOs: good point about pilots etc. I was thinking more of the fact that virtually every lay person seems to have seen a UFO (and a bigfoot, and an Ivorybill, and Elvis, and Jesus...) but no amateur astronomer I have ever talked to has seen one. Instead, they have seen remarkable phenomena in the night sky that they *were* able to identify. Of all of the birders I have known, only one has admitted to an Ivorybill report (Bob Manns, heard bird, on Jackson's list). His was a difficult case... he had a reputation for finding phenomenal rarities that cast doubts on his credibility. On the other hand, however, a fairly large number of his phenomenal rarities were actually corroborated if people tried to follow up on them. He was out in the field all the time, in places that other people did not commonly go. And, to be honest, the fact that he had admitted that he believed he heard an Ivorybill is part of what contributed to people doubting his credibility. There we have the vicious circle.

At 7:36 AM, Blogger Bill Pulliam said...

p.s. Please sign your comments, even just with a nick.

At 9:26 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

If an anthropologist reports seeing a 2 second glimpse of a bigfoot trotting through the trees at 100 yards, will that constitute proof? How about if two anthropologists saw it?

The best evidence for the Bigfoot is the Patterson video. This video is a longer and better look than anyone on Cornell's team got, in my opinion. This anthropoligist believes the film is legit: One man who has treated the subject scientifically is Grover Krantz, a Washington State University professor of anthropology. He told the Weekly that despite Crook's claims, he stands by conclusions he made on the Patterson film in his 1992 book Big Footprints: A Scientific Inquiry into the Reality of Bigfoot.

There, he writes that the creature had a standing height of six-feet, six-inches, weighed around 500 pounds, had shoulders over 28 inches wide, and was probably female.

"There's simply no way to fit a man in that suit," Krantz said last week, adding, "A normal description of Sasquatch fits perfectly."

Krantz, who analyzed the film, based his measurements on film speed, distance from camera, the subject's stride, size of footprint, comparative body volumes, typical human statures, and the distance between the creature's armpits. He said a padded suit would make a person's arms stick out, rather than hang down, like the figure's do.

Do I believe man landed on the moon? Yup, tons of proof. Do I believe in Whooping Cranes and Coelacanths? Plenty of proof. Do I believe Tanner saw Ivory-bills? Yes, I do.

Do I believe there are living Ivory-bills? While I think it is possible, I won't until I see some solid evidence.

There's hope, there's faith, but there's too little evidence.

Keep on blogging Bill. I disagree, but you make a lot of good points

Hopeful Skeptic

At 10:32 AM, Blogger Bill Pulliam said...

That's interesting, I thought the Patterson bigfoot film had been generally considered to be a fake, much like the Fielding Lewis ivorybill photos. I shouldn't be surprised now that I hear that the opinion is not unanimous on either of them. The biggest problem with bigfoot (asside from the fact that there is no physical evidence that such a creature ever existed in north america) is that the signal-to-noise ratio in the reports is just too damn high. It's as if we included every hunter, feeder watcher, and grocery store clerk who says they saw an ivorybill in our list of sightings with no evaluation and screening. The ivorybill list would run into the tens of thousands too, if we did that. I'm sure I could find a dozen people here in Lewis County to say they have seen an ivorybill, to match the dozen people who say they have seen bigfoot here.

But this is not the situation. There are plenty of dead ivorybills in museum drawers to prove that such a creature was real, and people like J. Jackson and Cornell have screened reports carefully to pull out the very small subset that suggest the possibility of real substance behind them. So comparing CLO's ivorybill reports with a convenience store owner in Arknasas talking about all the sightings of the Faulk monster (as Tom did) is a blatant foul that borders on insulting.

Two years ago my old dog was having seizures and producing unusual noises. I googled on "dogs" plus "unusual vocalizations," and hit page after page of Bigfoot sightings! You know, dogs barking, and unusual vocalizations heard in the woods (most of which sounded to me like bobcat, barred owl, or coyote the way they were described).

At 10:32 AM, Blogger Bill Pulliam said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

At 10:34 AM, Blogger Bill Pulliam said...

(before anyone gets huffy, the deleted post was an accidental duplicate)

At 11:28 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Actually, there's plenty of physical evidence of Bigfoot. There's numerous examples of claimed tracks, hair, droppings, foraging, photos, movie film, even at least one "body print." Experts from various appropriate fields have "confirmed" most, if not all of these.

Claims of Bigfoot are not, hopefully, on par with Ivory-bill claims, because I originally believed Cornell along with almost everyone else, at first. My belief was based on the fact that Cornell had announced it, and nothing else.

Cornell's announcement seems to be considered extraordinary by everyone except for those believers who are debating.

You are right, there's a huge amount of "noise" in both the Bigfoot and Ivory-bill claims. And in both, you can choose your expert, and sift through the claims to find ones that seem credible enough. (Sir Edmund Hillary saw a yeti.)

In Jackson's paper, he quotes Fitzpatrick as saying that one of the Cornell video captures was likely a branch stub. They had orginally said "We intepret this as an ivory-bill."

That just about says it all for me. Show me some REAL proof. Cornell, produce your aberrant Pileated Woodpecker photos.

As the title of the Brazilan ornithologist's paper said "Where is the scientific method?"

Hopeful Skeptic


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