Not Found

The requested URL /post/add.php was not found on this server.

Apache/2.2.26 (CentOS) Server at Port 80
18 « July « 2008 « My God, It's Full of Nerds!

Archive for July 18th, 2008

Sniff! They Grow Up So Fast!

China must be a modern country now, because they allow trivial lawsuits related to movies.

It may be trivial, but I hope he wins. I’m sure the “creative meeting records” this guy is demanding would be fascinating.

Wildman, Dum Dum Dum Dum, You Make My Heart Sing!

I love cryptozoology. Of all the fringe sciences, it’s the coolest, and unlike psychic powers or UFO abductions, there’s nothing physically impossible about it. Of course there could be animals out there that haven’t been documented. In fact, it’s almost certain there are. And some of those animals could be truly bizarre. For example, the Megamouth shark was discovered during my lifetime. Other could have great stories, like the possible rediscovery of the Ivory Billed Woodpecker.

But, and isn’t there always a “but?”, the whole field has been hijacked by people who don’t understand science and who will willingly throw logic and evidence out the window if it conflicts with their own theories.

For example, Bigfoot isn’t very likely to exist. The probability that a breeding population large primates could be living in North America, often in close proximity to humans, and leave no conclusive proof of their existence is laughably small. I mean, c’mon, no body? In the fifty years since Bigfoot became a household name? At some point you have to acknowledge reality and stop making complicated excuses for why the minimum evidence we should have found has never been found.

Well, no body has been found unless we believe these guys, who do have all the credibility that the Knight Rider theme imparts upon a scientific venture.

The Russian equivalent of Bigfoot is called the Almasty or wildman, and I suppose it’s slightly more likely to exist, if only because there are parts of Asia that are truly uninhabited. Still, it’s a long shot, and if you’re going to claim it exists you’d better have some great evidence.

That brings me to the Centre for Fortean Zoology, which sponsors “expeditions” to find unknown animals. I’m certainly not against that, but these people are laughably credulous. You can read the full story of their recent Russian “expedition” here. It’s pretty hilarious reading. I especially liked Day 9, where the locals take the CFZ people on an archetypical snipe hunt. If they want to be taken seriously as scientists they should probably also avoid statements like this:

Sadly, although they excavated the place where the makeshift grave was supposed to have been situated, it was too no avail. The body was long gone. But in an area where bears, jackals and other scavengeing carrion eaters are common this is hardly surprising.

The body was long gone? How do they know a body existed in the first place? They found nothing. I don’t care how many jackals there are in the area, nothing is still nothing.

On Day 13 a little desperation sets in, and they claim that some vague shadows are “good supporting evidence.” It’s good supporting evidence that things cast shadows, but not much more than that, guys.

In the end these people ended up with the same things Bigfoot researchers always tout as their evidence: unknown hair, some scat which will, I’m sure, “defy analysis,” and some fuzzy eyewitness reports. Dear CFZ, unless you have a body, don’t bother.