Posted by: Craig Woolheater on January 26th, 2007
The First Perspective, a First Nation newspaper out of Manitoba published a nice bi-monthly Bigfoot article series entitled Bigfoot Buzz.
Go here to read the article archives on their website.
This month’s article is a timely one, entitled Science’s Attitude Towards the Sasquatch.
January 24, 2007 – with Terence Sakohianisaks Douglas
The First Perspective (National Aboriginal News)
Brokenhead First Nation, Scanterbury, Manitoba.Bigfoot Buzz
Recently in the media, a particular academic at a university in the United States has been called to task by many of his peers for his support of a Sasquatch event that was held at the university. Indeed, many of the comments from his peers were pretty disparaging to sat the least. The gist of their comments was that the investigation of the Sasquatch was not a topic for “serious” science, and any scientist who did such an activity was not a scientist at all but a quack. I have always been bothered by this attitude of most academics and scientists, as from my point of view, it seems to be in opposition to what their professions are all about, namely the searching for facts within the natural world to produce useful models of reality.
Briefly Speaking, How Science Works
At its core, science refers to any system of objective knowledge, yet in a more restricted sense, science refers to a system of acquiring knowledge based on the scientific method, as well as to the organized body of knowledge humans have gained by such research. The scientific method is a unified process used by scientists to find solutions to problems. The main characteristic of the scientific method is that it attempts to minimize the influence of a scientist’s bias on the outcome of an experiment. Such unbiased experiments can be achieved by correct experimental design, and thorough peer review of experimental design as well as conclusions of a study.
It must be noted that scientists never claim absolute knowledge. Unlike in say mathematics, a proven scientific theory is always open to falsification, if new evidence is presented. This is an important characteristic of science; even the most basic and fundamental theories can turn out to be imperfect if new observations are inconsistent with them. Accordingly, it is critical that every relevant aspect of research be made publicly available. Such availability permits peer review of published results, and allows ongoing review and repeating of experiments and observations by other researchers operating independently of one another. By following these procedures it is possible to determine how reliable the experimental results are for potential use by others. This is, briefly speaking, how science works.
Science and the Sasquatch
To say that science has not been kind to the Sasquatch is an understatement. Generally, most evidence of the existence of the Sasquatch that has been presented to various universities, colleges and other similar institutions for scientific examination has been scoffed at when initially presented. Such reaction most certainly presents evidence for a bias towards such evidence, which in my opinion, contaminates the whole scientific method as described above.
However, when a scientist that is open to the possibility of the Sasquatch, they are ridiculed to the point where their “fitness” to be in the “scientific club” is questioned. It is odd that those scientists and academics who theoretically should be standing by the principles of science, particularly that of unbiased investigation, would deride a colleague for exercising such unbiased investigation into a possible phenomena within the natural world.
If the attitude of those scientists and academics noted above towards the Sasquatch were applied to other areas, then there would be not addition to the knowledge we have of the natural world. Indeed such an attitude has affected the addition of knowledge in the acceptance of other animals within the natural world. The mountain gorilla? It cannot exist, said the scientific community at the turn of the last century, so it does not exist. The duck-billed platypus? Totally preposterous, scientists had said in the 1700′s, that is ridiculous. The coelacanth? Extinct for millions of years, it cannot possible exist in the present. However, all of the naysayers in the scientific community were proven wrong in the end.
Of course it can be argued that he acceptance of these animals was a result of a specimen of each being brought in to be examined by scientists. Touché. However, in order for a Sasquatch specimen to be brought in for examination, I believe there must be within the scientific community a general acceptance of the possibility that the Sasquatch may exist. A first step must be made some scientists to accept as real the possibility of these creatures. Thankfully there are a few scientists that have taken this bold step and kept true to the principles of science to entertain the possibility of the Sasquatch. Hopefully in the years to come this will translate into more a general acceptance of the Sasquatch within the generally population, and an increase of reports and evidence that will aid in the Sasquatch being accepted as an animal within the natural world.Terence Sakohianisaks Douglas