Posted by: Loren Coleman on August 26th, 2009
Mystery Man, Brent Swancer, frequent guest blogger here, sends along this statement on the M. K. Davis affair:
I’ve always looked at these wild “massacre” conjectures with a bit of an amused pity for the guy. It seems that he actually believes this stuff, and rather than trash talk him, I just sort of let it slide. However, it has become apparent to me that this individual fantasy has become more and more damaging to the field and the reputation of those involved in the film, and indifference seems to not be the way to handle this.
I’m still trying to figure out just what is seen in the film, and Davis is out putting forth unsubstantiated theories about massacres and cover-ups, which only muddies the waters and brings further ridicule upon anyone trying to honestly come to a conclusion on the PG footage.
I don’t mind new theories, or changing my stance on the footage based on new evidence. You come up with some overlays of a human skeletal structure and that of Patty, Ok, great. You point out why it’s a suit because the backside seems to slide up at one point, fine, let’s look at that. I’ll consider all angles, and I’d even look at Davis’ ideas, but for that to happen, you have to come forth with actual evidence, not the sort of imaginings being brought forth here. It’s not that people don’t want to hear Davis’ opinion, but that he offers no strong support for his hypothesis whatsoever, and comes up with these intricate stories based on nothing. I am not convinced PG is one thing or another, precisely because there just isn’t enough to go on in my opinion. So for MK Davis to come up with this wild story about massacres and Bigfoot blood and guts, well it’s just untenable. It’s beyond belief.
He doesn’t even change his stance at all in light of all of the evidence that contradicts what he is saying, which is highly unscientific. In science, you have to be willing to adjust your stance and hypotheses in light of new evidence or falsification of your claims, something Davis has failed to do.
I’m not sure what he is trying to accomplish here. Is it more recognition? Surely he isn’t intentionally making the field of Bigfoot research into a three ring circus? Is he?
The sad thing is that crackpot theories like this tend to gain a large following because the allure draws people in who think it would really be cool if that were true, despite a lack of any evidence whatsoever. Even when these ideas are patently false, the sheer sensationalism of them means they get more coverage than they ever deserved, which makes people increasingly think to themselves “what if?”
It’s unfortunate. Unfortunate because the ones left to clean up the mess are those who are trying to approach things in a rational, scientific manner. Unfortunate, because the ones looking at actual evidence are put on the spot having to try and counter ridiculous demands to prove that the crack pot theory “isn’t” true. And perhaps worst of all, unfortunate for those like Green, who have their reputations thrown into question.
I commend Mr. Green for coming out and taking the time to give his side of the story, even though it is sad that he was forced to do so in the first place.
I agree with Loren completely, on the editorial about silence, and I myself could be considered guilty of keeping my mouth shut and just seeing how things played out.
I think cryptozoology is going to have to do something about far out, fringe elements seeping into our midsts, simply because it detracts from the credibility of the field as a whole. Due to crackpot elements, we all will invariably be painted with that brush if we don’t do something about it. I for one consider cryptozoology to be a legitimate scientific pursuit, and it is upsetting to see us get pushed any farther into the fringe than we have already been. These people like MK Davis are responsible not only for smearing peoples’ reputations, but creating further resistance against cryptozoology as an honest branch of zoology, already an uphill battle as it is.
Think about it. In how many legitimate scientific fields would those involved allow the kind of unsubstantated, fantastical musings going on here? I can tell you honestly that something like this, based on so little real evidence, would be laughed out of most mainstream biology or zoology conferences. It wouldn’t even be considered. As a matter of fact, in any other scientific field, I doubt anyone would even have the gall to bring it forward such a far fetched notion based on so little in the first place. At least no one that expected to be taken seriously.
And therein lies the problem. Why is it that in cryptozoology, those like Mr. Davis can get away with this? Are we going to let this field become a venue for every fringe element to voice their wild ideas? It seems to me that if cryptozoology wants any chance of being taken serious as a critical science, there can be no room for this sort of tomfoolery. We have to maintain a standard here, one based on critical thinking and evidence.
If we don’t, we are not only degrading our veracity as a field, but we are opening up a Pandora’s box where everyone out there with a fantastical idea will see the attention these massacre theories are getting and think that they can do it too. This sort of thing should be discouraged, not given a podium.
I have respect for this field, and I wish others like Davis would have the same. We are never going to be accepted as a mainstream science if we don’t start acting like it.
Brent Swancer, August 26, 2009.