Science: He’s Doing It Wrong

Sheesh, one little high powered laser beam between the eyes and the kid starts whining.
Before we begin I think we need to note that there was this little event yesterday that held the attention of that small segment of the populace who has access to televisions or the Internet. It was even more important than Adam Dunn being awarded the Players’ Choice for Comeback Player of the Year. I know, it’s hard to believe that there’s anything more important than that. But, it’s true. Yesterday Americans, this one included, toddled off to their local polling centers to select the next president of the United States. While there I discovered that a working knowledge of the alphabet is not a requirement to become a helper at a polling place. Or, to be blunt, even after spelling my name the kid got it wrong. Nevertheless, when the dust settled Barack Obama had won the popular vote, the electoral vote and, hopefully, the ability to begin to heal the bizarre divide this country is suffering through. That last one may be asking a little too much, but a man can hope.

Hope, as our President noted yesterday, is not just wishing and sitting on the sideline no more than faith is blind submission. Hope is the fuel we have in our souls that gives us the ability to succeed and faith is the foundation that gives us something to build on. Having them is very good, but doing nothing with them renders them meaningless.

But hope and faith should not be confused with random hunches and willful ignorance.

Jeffrey Meldrum, a scientist in Idaho – yes, much to your surprise, they have science in Idaho too – is hoping to find Bigfoot and he’s willing to spend $300,000 of other people’s money to do so.

An Idaho scientist shrugging off skeptical fellow scholars in his quest for evidence of Bigfoot has turned his sights skyward, with plans to float a blimp over the U.S. mountain West in search of the mythic, ape-like creature.

Idaho State University has approved the unusual proposal of faculty member Jeffrey Meldrum, an anatomy and anthropology professor ridiculed by some peers for past research of a being whose existence is widely disputed by mainstream science.
Now Meldrum is seeking to raise $300,000-plus in private donations to build the remote-controlled dirigible, equip it with a thermal-imaging camera and send it aloft in hopes of catching an aerial glimpse of Bigfoot, also known as sasquatch.

Meldrum, author of “Sasquatch: Legend Meets Science,” said the undertaking represents a giant leap in the quest for an animal he believes may have descended from a giant ape that once inhabited Asia and crossed the Bering land bridge to North America.

“The challenge with any animal that is rare, solitary, nocturnal and far-ranging in habitat is to find them and observe them in the wild; this technology provides for that,” he said.

Decades of alleged sightings, elaborate hoaxes and the discovery of huge footprints in the forests of the Pacific Northwest and elsewhere have led to beliefs that Bigfoot is a man-like ape, an ape-like man or a figment of the popular imagination.

Most scholars discount Bigfoot as a phenomenon borne of myth and perpetuated by a mix of fakery and misidentification of real animals. They contend that science demands a high standard of evidence that has not been achieved in the case of sasquatch.

No fossils or other physical evidence has been unearthed to suggest that the largest primate ever known migrated from Asia to the Americas, and no Bigfoot has been captured or killed, skeptics argue.

“There is no Bigfoot,” said University of Iowa anthropologist Russell Ciochon.
Believers describe an enormous, fur-bearing figure that walks upright in the remote high country of mostly Western states.

The blimp-based search – dubbed the Falcon Project – was the brainchild of William Barnes, a Utah man who said he encountered Bigfoot in 1997 in northern California.

Barnes said he watched an immense, hairy creature that was otherwise “well-manicured” approach his tent before striding up a rocky ledge. Years later, he approached Meldrum, well known in Bigfoot circles, about his idea for an airship expedition.

Barnes and Meldrum hope the Falcon Project will take flight next spring. They envision a months-long expedition that will survey swaths of remote forest across parts of the Pacific Northwest as well as northern tiers of California and Utah.

The aerial evidence is to be dispatched to teams on the ground that would seek to trace evidence or “try to make contact,” Meldrum said.

Financial support for the venture has been slow in coming, with Meldrum failing so far to raise a single dollar for the effort. But he told Reuters he was in talks with two cable channels vying for rights to produce a new weekly TV series following the Falcon Project from its inception.

Indigenous peoples from Asia to North America possess lore about colossal creatures akin to apes that live in extreme alpine environments, shun contact with humans and are variously identified as the yeti, Bigfoot, the wild man or mountain man, said William Willard, professor emeritus of cultural anthropology at Washington State University.

While powerful, those myths have no scientific validity, he said.

Problems with the Bigfoot myth. And there are a ton, but let’s stick with the simple ones.

It is true that new species of simians have been discovered in the last decade. But those species are living amongst known species. In other words they were hiding in plain sight. That is the case for most new species. They live in areas that have a rich eco-structure already in place.

Now, let’s look at Bigfoot. The section of the Northwest they are supposed to inhabit is the personification of a wonderfully diverse eco-structure. At some point one of those animals, given the number of predators, would have killed, at least, one Bigfoot and left a skeleton behind. Or, at least one must have died over the last century which would provide the same result.

Remember we aren’t talking about squirrels here, this thing is supposed to be around 7 feet tall. That’s not something you easily hide. And, excluding humans, no mammal has ever been know to bury its dead.

Also, keep in mind, there has to be more than one or two Bigfeet. There is no way to keep a species alive with a small number of beings. There would need to be at least 1,000. And, given how large they are alleged to be, and that they are always “sighted” while foraging or wandering, you are talking about a lot of movement in a limited area. Thta’s even more true when you consider the alleged Kentucky Bigfoot. Kentucky just isn’t that big. Also, Kentucky have many residents who live in rural areas and have firearms. I sincerely doubt there has been a huge uptick in Bigfoot stew.

In other words, while the lands they are alleged to inhabit are vast, they are not infinite. Nor are they, like the jungles in Africa where the new monkeys were found, uninhabited. There are several million people living in that neck of the woods. Also, given the many issues with the climate over the last few decades that have caused large animals, such as moose and bears, to encroach on humans, why don’t the same factors impact Bigfeet?

Lastly, if they are simian cousins then they would be social animals. Social animals live in groups. Groups in the wild leave large amounts of droppings and so on. In other words, evidence wouldn’t be that hard to find. Especially since people have been scouring the Northwest for almost fifty years looking for a sign.

from william burke

Listen to Bill McCormick on WBIG (FOX! Sports) every Friday around 9:10 AM.

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