Sasquatches are hairy. Each and every bigfoot book – including those by highly-regarded scientists who’ve entered the fray – tells us so. There is, however, currently not one shred of falsifiable, scientific proof that it is so. There’s plenty of anecdotal evidence to suggest such, but no proof.
Anecdotal evidence is been defined as “non-scientific observations or studies, which do not provide proof but may assist research efforts, usually made by observers who are not scientifically trained”.
We accept the “fact” that Sasquatches are hairy, despite the fact that it is not, in fact, a fact based on any scientific evidence but rather anecdotal evidence.
Why is it so difficult, then, for researchers to accept other anecdotal evidence from witnesses, particularly long-term witnesses? Particularly when that anecdotal evidence is recounted by multiple witnesses who don’t know one another and have never been exposed to the other’s case studies? After all, the bulk of information that we have about the hairy folks is anecdotal. If we simply stick to the “science” and only the science, how much can we possibly learn? Our field techniques – the way we interact with the phenomenon in order to attempt to further understand it – have to be based upon something. That’s the “may assist research efforts” part of the above scientific definition of anecdotal evidence… and the reason it is so important.
Basing field research techniques on that which is empirically proven doesn’t leave much room to move… because little, if anything, in regards to Sasquatch has been proven. And that logic is completely at odds with the scientific process to begin with. The idea behind the scientific method is to look at the evidence, form a hypothesis and test it. Then see if it’s repeatable. If, when forming our hypothesis, we eschew certain evidence because it doesn’t fit some preconceived notion we have about the subject or it hasn’t been “proven”, how is that scientific? At that point, we’re basing our hypothesis on a biased culling of data… we’re not out to prove a hypothesis based upon the data itself, but upon a limited data set that we’ve decided we’re comfortable with.
That’s not science. That’s religion. That’s belief.
The root of the word ignorance is to ignore.
Evidence is not proof. But it sure can point us in the right direction to understanding the big picture of a phenomenon if we’re not so hung up on science that we’re limiting our ability to use anecdotal evidence to establish our own testable hypothesis.
While science is supposed to be about discovering answers, the conservative nature of the scientific method leaves us dead in the water in regards to Sasquatch. That’s obvious by the last 50 years of bigfoot research accomplishing little but the pat, safe “answer” that science is comfortable with: Sasquatch is thought to be a hairy, upright, bipedal primate…
Thought to be. That’s where science has left us.
For all the noise made about how important science is – or should be – in bigfoot research, it doesn’t appear to have been a very effective tool in solving this mystery, does it? Meanwhile, long-term witnesses supply us with ample anecdotal evidence about the behavior and nature of the Sasquatch – when they feel comfortable enough to talk about it. They don’t often supply physical evidence that stands up to “scientific” scrutiny as proof. Because – I’ll say it again – evidence is NOT proof, though it is held up to that standard because of a DESIRE for proof by the research community… and both sides become equally and understandably frustrated with the outcome.
I contend that science alone is, by its very nature, ineffective at solving the Sasquatch mystery that is, by ITS very nature, primarily conducive to experience at a personal level.
In other words, the very nature of the Sasquatch is not conducive to scientific inquiry. That is not what researchers want to hear. But I have come to firmly suspect it is the case.
While bigfoot research has spent the better part of 50 years trying to prove THAT Sasquatches are, I’ve been quietly working with long-term witnesses for 20+ of those years trying to understand WHAT they are. I know I say this often, but it is an important distinction; I’ve often felt frustrated in discussions with those who focus on proof, science and semantics because the questions we’re asking are completely different.
I’ve come to some tentative conclusions about the nature of the Sasquatch through the focus of my work and those conclusions don’t have much to do with the common perception of Sasquatch. One of those conclusions is so imperative that I find it necessary to repeat it:
Science alone is, by its very nature, ineffective at solving the Sasquatch mystery that is, by ITS very nature, primarily conducive to experience at a personal level.
In other words, the Sasquatch phenomenon is highly conducive to personal experience when approached correctly. But an elusive population of highly intelligent beings who deliberately avoid us is NOT conducive to collecting indisputable physical evidence by means of traditional empirical study. “But,” you might say, “this DNA study is about to come out. How can you contend that science isn’t effective in solving the Sasquatch mystery?” I’ll get to that in a minute. :)
But first, think about this if you will…
How do you think the focus is going to shift if this DNA study manages to scientifically prove that they are? What is the question researchers will be asking next? Will they finally begin focusing on what they are?
Who can they ask? Who would be in a position to know? Certainly not the incidental witness, who watched a Sasquatch walk across a road, whose story is generally accepted with little need for “proof”, while long-term witnesses are ridiculed for their claims of insider information because they don’t or won’t provide “proof” of their encounters to a broad audience.
How long will it take researchers to catch up and accept that the information that long-term witnesses are providing might be the biggest part of the puzzle that’s been missing? Will researchers and witnesses continue to remain at an impasse because researchers want to put the proverbial cart before the horse and apply the scientific method to a question that they fail to ask properly in light of all of the anecdotal data?
Let’s look again at the question… Is science alone effective in solving the Sasquatch mystery?
Long-term witnesses – not researchers – are the top providers of sample material for scientific analysis. When and if it is proven scientifically that Sasquatches not only exist but actually are hairy, long-term witnesses will have played a key role in making that happen. But HOW that material is obtained has little to do with “studying a specimen” and a whole lot to do with building trust and rapport with individuals who live in the woods. That doesn’t happen by acting like a researcher. It happens by acting like a witness.