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Thread: Question about the credibility of eyewitness reports

  1. #1 Question about the credibility of eyewitness reports 
    Forum Professor WVBIG's Avatar
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    You all have been telling me eyewitness reports of Bigfoot or anything else, aren't worth anything as evidence. Well let me ask you this. There were recordings of some type of vocalizations that for quite awhile were believed to be Bigfoot vocalizations. Then a well respected Bigfoot researcher named Tom Steenburg was doing research in the area where the vocalizations were recorded and says he witnessed Coyotes making the same vocalizations. Now, my question is this. Since he was alone & didn't record Coyotes making the vocalizations, is his eyewitness report of Coyotes any more credible than reports by people who claim to have seen Bigfoot, some other cryptid, aliens, ghosts, etc... if they also can't offer any physical evidence?


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  3. #2  
    Forum Cosmic Wizard i_feel_tiredsleepy's Avatar
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    No it's not any more credible per se. However, it is a lot easier to go out to that area and attempt to record coyotes than it is to look for Bigfoot. He does have the benefit of having a more easily falsifiable and testable hypothesis for the origin of the sound.


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  4. #3 Re: Question about the credibility of eyewitness reports 
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    Quote Originally Posted by WVBIG
    Then a well respected Bigfoot researcher named Tom Steenburg was doing research in the area where the vocalizations were recorded and says he witnessed Coyotes making the same vocalizations.
    I would wish to ask him a number of questions.

    In what regard were these vocalisations the same? Were duration, volume, pitch, timbre, modulation, interval etc all identical. If not identical what were the ranges of variation? How do these vocalisations compare with established, documented vocalisations for coyotes?

    Further, what evidence is there that similar vocalisations could not be made by two different species? I believe minah birds in Australia mimic mobile phone rings and car alarms. Why shouldn't BigFoot mimic coyotes?

    In short I wouldn't find the evidence convincing without considerably more substantiation, even though I might consider that that substantiation would likely be found if the effort were made.
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  5. #4 Re: Question about the credibility of eyewitness reports 
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ophiolite
    Quote Originally Posted by WVBIG
    Then a well respected Bigfoot researcher named Tom Steenburg was doing research in the area where the vocalizations were recorded and says he witnessed Coyotes making the same vocalizations.
    I would wish to ask him a number of questions.

    In what regard were these vocalisations the same? Were duration, volume, pitch, timbre, modulation, interval etc all identical. If not identical what were the ranges of variation? How do these vocalisations compare with established, documented vocalisations for coyotes?

    Further, what evidence is there that similar vocalisations could not be made by two different species? I believe minah birds in Australia mimic mobile phone rings and car alarms. Why shouldn't BigFoot mimic coyotes?

    In short I wouldn't find the evidence convincing without considerably more substantiation, even though I might consider that that substantiation would likely be found if the effort were made.
    As far as I know, the vocalizations were identical in every way. Native Americans believe Bigfoots can & do mimic other animals and birds. Some tribal masks representing Bigfoot, have pursed lips to show they mimic birds & some people have reported hearing vocalizations that have come to be referred to as the "800 lb. Owl" because it's very similar to an owl but not quite the same and VERY loud
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  6. #5  
    Forum Cosmic Wizard SkinWalker's Avatar
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    The difference would be the extraordinary nature of the claims. Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.

    The "bigfoot" claims are extraordinary for many reasons, not the least of which are to do with taxonomy and habitat.

    We have ample evidence of coyotes and are able to observe this very shy species quite readily in its natural habitat as well as in captivity (I just saw one in the Zoo two days ago). And, even still, if someone is making an extraordinary claim about their vocalizations, I would be hesitant to accept them with out additional, corroborating evidence (the same vocalizations recorded in captivity, additional recordings by independent observers in the wild, etc.). Not that I'd think the claimant was lying, necessarily, but that he could be mistaken. It could simply be a bunch of humans in the woods faking bigfoot sounds and he recorded them unawares.
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  7. #6  
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    These are earwitness reports and recordings. I've heard some from a bigfoot site. One set is just some Japanese guy hollering to his buddies in the woods - it's even called the "samurai sasquatch". It's not english so it might be a mysterious hominid creature.

    The remainder have a rather sad explanation: solvent sniffers. Unfortunately we've had an epidemic of solvent abuse among Native reserve children. Mostly teens but also younger. These children of alcoholics rather "party" in the woods inhaling gasoline than go home to their abusive/neglectful parents. They put the solvent in a plastic bag and breathe it until they stagger or black out. Often at this point they let out a terrible animal roar. The euphoric vocalizations sound as raw deranged gibberish. These feral children try to hide their activities from adults. I'm not making this up, sadly.

    Some communities have groups of adult volunteers who stalk and apprehend these "party" youths (by their characteristic noises) and drag them back to the reserve. WVBIG can you understand why locals rather prevaricate about this shameful problem? How would you explain those horrible noises to your own child?
    A pong by any other name is still a pong. -williampinn
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  8. #7  
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pong
    These are earwitness reports and recordings. I've heard some from a bigfoot site. One set is just some Japanese guy hollering to his buddies in the woods - it's even called the "samurai sasquatch". It's not english so it might be a mysterious hominid creature.

    The remainder have a rather sad explanation: solvent sniffers. Unfortunately we've had an epidemic of solvent abuse among Native reserve children. Mostly teens but also younger. These children of alcoholics rather "party" in the woods inhaling gasoline than go home to their abusive/neglectful parents. They put the solvent in a plastic bag and breathe it until they stagger or black out. Often at this point they let out a terrible animal roar. The euphoric vocalizations sound as raw deranged gibberish. These feral children try to hide their activities from adults. I'm not making this up, sadly.

    Some communities have groups of adult volunteers who stalk and apprehend these "party" youths (by their characteristic noises) and drag them back to the reserve. WVBIG can you understand why locals rather prevaricate about this shameful problem? How would you explain those horrible noises to your own child?
    1)I consulted a website belonging to an institution in Chicago that is suppose to be expert in Asian languages & dialects about the "Samurai" vocalization & got no reply that it was any current or ancient Asian language or dialect. Plus Asians have been asked to listen to it & couldn't recognize or translate it
    2)The other vocalizations that you are so quick to dismiss as inhalant snifffing kids, were recorded in the early 1970's. So current stats on sniffers don't really apply. Also, as far as I know, there were no Native American reservations in the area. They were recorded in a remote area of the Sierra Nevada mountains & have been analyzed repeatedly & not been recognized
    Check out http://www.bigfootsounds.com for more info
    Steven
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  9. #8 Re: Question about the credibility of eyewitness reports 
    Universal Mind John Galt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by WVBIG
    As far as I know, the vocalizations were identical in every way.
    This is why I cannot take you seriously. you lack critical faculties. Obviously the vocalisations were not identical since they were heard on different days by different people, probably at different times of day, with different atmospheric conditions. And that's just for starters, yet you are quite ready to accep they were identical in every way. That is sloppy thinking that pervades much of what you post.
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  10. #9 Re: Question about the credibility of eyewitness reports 
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ophiolite
    Quote Originally Posted by WVBIG
    As far as I know, the vocalizations were identical in every way.
    This is why I cannot take you seriously. you lack critical faculties. Obviously the vocalisations were not identical since they were heard on different days by different people, probably at different times of day, with different atmospheric conditions. And that's just for starters, yet you are quite ready to accep they were identical in every way. That is sloppy thinking that pervades much of what you post.
    Oh be serious! Are you so into the scientific method and process that you think people shouldn't trust their own ears? That nothing should be accepted as fact without being scientifically proven? Haven't you ever heard a sound you recognized(car, fire truck, bird for example) & then saw the animal, object, etc...? Well I have. Too many times to count.
    Steven
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  11. #10  
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    Just a side note: the English expression to describe a shameless liar is "he is lying through his teeth". The Russians say "he is lying like an eyewitness". Food for thought.
    Leszek. Pronounced [LEH-sheck]. The wondering Slav.
    History teaches us that we don't learn from history.
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  12. #11 Re: Question about the credibility of eyewitness reports 
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    Quote Originally Posted by WVBIG
    Oh be serious! Are you so into the scientific method and process that you think people shouldn't trust their own ears?
    The scientific method was founded on the concept that the purely subjective is not a good basis for knowledge. We have very good reason not to rely on our subjective experience for the accrual of knowledge beyond the incidental requirements of day-to-day life. For anything even vaguely complex, and especially for that which has profound implications, it is appropriate to consider the subjective to be the weakest form of evidence. We may include "stuff someone heard" in that category.

    So 'yes', is the gist of what I'm saying.

    Incidentally, have you read the FAQ for this forum or perhaps anything from the recommended reading list?
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  13. #12 Re: Question about the credibility of eyewitness reports 
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    Quote Originally Posted by WVBIG
    Oh be serious! Are you so into the scientific method and process that you think people shouldn't trust their own ears?
    Firstly, this statement has absolutely nothing to do with my criticism of your approach to the issue of bigfoot. My point, again - pay attention this time - is that the sounds were and could not be identiical in every resepect. A proper scientific assessment of them would need to take into account, as I pointed out, who heard them, when they heard them, what the environmental conditions were at the time they heard them etc. Your failure to understand this reflects very badly on you.

    Related to this you appear to be completely unaware that we do not hear and see our world we perceive it. The brain and sensory system carry out major interpretations before we consciously sense what is there. There is a vast, I mean ****ing huge, volume on research on this. It is well understood by anyone who has taken an informed interest in any aspect of human cognition.

    Then you laughably declare we should trust our own ears! I certainly would not trust mine, for I know how unreliable the human ear is. Yet you expect me to trust the ear of someone I don't know whose experiences are being reported by someone who thinks you can trust what you see and hear. Give me a break! You are displaying an ignorance and an arrogance of great depth, which makes you appear pretty damn shallow.

    Start getting wedded to the scientific method, re-examine the data and you may actually fine some gems that could sway your audience. The present self indulgent pap you are pushing will continue to be laughed at.

    Quote Originally Posted by WVBIG
    That nothing should be accepted as fact without being scientifically proven?
    1. Where have I said this? Nowhere. However in terms of the existence of natural phenomena, such as the alleged bigfoot, certainly we need scientific 'proof' before we can accept it. Why in Beelzeebub's name would you settle for anything less?
    2. Science is generally considered not to 'prove' anything, but rather to establish powerful probabilities that something is true.

    Quote Originally Posted by WVBIG
    Haven't you ever heard a sound you recognized(car, fire truck, bird for example) & then saw the animal, object, etc...? Well I have. Too many times to count.
    Yep. And I've also heard what sounded like one of the foregoing only to find out it was something else.

    Get an education before it's too late.
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  14. #13 Re: Question about the credibility of eyewitness reports 
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ophiolite
    Quote Originally Posted by WVBIG
    Oh be serious! Are you so into the scientific method and process that you think people shouldn't trust their own ears?
    Firstly, this statement has absolutely nothing to do with my criticism of your approach to the issue of bigfoot. My point, again - pay attention this time - is that the sounds were and could not be identiical in every resepect. A proper scientific assessment of them would need to take into account, as I pointed out, who heard them, when they heard them, what the environmental conditions were at the time they heard them etc. Your failure to understand this reflects very badly on you.

    Related to this you appear to be completely unaware that we do not hear and see our world we perceive it. The brain and sensory system carry out major interpretations before we consciously sense what is there. There is a vast, I mean ****ing huge, volume on research on this. It is well understood by anyone who has taken an informed interest in any aspect of human cognition.

    Then you laughably declare we should trust our own ears! I certainly would not trust mine, for I know how unreliable the human ear is. Yet you expect me to trust the ear of someone I don't know whose experiences are being reported by someone who thinks you can trust what you see and hear. Give me a break! You are displaying an ignorance and an arrogance of great depth, which makes you appear pretty damn shallow.

    Start getting wedded to the scientific method, re-examine the data and you may actually fine some gems that could sway your audience. The present self indulgent pap you are pushing will continue to be laughed at.

    Quote Originally Posted by WVBIG
    That nothing should be accepted as fact without being scientifically proven?
    1. Where have I said this? Nowhere. However in terms of the existence of natural phenomena, such as the alleged bigfoot, certainly we need scientific 'proof' before we can accept it. Why in Beelzeebub's name would you settle for anything less?
    2. Science is generally considered not to 'prove' anything, but rather to establish powerful probabilities that something is true.

    Quote Originally Posted by WVBIG
    Haven't you ever heard a sound you recognized(car, fire truck, bird for example) & then saw the animal, object, etc...? Well I have. Too many times to count.
    Yep. And I've also heard what sounded like one of the foregoing only to find out it was something else.

    Get an education before it's too late.
    Ever get a ticket for failing to yield to an emergency vehicle coming up behind you? My guess if you haven't yet, you will sooner or later if you never trust your ears. You will stay on the road & in the way of the fire truck, ambulance, etc until you see it to confirm it's not some yahoo with a toy siren. By then, it's too late. Certainly sounds can be identical. Our town has a noon fire whistle that sounds the same everyday. Regardless of the weather conditions. And tell me this please. If you need all this evidence to prove or establish the origin of a vocalization, how is it that a number of you have dismissed the alleged Bigfoot vocalizations as something more logical simply by listening to them on the links I've provided?
    Steven
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  15. #14 Re: Question about the credibility of eyewitness reports 
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    Quote Originally Posted by WVBIG
    Ever get a ticket for failing to yield to an emergency vehicle coming up behind you? My guess if you haven't yet, you will sooner or later if you never trust your ears. You will stay on the road & in the way of the fire truck, ambulance, etc until you see it to confirm it's not some yahoo with a toy siren.
    You really don't get it, do you? Here is a summary of my largely subconscious thought processes when I here such a siren.

    "That sounds like a siren. I may need to move over. If it is not an emergency vehicle then starting the manouver too early could endanger other road users. I'll prepare to move over but not do so until I get some form of confirmation that it is such a vehicle and is on my route. A visual sighting or other vehicles turning off would be good indicators. Even if it turns out I am mistaken that will have far fewer negative consequences than holding up an emergency vehicle."

    In short we continually seek to verify the initial observation by subsequent and somewhat different observations, always maintaining in mind the possibility of alternative explanations.

    (I find it an interesting reflection on your character that you associate failure to move out of the way of an emergency vehicle with getting a ticket, whereas I think only that if I don't get out of the way I could cost someone there life.)

    Quote Originally Posted by WVBIG
    Our town has a noon fire whistle that sounds the same everyday. Regardless of the weather conditions.
    I suggest you get your hearing checked.


    Quote Originally Posted by WVBIG
    If you need all this evidence to prove or establish the origin of a vocalization, how is it that a number of you have dismissed the alleged Bigfoot vocalizations as something more logical simply by listening to them on the links I've provided?
    I haven't and I can't answer for anyone else.
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  16. #15  
    Forum Cosmic Wizard SkinWalker's Avatar
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    This is a good exercise in critical thinking for those less knowledgeable or experienced with pseudoscientific claims made by mystery-mongers and significance-junkies yet not ready to jump to the wild conclusions that bigfoot believers are already at. This sort is the curious and interested who find themselves going back and forth between parsimonious and perhaps prosaic explanations to overly-significant and wildly speculative ones.

    Clearly there are at least two sorts of hard-core bigfoot-believers: 1) the drastically undereducated and ignorant believer who simply hasn't the knowledge that would negate a speculative fantasy like "bigfoot," and 2) the reasonably educated but willfully ignorant believer who starts with a conclusion and selectively picks and chooses that knowledge or data which is supportive while actively avoiding and ignoring contrary data since it runs contrary to the conclusion he already holds. Bible nutters are like this. UFO nutters are. Homopathic/naturapathic nuts are. 9/11 conspiracy nutters. etc. In many cases, these sorts of believers fall into multiple nutter or woo-woo camps.

    Its difficult to say which sort wvbig most closely aligns with, but I'd have to go with mostly type 1) but perhaps type 2).

    Bigfoot is an interesting mythology of modern folklore in that it captures the imagination of nearly every adolescent willing to hear the local version of the story while sitting around the campfire on a dark night. Like all good stories, any interesting or unexplained noise or phenomena in the woods (or even a suburban backyard!) can perpetuate the bigfoot mythology. It's sensational and fantastic and a natural myth for the significance-junkie and the mystery-monger.

    But there simply isn't any evidence to support it in reality. Indeed, there's considerable evidence against it. We have a descent understanding of primate taxonomy and can trace the fossil records of primates in both the Old and New Worlds spatial-temporally in a manner that excludes the existence of a primate line larger than the woolly monkey and the howler monkey in the New World -and these exist primarily in the equatorial rain forests. Indeed, the larger primates are slow-moving species with slower metabolic rates and longer cycles of fecundity. In short, they are resource-demanding. This sort of primate depends on a high-carbohydrate diet that is converted slowly to energy to move about. For primates that are large, but with a more active lifestyle (i.e. humans, chimps), there are still great demands on resources, but the diets are more varied with the inclusion by necessity of proteins. In addition, minimum populations are required to maintain these species due to their long fecund cycles -that is, the time between offspring is greater than, say, rabbits and other small mammals.

    A relatively large population of primates could not have gone unobserved in North America. And, despite the lore and myth spouted by bigfoot believers, bigfoot has gone completely unobserved. The observations are absent in the fossil record. The observations are absent in the wild. Ecologists, biologists and naturalists have been surveying and cataloging the backwoods and forests of North America for hundreds of years but with an unparalleled vigor in the last few decades. These researchers are using a variety of methods to survey, count, track and observe animals in the wild that range from the up-close and personal, to the mid-range blind inhabited for days on end, to long-range satellite and aerial methods.

    Not a single researcher has produced a legitimate video, photo, skeleton, or patch of fur. Not a single one.

    What we do know, however, is that people are willing to lie, cheat, deceive, and otherwise hoax the bigfoot claims as many examples of this sort of thing are present for the record.

    Which brings us to the spurious "vocalizations" that wvbig claims are "identical in every way" and evidence of his big foot.

    Wvbig would make the fallacious analogy between sounds that are unknown and sounds that are known. He claims that because humans are able to recognize sirens, they can therefore recognize "identical vocalizations" of an unknown origin. The fallacy is this: a siren that blows the same whistle today, tomorrow, and the next day may have many similarities, but it is not identical. While wvbig can undoubtedly recognize the source of the sound, he cannot be expected to readily differentiate between today's version and yesterday's. The pattern seeking nature of the human brain overrides this necessity. The fact of the matter is, I had the same sort of fire whistle in my own town as a boy. Interestingly enough, I *did* notice the differences between the sound on different days. And I set out to discover why the sounds were different. So I checked the wind direction and humidity for both days and found that on the day where the wind was blowing from the direction of the whistle, the sound was a higher pitch and sharper. On the day where the wind was going the opposite way, the pitch was lower and the sound more subdued. I soon came to predict the weather (we lived in a coastal region) based on the sound of the fire whistle since temperatures and humidity in the region were dependent upon whether the moisture-laden air from the sea was blowing in or dry-air from the land blowing out.

    But this isn't the only reason why wvbig's analogy is fallacious. In fact, the main source of his fallacy lies in the poor analogy between sounds of familiar things and sounds of unknown things. Wvbig's poor analogy also creates something of an ad hominen fallacy as well since he attempts (weakly) to ridicule others, suggesting that they wouldn't recognize a firetruck approaching their vehicle. Yet he claims to recognize a bigfoot by its vocalization? What is his point of comparison? One can observe the firetruck, see the lights flashing and note the blueshift-redshift of the sound as the truck approaches then passes. The correlation is a combination of sights and sounds along with a cultural understanding of the colors and tones as warnings. A lifetime of observation of firetrucks is something very different than the comparison of two "vocalizations" of unknown origin.

    I put "vocalizations" in scare quotes intentionally, since the very use of the term demonstrates a conclusion.

    Wvbig either lacks an understanding of scientific methods and an education in basic sciences, or he has as psychological dependence upon the delusion of bigfoot. The former just makes him ignorant. The latter doesn't imply that he's mentally disturbed. The good news is that either can be overcome, but only if wvbig cares about intellectual honesty or academic achievement.

    This, however, is a science message board and such topics that demonstrate such blunderous incongruity deserve to be mercilessly skewered. But, please, let us skewer the idea and the method of thinking and not the individual.
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  17. #16 Re: Question about the credibility of eyewitness reports 
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ophiolite
    Quote Originally Posted by WVBIG
    Ever get a ticket for failing to yield to an emergency vehicle coming up behind you? My guess if you haven't yet, you will sooner or later if you never trust your ears. You will stay on the road & in the way of the fire truck, ambulance, etc until you see it to confirm it's not some yahoo with a toy siren.
    You really don't get it, do you? Here is a summary of my largely subconscious thought processes when I here such a siren.

    "That sounds like a siren. I may need to move over. If it is not an emergency vehicle then starting the manouver too early could endanger other road users. I'll prepare to move over but not do so until I get some form of confirmation that it is such a vehicle and is on my route. A visual sighting or other vehicles turning off would be good indicators. Even if it turns out I am mistaken that will have far fewer negative consequences than holding up an emergency vehicle."

    In short we continually seek to verify the initial observation by subsequent and somewhat different observations, always maintaining in mind the possibility of alternative explanations.

    (I find it an interesting reflection on your character that you associate failure to move out of the way of an emergency vehicle with getting a ticket, whereas I think only that if I don't get out of the way I could cost someone there life.)

    Quote Originally Posted by WVBIG
    Our town has a noon fire whistle that sounds the same everyday. Regardless of the weather conditions.
    I suggest you get your hearing checked.


    Quote Originally Posted by WVBIG
    If you need all this evidence to prove or establish the origin of a vocalization, how is it that a number of you have dismissed the alleged Bigfoot vocalizations as something more logical simply by listening to them on the links I've provided?
    I haven't and I can't answer for anyone else.
    I've often been told my hearing is excellent. I frequently watch tv with the volume level in the single digits so I don't disturb others in the house
    Steven
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  18. #17  
    Forum Professor WVBIG's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SkinWalker
    This is a good exercise in critical thinking for those less knowledgeable or experienced with pseudoscientific claims made by mystery-mongers and significance-junkies yet not ready to jump to the wild conclusions that bigfoot believers are already at. This sort is the curious and interested who find themselves going back and forth between parsimonious and perhaps prosaic explanations to overly-significant and wildly speculative ones.

    Clearly there are at least two sorts of hard-core bigfoot-believers: 1) the drastically undereducated and ignorant believer who simply hasn't the knowledge that would negate a speculative fantasy like "bigfoot," and 2) the reasonably educated but willfully ignorant believer who starts with a conclusion and selectively picks and chooses that knowledge or data which is supportive while actively avoiding and ignoring contrary data since it runs contrary to the conclusion he already holds. Bible nutters are like this. UFO nutters are. Homopathic/naturapathic nuts are. 9/11 conspiracy nutters. etc. In many cases, these sorts of believers fall into multiple nutter or woo-woo camps.

    Its difficult to say which sort wvbig most closely aligns with, but I'd have to go with mostly type 1) but perhaps type 2).

    Bigfoot is an interesting mythology of modern folklore in that it captures the imagination of nearly every adolescent willing to hear the local version of the story while sitting around the campfire on a dark night. Like all good stories, any interesting or unexplained noise or phenomena in the woods (or even a suburban backyard!) can perpetuate the bigfoot mythology. It's sensational and fantastic and a natural myth for the significance-junkie and the mystery-monger.

    But there simply isn't any evidence to support it in reality. Indeed, there's considerable evidence against it. We have a descent understanding of primate taxonomy and can trace the fossil records of primates in both the Old and New Worlds spatial-temporally in a manner that excludes the existence of a primate line larger than the woolly monkey and the howler monkey in the New World -and these exist primarily in the equatorial rain forests. Indeed, the larger primates are slow-moving species with slower metabolic rates and longer cycles of fecundity. In short, they are resource-demanding. This sort of primate depends on a high-carbohydrate diet that is converted slowly to energy to move about. For primates that are large, but with a more active lifestyle (i.e. humans, chimps), there are still great demands on resources, but the diets are more varied with the inclusion by necessity of proteins. In addition, minimum populations are required to maintain these species due to their long fecund cycles -that is, the time between offspring is greater than, say, rabbits and other small mammals.

    A relatively large population of primates could not have gone unobserved in North America. And, despite the lore and myth spouted by bigfoot believers, bigfoot has gone completely unobserved. The observations are absent in the fossil record. The observations are absent in the wild. Ecologists, biologists and naturalists have been surveying and cataloging the backwoods and forests of North America for hundreds of years but with an unparalleled vigor in the last few decades. These researchers are using a variety of methods to survey, count, track and observe animals in the wild that range from the up-close and personal, to the mid-range blind inhabited for days on end, to long-range satellite and aerial methods.

    Not a single researcher has produced a legitimate video, photo, skeleton, or patch of fur. Not a single one.

    What we do know, however, is that people are willing to lie, cheat, deceive, and otherwise hoax the bigfoot claims as many examples of this sort of thing are present for the record.

    Which brings us to the spurious "vocalizations" that wvbig claims are "identical in every way" and evidence of his big foot.

    Wvbig would make the fallacious analogy between sounds that are unknown and sounds that are known. He claims that because humans are able to recognize sirens, they can therefore recognize "identical vocalizations" of an unknown origin. The fallacy is this: a siren that blows the same whistle today, tomorrow, and the next day may have many similarities, but it is not identical. While wvbig can undoubtedly recognize the source of the sound, he cannot be expected to readily differentiate between today's version and yesterday's. The pattern seeking nature of the human brain overrides this necessity. The fact of the matter is, I had the same sort of fire whistle in my own town as a boy. Interestingly enough, I *did* notice the differences between the sound on different days. And I set out to discover why the sounds were different. So I checked the wind direction and humidity for both days and found that on the day where the wind was blowing from the direction of the whistle, the sound was a higher pitch and sharper. On the day where the wind was going the opposite way, the pitch was lower and the sound more subdued. I soon came to predict the weather (we lived in a coastal region) based on the sound of the fire whistle since temperatures and humidity in the region were dependent upon whether the moisture-laden air from the sea was blowing in or dry-air from the land blowing out.

    But this isn't the only reason why wvbig's analogy is fallacious. In fact, the main source of his fallacy lies in the poor analogy between sounds of familiar things and sounds of unknown things. Wvbig's poor analogy also creates something of an ad hominen fallacy as well since he attempts (weakly) to ridicule others, suggesting that they wouldn't recognize a firetruck approaching their vehicle. Yet he claims to recognize a bigfoot by its vocalization? What is his point of comparison? One can observe the firetruck, see the lights flashing and note the blueshift-redshift of the sound as the truck approaches then passes. The correlation is a combination of sights and sounds along with a cultural understanding of the colors and tones as warnings. A lifetime of observation of firetrucks is something very different than the comparison of two "vocalizations" of unknown origin.

    I put "vocalizations" in scare quotes intentionally, since the very use of the term demonstrates a conclusion.

    Wvbig either lacks an understanding of scientific methods and an education in basic sciences, or he has as psychological dependence upon the delusion of bigfoot. The former just makes him ignorant. The latter doesn't imply that he's mentally disturbed. The good news is that either can be overcome, but only if wvbig cares about intellectual honesty or academic achievement.

    This, however, is a science message board and such topics that demonstrate such blunderous incongruity deserve to be mercilessly skewered. But, please, let us skewer the idea and the method of thinking and not the individual.
    What I'm getting at is that the sounds Mr. Steenburg heard coming from the Coyotes sounded to him like known Coyote vocalizations. I'm actually surprised that no one has said that his report is more reliable because it points to a logical explanation for the sounds. Analysis can determine if a sound is a vocalization or from a machine of some sort. So calling them vocalizations is not incorrect. Bigfoot skeptics seem to have this belief that we just listen to these sounds & decide for ourselves what they are. Many have been analyzed at Texas A&M University & others have been analyzed by other experts.
    Steven
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  19. #18 Re: Question about the credibility of eyewitness reports 
    Moderator Moderator TheBiologista's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by WVBIG
    Ever get a ticket for failing to yield to an emergency vehicle coming up behind you? My guess if you haven't yet, you will sooner or later if you never trust your ears. You will stay on the road & in the way of the fire truck, ambulance, etc until you see it to confirm it's not some yahoo with a toy siren. By then, it's too late. Certainly sounds can be identical. Our town has a noon fire whistle that sounds the same everyday. Regardless of the weather conditions. And tell me this please. If you need all this evidence to prove or establish the origin of a vocalization, how is it that a number of you have dismissed the alleged Bigfoot vocalizations as something more logical simply by listening to them on the links I've provided?
    Okay, I'll try to explain the reason why the case of the ambulance noise and the case of the fairytale creature noises are subject to very different standards of evidence during a decision-making process (and by extension why it is acceptable to suggest more likely sources based on limited evidence).

    First, in your analogy we are being called upon to make two entirely non-comparable decisions (one for the ambulance and one for the vocalizations) each with entirely non-comparable implications (many for each decision). For the ambulance, the decision before us is "pull over or not". The implications of pulling over and being right are "30 seconds lost, a life potentially saved". The implications of pulling over and being wrong are "30 seconds lost". The implications of not pulling over and being right are "30 seconds not lost". The implications of not pulling over and being wrong are "30 seconds not lost, risk of prosecution, risk of endangerment of a life". As you can see, when we take all of this into account, it makes sense to put minimal requirements for evidence in favour of pulling over and conversely, to be more demanding of evidence which compels us not to pull over. This is further aided by my second point which I'll come to in the next paragraph. For the vocalizations, you're asking us to make the decision "crypto-organism origin or not". If we reject the crypto-organism origin and are correct, the implication is "investigative time not spent". If we reject the crypto-organism origin and are wrong, the implications are "investigative time not spent, novel organism not discovered at this juncture". If we accept the crypto-organism origin and are correct, the implications are "investigative time spent, novel organism potentially discovered, significant impact on current evolutionary phylogeny, zoology and other fields involving potentially millions of man-hours of new research". If we accept the crypto-organism origin and are wrong, the implications are "investigative time spent, significant impact on current evolutionary phlogeny, zoology and other fields involving potentially millions of man-hours of new research, despite which novel organism not discovered". So in this case, we have to weight the requirements for evidence against acceptance. Essentially, the weighting on evidence required is set depending on the weighting of implications.

    Second, feeding into this decision making process, are the probabilities of correctness and incorrectness as assessed by the decision-maker based on evidence already accepted. In the case of the ambulance, most people driving will have previously encountered ambulances, will have heard their sirens and positively connected the two things as well as what they typically mean. They will probably not have frequently encountered hoaxers with sirens, though if they have this will of course change the weighting of probabilities to be more in favour of genuine ambulance origin. What about the crypto-organism case? Have the people making the decision previously been able to confidently connect such sounds with a given crypto-organism? Mostly, they have not. They may, on the other hand, have directly connected the sounds with other known phenomena. So this will weight the probabilities against the crypto-organism origin being correct during their decision-making.

    I hope that this may help you to understand why differening circumstances and propositions require differing rigors of evidence.
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  20. #19  
    Forum Professor WVBIG's Avatar
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    Actually, the reason for bringing up the siren is because a siren is a recognizable sound & so is a Coyote vocalization. I actually believe Mr. Steenburg's claim of seeing Coyotes making the sounds once thought to belong to Bigfoot. I also once listened to a sound recorded by a researcher in Oregon who thought for sure he had captured a Bigfoot vocalization, & recognized it as a red fox vocalization. I lived in the country until I was almost 19. I told the researcher in a chatroom that it was a red fox and he said red fox had already been ruled out. Another person in the chatroom asked how red fox was ruled out and he said his friend told him it wasn't a fox. That's hardly grounds for ruling something out. Especially when more than one person thought it was a red fox. I heard another that was just footsteps. Being an avid deer hunter, I immediately recognized it as a deer. I'm not one to immediately assume "Bigfoot" unless all other known possibilities have been satisfactorally ruled out
    Steven
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  21. #20  
    Veracity Vigilante inow's Avatar
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    Today's XKCD reminded me of this thread. As always, be sure to click the link and view the hover message.



    http://xkcd.com/718/
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  22. #21  
    Time Lord
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    Quote Originally Posted by WVBIG
    2)The other vocalizations that you are so quick to dismiss as inhalant snifffing kids, were recorded in the early 1970's. So current stats on sniffers don't really apply. Also, as far as I know, there were no Native American reservations in the area. They were recorded in a remote area of the Sierra Nevada mountains & have been analyzed repeatedly & not been recognized
    Since you live in a small N. American town and avidly explore the bush, I'll guess that like me you've often stumbled over evidence of tramps. Know what I mean? Torn tarps & broken bottles, decaying mattresses & used syringes. And people have been huffing inhalants (e.g. paint thinner, gasoline) in the bush since prohibition times.

    First thing an inhalant does is screw up the vocal cords, then it hits the brain in a rush. I've heard the sounds these people emit, first hand: they're raw, animal sounds. Whooping it up on moonshine doesn't begin to describe. One doesn't like to believe such animal vocalizations are coming from a human being.

    So here you have a certainty that homeless people are shifting through this same wilderness where bigfoot is believed to skulk. No shortage of these in the early 70's either. Then you have a certainty that some of them are solvent abusers, and emitting half-human vocalizations. Moreover, if some of them represent local failures of the community there is very good motive to prevaricate about just what that noise in the woods is.

    Better explanation, isn't it?
    A pong by any other name is still a pong. -williampinn
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  23. #22  
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    No. Never found or heard of anyone else ever finding any evidence of people living in the woods around here. No evidence of inhalant sniffers going to the woods either. Never been any alleged Bigfoot vocalizations recorded around here either though. I will however, post about your theory on a few Yahoo groups & forums about Bigfoot to see if anyone knows of an inhalant sniffer problem in areas where vocalizations have been recorded to see what people have to say. Who knows? Maybe a corrolation will become apparent
    Steven
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