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Sunday, 14 July 2019

WAITING FOR AN ALIBI

Whilst trawling through some recent photos of pareidolia faces in bushes, funny stick shapes, serpentine bow waves, plesiosaurid looking logs and other bits of so-called, 'evidence' online, I suddenly had a moment of clarity...
Paredoilia - Thom Quine
[CC BY 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)]

In a flash, I saw myself from above; earnestly peering down at these peevish and cynically presented photos, as though staring at these magic eye mysteries might manifest my desired monster and prove once and for all that it pays to be among the faithful!

But alas, no! What I in fact saw, was nothing more than the manifestation of a moribund pseudo-religious projection of a guru-esque self-validating science, that had insidiously inserted faith into what should otherwise be an enterprise based upon a factual foundation!  

I wondered, how did we get here? Was the mainstream media commercialisation of cryptozoology responsible or more likely, our current love of likes, AdWords and donate now buttons, that keep the research going, but inevitably create a demand for 'daily evidence' that could never possibly be morally fulfilled.

Historically, human encounters with the alleged 'undiscovered animals' of our world are rare, even for those peoples who inhabit the locales of these supposed beasts, who might only be lucky enough to get one glimpse in an entire lifetime, often spent living within the borders of its monstrous lair! 

So, by definition, a regular communication with the local 'Forest People' or an ability to magically raise the 'Monster from the Lake', should be regarded as nothing more than what it claims to be - Which is a bawdy slight of hand, akin to men who wear capes and pull rabbits out of hats, at children's parties!

Of course, I do not mean to say that there is no evidence, for certainly there have been myriad examples of footprints, film and faeces, that are somewhat hard to refute; but, as far as a running commentary on an ever-increasing pillar of proof is concerned, well let's just say that 'likes' are not currently trusted as good empirical evidence.

So, is there a future for us? More importantly, will we ever attain a credible standing where it counts most - among those professionally engaged in mainstream Life Science? I think not!

Nevertheless, the fringe is there for a reason, to absorb the reputational risk that others are unwilling or unable to take and hopefully, in taking that big leap, to discover something new & hitherto unknown to science.

If we are to honour this call, we must self-police, self school and become self-made citizen scientists, intolerant of our own confirmation bias, as all, but the most brutal sceptic would be.  

Cryptozoology is an exciting arena, filled with curiosity and populated largely with an earnest desire to prove the impossible and add more to the wonder of our world - let's keep it that way!

By Andrew McGrath


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3 comments:

  1. One statement that really stands out is "demand for daily evidence". Part of that I blame on the so-named "reality tv". The public is being spoon fed these alleged real tv shows in which the claim is made that it is reality. And then the producers, in pursuit of high ratings, conjure "results" every week. It is not real and it is not realistic. And that in turn spawns an unrealistic expectation among novice viewers and new "researchers" who feel that they must find "something/anything" every time they walk into the woods. Everything outside becomes bigfoot.

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  2. Excellent points made, by the way. Things that all involved in cryptid and paranormal research should keep in mind. Thank you.

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  3. I tend to find if you are blatantly out looking for something you rarely find it. Most witness report's were totally by accident they came across something unexpected. Now with smart phones and especially dash cams I'm hoping something substantial gets captured on film that can be used as evidence but if i unexpectedly stumbled on something that could potentially be threatening the last thing i would be contemplating would be let me take a quick snap of this thing before it snaps me in two. I still live in hope we get decent proof somehow though.

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