The Alabaster Sock

We Will Fight the Threat with Fighting

Posted by Matt on March 17, 2011

One of the many things I have to come to realize as a recovering follower of Cryptozoology is just how backwards most of these paranormal research people are, in scientific terms. Most of the hobby Cryptozoologists, UFOlogists, ghost hunters, and yes, even the religious, come into their respective fields with a predetermined idea of what they are looking for. And that doesn’t work.

I mean, every Bigfoot searcher knows it’s an 8-foot tall bipedal primate with brown hair and a combination of features from both humans and non-human apes, right? And the Loch Ness Monster is obviously a surviving Plesiosaur, right? These are the preconceptions I’m talking about. The fact is, there’s no way of knowing that much about either of these things with whatever little evidence the enthusiasts scrounge up, minus eye witness testimony, which is never reliable.

These assumptions are sometimes referred to as phylogenetic roulette. It’s a fairly rampant thing, and it’s simply a case of the conclusion being made before proper evidence is discovered. As the post explained, you can’t just look at a photo of a supposed sea monster skeleton and say “Hey look…it’s a living marine reptile!” and then include all these traits that one simply cannot know given the evidence they provide.

This can, of course, be attributed to the fact that most of the people involved in these are of the ‘hobby’ set, and don’t know how to properly classify a damn thing. And this in turn leads to even more ‘hobbyists’ going out and looking for the same thing the previously people described, leading either to disappointment or, in a desperate attempt to avoid disappointment, the ‘hunters’ being tricked by their own preconceptions and ‘finding’ whatever it is they were looking for, whether or not they actually found it. So there’s where the mass delusion comes from.

You could probably approach some of these things from a scientific angle without it being a complete waste of time, although I suspect that would probably suck the fun out of it for most people. I mean, who wants to “investigate some unknown phenomenon that may or may nor be real, but even if it is real we don’t know what it is and need to steadily gather data and then test our hypothesis to see if it holds water”? Nope, you want to know what you’re after, even if what you’re after is just some bullshit someone made up on the spot, or stole from a movie.

Biology isn’t opposed to finding new species, which a lot of hobbyists seem to be convinced they are, and actually find new species all the time. It’s just not the ones they want them to find; they want prehistoric monsters that still exist even though that wouldn’t make sense. But that seems stupid to me, too. If we want to believe in the Loch Ness Monster, why not believe that the Loch Ness Monster is a completely new species? That, I think, should be the base assumption for this kind of thing. Then you don’t know what to look for, and you’re more likely to find actual evidence, instead of just ignoring stuff that doesn’t match a preconceived notion.

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