Skeptical MonsterScience.org Web site & Podcast Launched!

July 14, 2009

A new educational Web site about the science of monsters is now available.

Not monsters like Godzilla or The Blob or the Boogeyman, but (allegedly) real creatures such as Bigfoot and the Loch Ness monster. While some people dismiss these creatures as myth, the contributors to the site believe that the search for these animals is legitimate and worthwhile, because if they exist, they can tell us a lot about the world. (In fact if Bigfoot are related to humans, the discovery would rewrite our evolutionary history!)

If animals such as Bigfoot are out there, their existence will only be proven through good science—not by eyewitness reports, nor by fuzzy photos or video clips. Sightings and photos may be useful in leading to hard evidence, but they are not real evidence in and of themselves. (For more on this, see the article Cryptozoology and Eyewitness Testimony.) This is why we focus on the science behind the search.

MonsterScience.org was founded by a group of scientists and researchers. There are no real Bigfoot experts—anyone can call himself a Bigfoot expert or researcher, and one is about as good as the next. Instead, you can judge how good a researcher is by his or her credibility. Has he published articles or books on the topic? Are his arguments clear and logical? Does he do his research, and consider all points of view? Does he follow good scientific methods? Has he done any original investigation or research, or is he just another self-proclaimed expert?

Some of the contributors to MonsterScience are working scientists. Others have a strong scientific background but are basically interested laymen who have done research on the topics. You will find little or no ridicule here; at MonsterScience, ideas may be attacked, but people are not. As in science, theories and arguments stand or fall on their own merits.

The articles and information on MonsterScience.org are not the last word on the subject. There are no articles on this site that claim to prove or disprove the existence of Bigfoot. Science is always open to new information and new data, and the possibility (however remote) always exists that tomorrow or next month or next year, there will be new evidence. Scientific methods can prove that Bigfoot do exist, but they can never prove that they do not. Just as in our legal system, the burden of proof is on the claimant, those who say that these animals exist; it is not on skeptics or scientists to prove that they do not.

The premise of MonsterScience.org is simple: If these animals exist, there must be scientific evidence that proves it. The purpose of this Web site is to provide scientific and objective analysis of the evidence for and against unknown and mysterious creatures. We hope this site will be educational for students and the lay public who want to get past Bigfoot stories and get to what science says about the evidence.

There are hundreds of books, tens of thousands of newspaper and magazine articles, and likely hundreds of thousands of Web sites with information about these creatures. Indeed, there’s no shortage of material. What is almost always missing from these sources of information is credibility and balance. There is rarely a measured, skeptical or critical response.

  We also have a podcast called Monstertalk at http://www.monstertalk.org/wordpress/.  The first episode is now available:

Episode 001 of Monster Talk:

Our panel (Ben Radford, Dr. Karen Stollznow and Blake Smith) interview Professor Todd Disotell, PhD.  Todd has been a guest on multiple television shows to examine potential Bigfoot and Yeti DNA.  We ask him about the science of DNA analysis, his thoughts on cryptid-TV, and what he’s found in his studies.

We hope it will be a valuable resource for journalists, skeptics, and the lay public to get informed comment and analysis. Check it out and let us know what you think!

 

Comments:

#1 Badger3k (Guest) on Tuesday July 14, 2009 at 4:27pm

Where is the podcast?  This sounds like a great idea, but I couldn’t find a link, although I did find it in iTunes.

#2 gray1 on Wednesday July 15, 2009 at 3:32pm

I’m sooo jealous!  Apparently there are a great many people out there who either have a lot more free time than I do or else have managed to make some money in what, in the final analysis, amounts to the entertainment business. Regarding the Bigfoot question, if any still exist surely some redneck or regional equalivant thereof would have shot, field dressed and had it stuffed by now.

In my experience, any perceived attack on someone’s ideas is pretty well equal to at least an indirect attack on the perceived intelligence of the originator of such an idea, unless of course they’re making money at it in which case it’s actually quite ingenius.  That said, where there is funding available you’re sure to find plenty of well qualified people willing to delve into the question at hand.  Yes, jealous describes it nicely.

#3 Jedischooldropout (Guest) on Thursday July 16, 2009 at 12:01pm

Just listened to the first podcast.

Looking forward to more.

Was anyone pimping this at TAM?  How did I miss it?

#4 online degree (Guest) on Thursday July 30, 2009 at 6:23pm

If animals such as Bigfoot are out there, their existence will only be proven through good science—not by eyewitness reports, nor by fuzzy photos or video clips. Sightings and photos may be useful in leading to hard evidence, but they are not real evidence in and of themselves.online degree

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