Lately, there has been much commentary in the news about the poor science and scholarship in the field of cryptozoology. Specifically, we have what appears to be a setup from the Yeti conference recently held in Russia, some “scientists” proclaiming rather unscientific (i.e., supernatural) explanations for large unknown primates, many places capitalizing on stories that are unverifiable just to draw in tourists and visitors, and general backstabbing and name calling across the web.
It’s pretty awful.
I’m writing this editorial to point to another clear illustration of disappointing scholarship.
If you look at the comments to this post, you will see that I (idoubtit) have tried to explain the position I hold with regards to being a skeptic. While many visitors here ARE of the skeptical mindset, I also hope to draw in those who may have other information and viewpoints and allow them to offered their ideas in a way that they can be heard, without censoring, without name calling.
Today, I noticed I was included in a post from a parody tabloid website called the Boiling Brook Babbler. I was well aware it was a humor site and flattered that the author chose me to represent the skeptic side. It was all in good fun. He manufactured a silly quote from my “spokesperson”.
Shortly thereafter, Loren Coleman of the Cryptomundo website picked up on the story, presumably from my Tweet, and wrote a post about it.
Today, I came across one of those amazingly revealing quotations that look deeply into the mind of a scoftic. – Loren Coleman on Cryptomundo
It’s archived here (Editor: page does not work in Chrome). This is the same person who in the previously mentioned set of comments called himself a skeptic and said I didn’t get his humor. I guess not.
Note: There is a bit of a history between Loren, Cryptomundo and I which plays out on my other blog, Doubtful. I want to keep this brief so won’t go into it here.
As I read the CM post, I realized first that Loren was engaging in public defamation, for kicks, posting my photo and associating me with a viewpoint I did not hold. (The Babbler site clearly states it is fiction.) I’m not sure what the ultimate intent of the post was.
It would be fair to assume that I would not like such portrayal.
But, I LOVED it.
It clearly illustrated how base and shallow the Cryptomundo blog content is. To revel in name calling and to swallow a hoax whole served as evidence for why one should not listen to every self-styled expert. It was also an illustration of the attempt to get attention by instigating disputes instead of promoting the field in a positive way.
While I sometimes lose my temper, as we all will when frustrated on occasion, I strive to address the issue, never ridicule the person. I truly want to hear other points of view. So, in the spirit of peer review, I have criticized the CM content. However, I can’t manage to do it directly on the Cryptomundo site since comments are edited and sometimes not posted at all. Nearly everything that calls the given interpretation into question disappears. And yet they ridicule me…
I fully subscribe to the idea that being surrounded by bobble-headed “yes” men (or women) is a wrong-headed path. You never learn, you never understand. We all must accept criticism in order to grow. Paranormal and cryptozoological research has no set peer review process and so it suffers, stagnant, and gets labeled a pseudoscience.
So, I’m not out to ridicule, as the Cryptomundians often enjoy doing to skeptics, or “scoftics” as they call me. I invite comments on this matter, private or public. I conclude by saying the purpose of this blog is to draw attention to stories that people BELIEVE are true or are confused about what is known and unknown. We may have a skeptical bent (which I think is a positive thing) but we are not closed to suggestion or additional information. And, though I might disagree with your interpretation, I won’t ever disparage your personal (seemingly paranormal) experience.
I admit, I got a big laugh out of today’s events because they seemed so absurd. Even though this was not the first time I noticed Loren’s less than careful, biased interpretation, I was a bit surprised by how unprofessional it played out today.
People really believe this stuff!!!. Be skeptical.
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