Originally published on July 17, 2013
See update below.
I have to say… this is an interesting piece. I wish I could have been in this conversation.
Rogan, a former martial artist and current Ultimate Fighting Championship color guy, is a compact, muscular, hairless-pated hominid deeply attuned to his inner monkey. Having emerged from sitcom acting (Hardball, NewsRadio) and reality-TV hosting (seven seasons of Fear Factor), Rogan now hosts a twice-weekly three-hour talk show, The Joe Rogan Experience, where he frequently evangelizes about pot and psychedelics and the Altered States–style isolation tank he keeps in the basement of his home north of Los Angeles. This month on Syfy, he’s launching Joe Rogan Questions Everything, an unscripted X-Files in which he’ll alternately channel Mulder and Scully as he investigates topics ranging from black-helicopter crazy (chem trails) to actual, secret government-research programs (weaponized weather, remote viewing).
He’s in New York for a conference on transhumanism, and while here, he’s getting in an interview for the TV show with Todd Disotell, a fiftyish biological anthropologist with a Mohawk, an impressive collection of aged whiskey, and an office door crowded with stickers that say things like HONK! IF YOU UNDERSTAND PUNCTUATED EQUILIBRIUM. Disotell has become a go-to talking head for TV producers looking to inject some reality into the Bigfoot “debate.”
The article notes that Rogan is interested in all sides but will accept the answer even if it turns out to be crap. That’s a refreshing view. Too many paranormalists today are too attached to their ideas to let them go even when the evidence is CLEARLY not in their favor.
Rogan acknowledges: “You can’t fuck with science. What he said was pretty irrefutable. There’s a lot of fuckery, lots of muddy thinking.” But then he says to Disotell: “You didn’t disprove Bigfoot, you just disproved the evidence.”
Open-mindedness is most often used by pro-paranormalists as an excuse to believe completely unsupported things. That’s not helpful. There are many possible explanations for strange things and we might not be able to even find the right one. Yet, there are some explanations that are far too weak to take seriously except as imaginative speculation. I don’t like when baseless speculation is on the same stage as evidence-supported ideas. I’m interested to see the new Joe Rogan show (haven’t watched it yet) to see if he can and will cut through the bullshit. Skepticism is the best approach, that is, if you don’t want to be fooled. But I’ve seen too much conspiracy and paranormal hype cooked up in the media. It’s about time for a tough line. I can hope…
The Joe Rogan show premiers July 24 with the Bigfoot episode.
UPDATE: (25-Jul-2013) I watched the show and was not impressed. Joe started with people whom he touts as credible (because they are “Doctors”) but that means nothing. Their assessments do not mesh at all with what we know about the world and their opinions don’t hold much weight. But this did seem to sway viewers as I watched their reactions on Twitter. It did not seem to be a huge following so I don’t know that the ratings will be outstanding.
Joe traipses into the woods with Bigfoot hunters who offer the creature gifts. This was ridiculous and Joe seemed to convey that. He seemed affected by the portion on Bigfoot recordings. Funny that earlier yesterday, Dr. Karen Stolznow released her piece on Bigfoot language and how it is NOT impressive.
Viewers who are not aware of the MAJOR problems with these claims of evidence will be swayed by the show. This is annoying and how nearly every paranormal show is done these days. It’s the manipulative ploy of “you decide” but they give you skewed evidence. The only redeeming bit (other than Joe’s obvious skepticism at places) was Dr. Todd Disotell. He is not sympathetic to Bigfoot believers and for good reason – the data is not there when it comes to DNA samples. (Note: The Ketchum study was mentioned but not by name. It was REALLY annoying that this was not taken apart which would have made for a great buzz. But Melba lashed out at Dr. Disotell on Facebook as is her way. Go home Melba, you’re ridiculous.) He’s looked. He is unimpressed. I wish there was more reasonable thinking like his on the show. Because there wasn’t, it came off as disappointingly just another shallow Bigfoot believers show. Once again, Joe, call in the skeptics, we do a far better job of thinking through this stuff.