Sunday, February 24, 2013

Please Show Us The WHOLE Sequencing Data!

4-21-13 UPDATE IV

"For those of you who think the "Angel DNA" conversation with Dr. Melba Ketchum released yesterday is photoshopped, here's the truth from the person who released it. Bigfootology.com's Rhetman Mullis had urged Dr. Melba Ketchum to "do the right thing" and collaborate with other scientists such as Dr. Sykes to ensure her methodology and science was sound. In early 2012, after submitting samples and having long conversations with Ketchum, Rhetman realized that there was a problem and found Ketchum's conclusions highly "questionable". Here's a statement from Rhettman Mullis regarding Dr. Melba Ketchum and why he chose to release his conversations with her:"

I was privy to this information shortly after it happened and it is one of the main reasons many of us had so many doubts about her credibility before her self-publication of unsubstantiated "data" took place 2 months ago.

Read More at Bigfoot Evidence: Rhettman Mullis Explains The Release of His Conversation With Dr. Melba Ketchum

2-28-13 UPDATE III: 

The complete Report on the Sierra Site Sample now in!

History of “Sierra Kills” Tissue Submission & Testing (Frozen & Salt-Cured Tissue)
- By Bart Cutino 

"As I’ve stated previously in my summary attachment to our Trent University report regarding the “circumstantial” Sierras tissue, our objective and responsibility to the public, fellow researchers, the hunter/submitters and frankly ourselves, was to independently contract multiple labs to screen this sample as a precautionary measure and hopefully rule out “all” potential North American mammalian candidate contributors." Continue Here

2-26-13 UPDATE II:  

Breaking News!  Real Geneticist who has analyzed the available Ketchum "Sequencing" says it is a combination of human chromosome 11, cat, dog and panda bear, amongst other things, and is the result of contamination/mixing and poor technique. Watch 6 real Scientists discuss all aspects of her self publication here:


 
UPDATE:  Many of you have been citing the small sequences of genomic data that Ketchum included in one of her "supplements" as the sequencing I am calling for.  This is just a small amount which she has removed from the whole genomic context, an amount far too small to prove her claims of having completed the entire genomic sequencing on several individuals of a new species, individuals who supposedly differ enough from all other known species to be a new, or hybrid one, but which resemble each other enough to be considered the same "novel species".  The small nucleotide region/s she has included do not prove what she is asserting.  As an example it would be like someone saying their address is 123, so they must be the person who lives at 123 Street Name, City, State, Zip Code, without showing that the person does indeed live at the same street, city, and state.  

Small sequences could just be a mutation/difference in one individual, but which would not make them a new species.  We all have these differences, that is why each individual's DNA is like a fingerprint, no two are exactly alike except in the case of identical twins, as they derive from the same egg/sperm combination so their DNA is shared before they split from one another.  This is why DNA evidence is taken so seriously in a court of law.  She needs to turn over these full sequencing genomes to qualified geneticists to have them confirmed.  Dr. Meldrum and Dr. Sykes would be glad to assist with this I am sure, so her argument that she can't do so because the "mainstream" does not take her seriously is a clear fallacy.  

I have added some new articles below as well! 


A review of the latest opinions on the DNA Results, including the Sierras Evidence Initiative's disclosure on their sample which was included in the Ketchum study!  (See Below)


Data Processing
Well for all of you who have been trying to keep up with everything surrounding the release of the Ketchum "Paper", below are links to many of the latest evaluations by credible sources.  Once I am all moved and have gotten settled into my new job I am hoping that Ketchum herself will have finally released the "Amazing Data" related to her supposed Bigfoot Genome Sequencing.  Then at last some real analysis can begin on whether or not she has succeeded, as her non-peer reviewed self-publication has claimed.  It is 12 days now since her paper was self-published and still no sign of that actual new "genomic" data.

I had hoped wholeheartedly over the last 2 years that she would accomplish what she had been promising, despite all the behind the scenes stories I was hearing from my friends and colleagues who were working with her, and who were becoming very concerned with her credibility.  Not only because of the way she seemed to be milking her study for cash, but because of the bizarre religious connotations she was making about what her study would prove.  These claims changed depending on who she was talking to and what they wanted to hear, but some of the claims where that "they" had either alien or angelic DNA present.......The last we heard from her on Coast to Coast Radio was that she was abandoning her DNA work to do further research at her "Habituation Site" (should be right around 52min 25sec in the Interview).


Genomic Sequencing
Personally I don't care what Sasquatch turn out to be or where they actually fit into our family tree, I just want to know the TRUTH about what they are.  I was hoping we would see some real science to back up all the witness reports and personal experiences which make up the current circumstantial evidence for the likely existence of the Sasquatch species, whatever that species turns out to be.  Sadly no one has yet to accomplish this feat, and I can only keep on hoping that Dr. Skyes at Oxford does produce irrefutable data that we can all celebrate in it's accuracy and legitimacy!  

You can read about the Scientific Process here, and hopefully get an idea of how and why the Ketchum study has so far failed to adhere to these standards, let alone release the actual sequencing data, leading to the grave disappointment of so many of us who understand why it should have been so important to do so:  What Is Science And Is It Important To Bigfoot?.  After all she has circumvented the actual Journalistic Peer Review Process by publishing her own data (Sorry folks but there is no evidence of the legitimate Journal she claims to have bought, and why would she do that and then obliterate all record of it's past publications and Academic Review Board????), yet she is now claiming she can't release her sequencing due to Genbank's discrepancies not her own, so why not just Self-Publish your Sequencing data too Dr. Ketchum?  Show us the "Meat" that your claims are based on, or perhaps I should say "Steak"......

I still hold out some hope that something can be salvaged from all this, as so many good and legitimate people were involved in the sample collection and funding of this project.  But until her actual sequencing data is seen I remain unconvinced of anything but her lack of professionalism, which is all that the news stories quoted below have had to base their opinions on as well:

2-14-13

Dr. Meldrum's first statement on how the DNA paper was released:
 
[JEFF SPEAKING] The journal was created on a GoDaddy template on Feb 4, by a third party, with a one-year contract. There is no information about who is editing the "journal" or who the members of an editorial board might be. I queried the contact feature on this matter but have received no reply. This does not appear to be a refereed journal. It appears to merely be a front for a self-published report. The sequences have not been uploaded to Genbank.  

Project Sasquatch

2-14-13 

“It’s clearly a fake Vanity Journal with lots of ShutterStock pictures, misspellings and it was only created on 2/4/13. I’ve only read the abstract and conclusion and neither makes any sense.”

More at SciGuy

2-14-13

"She remained silent for the last two months before finally posting a link to her paper on an online journal called ‘Denovo Scientific Journal.' The only problem is the journal did not exist before 9 days ago! It was literally created to self-publish her material, basically circumventing the peer-review process. She later explained her reason for doing this was because of "scientific bias" among the journals she submitted to. So, instead of sending complementary copies to genetic specialists to garner some kind of credibility, she has opted to send them to independent Bigfoot researchers--the direct opposite of peer-review. That's like giving cotton candy to a child; of course they are going to like it. Everyone else who wants to read the paper has to pay her $30. Most journals charge "per article" prices for those without a university proxy, but what I find most troubling about the situation is that Ketchum's DNA sequencing company is tanking. It currently has a rating of "F" from the Better Business Bureau. This has led some people to speculate that she dreamed the paper up to rake in cash from Bigfoot enthusiasts."
 
More at Research Gate 

2-15-13

On behalf of myself and The Olympic Project, I'd really like to clarify a few things about the Ketchum paper and the Denovo Journal. Let me make this very clear. Our role in this effort was simply to provide samples for this study. We did indeed supply many samples including hair, tissue and saliva. I have been in support of her effort since the beginning because I was extremely happy that someone stood up and was willing to take this on with hopes of bettering BF research. Our part in this was simple. We gathered samples, submitted them and sat back with high hopes. Beyond that, we have nothing to do with the way the paper came out, and we have nothing to do with how it's structured. We are simply submitters. I have been receiving many phone calls and pm messages with a large variety of questions and inquiries. Folks, I can't answer all these questions. They are not my questions to answer, please refer to Melbas team. My personal submission was the Sierra sample. Genome sequencing was performed on this sample at Texas university. It's my hope that the test results from this analysis can now be looked at by qualified eyes in the scientific community and more can be learned about it.

Thank you,
Derek Randles.
Olympic Project


2-15-13 


"It would be a huge story if all the work done by Ketchum and her team ultimately leads to scientific confirmation of the reality of Sasquatch. But at this point, the new wrinkles about the DeNovo Science Journal have only added to the credibility issues by a foot or two -- a Bigfoot."

"However, geneticists who have seen the paper are not impressed. “To state the obvious, no data or analyses are presented that in any way support the claim that their samples come from a new primate or human-primate hybrid," Leonid Kruglyak of Princeton University told the Houston Chronicle. “Instead, analyses either come back as 100 percent human, or fail in ways that suggest technical artifacts.”


More at "The Scientist"


2-19-13

"To make an end-run around the process by erecting a facade in the form of a so-called new journal and allege that it is edited and reviewed, without providing any of that information on the public web page, it appears that she has undertaken an effort to self-publish, just to get it out there," Meldrum told The Huffington Post. "And, to boot, she's charging $30 a pop for a copy of the paper."
 
"The issue(s) as I see it is the way the study has been conducted and presented. Science has no room for cloak and dagger behind the curtain secrecy. There have been numerous inconsistencies, if not flat out lies, obvious signs of an agenda being pushed, and now what seems to be profiteering taking place. NDA's, copyrights for book and film deals, viewing fees, teaser clips of videos, business contracts, financial partnerships, I fail to see how these are normal and acceptable parts of a non-biased scientific inquiry."


2-21-13

"The DeNovo Scientific Journal has no other studies, articles, papers or reviews, and only Ketchum’s paper has been “published” by the journal, NBC News pointed out. It also is not subscribed to by any major library or university, and its website apparently didn’t exist until three weeks ago. In the words of LiveScience’s Benjamin Radford, “It is not an existing, known or respected journal in any sense of the word.”

More at Time Magazine

2-23-13

The Sierras Initiative Information Release:


The Sierras Site Initiative led by Bart Cutino posts a statement about why they felt the need to do independent testing of the circumstantial Smeja sample:  Thank you Justin Smeja for respecting Wally Hersom's wishes that you not speak out about your experience with Ketchum until after she had taken her study to it's conclusion.

The Sierra Sites DNA report and full data which conflicts with the Ketchum claims:

2-23-13

Listen as Jeffrey Kelley addresses the Ketchum claims of sample discrepancy:











2-24-13

"It couldn’t be that the paper STARTED with the premise that Sasquatch is real and the data she collected now PROVES that. There are lines of evidence that show she had already come up with her hypothesis long before she was able to “confirm” it through these nuDNA results. That would be sham inquiry to me – when you already have the answer in mind and work backwards. It’s not good science."

"Science is a tough gauntlet to run. She complained about the time it took, how picky everyone was, the skepticism she got. I don’t have much sympathy. That’s how it goes. It’s not the best system but it’s the best one we have right now to weed out all the trash. If you want the respect from the scientific community, you must do these annoying and tedious things. And squarely face your critics. Instead, Melba has chosen to plead her case to the sympathetic pro-Bigfoot audience, like the audience of Coast to Coast AM. Twice. Some advice: that is exactly the LAST thing you should be doing to gain credibility. Science isn’t done on late night radio and Facebook. It doesn’t take a scientist to tell you that. But many Bigfooters can see that this is certainly NOT what they hoped from the promises of this DNA study."

Read more at Doubtful News

2-24-13

"Ketchum referenced the Milinkovitch paper as circumstantial evidence of Sasquatch across the modern world for centuries and the referenced literature is incontrovertible proof of their existence.

There's only one problem with the paper she cited. It's a damn April jokes from 2004. Apparently, the paper is well-known to many students and it is often brought up as one of the best known April Fools jokes in research literature. This is even noted in the paper itself:"


Read more at Bigfoot Evidence

2-24-13

"Or, long story short: what happened, in the period immediately preceding the appearance of the JAMEZ on about Jan. 4, 2013, that could have suddenly lit a very hot fire under Dr. Ketchum, causing her to seemingly rush into a bizarre and poorly-executed succession of “journals” and self-publication?"

" On December 26, one Tyler Huggins published, on several sites, the results of independent testing of what has been called the centerpiece of Dr. Ketchum’s paper, sample #26, aka The Sierra Steak, collected by Justin Smeja. Why, you ask, would this have upset Dr. Ketchum’s often-stated determined plan to have her paper published in a quality peer-reviewed scientific journal? Let’s list the ways:  

Read this extensive list here at Over the line, Smokey!

2-25-13

"We pulled out some of Dr. Kokjohn's questions, but also provided the email from Dr. Kokjohn so you can see the questions in context.

  1. What happened to the original founder species?
  2. The Hybrids are abundant, yet the founder species is extinct?
  3. How could a hypothetical species so close to modern humans to interbreed and produce viable, fertile offspring not share homology to the same entities in their extended family?
  4. Where did the sequences not in GenBank originate?
Dr. Kokjohn added, "I am not impressed with the data I have seen, but from that I draw no conclusions regarding the existence or non-existence of Bigfoot."

It should be noted we reached out to Dr. Melba Ketchum to see if she had any insight to any of these questions; we gave her ample time to respond and she did not have a comment at the time of this post." 


Read more at The Bigfoot Lunch Club



From My 2-12-13 "On My Mind Right Now" Page

Tuesday, February 12th, 2013:

Has Ketchum Committed Professional Suicide?
 
Well Melba Ketchum has just hammered the last nail into the coffin of her scientific credibility. She has created a website posing as a real Scientific Journal in order to publish her own paper without any actual review or corroboration from other members of the Academic Community.  This is not how legitimate data becomes part of our scientific knowledge base.  This is how those who practice Pseudoscience operate.  Read about the announcement here: Bigfoot Evidence

This, "Denovo A Scientific Journal", is a brand new website with no history of actual publications. I can find no record of this being a real "Journal" or any past issues or papers from other authors that have been published by them.  She has just created this as a way to fool the naive into thinking she has been accepted by a real peer reviewed journal.

Anyone can make up a fake Journal on a new Website and publish anything they want. This proves nothing except that she is the fraud all of us who have been practicing critical thinking have come to believe she was months ago......

Registered through: GoDaddy.com, LLC (http://www.godaddy.com/) Domain Name: DENOVOJOURNAL.COM Created on: 04-Feb-13 Expires on: 04-Feb-14 Last Updated on: 04-Feb-13
 


Ding Dong the Fraud has just committed professional suicide.  Long live Dr Sykes..........

Read about pseudoscience and why real peer review is imperative to real science here:  What Is Science And Is It Important To Bigfoot? 

UDATE - The Scientific Community is weighing in:

From  SciGuy - A science blog with Eric Berger  

"If Ketchum really had the goods she would have co-authored the paper with reputable scientists and gotten the work published in a reputable scientific journal. Instead she’s playing to an audience that doesn’t understand how science works, that wants to believe Bigfoot exists and is willing to send her some cash to further their delusions."  

________________________________________________________________________
From scienceblogs.com
 
"How did she get it published?

Well, she says she bought an existing journal and renamed it (the Journal of Cosmology was on the market, and I hoped most fervently that that was it…but no, JoC is still online). So she owns the journal. It’s now called De Novo.

Then she came out with a special edition. It’s Volume 1, Issue 1. It contains precisely one paper, hers.

You should be laughing by this point."  
________________________________________________________________________
From Doubtful News:

"We finally see the other authors, at least. Note that none are academics, but forensic specialists. Problem one.

Problem two: This is a brand new journal. Was it launched JUST for this paper? Well, this is an interesting and HIGHLY SUSPICIOUS twist. We do not know what the standards are for review. There are no rules for starting up your own journal and calling it “peer reviewed”. And, indeed, that’s what was done

Problem three: The paper costs $30 to download. No academic institution is going to have access to a new journal site so they will have to pay to review it. Some Bigfoot bloggers have received embargoed copies. Bigfoot bloggers. With NO scientific qualifications. I have yet to see any genetic specialists comment on the paper but it’s very early and I expect some will. I have requested access to the paper.

Problem four: Excuses. Check this out from the Sasquatch Genome Project page

My initial opinions of this latest news? It’s a fiasco. It’s unprofessional and disappointing. The websites are amateurish, the goals are delusional and it smacks of a self-serving money-making venture. Melba has positioned herself as a self-named expert with additional projects set up to collect funds and protect an animal she insists exists. It has not been confirmed, contrary to her opinion that she has “proven” it."


Review

Friday, February 22, 2013

Rictor Riolo Artist & Host of After Hours With Team Tazer!

 
Guest Post!
 
Host Rictor Riolo's Thoughts on the Team Tazer Matt Moneymaker Event: (Watch Below)

Tonight my dream Bigfoot dream come true. Well one of them at least, the one that doesn't involve Bart Cutino.  :-/

I was able to talk to Matt Moneymaker, the star of from Animal Planet's Finding Bigfoot and president of the BFRO (Bigfoot Field Research Organization). I had originally wanted to interview him back when I was working with a blogradio host last summer and tried really hard to get him to do our show. No such luck. Then time goes by and I become 100% affiliated with a Bigfoot Facebook/multimedia group called Team Tazer and I created a webcast with my friends Bigfoot glass pendant making Tammy Murray and Team Tazer Zoologist Nadia Moore.  We would interview Tazer members who have had Bigfoot eyewitness accounts and our goal was to make the webcast like the TV show "The View", by making it conversational, fluid--- not rigid, for the fans BY THE FANS. Well thanks to our hard work, we are a success!

I could not have done it without my girls Tammy and Nadia and our bosses Michael Merchant and Ro Sahebi. Shawn Evidence has been a great contributor and help to us as well and we owe him a lot.  Our Tazer friends mean a lot to us and we consider everyone family. ♥Bart Cutino♥, Jeffrey Kelley, Steve Alcorn, Kathy Villareal, Dax Rushlow, Sally Petri, Christopher York, Phil Poling, Todd Hale, Lupe Mendoza, Damian Bravo, Kipp Morrill, Melissa Adair, Justin Smeja, Winona Alexis, just to name a few. If I leave your name out, please forgive me.

Well thanks to Sweet Sassy Glassy Tammy Murray, we were able to get Mr. Moneymaker on and make our webcast an event unlike any other. Thank you Tammy, you not only came through for me, but you came through for everyone here at Team Tazer.  As Ro Sahebi put it, "THIS WAS A FIRST!" We had 30 minutes to get ready! Tammy threw her makeup on, I texted Nadia "Call me right now!!!!! Matt Moneymaker is ready!" and I get the graphics and links prepared for Shawn's site... in that short time frame I was able to garner a few questions from our Tazer friends for the show.

Matt is a hard fish to catch. Bigfooting is a very intense, sometimes volatile group with many different opinions coming from all sorts of walks of life - that - at the end of the day - are able to come together, and share their tremendous passion for Bigfoot.  However, being Team Tazer, we will call people out on their shit. People that threaten others, lie, hoax, discredit, and ruin any chance of Bigfoot being truly recognized by science. As Tazer members we ask questions. We are naturally skeptical. We take people on their word (like Justin Smeja) until they are shown to be hoaxers or liars. Your word is golden. If you say you are going to do something, you better do it. Well Matt Moneymaker gave Tammy his word to do our show... and he did. Matt is gold to us. He did not have to do our show. He could have canceled due to traffic. He could have done Coast to Coast AM if he wanted.  We are small time here.  We are not high end broadcasters. We make Bigfoot content to entertain and have fun with the subject.  Our Tazer audience is over 700.  And yet he took the time to do our little show.
So the show starts and we are about to go live when we notice we are unable to call Matt Moneymaker from our Google+ hangout. That function is only available for private hangouts, not webcasts that are broadcast on air/live. What do we do? It is now 6:25 and Matt is waiting for our call... so I pull out my iPhone and call him using the speaker phone function and we get the show going. It isn't high tech, and wasn't the best in audio quality but the show must go on! Right? So we made do. Matt was originally going to give us 20 minutes.  He gave us 90 minutes!

 I said in the interview that he is the voice of our Bigfoot generation!  He takes Bigfooting seriously and is the backbone of every serious researcher out there.  It is because of him that Sasquatch be taken seriously and not by some do it yourself DNA Kit researcher, or an attention starved socially retarded hoaxer.  He is the real deal folks. He gave us the BFRO and it's invaluable database of sightings.  There are a lot of egos out there in Bigfooting and even though some say he may have one, he deserves to have one. He has done more for Bigfooting than you or I.  Aside from the BFRO website and expeditions, he is educating people that are not researchers with his show Finding Bigfoot. He is literally the voice of Bigfooting. Go ahead, call me an ass kisser, this is just my opinion. And if you call me an ass kisser, say it right. I'm a reach-around kinda guy.

(Photo: Neo Edwards)
 Seriously, we do not kiss ass at Team Tazer. Instead we usually smack it or spank it.  And then hold it out for the world to see just what an ass you are.  Tazer isn't well liked for a lot of reasons. I know for one reason it's because we ask the hard questions. We don't hold back.  Matt answered every question we asked.  From the Erickson footage of Matilda, to Ketchum's DNA three-ring circus, to hoaxers, theories on eye shine, Bigfoot behavior, and so much more.  We owe him a lot.  I owe him a thank you.  I also owe him a nice drawing because as you all know, I have drawn him in so many ways... some funny and some naughty.  

Matt is my Bigfoot hero tonight and he should be yours as well.  He isn't in it for fame and fortune, he is in it for the legitimate acknowledgment of the species.  And tonight he showed that and hopefully you were able to get that from him as well.  I know I did.   Rictor Riolo


 And don't miss Episode 3 with Finding Bigfoot's Cliff Barackman!




 Thanks Rictor and Tammy!!!

Saturday, February 2, 2013

What Is Science And Is It Important To Bigfoot?

Bigfoot DNA Sequenced In Upcoming Genetics Study

In light of the recent claims regarding the genetic origins of the creature we call Bigfoot, which have not, to date, been backed up by the release or publication of any legitimate data or the corroborating opinion of any other scientist privy to this data, I thought it important to present a little information on how those of us who work in mainstream science are trained and why any claim of scientific fact must first stand up to the steps of Scientific Methodology and the Peer Review Process.   

Is Science even important to Bigfoot?  Well obviously Bigfoot don’t care if what we are doing is scientific or not, in fact unless we are directly affecting their food, family or territory, I don’t think they give us a lot of thought at all other than how to avoid us.  But to those of us who spend an unbelievable amount of time thinking about THEM, especially in the pursuit of evidence or proof of their existence, it should be very important.  I am not going to talk about the mechanics of fieldwork and sample collection, there are a lot more experienced people than I who have covered this topic, instead I am going to attempt to convey why the process of the “Scientific Method” is paramount to any attempt at moving this pursuit into the world of mainstream society and academia.  Of course if you are only concerned with your own personal encounter/s or experience/s, whatever those may entail, then you are not interested in the scientific process.  But if you want to share your experiences with others specifically to try to convince them of the reality of this species, or to make claims of fact about them, then you need to understand why many are not just going to take your word for it without something substantial to back up your stories.  Because without proper documentation or evidence even the most honest and believable person is left with only their word, which may prove compelling but is still only going to amount to a story.  We may believe you as a person or a friend, and your stories could become valuable to the record of anecdotal evidence, but when it comes to proving anything to the skeptics or the professional academic community, someone’s word or belief is simply not going to cut it. 


Bigfoot Size
So what is "Science"? 

The process of science is iterative: Meaning that it is a repetitive process designed to allow one to reach a goal or result by going back and building upon what one has already uncovered in order to dig further and further until everything that is possible to be known has been revealed.

“Science circles back on itself so that useful ideas are built upon and used to learn even more about the natural world. This often means that successive investigations of a topic lead back to the same question, but at deeper and deeper levels.”
  
The process of science is not predetermined:  One can not embark on experiments or research with a goal of revealing the truth with one’s mind already made up about what the answer is going to be.  That would only lead to the dismissal of anything that did not fit into one's predetermined belief no matter how clearly it reveals itself to be the true answer.  A true scientist is open to any possibility and is ready to go where the facts may lead.
   
“Any point in the process leads to many possible next steps, and where that next step leads could be a surprise. For example, instead of leading to a conclusion about tectonic movement, testing an idea about plate tectonics could lead to an observation of an unexpected rock layer. And that rock layer could trigger an interest in marine extinctions, which could spark a question about the dinosaur extinction — which might take the investigator off in an entirely new direction.”
 
(How Science Works)
 
At the heart of the process of science is testing.

“In science, all ideas are tested with evidence from the natural world, which may take many different approaches.  You can't move through the process of science without examining how that evidence reflects on your ideas about how the world works — even if that means giving up a favorite hypothesis.”  (How Science Works)  Trying to disprove one's own theory or conclusion is as important in true science as it is to prove that it is true, one must be ready to address any outcome that can prove a previous conclusion false.


And testing is done by working within the frame of the Scientific Method. “The Scientific Method is a logical and rational order of steps by which scientists come to conclusions about the world around them. The Scientific Method helps to organize thoughts and procedures so that scientists can be confident in the answers they find.”  (Science Made Simple
)


Overview of Scientific Method
The Scientific Method is a general problem solving methodology that can be used by anyone.  There are five basic steps in most versions of the Scientific Method:

Observation/Question – “The question can refer to the explanation of a specific observation, as in "Why is the sky blue?", but can also be open-ended, as in "Does sound travel faster in air than in water?" or "How can I design a drug to cure this particular disease?"

Research – “This stage also involves looking up and evaluating previous evidence from other scientists, as well as considering one's own experience. If the answer is already known, a different question that builds on the previous evidence can be posed.”

Hypothesis
“An hypothesis is a conjecture, based on the knowledge obtained while formulating the question, that may explain an observed behavior of a part of our universe. The hypothesis might be very specific, or it might be broad”  Sometimes a Null Hypothesis is used for statistical comparison of the hypothesis, or to show that there is no relationship between two objects of study.

Experimentation – “The purpose of an experiment is to determine whether observations of the real world agree with or conflict with the predictions derived from an hypothesis. If they agree, confidence in the hypothesis increases; otherwise, it decreases. Agreement does not assure that the hypothesis is true; future experiments may reveal problems.”

Conclusion – “This involves determining what the results of the experiment show and deciding on the next actions to take. If the evidence has falsified the hypothesis, a new hypothesis is required; if the experiment supports the hypothesis but the evidence is not strong enough for high confidence, other predictions from the hypothesis must be tested. Once a hypothesis is strongly supported by evidence, a new question can be asked to provide further insight on the same topic. Evidence from other scientists and one's own experience can be incorporated at any stage in the process.”  (The Scientific Method)


“Frequently the scientific method is employed not only by a single person, but also by several people cooperating directly or indirectly. Such cooperation can be regarded as one of the defining elements of a scientific community. Various techniques have been developed to ensure the integrity of scientific methodology within such an environment.”  One of the most important of these techniques is peer review.
Review

Peer Review:
 
In order to present novel data and discoveries to the rest of the scientific community scientists rely on the process of publication in a Peer Reviewed Scientific Journal. Every field of science has at least one Journal that serves as a record for the research that has taken place in the past as well as all ongoing contributions taking place today.  Frontiers in Zoology is an example of one of the most prominent journals in the field of Zoology.  These journals then use the process of peer review to evaluate the validity of the work in question.  A group of usually one to three anonymous fellow scientists, in the same or a similar area of research will evaluate the work for the editors of the journal.  “The referees may or may not recommend publication, publication with suggested modifications, or, sometimes, publication in another journal. This serves to keep the scientific literature free of unscientific or pseudoscientific work, to help cut down on obvious errors, and generally otherwise to improve the quality of the material.  One drawback of peer review is that is can “have limitations when considering research outside the conventional scientific paradigm: problems of "groupthink" can interfere with open and fair deliberation of some new research.”  This "drawback" has affected the ability of those with possibly valid evidence of Bigfoot from being taken seriously in the past, but now with outlets like Dr. Meldrum's Relict Hominoid Inquiry, a legitimate peer reviewed journal, and the current study underway by Dr. Sykes
Oxford-Lausanne Collateral Hominid Project the options are opening up.   (The Scientific Method)

Some Of The Aspects Important To The Peer Review Process Are:

Reproducibility:  Scientists are human and prone to mistakes along the way just like everyone, or once in awhile one may even be responsible for the purposeful falsification of data and results. Therefore, experiments are commonly repeated several times, including by other scientists, to make sure the original finding can be duplicated, thus validating the results.

Archiving:  Because of the importance of reproducibility scientists and their research associates are required to keep notebooks with detailed and accurate documentation of their procedures and methods, raw data, and analysis, which comply to the standards set by the Journal, Grant Funding Agency, FDA or other Government Agency which oversee their area of work.  This is done in order to “provide evidence of the effectiveness and integrity of the procedure and assist in reproduction." 
(The Scientific Method)

Data Sharing:
  This is important so other scientists or peer reviewer can replicate the work and thus validate its’ authenticity and reproducibility.  Researchers are expected to provide this in a timely manner and if they do not provide their data “an appeal can be made to the journal editors who published the study or to the institution which funded the research.”  (The Scientific Method)

                                                                          Abominable Snowman
Merton's Norms:                                

“In 1942, Robert K. Merton identified a small set of "norms" which characterized what makes a "real" science.”   The violation of one or more of these norms resulted in a determination of non-science or pseudoscience for that particular claim.

Merton's norms are defined as:

Originality: The tests and research done must present something new to the scientific community.

Detachment: The scientists' reasons for practicing this science must be simply for the expansion of their knowledge. The scientists should not have personal reasons to expect certain results.

Universality: No person should be able to more easily obtain the information of a test than another person. Social class, religion, ethnicity, or any other personal factors should not be factors in someone's ability to receive or perform a type of science.

Skepticism: Scientific facts must not be based solely on faith. One should always question every case and argument and constantly check for errors or invalid claims.

Public accessibility: Any scientific knowledge one obtains should be made available to everyone. The results of any research should be openly published and shared with the scientific community.  (The Scientific Method)


So since we have had a look at what constitutes Legitimate Science, let’s take a look at the definition of Pseudoscience:                                                  
 
“Pseudoscience is a claim, belief, or practice which is presented as scientific, but does not adhere to a valid scientific method, lacks supporting evidence or plausibility, cannot be reliably tested, or otherwise lacks scientific status.  Pseudoscience is often characterized by the use of vague, contradictory, exaggerated or unprovable claims, an over-reliance on confirmation rather than rigorous attempts at refutation, a lack of openness to evaluation by other experts, and a general absence of systematic processes to rationally develop theories.”

“A field, practice, or body of knowledge can reasonably be called pseudoscientific when it is presented as consistent with the norms of scientific research, but it demonstrably fails to meet these norms.  Science is also distinguishable from revelation, theology, or spirituality in that it offers insight into the physical world obtained by empirical research and testing. Commonly held beliefs in popular science may not meet the criteria of science. "Pop" science may blur the divide between science and pseudoscience among the general public, and may also involve science fiction. Pseudoscientific beliefs are widespread, even among public school science teachers and newspaper reporters.

The demarcation problem between science and pseudoscience has ethical political implications, as well as philosophical and scientific issues. Differentiating science from pseudoscience has practical implications in the case of health care, expert testimony, environmental policies, and science education. Distinguishing scientific facts and theories from pseudoscientific beliefs such as those found in astrology, medical quackery, and occult beliefs combined with scientific concepts, is part of science education and scientific literacy.”
 


In 1978, Paul Thagard proposed that pseudoscience is primarily distinguishable from science when it is less progressive than alternative theories over a long period of time, and its proponents fail to acknowledge or address problems with the theory"  (Pseudoscience)
 
In my observation those who practice pseudoscience have a marked habit of relying on blanket dismissals for why their belief or work is not accepted by mainstream academia.  For example: the government does not want this information known or it would produce mass hysteria or limit their control over us”; or “other scientists will not accept this data because they are jealous", or "if admitted this was true it would force mainstream science to start all over again”, instead of actually bothering to provide reproducible and valid proof for what they are proposing.  You will find a lot of what qualifies as pseudoscience amongst those who are fond of conspiracy theories, ancient alien theories and those trying to defend their particular spiritual or religious belief.  


Here is a great new article discussing one of the fallacies pseudoscientists use to excuse their lack of legitimate data to back up their claims:  Ketchum’s Galileo Gambit

Pseudoscience tends to refuse to acknowledge problems within their theory and quite often relies on a circular argument to defend their point. “Circular reasoning is an attempt to support a statement by simply repeating the statement in different or stronger terms.  In this fallacy, the reason given is nothing more than a restatement of the conclusion that poses as the reason for the conclusion.”  (Circular Reasoning)

Back to Bigfoot:

So now that we have taken a look at what "Science" actually is and isn't, our next step can be to look at some examples of claims regarding Bigfoot that can and can not be made scientifically.  This will be the subject of an upcoming article, but until then try to keep some of the above points in mind the next time someone makes a statement of absolute fact regarding Bigfoot without being willing to share the evidence, or perhaps even having any to back it up.



National Geographic: The Truth Behind Bigfoot

Here are the latest updates for the Ketchum DNA Study in the News, a study which so far has exhibeted classic PseudoScience in action:  Please Show Us The Sequencing Data!