So why do networks like the Travel Channel, the History Channel, and the Discovery Channel have entire series dedicated to Bigfoot? Just to waste our time and make money? 

You don’t think a network would slap together a bunch of half-baked tales and questionable authorities, frame it with some nice graphics and then package it with advertising just to make a quick buck, do you?

Yeah, folks, they’re simply trying to take advantage of people, and, to quote Don Draper, sleep very well “on beds made of money.” 

EVIDENCE!

What about all the scientists that believe Bigfoot exists? 

Science is bloodthirsty and brutal, meaning that scientists compete with one another so dramatically that a symposium is more like the Thunderdome…with manners and coffee. Every minute of every day, scientists look for the errors, loopholes, and weaknesses in the arguments of their peers in order to tear down one conclusion in favor of another, and, consequentially, look for the weaknesses in their own conclusions as a defense against attack. What the average citizen scientist sees as a text-heavy academic journal is actually properly-cited gladiatorial combat. That might sound ridiculous, but the end result is that only the strongest survive.

It is this viciousness that allows Darwin’s Theory of Evolution to remain intact after a century-and-a-half or Einstein’s Theory of General Relativity to hold true even after a century of nit-picking. Be aware, theory in this sense means “a well-confirmed explanation of nature consistent with the scientific method” (Someone out there is going to chime in with distinctions between theories, Theories, and Laws. Yes, yes, but I want to keep this simple). 

When the vast majority of scientists agree on something, that is called having a consensus. Scientists have formed a consensus on gravity, a spherical (-ish) Earth, bacteria, vaccines, and even climate change (sorry, folks, but yeah). A consensus is a big deal because working scientists are like chickens in a coop. If they see weakness or an injury on a fellow, they all fall on that weakness in a blue of sharp beaks and squawking, leaving nothing behind but bloodstained feathers. Conspiracy would require large groups working together, and believe me, scientists don’t work well together. 

EVIDENCE!

The “brave” scientists that take a stand against these theories are generally cheating in their use of the scientific method. If you want to continue the Thunderdome metaphor, imagine a fighter so overmatched that he or she digs a hole, escapes the dome and runs away in fear, then lies about how they overpowered their foes. “Brave” isn’t the right word. 

Does that mean Bigfoot research is useless? 

This is a tricky question, because no research is useless, if done in the right way, and it certainly doesn’t mean the existence of Bigfoot is impossible. It just means it is very, very, very unlikely. If faced with an actual piece of evidence—a body part, a living or dead specimen that’s intact, an untouched photo or video that withstands serious scrutiny, any good scientist would be more than willing to accept the possibility. That shouldn’t sound overly hopeful. In the centuries of Bigfoot myths, from the Native-American tales to today, not one piece of evidence has ever been placed at the feet of reputable primatologists which held water long. 

What about [FILL IN THE BLANK] evidence? 

I have seen two pieces of evidence that Bigfoot enthusiasts seem to tout as selling points for their theories. 

The first: in 2013, ZooBank, the international organization that catalogs scientific names for living organisms assigned the Latin name Homo sapiens cognatus to Bigfoot, thereby labeling Bigfoot as a subspecies of modern humans. Very official sounding. But how about ZooBank’s official follow up to this classification? 

“ZooBank and the ICZN (International Coalition on Zoological Nomenclature) do not review evidence for the legitimacy of organisms to which names are applied…”

Meaning they just type in the names. It’s up to us to decide if the animal is real or not. 

The second piece of evidence is the peer-reviewed work of Melba Ketchum, a veterinarian that claimed to possess a human-primate crossbreed. Her work was published in the DeNovo Journal of Science. What might be left out is that only one issue of this journal was ever published, and this single volume contained only one study: Ketchum’s. 

I could go on an on, but I don’t need to. 

But what if I enjoy searching for Bigfoot? 

Then I say more power to you.

If you enjoy climbing up and down hills and looking for evidence, then that’s your right as an American, as long as no one gets hurt. But understand that if you want research to be accepted by the scientific community, then you need to follow the rules of the scientific community, which are stringent, fair…and almost five centuries old.