An educational Web site about the science of monsters, of course!
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 this 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 MonsterScience.org Premise and Purpose
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. (For more on skepticism in cryptozoology, see the related article Top Ten Myths about Skeptics.)
Basic, verifiable facts are often wrong. Important but inconvenient information that undermines the arguments is glossed over or omitted entirely. Most Bigfoot writers include eyewitness accounts in their articles and chapters on the topic, but fail to explain to their readers just how unreliable eyewitness sightings have been proven to be. Other writers talk about the “dermal ridges” (fingerprints) found on Bigfoot casts, conveniently neglecting to tell readers that some such ridges have been shown to be caused by the casting process itself—not by any animal. The famous 1967 Patterson/Gimlin film is often held up as the best evidence for Bigfoot, yet the many unanswered questions about the film’s authenticity are rarely mentioned.
What explains these omissions? Why are these authors only telling you one side of the story?
There may be several reasons. Some writers may not have done their research, and are simply unaware of the scientific and skeptical evidence and arguments. Others are aware that the validity and credibility of what they write has been challenged, but they don’t care; they want to tell their side, not both sides. They are like defense lawyers who only present the evidence that supports their case, and conveniently forget to tell the jury about the evidence that incriminates the defendant. Other writers may just be out to make a buck; their purpose is not to actually inform or educate their readers.
We urge you to decide for yourself. Don’t take anyone’s word about what “skeptics” say or don’t say. Read the arguments, check the references, check the logic, check the facts. Think for yourself, do your own research, and come to your own conclusions about who is approaching the topics from a responsible, objective point of view.
Two Sides to Every Story
This bias is easy to see; simply pick up any popular book on Bigfoot or lake monsters, and in the index, look for the names of noted cryptozoology skeptics (such as those who write for this site). A few will have them, but most won’t. Then do the same for skeptical books, and you’ll see that while the skeptics carefully read, analyze, and respond to the proponents (“Bigfoot believers”), the proponents often ignore the skeptical arguments and evidence. This undermines the writer’s credibility, as they are not being honest with their readers.
Good science is not about advocacy; while all scientists have their biases and pet theories, their ultimate loyalty should be to the truth. Good scientists acknowledge the limits in their research and conclusions; they fully address—instead of ignore—evidence and arguments that contradict their conclusions.
If there was more of a self-correcting mechanism in cryptozoological research, this Web site would not be needed. It is an interesting irony that much of the critical analysis of the evidence comes from skeptics outside the proponent camp instead of from within it.
Though many Bigfoot proponents often don’t see it this way, the skeptical analyses and criticisms presented here and elsewhere are intended to help the search for these creatures. That’s what good science does: it helps separate fact from fiction, truth from error, real evidence from hoaxes.
If we can prove that this particular Bigfoot track was a hoax, or that sighting was not a Bigfoot, or this argument is faulty, the entire field benefits. Everyone wins, because we know what evidence and arguments are valid and which aren’t. This Web site is dedicated to (and created for) those who truly wish to understand the phenomenon of Bigfoot.
One other thing that makes MonsterScience.org different: Unlike many “pro-Bigfoot” Web sites, we actually encourage responses from those whose arguments and evidence are examined here. We invite discussion and debate about the scientific evidence for cryptozoological creatures, and will post responses on this site. Science progresses toward truth through debate and discussion, considering and carefully analyzing arguments and evidence from all sides. We believe that the public should be exposed to all the evidence.
Bringing Science to the Search
The simple fact is that creatures such as Bigfoot remain unproven. There are two possible explanations for this.
The first is that these animals do not exist; all the evidence for Bigfoot, the Loch Ness monster and other mystery creatures are the result of hoaxes, honest mistakes, misidentifications, and psychological misperceptions.
The second possibility is that these creatures do exist and are out there—but that the efforts to prove their existence have so far failed because the search is being done in the wrong way, and researchers are not verifying their assumptions and asking the right questions. The methods used to search for these mysterious creatures over the past decades have, with a few exceptions, been overwhelmingly non-scientific. Much cryptozoological “research” is notable for its sloppy scholarship, bad logic, and poor scientific methodologies.
One common (but apocryphal) definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. For fifty years, the search for Bigfoot has relied on exactly the same methods and types of evidence: eyewitness sightings, “mysterious” tracks or prints, ambiguous photos and videos. All that effort, and yet not a single verifiable fact about Bigfoot is known. The search for Bigfoot has so far been a complete and unqualified failure.
At MonsterScience.org, we believe it’s time to change tactics; it’s time to use the most reliable methods known to mankind to help unravel the mystery of Bigfoot.
It’s time for science.