Critical Reasoning 1210
The Claim: The "weird" claim is that there is a population of large hairy "ape men" (a non-human missing link) that grow to be up to seven and a half feet tall that are known as Bigfoot or Sasquatch that live in the Northwest part of the United States. Bigfoot is a previously undiscovered creature that inhabits the Pacific Northwest of the United States and other various mountainous areas around the world but has never been conclusively proven to exist. My contention is that there is no such thing as Bigfoot and that there is no credible evidence for the existence of Bigfoot, furthermore I intend to show that the existence of Bigfoot is not the best explanation for what people may think they see. My claim is that Bigfoot does not exist and is most likely combinations of people carrying out hoaxes and people who want to believe being fooled by themselves.
When I began my research I learned that there is an abundance of evidence out there for the existence of Bigfoot, there are numerous eyewitness accounts and some pictures of this elusive creature. Although there are many eyewitness accounts of Bigfoot and there are pictures that claim to be of Bigfoot I found that all of the evidence has the same thing in common. First, none of the eyewitness accounts have been corroborated by more then two people or all of the accounts came under some kind of emotional stress. Second, there are no clear reliable pictures that exist of Bigfoot. Even advocates who believe in Bigfoot have to admit that some of their evidence is very shaky. Consider the following eyewitness account from nationalgeographic.com. Matt Moneymaker had been searching for Bigfoot for years. In the woods of eastern Ohio, he claims he finally came eye to eye with the elusive primate. "It was 2 o'clock in the morning and the moon was a quarter full," recalled Moneymaker. "Suddenly, there he was, an eight-foot-tall creature, standing 15 feet away, growling at me. He wanted to let me know I was in the wrong place." (nationalgeographic.com) Mr. Moneymaker who is a lawyer and runs his own marketing agency appears to be a very credible person with no reason to lie about what he encountered, but he is clearly at risk for the peculiarities of the mind. (nationalgeographic.com) First, how clearly he saw whatever it was he saw is open for debate. He said that it was two o'clock in the morning (obviously very dark) with a quarter-moon. With a quarter-moon on any night at two in the morning it would be hard to make out figures even on a lighted street much less in the middle of a wooded area with no light at all. And that is assuming that there are no leaves on the surrounding trees to block out even more light from the moon. Second, Mr. Moneymaker easily could have fallen victim to his own expectations. Research has shown that when people expect to experience a certain thing they often do experience it even though they have not. (Weird Things 37) Mr. Moneymaker must have had some expectation to see something that night after all he had been seeking Bigfoot for years and he leads the Bigfoot Field Researchers Organization. (nationalgeographic.com) Also, he said that the creature was growling at him and wanted to give him the message to get away. Think about it, alone in the middle of the woods in the middle of the night, anything growling at you is going to get your adrenaline pumping. This sudden rush and stress may have had an affect on what he perceived or what he remembered about the encounter. Finally, his experience in the woods this night is uncorroborated. I believe that eyewitness accounts like these and others that are given credibility by people who want to believe in Bigfoot cannot be counted as evidence and have to be thrown out.
There are no clear pictures of Bigfoot. The only film that exists of Bigfoot was shot in 1967 by a man named Roger Patterson. This film is highly disputed...
Bibliography: Stefan Lovgren, National Geographic News, October 23, 2003 National Geographic.com http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2003/10/1023_031023_bigfoot.html
W. H. Farenbach, Bigfoot Field Researchers Organization (website) 2002 http://www.bfro.net/gdb/show_FAQ.asp?id=584
Robert Todd Carroll, The Skeptics Dictionary 2003 http://www.skepdic.com/bigfoot.html
Mark Chorvinsky, Strange Magazine 17, 1996 The Makeup Man and the Monster: John Chambers and the Patterson Bigfoot Suit. http://users.erols.com/strange1/chambers17.html
The North American Science Institute Report, The story of the film. http://cryptozoo.monstrous.com/roger_patterson.htm
Schick & Vaughn, How to Think About Weird Things: Critical Thinking for a New Age, 3rd edition
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