Science Education and Skeptical Inquiry
Institutional science stands accused of thwarting the search for
obstructing challenges to the status quo, and even oppressing those
ideas depart from the mainstream. American culture has a long and
history of hostility toward scientific endeavor as it is popularly
Are scientists nothing more than the high priests of the 21st century?
Scientific literacy has become a major issue in public education.
seems to be a quaint relic of a myopic enlightenment as tales
of UFO abductions, psychic detectives and spirit mediums pervade
Evolution, the cornerstone of biology and anthropology, is depicted as
a theoretically bankrupt idea from creationists and postmodernists
Scientific evaluations of these claims suggest overactive imagination
a more likely culprit than a goblin universe rife with supernatural
yet such studies seldom reach the public eye. The North American
Bigfoot phenomenon is one in which the scientific community is said to
be ignoring definitive evidence of an undiscovered primate. This not quite true: the case for Bigfoot has been reviewed in Current Anthropology, American Journal of Physical Anthropology, Scientific American and Nature. The real issue is not the quantity of evidence, but its quality.
|"Oliver" is a habitually bipedal ape that has captured the
of both laypeople and scientists. He has been touted as a relict
a bigfoot, or a "humanzee" (the result of a clandestine human-chimp
experiment). After years of lively debate, Oliver's DNA was sampled to
the issue and perhaps provide us with a breathing version of the
link. These data established that Oliver is just a standard-issue
chimpanzee who is used to walking upright. See Ely et al. (Am J. Phys. Anthropol.
for the full story.
Radford, B., Dennett, M., Crowley, M., and Daegling D.J. (2007) The Nonsense
and Non-science of Sasquatch (Review of Sasquatch: Legend Meets Science by Jeff
Meldrum). Skeptical Inquirer 31 (3): 58-61.
Daegling, D.J. (2004) Bigfoot
Exposed: An Anthropologist Examines America's Enduring Legend.
Walnut Creek, CA: AltaMira Press.
D.J., and Radford B. (2003) Bigfoot hoaxer dies, legacy lives on (News and Comment).
Skeptical Inquirer 27 (2): 6.
Daegling, D.J. (2002) Cripplefoot hobbled. Skeptical Inquirer
26 (2): 35-38.
Daegling, D.J. and Schmitt, D.O. (1999) Bigfoot's
Test. Skeptical Inquirer 23 (3): 20-25.