MonsterTalk #021 - Cryptozoology & Science

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DoctorAtlantis
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MonsterTalk #021 - Cryptozoology & Science

Postby DoctorAtlantis » Wed Aug 11, 2010 1:54 pm

Link to ep:
http://traffic.libsyn.com//skeptic/021_Monstertalk.mp3

DARREN NAISH is a palaeozoologist, freelance author and science writer of the Tetrapod Zoology column on ScienceBlogs. Affiliated with the university of Portsmouth, he obtained a degree in geology and then gained a PhD in vertebrate palaeontology at this institution. He mostly works on Cretaceous dinosaurs and pterosaurs, and “also messes around with swimming giraffes, fossil marine reptiles, British big cats and stuff like that.”

Darren joined us on MonsterTalk to talk about the intersection of mainstream science and cryptozoology. Topics include:
  • How did a credentialed scientist become involved in cryptozoology?
  • The relationship between cryptozoology and ethnobiology
  • A discussion of “Caddy”
  • The most plausible cryptids in Darren’s POV?
  • Old photos, rotting creatures, alien big cats, hominids, creatures of the deepest sea — and much, much more…
This is part 1 of a 2 part discussion of the relationship of science and cryptozoology.

Related Links

BBC Timeline of Alien Big Cat sightings
Info on the Orang Pendek

Music

Music for today’s episode includes a sample from the theme from the Commodore-64 video game “Mail Order Monsters” and our regular theme by Peach Stealing Monkeys.

spookyparadigm
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Re: MonsterTalk #021 - Cryptozoology & Science

Postby spookyparadigm » Fri Aug 13, 2010 2:38 am

So, is the teaser for this half of the discussion (Is cryptozoology a game?), going to be more applicable to the second part? Reminds me of the damning critique of those involved in the Linda Napolitano UFO abduction case, which concluded after investigating the events that the whole affair shared elements of a live action role playing game. That people were acting as if they were apart from reality (example: not contacting police when supposedly very human assailants became threatening or violent), playing at being journalists/scientists/secret agents within the bounds of a game. The paper's description of D&D has a little too much of Mazes and Monsters about it, but the basic point is, I believe, valid. I increasingly think it is an important element to understanding a lot of the appeal of paranormal investigation to many people: it's an unregulated world where titles and expertise can be self-conjured, the rules of investigation have much more to do with what seems "in-genre" rather than what actually works. And while some charlatans use this to gain fortune or fame by cashing in on being experts, I think for many more people the payoff or motivations aren't so corrupt or sinister, but have much more to do with entertaining themselves and getting a little bit of notoriety within a small receptive audience (not too different than bragging about your 67th level whatever).

Here's the paper

http://www.tricksterbook.com/ArticlesOn ... daCase.htm

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Re: MonsterTalk #021 - Cryptozoology & Science

Postby DoctorAtlantis » Sat Aug 14, 2010 8:11 pm

I thought the game questions was applicable to this episode although I wasn't able to schedule Ben and Karen for several reasons to do our pre-show chat for this episode. The guys who perpetrated the "Georgia Bigfoot" hoax were clearly playing a game of a type. It turned into something more of a con-game, but initially there was a tremendous amount of juvenile pissing-contest type stuff going on. Compare/contrast that with serious uncredentialed researchers who spend their free time and money looking for a variety of folk-creatures. Or with serious credentialed scientists looking for more plausible creatures using folklore and legend as a guide. Or with armchair skeptics who debunk photos on the Internet without stepping foot into the field.

The answer is that cryptozoology serves a spectrum of interests and is comprised of a spectrum of enthusiasts with varying degrees of education and rational thinking. What I really wanted to highlight in this episode was that real scientists are doing serious work using data derived from amateur cryptozoologists and at the same time serious religious groups are trying to use folklore and legend to debunk or falsify evolutionary theory. And then there are people who just want to see bigfoot.

All those things are true - but I also wanted to include that question because I was talking over the theme to one of my favorite video games of the 1980s. - Mail Order Monsters.

I'll check out the paper. I'm very interested in Alien Abductions and am trying to prepare for an episode on that topic.

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Re: MonsterTalk #021 - Cryptozoology & Science

Postby spookyparadigm » Sun Aug 15, 2010 2:47 pm

Right.

Re: Alien Abduction. If you're putting a show together, you really should look at the recent revelations regarding David Jacobs, which appear to put him in a disastrously bad light. Here's one summary plucked out of a google search.

http://speculativerealms.blogspot.com/2 ... ersus.html

And if you can find it, you should really take a look at Matheson's Alien Abductions: Creating a Modern Phenomenon. It traces the literary history of abductionists, and is fairly damning and eye-opening.


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