Saturday, September 24, 2011

Skepticism and cryptozoology

From a recent Facebook chat with Ben Radford:
I've noodled at this problem before. One the one hand, I find it ridiculous that there exists some conspiracy to cover up cryptid animals. But I must say there are things that bug me about what might be called "the skeptical community." I see skepticism properly directed against the claims of Anthropogenic Global Warming (AGW) skeptics, but very rarely even the most shaky or exaggerated claims of AGW supporters. I am annoyed every time I see cryptozoology - properly, the name of a hard science pursing hard evidence of real animals - lumped in "the paranormal" with fields that do not or cannot produce any such evidence. It is true that many people pursuing cryptozoology pursue unscientific methods and make wild claims, but that no more invalidates the science than crank physicists invalidate physics. (I don;t reject a priori all the phenomena claimed under "the pararmormal" - the universe is very big and very weird - but it's just not accurate to lump in cryptozoology as if it used the same methodology.)

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