Sunday, March 02, 2014

Wrapping up my thoughts on Ketchum-Sasquatch affair

I'd actually written this topic off, but I posed a question to Dr. Ketchum on FaceBook, and she was polite enough to engage in an exchange. I appreciate that.  But I came away  dismissing the entire topic.

I'm not an expert on the genetics, but exactly one person who is (Dr. Swenson) has endorsed the work, while every other qualified person has either ignored it, dismissed it, or is (if supportive, as Melba Ketchum claims some are)  has remained anonymous.  She sees this as irrational fear and rejection of good evidence. I can't see it that way: it's too overwhelming. 

Dr. Ketchum also insists that some samples were taken directly from a living sasquatch under close observation.  Here's where I had, to, with great reluctance, reach the personal opinion that she and others involved are not just reaching incorrect conclusions or using flawed evidence, but that at least some people involved here are not telling the truth.    

If you have a sasquatch under close observation, there are only three possibilities:
1. You're motivated by money. In this case, you'd have taken clear video to a major media outlet a long time ago.
2. You're motivated by science. In this case, you'd take clear video and more samples to an academic or government office. (If you're not believed, you'd bring in reporters.)
3. You're motivated by the sincere belief that the best thing you can do for the species is to keep it secret. I could understand this, but, if this were your logic, you'd never release ANY samples or video.

Concerning the people observing the alleged specimen, Dr. Ketchum's last comment was, "It is not my place to comment on somebody else's business."  When I posted the analysis above, she made a post saying that, if I was calling these people liars, then I was calling her a liar.  That post was quickly deleted.  She insisted that the video released was poor quality due to technical difficulties. (No one outside the community of existing sasquatch believers thinks it's in any way genuine.) She added, "I repeat, I do not have any control over the footage so it is a moot point to discuss it. Yes, the samples were controlled and the DNA testing matched the physical attributes of the one in the film."

Very well.  She has made her position clear: and, again, I appreciate her time. However, my thought as a science writer who has tried to keep an open mind on this and on sasquatch in general is that there is no fact behind all this kerfluffle, and nothing that advances science or conservation will ever come of it.

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