Showing posts with label wired magazine. Show all posts
Showing posts with label wired magazine. Show all posts

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Meldrum is Interviewed by NPR and is criticized by Wired Magazine

(Photo: Rachel Anne Seymour)

"...discrediting the study of creatures whose existence is unproven countermands the scientific commitment to explore the unknown" Dr. Jeff Meldrum

Radio-west-interview-jeff-meldrum by BigfootLunchClub

Above is an hour long interview with Dr. Jeff Meldrum conducted by Radio West. Radio West is broadcast on KUER public radio, a charter member of National Public Radio (NPR). Below is the critique of the interview by Wired blogger and science writer Brian Switek.

The Squid and the Ape (excerpt)
By Brian Switek December 10, 2011 | 6:14 pm |
For the November 11th show, RadioWest producer Doug Fabrizio interviewed Idaho State University anthropologist and Sasquatch devotee Jeff Meldrum. The stated point of the interview was to see how Meldrum applied scientific reasoning to the search for a creature that, at best, exists on the fringes of scientific investigation. That’s not what actually transpired.

Even though Fabrizio kept qualifying statements about the ever-elusive Bigfoot with “if”s, he was clearly sympathetic to Meldrum’s efforts to give the mythical North American forest ape an air of respectability. The show was more about how Meldrum became attracted to the cryptozoological celebrity and his feelings as someone trying to prove the existence of a creature that, as far as I am concerned, probably doesn’t exist and has been a persistent focus of interest due to cultural phenomena rather than actual evidence. (As I wrote in a story for WIRED Science, there comes a time in searches for missing or presumably extinct mammal species that returns rapidly diminish and that species is more likely absent than simply elusive. So many have searched for Bigfoot for so long without finding any unambiguous evidence that I don’t see any reason to think such an animal exists.)

Almost all of Fabrizio’s questions were uncritical. Some, such as when Fabrizio asked when the search for Sasquatch supposedly became academically taboo, were even sympathetic to Meldrum’s exceptional claims. When Meldrum retells the story of how he saw tracks that convinced him that Bigfoot was real, Fabrizio doesn’t ask about how Meldrum could tell that the tracks were from a real animal and could not have been hoaxed. When Meldrum goes off about how he has brought Bigfoot into the scientific mainstream through papers, talks at conferences, and the like, Fabrizio doesn’t ask “Well, which journals and conferences? What did you say? How was your work received by your colleagues?” Likewise, Fabrizio lets Meldrum state that there is a lot of photo evidence – albeit poor quality – of Bigfoot as well as hair and scat without digging into the details of those assertions and why those lines of evidence have not done more to confirm the supposed ape’s existence. I didn’t want Fabrizio to be actively hostile to Meldrum’s ideas, but the radio host did not seem prepared to challenge his guest on any point.

The interview was mostly about feelings. What Meldrum felt about this or that aspect of Bigfoot arcana was more important than the veracity of what he was actually saying. I don’t take issue with RadioWest having cryptozoologists or other people who make exceptional claims on the show, but, for FSM’s sake, hold them to account and push them to explain why they believe what they do. If someone keeps saying there’s really good evidence for Bigfoot, Triassic Krakens, ancient aliens, or whatever, we shouldn’t be afraid of pressing them on how good that evidence actually is. To say that evidence is good is one thing. To demonstrate the same is not as easy.

SRC of Radio West Interview
Wired Science Blog

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Different Species, Identical DNA

In two previous posts we introduced the speculation that Modern Humans may have interbred with Neanderthals. these articles are based on Svante Pääbo's quest to sequence the Neanderthal DNA.

Read Love or War with Cavemen and Doin' IT with Neanderthals

In our our third installment we have some interesting revelations surfacing as the Neanderthal DNA sequencing continues.

The first revelation is both DNA's, Neanderthals and Modern Humans, are nearly identical.

Wired Magazine explains further:

"After years of anticipation, the Neanderthal genome has been sequenced. It’s not quite complete, but there’s enough for scientists to start comparing it with our own.

According to these first comparisons, humans and Neanderthals are practically identical at the protein level. Whatever our differences, they’re not in the composition of our building blocks.

However, even if the Neanderthal genome won’t show scientists what makes humans so special, there’s a consolation prize for the rest of us. Most people can likely trace some of their DNA to Neanderthals..."

For Bigfooters this is amazing, because we know Neanderthals and Modern humans were both very physically different, but according to the DNA evidence we would never know to what degree without fossil evidence.

Its a two-edge sword for Bigfoot DNA evidence. If DNA can be so similar, nearly identical, between two species, it may be hard to distinguish Bigfoot DNA.

On the other hand, we may already have Bigfoot DNA and dismissed it because it was so similar to another known species.

The second revelation is, according to studies, not all modern humans contain the same amount of Neanderthal DNA. Modern humans with African descent actually have less traceable Neanderthal DNA.

Such studies will occupy scientists for years to come. In the meantime, the researchers produced a more immediately stirring result. They compared the Neanderthal genome to genomes of five people from China, France, Papua New Guinea, southern Africa and western Africa. Among non-Africans, between one and four percent of all DNA came from Neanderthals...

...For people of African descent disappointed that they lack Neanderthal ancestry, Pääbo gave solace.

“It’s totally possible that inside Africa, there was a contribution from other archaic humans that we don’t know about,” he said. “We shouldn’t take these results as saying that only people outside Africa have caveman biology.”

Wired Magazine Article
Svante Pääbo on Wiki

Please read our terms of use policy.