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Professor Teaches Critical Thinking With Bigfoot

  1. Jun 21, 2004 #1
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    "In his Tier III class, Moody uses a variety of evidence, including a Discovery Channel documentary, "Sasquatch: Legend Meets Science," to teach students how to weigh evidence. The movie presents a range of clues for the existence of Bigfoot, including films of purported Bigfoot sightings, body casts, recordings of supposed Bigfoot howls, and more. Moody asks the students to look at all of it, decide how significant each clue is, and finally decide whether they believe Bigfoot exists.

    Many students, he finds, are so put off by the idea of believing in Bigfoot -- associated in their mind with such tabloid fare as alien abductions and Elvis sightings -- that they're overly skeptical, and reject even fairly solid evidence. An exception are the students studying forensic analysis, who hope to work in crime labs when they graduate, he said.

    "The forensics students tend to be more open-minded about looking at this evidence," he said.
    Moody railed at what he considers an irrational reluctance on the part of some scientists to look in an unbiased way at the evidence for the theory that Gigantopithecus may still be roaming around in the huge expanses of Asia and the Pacific Northwest. He argued that while scientists should never be too credulous, they can also make the opposite error of being too skeptical, and rejecting evidence out of hand for fear of being ridiculed."

    Complete story:

    The Athens NEWS: Twice weekly alternative
    Address:http://www.athensnews.com/issue/article.php3?story_id=17138 Changed:4:58 PM on Monday, June 21, 2004
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 21, 2004 #2
    The problem with Bigfoot isn't that its existence violates reason, but that there is such little evidence to suppot its existence.

    The fact that nothing tangible about Bigfoot has been discovered pretty much ices it for me. If Bigfoot existed in such large numbers to where so many human contacts occurred, then some material evidence would have been discovered by now.

    And I would love to know what solid evidence is discussed and how it was discussed.
     
  4. Jun 21, 2004 #3
    I'm not sure the moral of this story has anything to do with the existence of bigfoot. It has to do with looking at things without preconception. Bigfoot is a great thing to use because it is guarranteed to expose a student's penchant for dismissing things out of prejudice.

    To teach this, it is useful that this professor have the air of believing bigfoot might exist. Gigantopithicus, is, of course, not bigfoot. It was an extremely large gorilla that walked on all fours, standing only occasionally, like modern gorillas. I think he just uses it as a scientific-sounding "hook". It creates the impression bigfoot did actually once exist, and that there's fossil evidence of it. The point is to spur the student to examine the fluff of bear hair and rule it out because it is bear hair, and not because "bigfoot doesn't exist".
     
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