Company Offering Course On Cryptozoology


Justified & Ancient
May 30, 2009
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Oops, my bad, there are other modules. Still, white yeti, very bad, may as well have a purple rhino.

Sharon Hill

Complicated biological machine
Dec 16, 2014
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Pennsylvania, USA
Interview with the CFZ's Jon Downes on how the field needs to change.

As some of you may know if you read the Letters section of FT, Karl Shuker and I have a fundamental disagreement about the definition of the field. But I've been thinking about it a lot lately. He stated a very narrow definition which, as I understood it, essentially excludes anyone but zoologists doing it since it's a "subdiscipline of zoology". I still hold that this is not a reasonable view and it excludes much excellent scholarship that has been done. I agree with pretty much everything in the piece linked above, which is a bit broader than Karl has expressed recently. But a few points I'd love to have a discussion about:
  • Multidisciplinary is absolutely right. But they aren't all scientific disciplines so I don't know that we can wish cryptozoology to be solidly scientific. There has been excellent work done by folklorists, historians, linguists, librarians, and I'm sure other non-scientists. Standards of scholarship seem to be the key. At least, that is what I look for. Certain skeptical researchers have been calling for that for a very long time. It's a rare thing because it's super difficult - it is way easier to make a YouTube video show.
  • How come Colin gets to say it's "pseudoscience" but when I said it, Loren takes pot shots? Nevermind... I don't want to know the answer to that. But what Colin says is far from new; I know he listens to everyone and is very objective and amazingly wise for his years.
  • Pop cryptozoology is off the chain, as they say. The horse has long left the barn and I don't know how you can rein that in. Check out the other forums and social media groups - they are so heavy on fiction and fantasy monsters and many know nothing about the origin of the field (or basic biology). Then there are the more journalistic sources of material like Lyle Blackburn's books and Seth Breedlove's documentaries - mostly entertaining, but aim to be factual.* While I like to think you can set some standards, I doubt they can be very high. It's been tried and didn't work. (The ISC owes me a refund from 1993.) The peer-reviewed journals that were made available haven't generated much notable content or momentum.
  • Since the field is buoyed mostly by amateur researchers (please check out my book, Scientifical Americans), can it really be professionalized? Trying to draw strict boundaries around it now will prove to be really difficult. What's oddest of all is that many of those who want to elevate it aren't closed to paranormal themes (either presently or in the past) so it's strange for them to call for hard lines. It's not wrong or anything, it's just the way the field has evolved organically, helped along by consumerism and the media machine.
* Breedlove's upcoming docu on Momo will be a "mockumentary", a creative/artistic decision, but will muddle the picture.

Hope that thought-dump was coherent.