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Old 19th June 2007, 10:34 PM   #41
CLD
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To put it another way, imagine many people in a seaside town encounter strange lights in the sky. Some feel they are alien space craft. Others feel the lights are the work of a "witch" who is casting a spell from afar. The evidence:

1. Newspaper stories reporting the lights
2. Eyewitness accounts of people who saw the lights
3. Testimony of a prominent citizen attesting that the witch caused the lights
4. Newspaper accounts of the witch's occult beliefs and practices

As you can see, some "evidence" - although it may appear concrete - is simply not reliable. Even though there may be a large quantity of it, and some people are convinced by it, the evidence can't be considered conclusive in any way. It would be irrational to conclude the lights are something fantastic like aliens or the work of a witch...when more ordinary explanations (such as chinese lanterns) are available.

Last edited by CLD; 19th June 2007 at 10:46 PM.
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Old 20th June 2007, 04:52 AM   #42
DavidFarrant
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For CLD

There is only one thing slightly wrong with that, CLD.

Surely UFO's or 'aliens' are a world apart from the possibility of very solid animals that exist upon this earth. I don't want to get on to UFO's, but for the record, if any sightings or reports about these are genuine, I do not believe are 'supernatural' in any way - anymore than Chinese lanters are supernatural.

I take your point about 'mass interpretation' (having been at the middle of this I should know), people can - and do - often get things wrong, especially when 'led' by sensational newspaper reports.

The same obviously applies to the 'big cat' stories and sightings. But surely we should not give this priority in assessing other cases which could be factual? You might just as well dismiss ALL newspaper repots, political commentary included, on the assumption that all stories or reports must automatically be false because the content has not been 'proved'. That would be to live in a very 'cold world', surely?

By the way, I wonder who this (obviously very powerful) 'witch' you referred to could be!?

David Farrant
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Old 20th June 2007, 07:39 PM   #43
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As Big Les said (very diplomatically), the "big cat" evidence is very weak evidence, even though it may be arranged to "look" professional, it really is very insubstantial and only represents a tiny minority of cranks with no backing from the larger academic community. All good reasons not to take it seriously.

Of course if there ARE mysterious "big cats" roaming the alleys of England, not to worry. I'm sure the Satanic covens will quickly scoop them up for use in ritual sacrifice.
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Old 21st June 2007, 12:59 PM   #44
DavidFarrant
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For CLD

I guess it really means what you mean by the word ‘weak’ (evidence), CLD.

I 1983, for example, there were reports of a mass of sheep and deer killings on Exmoor; the animals were invariably found with their necks broken with deep wounds to the side of the throat. They had then been partially, or very wholly, eaten. In the same year, eighty sheep were killed in a matter of ninety days or so in just one small area of Exmoor.

He police were also called in as also the army and marines; the latter patrolling the Moor at night armed with sophisticated night-vision equipment and guns. SOMETHING was responsible for the killings, but it certainly wasn’t foxes. The army met with no success but there still continued local reports from people claiming to have sighted a large black ‘panther-like’ creature on the Moor.

Personally, I do not find this so incredible. Exmoor National Park consists of some 300 square miles of desolate countryside. Surely, an ideal environment for a wild cat, or cats.


As to your remark about ‘Satanists’ also being responsible, I think they would have stood more chance of being '‘eaten'’!

David Farrant
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Old 21st June 2007, 02:23 PM   #45
Big Les
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Originally Posted by DavidFarrant View Post
I guess it really means what you mean by the word ‘weak’ (evidence), CLD.

I 1983, for example, there were reports of a mass of sheep and deer killings on Exmoor; the animals were invariably found with their necks broken with deep wounds to the side of the throat. They had then been partially, or very wholly, eaten. In the same year, eighty sheep were killed in a matter of ninety days or so in just one small area of Exmoor.

He police were also called in as also the army and marines; the latter patrolling the Moor at night armed with sophisticated night-vision equipment and guns. SOMETHING was responsible for the killings, but it certainly wasn’t foxes. The army met with no success but there still continued local reports from people claiming to have sighted a large black ‘panther-like’ creature on the Moor.

Personally, I do not find this so incredible. Exmoor National Park consists of some 300 square miles of desolate countryside. Surely, an ideal environment for a wild cat, or cats.


As to your remark about ‘Satanists’ also being responsible, I think they would have stood more chance of being '‘eaten'’!

David Farrant
As I've said several times now, this is a good test of critical thinking, precisely because it IS so relatively plausible. Hell, it's actually been shown to have happened in the past. Just not very often.

Please take some time to read these:

Big Cats and Britain's Ecology
Summary of big cat reports to DEFRA, 2006
Summary of reports to DEFRA 2001 - 2005

I'll ask again - how are we to distinguish between mistaken eyewitness reports, pictures of pussy cats, smudged dog tracks, heavily predated livestock cadavers, etc etc etc.... and an actual loose big cat?
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Old 21st June 2007, 03:10 PM   #46
DavidFarrant
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For Big Les

I'm sorry, Big Les, I just can't seem to open those three files on my computer at the moment. The titles come up, but that's all. Maybe its just 'busy' or something but I'll try again tomorrow. Obviously, I'd like to read the references before replying.

If I can't open them tomorrow, I'll just have to reply without. But I am trying.

My computer is not exactly a 'state of the arts machine'! But I can't complain as it does the basics.

For now,

David
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Old 21st June 2007, 03:31 PM   #47
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I shall try one last time. If this doesn't prove as evidence then I do not know what will. The photographs are clear enough and the evidence is there for all to see and the site even includes photographs that are not big-cats.

http://www.britishbigcats.org/evidence.php
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Old 21st June 2007, 03:34 PM   #48
CatherineFearnley
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Originally Posted by DavidFarrant View Post
I'm sorry, Big Les, I just can't seem to open those three files on my computer at the moment. The titles come up, but that's all. Maybe its just 'busy' or something but I'll try again tomorrow. Obviously, I'd like to read the references before replying.

If I can't open them tomorrow, I'll just have to reply without. But I am trying.

My computer is not exactly a 'state of the arts machine'! But I can't complain as it does the basics.

For now,

David
I agree with David, the links do not work. I've tried them myself and as David said the links just come up but there is nothing there.

Catherine
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Old 21st June 2007, 03:37 PM   #49
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I have no problem with the links. But they are PDFs, so maybe the problem is something to do with that?
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Old 21st June 2007, 04:01 PM   #50
Big Les
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Hmm, they should be OK, as long as you have Adobe Acrobat Reader installed.

The first link is to an "open minded" assessment of the evidence and plausibility (focussing rather too much on the latter for my taste). The other two are hard data from DEFRA.
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Old 22nd June 2007, 02:31 AM   #51
CatherineFearnley
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Originally Posted by Big Les View Post
Hmm, they should be OK, as long as you have Adobe Acrobat Reader installed.

The first link is to an "open minded" assessment of the evidence and plausibility (focussing rather too much on the latter for my taste). The other two are hard data from DEFRA.

Hi there, I have the Adobe Acrobat Reader installed and it still doesn't work and I think David has the programme too as I've viewed PDF's before when I've been down there. But that is really upto him to discuss not myself.

Catherine.
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Old 22nd June 2007, 02:56 AM   #52
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Another where the PDFs work fine. Acrobat Reader 5.0 for me.
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Old 22nd June 2007, 04:27 AM   #53
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And mine is version 8...
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Old 22nd June 2007, 04:41 AM   #54
CatherineFearnley
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Dear All.

To get back to the Big-Cat thread which seems to have changed somewhat. In my local paper there have been even more sightings which have been reported this week. Even the local police have taken photographs of large feline paw prints and are taking them to be analyzed. The article to be found is http://www.spenboroughguardian.co.uk...icleid=2976285

It seems to me as though someone is taking the sightings serious anyway.

Catherine
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Old 22nd June 2007, 05:18 AM   #55
Big Les
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No-one is saying they shouldn't be taken seriously, by those with the experience and expertise to make a positive identification. Of course the local police have to investigate - as I keep saying it's quite plausible that a big cat could be abroad at any given moment, but that plausibility itself plus the sort of weak evidence presented in these cases does not mean that there actually are any.

Why is this so hard to understand? You need evidence for a crime before you can convict someone of it. You need evidence that your plumber is trained to do his job properly before you will pay him to do it. Why do you not require evidence for every "big cat" that is reported (and you know our definition of widely-acceptable "evidence" by now)?

I'll ask yet again - how do you propose we tell the difference between an actual big cat in a given area, and erroneous reports/misinterpreted photos/prints etc? This time I'll tell you how - experts, specialist, people that know what they're talking about. If you were able to view the DEFRA reports I linked to, you'd see that the overwhelming majority of reports turn out to be discounted as big cat evidence. When they can't be sure, they say so, and that's a start. But they would need more evidence to suggest that it's a big cat before pronouncing on it.

Authorities will expend basic resources on gathering the available evidence, but if the evidence so gathered does not suggest big cats, they won't expend further resources. That's why it matters whether these reports constitute quality evidence or not.

This is a good summary from someone who emphasises the plausibility angle, but also stresses that the majority of reports are bogus, and we need proper evidence before we buy into a given case.

ETA - that report is equally poor. Those consulted, though not specialists, don't appear to favour the story;
Originally Posted by Police wildlife officer
"We receive several big cat sightings each year across the region, although none of these reports has ever led to any solid evidence being collected.
Originally Posted by Webmaster of "Big Cat Monitors"
"It could be a lynx or a large domestic cat, but the definition is not clear enough to be sure. I don't think the prints are large enough to have been left by a big cat. But it looks like a feline shape because one toe sticks out further than the others."
The scale next to the pawprint shows it to be just over 3cm long - well within typical domestic cat paw size.

Everything else is anecdotal waffle. The print is all they have, and no expert has yet ID'd it as big or exotic cat. Therefore it is at present only fractionally more likely that there is a big cat in the area than it was beforehand, if that!

Are you both on dialup internet connections by any chance? If so you will have to wait a while for the contents of the document to appear, or alternatively right-click and save-as to download them for offline reading. I hope you can sort that out because the DEFRA documents make very interesting reading vis the unreliable nature of the typical evidence for big cats. If you can, here's another regarding the Beast of Bodmin, which shows with lovely colour annotated pictures just why all the evidence submitted to them has failed to stand up to expert analysis.

Last edited by Big Les; 22nd June 2007 at 05:35 AM.
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Old 22nd June 2007, 06:56 AM   #56
DavidFarrant
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For Big Les

I have not had much success getting to those reference files, Big Les, so I’ll just have to answer without them.

I do not claim to be an expert in the ‘big cat’ sightings (the flesh and blood variety) but I have spend a lot of time on Bodin Moor and Dartmoor (and other parts of Devon and Cornwall) gathering information on sightings of alleged phantom black cats and dogs (and’bears’ which you may have gathered from my trip to Lydford) photographing locations, talking to witnesses, etc. This would have been mainly through the 1980’s. It was mainly in this period, that I came to learn of the very real existence of the live ones living wild, which made the issue somewhat confusing as some reported ghostly manifestations of these animals, may well have been real live animals, only to be confused with the ‘non-material’ ones.

However, as we are talking about the physical variety, it makes my task far simpler here!

Lets take the basic facts for the killings:

These consisted not only of lambs, but of full grown ewes and deer, and they were all basically killed (where it was still possible to tell) in the same manner. They appeared to have been bitten in the neck then either suffocated or had their necks broken. (As I said, you can safely rule out foxes).

I think it is also reasonable to rule out poachers. They would have surely taken the carcasses, which would have been the whole point of the exercise in the first place.

I has been suggested that feral cats might be responsible for the killings. I personally cannot see this. Domestic cats living wild on the Moor and having ‘adapted back to Nature’, would not posses either the speed or the strength to be able to kill a full grown deer.

Then of course we are still left with the numerous independent sightings of the animals; some of these captured on film, some not.

I guess you will still say that all this is ‘not enough’ evidence’! I know you Les, you will! I could only answer by saying that the evidence is there (or was there) and so are many of the witnesses. I can appreciate what you mean about the quality of required evidence. But isn’t this rather putting the cart before the horse?

Take the 1983 spate of mass killings. The evidence IS there. Even the police and the army recognised it. Can we not start with that example? Use the facts as a starting point as opposed to trying to deny these just because the ‘clues’ do not constitute evidence themselves. What about the dead animals themselves? Don’t these account for anything?

And why should it be impossible for a colony of big cats to live and breed on the moor? It only takes two of them, you know, and it wouldn’t be too long before you had a small population! After all, they would have some 300 miles of wild countryside to roam in mostly away from human habitation.

And if this could happen in one pocket of our countryside; then why not in another one, like Yorkshire?

I suppose I really shouldn’t have got onto all this. But then it does come back to this old question about evidence, which seems so important here.

David Farrant.


PS Still no joy with that. I am on dial up, but Catherine isn’t but that apparently makes no difference. Maybe just because I don’t have the file mentioned installed

.
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Old 22nd June 2007, 07:00 AM   #57
Paul
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Originally Posted by CatherineFearnley View Post
I shall try one last time. If this doesn't prove as evidence then I do not know what will.
OK, there are nine items on that page: 1 is unidentified; 2 are hoaxes; 1 is from a video of an animal described as legendary; 1 is described as medium-small and hunts rodents, frogs, birds and fish1; 1 is the size of a domestic cat and hunts hares, rodents, birds, and bats2; 1 is the size of a very large cat, will hunt sheep or goats, and is native to parts of Europe3; the remaining two are referred to only as Lynx, which vary considerably in size but can hunt animals up to the size of reindeer4.

The point is that only 3 of these are even large and none of them are big cats of any description; several are European natives and 1 even had a collar on when it was shot in Northern Ireland.

So you see, none of that page is evidence for big cats on the loose. I'm not being awkward here, it's just that if you keep insisting on something, and berating others for their lack of belief, it is a good idea to only claim evidence that actually is.
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Old 22nd June 2007, 07:13 AM   #58
CatherineFearnley
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Originally Posted by Big Les View Post
No-one is saying they shouldn't be taken seriously, by those with the experience and expertise to make a positive identification. Of course the local police have to investigate - as I keep saying it's quite plausible that a big cat could be abroad at any given moment, but that plausibility itself plus the sort of weak evidence presented in these cases does not mean that there actually are any.

You've got the wrong end of the stick. The police were NOT investigating the Big-Cat sightings but were investigating a robbery and found the paw print en route. They immediately took photographs and are having them analysed as I've said before. So if the police think there is a Big-Cat in the area why can't people on here accept it. This is two weeks running that reports have been coming in.

Why is this so hard to understand? You need evidence for a crime before you can convict someone of it. You need evidence that your plumber is trained to do his job properly before you will pay him to do it. Why do you not require evidence for every "big cat" that is reported (and you know our definition of widely-acceptable "evidence" by now)?

There is plenty of evidence and reports, plus carcasses of other animals been found on the way. What more can one say. Again this is the 2nd week running and no doubt there will be plenty more. I'm keeping a thorough record and research material as it's happening and will continue to do so.

I'll ask yet again - how do you propose we tell the difference between an actual big cat in a given area, and erroneous reports/misinterpreted photos/prints etc? This time I'll tell you how - experts, specialist, people that know what they're talking about. If you were able to view the DEFRA reports I linked to, you'd see that the overwhelming majority of reports turn out to be discounted as big cat evidence. When they can't be sure, they say so, and that's a start. But they would need more evidence to suggest that it's a big cat before pronouncing on it.

So the police are taking misinterpretated photographgs now are they? I'm sure that they would love to know about that.

Authorities will expend basic resources on gathering the available evidence, but if the evidence so gathered does not suggest big cats, they won't expend further resources. That's why it matters whether these reports constitute quality evidence or not.

This is the whole point Big Les. The local authorities are starting to accept the fact that a Big-Cat could be in the area. They are asking people to make reports and are asking for further descriptions. Not only is evidence being found but it's being found in abundance.

This is a good summary from someone who emphasises the plausibility angle, but also stresses that the majority of reports are bogus, and we need proper evidence before we buy into a given case.

ETA - that report is equally poor. Those consulted, though not specialists, don't appear to favour the story;

Those consulted are not specialists as you say so how would they know otherwise. I shall email Adam and tell him is reporting skills are crap. I'm sure that he'd be thrilled considering he's been working on the newspaper for goodness knows how many years. If the report was crap then it would not have made front news even if it is a local rag.



The scale next to the pawprint shows it to be just over 3cm long - well within typical domestic cat paw size.

Even Paul Westwood of the Big Cat Society has said that it could be a lynx.

Everything else is anecdotal waffle. The print is all they have, and no expert has yet ID'd it as big or exotic cat. Therefore it is at present only fractionally more likely that there is a big cat in the area than it was beforehand, if that!

So all reports again I'll state are anecdotal waffle. Is the Independent Times anecdotal waffle. What about the Guardian or other broadsheets. They have not just got that print. There have been other prints. Loads of witnesses, at least three sightings of paw prints etc etc and a woman said "A large hole is being dug in the grass at night. And I found a chicken leg and head".

Are you both on dialup internet connections by any chance? If so you will have to wait a while for the contents of the document to appear, or alternatively right-click and save-as to download them for offline reading. I hope you can sort that out because the DEFRA documents make very interesting reading vis the unreliable nature of the typical evidence for big cats. If you can, here's another regarding the Beast of Bodmin, which shows with lovely colour annotated pictures just why all the evidence submitted to them has failed to stand up to expert analysis.
No I'm on broadband. I'll keep trying to view the documents. I'm sure that they are interesting reading. However I am not disregarding these reports as fakes as I am sure that they are genuine.
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Old 22nd June 2007, 07:13 AM   #59
Miss Whiplash
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Originally Posted by DavidFarrant View Post
<snip>
I suppose I really shouldn’t have got onto all this. But then it does come back to this old question about evidence, which seems so important here.

David Farrant.[/color]
.
David, we have been explaining this for 6 months and you still don't get it. I'll try it once more. Without evidence, this is just a wild tale, the same as tales about giant vampire spiders.
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Old 22nd June 2007, 07:19 AM   #60
CatherineFearnley
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Originally Posted by Paul View Post

So you see, none of that page is evidence for big cats on the loose. I'm not being awkward here, it's just that if you keep insisting on something, and berating others for their lack of belief, it is a good idea to only claim evidence that actually is.
Who says I'm berating others for their lack of belief? It's only yourself who has said that. All I'm doing is finding sites, news reports, evidence as it comes in and time after time on here people are still refusing to believe in evidence that I provide even if it's from authorities. What more can I say.

What do people on here have to do to provide evidence? I've got official websites such as The Big Cat Society and others, news paper reports. Evidence from local Police and other authorities and still people disbelive. Good grief.

Catherine
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Old 22nd June 2007, 07:22 AM   #61
CatherineFearnley
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Originally Posted by The Vampire View Post
David, we have been explaining this for 6 months and you still don't get it. I'll try it once more. Without evidence, this is just a wild tale, the same as tales about giant vampire spiders.
Yes but we keep providing evidence from sources which you originally said appear fit such as the internet, newspaper reports etc. And yet when we do this you turn around say it isn't good enough. I repeat this question again. What does one have to do to provide evidence. Even clear photographs are not good enough for this board.

Catherine
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Old 22nd June 2007, 07:29 AM   #62
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Marcus said it very well. I'll run it by you one more time:

Hair, scat, the body of an animal. Something that will yield DNA.

Do you understand what these things are?
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Old 22nd June 2007, 07:32 AM   #63
Paul
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Originally Posted by CatherineFearnley View Post
All I'm doing is finding sites, news reports, evidence as it comes in and time after time on here people are still refusing to believe in evidence that I provide even if it's from authorities.
The British Big Cats Society isn't the authorities, it doesn't even appear to be an authority, and I explained what was wrong with their evidence page.



Quote:
What do people on here have to do to provide evidence? I've got official websites such as The Big Cat Society and others, news paper reports. Evidence from local Police and other authorities and still people disbelive. Good grief.
You wouldn't be berating us for not believing your evidence would you?
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Old 22nd June 2007, 09:00 AM   #64
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For The Vampire

You said:

David, we have been explaining this for 6 months and you still don't get it. I'll try it once more. Without evidence, this is just a wild tale, the same as tales about giant vampire spiders.
C'on, Vampire. Please be serious! How can you compare all these sightings and the evidence of witnesses about very material big cats, with the fictional ravings of some nut who claims to have encountered a 'real' vampire which then promptly turned into a 'giant spider'? (He then staked it and it changed back into the human being it once was before being bitten by the 'King Vampire', remember!). Sorry, I am just unable to see the comparision. Can you help here?

And I notice the silence has been deafening about my question of the 80 or so sheep and deer which were systymatically killed by something in 1983. There IS evidence for you. The question is, why nobody has tried to explain it?

David
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Old 22nd June 2007, 09:37 AM   #65
Miss Whiplash
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Originally Posted by DavidFarrant View Post
You said:

David, we have been explaining this for 6 months and you still don't get it. I'll try it once more. Without evidence, this is just a wild tale, the same as tales about giant vampire spiders.
C'on, Vampire. Please be serious! How can you compare all these sightings and the evidence of witnesses about very material big cats, with the fictional ravings of some nut who claims to have encountered a 'real' vampire which then promptly turned into a 'giant spider'? (He then staked it and it changed back into the human being it once was before being bitten by the 'King Vampire', remember!). Sorry, I am just unable to see the comparision. Can you help here?

And I notice the silence has been deafening about my question of the 80 or so sheep and deer which were systymatically killed by something in 1983. There IS evidence for you. The question is, why nobody has tried to explain it?

David
We have evidence the animals were killed by something. We have no hard evidence what killed them. Saying they were all killed by a big phantom cat is just as unproven as the existence or giant vampire spiders.
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Old 22nd June 2007, 10:25 AM   #66
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Exactly. All you know is that 80 or 90 sheep were killed by SOMETHING. You can speculate they were killed by a big cat, but you need some hard evidence that rules out other non-big-cat causes.

By the way, David, congratulations on taking your first baby steps out of the "David Farrant" thread. There's no reason you shouldn't be out among the mainstream rubbing elbows with your JREF brothers and sisters.
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Old 22nd June 2007, 10:40 AM   #67
DavidFarrant
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For CLD

Thanks CLD. You've got this habit of saying the right thing at the wrong time!

I just means now I've got two threads to deal with, when one was bad enough!

For now,

David Farrant
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Old 22nd June 2007, 11:40 AM   #68
eir_de_scania
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We have a few wolves in Sweden. Sometimes a young wolf leave the pack, looking for a mate and a chance to have it's own family. They are captured on shaky videos and bad camera shots. Just like your big cats.

But there's also tracks, hair, and scat. Not to mention they sometimes get run over by a car or being shot by an irate sheep farmer. So there's bodies as well.

Same with lynxes. Big elusive cats, but they still leave big, easily recognised tracks.

And this in a country that is much bigger and less populated than Britain. No problems in finding real evidence.
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Old 22nd June 2007, 12:36 PM   #69
Big Les
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Originally Posted by CatherineFearnley
You've got the wrong end of the stick. The police were NOT investigating the Big-Cat sightings but were investigating a robbery and found the paw print en route. They immediately took photographs and are having them analysed as I've said before. So if the police think there is a Big-Cat in the area why can't people on here accept it. This is two weeks running that reports have been coming in.
No, I haven't. I did read the article, thanks. By noticing the print and sending the evidence to experts, they are de facto "investigating" it. It remains the only evidence in this case that is not anecdotal. You must surely accept that anecdotal evidence is of very limited value, because people can so easily misinterpret what they are seeing. Have a look at this summary.

Quote:
There is plenty of evidence and reports, plus carcasses of other animals been found on the way. What more can one say. Again this is the 2nd week running and no doubt there will be plenty more. I'm keeping a thorough record and research material as it's happening and will continue to do so.
That's great, but if the carcasses aren't verified as being the result of big cat predation, then they are worthless as evidence. If lots are being killed, more than typical, then something is happening, but you cannot say it's a big cat at this stage. I am somewhat cynical by default about the idea, I will admit, but if any evidence is verified in this or any other case, I will of course change my position, as should any sceptic.

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So the police are taking misinterpretated photographgs now are they? I'm sure that they would love to know about that.
Erm, what? The police haven't "interpretated" the photograph, they've done exactly what they should have done and sent it to an expert. Do you actually understand what "to interpet" means? I'll say again, the print is the shape and size of a domestic cat print. The "biggest" cat it can possibly be is a (small) lynx. Whether it is one or not will be confirmed.

Quote:
This is the whole point Big Les. The local authorities are starting to accept the fact that a Big-Cat could be in the area. They are asking people to make reports and are asking for further descriptions. Not only is evidence being found but it's being found in abundance.
Whether or not the authorities are "beginning to accept" it or not actually has no bearing on whether or not it's the case. They have to take precautions over any report of something that could be dangerous to the public, just in case, because they have a duty of care to us all and would be held responsible if there were anything at large, big cat or no. It costs them no resources to request further information. For all any of us know, it's a stray dog, a rabid cat, or a badger with a grudge.

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Those consulted are not specialists as you say so how would they know otherwise. I shall email Adam and tell him is reporting skills are crap. I'm sure that he'd be thrilled considering he's been working on the newspaper for goodness knows how many years. If the report was crap then it would not have made front news even if it is a local rag.
I cited the people interviewed because footprint and anecdotes aside, their inexpert analysis is about all the report had going for it - and they were negative analyses. I did not cast any aspersions on "Adam's" reporting skills; in fact it's a fairly well written and balanced piece of journalism. The fact that he's reporting weak evidence is no reflection on him - this is a local interest story.

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Even Paul Westwood of the Big Cat Society has said that it could be a lynx.
Could be a lynx. COULD be. Based on the small unidentified feline footprints and the fact that some people think they've seen a "big cat". Doesn't mean that it IS a lynx. Can't you see the difference? I COULD be a Nobel Prize-winning physicist, but unless I can prove it, you wouldn't want to trust my take on quantum theory.

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So all reports again I'll state are anecdotal waffle. Is the Independent Times anecdotal waffle. What about the Guardian or other broadsheets. They have not just got that print. There have been other prints. Loads of witnesses, at least three sightings of paw prints etc etc and a woman said "A large hole is being dug in the grass at night. And I found a chicken leg and head".
Newspapers report things based on the available evidence, but they are well known for running stories regardless of the quality of the evidence. In a way, that's the whole point; they are supposed to be impartial - they tell you what people are saying, they don't apply much scepticism to it.

Wait a minute... what's this...? Why didn't you say so before?!!! A chicken leg! I mean seriously, so what? Foxes are more than capable of leaving that sort of carnage behind, and everyone in the area is presumably well aware that there's supposed to be some sort of killer beast abroad. Where normally this woman might have ignored the chicken parts, because she knows about the story, she assigns special significance to it.

And a hole in the garden??? Are big cats known to dig holes in the ground? Because dogs, rabbits, badgers and god knows what else certainly are.

Oh, and what other prints? Have they been verified as big cat prints?

Quote:
No I'm on broadband. I'll keep trying to view the documents. I'm sure that they are interesting reading. However I am not disregarding these reports as fakes as I am sure that they are genuine.
I see from David's last post that he doesn't actually have Adobe Acrobat Reader. If you are also lacking it you might like to install it using the link I gave earlier.

To summarise our respective positions on this issue, you Catherine, and David, are prepared to accept the merest suggestion that there are big cats involved in the cases you've mentioned. The sceptics here require more and/or better evidence before we will begin to be persuaded. Verified prints, conclusive carcass pathology, and any piece of evidence providing DNA will all but clinch it for us. We would then only have the possibility of hoax to consider and rule out (which should be eminently possible). Is that a fair summary?

Last edited by Big Les; 22nd June 2007 at 12:41 PM.
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Old 28th June 2007, 05:23 AM   #70
DavidFarrant
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A big-cat, and nothing but a big-cat

I just thought this first-hand ‘big cat’ sighting might be of interest as it came from a well-known Naturalist who lives near Exmoor and who was himself involved in the ‘big cat’ investigation (some might call it a ‘scare’) back in 1983. His account may be relevant as the animal he saw is clearly identified as being a big cat, and not a ‘cross-bred mutant”, a lynx or anything of that nature.

He was on Exmoor looking for tracks or other clues that might lead to solving the mystery of recently killed sheep and deer, though at the time, he was of the opinion that the culprit was probably a ‘rouge dog’.

He said
:

“On this particular day I had watched grey squirrels in the trees and enjoyed the willow warbler and chiff chaffs moving about in the canopy, their nesting over for the year and with many birds in little family parties.

I had just watched a female sparrowhawk glide across my view as I made my way to the stream and began to move up the opposite slope, the waterway now narrow due to the drought and merely a ‘step’ wide.

Looking up over the slope to chose my way I saw the head and shoulders of a large animal appear in the bushes.

In the green sun-draped shadows of the wood it looked black and rather otter-like, a first impression I shall always remember for the head was broad and sleek with small ears.. The animal’s eyes were clear greeny-yellow as I just stood still and stared at it.

As it stared back at me I could clearly make out the thickish neck, the powerful looking forelegs and deep chest and then without a sound it turned and moved swiftly away through the trees.

That it was jet black I was sure, and long in the body and tail. I guessed at four and a half feet in body length and about two feet at the shoulders.

I dropped my camera bag at the bushes where it had appeared and went after it, instinctively thinking, and hoping, that if it was running away it would continue to do so.

Reaching the wood edge I could see the animal already two thirds of the way across the adjourning field and moving at great speed. It ran like a greyhound, its forelegs pushing through the hind legs, then forcing back as the forelegs again came forward to hit the ground together, a beautiful, very large black panther was my immediate thought.

I watched it reach the field edge where it leapt high into the hedge and disappeared over …”


This first-hand would seem to rule out the possibility that the animal killings then taking place on Exmoor were not, indeed, the work of a rouge dog. It may also add further weight to the current reports of a big-cat being sighted in Yorkshire.

David Farrant
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Old 28th June 2007, 06:12 AM   #71
Rolfe
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Just my tuppenceworth.

I was cycling with a friend along the towpath of a canal in Yorkshire, near the open dales and moors. It was a bright, clear day, mid-afternoon. On the other side of the canal was a very large, open green field. I saw something on that field. Something which looked like a panther, or my idea of a panther. It was black, and my first impression was that it was very big indeed. It was walking across the field.

I exclaimed "what the hell's that", blinked, and focussed my gaze.

It was a black domestic cat.

No more than 5 kg, tops.

However, if the cat had run off in the short moment before I really got a good look, I'd have been convinced to this day I'd seen a "big cat". I could only conclude that the size of the field and the lack of reference points in its vast expanse had caused my brain to interpret the size of the animal wrongly at first sight. Even given that it was broad daylight.

I got a second look. But what if I hadn't? What if there had been other "big cat" sightings in the news in the area at the time? How convinced would I have been, and how convincing might I have been to reporters and so on?

Rolfe.
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Old 28th June 2007, 08:38 AM   #72
Tumblehome
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There's been a rash of cougar sightings in the last couple of weeks where I live on the Canadian prairies (Saskatoon). Cougars are known to be around here but are rare. While two or three sightings are no doubt genuine, local officials are attributing at least some of them to the heightened awareness (hysteria is too strong a word) which always accompanies reports of cougars where there are children and pets. Once there's been a sighting reported, people are usually too quick to attribute a glimpse of a tail to a cougar.

There was also a couple of moose yearlings in the city this week, but there hasn't been a rash of false sightings, probably because they don't inspire the same level of fear.
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