Ought we to believe in Sasquatch?

Whether Sasquatch exist or not, it would be morally wrong for us to believe that they do. Last month, I posted a thread on Twitter explaining why.

I suppose everyone living in the USA or Canada has heard of the Sasquatch; others may not be aware that there is a more-or-less ancient body of legends that a race of hairy anthropoids live in the woods of the Pacific Northwest. “Sasquatch” is apparently derived from a Salish word for these anthropoids. Because of their rumored size, and perhaps because of stories about mysterious footprints found in areas they are said to frequent, the Sasquatch are also known as “Bigfoot.”

Here’s a link to the article that prompted the thread, and here’s the thread itself.

Let’s take the idea of Sasquatch at face value for a moment. One of these propositions must be true:
A. Sasquatch do not exist.
B. Sasquatch do exist.
What are the implications of these propositions?

If A, and if we take it as axiomatic that we ought not to believe in the existence of non-existent beings, it follows that we ought not to believe in the Sasquatch.

If B, then there is a species of megafauna that has eluded human attention throughout the millennia that it has existed in areas adjoining dense human populations. This would require extraordinary intelligence, organizational ability, and self-discipline.

Indeed, a species with these capabilities would certainly be capable of waging warfare against humans to defend the habitat of which humans continually deprive them. Yet there is no reason to believe that any Sasquatch has ever harmed a human.

Therefore, if Sasquatch exist, it must be the case that they have dedicated themselves above all to preventing humans from knowing that they do.

Considering that they have done nothing to harm us, and we have done a great deal to harm them, it would be the least we could do to honor their wishes by not believing in them.

That the debate about Sasquatch is not conducted in these terms strikes me as proof positive that those who participate in it do not take the idea of their existence at face value, but are acting out the sorts of dramas that the book and review linked above describe.

Originally tweeted by Acilius (@losthunderlads) on October 10, 2020.

The first documentary film about the Sasquatch I ever saw was a 1977 episode of In Search Of, a TV series narrated by Leonard Nimoy and presenting outré explanations of various legendary topics. Extraterrestrial contact was a favorite hypothesis.

I would say that this show is in a way the ideal introduction to the topic. Not only does it display the overheated mental atmosphere that often accompanies debates about whether the Sasquatch exist, but it also exposes some excellent reasons why any Sasquatch who do exist would be wise to conceal themselves from humans. Most dramatic of these is a moment about 17 minutes in, when Professor Grover Krantz of Washington State University explains his opinion that it doesn’t matter if his research drives the Sasquatch to extinction. So long as their existence is unknown to science, Krantz declares, they may as well be extinct now. I, for one, would not like to be noticed by a species with enormous destructive capacity, prominent members of which are incapable of seeing any value in lives unconnected with their own.

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