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.

Full circle

I just logged onto Twitter and saw these two images, one on top of the other:

In the Twitter stream, I saw the top half of the first image above the lower three quarters of the second image, forming a single circle.  Somewhat like this:

CGJPjNOWEAIzd0n

CGK24APXEAAQKW0

Perhaps one of the young Jesus’ questions was “What is rickrolling?”  I’ve heard the term for years, have no idea what it means, and can’t imagine caring enough about it to click on the link and find out why I should be against it.  Anyway, an interesting accidental image.

Three cheers for Liza Cowan

This morning I looked at Twitter and saw this from Liza Cowan

I mention such a wide variety of people on this site that I laughed out loud when I saw this.  Perhaps Catharine MacKinnon, Pope Benedict, Susie Bright, the Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain, and Leonard Nimoy (to mention five names that have occurred here more than once) are all together in some darkened room plotting iniquity at this moment, but I find it hard to imagine.  So I wrote in reply:

Liza explained:

Apparently Liza’s nemeses had Googled her name and Pam Isherwood‘s together and found our old page of “Artists and Art Blogs.”   They are both mentioned there, because of course they are- they’re both very distinguished artists, and you’re in for a treat if you go to their sites.  But the inquisitors took the presence of their names on the same list as evidence that Pam is Liza’s “follower.”  Looking over the list, Liza seems to have a pretty impressive set of followers, including Harvey Kurtzman, the Hubble Space Telescope, and the Queen of England.  

This controversy stems from Liza’s view of transgenderism.  As I understand it, her view is related to that of the late Shulamith Firestone, who held that the relation between men and women is very much like the relation that Marxism describes between bourgeois and proletariat in the later stages of capitalism.  Women form a worldwide class of the oppressed, men a worldwide class of oppressors.  Femininity, on this view, is a scar left by abuse, masculinity a weapon wielded by the privileged.  Liza’s opposition holds that gender is a more playful thing, that it is a set of roles we play, some by choice, some under duress, and that by playing the game our own way we can subvert the oppression that certainly does characterize gender relations by and large.  

I am not qualified to have an opinion about this issue.  Maybe Liza is right, maybe the Politically Correct Thought Police who are calling her names are right, maybe the truth is something else altogether.  What I do know is that Liza is an exciting artist, a rigorous thinker, and a good friend.  So if someone is out to ban or silence or smear people associated with Liza Cowan, I hereby volunteer to be banned, silenced, and smeared.   As I put it this afternoon:

And:

 

“Language Related Efforts to Help Out in Haiti”

A post at Language Log.

Cicero would have been great on Twitter

 That’s what Forbes magazine says, anyway.