Friday, 3 August 2018

Tricks of the Sceptics





This blog has been running now for eight years and published over 600 items in that time. During that period I would like to think I have gotten a good handle on the debating tactics of that class of Nessie naysayers commonly known as "sceptics". Quite likely you will hear them before you see them as they loudly go forth proclaiming the inerrancy of their ways and the perfections of their thoughts.

Like a crowd of wannabe Spocks they practise the raising of the right eyebrow and the parting of the fingers, but they have no desire that your monster theories will live long and prosper. I long ago grew used to this logical posturing and the shallowness of much of their argumentation. Today I would like to present to you some of the tactics they use in the pursuit of doing whatever it takes to rid themselves and the world of these meddlesome monsters.
  
1. Eyewitness accounts useless ... unless they support pet theories

You've heard it many a time from sceptics, eyewitnesses are poor "recording devices". Not only do the fail to perceive what they are seeing at the time, but are pathetic at recalling the details later on. Well, that is unless what they describe supports your agenda, in which case the clouds of poor memory suddenly depart. The perception of the eyewitnesses becomes lucid and their descriptions are now as sharp as a tack.

This duplicity came to my attention when the matter of the sturgeon came to the fore. Instead of the usual rejection of certain eyewitness reports, a number of reports were deemed accurate to support the sturgeon theory; namely K.MacDonald(1932), J.McLeod(c.1900s), and M.MacDonald(1993). Go to this link and search for "sturgeon". Adrian Shine admitted that "anyone, of course, can assemble sighting reports to support a pet theory", so why bother with this? All that being said, I take this as a positive as the sceptics are admitting witnesses can accurately describe what they are seeing. 


2. Devise unfalsifiable theories

The obvious one being "If it is not a misidentification, then it is a hoax" allied with "If it is not a hoax, then it is a misidentification". A piece of circular reasoning specifically devised to exclude genuine monster reports.


3. Cherry picking accepted theories

In other words, promote only those theories which advance your agenda. This even includes parts of theories such as the false memory theory but ignoring the inconvenient theory that dramatic events stay longer in the memory.


4. Devise explanations to explain reports without testing

 A common tactic wherein sceptics put forward seemingly plausible explanations as to how a witness was wrong, but they never actually test if it is a viable explanation in the field. Of course, not every theory can be tested, but the sceptics are quite happy with that arrangement.


5. A lazy over reliance on the "least fantastical" approach to theorising

This is the "improbable" versus "impossible" theories and is a straw man argument. You construct an albeit unlikely scenario but use common everyday objects to soften the implausibility. This is then propped up against a monster theory and the audience is deceptively asked "which one looks more likely to you?". An example would be, "What is more likely to you? A line of otters in a heat haze or a plesiosaur crossing the road?". The correct answer from a neutral or sceptical audience should be "The first, but both look unlikely, so we are no further forward."


6. Objectification of subjective data

Sceptics often berate believers for going over monster pictures with a fine toothcomb for minor details that are at best inconclusive and at worst wishful thinking. However, sceptics are guilty of this when we are assuredly told that there are wires present in the Surgeon's photograph, a canoe's rudder point in the O'Connor photograph and a forward wake in the MacNab photograph. Like the believers they put down, they are merely seeing what their confirmation bias wishes them to see!

7. Inconsistency in accepting eyewitness testimony that suits their agenda

Eyewitnesses to monster sightings are categorised as inadequate (unless it involves sturgeons) but people who come forward to offer juicy information to debunk sightings are star witnesses who cannot possibly be wrong. In this list we include Richard Frere who claimed to have information to debunk the Lachlan Stuart photograph and likewise Alec Menzies on Arthur Grant. One is not inclined to judge whether these people lied or misinterpreted an event, but the sceptics make no attempt to assess the weight of their testimonies. 


8. Ad Hominem tactics 

A somewhat baser form of tactic which gets personal. For instance, I heard one sceptic state that eyewitness testimonies from anyone at Fort Augustus Abbey should be discounted in the light of the recent child abuse scandal there. Not much logic there I am afraid. Also, we are told to discount Arthur Grant's testimony because known faker Marmaduke Wetherell visited the site while he was at Loch Ness. The old "guilt by association" tactic. Finally, the monks get it in the neck again when some of their eyewitness testimonies should be discarded because "they like their whisky". Yeah, sure.


9. Overuse of tentative or false theories

Be it discredited theories such as vegetable mats, earthquakes or uncatchable sturgeon, some theories just seem to go on well past their sell by dates. But f they deflect attention away from inconvenient monsters, what's not to like?


10. Mistakes in use of eyewitness reports

The classic here was Ronald Binns' conflation of the Margaret Munro and Torquil MacLeod land sightings. The intended or unintended synthesis of these two accounts resulted in inconsistencies which Binns then exploited to discredit the MacLeod account. I am not making this up, folks! 


11. The psychological use of hyperbolic language 

Or to use an old phrase, "Argument weak here, shout louder!". Do you want your faltering arguments to carry more weight with your audience? Simple, just attach such words as "damning", "amazing" or "very telling" to arguments which are nothing of the sort. This one comes straight out of the politician's playbook.

12. Deflection

You may have noticed when debating a sceptic that the topic under discussion actually has nothing to do with the original question. This is called deflection and usually involves the sceptic going off as a tangent so long as the direction is away from the original awkward question. Another tactic taken from the politician's playbook.

So there you have it. No doubt Mr. Spock would have replied "Fascinating!". The next time a sceptic beams down and starts pontificating to you on the matter of lake cryptids, get out this list and check how many of these tricks they are trying to pull off. Perhaps we should start an annual award for the worst offender. We could call it the Cryptozoological BS Award, where of course BS stands for Bogus Spocks.





The author can be contacted at lochnesskelpie@gmail.com



136 comments:

  1. Quit picking on the skeptics, Roland! they have feelings too. LOL But yes, methinks they doth protest too much.

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    1. Regular skeptics,or paid skeptics?

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  2. The monks like their whiskey? Well, I should get along just fine with them and I would believe them too, aye...Hic

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    1. You haven’t proven Nessie doesn’t exist; in fact you haven’t even come close. The case is wide open. Sceptics have never adequately explained the multitude of clear eyewitness sightings, however hard you’ve all tried.

      And no I don’t believe the earth is flat or the moon landings were faked, because those are silly, demonstrably false theories.

      Tony, you even saw Nessie yourself once, then forced yourself to reject the animal hump you had seen! This is modern day scepticism, about as far from scientific as one could get.

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    2. Yes, I think Arthur Grant saw a 20ft creature crossing the road in front of him and that is after weighing up the arguments offered against him.

      The arguments are logically valid whether you point to flat earthers or not. Can you point me to the sources for your claims that "flat earthers" use these points against their perceived opponents? Just the flat earthers please.

      We know there is no scientific proof of large creatures in the loch, if by that you mean the only evidence zoologists would accept - a live or dead specimen or a part thereof. We all know that!

      But I am not ignoring 2000+ eyewitnesses just because you don't believe in it!

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  4. Well the alcohol thing always makes me laugh. I am yet to hallucinate whilst having a drink, or even on the way home.
    I think the post is a fair summation of tools used to an end. And I know we all have our bias, but certainly some form of neutrality should be employed by all. The argument that it doesn't exist, therefore it must be attributed a conventional explanation, is a non argument. The fact that large numbers of witnesses, some trained observers, see something anomalous in Ness is enough for me. For me, and frankly for anyone who knows the facts, it's not whether it's there or not, but rather what it is. I think by this stage, a decent investigator should be able to sort the wheat from the chaff easily enough.

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  5. Brilliant article. You’ve put into clear words the kind of things which have been on my mind for a long time, but I’ve been unable to articulate properly. Thank you Roland!

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  6. I agree with Tony Harmsworth's assessment of the situation in general that confronts believers. In particular some of the photographic evidence that has been touted as genuine. And that is to say that I don't believe all the classic photos are legitimate, although my enthusiasm has not been dampened by this.

    I only wish that the perpetrators of some of the obvious photographic fakes would have made a deathbed confession and eliminated them for us, leaving no doubt. I would beg to differ on the Gray image as showing not enough discernible detail. I would attribute that to the “primitive and slow” camera of it's time. I therefore still believe it shows “some” animal “frolicking” on the surface.

    I also agree that science has not definitely proven the existence of Nessie...yet. As for scientific study of the loch and the elimination of unknown animals that could not possibly be there, maybe and hopefully this is where eDNA can play a role.

    I sometimes think that if Jacques Cousteau or maybe Robert Ballard, with their sophisticated submersibles and under water technology had ever mounted a concentrated effort at Loch Ness, this mystery would have been solved by now.

    Unfortunately, in the Grant case, all we have is his hearsay. But as I have said before, I put a lot of credence on witness testimony that, in some cases goes back years, and decades if not centuries. Don't those Moon Landing Hoaxers drive you nuts!

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  7. A further note on reliance on eyewitness testimony. A quote from Robert Rines “Are they all liars? All drunks? I don’t believe that about human nature,” he said. The human brain, he’ll concede, is not 100 percent trustworthy. “But it’s not zero, either.”

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    1. John, absolutely. I find a only small proportion of people untrustworthy. The question is, do they all congregate at Loch Ness? Or another argument might be that under the influence of a herd mentality, some people either imagine or embellish what they see to fit the 'accepted'. Which I think is nonsense. Not only do people get ridiculed for sightings, but the breadth of sighting types are quite diverse and do not really fit any accepted norm. I think fake sightings are easy to root out. Hallucinations would be more difficult to nail down unless you had more than one witness. Ted Holiday cites several occasions where his 'orm' was seen by multiple witnesses, from various locations.

      To be honest, our photographic evidence is interesting, but to me it's open to too much interpretation by sceptics. Some key photos have been faked or manipulated, further setting back a good case. For me, good eyewitness testimony and some good sonar traces (also open to interpretation I know) are worth their weight in gold.

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  9. So what scientific study that involves nessie should we be concentrating on Tony? And why should we ignore people who have claimed to have seen things?

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    1. Tony I can’t help thinking you decided a long time ago that the “clever approach” to Nessie was the sceptical one. You appear to hold Adrian Shinw and Dick Raynor in remarkably high regard. Are you perhaps trying to please them?

      As for “realising you were mistaken” about your own sighting, I’d be delighted to understand how the “hump” you observed at the time later turned into a group of ducks or geese? It really does appear to me that you’ve since talked yourself out of what you saw, again perhaps to stay credible with the hardened sceptics? I know that when I look down on a group of water birds from a significant height they never appear as one hump, not even momentarily. I’m keen to read your explanation.

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    2. Tony, may I ask this, and I respect your veteran status as a Loch Ness researcher, but how do you account for the many sightings that cannot be misidentified, many by trained observers? Or the sonar traces that appear to show large animate objects? And if they are all misinterpretations, how do these 'anomalies' not appear the length and breadth of the UK? I am positive that misidentifications count for a reasonable proportion of sightings, and presumably the rate is higher for folk who are unfamiliar with weather and wake patterns.

      And yes, I agree. Anyone can make a mistake. I have, on two occasions, witnessed wakes that I thought were animal in origin, but realised that they were regular repeating boat wakes. The boats were out of sight by this stage, but I still worked it out. I'd very much doubt if a resident of Loch Ness would fall for the same thing as I nearly did, and much less police officers, fishermen and farming people who have an intimate association with how the Loch behaves.

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    3. Yes, I have mentioned Adrian's pole experiment here before. He never published a paper on it which makes me wonder if it was scientifically rigorous or just a bit of fun? The point is everyone came away correctly saying it was a pole like object! You over focus on the minor details they add and completely ignore the fact that the eyewitnesses were more or less correct in what they saw!

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    4. Fair play Roland, you really do dismiss the crap some of these sceptics come out with. The sad thing is that people with an interest in nessie will actually believe some of this bull.

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    1. I have another account from Adrian below which doesn't sound so dramatic as yours. The point here is that Adrian attempts to trap us in my point 2 above - an unfalsifiable theory in which every eyewitness must be rejected - because if Adrian got it wrong, everyone else must! What kind of s*&t logic is that?


      "Shine rented a rowboat and paddled around Loch Morar one night with a camera. As he was rowing along the dark northern shoreline, he saw a hump, “very much like the ones I’d seen drawn in books of sightings,” emerge from behind a promontory. “I stopped rowing. It stopped moving. I took a photograph…and waited for it to move.” It didn’t, so he rowed toward it.

      As Shine drew near it, the hump began to look like a huge, submerged head. “I got closer,” he said, inserting a pregnant pause. “It was a rock”—another dramatic pause—”so all my perceptions had actually been wrong. And I vowed that night that if I couldn’t believe my own eyes, I wasn’t going to believe anybody else’s, either. And that has no bearing on the integrity of the person, but only the fallibility of perception.”"

      https://www.bostonmagazine.com/2008/11/19/the-scientist-and-the-monster/

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    2. I have read these articles and think of my own misidentified boat wakes. It certainly doesn't mean everyone else misidentified a real animal. And this 'theory of everything' falls away when someone has a detailed head and neck sighting, possibly from several locations. Or, as Ted Holiday described, chasing a hump in his car to get a clearer view, a hump which is clearly on the move, and being seen by several witnesses at several locations at both sides of the loch. I have every respect for Adrian Shine and his long endeavours, but it doesn't change the fact that his epiphany was his alone.

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    3. Quite right, Adrian is not the benchmark for all other sightings.

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    4. That's where I got my Rines quote, glad you found it also!

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    5. Tony is over-egging the importance of one misjudgment and subsequent realisation by Adrian Shine. It appears to me that Tony lost something as the barbecue steak sizzled... perhaps his ability to autonomously ponder the mystery of Loch Ness? The steaks, the camaraderie and the occasion of the barbecue appear to have turned a minor experience of Adrian’s into something far bigger than it actually was - in Tony’s mind. I understand that Adrian is larger than life and certainly charismatic, but each of us should remain our own keeper.

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    7. Barbecues cooked with charcoal lump wood or briquettes are hazardous to health if consumed that regularly. They’re coated with carcinogenic deposits. And that’s not even taking into account the inhalation of the smoke during the cooking process. Off topic I know, but please take care Tony. Despite the earlier heated debate I do care about a legendary name associated with the loch!

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    8. LOL! Are you suggesting that carcinogens have addled Tony's mind! Too funny, I had to comment.

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  12. Now who to believe? Tony's story about Adrian is very much different to Roland's.It goes to show how things get blown out of proportion. Be careful what we believe is my motto.

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    1. Tony has dramatised the story. He comes across as completely in awe of Adrian during the fateful barbecue.

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    3. Tony, I did not mean to be nasty and I’m sorry you took it as such. I was referring to the pecking order of the sceptics and your admiration for Adrian at the top of that pecking order. I was only meaning in the professional sense, I don’t have any knowledge of the friendship which exists between you and Adrian. If I’m honest I too would be somewhat in awe of his intellectual and persuasive capabilities if I had decided to come down on the side of the hardened sceptics. Again I apologise if you felt I was making a comment about your friendship; I was simply stating that you look up to Adrian intellectually, and that is understandable. I hope we can return to more peaceful discourse.

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    4. In my opinion, skepticism pays well,while believers trod on paying out of pocket for their field studies and research.If a believer took a paid skepticism position,it would ,imo,make them cranky.

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    1. Tony, I'll back you up on your religious beliefs, or lack thereof i.e. no “God” I read your blog entry “Where was God” On that we can agree on. Cheers!

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    2. An emotive piece of diatribe I am more likely to say having read it myself.

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  14. The Doctor would never think like that. Of course he knows the LNM is a Skarasen brought to Earth by the Zygons.

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  15. Where does it say it's a sceptic's responsibilty to prove the LNM doesn't exist ?

    That's a skewed and illogical stance.

    Sceptics believe in the status quo, that Loch Ness is an ordinary, if large, body of water with much the same known type of inhabitants as other large bodies of water in the UK and Northern Europe.

    It's really up to the faithfull to prove that Loch Ness is unique.

    In the last few decades that has proved difficult.

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    1. The last few months on this blog indicate that you feel the need to try to disprove Nessie, John. The very fact that it’s not “case closed” on Nessie is what drives sceptics like you, Tony H and Dick R. A never-ending quest to close out the mystery once and for all... yet somehow none of you ever manage to quite achieve it, do you? Long live the discussions I say. Tony will be back making his case again, sceptics know that the true status quo is that nothing has been proven either way with regards to Loch Ness.

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    2. I think the large body of eyewitnesses testimony, some by highly trained observers, and unusual sonar traces, set Ness apart from most places. I also have a book on Morar, where the writer seemed to have to 'pull teeth' to get many of the eyewitness reports. Not suggesting of a population of overenthusiastic folks desperate for tourist dollars.

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    3. There is no proof either way John at the moment.

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    4. What makes you think John is a sceptic?

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    5. "Where does it say it's a sceptic's responsibilty to prove the LNM doesn't exist ?"

      Isn't that exactly what they are doing by trying to explain away every sighting with psychology and memory defects? They should just say "no scientific proof" and walk away.

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    6. I thought John Rutherford was sceptical of Nessie based on what I’ve read by him on here over the last few months. Am I incorrect in my analysis?

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    7. We are getting our johns mixed up - resolved.

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  16. Mr Harmsworth no need to say goodbye :-)! Not everyone agrees with everything u say!! I dont agree with a lot of ur science ' cant go wrong'opinions but doesnt mean i disagree with a everything u say and nobody has to fall out! I have a lot of time for sceptics as ive previously said and they shud be welcome here! I respect u and u have a lot of experience in this field and u live there too.I happen to totally agree with u saying we shud shut out all the obvious fakes and mistakes and see wats left..thsts wat im intrested in! Have to admit all the photos and videos from last 2 years are obviuos wakes or debris or mistakes in my humble but there is one or two i think are worth a further study..the latest 10 min webcam video is unusual and it wud be nice to hear ur view on this one...so hang around ..we can discuss without falling out ove a diffrent opinion..and im hopefully up in the ness again in a couple of weeks so i cud even buy u a tennents and persuade u that terrapins can indeed tolerate cold water for long periods haha!!!!! We need both sides of the coin in this great mystery ..cheers Roy.

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  17. What a surprise, I am beginning to moderate out comments. Tony getting it in the neck I would say.

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    1. Careful GB! You have opened up a can of worms here. Big mistake. The Skeptic Mafia has sent out a hit team. Watch your back ! LOL!

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  18. Observant readers may have noticed that Tony did not actually address ANY of my points. This reminded me that another trick of the sceptic needs to be added: Deflection - the tactic whereby the question or point you raise is not actually answered but rather the sceptic goes off a different tangent so long as the general direction is AWAY from the uncomfortable topic. This is another tactic which would make a politician proud.

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    1. I wish Tony would calmly address each point one by one, it would make for an interesting discussion. No need for any anger here.

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    2. Yes, and Tony is guilty of point # 8 Ad Hominem Tactics. “Haha. As Robert Rines was an accomplished expedient of relating misinformation I would not trust a word he said.” Basically implying he was an egregious liar and scoundrel. Address the message, but don't kill the messenger. Gotta stick up for my fellow American!

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  19. I am a lapsed believer but unwilling to step over to the dark side of total scepticism, a fence sitter in other words.
    The healthy and enjoyable cut and thrust of debate is one of the blog's best features, plus Roland's interesting articles.

    I am, like all on here, waiting for that day when incontrovertible proof is presented of the LMN's existence.

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    1. And you come across as a gentleman, John.

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  20. I'm in the same boat as you John, lapsed LNM believer turned fence-sitter. But in my case it's not that I'm unwilling to move into total scepticism, it's that I'm simply unable to due to the sightings in the record that in my view defy 'rational' or 'conventional' explanation; the sonar 'anomalies' that are registered every so often by different groups; and the film/video footage that, while ambiguous, are suggestive of something animate. As Bob Dylan sang, "Something is happening here, but I don't know what it is."

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  21. Ive noticed a lot of the top rank sceptics dont like Robert Rines, but lets not forget most of these sceptics went to loch ness as original believers so i think they bear a grudge because Rines had something they never did, a sighting.At this point i make reference to what Roland says in this article, when the sceptics have to admit that certain sightings cannot be wakes or boatwakes ( like Rines's) they then resort to questioning their honesty, in other words they call them liars.

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    1. Great to see you back Tony. This is surely a place for all viewpoints and all intellectual levels.

      I honestly don’t think Rines lied to you Tony. I think you should reconsider. Look at what he personally invested in the search. It’s a shame scepticism became fashionable in the 1980s, I feel it led to a lot of opportunities wasted.

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    2. Even so Tony, Dr. Rines did not set out to lie and fool the world on purpose or intentionally. I believe his intentions were good. He really thought that what he was after and the interpretations of the flipper image were genuine. Now, most of us believers agree that the validity of the flipper pic and it's defense is untenable. He was fallible as a human being, as the rest of us are. You yourself have stated in one of your comments that you were mistaken as to your supposed sighting “Because I made a mistake does not make me an unreliable person. ANYONE can make a mistake.” Yes and that does not make you a liar or a bad person either. If you feel so hurt that he lied to you face to face, you are taking it too personally. After all the time that has passed, maybe it's time that you let it go, get over it. If Rines was a liar, and want to continue naming liars, than you may as well include Sir Peter Scott, also true believers and proponent of the flipper pic. And you were also once a staunch, true believer.

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    4. Are you ok Tony? You appear terrifically angry. Not trying to annoy you further, but has anger been a recurring theme for you? I don’t think any of the regulars on this blog need psychiatric treatment. There’s only one person I can see losing self-control.

      I happen to believe Rines was sincere. And he really tried his best to solve the mystery. Hats off to Robert Rines, may he rest in peace.

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    5. Peter Scott didn't lie. He repeated Rines' lies believing them to be true. He believed the cameras were in mid-water and did not know that the JPL enhancement had been doctored or that the sonar machine was not laid out in the way Rines showed in his diagrams.

      Rines lied. As far as I'm aware, Scott did not.

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    6. Mrs Carey said it could have been anything? But Rines said it moved out of the bay then turned round and came back in again and it was about 20 ft long, so no it couldnt really of been ANYTHING .To think it could have been ANYTHING is the actual stupidity Tony.

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    7. I feel certain Robert Rines did not lie. It’s hard to think of anyone else who put so much personal effort and expense into the search, other than Tim Dinsdale. Sadly it seems Mr Harmswortb is sullying Rines’ good name due to a personal dispute which for most people would be long forgotten.

      I’ll be honest now, this conversation has actually boosted my belief in the research of Rines’ team, and I feel more than ever that Rines was a decent and honest man in all matters relating to Loch Ness.

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  23. Fair enough observations Roland. Generally most skeptics are smart people who make valid points. Most believers are smart too but have to suspend disbelief slightly or at the very least take things on faith making them akin to those who believe in God. Obviously there's more scientific evidence for Nessie than there is God but hopefully you get my analogy...

    I'd call myself a skeptical believer. Scientifically the monster doesn't exist, on balance of probability it can't exist... but it's not impossible it could exist so I cling to that.

    What I've noticed about all skeptics is that they seem very concerned other people don't waste their time on something as silly as the LNM as Tony H says as he signed off in his last comment above. The thing is: it's quite good fun isn't it? I certainly enjoy the speculation more than talking about politics or Brexit or whatever.

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    1. Well put Kyle. I too would consider myself a skeptical believer, a contradiction in terms, just as I call myself an agnostic atheist. I disavow a god mostly because it's / his existence is unprovable and unknowable. And I agree, there is more proof for the existence of an unknown creature in the loch than there is for a deity, for me anyway. Well, unless you consider the burnt image of Christ on toast as proof. LOL

      On some aspects of the LNM, I don't swallow all the evidence for it's existence hook, line and sinker. This is where a believer must tread lightly and be critical and discerning. Sometime I am as John Rutherford has said, a fence sitter teetering to see which way I will fall. Awaiting that day when conclusive evidence surfaces ( no pun intended ) If I am guilty of anything, it is wanting so much to believe. Am I naive in that way? Maybe. And as you say, it's not impossible, so I keep on clinging. Would anyone in the scientific community ever have believed that the Coelacanth, a seemingly extinct prehistoric creature would have been discovered extant back in 1938!

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    2. Thanks John. I often literally swing between being a passionate skeptic and hard-core believer over the course of minutes!

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  24. Mr. Harmsworth -

    Firstly, I remember the documentary where Mrs. Cary made the "it could've been anything" statement. You are taking her comment out of context. In context it is clear that what she was trying to say was that she didn't know what type of animal the hump belonged to.

    Secondly, JPL, namely Gillespie, backed up Rines' contention that the flipper image was a composite enhancement and that it was a standard procedure. This would be the image where the outer edges of the alleged flipper are not clearly delineated, but trail off into shadow. If memory serves that was the image published in Nature. AAS photography expert Charles Wyckoff also defended the composite enhancement image. Gillespie also said that even in the earlier enhancements the flipper could be seen. Now, for all I know Gillespie might have changed his mind at some point over the years, but these comments are on record and were made at the time of the touch-up controversy.

    Thirdly, while the '75 shots may not be what they were made out to be, it doesn't take any great stretch of the imagination to see a plesiosauroid shape in the neck/torso shot and a crocodilian head in the gargoyle shot. Didn't you yourself see them that way at the time? But in fact, it was the curator of reptiles and amphibians of the Smithsonian who saw evidence of 'bi-lateral symetry' in the head shot, so Rines should not be faulted for seeing these images as parts of a Nessie since others - including experts - were seeing them that way. That being the case he certainly shouldn't be accused of misleading people about the '75 images. Yes he was over zealous, but so was just about everybody else involved in the subject at the time who were in the pro-Nessie camp.

    Lastly, anyone can figure out from reading your website that the reason for your anti-Rines attitude largely stems from the fact that he once referred to you in a derogatory manner at the time of the flipper touch-up business. That's a long time to hold a grudge, especially since the man has been dead for nearly a decade now. For goodness sake let it go and stop pissing on his grave!

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    1. Very strong and cogent points Paddy. Firstly, I think you're right! Mrs. Cary was a big believer and had some of her own sightings, so she certainly wouldn't have made such a comment in a skeptical tone.

      Re. “The Flipper” pic. I remember when I first saw the image and the accompanying story in the Los Angeles Times back in 1972, I was astonished, with my reaction being `At last, proof of a live Plesiosaur!` As a matter of fact, I still have the clipping, after all these years! But as the years went by and the impossibility of said creature inhabiting Loch Ness dawned on me, I soured on the idea. That and also the possibility and arguments that what was actually photographed and “doctored” into looking like a flipper was the loch bottom. ( Pereidolia?) That is one of the reasons that I don't put too much stock in it. Too much doubt.

      Now, if the image does show some kind animal, one may make the argument that the reason it shows an appendage so closely as to what we would expect to see in a Plesiosaur, is perhaps due to convergent evolution. Hmmm...maybe. Also the claim that the pic was concurrent with sonar readings does leave the issue open to further speculation in it's favor. In my previous post, I said that most believers also don't regard it as showing an unknown aquatic animal. I may be wrong. I should have said some.

      The 75 imagery is also a bit of a problem for me. I'll leave that up in the air for now.

      I agree with you that Mr. Harmsworth needs to get past his “Rines Issue” and finally bury the hatchet as it were. No use carrying on a personal vendetta if the object of one's animus is not around to defend himself.

      Delete
    2. In what way did Rines refer to Tony in a derogatory way ? The plot thickens!

      Delete
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  27. Professor Henry Bauer's site has Gillespie's quote as well as Wyckoff's rebuttle to the touch-up charges. Lake monster researcher Scott Mardis also has some material on this. I would also note that, in the last (1989) reprint/update of his book Nicholas Witchell defended the 'flipper' photos from the touch-up accusations, even noting that he talked to Gillespie personally.

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  28. I'm not sure Rines personally funded any of his expeditions, he got financial backing via sponsorship and grants.

    Just because Rines was passionate and put a lot of effort into the cause doesn't mean he was beyond a bit of truth evasion.
    The flipper saga is very troubling, no rhomboid shape can be discerned in the murky original, but there it is in the enhanced version, enhanced or doctored ?

    However he did bring Nessie back from the shadows into the glare of the 70s.

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  29. I think I waste my time on these replies. Some of you have turned the thread into being about me and my life, telling me what I’m feeling and why I do certain things and that I don’t know a lie when I discover it. Make of this what you will, but you are not going to force me into a further response. Believe what I say here or not, that is up to you.

    During my visits to the AAS at the Franklin Pierce Law Center and also Rines & Rines in Concord, I was given certain information.

    Rines told me the flipper pictures we all know, were enhancements made by NASA. That was not true as you all now know. They were actually a combination of multiple edge-enhanced scans and someone then retouched them with a paint brush – not even an air brush. That, no matter which way you read it, is a deliberate lie to me, the person setting up the first major exhibition on the subject.

    When Rines was pulled up on this lie (about ’87) he said that no one noticed the difference between the actual enhancement sent to a magazine and the retouched version which came back. Much later I discovered that Dick Raynor had received an identical retouched picture from Rines BEFORE it ever went to a magazine. The story of the magazine retouching the image and no one noticing was therefore a lie too as Dick’s identical version had gone to him (as part of the LNI) before it was sent to any magazine – unless Rines lied about that too.

    Secondly, as a scientist, your diagrams are part of the information you are providing, and we learned, much later, that the sonar used in 1972 was swinging around under a boat and could have been pointing anywhere when the diagram showed it firmly attached to something on the bottom of the loch and pointing towards the cameras. When a scientist is misleading the scientific community with a false diagram of his experiment, that TOO is a lie.

    A garbage expedition produces garbage results. The entire flipper expedition is therefore invalid because it was incorrectly documented and the results were tampered with. Any scientist would therefore reject all parts of it. Why don't all of you? That is a rhetorical question - I'm not interested in your reasons, you need to justify them to yourselves.

    There were a number of other occasions too, but I am not going to go into those. Certainly him calling me a milkman has nothing to do with the fraud he was carrying out over these ‘scientific’ expeditions to the loch. I do hold grudges when I’ve been lied to, mistreated or cheated. A grudge, however, has no bearing on the actual evidence provided by the individual.

    As for Shine’s Morar event. He approved what was put in my book. Any issues you have with that you must take up with him. I did not invent it and it had nothing to do with your invention that I looked upon him with some sort of starstruck eyes!

    Finally, as regards Mrs Carey, that was not how I understood her comment. I am not really interested in what Mrs Carey saw or what Rines is supposed to have seen. If I have taken what she said out of context that is only because I have not seen the context. If so I apologise – someone obviously has an actual transcript from the day i.e. not just someone else’s anecdote. As for Rines’ 20 foot hump swimming around the bay – do none of you think it is a bit odd that the monster can behave like that yet still be unproven? Something wrong somewhere.

    I’ve had it with you guys. No wonder you like Rines, most of you are as good at twisting comments as he was. Read my sonar chapter again – absolutely full of deliberately misleading statements which were appended to the sonar chart. Continue to search for your long-necked monster, it doesn’t exist in Loch Ness.

    Most of you seem to see Rines as some sort of super-researcher when none of his experiments were conducted in a truly scientific manner. You hero-worship him and his distorted results.

    Have a good day. Now I must get to my anger-management class!

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    1. OK Tony, I'll accept some of what you say as having a semblance of truth, and I'll also give you the benefit of the doubt. Maybe Rines did fudge a little in his overzealous quest and promotion of the existence of an unknown creature in the loch. But for you to demonize him like you have is way beyond the pale. In the long run, who or what was hurt or damaged here? John Q Public? Certainly not. The scientific community? Not in the very least, since it never took the matter seriously anyway. Beleavers? Nope, they can take any evidence they want, take it or leave it and make their own judgments. Seems the only one's that are belly aching are skeptics like you. Did he take food from your mouth, cause you to lose sleep or cause you to lose monetary gains in a business? I want to say that I am on your side as far as the flipper flap goes in my having doubts about it. And it shouldn't surprise you that many people probably also don't take it seriously. If that will help ease you angst a little bit over this affair, then my job is done here. My goodness, but you are persistent and a glutton for punishment! We really took you to task. I have nothing more to say. Over and out.

      Delete
    2. I think Dr Rines was in charge of a series of very sensitive pieces of information, some of which appears to have been manipulated (possibly not by him) and set in front of the world as 'the real thing'. How he could not know the extent of the manipulation is beyond me. It seems he was being economical with the truth, and appears to have been more interested in proving his point rather than placing the facts out for all to see. Unfortunately, as my mum used to say, if you go around telling lies, no-one's going to believe a word you say. And that is what's happened. The paintbrush manipulation was a sceptic's dream, and the reputation of professional scientific research into Ness has remained badly damaged ever since.

      As for his sighting on Ness, I believe at dusk, I'm not sure what his friend Mrs Cary was referring to. A dark object on the surface of Loch Ness cannot just 'be anything'. It can either be a craft, debris or an animal, as I see it. Dr Rines either identified that it was an animal (which he appears to have done through binoculars), or was over zealous in the mis-identification of either a craft or some debris. Rines' description (from memory) and Cary's description (if she really meant that it could be anything, animate or inanimate), are very different. That's always been a curiosity to me. I believe the sighting regarded a moving object, and a boat would be reasonably easily seen, therefore there are not many more options.

      Delete
  30. Hmmm, I can still see the rhomboidal flipper in the unenhanced picture.

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    1. Yup, you can just make it out...if you know what you're looking for :)

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    2. I can too. When I try a basic enhancement in my trusty photoshop, it is quite clearly a shape of some sort strongly resembling a diamond. But I can get nowhere near the level of clarity that the final, paintbrushed, image could. However, I think it was disingenuous of the many image 'experts' I have seen on TV shows to dismiss this image out of hand. The line that I heard regularly trotted out was (something like) 'I've used the latest image enhancing software and I can get nothing resembling the Flipper image'. Well, to me it resembles the Flipper image without enhancement, but I can't say what it is. To me, it looks like the image contrast has been increased markedly, leading to the over brightening of the left hand side, and lack of detail. The edge of the 'flipper' has probably been painted round in black to make it stand out. My concern would be that some detail may have been painted onto the 'flipper' to make it appear more anatomical. I think this may have happened, but it's impossible to know.

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  31. Allow me a little distraction here from the business at hand of bashing skeptics. The eDNA team arrived at Loch Ness June 2nd and completed their sampling on the 12th. They were hosted by The Loch Ness Exhibition Centre under the auspices of Adrian Shine, who also assisted in the sampling.

    Team leader Prof. Neil Gemmell indicated that preliminary results would be available early next year. I really hope they come up with “something” anomalous and unexplainable to known life forms in the loch.

    For those interested in viewing the activities and sampling procedures, go here:

    http://lochnessproject.org/loch%20ness%20eDNA/loch%20ness%20eDNA.html

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  32. To spend so much time and getting so worked up over a monster you dont believe in is indeed STUPIDITY. Give it a rest Tony.

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  33. Gezza, I am not allowing some of your oomments.

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  34. To remind newbies of rules, no one registered after Jan 2018 gets to comment unless they can prove who they are.

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  35. The Mysterious Creatures edition of the Time-Life Mysteries Of The Unknown book series has what I believe is the composite enhancement of the alleged flipper. The outer edges of the object are NOT clear, it just fades into shadow (although it still looks like an appendage attached to a bigger mass by a narrow connecting piece); so the so-called diamond shape is NOT to be seen in this shot. When compared to the versions in Witchell's and Mackal's books there is a noticeable difference. Those versions are obviously the touch-ups. Rines claimed that the touch-ups were done by the graphic arts departments of some of the books and magazines who printed the pics, but the two engineers who first brought the touch-up controversy to light claimed they got the touched-up versions from Rines, which raised the red flags. This jives with what Mr. Harmsworth (may I call you Tony?) wrote about Dick Raynor having received touched-up versions from Rines.

    And if we're honest the diagram depicting the gear as being fixed on the bottom when it was in fact suspended from the boats is a problem. Regardless of what one thinks of Rines this data is tainted. Had Raynor and the two engineers not received the touched-up versions from Rines then I would be more amenable to accepting the composite enhancement as genuine - albeit with some misgivings regarding the array not being deployed as per the diagram. If Rines did in fact present that diagram to the sonar experts when they interpreted the sonar printout that is misleading. As things currently stand I simply cannot accept these photographs as depicting the appendage of a large animal in Loch Ness.

    On a personal note to Mr. Harmsworth, I'm a guy who doesn't like cheap shots. Rines' 'milkman' comment was in my book a cheap shot. If he was pissed off at you that's one thing, but one can be angry at someone without hitting below the belt.

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  36. Tony you say you dont care what Rines saw. Why? 5 people in total saw a 20ft hump moving in the loch and you say its not interesting? Sorry i do.Was this a creature? The 5 that saw it seem to think so.And i dont agree that because something does not show itself regular then it cant exist. As an experienced angler i know this for a FACT.

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  37. Tony, you always claim to know loch ness better than most, loch ness understood and all that.Dont you think it would be better for the cause and far more mature to try and give an alternative to Bob Rines's sighting? Come on, with 5 people seeing it there must have been something there.Your a man of the loch, you understand the loch you say, so lets hear what you think could be 20ft long and moves out of the bay then moves in again, and late in the evening with no large boats to leave wakes.Can we have your thoughts please?

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    1. The Scott II former ice breaker is normally wheeled in at this point. (have they restored it yet?)

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    2. I assume this was a proposed mistaken identity?

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  38. I'd always given Rines the benefit of the doubt, but I lost quite a bit of respect for him with his "Nessie is Dead" stuff a few years back.

    Seemed to me he fell into the very unscientific trap of making his data fit his theory. He located a vaguely plesiosaur-shaped object on the loch floor and that was that. He didn't have the courage of his convictions to try and retrieve it, or to take a sample from it. I suspect that's because he really knew it was a tiny object and most likely debris. Apparently a wider shot of the object shows his ROV and reveals it to be very small.

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    1. I remember that and there was a documentary about his last expedition, and an object seemingly appearing like a carcass. Anyway, one story goes that the team spotted a suspiciously tempting target on the loch bottom, grabbed it with a claw, raised it, only to be an old tire. LOL!

      This is the documentary:

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YN01f-AUutc

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    2. I have stills of that carcass,and its not vague at all..it sure looks like a plesiasaur,as to it's size,it looks big.your comments seem to have stealth skepticism programmed in,usually at the end.cheers

      Delete
    3. Well, I have mentioned that I am skeptical of some of the evidence. That does not mean I am reedy to throw in the towel on Nessie yet. Sometimes my comments might come across as sardonic and sarcastic, but that's just the way I think. No offense to anyone. Good observation John.

      Delete
  39. I have to say I find this thoroughly disappointing. Every “believer” on here has been thoroughly respectful, but Tony has been very angry and borderline abusive in tone. It’s not what I’d expect from such a key name at Loch Ness. Well, that is until I found Tony’s blog called Lochnesstony. It gives a good insight into Tony’s outlook on life. Many articles are interesting and entertaining, but there’s a common thread. Namely, in whatever subject Tony discusses, he simply cannot comprehend the idea that anyone has a viewpoint different to his. And perhaps worse, he cannot believe that some people still do not agree with him even when he has forcefully stated his point of view, often in CAPITAL LETTERS. It’s really not an endearing or persuasive trait for anyone to exhibit.

    I do not mind either way if Tony feels that Rines was a liar. I will simply continue to state that I do not believe he was. I believe Mr Rines was a man of integrity, and I’ve seen nothing whatsoever to convince me otherwise. That’s my choice, as it is the choice of some others not to trust Rines.

    We all have free will and I am choosing to exercise mine. Thank you.

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    1. Here's Tony in his nice guy, happier times. LOL! I'm not laughing at you Tony, I'm laughing with you.

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OnUT051hEPI

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    2. Brilliant John Alvarado! I was watching it half expecting him to go “Full Tony Mode” and start shouting and prodding at the fella in the yellow jumper for not agreeing with everything!

      On a serious note, it’s interesting to see how much of a believer Tony used to be. Could it be that he was a much happier man back then when he embraced the mystery? Do hardened scepticism and bitterness go hand in hand? It’s good for thought I would say.

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  40. I am actually writing up a chapter on the 1972 flipper picture for my next book as we speak. I have a question for Tony which perhaps shows my lack of sonar knowledge but in his book he discusses an AAS sonar trace and says "Directly right of that is a thick black vertical line which is the transducer itself."

    Just to clear this up, how can a sonar device appear on its own sonar trace if it is behind the beam?

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    1. A dedicated article on the flipper pic would be nice at this time, since all of a sudden we've all gone “Flipper” crazy and obsessed. LOL Have you done one? Maybe I missed it. I don't recall ever seeing one

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    2. A second question, Tony. What is the provenance od the vertical sonar trace on page 160 of "Loch Ness, Nessie and Me"?

      Delete
  41. Regarding the Rines/Carey hump sighting, Rines stated that they viewed it through a telescope and he described it as looking like the back of an elephant. Rines' wife of the time, who was one of the eyewitnesses, told him to take as much time as he needed and find out what that thing is. Witchell wrote that there was a large boat anchored nearby (54 feet long IIRC) so they were able to use it to estimate the hump was in excess of 20 feet. Rines stated that he later found out about and talked to another person who had seen the hump from a different location overlooking the bay.

    Regarding the data produced by the AAS (underwater photos, sonar targets) I do think Rines tended to lead the evidence. But I think that comes down to his lawyer training. Lawyers are trained to build a case to a forgone conclusion, not necessarily to follow the evidence where it leads. So for example a prosecutor builds a case that shows a defendant to be guilty, and a defence attorney makes a counter case that his client is not guilty.

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    1. Paddy: Here's a YouTube vid on Professor Bauer giving a talk on the LNM, since you mention him in a previous post. He does an analysis on the flipper. If, you haven't seen it.

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TwUDy49W41I

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    2. Paddy, just to add to my comment above. I know you also have some reservation as to the validity of the flipper pic, just as I have my own doubts. “As things currently stand I simply cannot accept these photographs as depicting the appendage of a large animal in Loch Ness.” And you have enumerated facts regarding the 72 and 75 Rines underwater images in your response to Mr. Harmsworth. The professor does give some compelling arguments for these images and in defense of Rines. In particular the “Gargoyle Head” shot showing “ bi-lateral symmetry” I am not trying to sway your thinking in any way, as I am still skeptical, but open minded. Who knows, I may flip-flop. I just found his presentation very interesting. To quote from Professor Bauer's own website:

      And when I am wrong, and therefore change my mind,and am criticized for inconsistency, I cite John Maynard Keynes: "When the facts change then my opinion changes: and you, sir?"

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    3. Hello John I have just watched the YouTube video that you posted. Professor Henry Bauer presents a very good case from a believers perspective. The Surgeons photo,the flipper analysis and the Dinsdale film are all presented with good arguments for their validity.

      As is stated on this website,
      The first to present his case seems right, till another comes forward and questions him.
      Proverbs 18:17

      Whatever the truth is I don't know,but before a story is dismissed both sides should be considered.

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  42. I hope Tony continues commenting on future articles. He writes his comments well and articulates his points clearly and knows his stuff. This blog is great but it's better when there are opposing viewpoints.

    Just try not to get so angry at each other guys and I'll do the same. It's the internet - if we met in the pub we'd be passionate but I severely doubt we'd get angry and storm off. Everyone's points here are valid. We are, after all, discussing the potential existance of an antidelivian apex predator from the Mesozoic period (or whatever you think it is or isn't) living in a loch in Scotland and you all seem like nice, passionate, smart people so let's play bonnie.

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    1. Yeah, I agree. It's OK discussing and speculating with fellow Nessie fans, but it's a lot livelier with skeptics thrown into the mix. Where are you Dick Raynor, Geordie Sceptic, ekm (Eric K Myer) and anonymous? I promise I'll play nicer this time. Of course Dick was always a gentleman. The problem is some would try to hijack this blog and insist we see things their way, instead of give and take. With Tony's breadth of knowledge and experience on Loch Ness and LNM lore, he's always welcome here as far as I'm concerned (Just don't bring up Robert Rines when he's around, shhh) We all have something to add to this mystery. Calling all skeptics, calling all skeptics!

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  43. Hopefully Tony will be back again soon to reiterate that he’s finished with commenting here. And this time he REALLY means it.

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  44. As someone said, Tony cant hack someone having a different opinion to himself, so for me i hope he stays away, no time for people like him.

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  45. I made a comment earlier that if Bob Ballard had ever mounted a search at Loch Ness , maybe the mystery would have been solved by now. Imagine my surprise when I came across this old In Search Of episode from 1977. He was there with a team! I may have seen it some time in the past, but I couldn't remember this episode or the details. Oh well, Nessie managed to elude him. But then again, underwater search technology back then is probably nothing like it is today. Skip to 16:25

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t-8uwjmldFg

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    1. Thanks 4 sharing that John i enjoyed it. The part where strange noises could be heard at the same time and location a large wash was erupting on the surface with no boats about was VERY interesting.

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  46. Tony Harmsworth on the Terry Wogan show is a good one, were he claims loch ness harbours a large creature!

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    1. I’m liking the “pre-Shined” era of Mr Harmsworth a lot more. I think he came across well back then.
      I wonder if it’s a very frustrating feeling to have moved so far north of his native England for a purpose he no longer believes in? I’ll be honest, it would upset me if I moved a great distance only to change my mind entirely on my reason for the move. Maybe there should be a local service set up for disappointed Englishmen! Not needed by Mr Feltham though, he’s still happy as Larry as far as I can tell.

      Delete
    2. Ah well, I would live by Loch Ness even without a monster - but only on the south side. Now, can Tony answer my two queries from above:

      1. What is the provenance of the vertical sonar trace on page 160 of "Loch Ness, Nessie and Me"?

      2. In his book he discusses an AAS sonar trace and says "Directly right of that is a thick black vertical line which is the transducer itself." Just to clear this up, how can a sonar device appear on its own sonar trace if it is behind the beam?

      Thank you.

      Delete
    3. “Pre-Shined” LOL. Just a bit of fun here. But yes, maybe Tony came under the spell of the Wizard Adrian Shine. What villainy! And let's not forget that Adrian was also a believer of sorts with an open mind before he went over to the dark side. He still might be open minded as evidenced by his oft saying “There is something strange going on here.”

      Delete
    4. Yes. Wogan: “What do you believe?” Tony: “Well there's something there”

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eAzbcGVhCeU

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  47. Can I throw my oar in here? A fair portion of this thread has become about Tony Harmsworth, spoken about as if he's not in the room. He clearly is, and in my book some of it is disrespectful. I understand people's frustrations at his stance, and combative language, but still. I wholeheartedly disagree with his position, having notched up a total of several hours at Loch Ness myself, and had no sightings or odd feelings (although my marriage was disintegrating at the time, so I probably wasn't the best observer).
    And regards sonar traces, I think we are in need of some expert sonar knowledge as these are open to so much interpretation. I'm sure Roland and some of you folks out there have some knowledge, but I think it's an area where an investigator can fall down easily.

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    1. It’s a fair point and I’m happy to move on. Having said that, if I went onto a busy blog and told everyone they needed psychiatric treatment I’d expect a lot of flak in response. Tony may have learned a lesson here, but equally he may not.

      There are ways of debating without upsetting people.

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    2. Tell me about it. That's what got me into trouble the last time I debated (argued?) with hardened skeptics the last time.

      Delete
    3. It seems he's removed all his comments and I had missed that. But it's nonsense of course that everyone in favour of a mystery here is mentally ill. That statement hangs itself by the neck. I think Adrian Shine is possibly the ideal sceptic, and quite respectful to those who disagree with him.

      Delete
    4. Yeah! Well I don't care what anybody says, I like Adrian. He's a rebel. He's got that air of respectability and a gentlemanly demeanor about him. And that is why you will never see him on this blog rolling around in the mud with us. LOL

      Delete
    5. John Alvarado, I think you’re saying Adrian Shine didn’t get trapped in his adolescence? It is funny how some people mature and grow emotionally, while others pretty much remain as impulsive and short-fused as they were at 15 years old. I’m an Adrian Shine fan too, and I’m certain he still retains a small element of belief that something really unusual is in Loch Ness.

      Delete
    6. Hmm, he has removed all his comments, though I still have them as moderator. Oh well.

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    7. Not all GB. He left one last summation on his position and parting shot. He's left the building, but I suspect he's looking though the window and listening.

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  48. I think we are all old enough and ugly enough to take a bit of hard edged insults re our beliefs.

    Having my sanity questioned is not that rare an occurance [ I support St. Johnstone, drive a 3.8 Lt V6 gas guzzler and have a secret liking for early Cilla Black waxings ] so have a heart and cut Tony some slack, he is a lost soul on a raft in a raging sea of expectation and tergiversation.

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    1. I’d prefer not to think about Cilla Black waxing.
      I agree regarding having thick skin. Everyone I know is aware of my belief that Loch Ness holds large unknown creatures, and I’m fine with raised eyebrows and the odd heated debate in the pub. It doesn’t bother me but I’ll always give as good as I get.

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    2. Yup. It's time to move on. This too shall pass. Tony took a lot of heat here. Perhaps things didn't go quite as he expected, but what can you expect when you swim with sharks. I'm sure he'll get over it. And I am not without empathy or sympathy for him. If I have said things Tony, that offended you, I apologize.

      I too have had my trials and tribulations with my hotheadedness when dealing with skeptics here and I'm sure they had their frustrations with me. And I have also deleted comments when I realized that I had crossed boundaries and felt chagrined about it. That was my human failure and weakness. If I am to continue as a member of this blogs community, I will constantly have to remind myself of this.

      Delete
    3. Tone’s ok really, just gets in a bit of a tizzy over stuff. Like you say John, it’s easy for people to lose perspective and overdo the debates until they become unpleasant, especially online.

      Hopefully our Tone will return after a relaxing camomile tea. He certainly livened things up. A bit like Scrappy Doo!

      Delete
    4. Sure did. I haven't seen this much excitement since my "fights" with skeptics. And some of them were really mean to me. Boo hoo. LOL

      Delete
  49. A followup to the AAS flipper touch-up controversy. Rip Heppell's Nessletter #67 December 1984 features the complete letter of rebuttal written by Charles Wyckoff to the editor of Discover magazine (who refused to print it - a downright sh*tty move in my book). After reading the letter I need to correct something I wrote earlier regarding the two engineers having received the touched-up photos from Rines which raised red flags. What seems to have happened was that they received the early ehancements from Gillespie, the ones prior to the composite enhancement. Because these images were grainy and indistinct compared to the composite enhancement (not to mention the various touched up versions published in books and magazines) they became suspicious. But Rines & company had already made clear over the years in both magazine articles and presentations to various groups going back to '72 that the original shots and early enhancements weren't clear, and explained the technical process of enhancement. In other words, there was never any attempt to deceive or hide the fact that the material was computer enhanced. According to Witchell this was even explained at the infamous 1975 meeting with the British Museum of Natural History representatives.

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    1. So it seems that the accusations against Rines WERE down to personal grudges, as suspected by many of us. I’ve said it all along and I’ll repeat it again: Robert Rines was an honourable and honest man who demonstrated integrity when it came to research at Loch Ness.
      It’s totally unacceptable to disparage a deceased man in this manner without solid evidence against him, and it’s clear that none of his critics have any evidence of deception on his part. Please show Mr Rines the respect he rightfully earned through hard work and persistence.

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    2. The Rines photographs may well be genuine but the scale of the images seems to be in dispute. Sometimes they are said to be inches long by sceptics and in the case of the flipper 6-8 feet long by believers. Is there any way these discrepancies can be resolved?

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  50. Yes its distgusting the way some people talk about Rines now he is dead.

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  51. According to Nessletter there is also a rebuttal by Rines published in the Skeptical Enquirer where refutes the allegations point by point. I would really like to read that rebuttal.

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  52. As a sceptic myself, I have to say I've never found any of Tony H's writing on the subject vaguely interesting.

    Not particularly well written and interspersed with far too much 'I know a lot more about this than you do' ego.

    As for his anger at people presuming to judge his sightings - Tony does the same in his writing. Numerous times. One direct quote being 'I wish I'd been there so I could have told him what it really was he'd seen'.

    If you give it out......

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  53. Near as I can tell thus far it looks like Skeptical Inquirer never did publish Rines' rebuttal. So both this magazine and Discover leveled touch-up accusations but refused to engage in fair play and print the rebuttals. What utter douchebags! Maybe those images aren't flippers, but the more I look into this business the better Rines is looking, and his accusers/detractors are increasingly coming across as downright petty!

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  54. I think everyone has had their say on Tony being x, y or z. It's getting a bit repetitive, so closing down those comments.

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