March 19, 2015

Why My Lack of Belief in Bigfoot Creatures Is Not Part of My Identity

Photo of an unidentified animal the Bigfoot Re...
Photo of an unidentified animal the Bigfoot Research Organization claims is a "juvenile Sasquatch" "Jacobs Photos" . . Retrieved 2009-09-16 . (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
I am an "aBigfootist" in that I am someone who does not believe in Bigfoot creatures. I am not completely certain that such creatures do not exist, that they have never existed, or that they could never exist at any point in the future. Thus, I could describe myself as an agnostic "aBigfootist" in recognition that the question of whether I believe is separate from how confident I am in my belief (or lack thereof).

How can I not believe in Bigfoot creatures? I find the evidence of their existence sorely lacking. I base my belief about the likelihood of such creatures on the available evidence. While this means that I would change my position in the face of sufficient evidence, it also means that I am not about to believe without such evidence on the basis of faith.

I can imagine someone discovering unambiguous evidence of such creatures on an expedition to a remote area and returning with it. I can imagine scientists verifying the evidence as authentic and classifying a new species. I can imagine subsequent expeditions succeeding in capturing a living specimen. We'd all end up with a rational belief in Bigfoot then in much the same way we all have a rational belief in bears. Our belief would be supported by evidence, making it rational. Faith would have no place here.

But if I am an agnostic "aBigfootist" as I have described, why don't I make this part of my identity? Why don't I identify myself as one, spend any time thinking about my lack of belief in such creatures, join groups with others who also lack belief in such creatures? Why don't I do any of these things?

Here's the short but still rather complete answer to this question: others do not treat me poorly because of my lack of belief in Bigfoot creatures. I face no bigotry or discrimination for not believing in these creatures. Nobody insists that I am immoral for not believing or that I am deserving of eternal torment because I do not believe. There are no laws on the books saying that one must believe in Bigfoot creatures to hold political office. Elected officials do not routinely pander to fearful voters by condemning those of us who do not believe in these creatures or passing laws that restrict our rights. I could tell someone I do not believe in Bigfoot creatures without worrying about them never speaking to me again. Teenagers around the country are not being thrown out of their family homes because they told their parents they do not believe in these creatures. My lack of belief in Bigfoot creatures has never once resulted in me feeling unsafe.

Sadly, this list of ways that people do not treat others poorly on the basis of what they believe about Bigfoot creatures could go on and on. I am fairly confident that I have provided more than enough for you to get the idea. I have no need to define myself as an "aBigfootist" because it is irrelevant in how I am treated by others. If that were to change, the importance of the label would change as well. And yes, the same is true of my lack of belief in unicorns and the tooth fairy.
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