Saturday, November 04, 2006

Bigfoot Research at Idaho State University

From Sykes Writes, the story of an academic who does some rather oddball research.
POCATELLO, Idaho - Jeffrey Meldrum holds a Ph.D. in anatomical sciences and is a tenured professor of anatomy at Idaho State University. He is also one of the world’s foremost authorities on Bigfoot, the mythical smelly ape-man of the Northwest woods. And Meldrum firmly believes the lumbering, shaggy brute exists.

That makes him an outcast — a solitary, Sasquatch-like figure himself — on the 12,700-student campus, where many scientists are embarrassed by what they call Meldrum’s “pseudo-academic” pursuits and have called on the university to review his work with an eye toward revoking his tenure. One physics professor, D.P. Wells, wonders whether Meldrum plans to research Santa Claus, too.

Meldrum, 48, spends most of his days in his laboratory in the Life Sciences Building, analyzing more than 200 jumbo plaster casts of what he contends are Bigfoot footprints.

For the past 10 years, he has added his scholarly sounding research to a field full of sham videos and supermarket tabloid exposes. And he is convinced he has produced a body of evidence that proves there is a Bigfoot.

Martin Hackworth, a senior lecturer in the physics department, called Meldrum’s research a “joke.”

John Kijinski, dean of arts and sciences, said there have been “grumblings” about Meldrum’s tenure, but no formal request for a review.

“He’s a bona fide scientist,” Kijinski said. “I think he helps this university. He provides a form of open discussion and dissenting viewpoints that may not be popular with the scientific community, but that’s what academics all about.”

Over the summer, more than 30 professors signed a petition criticizing the university for hosting a Bigfoot symposium where Meldrum was the keynote speaker.
Sykes asks “is it really any dumber than the research of UW’s own crackpot, Kevin Barrett?” The answer, of course, is no.

In fact, it’s a lot less virulent.

Barrett’s crackpot notions about 9/11 come for a deep seated political pathology. Meldrum’s follow from a fairly benign eccentricity.

We, of course, opposed the notion that Kevin Barrett should be fired. But then, we also said that the University of Wisconsin system blundered in hiring him in the first place.

Given the pathological orthodoxies that dominate academia -- multiculturalism, radical feminism, postmodernism, queer studies, “social justice” indoctrination in education schools -- Bigfoot research is far from the worst thing around.


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