Skepticism about science and medicine

In search of disinterested science

The Loch Ness “Monster”: Its real and important significance

Posted by Henry Bauer on 2021/01/29

Because of my writings about Nessie, the Loch Ness Monster [1], I am periodically approached by various media. Last year I had published [2] the suggestion that the Loch Ness creatures are more plausibly related to sea turtles than to the commonly popular notion of plesiosaurs.

A Scottish journalist came across that article, and for one day something about it and me was featured in every yellow-press newspaper in Britain, and several broadcast media asked for interviews.

The episode reminded me of some of the things that are so wrong with modern mass media.

Their overriding concern is simply to attract an audience. There is no intention of offering that audience any genuinely insightful analysis or context or background information. Media attention span approximates that of Twittering. One television network asked for an instant interview, wanted the best phone-contact number, even offered me compensation — and then never followed up.

I did talk to one Russian and one Spanish station or network, and I tried to point to what the real significance is of the Loch Ness animals, namely, that their existence has been denied by official scientific sources for not much less than a century, demonstrating that official science can be wrong, quite wrong; and while that matters little if at all about Loch Ness, I said, it does matter greatly when official science is wrong about such matters of public importance as HIV/AIDS  or climate change,  about which official science does in fact happen to be wrong [3].

So far, however, my bait about those important matters has not been snapped up.

Misunderstandings about science are globally pervasive, especially not realizing that it is fallible. The consequent unwarranted acceptance of wrong beliefs about HIV and about carbon dioxide demonstrate the need for some institution independent of official science, independent of existing scientific organizations and institutions, to provide fact-checking of contemporary scientific consensuses, an impartial, unbiased, strictly evidence-based assessments of official science. In other words, society sorely needs a Science Court [4].

Misconceptions about science can already be seen as a significant reason for flaws in the announced policies of the new Biden administration, as it places high priority on “combating climate change” and engaging in a “moon shot” to cure cancer: having not learned any lessons from the failure of the war on cancer, or from the fact, obvious in great swaths of the geological literature, that carbon dioxide is demonstrably not the prime cause of global warming since there is no correlation between global temperatures and carbon-dioxide levels in the atmosphere [5], neither over the whole life of the Earth nor over the last couple of centuries.


[1]    The Enigma of Loch Ness: Making Sense of a Mystery, University of Illinois Press, 1986/88; Wipf & Stock reprint, 2012
[2]    “Loch Ness Monsters as Cryptid (Presently Unknown) Sea Turtles”, Journal of Scientific Exploration, 34 (2020) 93-104
[3]    Dogmatism  in Science and Medicine: How Dominant Theories Monopolize Research and Stifle the Search for Truth, McFarland, 2012
The Origin, Persistence and Failings of HIV/AIDS Theory, McFarland, 2007
[4]    Science Is Not What You Think: How It Has Changed, Why We Can’t Trust It, How It Can Be Fixed (McFarland 2017), chapter 12
“The Case for a Science Court”
Science Court: Why and What
[5]    “A politically liberal global-warming skeptic?”
”Climate-change facts: Temperature is not determined by carbon dioxide”


17 Responses to “The Loch Ness “Monster”: Its real and important significance”

  1. James Ravazzolo said

    “every yellow-press newspaper in Britain”. I long-ago concluded that *was* the basis of Nessie , their tabloid press (combined with a melancholy wish by the UK population that they ‘deserved’ a monster, that monsters shouldn’t just be in Africa or South America). Their yellow press (and I am a willing victim/reader of The Daily Mail) perpetuates the myth since they have nothing better to do, and the Scottish tourism board certainly does not object. I know we’ve interacted once before on this, and I mentioned the Dinsdale film being conclusively shown to be a boat with the license plaque shining in the sunlight. When I saw that it was a sad day, I always felt that was the best evidence, and it disappeared with a few seconds of viewing. Now Bigfoot … I’m a believer there’s something to it – not a persistent animal, but something that shows up from time to time.


    • James:
      The Dinsdale film is on the internet for everyone to see and judge.
      There is no boat shape anywhere at any time, let alone a boat shape with plaque
      Tim gave me a 16mm copy of the film, I had it scanned commercially, no boat shape anywhere.
      My university’s Computer Science people scanned the right-to-left sequence, nothing like a boat shape visible above the surface


      • rrpcco said

        Dear Henry, the information available back years ago could reasonably be reckoned as at least reasonable reason to believ there was a Nessie.

        But now, if there really was a Nessie today or recently, then by now there would be any number of youtube videos of it putting the matter beyond doubt. The complete absence of such videos puts the matter beyond doubt in the direction of there being no Nessie at least now rather than 20 yrs ago. The case is closed.


      • rrpcco:
        One reason for my “turtle” suggestion is that Nessies surface VERY RARELY.
        The loch is also 20 miles long, a mile wide, and there are not many good viewing spots.
        They MAY have died out, but it’s not obvious why they should have, after surviving about 15,000 years, since the last Ice Age.


      • James Ravazzolo said

        I will find the special version , where the contrast is changed. I had it once and should have retained it. There is definitely a bright reflection at the front of the object, exactly where they they had to put a rather large round metal ‘license’ plate. Plus you can discern a vertical object ‘mid Nessie’ that is either the driver standing up or simply body, shoulders, head above the top of the boat. If that wasnt enough, the object is moving way too fast for an animal, but perfect speed for boat with a small engine. And to top it off, the impression that we are seeing a large animal just below the surface is an illusion. Raynor showed that we *cannot see* below the surface, we are simply seeing the surface disturbance made by boat.

        Without Dinsdale there is no Nessie, just as without Patterson/Gimblin there is no Bigfoot. But PG has been studied/analyzed far more than the Dinsdale film (perhaps second only to the Zapruder film) and cannot shown to be a hoax.


  2. James Ravazzolo said

    do a Youtube search on this: naked science loch ness monster. It’s a very good 50 minute video on ‘Nessie’. The Dinsdale analysis begins at 25:00. The amazing thing about their analysis is they completely overlook the shining part at the front of the boat. They concentrate only on the ‘helmsman’ aspect (which is strong enough evidence). But throughout their analysis the shining spot is dramatic and plain to see, and totally ignored. I saw a picture of the boats they used in that time period, and there’s a large, orange, circular metal plate affixed to the side of the boat. The license plate so to speak. And that’s what is creating the bright spot that never varies when the boat is moving across the screen. That combined with the helmsman means it’s a boat.


    • James:
      That Youtube thing is anonymous, but the relevant bit is based on Shine’s analysis, done on a video he recorded on a TV set from a program on TV, in other words a 3rd or 4th generation video of the original film, simply unreliable compared to the JARIC analysis of the original film, the Jet Propulsion Lab computer scan of the original film, and my professional scans of my copy of the actual film given to me by Tim himself.
      For more detail see my response on an Internet discussion group to Shine and his “analysis”:


  3. James Ravazzolo said

    one of the JARIC analysts from back then was involved in this analysis, and concluded that it was a boat. He changed his mind based on the newer analysis. We have far better tools nowadays as I’m sure you’d agree. So forget Shine. The blindingly bright object at the front is conclusive for me, it’s the plaque.

    Although I wanted to believe in Nessie (particularly the plesiosaur theory), and was certainly sad that I’d invested some time and emotion into the idea, it wasn’t a big deal when I changed my mind. I do think the PG film is *far* more interesting, although not about Natural History and animals, but perhaps that we live in some type of simulation.


  4. James Ravazzolo said

    I will look at that, but are you saying that the bright spot at the front of ‘Nessie’ is not something that is there, or is not reflecting sunlight? If I found the pic of boat used at the time, showing the large, round, ornage, metal plaque exactly where the bright spot is, would that be of any consequence? It is ironic that ‘Shine’ is both the name of the most famous (living) Nessie researcher and the word that essentially invalidates the Dinsdale film (along with the helmsman of course). Tim Dinsdale was clearly a passionate researcher, he should have seen a surface, swimming Nessie far more than this single time (I imagine there were other sightings, but nothing compares to this film)


    • James:
      I have no idea what film or photo you refer to.
      By “bright spot at the front of ‘Nessie’” do you mean the white splash that appears intermittently but regularly near the front of the right-to-left wake that shows nothing above the water-line?
      Tim speculated splashes from a flipper, and the regular time-interval would be in keeping with that, and the fact that the splashes seem to be NEXT to the wake.


  5. James Ravazzolo said

    here’s the important web page from Raynor’s site. Now if you dont ‘believe’ in image stacking , then you will have objections of course. But I think it’s a well accepted method.

    I would have attached the 2 key photos, but you can scroll down and find them easily. The very bright ‘white circle’ at the front of Nessie clearly matches up with the round, orange, metal plaque that is a fixture on boats in the loch. The sun was directly behind Tim when he filmed his sighting.


    • James:
      That “image stacking” was done by Shine FROM A 3rd-GENERATION VIDEO. It’s simply not valid.
      JPL and my university computer-scanned an authentic 2nd-generation 16mm film.


  6. James Ravazzolo said

    I forgot to mention that it’s obvious Raynor was a big fan of Tim Dinsdale, I dont think showing the film was not an animate object was in any way meant to diminish the time and effort Tim devoted to Loch Ness.

    ” .. and he is missed by his friends. He should have been out on the loch with us today. Perhaps he was.”


  7. Hello Henry and James.
    I hope you are both well .

    I am obviously still alive and happy to discuss analyses of old material. Henry, you may recall that I suggested years ago that if you were interested in financing the digital scanning of all the known LNI film material at a reputable UK lab I would be happy to arrange for you to have a copy yourself if you in exchange would arrange for your 16mm copy of the Dinsdale Film to be digitised in the USA at the same resolution and at my expense and for me to to receive a copy.

    Perhaps my message didn’t get through then, but I’m happy to repeat the offer now.
    Kind regards and Stay safe, Dick


    • Dick:
      As I said long ago, don’t recall whether to Adrian or Tony or you, I don’t feel free to share my copy of Tim’s film, you should ask the Dinsdale family and they could provide the original or even a 35mm version, even better, I’ve seen it often.
      I did have my copy scanned in full professionally, and my university’s computer-science people scanned the right-to-left sequence, finding absolutely nothing above the water and nothing like a boat or a helmsman. Several of those scans are on my website at


  8. I have a new paper hopefully coming out on Loch Ness monster early next year in which I propose a new hypothesis for some reported sightings; the abstract passed review and I submit the manuscript for review tomorrow. Even though I don’t agree with your hypothesis, I appreciate all the work you’ve put out on LNM (I cite several of your publications in the paper).


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