What then is the appropriate role for skepticism?
We all have beliefs and convictions. Most but not all beliefs and convictions are founded on defensible and documented facts. Skepticism is that measure of doubt which provides the basis on which we change our minds as our beliefs and convictions move closer to truth.
Something we consider to be a belief or conviction that leaves no wiggle room for the process of skepticism at work becomes a dead end unto itself-- such a thing is best described as superstition.
My approach to facts then is to be skeptical. Skepticism is the method by which I learn. All facts must be tested and verified from a position of doubt to separate the false from the true.
However, some folks regard skepticism itself as being the ultimate goal. They regard the role of skepticism as being the end instead of the means. They stake out a certain position and by the virtue of being a skeptic on that position will reject consideration of any facts otherwise. Such a self-defined skeptic remains immutable, unteachable and suppresses the consideration of ideas, observations or information which lead toward truth.
When it comes to considering, accepting and understanding facts about BF creatures, each of us are at one stage or another along the continuum of working theories which form the basis for what we believe.
At the far end of this "scale of belief" is apathy. Most everyone begins at this point in which they don't necessarily care whether BF creature exist.
The next stage along this continuum is for those who actively deny or reject the notion that BF creatures exist. My personal opinion is that I regard this as being one step closer to moving in the direction of truth.
Next would come the realization that BF creatures might exist but at some far away location or may have existed at some distant time in the past.
The tipping point occurs when one confronts facts which demonstrate that BF creatures exist here and now. Until we recover "habeas corpus" proof (that is, a body for study), these facts are presently limited to all manners of other physical evidence such as sightings, recordings (visual and audio), hair, scat, tracks and other signs.
The "scale of belief" then moves on to theories concerning the nature and abilities of such creatures. What do they eat? Where do they live? How do they communicate with each other? What is their social structure? A critical distinction that has yet to be resolved is whether BF creatures represent an animal species or something human which lives like an animal.
Divisions now occur among those who accept the existence of BF creatures along the lines of the answers to such questions. I recommend that the community of BF investigators agrees to disagree on the nuances of each other's working theories for the time being. Such speculation will only be answered by field surveillance of wild and free creatures in their habitat. Our common and primary goal should be working in unity for the enforcement of laws which prohibit the harassment, hunting, captivity or killing of BF creatures. Failing that, the future of wild and free creatures to be observed for generations to come would be a moot point.
All of us must balance our beliefs with our doubts (skepticism) as we grow in learning and understanding the truth concerning BF creatures.
"Sit down before fact as a little child, be prepared to give up every preconceived notion, follow humbly wherever and to whatever abyss nature leads, or you shall learn nothing."Thomas Henry Huxley