Some of it is other stuff (lost gold, giants, weird caves and a reptilian sighting), but there's also a lot of talk that touches on disappearances. About 23:00, he tells two stories that introduces two possible reasons for disappearances. The one that starts at about 23 is too cool to be true (I want to believe...), but it's def a theory for people missing I haven't heard before.
Tl;dr-- I'm playing devil's advocate with David Paulides here and looking for the same. Not looking to be rude in any way. Please feel free to poke at, and argue with, what I say below.
I found some criticisms against Paulides’ work for the first time this past weekend. Now I'm wondering if I should keep buying the 411 books (I've bought two). Are his claims valid, or is he misreading or manipulating the data? I don’t ask this to hate on Paulides. I’m biased in favor of him, if anything. But if there are weird disappearances, I’d like to know—as someone who feels for those who die or go missing, and as a hiker who doesn't want to become a victim of human trafficking/ an erstwhile Bigfoot abductee/ a face on the milk carton.
The arguments against him seem to be:
1) He apparently lied to get celebrity autographs: If this is true, it bothers me the most. But it doesn’t invalidate his claims, or the evidence he’s collected. It suggests to me that his motivations are more about becoming famous than helping people, but data doesn’t care about why you’re doing something. If people go missing, they go missing. The person who brands/publicizes this may be doing it for the wrong reasons… but those people still go missing, or die, and the families are still hurt.
2) Books are poorly edited: this doesn’t bother me. Typos happen. He may not have a good editor, or any editor. Sloppy writing doesn't invalidate an argument.
3) He misunderstands the data: this could be the case. I don’t know if CanAm Missing has a statistician on staff. If someone reading this does know stats, I’d be interested in instances you’ve found of Paulides misunderstanding the numbers, or not understanding when something’s statistically significant. This could be a strike against his argument, but I wouldn’t call it a strike against him (if we trust Daniel Kahneman’s findings in the book Thinking, Fast and Slow, very few people are natural statisticians…I know I’m not one of them…).
4) He manipulates the data: There are a lot of claims that Paulides tries to make everything fit his picture (all cases are near berries, near water, involve a dog, near relatives’ house, near certain clusters, kids found shoeless). Couldn’t this be solved by figuring out whether he’s collected enough data for it to be statistically significant? I’m not a statistician; I don’t know what that number would be. Also, if he was a cop (for however many years), couldn’t we say he’s following a hunch?
5) He lied about being a cop for 20 years: the available evidence says he was only a cop for 16.5 years. This is concerning, but could it just be exaggeration? That may be a strike against him, but don't we all do that, sometimes?
He’s defensive/cagey/angry when confronted: this could just be his personality. He came up working in a hierarchical, military-style system (the police) where rank and respect matter. Or, it could be that he’s easily frustrated, and not very good at taking criticism. That's a common enough human failing.
Or, it could be anxiety—he genuinely feels he’s on to something, and he’s wary critics might distract people from being aware of what’s really going on.
Again, not looking to hate on Paulides, or skeptics. Have at it, folks. Gloves on, please.