Debunking Emails – Polar Bear “I Come In Peace”

Being typically skeptical of most things I see, even stuff in general, I had to do a little investigation into a forward I got about a few pictures of a polar bear playing with a sled dog.

First I searched for the forward title, but that brought up way too many duplicated entries just posting the same forward itself — which is, in a sense, illegal, since the images are copyrighted and photographers generally make their money from selling images, not forwarding them to friends all day. Instead, I hunted up just “Norbert Rosing” which brought up a Polar Bear picture book and general stuff about him, but when I combined both names (adding “Stuart Brown”) mentioned in the email (to see whether there was some other connection to their names than the forwarded note’s suggestion), Snopes popped up on the third entry no less. The talk that the article cites, however, is available here via a public radio stream service.

The Snopes article cites the email to be true, but offers a bit more details to the story — that the images do not necessarily indicate they are playing, but that some animal behaviorists suggest these poses are part of seperate and distinct motions taken during normal cautionary inspection rituals when meeting each other that, to our eye (and especially the given context of being playful) translate to loving interactions. The actual “spiritual advancement” noted could genuinely be a misinterpretation of our own assumptions, instead.

I’ve often found this is how bible quotes are often taken completely out of context — by putting them under a heading of “these verses state this” such as “How God Is A Murderer” and such and then quote a few verses that would seem to indicate the headings’ information but are taken so far out of context that without reading the rest of the passage (and other parts of the bible to know the whole story) result in people believing a vile and bloodthirsty deity is at the helm of Judaism and Christianity, when quite the reverse is true.

23 thoughts on “Debunking Emails – Polar Bear “I Come In Peace”

  1. Hi ,

    Though I appreciate the article and your perseverance to debunk this email (which I just received), I cannot over look the final paragraph. I have great respect for believers of any faith, whatever it is. It gives people a purpose in life and, most times, after death. But what I cannot excuse is the constant pushers that can’t go a single conversation without relating it to their personal belief system. The fact that you made reference to both Judaism and Christianity is great though. this final part recovered my feelings on the paragraph, and at that the article. I do think that a none metaphysical example could have been used without ostracizing your readers.

    Thanks for the rest of it though.


  2. I don’t really appreciate your entire response. You don’t give any defense of your position other than simple offense. When detailing you were offended, be sure to give actual reasons. I’m not here to be a people-pleaser. There are no subscriptions, no registration, no memberships..

    Would you be so encumbered as to actually defend your position, or will you simply be a random car alarm echoing in the distance?

  3. I would like to add my observations (and ignore the ignorant, but perfectly ‘democratic’, comments above).
    The 3rd image in the group of 6 is out of place. In 5 of the 6 there is no sight of grass or scrub. This image seems to be of a separate incident it’s just the bear and dogs appear similar. I would suggest that if you removed this 3rd image you would perhaps get a more correct image of what was happening. In fact, if i were to really push my sceptical boundaries and suggest removing the 6th image also, it would actually appear that the bear was having the dog for dinner; certainly the 4th image is not the bear kissing the dog!
    You decide ๐Ÿ™‚

    • you are correct. Everyone wants to believe that we can all live in harmony and be friends. Man can’t even do that, so why would people believe that a silent killer will set the example for us? The guy lures the bears in with food, tethers the dogs for tourism. 20 dogs die a year and the locals up there hate him for what he’s doing while the locals on the net adore the pictures and want to cuddle and save the furry bears, which aren’t endangered…..but that’s another media story for a later date. Dumb people who don’t know Canada.

    • 20 dogs die a year by the guy who tethers the dogs, lays out meat to bring in the bears so he can get people to pay to watch the interaction…….and yes, the bears kill the dogs. They’re really not good buddies and a polar bear will kill and eat anything. The silent killer of the north who will track man for food.

  4. Why do you people find it so hard to grasp that animals are capable of interacting in this way and are not necessarily focussed on killing each other every time they come across something that moves? Human beings like to think we’re the only species that have emotions such as joy or sadness etc and capable of just having fun. I’ve seen similar interactions between animals – it happens. They are more complex than you give them credit for. Sometimes cynicism is not so helpful.

  5. Jacki:

    Unlike Brown, Rosing emphasizes the uniqueness of the encounter he witnessed, noting that polar bears and dogs are natural enemies and “99 percent of the bears behave quite aggressively toward dogs.” Canadian wildlife expert Laury Brouzes theorizes that the polar bears’ friendly behavior may have been a ploy to get a food handout from the dogs’ owner.

  6. There is nothing I hate worse than someone who only looks for “proof” that supports their closed mindset. That is the definition of ignorance. Try this link which is the story told by someone who is a friend of Norbert’s and photographer as well. He was there during the 1st encounter and shot his own photos.
    I have had dogs and cats my whole life. Now 4 dogs and 5 cats and bring all sorts of animals into their lives, since I do rescues. There is not one thing unusual about species that are normally enemies or even food for one of them transcending that to become “friends”. I even had a cat, that I had for 20 years who was a prolific hunter, she would kill small rabbits, moles, etc. in the spring/summer. We rescued a rabbit when she was about 15, she then brought us a rabbit totally unharmed into the house through her pet door, we told her no and had it checked out and set free – but she never killed another rabbit after Charlie whom she became friends with.
    Get over yourself…

    • It is similarly detestable to encounter individuals who will encounter information, believe it to be true without a single ounce of research, then redistribute it indiscriminately on account of agreeing with their closed mindset.

  7. Jennifer thanks for that video it’s wonderful!
    ME, if the bears wanted food from the humans they would TAKE IT. Bears don’t need to manipulate humans by pretending to love their dogs to get fed… ROFL that wildlife “expert” needs a new profession, maybe he is watching too much Yogi Bear instead of working. What a hoot.

  8. So you think the photographer made up that whole story and the video is fake as well BUT believe that silly snopes rationalization…. wow!

    • I didn’t write anything in the article about what I believe or disbelieve. I said I was skeptical, and found loose evidence for the skepticism but didn’t arrive at a conclusion. What is presented is purely fuel for discussion — I had not stated I had taken either side.

  9. I just had to comment… I love how people lean on science and religion when it is convenient to justify their egoic need to continue the delusion that humans are sooo different, special, and entitled and are some how more humane than the rest of creation. I see zero evidence.

    To deny an animals capacity for love is to deny our own. My god… have you never had a dog?! Their love far exceeds ours.

    Now, it is possible that none of us can actually love, but I prefer to believe the opposite and that love is the source of all of us and that we can learn much about love from all life.

    • Who is denying animals capacity? The reference was to this set of photographs, specifically, not the capacity for animals to love. The question, “Are the photographs of this single incident actually depicting a playful, loving relationship?” is what I sought possible answers for, not “In what ways can I demonstrate that animals do not truly possess the capability for love?”

  10. If you follow the thread given above and read the story of the other person who was allegedly with the photographer when this encounter allegedly took place, you’ll realise that they were both close together and did not appear to move about taking their shots while the polar bear and dog were “playing”
    It begs the question:
    “Where did the shrubs and plants go between the various shots?”
    Are all photos from the same encounter?
    Is it the same dog and bear in all of the shots?
    Yes, it’s lovely to believe that it could happen, but it’s quite another things to present false evidence to support such a nice fantasy.

  11. It’s funny what people consider worthy of debate. Although a great deal of the dabate that took place had very little do with was this email being factual or not, the conversation was interesting. I saw this email and thought, “how great! I love polar bears and dogs, two very loving creatures” The idea that this was all manufactured, to maybe sell something? To fool some folks? Who knows all the reasons it could be fake. As one human to many out there, I’m hopeful if I cross your path, that we treat each other the same way these dogs and polar bears did. I hope we don’t treat each other with venom and malice. I hope we become friends, and I would like to “believe” these dogs and polar bears are “friends” Guess I’m a sucker

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