Is “Scoftic” A Useful Term?

Posted by: Loren Coleman on April 28th, 2007

“Scoftic” has to be the most ridiculous word in the current lexicon of Bigfoot research.Nightwing, November 2006

“Scoftic” – a Roger Knights neologism.Matt Crowley, September 2005

Sometime before the fall of 2003, Roger Knights, a frequent comment maker on all matters Bigfoot, decided to coin a word that he felt would be a counter to words like “pseudoscience.” According to his own accounting, Knights first used “scoftic” on the Bigfoot Forums on September 13, 2003. No, it was not a Friday, but the date in the old Roman festival calendar is epulum Iovis (“banquet of Jupiter”), on the Ides, during the Ludi Romani. Perhaps Knights should have been beware of the Ides of September, for his term itself has been debated almost as much as what he wished to point out by inventing it.

According to various documents online (e.g. Henry May’s page) and in articles, such as in Fate, September 2005, Knights has developed an exacting meaning for what the term means to him.

My thumbnail definition of “scofticism” is “UNhealthy skepticism.” This is a play on the common phrase, “a healthy (dose of) skepticism.”Roger Knights

Knights has been clear that a “scoftic” is not the investigator who goes out into the field, examines the Bigfoot evidence and finds it was made by, for example, a bear or Ray Wallace. No, Knights appears to be specifically talking about the programmed skeptic who is defined more by a pre-determined mindset than the results of any thoughtful probing of the evidence.

By “scoftic” [I mean] someone who…gives witness testimony no weight whatsoever, on ideological grounds, and who asserts numerous other bits of unreasonable dogma, such as that the quantity of reports is insignificant. Scofticism is thus fanaticism behind a pose of reasonableness. The reasonable pose is “show me the evidence.” The “fine print” is all the qualifiers, and all the hidden assumptions and misdirections.

A nutshell definition of scofticism would be “scientism in disguise,” although that’s not quite accurate….Another thumbnail definition is “a cranky skeptic.”Roger Knights

People seem to wish to talk about this on other threads here at Cryptomundo frequently, roaming off-topic in Bigfoot discussions, instead, to argue about the differences between “skeptic” and “scoftic.” And more. Therefore, here’s a home for an open debate about the existence, as well as the defining uses of “scoftic.”

Do you think the term differs enough from “skeptic” to be useful? Do you think the term has demonstrated evolved development of the discussion? Is it demeaning? Dismissive? Definitely useful? Worthy of deployment throughout hominology and cryptozoology? Defensively debatable? Definitive?

(Thank you all for a successful first week of the 2007 release of MA. The initial and hopefully continued good rankings will make it easier for anyone writing these kinds of books – whether you are a scoftic, skeptic, true believer, academic, field worker, chronicler, or open-minded investigator. Appreciation, everyone.)

Loren Coleman About Loren Coleman
Loren Coleman is one of the world’s leading cryptozoologists, some say “the” leading living cryptozoologist. Certainly, he is acknowledged as the current living American researcher and writer who has most popularized cryptozoology in the late 20th and early 21st centuries. Starting his fieldwork and investigations in 1960, after traveling and trekking extensively in pursuit of cryptozoological mysteries, Coleman began writing to share his experiences in 1969. An honorary member of Ivan T. Sanderson’s Society for the Investigation of the Unexplained in the 1970s, Coleman has been bestowed with similar honorary memberships of the North Idaho College Cryptozoology Club in 1983, and in subsequent years, that of the British Columbia Scientific Cryptozoology Club, CryptoSafari International, and other international organizations. He was also a Life Member and Benefactor of the International Society of Cryptozoology (now-defunct). Loren Coleman’s daily blog, as a member of the Cryptomundo Team, served as an ongoing avenue of communication for the ever-growing body of cryptozoo news from 2005 through 2013. He returned as an infrequent contributor beginning Halloween week of 2015. Coleman is the founder in 2003, and current director of the International Cryptozoology Museum in Portland, Maine.

80 Responses to “Is “Scoftic” A Useful Term?”

  1. Sergio responds:

    DWA, I’ll get no more specific than I saw one from no more than 50 yards away. I wasn’t able to see its face, but I clearly saw its body, shape, color, size and hair (rusty). It rapidly fled and disappeared into the woods.

    That’s all that I prefer to say about it.

  2. Daniel Loxton responds:

    Sergio notes,

    Something worth mentioning, and I briefly touched upon it above, is that the field work in this field is 100% done by the so-called “proponents.”

    This isn’t as true as you’d suppose. It’s natural that proponents would be more willing to invest time in these efforts, but in fact a great deal of cryptozoological field work and experimental work, (and general hands-on “paranormal” investigation) is done by skeptics. Notable examples on the crypto front include Ben Radford and Joe Nickell. Notable hands-on skeptical investigators of psychic phenomena include Susan Blackmore, Richard Wiseman, and James Randi.

  3. Lu Ann Lewellen responds:

    I don’t see how “scoftic” is any more offensive than “wacko”, “woo” or “credulloid”.

    I rather like the term and use it to describe those who dismiss the phenomenon out-of-hand without bothering to consider the evidence (possibly because they’re unaware of the evidence), but I’ve never applied it to anyone in particular.

  4. Greg(Not that Greg) responds:

    Sergio notes:

    Something worth mentioning, and I briefly touched upon it above, is that the field work in this field is 100% done by the so-called “proponents.” To the “scoftic,” the definition of “proponent” would really include many skeptics who actually believe that it’s possible for such a species to exist; not that they know or even believe that it really exists, but that there is a possibility, even a small one, that it exists. … etc. etc..

    I feel it is worth noting what a scoftic I know, had to say about the qualifications needed to bring Bigfoot into the realm of legitimate investigation.

    ” “Bigfoot field work” done by Bigfoot proponents is not a necessary endeavor to confirm this creature. Nearly anyone who walks through, drives through, or works in Bigfoot country can make a confirmation. It doesn’t matter if they already believe or are a skeptic. We only need a body or part of one. It’s as if Bigfoot never dies or gets killed. Even a five-year old girl on a hike could make the confirmatory discovery – “Hey mom, come over here and look at this dead thing. Is it a gorilla?”

    We have gun kills, roadkill and found carcasses for every other kind of NA megafauna except Bigfoot. That strains logic in a very big way. It really should be unnecessary to launch any highly sophisticated search in order to confirm this creature. The bickering about who is actively looking for Bigfoot is just another red herring. It presupposes that the many thousands of people who are present in BF country on a daily basis (for centuries on end) cannot confirm this creature unless they are already intent on doing so. “

  5. DWA responds:

    G (ntG): When I mention dueling absurdities at the top of this thread, the absence of a carcass is one of them.

    But I find it impossible to dismiss all of the evidence – much of it from apparently reliable eyewitnesses, and including a film that’s never been debunked – out of hand, simply because no one’s found a carcass.

    I’ve remarked here, many times, about how few carcasses I’ve found of animals with which the places I’ve gone outdoors are packed (bear and deer to name two). Never so much as a claw of either a bobcat or a bear, animals that inhabit the land in much greater densities than the sasquatch appears to.

    Does that explain it away? Nope. But proponents and knowledgeable skeptics know the absence of a carcass is not sufficient by itself to explain away the evidence for the sasquatch. It’s simply another apparent absurdity – that might have a completely logical explanation once we know the facts.

    And, of course, all we know is that no one’s REPORTED finding a carcass.

  6. tirademan responds:

    “And, of course, all we know is that no one’s REPORTED finding a carcass.”

    This is a very strong point that I would argue is almost always overlooked. Who knows if anyone has ever has found a body? What is really being stated is that no one has brought one forth for “science” to study.

    I’d bet there has been a hunter or two over the centuries that has found a strange pile of fur and maggots in the woods, said “That’s weird,” and kept on walking.

    The chance of finding one, AND recognizing it for what it is (regardless of scavenging and decomposition), AND having the wherewithal to drag it out of the woods for science to study is probably pretty rare indeed.

  7. DWA responds:


    You make an EXTREMELY strong point. One I have never heard made before, and one that I didn’t even think of when I made mine. And suddenly makes it possible that dozens of sas carcasses are being found in the woods every YEAR.

    (No, scratch that, there are almost certainly not enough sas to find even ten in a year. Or five. You probably don’t have five sas deaths, all told, in a year. Maybe not in any two, picked at random.)

    Think about it. You’ve found it. It is HUGE. And pretty, well, advanced. Or not. But now YOU, lucky guy, get to drag it out of the woods. Or just pretend (for the rest of your life) that it didn’t even happen. Or, if it’s advanced enough, think, BIG bear. And think it HARD. You aren’t going to touch this thing by yourself, that you know. (If you think a guy who will drag it out by himself and a sas carcass will ever intersect at random, you’ve never been outside.)

    Remember: unless you manage to drag someone back with you who will (a) come and (b) know what it is they’re looking at, you aren’t going to bother. And what will you set in motion via the person or people you bring with you…? You think about that…and…

    And now this scenario becomes VERY plausible.

    (Finding a fresh sas carcass along a trail or road: like hitting Powerball every time it’s peaked, for the past ten years.)

  8. Daniel Loxton responds:

    “I don’t see how ‘scoftic’ is any more offensive than ‘wacko,’ ‘woo’ or ‘credulloid.'”

    Lu Ann Lewellen: You’re quite right: those terms are exactly as offensive as each other, and in exactly the same way. They all mean the same thing: “this person’s arguments are not even worth hearing out, because they as a person belong to a worthless group.”

    I don’t use or approve of any of them, “woo” any more than “scoftic.” Neither should anyone on this board, or on the JREF board, or anywhere else.

    It’s just this simple: if we’re serious about finding things out, neither ad hominem arguments nor ridicule are ever appropriate.

  9. DavidFredSneakers responds:

    Tirademan & DWA-

    There are a few reports of sasquatch carcasses that I can remember.

    One of which is the Manitoba report on Pat Barker’s web page and on the BFRO as well I think, the other is a roadside body two people claimed to have seen near Happy Camp in California, which is included in The Apes Among Us by John Green.

    Alley also notes a couple of reports of odd, large, human like bones in Raincoast Sasquatch, but one of these is second hand. The other records a hiker finding a giant humanoid jawbone.

    I think it’s entirely possible that there is somebody out there with more usable information.

    We always seem to forget that much of the public is under the impression that “bigfoot” is nothing more than an isolated hoax; it should be no surprise that more people are not stepping forward.

    I also tend to agree with Tirademan that presenting large physical remains is easier said than done.

  10. things-in-the-woods responds:

    Just a small thing-

    Greg (Not that Greg) says;

    “We have gun kills, roadkill and found carcasses for every other kind of NA megafauna except Bigfoot. That strains logic in a very big way.”

    In fact, that doesn’t strain LOGIC. It strains PROBABILITY. But probability is a much more stretchy thing than logic. In fact probability is infinitely stretchable. Things can (logically) go on defying the odds for ever.

  11. mystery_man responds:

    The corpse idea is an interesting one. Depending on the state of decay and the amount of scavenging done on it (which is typically pretty high in this environment), a rotting Bigfoot corpse could be indistinguishable from that of a bear, especially if the stink kept anyone from wanting to investigate more closely. I also wonder how accessible the corpses would be. Maybe, like humans, they do not just lay down and die wherever they happen to be (unless by a sudden death) and perhaps like humans others take the corpse away somewhere rather than letting it lie. If they go to die in very remote areas, or are taken away by other Bigfoot, then considering the speed with which a corpse is disposed of in the wild by scavengers and decomposition, it would be a rare occurence to happen across them. I also think, though, that it has not been determined to any great extent whether Bigfoot bury their dead or not.

  12. Greg(Not that Greg) responds:

    things-in-the-woods responds:

    In fact, that doesn’t strain LOGIC. It strains PROBABILITY. But probability is a much more stretchy thing than logic. In fact probability is infinitely stretchable. Things can (logically) go on defying the odds for ever.

    Are you sure you don’t mean that “possibility” is infinitely stretchable?

    An infinite number of things are highly improbable, with very little stretching likely at all. The more improbable an event, the less logical it is to consider such an event to be probable.

    It is highly illogical to suggest, that the millions of visitors ( workers, employees, tourists, etc. ) to the Gifford Pinchot National Forest are overlooking any/all verifiable evidence for a breeding population of a 500 lb. primate.

    Which, of course , doesn’t mean that it is not possible.


    mystery_man responds::

    …. I also think, though, that it has not been determined to any great extent whether Bigfoot bury their dead or not.

    Indeed. It has not been determined that Bigfoot exists.

    Which leaves one free to offer up almost any excuse as to why that determination has not been made; while ignoring the obvious conclusion, that they do not exist at all.

  13. DWA responds:

    As somebody who’s done the UFO Eyeroll more than once on the topic of Bigfoot burying its dead, let me just say that I just got another jolt of maybe I hadn’t had before.

    (Twice on one thread is kinda cool.)

    Burying certainly does happen in the animal world. Cats (and bears) cover kills. Some eyewitness testimony indicates the sas might too. Shoot, even species of beetles are known to do it. And obviously it’s not about reverence for the spirit of the departed. It’s about reverence for one’s hunger.

    There’s no rule that a known – or speculated – predator has to limit its burying to kills of other species. Even if it’s a bit much – and still is, for me – to see the sas practicing funerary rites, maybe they aren’t above caching their own for hard times down the road.

    And take into account what has been said, rightly, many times about a bear defending its kill. Wonder how many times a very-ill-advised closer inspection of that kill might have revealed some very interesting information?

    Just cuts the very low probability of finding, much less conclusively documenting, a sas corpse that much more.

  14. Greg(Not that Greg) responds:

    Whether or not a Bigfoot buries it’s dead was not the point of my comments.

    Showing that other animals ( that we know exist ) bury their dead, adds no weight to the notion that Bigfoot buries it’s dead.

    It is possible that we have no Bigfoot bodies because they bury their dead; but that possibility in no way outweighs the overwhelming lack of evidence for it’s very existence.

    Without the animal; you can imagine any behavior you want, and no one can show you are wrong.

    Maybe Bigfoot plays the flute…

  15. DWA responds:

    G(not that G): it’s OK.

    All you need to do is read up a bit, and start thinking the way a scientist would about this. Which you clearly weren’t doing when you posted that.

    It’s standard scientific procedure, when assessing a rather unusual phenomenon relating to an alleged animal, to note how explanations might lie in phenomena that have been clearly observed for other animals. It isn’t a piece of evidence in itself. But I’ve found that people with little or no scientific or natural history background – or (it should be prominently noted here) scientists who are slapdash in relating their discipline to phenomena they’re not familiar or are uncomfortable with – don’t understand that you’re not dealing with standard science when you’re looking for something that isn’t confirmed yet. My point was to show you – and I did, and a scientist would recognize it, which may be the problem here – that “there are no corpses” is not, by itself, a reason to dismiss the evidence for the sas.

    Which comes to where you need to read up. There is copious evidence for the existence of the animal. Yes, the anecdotal evidence counts, and I’ve explained that at extraordinary length so won’t bother just to educate you. It’s part of the reading you need to do, which should include a lot of that evidence, if you care, and if not, um, why are you here? Just asking.

    What there is not is a scrap of support for the fanciful supposition that every single piece of that evidence is falsified or evidence of something else known.

    And it simply makes no sense to introduce flute-playing, which is a skill not noted at all in the anecdotal evidence. 😉

  16. Greg(Not that Greg) responds:

    DWA responds:

    And it simply makes no sense to introduce flute-playing, which is a skill not noted at all in the anecdotal evidence.

    My, my .. Pot meet kettle ..

    Have you ever heard the saying:

    “ The plural of anecdote is not data .. “

  17. mystery_man responds:

    Well said DWA. Greg not that Greg, my post wasn’t in response to your comments. It was my own thought on the corpse idea that was brought up by others here. Of course Bigfoot may not bury their dead, and I said clearly that it hasn’t been determined yet. I said MAYBE it does and that COULD be why there are no corpses. No assumptions are being made here at all. We are merely putting forward theories and not ones I feel should be easily dismissed. Concerning burial, there is precedence for it, especially if they are related to humans so it is not a totally far fetched theory and deserves to be given some thought. This is speculation in motion which is what needs to be done in order to create a theory that can then be somehow followed up on with research, especially with an unknown animal that we know little about. Only then can anyone say for sure, but that process will not start unless someone puts forth the ideas.

    Are we just to give up speculation on Bigfoot simply because it has not been proven to exist? Perhaps Bigfoot does not exist, but the only way to learn about them more is to speculate and then see if those ideas DO carry weight. We cannot go around throwing out ideas because we don’t like them and saying that we should not put forward ideas about how an unknown animal might act simply because we haven’t documented them. Heck, there are astrobiologists that speculate on life on other WORLDS! Are you going to say they are wasting their time?

    Oh, and by the way, Bigfoot does NOT play the flute. Bigfoot plays guitar. 🙂

  18. DWA responds:

    G(ntG): it’s good that you’re giving our readers such a good clinic in how a skeptical scientist with an open mind punctures scoffing on the sasquatch. Glad to have you aboard.

    Not sure what you meant by “pot meet kettle.” But when something isn’t confirmed to exist, you sure don’t start presuming things about it that there’s no reason to even consider, as in, no one’s even alleged that these things takes place. Hey, Bigfoot could be the world’s third-biggest flute manufacturer. But no one’s reported that yet, so it sure doesn’t make sense to search on it, do it? Might as well speculate that a seersucker suit in a swamp means a sas. Not too scientific, even for something that could for all we know be importing seersucker suits from Andromeda. Anyone seen one yet?

    And this:

    “Have you ever heard the saying:

    “ The plural of anecdote is not data .. “

    Yes. I hear about constipated scientists all the time. I also hear their “knowledge” getting constantly revised by new data, which, as all new data does, started as anecdote.

    Listen again, class, and detention for the next one who misses this! Anecdotes are NOT PROOF. Not one, not 1,500, not 50 quadrillion. Anecdotes are EVIDENCE, with some of it (appearing to be) GOOD and some of it (appearing to be) BAD evidence. You will never find out a thing about it – barring a sas seeking sanctuary in your sauna in a seersucker suit – unless you note PATTERNS that appear PLAUSIBLE and FOLLOW THEM UP.

    Science 100 is being offered as an elective this summer. Take it. I hear Ben Radford might be there. You can tell us about that tape loop he appears stuck on. 😉

  19. DWA responds:


    who wrote that?

    I hate to say it’s a scofftical argument. But it’s close. 😉

    But lets’ talk.

    “This early on, the debaters can’t even decide who is a “scofic”. For example, at first it was used to describe Ben Radford. Then, in later posts, Ben is called a reasoned skeptic, and a considerate one at that. He’s usually welcomed into the debate even if he says things proponents don’t agree with.”

    ####Wait a minute. Some of us think some things about Ben, some think others. I couldn’t disagree more with the “reasoned skeptic” assertion, or the “considerate” one, on Ben, and my read says I am far from alone here. This isn’t “us” shifting as the above makes it sound. It’s some of us expressing one opinion and some another.

    “Here is my definition of ‘scoftic’ – a person who ridicules a hypothesis or idea while showing a lack of consideration for data, evidence or reasoned conclusions.”

    ####Ben does this. As do many who get this label. When something is unrecognized by science, “evidence” means something different from what it does with what science accepts. There is a difference between “scientific evidence” – this is X recognized phenomenon, critter, or otherwise, and this says so – and the kind of evidence we are talking about with the sasquatch, a “reasoned conclusion” about which would be: whether science wants to look or not, a look is warranted, and a rational scientist, paying close attention, would have to agree because his scientific training would tell him so. Ben either fails or refuses to recognize that distinction.

    “Now, there are certainly people who do this. Mostly, these people are ignorant of the topic at hand. ”

    #####Yes, and Ben is one. He has demonstrated no understanding of how someone with a scientific bent would proceed with the evidence at hand for the sasquatch. He preaches about science, but he wields it the way a priest does incense, not the way a scientist does, as a tool. With Ben it’s an incantation. And he continually refuses to provide, in defense of his positions, what you’d think he’d have plenty of – evidence.

    There is more to say here. But I need to run and that ought to get it rolling.

  20. DWA responds:

    OK, back.

    “No, not if you want to have reasoned debate and discussion. You ought to debate evidence and issues, not label people or their positions.”

    ####Scoftic originated out of frustration with people who steadfastly refuse to confront opponents in reasoned argument. As we’ve seen Ben do many times here. He has never come up with an effective counter – or, come to think of it, any counter at all – to a single argument that either I or anyone else on this site has offered. It’s not like the prove-it side of the argument is nothing but scoftics; but there are too many people who simply refuse to even consider the possibility that people seeing the sasquatch are seeing something wholly new to science. (Ben does not consider that possibility, whatever lip service he may offer it.) And the evidence most certainly can lead and has led many in the scientific community to at the very least concede the significant possibility. It’s led some in that group to the conviction that the mainstream needs to look, and others to the conviction that the animal exists. If Ben and others like him refuse to see the possibility of a fire in all this smoke, they must REFUTE THE EVIDENCE. As I have deftly shown, many times, in league with others here, “eyewitness testimony is proven unreliable” is, first, false, and second, not an argument let alone a refutation.

    Let’s see, what else….

    Yes. One is in all likelihood stating that “I will no longer listen to you because you disagree with my personal stance on the issue”.

    #####Um, that’s simply wrong. The very guy who invented the term is about as far from dismissive as humans can get. What it “in all likelihood” means is what everyone I have read using it means:


    I can’t make you see, hear, feel or smell the plain fact – right here, in 12-point – that you are not considering a word I say. You are cherrypicking words phrases and sentences, and using them out of context. You can’t even repeat my point verbatim, much less talk about it. You don’t seem to have a position, and seem unable to defend the positions that the things you say seem to logically indicate you would take on this matter. You are constantly asking people who have showered you with buckets of evidence for more evidence. You have offered none for your (apparent) point of view; and since you seem to be arguing that science is on your side, evidence is what you should have the most of.

    Let’s see: what’s a WORD for that?


    I’m not defending the word. But people who can’t be reasoned with – what, we’re supposed to reason with them?

  21. things-in-the-woods responds:


    No, I really did mean probability.

    You suggested that it ‘stretched logic’ to suppose that bigfoot existed despite the fact that no bigfoot corpse had been found.

    I was trying to point out that there is, in fact, no such thing as stretching logic. Either something is logically possible, or it isn’t (so i don’t really know what you mean by ‘stretching possibility’ either). And that nobody has discovered an example of something that exists is not a logical impossibility.

    In this case, however, it is relatively improbable. The odds on it being the case are long (quite how long we don’t know, for all the various reasons discussed on this site). This is what I mean by probability being stretched. The longer it goes on that we do not find a corpse, the longer the odds are that, if BF does exist, this should be the case. However, at no point does it become a logical impossibility that it should be the case (at least, at no point we are likely ever to reach- i.e., that we have constant simultaneous survellience of every square inch of the north american continent).

    Think of it this way. We put an object randomly in a room. We then put a robot in that room that moves randomly about the room. The longer we leave the robot randomly moving about the room, the longer the odds become that it wont bump into the object. But it might still move around that room for ever without bumping into it. It is not logically impossible, it does not ‘stretch logic’ if it does so. It simply stretches the odds (‘stretches probability’).

    And I never suggested it was ‘probable’ (which, in any case, is an entirely relative term). I only suggested it did not defy logic.

  22. DWA responds:

    G(ntG) says:

    “It is highly illogical to suggest, that the millions of visitors ( workers, employees, tourists, etc. ) to the Gifford Pinchot National Forest are overlooking any/all verifiable evidence for a breeding population of a 500 lb. primate.”

    You’re right. It IS quite, quite illogical to say that “overlooking” it is the only thing they’re doing.

    Many could be overlooking it. Many could just not recognize it when they saw it. They wonder what it is, muse for a bit, and walk on. Many (I’d be one) could see something but not report it because they presumed, probably quite correctly, it wouldn’t be worth the effort. Many could simply not encounter any evidence on their visits. (Most of those millions of visitors could be attached to their cars by 300 feet of chain with no discernable impact on their visits.)

    Many (Gifford Pinchot NF? Would that be, um, WA?) FILE ENCOUNTER REPORTS.


    “Which, of course , doesn’t mean that it is not possible.”


  23. DWA responds:

    And there’s more to be said about the label “scoftic.”

    If you don’t suffer fools gladly, sooner or later a good one-word dismissive comes in handy.

    Don’t want to be pasted with “scoftic”? Don’t act like one. I’ve given you pointers. Let’s summarize them:

    1. Don’t keep coming back with the same old Urban Arguments Against when we’ve shot them full of holes. Particularly when it’s clear to us you’re cherrypicking, and not confronting our arguments and addressing them.

    2. Show you know something about the sciences involved. (About science in general would sure be nice. We’re not your parents and this isn’t fourth-grade science fair. Evidence means more than one thing, honey.)

    3. Please stop saying there’s no evidence. It marks you an unschooled rube. I wouldn’t pretend to sit at the table discussing today’s most important astronomy topics with the world’s most prominent astronomers. Don’t you sit at this table and show, in post after post, not only your ignorance of data, evidence, and the relevant sciences, but also your unwillingness to listen to any point of view other than your own. OK, we’re nicer than astronomers. But if you’re ignorant, show you can learn.


    Now, balance a book on your head and show us a compliant gait. Yeah. It’s kinda like finishing school.

    Um, does this sound like a lot to post?

    See where “scoftic” comes from? 😉

  24. DWA responds:

    And because I can’t resist:


    “If 50 million people say a foolish thing, it’s still a foolish thing.”

    – W. Somerset Maugham

  25. mystery_man responds:

    Well, I know that I for one am going to continue to use the word. The definition for a scoftic has been made pretty clear and sometimes if the shoe fits.. you know the rest. This is one type of skeptic that pops up enough that a word to convey them is for me necessary. I myself am a skeptic of sorts and I feel the distinction needs to be made.

  26. DWA responds:

    Well, mystery_man, at least I tried. 😀

    And I did. For a few exploratory posts there. And things-in-the-woods may keep trying. He may show us all how to do it. And maybe he already has; it’s clear from his responses that he has the ammo for an alternative approach. But maybe we lack his patience. 😀

    I get distinctly uncomfortable every time I type “skeptic” for people whose approach is clearly based on utterly unexamined assumptions. That’s NOT a skeptical approach! Now some of these people may lack my background as an outdoorsman and my layman’s familiarity with animals. But when you shine that light into those unexamined corners, and keep getting responses that go, what light? – well, m_m, I feel your pain. And I was never one to feel pain and not yell, sorry ’bout that.

    You’re not a skeptic “of sorts,” m_m. You’re a skeptic. I’ve never seen you settle for dogma. You question every assumption; which is what skeptics do. It’s not a noble word – and I think it is, or should be – if it’s anything else. There are many assumptions on the negative side of this argument, and as many negative belief-spews and talismans on the Bigfoot-isn’t-real side of this argument as there are on the yes-he-is side. And equal amounts of ignorance and dogma on both sides. You and I and things-etc. 😀 come off, sometimes, sounding like proponents. And the reason is that we see lots of dogmatic, rote blather coming over the airwaves here from the not-skeptics-but-something-else-and-some-of-us-think-a-single-word-might-help-to-illustrate-that.

    Um…see? 😀

    It’s like a file on my teeth to read such as Ben Radford talk about how much legitimacy they’ve lent to this topic. (And others agree with him.) Here’s The English Translation: “You guys are regarded by most people as fools. My paying attention to you, at all, lends legitimacy to what you do. I mean, I Have A Psychology Degree and Publish Books. You should be thankful, and you should thank me when I come on here to lead everyone off topic, try my best to make you look silly, which I can’t seem to manage, and disrespect what you do.”

    You and I and things (things: you have one of the best names on the board. I’m just trying to keep my typing momentum going, OK? 😀 ) and several other earnest, informed people here lend more legitimacy to this topic in each post than Ben has in his life. We shed light. We encourage the searchers. We add new tidbits of information and informed thought and speculation. Every moment Ben’s on here, people are responding to things that are so stale that even talking about them constitutes a distraction from what should be going on, which is: coming to a consensus on search protocols that will tell us, one way or another, about the cryptid in question. Has Ben ever offered one such? Has he ever said what should be done with the evidence? Has he ever said that a search is legitimate, and offered thoughts on how it might proceed? Anybody? I stand corrected by anyone who can offer me an example. One. What I see is Ben asking us to document – by instance – what everyone who has ever encountered the sasquatch knows is as real as the animal he just saw: ridicule for reporting what your eyes told you as clearly as they ever told you anything.

    That’s just my opinion. But there it is. The biggest help Ben could give the field is ignoring it. Legitimate scientists, with reason to believe there’s something here worth looking at, read Ben, or scan scofftic sites, and go: no way am I exposing myself to that flat-earth crap. My boots get dirty enough as it is.

    You’re right, mystery_man. Sometimes (for most of us, things; maybe that’s why we need you 😀 ) that one-word shoe just, well, fits.

    Because we know there’s more important stuff to waste words on than discuss those who don’t help the search, one bit.

  27. mystery_man responds:

    DWA- exactly. I need that one word so that people on here know what I am talking about when I say it. I personally know what that sort of thinking is like. As I have said before here, I was once myself a pretty hard core scoftic. In retrospect, I guess I was a bit arrogant and dismissive and some of my scoftic arguments really seem quite ridiculous to myself when I look back on them. I used to use my degrees as some sort of ammunition in my arguments, as if having degrees immediately makes someone an expert in all aspects of this phenomena and can compensate for a lack of any real knowledge one may have on a given topic. It was like, “Hey, I have degrees in science, so back off!” and you know what, I almost always pulled that out when I felt cornered or thought that maybe my ideas didn’t hold water. How totally absurd. The truth was there was nothing particularly scientific about what I was doing.

    Yeah, I’m a scientist, but that in no way makes me able to talk with authority about all the stuff involved in this field with authority and it certainly doesn’t give me the right to dismiss some of the very good ideas coming out here from you and others. There are aspects involved here that I know very little about. Psychology, archeology, anthropology, heck, even expertise in photographic processes and analysis. These are things I am learning about all the time on this site and in hindsight, I can see that I used to try and dismiss these areas that I didn’t even know about, like my own training somehow excluded me from having to have any knowledge in those areas in order to deny them. But not anymore. Now I am open to this sort of knowledge and willing to take into account compelling things I may never have even thought of. A scoftic just doesn’t do that.

    Man, I was a denialist, big time. Sigh. But I am through with turning off the lights and now wish to shed light instead. Like you said, sometimes I think I come off as a proponent because I entertain the existence of the creature, and will speculate on its behavior at length. Of course I will, because it is fascinating for me and I can see all of the possibilities, and that’s just it, I am not closing any doors on good theories. But at the same time, I am a skeptic. I abhor jumping to conclusions. I indeed do question the dogma (and there certainly is a lot of it on both sides), I will challenge some proponent beliefs, and I will settle for nothing less than the concrete stuff that science needs but which I feel CAN be done in this field if the creature is indeed out there. Likewise, I do not swallow blurry videos very well (as you know) and I can occasionally slip a little towards my old close minded ways, but mostly I try to keep an open mind with all evidence presented both skeptical and otherwise. I will argue equally against needless assumptions towards Bigfoot or far fetched true believerism. (Is that a word? If not, it should be 🙂 )

    But I will not deny that there is good circumstantial evidence and things that could point us to that concrete evidence, where a scoftic will often write this sort of evidence off out of hand. This is an important distinction, I feel. I am just trying to see the truth for what it is, not what we want based on any agenda and regardless of how unlikely I may think Bigfoot is. You and things-in-the-woods are like this too, and you appreciate the beauty of the scientific method.

    I also think another very important aspect is that when good points are proposed by proponents or even scoftics that I may be debating with, I am willing to admit that I’m wrong and do not know everything and that a hypothesis has merit. The difference from the way I was before is that now when I challenge proponent ideas, I challenge these things from a fair appraisal of what is presented, and I think usually rational reasons, not from any close mindedness, reluctance to accept I am wrong or desire to disprove. I can now say “Ok, show me what you’ve got” and I can say it without any ridicule towards the one showing me. That’s a big difference from what I see a scoftic as doing. I could go on and on, but the point is, a scoftic is NOT a skeptic in my eyes.

    And so I need a word to make that distinction. So here, coming from an ex-scoftic, I can say that in my mind, there is a diference between “skeptic” and “scoftic”. Just as I think there is a difference between “proponent” and “true believer”. It is an extreme form of skepticism and it needs a name. “Scoftic” is the name I shall give it.

  28. DWA responds:

    Don’t worry, dear reader: mystery_man and I will continue to question each other’s assumptions. 😀

    I don’t weasel-word – nor does he – what we say about the sasquatch here. It all needs to be taken with the grain of salt called: “evidence seems to indicate that….”. That doesn’t mean we’re bleeding proponents. It means that this is stuff that could well be confirmed with further research – or not. I may sound as if there is no room in my mind for the notion that all of this is concocted – lies, hoaxes, wishful thinking and other fluff. Again, I’m not going to weasel it. But I am certainly open to evidence that this is what’s behind the sasquatch phenomenon.

    It’s just that when most of the evidence I see points to an animal, and the isolated hoaxes don’t seem connected to anything bigger, and sightings continue by people who are not seeing guys in ape suits, and don’t read like they’re lying….well, sometimes one wants evidence to be pursued.

    Until it is, just label me skeptic. I question – strongly – the apparently unexamined assumption that there’s no new ape here.

    But skeptics can be convinced otherwise. Convince me. Evidence only, please.

  29. DWA responds:

    This thread just seems a handy repository for random thoughts.

    Just came across this quote:

    The great enemy of the truth is very often not the lie — deliberate, contrived and dishonest, but the myth, persistent, persuasive, and unrealistic. Belief in myths allows the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought.– John F. Kennedy

    I’m not sure I’ve read anything that describes more succinctly than this does – not even what I’ve written! lol – the scoftic take on the sasquatch.

    The more the evidence mounts, the more I’m persuaded that contrary to the scofftic notion of hoaxers and unbalanced people making us imagine that an animal exists, it’s science’s scoffing and inattention that is making us imagine that it DOESN’T.

    This isn’t UFOs. It isn’t ghosts. It’s dots – that science could connect. IF it wanted to.

  30. CryptoInformant responds:

    I see 4 categories of “cryptozoologists.”

    The “true believer” – This is someone who believes in Bigfoot because they CAN, not because of EVIDENCE.

    The Shyster or “Cryptidiot” – This is someone who pretends to be a Bigfoot researcher in order to get people to waste their money. They are sometimes called Cryptidiots because they’ve earned it.

    The Skeptic or Cryptozoologist – The fence-sitters. They honestly research Bigfoot, with no crippling bias or hidden agenda behind their research.

    The Scoftic – An individual who BELIEVES Bigfoot CAN NOT exist, without doing much field research or actually looking at the evidence. Some Skeptics are Borderline Scoftic, like Ben Radford, who does field research, but may dismiss evidence out of hand, or ridicule others.

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