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. Rick Noll responds:

    God its good to have Roger on our side!

  2. daledrinnon responds:

    If you’re asking my opinion, my opinion is that the word was created simply to make up a new word. It serves no pressing need and is not especially useful. It also becomes merely another obfuscating bit of jargon intended for the exclusively-hip- cryptozoologists’ use only.

  3. things-in-the-woods responds:

    Can’t really argue with the fact that there are such people out there- but I personally don’t think this word helps.

    It can too easily be seen as a personal insult (i.e. aimed at the person, rather than their ideas), and as such only leads to defensiveness and polarization. We need to engage these people in debate and convince them they are wrong (or if we think thats a lost cause i think its better we just ignore them).

    In fact, i think the very sound of the word makes it seem insulting- it has a particularly harsh sound to my ear, and to my mind at least sounds rather like some nasty medical condition (perhaps some kind of skin disease).

    There’s enough name calling already.

  4. Rick Noll responds:

    Name calling can be good and bad. We use language to communicate our thinking, which is hidden from others until we reveal it to them through our actions, words and body/facial positions.

    Coming onto a bear and watching it dance from side to side and huffing a bit tells me how to react and it also tells me what I am doing wrong. It should be much easier to understand all of this if the bear could just say something like… you pesky, puny human! You are too close for my comfort and if you don’t back off soon I don’t know what I am going to do. I don’t know your intentions and I feel trapped. If I turn and run, you could do something while I am not looking.

    A bear’s comfort zone or personal space is different than say our own. Smell plays a much bigger part in their world. Our stink could really be offending at distances where we wouldn’t even notice… ever been snuck up on?

    Of course I don’t really know what that bear was thinking but if it was another human reacting that way I would say my guess would step up in probability. Now if the bear could talk and said those things I would know for sure then. Another bear would have probably correctly interpreted the exchange and acted properly at the right time.

    The impression one person gives to another during informational exchanges demands feedback of some kind. I don’t think Roger meant the word to be derogatory in nature. It is a useful term in describing actions, words and meaning during exchanges with others. It gives feedback to the other person as to how they are being understood. That feedback can be used as a tool or a club. The art of turning a weapon over to meaningful communication defines us humans… we sometimes lose that though. Our brains filter so much.

  5. things-in-the-woods responds:

    I’m not suggesting that thats how Roger intended it- just that that’s how it undoubtedly comes across to (some) people who get called it (pretty much in the same way that it gets some of us angry when people call as ‘pseudo-scientific’ or whatever).

    Of course we use language to communicate what we think and how we feel, and of course we need to give feedback during debates- i’m just saying there are better and more subtle ways of doing it than with labels that people will, and do, find derogatory (if they didn’t this wouldnt be an issue).

    When (unlike bears) we have such a complex and expressive language, we really don’t need to resort to name calling at all.

    Which is more constructive and informative-saying ‘scoftic!’ or explaining the weaknesses in their reasoning?

  6. DWA responds:

    As someone who hates neologisms as much as the next guy, I use “scofftic” for one reason:

    I don’t like to see the good name of skepticism polluted by cynicism or lack of information.

    A skeptic is informed. A skeptic questions assumptions – on all sides of a question. (There are never just two.) A skeptic shows he/she is informed, and can tell you precisely why he/she feels that way, without re-generating the tired dismissals that any ignoramus could come up with.

    I’m a skeptic. When it comes to the sasquatch, I see dueling absurdities:

    1. Something like that got into the 21st century unacknowledged by science.

    2. Every scrap of info that exists on it is the result of lie, hoax or misperception.

    The proponents have given more ammunition for 1. – by far – then the what-do-we-call-them-not-skeptics – there, like that “word”? – for 2.

    I’m a skeptic. That’s how I know.

    Scofftics take the five-foot view, not the 30,000-foot one. They cherrypick 50-year-old cases to debate, without a single thought as to the animal that people continue to see, people who have no reason to lie, who don’t hallucinate and who know what they’re seeing and hearing in the woods. And whose descriptions are as consistent as different people’s experience of, say, a robin, or a white-tailed deer.

    The five-foot view is NOT skeptical. It’s ignorant.

    Skeptics aren’t. The skeptics – the real ones – on this site prove that.

    (And see? I didn’t make it up. Although, unlike the case with most made up words, I wouldn’t mind taking credit. 😀 )

  7. DWA responds:

    And Roger Knights is, unequivocally, The Man.

    Here’s to lights in darkness. He says it just right.

  8. DWA responds:

    I should add that I hate neologisms as much as the next guy.

    But I’m a skeptic, and there are a number of others on this board. I don’t like to see the good name of skepticism tarnished by dogma and ignorance. I won’t use the term for people whose position seems to stress those above all.

    So what would you call it?

  9. Bob Michaels responds:

    I despise the narrow minds, the dismissive, the know it alls, the Earth is flat, not round, say Chris you will sail off the earth, I’m glad he didn’t. No such animal exists as the Mountain Gorilla, but by god it does and its population is now rebounding. You can deny, deny all you want but the cryptozoologist has an open mind and will continue to seek the truth, solve the mystery, while the skeptic will just say it’s impossible, how could it be, it’s not relevant, it’s not scientific. It is what it is!

    In the end it is my belief that the truth will triumph in the end and the skeptics will be relegated to the dustbins of history.

  10. Daniel Loxton responds:

    “Scoftic” is used, so far as I can tell, exclusively for the purpose of smearing skeptics whose opinion the speaker happens to dislike. It’s nasty, and frankly childish. I think cryptozoology does itself a great disservice to stoop to anything so mean-spirited.

    Just look at it the other way around. Imagine that skeptics decided we’d reserve the word “cryptozoologist” for only those people of whose opinion we especially approved. Henceforth, everyone else would be, what? “Cryptidiots?”

    That sort of schoolyard language reflects badly on the speaker, and only on the speaker.

  11. mrbf2006 responds:

    Great, thought-provoking article, Loren!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I also like how you referred back to my page, and I do not mind if you use anything from either of my blogs. I have to say, most skeptics are not “scoftics,” but rather reasonable skeptics, such as David Daegling, Benjamin Radford and Dr.David Begun who rightfully ask for proof in a scientific manner. Examples of “scoftics” would be Dr. Nina Jablonski, Dr. Frank Poirier and Dr. John Turtle, who either dismiss all of the evidence out of hand or are woefully uninformed on all things Sasquatch. Again, great article, Loren, and I have MA on order.

  12. joppa responds:

    Seems its just another label we use to be dismissive of someone we dislike or don’t agree with, instead of listening or considering their point of view. I could be very dismissive of the “High Strangness” Bigfoot folks, but who am I to interpret their experiences ?

    I see no need to debate, just investigate. I do want to dismiss a hoax when it pops up, but that’s not being a skeptic or scoftic, that’s part of the investigation of the mystery.

  13. DavidFredSneakers responds:

    I think “scoftic” is a fine counterpoint to phrases like “true-believer.”

    Skepticism has almost become a culture onto itself, and many times it is overly dismissive of anything that contradicts it’s established views. In many ways they are “true-believers” of the negative evidence to whatever subject, and I tend to be skeptical myself of some of their claims.

    I think that “scoftic” is an accurate phrase to describe those who dismiss anything that challenges their preconcieved notions under the guise of the “scientific establishment.”

    Of course, eventually they will embrace the term and somebody will have to think up a new one, so maybe such names are pointless.

  14. Rick Noll responds:

    The root of both sides comes from being either an advocate or an opponent to the subject. Further defining qualifies the view points.

    What could cause someone to be labeled a “scoftic” versus just an opponent? I understand the word to come from combining scoff and critic. As one criticizes another viewpoint, mockery enters.

    Scoftic is not for everyone but I feel it has its place in defining a counter viewpoint that seems to be a little emotional. Some may take offense to it but really look at the reason. It has meaning behind it and isn’t derogatory. I guess someone could use it as a name calling term but then other faults would be self evident as well. Most who stoop to name calling and then use words like this are kind of looked at as a joke. JMHO.

    Who would have thought that “romantic” would become a derogatory term. You see I secretly think that Jane Goodall is a romantic. I think her view point has been ahead of the time. I am not sure if it is all correct but from a weak understanding of her side one could come away feeling that she is anthropomorphizing the animals she studies.

    A romantic advocate or a scoftic opponent.

  15. DWA responds:

    Anyone who notes my three posts above:

    The last one resulted from an anomalous situation in which my first one seemed to take, but then didn’t show up. I presumed I’d left the window without posting, and lost the first one. Guess not.

    I may repeat myself sometimes. But usually it ain’t that blatant. 😉

  16. fuzzy responds:

    Yes, of course.

  17. rifleman responds:

    Why invent new words for people we already have words for?

  18. DWA responds:

    Maybe it behooves everyone to step back.

    things-in-the-woods makes good points about the use of a label inflaming those with whom one might otherwise find ways to reason. If the other person isn’t going to reason with you (I’ve found out, for sure), calling a name does nothing more than make you feel good for a few minutes – until the name they cook up comes back at you.

    I’ve had a couple of dialogue-cleansing experiences lately that have made me do some thinking. It’s been my experience that cryptos come to the mainstream community sort of hat in hand, get rebuffed for their efforts and mocked for their credulity, and continue to try to make nice to people dancing on top of their heads. It ticks me off, more than a little, and I’ve been a bit of a bad boy here.

    What I’ve learned is that argument trumps all. I’m sticking to that from now on. When whatever-we-call-them show up, I’ll try to reason with them. When I see it doesn’t work (and sometimes they turn out not to be whatever-we-call-them), well, no law says you have to talk to everybody.

  19. Sergio responds:

    Daniel Loxton,

    “Cryptidiot” is a far cry from “scoftic.”

    The equivalent would be “cynicmoron,” or “scofimbecile,” or…well hopefully you get the point by now.

    The term “scoftic” in no way impeaches the intellect of the subject for whom the term is intended; conversely, “cryptidiot” certainly does.

    To me, a “scoftic” is someone who is not a true skeptic. Rather it give us a noun to use when referring to individuals who, in the name of skepticism, scoff, dismiss, or even deride, which is certainly based in emotion. The “scoftic,” in my view, usually displays a generous amount of condescension, for which there is never an appropriate time.

    Mr. Loxton, your admonishment of those who would use the term is a fine example of such condescension.

  20. Daniel Loxton responds:

    Sergio: If it’s condescending to point out that name calling is bad, I’m afraid I’m not able to see how.

    Name calling always lowers the conversation, always burns bridges. It is never helpful. (Whether one name is worse than another is beside the point.)

    Frankly, I’m surprised that anyone on this board would suggest otherwise. If there is one common theme to all cryptozoological discussions, it is that cryptozoology and its claimants should be treated with respect. Granted.

    And that goes both ways.

  21. jayman responds:

    I think “scoftic” is just unnecessary, since it seems to be used in the same sense as “debunker”, which I would define as a person who dismisses certain phenomena “a priori”, without even considering evidence.

  22. Daniel Loxton responds:

    “Debunker” has been given that newer, deliberately insulting meaning (“a person who dismisses certain phenomena a priori”) in relatively recent times. It’s a bit offensive as a label for that reason: it’s usually intentionally used to insult someone by accusing them of lacking intellectual integrity.

    But “debunking” really just means “removing the bunk” (fraud, lies, or misinformation) from something, which is obviously a valuable thing to do. (Think of investigative journalism or the “fraud squad” in a large police force.) So skeptics don’t generally mind being saddled with the label—we just mind when unkind, ad hominem sentiments lead people to fling it in a vitriolic fashion.

    (I’d suggest the best way to describe groups of people is to use the label they themselves prefer, and then move on to the evidence and arguments without further comment.)

  23. Sergio responds:

    “It’s nasty, and frankly childish.”

    “That sort of schoolyard language reflects badly on the speaker, and only on the speaker.”

    Waaaa. Waaa. Waaaa. Blah. Blah. Blah. Make sure when you read those statements, Loxton, that you read them in an aristocratic King Henry VIII’s English accent.

    The statements above can certainly be classified as condescending. It’s obvious that you believe that you’re much more mature, even elite, than the low-browed neanderthal who would use such a “nasty” “childish” term as scoftic. How untterly ridiculous.

    There are a few others who drop in here to Cryptomundo, and like Loxton, proclaim that the high road belongs exclusively to them, and that all others exist in the purgatory far below. You know what? It makes me sick.

    Scoftic is a great term, and it works well. I’ll use it inspite of Loxton and whoever else proclaiming that it’s childish to do so, as if his assessment is equivalent to that of Providence.

    Rattin’ smattin’ scoftics.

  24. Daniel Loxton responds:

    Jayman: incidentally, I don’t mean to imply that you are yourself being deliberately insulting in defining debunker that way; it’s a common (if unfortunate) definition now, and it’s the case that people sometimes do dismiss claims on an a priori basis.

    (If we must have a label for people who do make a priori judgments, we might do better with something like “ideologue,” “cynic,” or in extreme cases, “denier.”)

  25. Daniel Loxton responds:

    Sergio: Look, I’ll just say it again: name-calling and hostility only harm cryptozoology. It makes it harder for Loren and others to present the field in a positive, reasonable light, and it discourages moderate skeptics (like me).

  26. dontmean2prymate responds:

    It was ’71 when I read the word cryptozoologist. Most everything was new and undiscovered to me then. Now we have the great and giant squid. Everything else in that book is still as hidden as the secret word we’re looking for here. Unseen as Groucho these days. Even the term cryptozoologist sounds like someone with something to hide; for instance – they aren’t a zoologist in the first place. I’m a fan of all we don’t know, which is more than we do know, but I know when someone is scoffing at me. I respond with an original series of descriptive words in general usage, so even someone with an old dictionary can understand. Etymozoologists may disagree.

  27. DWA responds:

    Well, Daniel, what we may be talking about here is frustration. And I think proponents of the sasquatch have reason to be frustrated.

    When I first read about the sas, in National Wildlife Magazine in 1968, the spring after the P/G film went public: I thought: wow. I was 11, and knew that even an adult could see (National Wildlife sure could) that the evidence in favor of the film’s authenticity was compelling. Who, I thought, would NOT want to follow this up, and find out?

    In each year since, the evidence has only gotten greater, and more compelling. P/G is being talked about as much as it ever has, and not as a hoax. Maybe the world’s two most prominent names in primate studies have come out in favor – one of the animal’s existence, and of other hairy hominoids as well, and the other of at least a “hard-eyed look.”

    And yet people like Ben Radford continue to come on sites like this (why do they bother?) and say just the opposite of what is plainly true:

    1. There are qualified people in the field looking.

    Almost none, for almost no time, with a four-day weekend being an expedition. (No one who is primarily looking for something else is looking for the sasquatch. And would be fired if they reported a sasquatch.) You would NEVER find me – heck, you’d never find my family – with only four days to look. Patterson spends a couple of weeks, on horseback, and we’re still talking about what he got. He’s still utterly alone in a genre; and every reason that, um, they say why is wrong.

    2. There’s no evidence.

    The continued insistence on the part of, um, them – and most of mainstream science – that visual evidence counts for squat is the most amazing oversight regarding the sasquatch. It’s eye-poppingly incredible, and one of the prime examples of human folly in my lifetime. You wanna know why science ain’t gonna save us? Here’s a textbook case. They can’t see stuff right in front of their noses.

    3. It’s a waste of science’s time to look.

    Read the papers. Nothing is stopping – or even slowing – our headlong rush to eat the planet before our kids have grandkids. Finding hairy hominoids could lead to a critical sea change in how humans view everything around us. And only that – not techno-fixes – will save a world anything like one we want to live in.

    Or, um, not.

    But scouring the disappearing rainforests of the Amazon for a marmoset with pink eyes don’t seem to be cutting it. The argument that scientists go for returns only goes so far. Science is being pennywise, and pound foolish.

    I could go on. But I get Sergio. I understand where he’s coming from.

    I don’t think that the “attention” this field is getting from such as Ben Radford is helping a bit; in fact it chases scientists away from the field. They know they don’t want the hoi polloi writing Congress to pull Smedley’s sas funding (and of course you know vast numbers of people who never write their elected reps are pulling for Smedley).

    It’s plain as the noses on our faces: the likelihood that a giant ape, ferpetesake, is History’s Greatest Hoax is, well, good luck President Nader, because those are the odds.

    We should be looking. Hard. This skeptic says, point blank. That we aren’t – well, lump it in with a host of other sorry referenda on our sad species.

    Some people just like a one-word way to get their anger out, I guess. And I get it.

  28. DWA responds:

    As usual I forgot to put something in.

    Go back a few threads to that great video of the Sumatran rhino on Borneo.

    The time it took to get that video is far more than the total time spent on sas expeditioning in the US in the past ten years, if not the past forty.

    For an animal almost assuredly dumber than the sas, and trapped on an island, ferpetesake.

    You’d think scientists could add two and two. I mean, they’re SCIENTISTS.

  29. DWA responds:


    Once again we have proponents disagreeing with each other off the cuff, and I’m not sure they should be.

    Iowa? Sure. NJ? Why not? I think that if the sas exists, he either does or once did (odds on the former) continent-wide.

    I used to think that sightings in all 49 continental states was a disqualifier. I’ve since come away from that view. (As has Bindernagel, who thinks that the “regional monster” pigeonholing of the sas discourages serious research.) Makes sense to me that something this big, this active, needing this many calories, is nomadic in the extreme, because of the twin needs to keep from hunting an area out and to avoid humans. (And the quantity of wild land in any state of this Union is consistently underrated.) So, I think Kathy’s wrong. Count ’em all. Where people are seeing is where you have to look, if you’re serious about finding out. When people in WA describe the same animal, behaving the same way, with the same nuances of detail in the sighting, and even making the same sounds that people in IA and FL and TX and NJ etc. are hearing, without comparing notes, they’re not, sez here, listening to a quaint cultural social phenomenon. I’d disagree with you; the more sighting reports I read, from more places, the more I’m convinced it’s coast to coast, north to south. If it exists; and anybody got a more logical explanation?

    Devil’s advocate: I’d believe Iowa sightings over California. Quick, contrast Iowans with Californians. Exactly. (Hey, Kathy. Sauce for the goose…. 😉 )

    And the communications the sas has chosen make perfect sense. One does not come across those things often in the woods. I never have; and I’ve spent lots of time in the woods. All the wood knocks: woodpeckers. Sas knocks sound nothing like a woodpecker, from what I understand from those who have heard them and know their woodpeckers, nor a human doing anything logical. And one can presume that, like other animals, the sas can suss his calling cards from ours. When a sas sees/hears (or smells/tastes/pheromonizes) them, it’ll know what they are. What’s more logical?

    And finally: when one goes to places where lots of people work in the woods, one finds the greatest density of encounter reports. On and off the record. Timber and mining companies are to say the least non-sas-friendly. And people like to keep their jobs. Logical.

  30. Sergio responds:

    kitakaze, while I don’t find the particular statement about being overly sensitive condescending, I do find it to be incorrect. The discussion was about others taking issue with the word “scoftic” and how it is “childish” to use such a derogatory term. That, in my opinion, is an excellent example of hypersensitivity. Lighten up.

    By the way, it’s easy to “find the case for bigfoot to be quite strong” when I’ve seen one with my own eyes. Any argument that you can throw at me holds absolutely no water, because I know firsthand that you are wrong, regardless of how much ranting you do or how much patronizing you do.

    It’s really that simple to me. My eyes will trump your argument or the argument of anyone on the planet any day of the week, any week of the month, and any month of the year.

    To answer your question regarding the “default question,” the answer is that the person should be truly skeptical, while remaining inquisitive. Guarded, yet open. Childlike in curiosity, while mature in examining the evidence. Above all, one’s default position should not include scoffing, dismissiveness, or derision regarding others who claim to have seen one of these creatures.

    Look, field biology is sometimes impossibly difficult. Who in their right mind will do the necessary field work to discover such an animal unless they believe there is a modicum of possibility that it actually exists?

    You made mention of field biologists. The field biologists that I know who have had experiences with these animals are extremely reluctant to discuss the issue publicly. Look at how Jeff Meldrum has been treated as he seriously delves into the matter.

  31. Daniel Loxton responds:

    “Above all, one’s default position should not include scoffing, dismissiveness, or derision regarding others…”

    Sergio: That is my point exactly.

  32. Daniel Loxton responds:

    Honestly, I don’t understand how this even could be controversial.

    The word “scoftic” is supposed to protest against mockery and dismissiveness. But the word is (obviously) mocking and dismissive.

    Either bigfoot is a serious discussion deserving civility and respect, or it isn’t. Either mockery and dismissiveness are appropriate, or they aren’t.

  33. Sergio responds:

    True enough, Daniel. I’ll concede your point, but it works both ways. The term was coined to describe the kitakazes of the world.

    The evidence is on this site in another blog, in which kitakaze, for all intents and purposes, told someone that their eyewitness account was nothing more than an interesting story and that he just didn’t believe it. While he certainly has the personal freedom to accept or not accept someone’s personal account of an alleged encounter, there are ways to be much more civil about it (and this example is but one of countless others). kitakaze tried to make it sound nice, but he was really saying: “You’re a liar, Todd.” That is dismissiveness, arrogance, derision and cynicism at its finest (scofticism?).

    Yes, the subject of bigfoot should be a serious discussion deserved of respect and civility, but human nature is such that when someone calls someone else a kook, a liar, unqualified, mistaken, wishful thinker, etc., civility tends to get lost in the resulting scrum. That’s part of why we now have this peculiar word “scoftic” in the cryptozoological vernacular.

  34. DWA responds:

    kitakaze says:

    “Of the many excuses and conveniences that many proponents put forth for a lack of reliable evidence one of the most lamest has to be that of the many professionals who live and work in areas where bigfoot reports come from none will come forward for fear of their careers. Pure fantasy. Show me one field biologist that would not like to be the one to identify a new species such as bigfoot.”

    Actually, of all the skeptical arguments, THAT one is one of the lamest.

    Simple logic dictates this. (I can’t wait ’til a skeptic sees one. Hee hee, I’ll bet hundreds have.) Ask yourself: would you jeopardize your family for this? Thank you, America. I wouldn’t. My sighting would have to stay with me…and maybe the BFRO… . But I understand the web of illogic in which skeptics are trapped. They have to turn the real world on its head. ONE field biologist would not come out of the woods saying he saw Bigf….oh, wait a minute. Jeff Meldrum. Grover Krantz. John Bindernagel. Hmmmmm… Oh the world is beating a path to their doors ain’t it? My point. Illustrated, nay proven. Thrice over. You can shut up…or you can be THEM. I know the choice most will make. PARTICULARLY lowly folk like loggers and miners. Any other take? Pure fantasy. (Ooooh. Daris Swindler. John Napier. FIVE times over. And Napier didn’t even think P/G was real but thought the animal was!)

    And as to this, let’s rock on it:

    “Oh come on. Surely someone can summarize the Bigfoot proponents arguments in a few lines.…it’s smart and elusive.

    [Damn straight. Who gave us the monopoly on brains? Typical skeptic mistake. I actually think bigfoot may be smarter than your average mainstream scientist, anyway. I’m sure he’s more open-minded.]

    It specializes in avoiding humans though it often does the opposite.

    [What do skeptics think it is, a paranormal shapeshifter? Obviously. Sheesh. It’s an ANIMAL, guys. If we wanted to find it…um, Patterson did. Thousands of everyday Joes have. Where do these arguments COME from?]

    Qualified people aren’t looking for sasquatch, those who are devote hardly the kind of time which is required.

    [Right on the nose. Good one. Chinese proverb: even a blind pig gets the occasional acorn.]

    Those scientists who are searching for something where bigfoot’s at are not searching for bigfoot so they miss it.

    [Tell me how many marmot guys saw the VI wolverine, hmmmm? If they didn’t ….maybe it doesn’t exist. Hmmmm…and again, who cares how many scientists see it, when it seems everyone but scientists is seeing it? In fact, how do you know? Maybe half of them DID see it…and thought of their kids…and that house…one skeptical fantasy that needs coffee, stat, is the one that the guy/gal who finds bigfoot will be richrichRICH. Most people are smarter than that. That’s why the Manitoba guy clammed up. Sure you can say he was lying. Now you know you’re stuck with the position that they all were. Maybe YOU need coffee. Guys, guys. this is just an ANIMAL.]

    Sightings should held as evidence of significance by their numbers and consistency, proximity to waterways, and bell shaped curve.

    [Which is how scientists do it. Or you can be illogical about it. But then you might be called a skeptic. 😉 ]

    A team of biologists seeing it together and reporting it? Maybe. Not that I’d bet on it. Not given what most scientists have rammed up their [squatches].

  35. jayman responds:

    Daniel, I don’t necessarily use “debunker” as an insult. I do consider a debunker to be distinct from a skeptic in some ways, however. To me, “skeptics” tend to be tentative about all knowledge and information. As persons, they tend to be mavericks, devil’s advocates, antiauthoritarian, sometimes tending to a touch of contrarianism or even nihilism. Debunkers, on the other hand, take these things very seriously. In many of them a scientific/rationalist worldview is central to their thinking and anything that doesn’t fit it is like heresy is to a religious person. They tend to be conventional people in most ways, often quite conservative socially and politically.

  36. DWA responds:

    And this specific sentence of kitakaze’s deserves a specific rejoinder:

    “Show me one field biologist that would not like to be the one to identify a new species such as bigfoot.”

    I would, but there are too many of them. I think the ones I named above, plus seven or eight more, maybe, are the only exceptions to the rule that no field biologist wants to – or can afford to – touch the sas with a ten-foot pole. Fat lot of good it did the ones that tried.

    So you forgot – or maybe you didn’t – one more proponent point. We have the Teflon Animal here. With everybody looking the other way – on purpose – ten sasquatch could take tea in your house and no one would find out.

    We’re a funny species we are. We could make the red fox disappear from our radar tomorrow, just by saying it had.

  37. kitakaze responds:

    DWA: Did Bindernagel, Krantz, or Meldrum ever report sighting a sasquatch?

  38. Kathy Strain responds:

    Not that I have any desire at all to weigh in on this…but Jeff Meldrum, Grover Krantz, and Daris Swindler are not bioloigsts, they are anthropologists and have never seen a bigfoot. John Bingernagel is a biologist, but also hasn’t claimed a sighting (that I’m aware of). There are biologists who have sightings and have come forward, but I know many haven’t due to the ridicule they fear. One prominent biologist, John Myoncszinski, has discussed his experiences as a researcher in the field nearly year round studying bighorn sheep in the remote areas of Wyoming.

    And yes, I did say that Iowa does not have the resources needed in order to sustain a population of bigfoot, and I stand behind it. Just because a state has reported sightings doesn’t mean it’s true…and until we police ourselves, scoftics are going to continue to point them out and rub them in our faces.

  39. MBFH responds:

    An interesting discussion has evolved from this, thanks all.
    In relation to Loren’s original question I have two opinions:
    name calling, as some have pointed out, isn’t really necessary. It is, however, part of our lives. There are worse things someone can be called based on physical, mental, racial, gender etc. attributes; and
    if someone finds being called a ‘scoftic’ offensive, a name based on how someone perceives their opinions, then they should go away, lie down, and massage their fragile egos until they feel better. Poor luvs.

  40. DWA responds:

    I don’t consider it relevant whether any of those individuals SAW one. Or their specific fields of study. (Anthropology is way more than close enough to biology.)

    They are all mainstream scientists – in, as Kathy points out, relevant fields – and they have all come out strongly, and publicly, in favor of the existence of the animal. That’s as big a step, bigger in fact, than simply seeing one, and definitely on a level with publicly claiming a sighting. No, sorry, bigger than that. They’ve never seen one, and they’re saying it exists. (Of course, they’ve seen the Patterson film, which has convinced a lot of people by itself, and is the only piece of cryptid evidence I’ve ever seen that could.)

    My understanding is that Meldrum experienced a vigorous apparent intimidation display while backpacking in Olympic NP. (This was how he got interested in the topic, as I understand it.) Can’t remember whether he found tracks associated with the display, but I remember reading about it and it sounded pretty hair raising to me.

    As to Iowa – as to most of the United States – I definitely disagree that it lacks sufficient resources to sustain these animals. Iowa has plenty for an animal like this. (Breadbasket of America; significant waterways; loaded with deer.) And who said there’s a permanent population in every state? For a nomadic critter, there doesn’t have to be. (Look at caribou and their seasonal travels, covering what in the lower 48 would be a few Eastern states.) I think that permanent stomping grounds got selected against, for this animal, pretty quickly. In fact, if we’re pigeonholing this animal into tiny pockets of prime habitat, then it ain’t real. Anything this big, with as restricted an individual or population range as most other animals have, would be in the textbooks for a century or more now. Or extinct, from simply hunting out the resources of its range. You only have a big primate in the temperate zone if it moves a LOT. Unless it has the technology to stay put, and bring the food to it. Human history is your proof.

    “Policing ourselves” means not tossing good sighting reports as trash. That’s playing into scoftics’ – hey, the thread’s about that word, right? 😀 – hands, in fact. If one trashes everything in IA, boom, like that, then everything in CA becomes highly suspect. (Including some CA sightings in VERY unlikely places – unless you have an animal that moves around a LOT.) You report it where it’s seen (provided there’s nothing fishy about the report). The BFRO has 35 sighting reports for Iowa; and whatever their internal wranglings, I don’t think they’ve destroyed the database. Some of the reports there are as good as most I’ve read for CA, repeating – in the individual vernacular that says they aren’t copycatting – classic behavioral and physical features of the animal.

    I’m not worried about scoftics – hey, Kathy used it! – rubbing good data in our faces. If CA can sustain this animal, IA can. If he’s hiding out in the Pacific NW, then he isn’t hiding – he’s fake. Sez here.

    I’m not a biologist. But I think like one. I must. Bindernagel agrees with me. 😉

    But I’m also a skeptic, as you can see. NOT a scofftic. (one f or two? 😀 )

  41. DWA responds:

    And when I say “Bindernagel agrees with me,” here’s what I mean.

    Sasquatch Geographical Distribution

    The more you think about this, the more IA – and OH, and NE, and NJ, and MD, etc. – makes sense.

    And I thank the trusty folks at the Texas Bigfoot Research Conservancy for the link. I go to them a lot. Because they’re not waiting for somebody else to figure this out.

  42. shumway10973 responds:

    I actually like the word. It is “the” word I have been looking for to describe the leading evolutionary scientists that are scoffing at anybody thinking in a cryptid manner. To them, we are uneducated fools. So, thank you for giving me a specific word to describe a certain group of people. I do promise that as long as anyone keeps an open mind about the possibilities of new and even strange creatures still to be found, I will not use this word to describe them, just those with closed minds (yes, even some of my fellow creationists).

  43. DWA responds:

    shumway 10973:

    Gotta admit that sometimes one longs for a one-word description of what one is up against.

    Also gotta admit that Daniel may have the blueprint for how I’m gonna do it from now on: use “skeptic” and let the people I’m talking to show me whether they are or not.

    Also gotta admit, as an evolutionist myself, thinking it’s kinda funny that people can swallow evolution (which will never – can never – be proven) as The Way Things Are, Period, and say absolutely that it even rules out a God (something I do NOT think, heck, how could you know?) – and then scoff at something living right now, the existence of which is quite susceptible to proof. I’ve been known, combing over the evidence for evolution, to shake my head, more than once. No better explanation has been offered for how life has become what it is, sez me; but it’s, well, it’s more fantastic than the sasquatch.

    My point being: practically every point of view has a scofftic fringe that rules out, ears and mind closed, anything that doesn’t fit that point of view.

    And while we’re on what to say to a scofftic-or-whatever, and coining terms, this:


    Crow being unsavory food, the wise man limits his portion.


    I made that up, so far as I know. But if it isn’t an old Japanese proverb, it should be.

  44. mystery_man responds:

    I am not going to get drawn up in the debate that has apparently sprung up from the original question as to whether “scofftic” is a useful term. I believe it is. For me, it is just a term to represent the very extreme end of skepticism that dismisses potential evidence out of hand without even bothering to investigate further. This to me is unscientific and as another poster said, the opposite end of the spectrum to “true believer”. As much as some here may want to make things black and white, you believe or don’t, I just don’t think it works that way. There are many shades in between and I don’t see anything wrong with labeling some of the recurring ones.
    To me a skeptic may not believe, but they are at least willing to take a look at anything that comes up in a reasonably unbiased way. Yes, a lot of evidence for Bigfoot is flimsy, but it COULD be followed up on and may even lead to more solid evidence without being shot down out of hand. A lot of research in maistream science would not have gotten very far if that approach was taken everytime something out of the ordinary or a bit against the grain was put forward. For me, skeptics do not boldly claim that those who have seen Bigfoot must be liars or that all footage is bogus without any evidence to that effect. To me, that is what scofftics do. They accuse, and they insult, and they cherry pick data just as badly as the true believers they hold with such apparent contempt. Yet a scofftic can sit on high and not have to do a thing or any research at all, merely criticize because the burden of evidence is on the proponents. They will even try to present a visage of an open mind sometimes by saying such redundant things as ” I will believe when a body is presented.” Well, of course they will believe because they will have no other choice! But I highly doubt that these scofftics will have had any hand in providing any help or support in providing that final physical evidence if it is out there to be found.
    To me a skeptic may be taking an opposing side to the proponents but they are still able to think in a rational manner. They are able to look at the evidence presented and refute it based on knowledge of the facts and scientific examination. They back up any debunking with plausible reasons why and are willing to follow up on any circumstantial evidence without dismissing it. When they are skeptical of a proponent’s theory, they can present why in a clear and thoughtful manner, keeping all of the evidence in mind. They are willing to investigate the claims and the footage and the sightings and look at them with an open mind, as potential good evidence, not neccesarily with the intent of picking it apart. If , after examination, this evidence is seen to be lacking the reasons why the evidence doesn’t hold up is reasonable and logical. Although their ideas may cause defensiveness, in many ways I think that real skeptics are more critical of so called evidence and thereby more committed to really getting to the bottom of things than the so called “true believers”.
    Scofftics the way I see them do none of this. They say “Bigfoot isn’t real, show me a body”, and that’s that. They are not interested in any ideas on why there may not be a body. They are not interested in the reason why so many people could be seeing this thing whatever that reason may be. Any video must be a guy in a suit. They have know interest whatsoever in following up on reports or entertaining any plausible theories from proponents. They do not rationally debunk, but rather flat out deny even if that denial may have no rational basis or scientific reasoning behind it.
    In the end, I think that in my view, by that definition, skeptics and scofftics are two different things representing two different approaches. I can say from personal experience that I was once a scofftic, and now I am a skeptic, and there really is a change between those two modes of thinking as far as I’m concerned. Is scofftic a useful term? If you mean so that I can have a word that differentiates what I see as two approaches and signifies the extreme irrational end of skepticism, then yes it is. For me anyway and I can see why some here are hesitant to use it as it sounds demeaning. Personally, I do not mean it as a derogatory term to anyone, merely a way to adequately describe this sort of mindset when discussing things on this board.

  45. Loren Coleman responds:

    I’ve separated out the discussion beginning here on eyewitnesses to this blog:

    Best Eyewitnesses: Biologists or Truck Drivers?

  46. DWA responds:

    mystery_man: debate over! 😀

    Seriously, I too find nothing demeaning at all, on thinking about it, to the word “scofftic.” It describes, really, a way in which people put down the beliefs of others by simply chanting their own; and it is, indeed, more a label for a way of thinking – that tends to loudly announce itself – than it is a label for a person. People scoffticize the sasquatch who are quite reasonable folks otherwise. It’s the behavior, not the person; the song, not the singer. Hate the sin, love the sinner sort of thing. (And I agree with Sergio: it’s a far cry from “cryptidiot.” “idiot” impugns intelligence, no matter the context.)

    And I find your separation of scofftic and skeptic to work well for me, too. I too see myself as the latter (and can’t help it, regardless of evidence, until either I see a sasquatch myself or science has it in the bag).

    So maybe I’ll keep scofftic in the quiver, a sort of “break glass” when I’m encountering putdownish chanting of skeptical shibboleths. “Hey, man, check what you’re saying. You sound like you’re going scofftic on me. You need to back that up with evidence.”

  47. Sergio responds:

    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.

    But the irony of this is that no one, no one at all, will expend the required resources, finances, time, and/or effort to investigate something (such as the existence of bigfoot) unless they believe that there is a chance that it actually is out there. Why would someone waste valuable resources, finances and time on something that they believe is a total dead-end?

    I’ve seen that argument made before by individuals who claim to be skeptics, but really fall under the “scoftic” moniker. They argue that the data gathered by the likes of the Meldrums, Bindernagels, TBRCs, AIBRs of the world is somehow tainted because “proponents” gathered the data. That is a ridiculous position.

    Also, regarding the “scoftic” issue, I’ll just say that Thomas Jefferson, our nation’s third president, and the Father of the Declaration of Independence, admonished us to never use three words when we can use one.

  48. DWA responds:

    Here is why I consider myself a skeptic: I cannot say “the sasquatch exists” and respond to the inevitable question “what is your evidence?” with anything that could convince you, or me, to my total satisfaction.

    If I’d seen one, like Sergio, it would be enough for me that I had; I’d have the proof whether you did or not. And (at least on a forum like this where I couldn’t lose my job or my friends for my knowledge) I’d so state.

    I see (and I think true skeptics do, and scofftics don’t seem to) a distinct difference between bigfoot and “paranormal phenomena” like ghosts and UFOs. If I’d discussed earthly affairs a few weeks back with a trio from that recently-discovered earthlke planet out there, on board their spacecraft, and it were as real an experience as typing this, I’d have all the proof I needed. But I hope I’d be able to acknowledge that science really didn’t have a way, just yet, of testing it and proving it. I see the sas quite differently. I see it as a critter; I see most of the encounters described as wildlife encounters, just the way I see people describing sightings of bears and deer, if a weetad more dramatic by their very nature; and I see the data pointing to places where proof could be garnered. Don’t know what to tell you about reports that seem to associate the sas with UFOs and supernatural abilities. But I can tell you that science doesn’t yet have the equipment to go there, and I’d like to see the plain ol’ critter looked into first.

    Scofftics don’t seem to want to admit there is any info, that it can lead to proof, or that the purple robes of science should be soiled with our questions. That’s a heartburn issue with me. Science isn’t a religion. We pay them to find stuff out; we employ them to expand our knowledge of what is around us. This is their job. We have garbagemen to take out our trash; musicians to entertain us with music; restaurants to serve us food; and scientists to enlighten us. They need to do their job. Skeptics like me can get up pretty high dudgeon about this. When patterns exist that could only be created by a biologist – only they aren’t – you’d think that more biologists would want to see what’s behind the patterns. You can say that there are various reasons they can’t get to it right now (funding limits/plate full/world’s a big place). But that this has been hashed over for this long; that the patterns continue to emerge and expand; and that people like Patterson, Krantz and Meldrum continue to be pilloried, by scientists in totally irrelevant fields no less, says something about science’s perception of its role in the world – and certain other people’s perceptions of that role – that should crinkle all our noses.

    “Scofftic” is the nicest word I’d be able to come up with. I shudder to think what words people like Sergio are holding back.

    Sergio: care to share anything about your experience? Maybe this thread isn’t the place. But when I hear anyone here talk about their sightings – and people like MultiipleEncounters and Todd Neiss come forward with theirs – I just wonder, that’s all.

  49. things-in-the-woods responds:

    Ok- seems i’m losing this one.

    My reasoning is this- Sure, it shouldn’t really offend people that much, but it seems it does (e.g., see Dan Loxton’s posts above). As such, it just seems a whole lot more civilized not to use it. We don’t all have to get down in the gutter. Turn the other cheek guys.

    Actually, having said that it shouldn’t offend people i can understand why it does. Clearly these people don’t think they are being unreasonable or irrational, and indeed in some cases probably aren’t (and thats one of the problems with the term, and all such labels- we can use it unjustly because in absolving us from actually explaining what our problem is it can mean that we dont think about what they are saying and in what way we think that is wrong- not saying that anyone here necessarily does, just that its a danger), so being told they are irrational is just gonna rile them- just try it at home folks- Its a surefire way to escalate a row with your girlfriend…

  50. DWA responds:

    things-in-the-woods: don’t mind us, we’re just getting emotional. 😀

    I’m cutting back to a pack a day. But it’s addictive. I can’t quit. 😀

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