I’ll not here mention the name of any critic of living-pterosaur (LP) investigations. One skeptic has been especially vocal in attacking my writings. I don’t accuse him of dishonesty, and I appreciate his care in also avoiding that kind of stand when he writes about me. (He has mentioned my name hundreds of times in his online criticisms of LP-relevant research in cryptozoology.) But he seems to have fallen into a severe combination of bias issues including both confirmation bias and belief perseverance, regarding his ideas about the old photo that is now known as “Ptp.”

Before getting into the old photograph, which has an image of an apparent pterosaur, let’s consider problems that can get in the way of learning the truth. Let’s examine the bias of belief perseverance.

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Pterosaurs seen by Eskin Kuhn

Two pterosaurs observed in Cuba in 1971

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A Jumping Fish Falls Flat

He is certainly not alone, falling into these kinds of errors. Another vocal skeptic once jumped to the conclusion that a sighting of an apparent pterosaur, a creature seen flying over a city, was just a fish leaping out of water, something like a stingray. How did that other critic of LP investigations make that mistake? After all, I was the cryptozoologist who received the original report from the eyewitness, and I was well aware that the thing was observed flying over a city. This requires explaining.

At first, this other critic read only a partial account of the sighting. That short version said that the eyewitness went to some fishermen who had also seen that kind of flying creature, yet it included almost no details about the sighting made by the man who later reported it to me: It said nothing about flying over a city. The skeptic who read that account then concluded that it was only a ray-fish of some kind, jumping out of water.

When I informed the skeptic that the full story included a description of a creature flying above a city (not over water), he refused to change his opinion that it had been only a fish. He seems to have become too attached to that one link (fishermen) that had formed a story in his imagination.

To me, that sounds a lot like a case of belief perseverance. To better understand this particular case, we need to be aware that the critic of my investigation had already formed a hypothesis about some reports of apparent living pterosaurs in Africa. He had concluded that they had come from stingrays, and similar fishes, jumping out of water. In other words, he had become enamored with jumping stingrays before he encountered the short-story version of the sighting report from the Philippines.

I don’t mean to imply that his conjecture never flies at any time, never over any body of water on or near any continent on the planet. On occasion, somebody might make a mistake like that.

I also don’t imply that those fishermen never made any mistake, either in their own previous sightings or in their comparing their encounters with the one that was reported to me. I do suggest that this kind of misidentification is much less frequent than he imagines and that he allowed himself to be caught up in biased thinking, after he read something about some fishermen. Taking all the above into account, this appears to be a classic case of belief perseverance.

Sightings of Apparent Pterosaurs in California and in Texas

Another skeptic took that idea of jumping fish and also ran with it. He said that many reported sightings of apparent pterosaurs in the United States are in California, Texas, and South Carolina. He implied that some of the encounters could have been this kind of misidentification: seeing a fish leaping out of water and mistaking it for a modern pterosaur.

Several problems jump out at me here. For one, California and Texas have two things in common other than their having oceanic coastlines, and both of them are very relevant. For the 48 Contiguous states, those two are the largest in both human population and in land area. In other words, if anybody sees almost anything flying in the USA, it may be possible for them to see it in California or in Texas. In both of those states, we have plenty of land area for flying creatures to live and plenty of people to see them.

The big problem with the jumping-fish conjecture, however, is that the great majority of sightings are over land. In addition, some of them involve flights over trees, with some observations measured in minutes instead of seconds. No, the jumping stingray fails to fly in the vast majority of cases.

Confirmation Bias

The skeptic who mentioned sightings in California, Texas, and South Carolina may have fallen into a confirmation bias. With data that could be interpreted in more than one way, he was attracted to one line of thinking. He latched onto the jumping-fish because it appeared to be another way to explain away sightings of apparent pterosaurs.

If he had insisted that the fish conjecture was correct, he would have involuntarily signaled that he had fallen into that kind of bias. He did not insist on that, but look at the big picture.

The way he brought up that idea did suggest to me that he had failed to be objective. If it was not a mild case of confirmation bias, it was something similar, a problem in reasoning that prevented him from thinking clearly about sighting reports of apparent pterosaurs. We can only see this when taken in perspective:

He wrote about the jumping-fish conjecture inside a very long online article he had published, with every part of it orchestrated to try to convince people that no species of pterosaur is still living. It seems that he had read about the other skeptic’s ideas about jumping stingrays and he grabbed onto it, flying with a flimsy conjecture, even if it was only a flight of a few seconds.

Objective or Biased With the “Civil War” Photo

I had come to a firm belief in modern pterosaurs ten years before I first examined details in the photograph that is now called “Ptp.” I began my living-pterosaur investigation in 2003 and took my first close look at Ptp in 2013. That puts up a small window to look at how I was thinking at the end of those ten years.

If I had suffered from any kind of severe bias, in 2013, I would surely have quickly concluded that the photo had an image of a real pterosaur, for I had already concluded that modern pterosaurs were indeed real. Yet after my initial examination of details, I found myself lingering about halfway between belief and disbelief, regarding the possibility that the animal was an actual pterosaur.

Ptp photograph - Civil War soldiers - pterosaur

The Ptp photograph from about pre-1870, confirmed in early 2017 to be genuine

Only after communicating with two experts, in January of 2017, did I eventually come to fully believe that Ptp had a genuine image of a modern pterosaur, and that was a process in which I analyzed the photo in detail in a number of places and in a number of ways. (The two men were the canoe expert Tom Payne and the physicist Clifford Paiva.)

Even after January, I still allowed a doubt to creep in, because of the apparent possibility that one wing may have been duplicated and reversed and used, through digital image manipulation, in making the other wing. I investigated that possibility with an open mind and found that it was not so: One wing was not made from the other one (as in the case of a potential Photoshop hoax).

In other words, my approach to this photograph has been impartial, with all possibilities open to evaluation. I do not declare that every aspect of my new book, Modern Pterosaurs, is without fault in covering all relevant details, but it surely must be better than no book on this subject. It was written quickly, in this first edition, so why would anyone expect it to be close to perfection?

The Critic of the “Pterodactyl” Photograph

The skeptic in question, however, has railed against my book and against all potential evidences that may appear to favor the possibility of any species of pterosaur still surviving. I have reasons for not mentioning his name in this post on The Bible and Modern Pterosaurs and feel no need to explain.

For years, he had the Ptp photo on one of his web pages. He declared that it was a known hoax associated with a television show. Only after I had informed him of his mistake did he make a correction, showing both the Ptp photo and the TV-show hoax photo together for comparison.

Yet his first thought, when I had informed him of his mistake in confusing the two photos, was to wonder if Ptp was also a hoax that had been constructed by the same TV production company. That by itself does not prove that the skeptic had fallen into belief perseverance, but he continued with similar thinking.

After I communicated with him, he added tens of thousands of words to his online attacks against evidences for modern pterosaurs. Part of that vast accumulation of paragraphs was an attack against the authenticity of Ptp.

In other words, he seems to have jumped from thinking Ptp was a TV-show-hoax-photo to knowing it was not that photo but assuming it was also a hoax. That sounds, to me, like greater evidence of belief perseverance.

Yet he seems to have continued in that kind of bias, for his criticisms remained the same from before the publication of Modern Pterosaurs to after he had read the book. If he had been truly objective, he would probably have mentioned at least one of my points in some kind of positive light. Yet he continues to mention Ptp only as if it were perfectly worthless in giving any credence to the possibility there is any species of modern pterosaur.

I agree in one general point that this critic has made: We need to beware of extreme claims. Yet my associates and I have not declared that Ptp, in all the details in all of its parts, is perfect scientific evidence for a species of modern pterosaur. This critic, however, has continued his attacks (which started many years ago) in the most extreme way of writing, with only one point of view allowed: absolute extinctions of all species of pterosaurs.

Does Whitcomb Exaggerate the Extreme Position of This Critic?

We could look at a number of examples, but let’s conclude with the following. He ridicules the lack of details regarding the origin of Ptp. I agree that a copy of a mid-20th-century book in our hands, with a clear image of Ptp, would be far better for the case made by me and Clifford Paiva than our present lack of knowledge. But look at how he describes the failure that Paiva and I have had over the past few months: He refers to the origin of Ptp as being “untraceable.” In reality, Paiva and I have not given up on finding a copy of the book that many persons remember seeing in the mid-20th century. What is more extreme than saying that the origin of a photograph is untraceable?

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Copyright 2017 Jonathan David Whitcomb

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A partial reply to Glen Kuban

Last month, I contacted the writer Glen Kuban, informing him of his long-standing mistake in assuming that there was only one Civil-War-soldiers-with-a-dead-pterodactyl photograph. . . .

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Is “Modern Pterosaurs” a Creationist Book?

. . . if you’re looking for a new book about Biblical Creation in general, this might not satisfy you. What about the greatest scientific discovery of recent decades, one that supports the literal Flood of Genesis? That’s another story, and it’s in this nonfiction book.

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Confirmation bias and a photograph of a modern pterosaur

. . . the critic may have then fallen into belief perseverance, or something like it, assuming that Ptp was also a hoax. A person can sometimes fall into both confirmation bias and belief perseverance.

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Glen Kuban and Confirmation Bias

In keeping with his tendency to fall into this kind of error, he has recently fallen into confirmation bias in his writings on the Ptp photograph that the physicist Clifford Paiva and I have been examining. He [Glen Kuban] mentions that the animal in this photo resembles a Pteranodon (apparently meaning it gives some persons that impression), but he gives two lists of reasons why the animal differs from what is now known to paleontologists from fossils of the Pteranodon. He gives those two lists as if they were evidence against that animal being a modern pterosaur.

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Monster head in a “Civil War” photograph

This is a brief history of the living-pterosaur investigation of the American cryptozoologist Jonathan Whitcomb, who is one of two scientists who proclaimed, early in 2017, that an image of an apparent Pteranodon in an old photo is a genuine image of a real animal.

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Advertisement:

Nonfiction book in harmony with the Biblical Flood of Noah

The new nonfiction cryptozoology book Modern Pterosaurs

“A scientific discovery in harmony with the Bible” (from the copyright page)

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Honesty in Ropen Searching

On November 28, 2014, in Sighting in Papua New Guinea, by Jonathan Whitcomb

A different kind of attack has been launched, as an American paleontologist has dismissed the ropen as a “fake” pterosaur and dismissed me, Jonathan Whitcomb, as one who practices deception. He also ridicules my belief in the Garden of Eden and in the Flood of Genesis. If I were a paleontologist who had a valid point to make about pterosaur fossils, I hope I would not respond to a misguided cryptozoologist by ridiculing that person’s religion or assuming the worst regarding honesty.

“Stupid Dinosaur Lies”

Those are not my words. They are part of a URL that I first saw around mid-2005, perhaps the first major online attack against those who promote the possibility that not all of these featherless flying creatures are extinct. Search the words of my book Searching for Ropens and Finding God (fourth edition) if you will, and you’ll see, in those 360 pages, that only twice is the word stupid printed: once quoting that word in that libelous web page and once for an eyewitness who was discouraged because of the possibility that he had been mistaken through misidentification, his own word for his predicament. I do not use that word for a person who disagrees with me.

I will not link to that web site having the URL words “stupid,” “dinosaur,” and “lies.” I will quote from page 118 of my nonfiction book:

I will quote no more from that web page, but I deny that my associates and I have perpetrated a hoax to make money. In addition, I have never led any Young Earth Creationists on any expedition and have never set foot in Africa. Those noticing the misspelling of both my first and last names, they may take a clue that other details on that page may also be inaccurate. Enough said.

Honesty of Explorers

  • Perhaps nobody accused Paul Nation of dishonesty after his Umboi Island expedition with his son in 2002; hardly anybody knew about that.
  • Few persons, if any, seem to have accused him of dishonesty after his 2006 expedition on the mainland of Papua New Guinea.
  • Nobody that I know of accused him of any lie after he returned from his 2007 expedition, in which he found that he had made a misidentification in part of the 2006 endeavor.

When an American like Paul Nation travels to remote tropical wildernesses to look for flying dinosaurs (not the phrase he himself normally uses), his return to the United States is not usually met with loud proclamations of dishonesty. For those who dismiss the possibility of a living pterosaur, accusations of lies could be interpreted to mean that the explorer was not telling the truth about observing nothing resembling a pterosaur, and that would defeat the skeptics’ purpose.

But that is the point in all those expeditions in Papua New Guinea: Liars would not be expected to return home admitting they saw nothing like what they were most hoping to see. In other words, the following explorers were telling the truth when they returned from Papua New Guinea:

  • Garth Guessman
  • David Woetzel
  • Jonathan Whitcomb
  • Paul Nation

Attack From an American Paleontologist

This highly acclaimed scientist, whom I will not name here, recognized in his field of paleontology and acknowledged on Wikipedia for his many scientific papers (published in peer-reviewed journals of science, no doubt)—he never mentioned the word expedition in his attack against my honesty. Of course such an admission could seriously detract from what he wanted to portray, that I am dishonest. He concentrated on one apparent political blunder that I seem to have made, but he twists it around, even 180 degrees around, making it appear that I was using deception.

The early years of my publications were met with skeptic comments questioning my honesty. I then continued writing in web pages and online blogs, usually using my normal name, Jonathan Whitcomb. I also started using two pseudonyms: Norman Huntington and Nathaniel Coleman. That was to allow readers to be informed about the living-pterosaur investigations. To at least a few readers, my name had been smeared to some extent, and it could have been a distraction. In other words, I used those two pen names to get the truth to as many persons as possible, while still using Whitcomb on many blog posts, including on my dominant blog Live Pterosaur. So why does this paleontologist assume that I intended to deceive anyone?

He seems upset that my web pages dominate the internet, at least when people use Google. But what would be fair if that skeptical scientist had spent over 10,000 hours in a project, for eleven years, and had published online articles and posts that outnumbered those of all of his colleagues? Would he not think it fair that his ideas would show up on the top of search-engine results?

Conclusion About Honesty

I am shocked that somebody with so much education would make so many mistakes, indeed errors that are facing 180 degrees away from reality. But I do not accuse this man of dishonesty, for I cannot see into his mind or into his heart. Being honest or dishonest is, after all, about one’s intention. Those who search diligently will find the truth.

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Is Jonathan Whitcomb a Paleontologist?

I’ve received emails from eyewitnesses from four continents plus islands in the Pacific, emails about flying creatures that resemble “primitive” or “prehistoric” animals more than any bird or bat. On occasion I am able to talk with an eyewitness by phone or by face-to-face interview. One critical point here, unappreciated by some paleontologists, is that those eyewitnesses come from various countries and have different backgrounds and beliefs, including differing religious beliefs.

1400 Eyewitnesses of Pterosaurs

Whitcomb’s current reply to this week’s Cryptomundo posting and nearly 40 comments is given in full below, without edits

Videographer in Papua New Guinea

. . . explored part of Umboi Island . . . in 2004, searching for the elusive ropen . . .

What does Whitcomb believe?

We defend both the Genesis account of creation and the worldwide Flood. We believe in the God of Biblical miracles and in a recent life on earth, devoid of molecules-to-man evolution (GTE).

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nonfiction spiritual/cryptozoology paperback by Whitcomb

“Settle into a comfortable chair and prepare for what may become the most unsettling scientific discovery since Copernicus and Galileo. This true story takes you into the expeditions that began to prepare the Western world for a discovery not yet recognized by scientists in developed countries.”

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Ropen – Is it a Myth or Fantasy?

On August 22, 2014, in Sighting in Papua New Guinea, by Jonathan Whitcomb

Why do critics of these investigations proclaim so ardently the religious beliefs of cryptozoologists who interview eyewitnesses of apparent pterosaurs? The latest skeptic to join in criticizing online reports of ropens and other non-bat featherless flying creatures—that appears to be a biology professor in Minnesota, although I will not mention his name here. His blog post he titled “There are no living pterosaurs, and ‘ropen’ is a stupid fantasy.”

That professor made many mistakes in his post, including the end of his first paragraph: “There’s just one fanatic.” He was referring to me, Jonathan David Whitcomb. Nothing is said about the following brave cryptozoologists who have explored remote jungles in Papua New Guinea, putting their health in jeopardy, perhaps even risking their lives:

  • Garth Guessman
  • David Woetzel
  • Paul Nation
  • Jacob Kepas

Other names could be mentioned, but the above explorers have searched for living pterosaurs in Papua New Guinea during the past ten years, and each of them is a dedicated believer in the Bible and in literal understanding of important passages in Genesis. I too believe that Adam and Eve were the first humans on this planet, with no non-human parents before them (meaning NO ape-like ancestors of humans), and I too believe in a literal worldwide flood. In addition, we all believe that the ropen is a Rhamphorhynchoid pterosaur, NOT a myth or fantasy. Ropens are for real.

So why was I singled out by that biology professor in Minnesota? Three of my associates (Guessman, Nation, and Kepas) have explored in Papua New Guinea more than I have. I will not go into details about my gospel faith here, but one religious principle of which I am often aware is this: “Where much is given, much is required.” I have been given a great deal, including the time, health, and opportunities to write blog posts (and traditional web pages), books, and one scientific paper in a peer-reviewed journal of science. Because of those generous gifts from God, I have been able to write well over a thousand blog posts, in the past eleven years, about many aspects of modern pterosaur investigations. The quantity of my online writings can catch the attention of a critic.

I feel it’s time to quote what I’ve already written in my nonfiction books:

Last paragraph of the introduction in Searching for Ropens and Finding God

Believe what you will about modern dragons, about living pterosaurs, about giant glowing ropens. But the power of the testimonies of the eyewitnesses I’ve encountered, over the past ten years, including many credible natives I met on Umboi Island, makes that flying creature as real to me, almost, as if I had stared a ropen in the face. How can I deny the credibility of the eyewitnesses I have interviewed? With no other reasonable explanation, I now believe in modern dragons, in living pterosaurs, in giant glowing ropens.

Title Page of Live Pterosaurs in America (third edition)

Since the two ropen expeditions of 2004, in Papua New Guinea, more Americans have learned of the living-pterosaur investigations and the many resulting eyewitness interviews. Many web pages have sprung up, many of them by explorers themselves. But despite other web pages, by scornful critics who never went anywhere and never interviewed anyone, those two expeditions, and those that preceded and followed them, are causing an awakening, opening human minds in the birth of a new perspective: Universal pterosaur extinction has been an assumption; some pterosaur species are still living.

From the preface of Live Pterosaurs in Australia and in Papua New Guinea

I believe in living pterosaurs and hope they will soon be officially discovered. More important, I believe in you, that you can soar above dogmatic assumptions about extinctions. I hope that you already understand that we are more than a by-product of culture: Our existence transcends the boundaries of the human cultural assumptions that have shaped our beliefs.

Now is the time for us to listen carefully, to think clearly, and to act accordingly rather than simply react when a cultural belief is contradicted: now, not after the official scientific discovery of modern living pterosaurs.

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The following Americans have searched for ropens or eyewitnesses in PNG: Whitcomb, Woetzel, Nation, Guessman, and Blume

Some of the Americans who have helped in the ropen searching and investigations in Papua New Guinea, since 2003 – Thank you to them and to their families and friends who supported them

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Pterosaurs, “No Evidence,” and Poop in the Freezer

One critic, a biology professor in Minnesota, insists there is “no evidence,” in my writings, for any living pterosaur. What does he mean? . . . If I were to respond, in one posting, to all his negative comments about my writings, my religion, and my personal motivations, it would be a long posting indeed.

“Don’t Get Strung Along by the Ropen Myth” – a Reply

Notice the Smithsonian blog post by Brian Switek, dated August 16, 2010: not one reference to an eyewitness sighting report. Switek says “such anecdotes,” without mentioning what he is talking about. He says much about the religious beliefs of Blume and Woetzel, as if that counts against their ideas, but why does he say nothing about what caused those expeditions: eyewitness reports?

Ropen – Is it a Pterosaur?

How often we’ve been taught that all dinosaurs  and pterosaurs became extinct millions of years  ago, as if that were proven! But what if some are  still living? Before you dismiss the concept of a  modern pterosaur (in particular, of a long-tailed  featherless Rhamphorhynchoid), consider the many  eyewitness testimonies of those flying creatures.

Pterosaur Experts

. . . Guessman recognized that this relates to the stiffening extension rods of Rhamphorhynchoid vertebrae: all but a few vertebrae are locked into stiffness; the few that are flexible are near where the pterosaur’s tail connects to the body.

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More Religion than Investigation?

On April 15, 2013, in philosophy, by Jonathan Whitcomb

Book Review on Amazon

On April 12, 2013, a skeptic of pterosaur sightings posted a brief review on Amazon, dismissing my recently published book Live Pterosaurs in Australia and in Papua New Guinea. At first, the review appeared to me a mistake or a dishonest attack, for my book examines many sightings of apparent pterosaurs and emphasizes four critical encounters, four pillars of cryptozoological credibility in my opinion, not just “two” reports; I thought perhaps “WS” referred to a different book, not mine. After looking more closely, I noticed the adjective “intriguing:” The critic wrote, “The book really consists of one or two intriguing reports.” But the other adjective, “really,” can mislead people into thinking my book examines no more than two eyewitness sightings, which is far from the truth.

negative book review on "Live Pterosaurs in Australia and in Papua New Guinea" - published on Amazon on April 12, 2013

Perhaps WS gave my book two stars instead of one because the reviewer found one or two of the reports intriguing; WS doesn’t say. But I’ll address some of the criticisms.

I was also struck by the title of the book review, “more religion than investigation,” for I had carefully avoided including any preaching while writing Live Pterosaurs in Australia and in Papua New Guinea (LPAPNG). This is a cryptozoology book that exhorts open-minded examination of eyewitness evidence, nothing like a book on religion. Part of one page refers to the non-religious accomplishments of a few Biblical creationist explorers, their interviews with natives in Papua New Guinea, but that hardly changes the genre of the book: “cryptozoology.”

False “Racism” Statement

I have done a word scanning of this book. The words completely absent include:

  • racism
  • race
  • aboriginal

Nobody will find any of those words in the book, for they’re absent.

The reviewer wrote the following:

He describes science . . . and even equates it with racism . . .

At first, the comment on racism lead me to suspect the person writing this review had not read my book but some other publication instead, or had read more than one author and had become confused. Never in my life have I written anything that even hinted at the idea that science “equates” “with racism.” I then scanned the book for the word “native” and found nothing supporting the critic’s words, but I found two statements almost relevant:

The natives were not trying to deceive us into believing in a fictional creature, contrary to what some American critics later proclaimed. [from the chapter “Another Expedition on Umboi Island”]

Was WS thinking that accusing natives of dishonesty is racism? I can see that possibility. But why would the critic believe that “some American critics” equates with “science?”

WS says that I complain “that scientists no longer believe in human honesty.” Where did I say that? Searching again in the book, scanning it for “lie,” (equivalent to “deceive” and related to “honesty”), I found the following in the first chapter:

On that point, I have found many rejections of eyewitness testimonies to be far from objective and far from mild-mannered. One skeptic, a non-scientist, built a whole web site to ridicule the concept of modern dinosaurs and pterosaurs, putting the words “stupid” and “lies” into the URL address of the site. [from the first chapter, “How can pterosaurs be alive?”]

Did WS overlook “non” and equate “non-scientist” with “science?” Many readers, including myself, have made that kind of reading mistake, especially when we are expecting a particular point of view in what we’re reading. Was the critic simply careless in reading only portions of the book? WS gives no material explanation and gives no example for his conclusions. Why? The more merciful explanation that I see is that WS was careless; I will not assume the worst.

My Conclusion

I sometimes write about pterosaurs and religion, but this book, Live Pterosaurs in Australia and in Papua New Guinea, has almost no religious content at all except for a few sentences about expeditions of creationist cryptozoologists who interviewed native eyewitnesses in Papua New Guinea. This is a cryptozoology book, notwithstanding WS makes no mention of that fact.

I think I know what WS meant when, in the middle of the brief review, that critic wrote, “Maybe someone will give this subject a serious treatment at some point, but this isn’t it.” I suspect WS means that the book is not a “serious treatment” and perhaps the “subject” was  eyewitness accounts of apparent pterosaurs. The critic gives no details or explanation. I respond, “Maybe someone will write a more precise review, based on the actual contents of the book, but this review isn’t it.”

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nonfiction cryptozoology book in electronic format - living pterosaurs

Live Pterosaurs in Australia and in Papua New Guinea

Preface

You will here find reports of encounters with apparent living pterosaurs, including many accounts never before published in any book. Other sighting reports are condensed from the print book “Searching for Ropens.” The ebook you are now examining is neither exhaustive nor rudimentary, but it explains most of what most Australians, and others, need to know about what might, on rare occasions, fly over their heads at night.

I believe in living pterosaurs and hope they will soon be officially discovered. More important, I believe in you, that you can soar above dogmatic assumptions about extinctions. I hope that you already understand that we are more than a by-product of culture: Our existence transcends the boundaries of the human cultural assumptions that have shaped our beliefs.

Now is the time for us to listen carefully, to think clearly, and to act accordingly rather than simply react when a cultural belief is contradicted: now, not after the official scientific discovery of modern living pterosaurs.

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Addendum:

After WS communicated with me about our differing points of view, he agreed to change the title of his review to “More scientific approach would have been more effective.” More recently, I noticed that I had neglected to include the word “cryptozoology” in the Amazon “Book Description.” I have now submitted additional words to make the genre clear. (I’m as human as anyone else.)

Readers have come forward, soon after the publication of this negative review, offering support for my book. A notable comment comes from the prolific author Michael Newton, who wrote one of the most respected nonfiction books of cryptozoology ever published, Encyclopedia of Cryptozoology: A Global Guide to Hidden Animals and Their Pursuers. Here is what he says about my newest book:

“Jonathan Whitcomb’s Live Pterosaurs in Australia and in Papua New Guinea adds important new information to his previous works on this subject. Disputes over theology aside, ‘young earth’ creationists remain the primary dedicated field researchers pursuing reports of these most intriguing cryptids.”

Michael Newton Author of 78 nonfiction books, including many on cryptozoology

www.michaelnewton.homestead.com

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Skepticism or Skip Decision

On February 16, 2012, in Uncategorized, by Jonathan Whitcomb

Why believe in a living pterosaur? Why disbelieve an eyewitness of a living pterosaur? Some who first learn about these investigations assume they are using scientific skepticism when they skip the decision to investigate for themselves. Of course, not everybody can delve into every report that appears to have the eery glow of the paranormal. But skipping the decision to look deeper is not scientific, even when the word “science” is used in repeating a century-plus old indoctrination of a whole society.

Not Everybody Embraces Living Pterosaurs

This species of critic is not satisfied at destroying an idea; they appear anxious to destroy the reputation of anyone who disagrees with them. More than once this kind of critic, on this online forum, has accused me of dishonesty for using something other than my real name, and this when those same critics use fantastic online names that must be made-up. Once, on the same forum of commentators with obviously made-up online names, I was accused of deception for using my real initials instead of my real full name. Really!

From the third edition of the nonfiction book Live Pterosaurs in America

“Since the two ropen expeditions of 2004, in Papua New Guinea, more Americans have learned of the living-pterosaur investigations and the many resulting eyewitness interviews. Many web pages have sprung up, many of them by explorers themselves. But despite other web pages, by scornful critics who never went anywhere and never interviewed anyone, those two expeditions, and those that preceded and followed them, are causing an awakening, opening human minds in the birth of a new perspective: Universal pterosaur extinction has been an assumption; some pterosaur species are still living.”

Why “Stupid?” What “Lies?”

Referring to creationists, in the first sentence Konkus uses the word “idiocy,” and in the second sentence, “idiot.” Starting off like that brings up the concept of bulverism. Also in the second sentence, Konkus gives a straw man argument, rather than quoting any creationist.

cover of nonfiction cryptozoology book "Live Pterosaurs in America"

Third edition of Live Pterosaurs in America (nonfiction/cryptozoology)

From an Amazon review of the second edition of this book:

This is an updated review of the book and I am changing my rating to 5 stars. This book has been on my shelf for almost a year now. I pick it up every now and then and a part of me becomes more impressed by the book every time. . . .  I highly recommend this. You may find yourself almost believing in it, although that is not even the authors intent! Whitcomb painstakingly reviews every account for credibility and reason. This man is not a crank. He tries to weed out would be hoaxes and miss-identification. This is not a guy looking to create evidence to confirm his own beliefs. On top of this, I have great respect for a guy who follows his dreams so passionately. He has traveled to Papua New Guinea to search for the creature there and this book is somewhat of a sequel if you will. After Whitcomb traveled to New Guinea, he started to collect more stories from North America concerning the pterosaur like creature . . .

Whitcomb is a pterosaur expert in the cryptozoological sense, interviewing eyewitnesses of flying creatures whose descriptions make them obvious candidates for a modern-pterosaur interpretation.

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Must Eyewitnesses be Liars? No!

On December 15, 2011, in philosophy, Sighting in Papua New Guinea, by Jonathan Whitcomb

How sad that some critics have misunderstood not only the nature of faith in God but the nature of science! Consider now the importance of human experience. How can science exist without human experience? By definition, operational science involves what is repeatable and observable. Galileo succeeded, in the long run, because he provided a way for people to see not just specks of light circling Jupiter: a way for people to open their eyes to a new idea. Others could repeat the same observations—that is an example of operational science.

To call a number of persons “liars or deluded” because they make similar observations—that criticism now needs to be addressed. It came about in June of 2007, on a forum discussion on cryptozoology.com. “Rainbow Medicine Man” (RMM), after a number of comments by several writers of various opinions said (among other things):

– No 6K year Earth, friend. That is not so. And not being so is a FACT, not a theory.

– The Geological record is very accurate, and consistent. Also a FACT.

– There’s no fossil record of any ptero since 65M years. If some managed to survive, they would’ve changed beyond recognition, but they haven’t; they went extinct. No Ramphorynchus!. Again, a fact.

That is why I claim that these who say to have seen pteros are liars. Or deluded. It is surprising the percentage, of lately, of Creationists between the witness. Ask myself why?.

But RMM was replying to my statements, and I was not commenting on the age of the earth or the accuracy of the “Geologic record” or fossils. I made two long postings. The first one mostly referred to the Destination Truth expedition (which was NOT a Creationist expedition at all) in which a flying light was videotaped; later analysis could not find any explanation for the cause of the light. My second posting mostly referred to sightings of apparent pterosaurs and to those sightings in which an apparent pterosaur was seen to glow.

Why did RMM bring up the subject of religion? Why did he assume that all the investigators have the same religious belief? In the same comment, he later said, “Some Christian factions are really dangerous.” He seems to be oblivious to the possibility that the investigators I mentioned or alluded to may have a wide variety of religious beliefs, for some of them were members of the Destination Truth expedition, which was not at all a religious excursion, despite the name. Did RMM look only at the outward appearance of the name “Destination Truth” and assume that all those explorers had the same “dangerous” religious beliefs as me and Garth Guessman and David Woetzel?

Listing ones beliefs and appending each one with the word “FACT”—that does not prove ones beliefs. And it does not prove that those eyewitnesses who have seen something outside the philosophy of RMM are all “liars” or “deluded.”

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