Modern-Pterosaur Critics

On October 8, 2010, in philosophy, Sighting in Papua New Guinea, by Jonathan Whitcomb

Before quoting critics of modern-pterosaur investigations, I would like to characterize some of those criticisms, acknowledging that this is just my own general characterization, and that it does not apply to all critics. (Below, I’ve taken liberties with an old scriptural text.)

Say the critics: “A modern pterosaur!? A living pterosaur!? We’ve got extinction; we’ve got fossils, and there cannot be any more pterosaur.” But those who believe in the Bible say, “How foolish! They shall have their fossils, and many fossils came from discoverers, old encounters that scientists had with fossils. Are critics thankful to those who make discoveries? What do the critics mean? Do they remember the work of old scientists, and their diligence in bringing those fossils to us?”

“Oh critics, have you remembered the old scientists, Newton and Galileo? No. You have condemned the religious beliefs they had and hated their Bible. But those who believe in the Bible have not forgotten the old scientists.”

“How foolish to say, ‘we have got fossils, and we need no live pterosaurs.’ Have you obtained pterosaur fossils except from those who make observations? Don’t you know that paleontologists are not the only ones who make observations?

Indeed, eyewitnesses of apparent living pterosaurs deserve our attention. Along with that, sightings of such flying creatures are not trumped by dogmatic assertions of professors, for no human has witnessed any extinction of any species of pterosaur, let alone all species.

The paleontologist Darren Naish has said, “Fossil evidence demonstrates overwhelmingly that pterosaurs did not survive beyond the end of the Cretaceous.” He fails to realize that no group of fossils can overwhelmingly demonstrate the extinction of any species in any time frame, let alone all species of a general type. That is not what fossils can prove, even if paleontologists were able to recover all fossils that were ever formed. But we have only a small sampling of fossils, and they represent only a tiny fraction of the organisms that have lived on this earth. All the fossils in all the museums and universities in the world cannot prove even the extinction of one species, even if the dating methods were always objective, (they are not).

Naish has also said, “sightings of pterosaur-like animals that have been reported appear to be a combination of hoaxes and misidentification of large birds and bats.” But why does he seem to always avoid those critical sighting reports that clearly demonstrate the existence of modern living pterosaurs, the sightings by Brian Hennessy and Duane Hodgkinson, for example? Why does he say nothing about the two expedition of 2004 (to Umboi Island, Papua New Guinea), the Whitcomb expedition and the Woetzel expedition? They involved many professionally conducted interviews with many eyewitnesses.

Does Naish expect everybody to believe that the flying creature seen by Hodgkinson was a fruit bat (mainland of New Guinea, 1944)? The American World War II veteran estimated the tail to be “at least” ten to fifteen feet long. Does Naish believe that it was actually a flying fox bat with a tail one inch long?

A red flag jumps up at me when I see generalizations that involve a number of explanations. Naish mentions three explanations ( hoax, bird-misidentification, bat-misidentification), but gives not even one detail about even one published sighting report. If there were any real problem with any sighting report that I have published in a book (two books I have written: Searching for Ropens; Live Pterosaurs in America), why has Naish failed to mention even one of those reports?

If I may modify Isaiah 8:20:

To the law of fair reasoning and to the testimony of eyewitnesses of living pterosaurs: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.

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Objectiveness in the investigations

On April 15, 2010, in philosophy, by Jonathan Whitcomb

How easy it is to snatch at anything that seems to support ones view! Galileo snatched hold of a tidal hypothesis that he hoped would be evidence for the Copernican model (sun-centered solar system); it was wrong. More recently, one living-pterosaur investigator tried to shore up the story of what I call the “Tunnel Pterodactyl.” It now seems obvious that signs of a hoax outweigh anything that may be said in favor of that story. But tunnel vision can be seen in the investigations and research of scientists and cryptozoologists of all fields and philosophies. Galileo’s mistake about tides does not mean that the sun revolves around the earth.

I recently came to the conclusion that the Naga Fireballs of the Mekong River (Southeast Asia) are probably the bioluminescent glow of large insects. I briefly researched a few reports of these glowing orbs with hope that they may be related to the kor of Northern Papua New Guinea or the ropen of Umboi Island. It now appears to be no close connection except that there is another not-yet-classified bioluminescent creature, a cryptid awaiting to graduate from cryptozoology into zoology.

Maintaining the quality of objectiveness in our investigations requires constant vigilance, regardless of how deeply we believe in the foundation of our work.

See also Objectiveness in Cheesman Sightings

Strange Flying Creatures and Bulverism

Objective Ministries” seems to be a parody, and there is no such organization: “objectiveministries”