Last year, three persons ridiculed me, Jonathan Whitcomb, in three online posts, each one depending on an earlier post or web page with similar disdain for the concept of modern pterosaurs. But it was more than simple ridicule: I consider it libel. Let’s examine the most recent criticism (Nov 24th: “This just in: Pterosaurs are STILL dead, maybe even more so”), which is the most dependent on previous online publications.
I consider much of these criticisms to be bulverism, which involves changing the subject by trying to point out another person’s weakness. I would be happy to write only about the concept of modern pterosaurs, but the accusations against me need to be addressed. I feel sure that honesty is always important, and even just an insinuation of dishonesty needs to be examined.
Post by “Idoubtit”
This young lady goes by the name of “idoubtit.” Is that her real name? I doubt it, but I found it amusing that the origin of the criticism that resulted in her writing a post about me was this: I used two pen names in some of my online writings, for a limited time.
I do not accuse any of the following of dishonesty, for I can’t see into their hearts:
- idoubtit (writer on Doubtful News blog)
- Donald Prothero (real name of a paleontologist)
- Paul Zachary Myers (real name of an associate professor of biology)
- Owosso Harpist (a man or woman who plays the harp)
Yet three of the four posts that I have examined contain words like “deception” and “lies,” and three of them are mostly about me or my ideas. If any of them had some kind of talent for discerning my motivations, they failed to reveal that talent in their writings.
The post by idoubtit was apparently written after she had read the post by Dr. Prothero, who apparently had first read the post by Professor Myers. Prothero also cited the post by Owosso Harpist (apparently the creator of the site “stupid dinosaur lies”), so he may have been influenced by both of them before he wrote his post “Fake Pterosaurs and Sock Puppets.” I also found it amusing that Dr. Prothero said, near the end of his post, “So beware of citing stuff off the internet.”
Let’s now consider the post by idoubtit, “This just in: Pterosaurs are STILL dead, maybe even more so.”
Avoiding Continuous Libel
To her credit, idoubtit refrained from repeating the word “deception” in her reply to my reply to her post. I explained how I had been honest in my online writings and she changed the subject (rather than apologize or admit I just might have been honest). She then questioned why I was pursuing a “dead end.”
I noticed something similar in Dr. Prothero’s replies to my replies to his post: He refrained from repeating the word “deception.” In fact, he did not even reply to my comment about my own honesty; he replied to my comments about the concept of modern pterosaurs only briefly: displaying the URL’s of sites I consider libelous against me.
Are Creationists Liars?
Her post is mostly about me, but she implies that I am one of a number of creationists, and there she finds fault: Idoubtit admits creationists may be nice people but she then says that they are “deliberately deceiving people to undermine science.” That does not sound very nice to me.
I have far more experience, over the past eleven years in particular, in working with and communicating with Biblical creationists who actively support these living-pterosaur investigations. I have found them to be honest in their writings and lectures, regardless of how vehemently our critics dispute our concepts.
Remember, when I proclaimed my personal honesty, in a comment under her post, that idoubtit stepped back from any accusation against me regarding honesty. She then said nothing about deception. But unfortunately she failed to make any modification to her accusation in the body of her post.
This post by idoubtit strongly suggests to me that this young lady is extremely ignorant of what is actually happening in living-pterosaur investigations. If she had read only 1% of my online writings, even just choosing them at random rather than looking for something to criticize, she would have been far better informed. She would have done better if she had avoided bulverism.
So only about 25%-40% of what I call credible eyewitnesses of pterosaurs are even capable of talking to anybody about what they saw. And of those who are capable of it, I guess only about 20% maximum actually telephone or email a cryptozoologist. [More-recent estimates put the number of eyewitnesses, worldwide, in the millions.]
The oldest online attack against the honesty of cryptozoologists who publicized their belief in living pterosaurs in Papua New Guinea—that site may have originated as early as mid-2005 or as late as late-2008 . . . one original page on “Stupid Dinosaur Lies,” and it had at least five errors in one sentence.
“Yes, they are alive indeed. In fact, my associates and I believe there are more than one species in different parts of the world. It’s incredible but we’ll get into that: explain how that happened. Yeah, they are alive.”
Fourth edition of the paperback Searching for Ropens and Finding God
The first paragraph of the introduction in this nonfiction:
Expect answers in this book: why my associates and I traveled to a remote tropical island to search for living pterosaurs and why only a few professors have given us any hope that they still live. What about adventures, with danger, failure, and success? Yes, expect those, but I hope my readers will discover more than adventure—a purpose in life—as worthy a purpose as I have found. This is no instruction manual for finding God, yet I suggest that the spiritual quest gives us the highest reward.