With the acceleration of living-pterosaur investigations in recent years,
including ropen expeditions in Papua New Guinea, what would the
discovery of a live pterosaur do to the General Theory of Evolution?
What sounds like a simple question is actually complex. After years of
studying the reports of live pterosaur-like creatures, and after years
of pondering what extant pterosaurs would mean to science, I have
discovered a complex answer. Never mind that I failed to discover a
ropen while exploring the tropical rain forest of Umboi Island; I did
interview many natives whose testimonies convinced me of the reality
of the ropen. Never mind that a few proponents of Darwin's General Theory
of Evolution loudly proclaim that such a discovery would fail to disprove "evolution;" that
word is vague and those loud proclaimers are few. The impact, on the General Theory of
Evolution, of the discovery of a living pterosaur is not so simple as whether or
not it "disproves evolution." The real controversy is between competing philosophies that
are used to interpret the meaning of scientific evidence.
While writing my nonfiction book (Searching for Ropens),
I delved into Western philosophies that cause us to think so differently
about the same reports. Diverse philosophies rather than "science"
cause diverse interpretations of reports of apparent living pterosaurs; and conflicting philosophies, conflicting reactions.
Choose one of four* basic philosophical approaches, although you have
probably already chosen one of the first three; Westerners often use
one of these, or a variation, to interpret scientific or religious concepts:
Naturalistic philosophy, Intelligent Design, or Creationism. The fourth?
It may be less dynamic, but an open-minded evaluation is a rarely-used
approach for those few who have straddled fences between the three
most popular philosophical persuasions: Ponder how living pterosaurs
are explained by Naturalism, I.D., and Creationism; then decide which
of the three approaches explains live pterosaurs most reasonably--that is the
fourth approach: objective evaluation of the first three.
*(There are non-Biblical versions of creation science, such as the Muslim
view, but they use refutations of the General Theory of Evolution similar to refutations given by supporters of Biblical Creation.)