By living-pterosaur expert Jonathan D. Whitcomb
This answers some of what is found in two newspaper articles published online, both of which reported, in mid-January of 2018, sightings of apparent living pterosaurs, or “pterodactyls,” in North Carolina. They also commented on my writings on these flying creatures. Because of mistakes and weaknesses in these two newspaper stories, I don’t want to make them too dominating in search engine results: I won’t provide links here, but both articles should be easy enough to find.
“Are there flying dinosaurs in NC? One woman says she’s seen them 3 times in Raleigh” — in the News & Observer, January 11, 2018 (N&O)
“Flying Dinosaurs Sightings Are On The Rise in North Carolina” — in Charlotte Stories, January 12, 2018 (CS)
I don’t mean that publishing those two news articles did more harm than good, not at all. People in North Carolina, and in other states of the USA, need to know that these sightings are taking place. It’s just that accuracy and fairness were far from perfect.
Definition of “Cryptozoology”
I’ll give my own definition:
Cryptozoology is a collection of human activities, each of which involves some degree of positive thinking about the possibility that a potentially real animal, one that has not yet been accepted as real by Western scientists in general, is a real animal.
I suggest that the above definition is more accurate than many others, especially the one on Wikipedia. Unfortunately, the writers of the N&O news article chose to use something like the Wikipedia definition.
Using the above definition, however, can help people to understand that cryptozoology is not pseudoscience, not unscientific, and is not a branch of zoology. The Wikipedia article is not 100% wrong, yet it is far from accurate and completely wrong in saying “it does not follow the scientific method.” It could be more accurate to say that scientists do not follow the scientific method in their common daily routines.
In reality, any cryptozoologist can use the scientific method as much or as little as he or she chooses. For example, I have used wingspan estimates from a compilation of sighting reports and came to conclusions based upon the shape of that overall numeric data. That was only one step in a process, however, for the scientific method involves a number of processes. The final stage came to this: the overall data from the 128 more-credible sighting reports points to these encounters being with real animals, and most of the sightings, if not all of them, were most likely of modern living pterosaurs.
Seventy-four of the eyewitnesses made estimates for wingspan
From the book Searching for Ropens and Finding God (cryptozoology book)
Am I (along with my Associates) Crazy?
The News & Observer article may not be far off when it says, “Dismissed as lunacy by paleontologists and other academics, Whitcomb’s work . . .” In reality, however, only a tiny fraction of the paleontologists of the world, or even in the United States, are likely aware of my work. Among those limited numbers who know about my living-pterosaur investigations, a few have been vocal in criticizing my work and writings or ridiculing the religious beliefs of me and my associates. In reality, only a tiny fraction of my writings have been about religion, and the critics have usually written as if they knew my religious beliefs. In other words, they write about what they imagine I believe rather than about what I have actually written or about what I actually believe.
Why do I mention that kind of belief here? Many of the scientists who criticize the ideas of me and my associates often write about our religious beliefs, something even mentioning religion more than they mention anything scientific.
If my associates and I are in the minority, among Western scientists and researchers, regarding religious belief in scriptures (like those about the Flood of Noah in the Bible) that does not make us crazy. It may, however, make us resemble Sir Isaac Newton much more than our critics resemble him, in terms of belief in the Bible.
Smoky Mountains in North Carolina
Fourth edition of Searching for Ropens and Finding God, by Whitcomb
Universal extinction is the assumption, in Western culture, regarding pterosaurs, so when somebody reports a pterosaur sighting in Raleigh, North Carolina, we can expect objections from skeptics.
Where do these flying creatures appear? They have been reported in Raleigh, Durham, Asheville, Wilmington, and in other areas of N.C.
Whitcomb wrote nine editions of four nonfiction books, one scientific paper in a peer-reviewed journal of science, and over a thousand web pages and blog posts on sighting reports of featherless flying creatures described like pterosaurs.
Glen Kuban (GK) and I have a few things in common. We’ve both been writing about reports of apparent extant pterosaurs (or those who believe in them) for a long time, and we’ve written a lot. I started late in 2003; and GK, in 2004. We differ, however, in how we interpret those reports.
The second part of PLP goes into more details, regarding encounters with apparent extant pterosaurs, compared with DLP, and there is limited overlapping of what sightings are covered.
I may have included the following eyewitness report of a living pterosaur in one of my nonfiction books, but it seems that I have not previously published the account online, so here it is . . .