American Civil War “Pterodactyl” Photo and Skepticism

By the extant-pterosaur expert Jonathan Whitcomb

This is not a reply to scientific skepticism but to a skeptic who uses a variety of tactics to persuade readers of his online page to disregard anything that might appear to give credence to the possibility that one or more species of pterosaur is extant.

In my recently published nonfiction book Modern Pterosaurs, I refer to that long online article that is extremely negative towards living-pterosaur investigations. I labelled that page BAMPP (big anti-modern-pterosaurs page), which is how I refer to it now. The skeptic continues to update that page, including several as recently as mid-May of 2017.

A few days ago, I used an character counter online to calculate the precise length of that article: Using the standard of 5.1 characters for an average English word, BAMPP had close to 19,820 words. (But see more updates at the bottom of the post you are now reading.) Let’s take that in perspective with the following comparisons:

  • My latest book, Modern Pterosaurs, has close to 24,038 words (a little more than BAMPP)
  • Wikipedia articles with at least 2,000 words are considered “featured articles” by one expert
  • According to one researcher, blog posts about web news average 329 words; those about finance average 1225 words; those about personal development average 1470 words
  • The post you are now reading is quite long: close to 6,700 words

In other words, BAMPP is a long online article indeed. The next time that skeptic revises his page, the revision could bump it to above the 20,000-word mark. (See “Additional Notes” near the bottom of the post you are now reading: May 17, 2017 version of BAMPP has 25,635 words)

I’m not saying that the huge size of BAMPP is a problem in itself. I mention it because I feel that this online publication is orchestrated to put living-pterosaur research in the worst possible light. In other words, it is far from objective.

I suggest the writer of that page has fallen into both confirmation bias and belief perseverance. The combination of the writer’s bias and the extreme length of his online page can cause readers to assume that there must be serious problems with living-pterosaur investigations. On the contrary, the investigations that my associates and I have conducted since the beginning of 2004 have been far more thorough, scientific, and objective than most persons would imagine from reading only BAMPP.

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The Civil War Pterosaur Photograph

Most of the recent additions to BAMPP have related to the photo that my associates and I now call “Ptp.” Don’t confuse it with the hoax-photo that was contrived for the Freakylinks television show years ago. The writer of BAMPP did make that blunder, leaving a patently false statement about Ptp on that page for years. After I told him about his mistake, he corrected it. Yet he then added many paragraphs attacking the credibility of Ptp. Even after his one correction, BAMPP can still greatly mislead readers, in my opinion. (But I do not accuse anyone of dishonesty.)

When I say “Civil War photo,” I don’t mean to imply that it must come from that exact time in American history. Some of my associates agree with me that the photo may have been taken a bit after the end of the war, yet we have evidence that it was before about the year 1870.

Verified photograph of a modern pterosaur

The old photograph declared, by two scientists, to have a real animal

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Unscientific Criticism and Religion

This blog (that  you are now reading) publishes posts that support eyewitnesses of apparent pterosaurs. I must respond to statements, in BAMPP, that could led people to believe something is seriously wrong with persons who report observing large featherless flying animals.

At least 26 times, the critic referred to religious beliefs that my associates and I are said to have: He uses “YEC” 26 times, meaning “Young Earth Creationists.” When we communicated by emails, earlier in 2017, he asked about my religious-belief standing. I advised him about simplistic labeling regarding such beliefs. He disregarded that and continued using that label in his revised versions of BAMPP. I’m not offended by that label, but it can be misleading.

I will not here delve into my specific ideas about the possible age of the earth and how it may relate to the age of the universe. I mention those 26 uses of the label “YEC” only as an example of how this skeptic uses unscientific methods. It seems that he is trying to discredit those who disagree with him regarding reports of apparent modern pterosaurs.

Since he brought up the subject, I’ll reply: To be brief, living-pterosaur investigators (including me) are labelled by this skeptic “YEC’s,” even though my associates have a number of religious beliefs that differ from my own, including ideas about the age of the universe. In general, my associates and I hold to at least some of the beliefs of Sir Isaac Newton, and other important pioneers in the history of science, regarding the importance and reliability of the Bible. Even today, some successful scientists continue to believe in the Bible.

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Potential Bias and Objectiveness

In the fourth edition of my nonfiction book Searching for Ropens and Finding God, I wrote:

To pretend that a real scientist will speak only words of objective truth, with no hint of personal philosophy, is like swimming through images of a 1950’s science fiction movie. Every adult who is not mentally disabled promotes some point of a personal philosophy, almost with every word spoken or written.

That can imply an extreme position, the idea that practically everybody is biased in whatever is spoken or written. The other extreme, the one which I meant to address above, is the idea that every statement that looks like it is from a scientist should be taken as truth.

Carry a log by yourself, if you will, but you’d best grab it in the middle. If you insist on holding onto only one end of the log, you’ll end up dragging it, damaging the other end as it bumps along the ground. You can later declare that there was always something wrong with the other end of the log, but the rest of us know the damage was caused by your dragging it.

Many of us can sometimes do that. What’s the alternative? Find somebody to help so that each of us carries our own end of the log? That means two persons would need to walk in the same direction, with each one holding onto one end of the log.

Someone could write a book about that: working in harmony with those who hold onto beliefs different from our own. We now need to return, however, to opinions about the old photograph Ptp. Each side appears to me to potentially have about the same degree of bias or objectiveness.

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Who is Mentioned in BAMPP?

I don’t want to fall into the same faulty communication that some skeptics appear to have fallen into: emphasizing and exaggerating everything that may discredit those they disagree with while avoiding anything that may put their opponents in a positive light. That weakness has become common in politics, but it’s not restricted to communication on political issues.

I am grateful that the skeptic who wrote this critical article did not accuse me of dishonesty. A few critics have taken that position, but I have responded to those accusations elsewhere.

The skeptic who has published BAMPP referred to me directly often. I was surprised when I used the web-browser search function and found that he wrote “Whitcomb” 221 times [version of May 18, 2017]. In contrast, four of my associates were mentioned only about 79 times:

  • Carl Baugh: 34
  • David Woetzel: 29
  • Paul Nation: about 9
  • Garth Guessman: 7

He devotes about eight paragraphs to a British newspaper article that was published in 1856, ridiculing the idea that a “pterodactyl” fell out of solid rock and appeared to be alive for a few moments. As far as I know, none of my contemporary associates now give that newspaper report much credence, so those eight paragraphs appear to be out of date. It seems that Carl Baugh, however, in 1989 did support the possibility that the article may have contained significant truth. The publisher of BAMPP correctly points out that error, and I reject the 1856 article regarding the possibility of a pterosaur hibernating for vast periods of time.

Yet we need to take Carl Baugh’s participation in perspective. He was an early pioneer, having interviewed natives in Papua New Guinea in the 1990’s, regardless of error in other research. He has not, apparently, gone on any living-pterosaur expeditions since then and seems to have recently written little, if anything, about modern pterosaurs. All things considered, many other explorers deserve more attention, for they have searched for extant pterosaurs more recently, and they seem to have relied more on scientific principles, in their investigations.

In other words, mentioning Carl Baugh’s name thirty-four times, on BAMPP, appears highly unbalanced, since Paul Nation and Garth Guessman have done so much in recent years. In addition, Scott’s Norman’s name is absent in that long critical online page, and that young man is noted by respected cryptozoologists as an objective investigator and as an eyewitness, in North America, of a large flying creature that had a head that reminded him of a Pteranodon.

.  [This blog post is copyright 2017 Jonathan Whitcomb]

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Various Problems in the Big Anti-Modern-Pterosaur Page

The skeptic, in one paragraph, mentions that I have written many articles, blog posts, and “press releases” (he put the last in quotes). He is certainly correct on that point. But he states, in that paragraph, that I often write in the third person, implying that I have done so in a way that is misleading. That deserves explaining.

Press releases are written in third person, for that is the accepted standard. I sometimes write those kind of online publications, and I do so in three ways:

  1. Standard news release through an independent service
  2. Personal press release in the same format but on one of my own sites
  3. Other articles that are in a similar writing style, on a site that has other news

In each of those ways, I write in the third person because that is the proper way to write a news release (a.k.a., a press release). Readers expect it to be written in the third person.

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press release about modern pterosaurs

Press release about modern pterosaurs (type 1)

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web page screen shot - press release about the Ptp photograph - May 10, 2017

Press Release dated May 10, 2017: News about research into an old photo (type 2)

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He seems bothered that I appear, in some of my online publications, to refer to my own writings as if I were referencing independent sources. He may have noticed a potential problem there, but on that point he again is out of date: Within the past few weeks, I added many “about” links to many of my older sites, and (for longer than that) I have often put my name at the top of blog posts. Whatever problem there may have been in past years, with my online publications, they have been exaggerated, and potential causes of misunderstanding should be mostly resolved by now, yet I doubt that any serious problem ever existed.

To the point, that skeptic seems to think that I have been trying to make it look like a number of persons have been involved when it was only me, or he seems to think that I have tried to make it look like many persons care about living-pterosaur investigations when it has been mostly only me. Both of those ideas are false.

I said that I was surprised that his long article mentioned my name 140 times in his criticisms. We should not be too shocked, however: Take it in context with the following.

You notice that the post you’re now reading is long. It’s one of many: In the past 14 years, I’ve written well over a thousand blog posts and web pages about modern pterosaurs, many of them referring to eyewitness reports. (Most are shorter than what you’re now reading.)

During those years, I’ve spent over 10,000 hours in my investigation into living pterosaurs. I can understand why some skeptics have assumed that I’ve tried to make it look like many persons are interested in this when it has been mostly only me. After all, on this subject, I am the biggest bigmouth in the world, having apparently written more about it, perhaps, than all other writers in the world combined.

But that mistaken idea (that I have tried to make myself appear to be many persons) is based on ignorance of the big picture. I have interviewed eyewitnesses who live on five continents: mostly common men and women who have seen something uncommon. They are of a number of countries, languages, customs, and religions.

By the way, as best as I can tell, eyewitnesses generally appear to have a variety of opinions about evolution, the age of the earth, and religion. Please keep that in mind, should you ever read a critical point of view that states or implies that the idea of modern pterosaurs comes only from a fringe YEC element of Western society.

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"Gitmo Pterosaur" sketch by Patty Carson

Sketch drawn by the eyewitness Patty Carson: one of the sightings in eastern Cuba

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The total number of eyewitnesses, worldwide, is a far bigger number than the skeptics have imagined. In other words, I have hardly been alone in my interest in this subject. With all the many opportunities that have been given me to write about those wonderful encounters with apparent modern pterosaurs, how can I not reveal the truth about them?

The BAMPP skeptic mentioned a number: 128 sightings. Those were eyewitness reports that I found noteworthy by the end of 2012, and I compiled much data from them at that time. The skeptic then declares that number is far too small, if pterosaurs were flying over many U. S. states and multiple foreign countries. He proclaims that there should be “at least thousands” of sightings, yet he fails to adequately explain two things:

  1. Why there must be so many sightings
  2. Why so many sightings do not occur

If my calculations are correct, the total number of persons, out of the billions who now live in this big wonderful world, who have had some encounter with a modern pterosaur, at some time in those human lifetimes, is between about 7-million and about 128-million. Of course, the number who recognize that they have seen something extraordinary is only a small fraction of that, but it puts things in a different perspective: I am hardly alone.

Even if I have miscalculated by a factor of ten, skeptics who have assumed that I have been only one interested person, trying to make myself look like many persons are involved (by writing on many different web sites)—those skeptics have greatly misunderstood what is happening in the real world. It seems that countless thousands of persons have seen a modern pterosaur with encounters that reveal clearly that the animal was not any bird or bat.

Now set aside the countless eyewitnesses and concentrate only on those who have searched for those featherless flying creatures. We actually have more persons than are listed in BAMPP:

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men who have searched for ropens and other modern pterosaurs

Living-pterosaur investigators and explorers

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Those men shown above are not the only ones who have actively searched for modern pterosaurs but they are some of the ones who have spent the most time in this narrow field of cryptozoology, and they have been openly active in the 21st century:

  • Scott Norman (deceased)
  • David Woetzel
  • Jonathan Whitcomb
  • Paul Nation
  • Luke Paina
  • Milt Marcy
  • Peter Beach
  • Joseph (native near Tawa Village)
  • Jacob Kepas
  • James Blume
  • Garth Guessman

I am not including, in the above list, the many persons who participated in the two expeditions related to television shows: Destination Truth and Monsterquest. As of May 12, 2017, BAMPP appears to say nothing about those expeditions.

Coming to the point, years ago I often neglected to put “Whitcomb” at the top of blog posts and other web pages, yet I was NOT trying to deceive people into believing that more persons were involved than their actually were.

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Getting Back to the “Pterodactyl” Photo

In the May 11, 2017, version of BAMPP, the skeptic seems to promote two independent explanations for the animal seen in the Ptp photograph:

  1. Hoax created with Photoshop
  2. Model created physically

That appears to me to be more of an anti-position than a position: anti-modern-pterosaur. But he seems to eventually conclude that the animal is some kind of “cheesy” model. I believe he means that it is a physical construction, for he compares it to what is seen in old monster movies (at least before his recent revisions of BAMPP in May of 2017).

Earlier in 2017, I communicated with the skeptic, informing him that the animal was certainly not made from Photoshop. Even though he left the outdated Photoshop-idea references on his page, in the May 11th version, he seems to be at least leaning toward admitting the possibility that Photoshop was not used in constructing the image of that animal.

The post you are now reading has one thing in common with BAMPP, bearing little resemblance to a scientific paper. I feel a to address that unscientific statement of my opponent, however: “hokey” (or “cheesy”) “movie model.” That apparent Pteranodon deserves a closer look.

“Hokey” or “Cheesy” Pterodactyl?

I don’t see any explanation, in BAMPP, for those labels he uses for the photo in general or for the animal in it: “hokey” and “cheesy.” I do remember my own impressions, many years ago (perhaps as long ago as 1968). Four things bothered me about that photo of an apparent pterosaur that appeared to have been shot by American Civil War soldiers:

  1. The wings reminded me of canoes
  2. One soldier’s shoe did not look right on the animal’s beak
  3. Why was this photograph not officially acknowledged by scientists?
  4. What a strange demarcation between inner and outer wing sections!

Let’s try a more scientific approach, using careful reasoning rather than just throwing out labels like “hokey” or “cheesy.” Please understand that I don’t deny that certain details can look strange when the average Westerner looks at Ptp. The point is this: Careful examination of both the photograph and one’s feelings reveal answers to why certain details look strange, and the reasons they give that impression differ greatly from what skeptics would assume.

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Civil War "Pteranodon" photograph Ptp original

The Ptp photograph of an apparent recently-killed pterosaur

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The four apparent problems listed above (canoe-appearance, shoe-on-the-beak, lack of scientific acknowledgement, and the different in appearance between outer wing areas and the inner wing areas) kept me, long ago, from feeling comfortable in believing that the animal was a real “pterodactyl.” What caused me to reconsider and come to more fully believe that it may have been a pterosaur? At first, criticisms that I found online, remarks from skeptics who tried to convince people that the photo was a hoax—that led me to reconsider my doubts.

I found serious problems in those skeptical remarks, serious enough that I wrote about three blog posts, in 2013, in response to those criticisms. When I wrote them, I was about halfway between belief and disbelief, unsure if that photo showed an actual modern pterosaur.

Here are the three posts I wrote, in 2013, on the Ptp pterosaur photo:

Photograph of a Modern Pterosaur?

“Dale Drinnon fails to dig deeply, apparently assuming there is no need.”

Civil War Soldiers and Monster Photo

“Must it be a Photoshop Hoax?” (No)

Pterosaur Sightings and Photos of . . . Whatever

A significant update was made on May 9, 2017: eleven additional findings that were not known before 2017, and this is just a partial list. Those are eleven points of evidence in favor of the idea that the animal shown in Ptp was a real animal, etc.

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Real Science Involves Change

As a scientist progresses in experience with an investigation, we can expect that person to change his or her opinions. Consider history and see how even long-established ideas have been set aside when scientists discover explanations they feel are better.

The BAMPP skeptic mentions my initial reservations about the Ptp photograph, but portrays my change of opinion as if it were flighty. He fails to mention any details in how I changed my opinion, leaving the readers of BAMPP to think of my changing ideas as a mistake. Not so.

I changed my opinion about the canoe appearance of the wings of the animal in Ptp in January of 2017. It began after I got an email from a canoe expert who was sure that those apparent wings were not from one or two canoes. I then examined those apparent wings with a fresh pair of eyes. I agreed with the expert: Those are two narrow and too shallow to be ends of a canoe or two different canoes.

I later got over my doubts about the shoe that was on the animal’s beak. The physicist Clifford Paiva showed the relationship of shadowing under that shoe to other shadows on the animal. I then came to realize why that shoe-on-beak had appeared strange: It’s the shadow. The following is quoting my nonfiction book Modern Pterosaurs:

We need to remember, in the context that this is a genuine photo, that the soldier in front is not literally dominating a monster. He is posing for a photograph that is meant to give that impression. If he would have put much weight onto his left foot, it would very likely have twisted the head of the animal, and that head was quite likely already positioned by the photographer.

That’s why the left edge of the man’s shoe contacts the curved beak of the animal, causing a shadow on that beak: the shadow of that shoe. In that context, it seems perfectly natural to me (and WITHOUT Photoshop).

I came to realize, early in 2017, that the strange appearance of that shoe on that beak is explained by looking at it from the perspective that it was a real photograph taken before about the year 1870.

Soldier's shoe on the animal's beak

Shadow under the shoe, on the beak (with a prop under the heel)

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Paiva found an apparent tree branch under or in the beak of the animal, early in 2017. This supports the concept that the photograph was taken before about the year 1870, when photographers commonly used props to keep people motionless.

So why did that shoe look strange to me, when I first saw this photo? I now understand that the man rested his shoe lightly on that beak, allowing only the left edge of the sole of that shoe to contact the beak. That shoe was directly over the prop, allowing a little weight to be put there. This made it possible to keep motionless during the pose.

If this were not an actual photograph recorded in the mid-19 century, but a recent hoax that involved a physical model, the shoe could have been placed squarely on the beak for a quick snapshot, leaving no shadow under the shoe.

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Why was Ptp not Acknowledged by Scientists Long ago?

This brings us to the third difficulty I originally had with Ptp. Like many other Americans in the past few decades, I was raised to believe that most scientists are objective. So why did not many scientists discover this old photograph long ago and proclaim that it contained the genuine image of a modern pterosaur? Somebody could write a book about that, but we must be brief.

Throughout history, people have held onto certain ideas for a long time, even for centuries. By the time of Copernicus, Westerners had believed in an earth-centered universe for countless generations. It was taught in the best schools, even when schools were uncommon. It took decades for many people to come to a better understanding of the earth’s relationship to the son. Has basic human nature changed since the time of Copernicus?

For many decades, Westerners have taken it for granted that dinosaurs and pterosaur lived only in the distant past, long before humans existed. Why was that taken for granted? We were taught from early children, through books, teachers, magazines, television, films, and from almost anybody who would taught to a child: Dinosaurs lived only “millions” of years ago.

It was the amount of constant indoctrination into that idea—that made it almost impossible for any Westerner to consider anything contrary to it. Pterosaurs have been considered “flying dinosaurs,” so they’ve been in the same boat.

After many years of investigating reports of apparent non-extinct pterosaurs, I learned that the idea of universal pterosaur extinction is based upon indoctrination. There is no sound scientific reason for all of them to have become extinct many millions of years ago.

But how many scientists would be willing to stand up to ridicule and risk losing their positions as professors at universities? That needs to be considered.

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apparent Pteranodon has wing folding areas

Places where pterosaur wing folding occurs

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Folded Wings of a Pterosaur

Not until 2017 did I come to appreciate the wing folding seen in the Ptp photograph. What soldier, before about the year 1870, would know anything about that detail in pterosaur anatomy? And why would any group of men, dressed like soldiers, go to so much trouble to make a model that included that detail in the wings?

This is more in keeping with Occam’s Razor: Consider the possibility that Ptp is an actual photograph of a modern pterosaur. But we need to get into the problem of bias in Western thought about these featherless flying creatures.

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Confirmation Bias

A few weeks ago, I communicated by emails with the skeptic who wrote BAMPP. I asked him this:

Would you be willing to look into the possibility that you have been influenced by a confirmation bias?

He did not answer that question, at least not directly. Instead, the skeptic added thousands of words to BAMPP. I found it interesting that he then added a section on confirmation bias. That section alone has 920 words, yet none of those paragraphs admit the possibility that anyone believing in universal pterosaur extinction might be biased. Most of that section “Confirmation Bias” is promoting the idea that I and the eyewitnesses are biased, and he again says much about my religious beliefs.

It seems to me that he has answered my question: By writing that one-sided section in BAMPP, he indicated that has not considered the possibility, or fails to admit, that he himself has fallen into a confirmation bias.

To be brief, the skeptic finds one apparent imperfection after another and assumes each one is evidence against the possibility of an extant pterosaur. As an example, he gives two lists of reasons why the animal shown in Ptp is not a Pteranodon, yet he himself uses that word in talking about the photo.

Indeed, he says, “Both photos show a giant Pteranodon-like pterosaur carcass.” What two photographs does he refer to? The Freakylinks hoax photo and Ptp. Those are his own words. He even includes a photo of a heron in BAMPP, with the image-text saying that the heron is “resembling a Pteranodon-like pterosaur.” Those are also his own words.

The scientist Clifford Paiva and I have not declared that the animal seen in Ptp must be some species of Pteranodon that is now known from pterosaur fossils. We seem to agree with the skeptic who wrote BAMPP on this point: The animal gives us the impression that it is like a Pteranodon. This view of the animal, by Paiva and me, is given in the following:

This point of view is also probably clearly explained in other online publications I’ve written.

The skeptic appears to me to have been trying, for years, to convince himself that no species of pterosaur is still living. The contradictions in his own writing, however, make his case very unconvincing to a careful, objective reader who examines BAMPP with an open mind.

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Evidence for a Lack of Bias

The skeptic says that I “often” describe eyewitnesses as “very credible.” He says that as an “example” of my own bias. He also says, “he often seems to assume that virtually any reportedly pterosaur-like creature or feature is strong evidence of living pterosaurs.” He is entirely mistaken in what he imagines I am assuming. My enthusiasm is based upon a large body of evidence, and this skeptic seems to me to have read only a small fraction of what I have written in my online publications. In other words, he has only a small conception of what I have learned over the past 14 years of my investigation.

Let’s deal with his distaste for the idea regarding “very credible.” If he had been more careful in his research, or more objective, he would have found that I distinguish two types of credibility in reports from eyewitnesses of apparent living pterosaurs:

  1. Honesty credibility
  2. Identity credibility

The first refers to clues that point to honesty in the testimony of the eyewitness. The second refers to the plausibility that an actual modern pterosaur was encountered.

I have found it uncommon for one sighting report to have a high degree of both types, although a significant number of them have a high degree of one or the other.

Let’s get down to numbers, for mathematics, when used properly, can be useful in coming to a scientific conclusion. Consider my use of the phrase “apparent pterosaur.” I use that phrase because I keep an open mind for each sighting report. Completely contrary to the imagination of the skeptical writer of BAMPP, I am completely objective regarding the possibility that any particular sighting report may be from something other than an extant pterosaur.

For many years, I have received eyewitness reports, the great majority of them coming, through emails, from the eyewitnesses themselves. When I begin reading an account, I feel no obligation to believe or disbelieve the person saw an extant pterosaur. Contrary to what one would think after reading BAMPP, I have no original inherent desire, or predisposition, to believe in a species of extant pterosaur. The evidence for that, however, after many years of investigation, I have found overwhelming against the universal-extinction dogma. Yet that conviction has come through the overall weight of all reports when taken together.

Early in the morning of May 17, 2017, I did a Google search with “apparent pterosaur” (within parentheses). Aside from images results, here are the number of web pages that I wrote, compared with the total web pages found by Google: In the first four page-results displayed by Google, 35 out of 39. In other words, only four of those thirty-nine pages were not written by me, and many more of my web pages could have been found with a deeper Google search.

Does that sound like I have a deeply entrenched bias, causing me to believe that any report of an apparent pterosaur must have been a pterosaur? Why do I commonly use that phrase: “apparent pterosaur?” It’s because I feel no need to come to any absolute conclusion about any one report, either 100% believing or 100% disbelieving it was a living pterosaur. It’s the overall worldwide weight of evidence that has convinced me that not all pterosaurs are extinct. It is all of the sighting reports taken together.

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Where we Agree About Bias

This outspoken skeptic and I do not disagree about every detail, of course. He says, under the section of BAMPP titled “Confirmation Bias,” that “Whitcomb acknowledges his own bias,” yet who would guess the true nature of my most significant bias, after reading his article? It is this: For years, I doubted the authenticity of Ptp, because of my own bias from the earliest years of my imperfect impressions. At that time, I was more ignorant than I now am.

Additional notes (but see “Update” below)

The May 15th revision of BAMPP was considerably longer: 23,817 estimated words. Early on May 17, 2017, the calculated word count reached 25,635, with the following count for the names of living-pterosaur investigators:

  • Whitcomb: 215 [plus two more with the spelling “Whitcom” – 217 total]
  • [Carl] Baugh: 36
  • Woetzel: 34
  • [Paul] Nation: 9
  • Guessman: 8
  • Blume: 5*
  • [Jacob] Kepas: 4
  • [Peter] Beach: 0
  • [Milt] Marcy: 0

[The skeptic mentions “David Blume” once and “Woetzel Blume” once, both times appearing to be a mistake in referring to the missionary James Blume.]

Update early on May 23, 2017

The word count for Glen Kuban’s “Living Pterosaurs” has gone up to 32,231, and it mentions “Whitcomb” 280 times (only once misspelling it “Whitcom”). The word count comes from the site http://www.lettercount.com/ by dividing the calculated character count by 5.1.

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copyright 2017 Jonathan D. Whitcomb

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News Release on a Pterosaur in a Photo

Two American scientists have declared that a photograph, that was previously assumed a hoax made through Photoshop, was not created through any digital image-manipulation trickery.

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Modern Pterosaurs and Confirmation Bias

This skeptic has made many mistakes, and appears, to me, to have fallen into both confirmation bias and belief perseverance. As I cannot read his mind and he has not responded to my request for him to investigate the possibility of confirmation bias on his part, I’ll take the general case: Skeptics in general have been misguided by generations of indoctrination into 19th century dogmas, including the idea that all species of pterosaurs became extinct long ago.

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Nonfiction cryptozoology book Modern Pterosaurs

. . . How could a photograph of a modern pterosaur have gone unappreciated for a century and a half, plainly visible yet mostly ignored by Western scientists or unknown to them? You’ll get explanations here [in this book]. . . . . .

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Monster in a Civil War Photo

Be careful not to confuse the old Ptp photograph with the Freakylinks TV show promotional hoax photo. Notice the differences below . . .

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by the author Jonathan Whitcomb: "Modern Pterosaurs"

The new nonfiction cryptozoology book Modern Pterosaurs

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