One Critic's Appraisal of Creationist Cryptozoologists
Who Hunt for the Ropen (pterosaur?) of Papau New Guinea
Since the two ropen expeditions of 2004, critics have assailed the creationist explorers who have searched for the pterosaur-like
ropen of Papua New Guinea (or at least what we believe is a pterosaur-like creature). One of those critics is David Hone, whose
criticism is typical. These quotations are from Hone's web site, taken on January 8, 2009. [Spelling corrections in brachets]
"There is currently no even vaguely convincing
evidence for living pterosaurs. No photos, no film,
no bones, no eggs, no nothing. I
donít care what you have seen, heard or read,
there is no evidence for living
pterosaurs (or for
that matter anything more recent than 65 millions
years old). If it existed, it
would have come out
[somewhere] and been identified . . ."
If I understand correctly, Mr. Hone is an expert in pterosaur
fossils. From his web site that criticizes living-pterosaur investigations, his writing suggests he has some knowledge or
experience in capturing live animals or birds. From his opening remarks that include "no even vaguely convincing evidence," I suspect
that he is less an expert in the proper relationship between cryptozoology and zoology.
One phrase reveals that he is operating
outside of science, at least in this writing: "I don't care what you have seen, heard, or read. . . ." If that does not smell of dogmatism,
I don't know what would. He seems, here, to be convinced that no pterosaur is now living; but later he reveals that a pterosaur
could be living, but that it "would just add one group to an admittedly short list that survived the KT extinction and then
crawled around for a long time undetected." Well! If the discovery of a live pterosaur is so boring or meaningless, why did Mr. Hone
write a long article on searching for them?
Keeping in mind that Mr. Hone allows for the possibility of the discovery of a living pterosaur, consider how sure he is about
"no even vaguely convincing evidence for living pterosaurs." Has he read the second edition of my book (Searching for Ropens)? Has
he read every web page about ropen expeditions? Has he examined every photo that has ever been taken in the southwest Pacific, every
photo ever taken, even just in Papua New Guinea, during the past century? Astonishing as it is--this allowance that a pterosaur
might still live--even more astonishing is the surety of his position about the nonexistence of convincing evidence.
that when he mentions "no photos, no film, no footprints," he means none that are at all convincing. Of course he means that he himself
is unconvinced, or that no reasonable person should be convinced, for those who have explored remote jungles are quite convinced.
. . . But wait . . . Mr. Hone, could your own words be vague? Your words could mean that there have never been any
photos taken, and never been any film or video shot. But if so, where did you get this knowledge? I see no indication that you
set yourself up as a prophet of God or that you are omniscient. And if there are evidences, photos or videos that you feel are
unconvincing, why did you not mention them and why you think they are insignificant? Mr. Hone, have you examined the photos and video footage?
Yes, photographs have been taken and video has been shot, even if some persons do not admit the possibility or the
He mentions "vaguely," but what does he mean by "or for that matter anything more recent than 65 millions years
old. . . ?" To me, that seems vague.
The position of David Hone includes the strange declaration that "if it existed, it would have come out somewhere and been identified."
Consider: Stranger than living pterosaurs is Hone's position, for he admits a tiny possibility of a species of living pterosaur,
but he admits no possibility than any pterosaur has "come out" anywhere.
I don't want to be unfair; Mr. Hone might mean
something other than the obvious interpretation of his words: He probably means that there is a tiny chance that a pterosaur
might have survived into the 21st Century, but one has not "come out," so none has survived. But if he asks us to rely on this
lack of evidence as if evidence for the lack of any living pterosaur, where's clear thinking? How many eyewitnesses have come forward,
reporting apparent living-pterosaurs that have "come out!"
What does he mean by "and been identified . . . ?" He means,
I think, that the one who identifies a living pterosaur must be one who subscribes to the standard models of Naturalism, the
philosophy that seems to dominate modern Western science. What else could he mean? How often have eyewitnesses identified what they
saw! How often have we, the creationist cryptozoologists (who've rejected the standard Naturalism model) identified what the eyewitnesses
I appreciate Mr. Hone's many long paragraphs that give suggestions on how to hunt living pterosaurs. I accept his
knowledge and his many ideas about practical matters of finding, photographing, and capturing wild animals; I will forward
some of these suggestions to my creationist associates. Thank you, Mr. Hone, for these insights into how to deal with nature. But
I still reject that philosophy that causes much ignorance: I reject Naturalism.