Searching for Ropens and Finding God

The third edition of Searching for Ropens should be published in the fall of 2013, with a new title: Searching for Ropens and Finding God [Note: The book was published April 18, 2014, after significant revisions and additions]. The following quotations are from the version revised through May 18, 2013, and are only brief excerpts.

Chapter 1: Awakenings

Prelude to an Expedition

It looked like a dead pterodactyl, not fossil bones but with skin, like it had died recently. Could those creatures, non-extinct, still fly? Although I never verified the authenticity of the photograph in the soon-forgotten book, the idea behind that image would be awakened four decades later, to plunge me into the most dramatic adventure of my life: exploring a remote tropical island, searching for giant living pterosaurs.

My first exposure to a remote tropical island with a giant reptile—when my younger sister Cindy and I were infants—came from Mommy reading Peter Pan. When I was four, the new sister was born, not to the name chosen by Cindy and me, “Captain Hook,” but to a name chosen by compromising parents: “Wendy.”

I came to regard the Peter Pan story a practical fiction, useful in more than just providing names for new babies. Each character had a role, even though the crocodile at first puzzled me; in time, it resolved into both good and bad: useful to Peter Pan as true enemy to Hook but dangerous when out of place. Perhaps this was the seed of my idea that a general principal can be complex, both true and false, useful sometimes but false when out of place, even dangerous. . . .

Chapter 2: Eyewitnesses on Video

Earlier Expeditions on Umboi Island

The phone call from Texas surprised me, for my inquiry won a quick response from a friend of Carl Baugh, the ropen investigator Paul Nation. We spoke for half an hour about searching for pterosaurs, from 1994 to 2002, on Umboi Island in Papua New Guinea: What thrilling details! Several American creationists had interviewed many eyewitnesses of the remarkable creature, and Paul had been on two of the three expeditions. What could be more remarkable than a giant living pterosaur? At night, the ropen shines with a brilliant bioluminescence.

Paul corrected my misunderstanding about names: “Ropen” and “duwas” relate to different languages, not different species, and size probably relates to age, not necessarily species. Over the next seven years, I would learn other names: Seklo-bali, kunduwa, indava, kor, and wawanar may refer to the same species, apparently a modern living pterosaur. On Umboi it is called “ropen.”

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