What is bulverism? C. S. Lewis had many insights into human nature. He invented the term “bulverism” for a fault he noticed becoming common in the mid-twentieth century: pointing out one or more supposed weaknesses in ones opponent rather than engaging in reasoning on the subject at hand. I believe the popularity of bulverism has continued into the twenty-first century.
Some time ago, the respected cryptozoologist Loren Coleman wrote a blog page about my investigations of reports of apparent living pterosaurs in the United States. Comments poured in, mostly negative towards the possibility that eyewitnesses were seeing actual pterosaurs. Coleman himself ran off topic, with several paragraphs about John C. Whitcomb’s book (I am not closely related to that author, although I happen to have enjoyed reading his book) and then writing:
You will note that in Jonathan Whitcomb’s new publicity campaign, he is downplaying his American Old Testament religious and Young Earth Creationist (YEC) motivations, and, instead, calling himself a “cryptozoologist.” [This Coleman wrote in August of 2009, but my cryptozoological research began in 2003; I didn’t notice that I had started any “new publicity campaign.” And I have not been a YEC in the strict sense, although I believe in Young Earth Life (there is a difference)]
Loren Coleman (not to be confused with the cryptozoologist Nathaniel Coleman) then says:
“According to Whitcomb, a substantial number are not from hoaxes, insanity, or misidentifications; they are most likely living pterosaurs,” says their press release. Wherein lies the insanity here?
Indeed, Loren, where does insanity lie? When many eyewitnesses testify of things coorelating, and those persons show that they are mentally healthy, where is there any insanity? Setting aside bulverism, what case can be made for pterosaur extinction when so many eyewitnesses testify that pterosaurs still live? If there is any insanity, it must be in those who insist on imagining ancient extinctions. Dogmatic adherence to universal pterosaur extinction may be the only place left where insanity might be relevant. Note, I don’t insist that my opponents must be insane; that would be bulverism. I only ask, “Where is there any insanity?”
LDS Author definition of bulverism