I had a bit of a moral dilemma yesterday. I have been accused in recent months of 'censoring' comments on the blog. Well, of course I do. Mostly what I censor is the drivel sent out by spammers, and also the vicious and hurtful personal attacks that have come from certain quarters recently. But sometimes I have to make a judgement call.
Yesterday, someone called 'igm' commented on LINDSAY SELBY: Modern dragons . What he had to ask was fair enough:
"..who was not named for obvious reasons, the academic world being as it is"
Are we to assume that Shuker knows this person's name, or was his source anonymous to him as well? This sounds like cryptozoology's equivalent of the mysterious government insider of UFOlogy who weaves wild, anonymous tales without a shred of evidence.
If this person was a naturalist and saw an amazing creature unknown to science disappear into a cave, and was a person worried about their academic standing, wouldn't the logical thing to do be to go into those caves and get (evidence of) that creature him/herself? This is the orang pendek no photo controversy x 1000. It doesn't make a lick of sense and sounds like someone pulled Shuker's leg (assuming it was really a naturalist) to see if he'd buy the story."
However, in my opinion (and it has to be said that at the moment I am in one of my less pleasant bits of the bi-polar cycle, and therefore my judgement might well be wrong) the tone of igm's comment was more than a little brusque.
I have known Karl Shuker for the best part of twenty years, and he is a dear friend. Furthermore, he is someone for whom I have a great deal of respect, so rather than publish the comment as it was, I gave him the chance to reply to it, which he did:
Yes, I do know the person who saw this animal/entity - indeed, I know him very well and have done so for many years. He is not an academic, but is an extremely experienced field naturalist, writer and conservationist with a well-respected history in these areas, culminating a few years ago in his receiving an official honour in recognition of his work. In short, I have no reason whatsoever to believe that a hoax of any kind is involved here. The reason why I have not made public his name is that he asked me not to. Bearing in mind the nature of what he saw, he was naturally concerned how such a claim would be viewed, anticipating that there may be people out there who would adopt exactly the kind of attitude that has been adopted here. However, he categorically avows that he did indeed see what he claims to have seen - an airborne dragon-like entity.
I hope that everyone involved's honour is satisfied (including my own).