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Noah's Ark has been found (Talk.Origins)

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Response Article
This article (Noah's Ark has been found (Talk.Origins)) is a response to a rebuttal of a creationist claim published by Talk.Origins Archive under the title Index to Creationist Claims.


Claim CH500:

There have been many sightings of Noah's ark, including the following:
  • Berosus, ca. 275 B.C.E., reported remains of it in the mountains of the Gordyaeans in Armenia (p. 15).
  • Flavius Josephus mentions remains of the ark on Baris (16-17).
  • Several writers tell of St. Jacob of Medzpin, who persistently tried to climb Ararat. Angels commanded him to stop trying but brought him a plank from the ark (17-21).
  • Several accounts through history suggest that Armenians have knowledge of and wood from the ark (21-22).
  • In 1952, Harold Williams wrote a story told by Haji Yearam in 1916. According to the story, Yearam helped guide three scientists to the ark in 1856. Upon finding the ark sticking out of a glacier near the summit, the scientists flew into a rage and tried futilely to destroy it. Then they took an oath to keep the discovery a secret and murder anyone who revealed it. About 1918, Williams saw a newspaper article giving a scientist's deathbed confession, which corroborated Yearam's story (43-48).
  • In 1876, English explorer James Bryce found a four-foot long hand-tooled piece of wood on Ararat at the 13,000 feet level (51-55).
  • In 1883, a Turkish commission surveying Ararat for possible avalanche conditions found part of the ark protruding 20 or 30 feet from the foot of a glacier (56-58).
  • In 1887, on his third attempt to find the ark, Prince Nouri of Bhagdad found it on the higher peaks of Ararat (64-67).
  • In 1908 and again in 1910, a local Armenian, Georgie Hagopian, then just a boy, visited the ark with his uncle. The ark was on the edge of a cliff; its wood was like stone (69-72).
  • In 1916, a story by Vladimir Roskovitsky told how he and other Russian aviators sighted the ark, nearly intact, grounded on the shore of a lake on Ararat. An expedition reached the ark about a month later. Photographs and plans were sent to the czar, but the Bolsheviks overthrew the Czar a few days later, and the evidence was lost. Later testimony revealed that that account was 95 percent fiction, but other Russian soldiers have told of hearing of an expedition that discovered Noah's ark in 1917 (76-87).
  • Six Turkish soldiers climbed Ararat and saw the ark in 1916 (90-92).
  • A monestary at Echmiazin hosts a piece of wood reputedly from the ark (93-97).
  • While lost on Ararat in 1936, Hardwicke Knight found timbers of dark, soft wood (98-101).
  • Two American pilots saw the ark several times and once brought a photographer along. The photograph appeared in the Tunisian edition of Stars and Stripes in 1943. Many people remembered the article, but no copies remain (102-107).
  • Donald Liedmann met a Russian Air Force major in 1938 and 1943 who showed him pictures of the ark. It was mostly buried in a glacier. The photographs have never been released (109-112).
  • In 1948, a Kurdish farmer named Resit reported finding the prow of the ark about 2/3rds the way up Ararat, protruding from ice. The wood was black and too hard for him to cut off a piece (115-116).
  • A 1949 satellite photograph of the Western Plateau of Mt. Ararat shows an elongated box-like object which could be Noah's ark (Morris 2001).
  • In 1955, after two unsuccessful searches, Fernand Navarra found hand-hewn wood in the ice at the 13,750 foot level. He retrieved a small sample of the wood. However, even die-hard arkeologists suspect fraud. In 1969, small pieces of wood were found where Navarra directed people to dig. Again, fraud is suspected (129-134, 158-160).
  • George Green photographed the ark from a helicopter in 1953, but his pictures aroused no serious interest, and they are now lost (135-137).
  • The ERTS satellite photographed Noah's ark in 1973, but the satellite's resolution was insufficient (203-206).
    • (Unless noted otherwise, references are to LaHaye and Morris 1976.)

Source:

  • LaHaye, Tim and John Morris, 1976. The Ark on Ararat, Nashville: Thomas Nelson Inc.
  • Morris, John D., 2001. Noah's Ark remains in the news! Acts & Facts 30(2) (Feb.): 1-3.


CreationWiki response:

First of all this is not an exhaustive list of Noah's Ark sightings from Mt. Ararat. A more extensive list can be found at The NoahsArkSearch.com web site. The list compares the descriptions and it shows considerable agreement of details. It needs to be noted the while some descriptions of length are too short to be the full length of the Ark, they are most likely the length of the portion that was visible. It would be expected that such measurements would vary considerably since the ice cover would vary from year to year.

In principle, it should not be very difficult to prove or disprove the presence of the Ark on Mt. Ararat. It is a large non-mobile object of an approximately known size and shape. It might move somewhat due to glacial motion but that would not cause major changes in its location such as moving it to the opposite side of the mountain. The main problems that most expeditions have had is lack of adequate funding and equipment, and the political and security concerns of the authorities that govern the most likely site.

The best solution would be a well-funded and equipped expedition to survey all of Mt. Ararat during the summer moths. If needed it could be spread over more than one year. The equipment should include helicopters since they can maneuver and even if needed lower expedition members to a prospective Ark site.

Perhaps the team should consist of six scientists and support personnel. The teams should consist of one young earth creationist that thinks the Ark is there, and one that does not; one old earth creationist; and three evolutionists. This arrangement, or some other comparable one, would tilt the bias initially against finding the Ark and in fact against any possibility of it being there, but as long as there would be safeguards, it would make it a truth-seeking search. With such an arrangement, a positive result would be more significant. There should be a pre-agreed set of criteria for confirmation of any possible Ark site.

It is unlikely that such an expedition could ever be put together but it would be the best way to settle the issue once and for all.

(Talk.Origins quotes in blue)

1. What the reports of ark sightings have in common is that none has been corroborated. Most have few if any witnesses. Photographs and newspaper articles disappear, sometimes inexplicably, or they are too vague to be meaningful. Physical evidence either is not retrieved, is faked, or comes from recent wood carried up the mountain. They have the appearance of fables, not fact.

2. The reports are inconsistent. The ark has been found in different places on the mountain (and on different mountains, if you include earlier accounts). Its condition varies from almost intact to broken in half to only isolated timbers. The character of the wood varies from too hard to cut to falling apart at a touch. Some accounts make it sound like local residents visited the ark routinely, while other accounts stress the hardships encountered.

In some cases Talk.Origins is correct, but not all. Their second objection brings to mind the old story of the five blind men describing an elephant differently. Glacial effects can also affect the terrain they occupy and the objects they interact with.

There are far more Ark sightings from Mt. Ararat than listed above and a more extensive list shows considerable agreement, at least enough to justify a well-funded scientific expedition.

3. Noah's ark is the sort of subject that people would tell stories about. Some people might be motivated by misplaced piety to make up stories. Some have been motivated by money. Others might elaborate a story simply to get attention. Since the ark story is so famous, some people might conclude they have found the ark on the basis of ambiguous evidence. For example, they might misinterpret a blurry photograph or a shape seen through fog, or they might conclude that any wood they find is from the ark, although wood has been carried up Ararat in historical times for building crosses and huts.

It is also just the sort of story and evidence that some people would want to dismiss and prevent the confirmation of, because its existence would destroy their worldview. Not finding the Ark would have no effect on the Biblical account since there are any number of reasons why the Ark would not be found on Mt. Ararat, but if it were found and confirmed it could potentially prove fatal to anti-Biblical claims, including casting considerable doubt on evolution itself.

This is one origins issue that could be resolved if both sides could just get together for a well-funded joint expedition to Mt. Ararat, but evolutionists have no reason to engage in such an expedition and every reason not to, plus every reason to object to any such expedition.

Do scientists question the fact of the ancient hanging gardens of Babylon, generally agreed to exist? That is also the kind of story that would attract much more enhancement, yet historians and scientists do not question it. It is also only one such example from history where in some cases there may be less documentation than even from the stories told of Noah's Ark. And all that even without considering the "corroborating evidence" of the fact of the plurality and commonality of ancient flood stories worldwide, not to mention the Biblical story itself.

References

See Also