Dispatches from the Creation Wars

Noah’s Ark Found – Again

The folks at Worldview Weekend are busily promoting the latest discovery of Noah’s Ark. I say latest because, frankly, the Ark seems to be discovered every few years and yet people keep searching for it. Ron Wyatt claimed to have found it at Durupinar, in Eastern Turkey near Mt. Ararat, but that claim is rejected even by young earth creationist scientists who’ve visited the site (Wyatt is a first class con artist, or was until he died). Ark searchers have claimed to locate it in Turkey itself, on Mt. Ararat, near Mt. Ararat, in several mountain ranges in Iran and in what was once Urartu. Yet none of them have turned out to be true. But this time, they declare, it’s for real:

Led by explorer, adventurer, and featured Worldview Weekend speaker Dr. Bob Cornuke, a fourteen man crew returned this week from Iran bearing stunning evidence that theirs is the long-anticipated, even coveted discovery of the remains of Noah’s Ark. Bob’s team consisted of a Who’s Who of business, law, and ministry leaders including Barry Rand (former CEO of Avis), the multiple best-selling author and Christian apologist Josh McDowell, Frank Turek (co-author with Norm Giesler of I Don’t Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist), Boone Powell (former CEO of Baylor Medical Systems), and Arch Bonnema (president of Joshua Financial).

Notice what’s missing from the list? How about an archaeologist? Or a geologist? The latter would be especially important since, this article claims, the structure they allegedly found looks like basalt:

Reg Lyle, oil and gas geologist said “the object appears to be a basalt dike, however, it is absolutely uncanny that the object looks like hand hewn timbers, even the grain and color look just like petrified wood….I really need to keep an open-mind about this.”

A basalt dike? That looks like wood grain? A geologist should be able to tell the difference rather easily between a basalt dike and petrified wood. And if he can’t, they can certainly be identified in a lab with a basic test – basalt is igneous and should contain all sorts of radioisotopes that petrified wood obviously won’t have. But their whole case seems to rest on the alleged appearance of objects that look like wooden beams:

Bob Cornuke, president of the BASE Institute, is a veteran of nearly 30 expeditions looking for yet-to-be-discovered locations and artifacts described by the Bible. He is cautiously–but enthusiastically–optimistic about the find: “We have no way of confirming for sure that this object is Noah’s Ark, but it is probably the most interesting and baffling object ever found by ark searchers…it sure gets my heart to pumping just thinking of what it could be.”

Well you can’t prove that it’s Noah’s Ark, but you certainly can prove whether or not it’s made of basalt or whether it’s petrified wood. Have they submitted samples to a lab to find out? The article claims that they were tested and found to be petrified wood, but contains no details at all. What tests were performed? At what laboratory? And where are the actual results of that test? Ron Wyatt claimed for years to have lab tests that showed petrified wood from the Durupinar site that dated to about 4500 years ago, but that was a lie.

Then there’s this odd statement from the article:

Upon being cut open, one of these “rocks” also divulged a marine fissile that could have only originated undersea.

I presume this means that there was shale inside one of the rocks, or that the rock was made of shale. The phrase “a marine fissile” makes little sense, since fissile is an adjective. Regardless, why the fact that shale originates underwater would have any connection to Noah’s Ark is beyond me. The ark, if it existed, floated on the ocean, it didn’t get encased in shale at the bottom of the ocean. Of course, the author of the article seems not to understand why one would find marine artifacts in a mountain anyway:

Scouring the mountains all around the object, team participant Steve Crampton found thousands of fossilized sea shells blanketing the landscape. Cornuke brought back a one-inch thick rock slab choked with fossilized clams.

No kidding. This would be an example of the typical creationist nonsense that marine fossils in mountain rock proves that there was a global flood; in actuality, it disproves it. If the marine animals were left behind by the flood, they would be on the mountain, not in the mountain. When you find strata on a mountain with marine fossils embedded into it, that means that strata was deposited underwater and then uplifted to its current height much later, a process we can observe happening today.

Some of America’s leading businessmen, an attorney who has argued several cases before the U.S. Supreme Court, and two leading apologists believed the evidence was compelling enough that they made a daring trip to the politically volatile state of Iran and climbed a harsh mountain to see the object firsthand.

Great. Maybe next time you can send a Dairy Queen manager, a flamenco dancer and two rodeo clowns; their jobs will have just as much relevance to such an exploration as the ones mentioned above.

Let me add one more thing. The author of the article makes the following declaration:

This article and the pictures are copyrighted and can not be duplicated in whole or part. You are free to link to this article but you CAN NOT duplicate any portion of the article or any of the pictures without express written permission from Worldview Weekend, Brannon Howse and Bob Cornuke.

Sorry, Worldview Weekend, it doesn’t work that way. There’s this little legal thing called Fair Use Doctrine. You can copyright material like this, but you cannot prevent others from quoting it while reviewing or criticizing it. You can read all about it here.

Comments

  1. #1 Dave S.
    June 17, 2006

    I see they’ve already insulated themselves from criticism. “Evolutionists” obviously just don’t want the ark to be found and so of course they’ll say anything to cast doubt on this magnificent find. And as for the inevitable doubts of other “Christians”, they are just jealous and a little bit embarassed that they’ve been looking in the wrong places.

    Here’s a photo of a nice basaltic dyke in Maine. Oh look, it’s black and the surrounding rock is reddish, so there’s your pitch. And just look at those sharp angles. Clearly it’s been worked with an axe. Looks like old Noah splashed up in the Downeast State.

    If they don’t like the radiodating, they can always analyse a hunk of the basalt (wood?) for carbon. Basalts will be low in carbon, typically less than 1%, and petrified wood would presumably still have a few percent (2-3% in one source I found) carbon anyway.

  2. #2 Miguelito
    June 17, 2006

    The wood-like textures in the basalt are probably foliations that formed during mountain building. They’re pretty common and any credible geologist would probably be able to recognize them.

    Who needs geochemistry? Just get a microscope and thin section of the sample to see if the minerals in the rock can be identified first.

  3. #3 dochocson
    June 17, 2006

    Clearly, they simply applied Dembski’s explanatory filter, added a pinch of fairy dust, wished really hard, and “a la peanut butter sandwiches”, POOF! basalt becomes petrified wood.

    Amazing, really, the depths to which self-delusion can take one.

  4. #4 Nick (Matzke)
    June 17, 2006

    “The arkish object is about 400 feet long…”

    Arkish? Arkish?

    Seriously, one does not understand creationist psychology until one looks at the never ending searching for — and “finding” — of Noah’s Ark. With a good dose of creovision, any random pointy rock become “The Ark”, a confirmation of the truth of the Bible, an opportunity for fundraising, etc.

  5. #5 Capt. Rational
    June 17, 2006

    I had a Christian friend in high school who once explained to me how some soldiers in the Red Army found irrefutable photographic evidence of the ark’s existence in Turkey. When Stalin found out, he ordered the photographs destroyed. This was the same friend who said a group of Native Americans found the carcass of a recently deceased dinosaur in a river in Oklahoma only a couple thousand years ago. I don’t really talk to this guy anymore.

  6. #6 pough
    June 17, 2006

    This is casting some serious doubt on the veracity of the Noah story. Just how many arks were there, really? They’ve found at least three so far, by my count. Teach the controversy!

  7. #7 Matthew
    June 17, 2006

    The bible is full of plausibly real artifacts to go hunting for, but this is what people seem interested in. A 6,000 year old titanic on a mountaintop.

  8. #8 MisterDNA
    June 17, 2006

    Ed Brayton Said:

    Maybe next time you can send a Dairy Queen manager, a flamenco dancer and two rodeo clowns; their jobs will have just as much relevance to such an exploration as the ones mentioned above.

    Best. Line. Ever.
    (although I think I’d lose one of the rodeo clowns and take along a ninja, just to be on the safe side)

  9. #9 mark
    June 17, 2006

    I was digging in my yard & I found some arkosic material–should I send a story to Worldview WeakEnd? The “marine fissile” had me thinking of shale, also, but I figured the moron really meant “marine fossil”–I’m not familiar with the geology there, but marine fossils might be qommon there for all I know. That reminds me of a creationist tape I listened to, in which the preacher said there were 3 kinds of rocks–sedimentary, metamorphic, and ignatious. Just one of those little hints that the speaker doesn’t know a cobble from a coprolite.

  10. #10 Bruce Thompson
    June 17, 2006

    Here’s my contribution to dike arks
    http://www.pittstate.edu/services/scied/Teachers/Field/Camp/Silvermn/dike2.jpg
    You can see the dark walls and the flat bottom of the barge like ark. Of course it’s a little far west in east-central Missouri, but it is the “show me” state.

  11. #11 Dave S.
    June 18, 2006

    Bruce –

    Those look like stairs to me, or as we say in arkish terminology, a gangway. If you dig on either side you might find fossilized elephant poop.

  12. #12 Dave S.
    June 18, 2006

    My mistake, shipboard stairs (except on cruise liners) are called “ladders”, not gangways. Now I’ll be drummed out of the Arkeologist Union.

  13. #13 Marine Geologist
    June 18, 2006

    MisterDNA – “Best. Line. Ever.”

    Until Dave S. comes along with – “Now I’ll be drummed out of the Arkeologist Union.”

    ROFLMAO>

  14. #14 cfeagans
    June 18, 2006

    Everybody knows that the government has the Ark locked away in a huge warehouse lost amont millions of other crates. Oh. Wait, that’s a different “Lost Ark.”

    Amazingly, I still find myself arguing with Ron Wyatt believers on occasion in both real life and on the internet. Not a single one of them even knew that Wyatt was dead and still spoke as if he was “discovering” things today.

  15. #15 Red Right Hand
    June 18, 2006

    Those look like stairs to me, or as we say in arkish terminology, a gangway. If you dig on either side you might find fossilized elephant poop.

    Or dig up the ends and unearth a fossilized pirate. Shiver me timbers!

  16. #16 kozulich
    June 20, 2006

    You guys would be a lot more credible if you didn’t come across as having an axe to grind. From reading your posts, I get the distinct impression that you all made up your mind before even reading the article (those few of you who did read it), let alone examining all the evidence. FYI the Smithsonian will apparently be doing the lab work (why could I find that information, but nobody here?). Incidentally, you guys seem quick to dismiss biblical archaeology in general, but I wonder how many of you would have scoffed at the finding of Ninevah, the Hittites, Jericho, etc.? All of which “the establishment” thought to be fiction but later verified by archaeologists. Short memories amongst the skeptics, I must say. As to whether the Ark has been found, I don’t know, and I think its too early to tell, but at least I’ll keep an open mind until all the evidence is in and analyzed.

  17. #17 Ed Brayton
    June 20, 2006

    kozulich wrote:

    You guys would be a lot more credible if you didn’t come across as having an axe to grind. From reading your posts, I get the distinct impression that you all made up your mind before even reading the article (those few of you who did read it), let alone examining all the evidence.

    Can you point to anything I said in my post that was false? If so, please do. If not, then the accusation of prejudice is completely irrelevant.

    FYI the Smithsonian will apparently be doing the lab work (why could I find that information, but nobody here?).

    Could you provide a link to such information? And can you explain why you are saying that the Smithsonian will be doing the lab work, while Howse’s article claims it’s already been done and reached a conclusion (without citing the actual results)?

    Incidentally, you guys seem quick to dismiss biblical archaeology in general, but I wonder how many of you would have scoffed at the finding of Ninevah, the Hittites, Jericho, etc.? All of which “the establishment” thought to be fiction but later verified by archaeologists. Short memories amongst the skeptics, I must say.

    You are reading in to what was said things that were never intended. Biblical archaeology is very, very important in helping our understanding of the ancient near east. The existence of Jericho and of the various other nations they fought against are perfectly mundane facts that confirm only the basic dates and places. No one in their right mind ever believed that the Biblical accounts of wars and kings were made up and fictitious. But a global flood escaped by a giant ark carrying two of every land animal on the earth? Well let’s just say that’s a whole lot harder to swallow, being well beyond merely an extraordinary claim.

    I am not the least bit skeptical, nor have I ever been, that, for example, the Israelites really did exist and fought wars against the Midianites, the Moabites, and so forth. But I am highly skeptical of the claim that Noah built an ark to escape a global flood, and if anything, the history of false claims to have found the ark only bear out that skepticism. It’s going to take a lot more than the vague descriptions of non-scientists examining evidence they have no understanding of to convince me of that one, just as it will take a lot to convince me that aliens built the pyramids or that the gods of Olympus met in Atlantis to have sex with mortal women.

  18. #18 Chance
    June 20, 2006

    C’mon Ed lots of Gods have had sex with mortal women. That is one looong list. It almost seems that Earth is the Vegas of the supernatural.

    One thing I’ve never understood about folks like kozulich is why having the tribes found in the bible having existed is any buffer to anyones faith. One would expect, even to an atheist, that most of the places, peoples and such to have been real. It gives any story a location and actors.

    Godzilla stomped Tokyo. Doesn’t mean finding Tokyo would have increased the chances my beloved atomic lizard actually exists.

    It has rained tons here in Houston, to much time to post today.:-)

  19. #19 keywestalaska
    June 21, 2006

    I am a Christian and have accepted Jesus Christ as my personal Savior. My faith in Him is all I need.

    I feel sorry for people who must try to prove what the Bible says is true. What does it matter whether the Ark is anywhere?

    I think some well meaning people have lost their way. Finding the Ark wastes time and resources which should be devoted to helping people find what’s really important..our Lord.

    I pray that each person who reads this will come to know Jesus and His plan for you.

  20. #20 Brian
    June 21, 2006

    I’m a born-again Christian and am highly disappointed in some of my so-called brethren in that they fail in the most basic of scientific methods when it comes to finding the ark. First of all, it was wood. Look at the underside of my deck and ask yourself, “What are the chances that my deck will be here in several thousand years?”. I think that will clarify the likelihood of ever finding the ark. AND, while I understand the importance of biblical archeology, I don’t understand the preoccupation with the boat. The biblical account makes plain a basic tenant of God’s personality: You always have a choice in how you live and God always provides a way out prior to punishment. This applies to life as we know it already (example: You can ignore a “bridge out” sign to your own peril …perfectly understandable and if someone does, then the fault for their own injury or death is none other than their own, right?).

    When I see TV evangelists or big-name ‘christians’ making big claims on weak evidence, I feel saddened that they shed such an ugly light on Christianity and feel that they are responsible for turning away those that God would like to reach. It’s truly a very great shame and not representative of God’s character or the message(s) communicated to us via His Word.

    Back to that ark finding …anybody who spends much time outdoors, even nonexperts like the ones that explored in Iran (where were the scientists??) know that there are many examples of shales and fossils found at high elevations …coincidentally in areas where the mountains were formed via tectonic shifts and upheavels rather than volcanically. Even if it turns out that what they found is not a basaltic flow and IS a ship, it proves nothing. It could be a ship that was shipwrecked on a shore which later experienced upheavel and turned into mountains (MUCH more likely since the wood appears to be petrified, assuming it IS wood …only possible in a wet environment, unlike your typical mountain top.) I believe this is a much more likely explanation of any ship that would be found in this manner. Since far more mountains do NOT have shale and fossils on them, it is far MORE likely that the ark came to rest on a mountain without shale and fossils. And don’t forget about my deck …I doubt that the ship anywhere at this point, and even IF found, would be impossible to identify as the ark unless fully intact and the remains of dung from a LOT of different animals found inside (also very unlikely.)

    Oh, and lest anyone misunderstand, note that I am all for all scientific, geological, and archeological exploration for proving Biblical history that we can get. The value is obvious. I’m NOT in favor of the “faith only” route since it’s a cop-out. There is no reason whatsoever to separate history, science, and archeology from Christianity …after all, if God is real and true, then there will only be discovery of truth, right? (Which means if so-called contradictions ARE found, then you’re not done looking …due diligence is required.)

    Later,
    Brian

  21. #21 anadrol
    June 29, 2006

    Just a question but doesn’t it take millions of years to form petrified wood??? It is also necessary for no O2 to be present otherwise the wood rots away. This generally occurs when the wood is buried an submersed benieth a body of water. Presumably after a flood that placed the arc on top of a mountain how the hell did this occur, I am assuming that there is very little standing water where the arc (sic) was found. How many rock formations need to be found before someone wakes up to the fact that it’s all complete bollocks.

  22. #22 GARY
    July 28, 2006

    THEY HAVE A PETROFIED FOOT IN A COWBOY BOOT FROM 1950 , THE OLDEST TREE IS 4400 TO 4700 YEARS OLD YOU CAN BUY A DOCUMENTORY WITH TOTAL PROOF OF THE BOOK OF EXODUS DOWN TO THE CHARIOT PARTS AT THE BOTTOM OF THE RED SEA, CALLED, THE EXODUS REVEALLED AT http://WWW.QUESTAR1.COM.. ARCHEOLOGIST SIR. WILLIAM RAMSAYS AN ATHIEST, BORN AGAIN BECAUSE THE TRUTH IS SO OVERWELMING, PROVED THE BOOK OF ACTS DOWN TO THE SMALLEST PART,THE BIBLE IS FAR MORE DOCUMENTED THEN ANY THING WE HAVE, CREATION IS FAR MORE COMPLEX THAN ANYTHING WE CAN BUILD,MORE THAN 2000 PROPHECIES HAVE BEEN PERFECTLY FULLFILLED & ALL THE MIRICALS GOD SAID HE WOULD PERFORM HAPPEN EVERY DAY & YOUR STILL LOOKING FOR THE TRUTH. ETERNITY IS A LONG TIME TO BE WAITING FOR YOUR SHIP TO COME IN……

  23. #23 Jim
    September 10, 2006

    Mr. Brayton, if you’r going to quote an article make sure you quote it correctly. this was copied and pasted from the article.

    The arkish object is about 400 feet long and consists of rocks that look remarkably like blackened wood beams while other rock in the area is distinctively brown. And one visible piece is “cut” at 90-degree angle. Even more intriguing, some of the wood-like rocks were tested just this week and actually proved to be petrified wood. It is noteworthy that Scripture recounts Noah sealed his ark with pitch–a decidedly black substance. Upon being cut open, one of these “rocks” also divulged a marine fossil that could have only originated under the sea.

  24. #24 Ed Brayton
    September 10, 2006

    Jim-

    what did I not quote correctly?

  25. #25 Howard
    September 22, 2006

    Actually, some of the comments written above by several people were quite funny. However, the emotions that spurned them are quite sad. I wish as much energy would be spent in raising our next generation, so we could … oh, maybe, get along.
    Noah’s Ark?? Who cares. The Bible was penned by 40 different men over thousands of years. Then preserved for another several thousand years. Then translated into virtually every known tongue. Every nation that has adopted its’ teachings as their basis for everyday living, has prospered far above other nations. If the USA had continued to live by its’ tenet’s, we wouldn’t have had slavery, AIDS, malnutrition, murder, disrespect (oh, was there any of that above?), lies (ditto), etc.
    So, give me all that before you tell me about all the great scientific breakthroughs … nuclear power, vaccines, space exploration, and fuzzless peaches (now that was worth the scientific research). And don’t even try to esteem archeology as being high science. It’s nothing but a hobby science (is it really science?). People who want to look backwards at what has been, rather than plan our future that is needed to survive, are a waste of humanity. You won’t prove there’s a God with it, and you won’t prove there’s no God with it. What a waste.
    C’mon … at the base of all this, is the question of a Creator’s existence. So, if you’ve done as much research of that question, as you’ve done for any other humanly non-provable subject … then live in peace. If you’ve absolutely proven there is no Creator, then you should have been fabulously published by now, and be the book-of-the-month guest on Oprah. If you haven’t disproven His existence, then ask yourself the question … “Could He exist? And, if He could exist, what does He want from me?”. The Bible simply says “He wants your love and friendship”. This saves a lot of research time.
    Lastly, I was an avowed atheist, until I decided I had to prove it … meaning evolution. It had to be 100% correct … all the time … everything had to have evolved … slowly … over millions of years … nothing sudden, because that would be creation. But, not one of my profs could explain how the blood flow mechanisms in a giraffe’s neck could have evolved (because its’ head would explode when it bent over to drink without them) … nor how a giant dinosaur could have breathed in our atmosphere for more than a few footsteps, without dieing from lack of oxygen and from total exhaustion … nor how an ostrich knows how to kick a lion once in the right spot to kill it (because it only gets one chance … right?). Remember, evolution cannot happen through learning …
    I now believe that is why the Bible says that God stated “Come, let us reason together. Let me open your eyes to see and grant you wisdom to understand”.
    I hope you research Him thoroughly. Don’t let me or others sway your future one way or the other. Don’t let a professor or two convince you without checking the facts for yourself. They are human, not gods. And there is plenty of evidence supporting a Creator, but you’ve got to spend time looking, studying, wanting to know.
    Yes … all living things have “morphed” over time. I only have some resemblance to my great great grandparents that I have pics of. I’m much taller, stronger, smarter, better looking (debatable) … but I’m still a human, as were they.
    And I didn’t have to find Noah’s Ark to discover where I came from ….
    Seek and you will find; knock and it will be opened; ask and you will receive. Just ask … He’s waiting.

  26. #26 Howard
    September 26, 2006

    Sorry … I didn’t proof read the above before posting. What I meant to type was “are wasting their humanity” … not “are a waste of humanity”. My apologies.

  27. #27 Zarquon
    September 26, 2006

    And don’t even try to esteem archeology as being high science. It’s nothing but a hobby science (is it really science?). People who want to look backwards at what has been, rather than plan our future that is needed to survive, are a waste of humanity.

    Why would anyone listen to someone who is so proud of their own ignorance?

  28. #28 Howard
    September 27, 2006

    Your one sentence response kind of says it all … as long as you aren’t on the debate team. Discuss the provable … not the judgements that make you feel better, otherwise it makes you sound ignorant.

  29. #29 Brian
    November 30, 2006

    Howard.. there is so much in your post that is apocryphal it is hard to decide where to start… Slavery’s as good a place as any, I guess. The christian nations that saw such prosperity during the peak years of slave trade not only saw immense profits from it–the church actively used slavery as a recruiting tool–africans that had been baptized were initially off limits to the slave traders as an incentive for conversion.

    Your evolution examples are bad as well, since there is fossil evidence of animals related to the giraffe with various lengths of neck, there is not enough anatomical evidence one way or the other for dinosaur respiration, and there are many examples of behaviors being taught to offspring by parents amongst animals.

    But really Zarquon has it right your post was a celebration of ignorance, and as such doesn’t merit the effort to argue. Just as Gary proved the complexity of lower case characters and the shift key disproves their existence.

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