“Spirited Debate,” a Fox News program hosted by Lauren Green, recently interviewed Norman Geisler and Philip Williams on the possible discovery of Noah’s Ark.1 Despite Dr. Geisler’s support, three reasons suggest we should be skeptical toward their claims.
Geisler presides over Southern Evangelical Seminary (SES) in Charlotte, North Carolina. The Seminary released a news report stating that video, photographs, and testimony about the Ararat finds would be presented at the October 16 and 17 Apologetics Conference.2 The statement referenced NAMI, a group of Ark explorers based in China, which in 2010 told Fox News that they were “99.9 percent [sure] that this is it.”3 Well, it wasn’t.
Apparently, they are releasing new details. But what kind of details would they have missed in 2010? Possibly those details were added to the site since then.4
Williams told “Spirited Debate” that his investigation revealed that the supposed ark site leans on an unsubstantiated rumor.
According to personal correspondence with other serious Ark searchers, investigations of the 2010 NAMI claims concluded that they were fake. The searchers described it as a movie-set on a mountainside location that matched none of the eyewitness Ark accounts. Someone hauled huge wooden structures up the mountain during the offseason (non-summertime), and set them into a glacial crevasse. The steep-sided mountain is in constant motion as the weight of the glaciers, with freeze-thaw cycles, heave and move rocks and ice. Avalanches are quite common, too. So it didn’t take long for the planted structure to look well-settled-in.
Even so, the NAMI “Ark” is much too small to fit the Bible’s ark size. Defenders must claim that the vast majority of the Ark vanished but only this bit remains—in remarkable preservation. This sounds very unlikely.
Plus, locals supposedly admitted that they had been hired to do the labor. Who hired them? Parasut, the same Turkish guide who led NAMI to that fake site in 2010 and made a small fortune on the scheme.
SES News said that Parasut would be featured at the October event. Yet, John Morris of ICR, who “has made over a dozen trips to Mount Ararat between 1971 and 1990,”5 told Creation Science Update that Parasut was a known charlatan even back in the 1980s.
Sources say Parasut has become a powerful and dangerous figure in eastern Turkey, possibly bribing judges and state officials—bribery being standard practice in that area. If so, he hasn’t made his fortune by simply raising sheep.
Because NAMI, which was led astray in 2010, also backs this 2015 “discovery,” because several researchers have found NAMI and Parasut’s Ark claims insufficient both then and now, and because a man of questionable character has been their well-paid guide, these possible Ark finds look more like another elaborate money-making scheme than any kind of legitimate archaeological procedure.6
- Does new evidence point to Noah’s Ark? Spirited Debate. Fox News. Posted on foxnews.com October 16, 2015, accessed October 21, 2015.
- Does New Eyewitness Evidence Point to Noah’s Ark? Southern Evangelical Seminary. Posted on ses.edu October 16, 2015, accessed October16, 2015.
- Has Noah's Ark Been Found on Turkish Mountaintop? Fox News. Posted on foxnews.com April 27, 2010, accessed October 22, 2010.
- One of those details would be a new carbon date for a piece of wood from the Ararat artifact. However, at fewer than 5,000 carbon years, this probably could not represent pre-Flood wood. Coal and wood plus fossils—all from the pre-Flood world—regularly show carbon ages in the range of between 20,000 and 50,000 carbon years. See Thomas, B. and V. Nelson. 2015. Radiocarbon in Dinosaur and Other Fossils. Creation Research Society Quarterly. 51(4): 299-311. So if these remains were really Noah’s ark, we would expect their carbon years to instead number in the tens of thousands range. Note that carbon years in this range do not correlate with calendar years.
- Dao, C. Chinese Explorers Claim Noah’s Ark Find. Creation Science Update. Posted on icr.org April 28, 2010, accessed October 22, 2015.
- If correct, then this would not be the first time that a would-be archaeologist perpetrated fakes for income. See: Has the Ark of the Covenant been found? Creation Ministries International. Posted on creation.com 2005, accessed October 22, 2015.
*Mr. Thomas is Science Writer at the Institute for Creation Research.
Article posted on October 26, 2015.