Noah’s Ark “Discovery”: The Unsurprising Follow-Up

In a totally unsurprising turn of events, serious doubt is being cast on the Noah’s Ark Discovery I blogged about last week.

The Christian Science Monitor is actually doing more unbiased reporting than freaking ABC News (take that “journalism”)!

From the CSM article:

But Dr. Randall Price, an evangelical Christian and former member of the Chinese-led team that announced this week’s finding, says the latest purported finding may not withstand closer scrutiny.

“If the world wants to think this is a wonderful discovery, that’s fine. My problem is that, in the end, proper analysis may show this to be a hoax and negatively reflect how gullible Christians can be,” he says.

‘Difficulties with a number of issues’

Dr. Price, who is director of the Center for Judaic Studies at the conservative Liberty University in Lynchburg, Va., was the archaeologist on the Chinese-led team in 2008 when this alleged discovery was first made. He says he has “difficulties with a number of issues related to the evidence at hand.”

Price declined to elaborate. However, a leaked email from Price – which he confirms that he wrote – shows that he has reason to believe that a group of local Kurdish men trucked wood up to the mountain and staged an elaborate hoax for the Chinese team.

A group of Kurdish workers “are said to have planted large wood beams taken from an old structure in the Black Sea area (where the photos were originally taken) at the Mt. Ararat site. … During the summer of 2009 more wood was planted inside a cave at the site. The Chinese team went in the late summer of 2009 (I was there at the time and knew about the hoax) and was shown the cave with the wood and made their film,” Price writes in the email.

Price is a longtime searcher himself for the ark. As a member of Noah’s Ark Search LLC, he had gone on a number of expeditions to Mount Ararat.

Price was not the only member to withdraw from the Chinese-led team over questions about their purported finding.

“I’m a scientist. I need to have good evidence,” says Dr. Morris. “As of right now, there is not.”

In addition to the skepticism getting thrown at this purported “discovery” by actual scientists, an email has since leaked from Dr. Randall Price who was on the Chinese expidition, casting more serious doubts on the scientific validity of the find:

I was the archaeologist with the Chinese expedition in the summer of 2008 and was given photos of what they now are reporting to be the inside of the Ark. I and my partners invested $100,000 in this expedition (described below) which they have retained, despite their promise and our requests to return it, since it was not used for the expedition. The information given below is my opinion based on what I have seen and heard (from others who claim to have been eyewitnesses or know the exact details).

To make a long story short: this is all reported to be a fake. The photos were reputed to have been taken off site near the Black Sea, but the film footage the Chinese now have was shot on location on Mt. Ararat. In the late summer of 2008 ten Kurdish workers hired by Parasut, the guide used by the Chinese, are said to have planted large wood beams taken from an old structure in the Black Sea area (where the photos were originally taken) at the Mt. Ararat site. In the winter of 2008 a Chinese climber taken by Parasut’s men to the site saw the wood, but couldn’t get inside because of the severe weather conditions. During the summer of 2009 more wood was planted inside a cave at the site. The Chinese team went in the late summer of 2009 (I was there at the time and knew about the hoax) and was shown the cave with the wood and made their film. As I said, I have the photos of the inside of the so-called Ark (that show cobwebs in the corners of rafters – something just not possible in these conditions) and our Kurdish partner in Dogubabyazit (the village at the foot of Mt. Ararat) has all of the facts about the location, the men who planted the wood, and even the truck that transported it.”

So can we go ahead and call this myth busted yet? If the leaked email is true, you have to hand it to the Chinese for this con job. Pocket some good time research cash, announce the discovery with zero evidence or scientific veracity, then count on the fact that no one will report the follow up that it was a scam, hoax, or just plain wrong.

Either way, the “discovery” is what makes the headlines, and gets reported as actual news. Sigh.

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~ by K. Ritcheson on May 5, 2010.

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