Noah’s Ark Found? April 28, 2010

Noah’s Ark Found?

Of course not.

But that’s not stopping a Christian group from saying otherwise.

Now a group called Noah’s Ark Ministries International says they’ve found the ship’s wreckage.

“It’s not 100 per cent that it is Noah’s Ark, but we think it is 99.9 per cent that this is it,” researcher Yeung Wing-Cheung told Agence-France Presse.

The researchers and a film crew have apparently uncovered wooden beams and compartments they say housed the animals. Carbon dating has proven the structure to be 4,800 years old, Yeung said, which gibes with the literal biblical timeline of the flood. He also says the group has ruled out a human settlement at the dig site.

Carbon dating? The same carbon dating that the same kinds of Christians reject when used in other scientific endeavors?

This is typical fundamentalist reasoning: It’s all bad, unless it makes you look good. Tragedy is awful, but it just means God has a better plan for you. And science is wrong, unless it proves a Biblical story true.

Side note: Remember the “Study of the Therapeutic Effects of Intercessory Prayer” (STEP) last year? It found (among other things) that people who knew they were being prayed for got worse than other people. Remember how Christianity Today spun that?

Ironically, STEP actually supports the Christian worldview. Our prayers are nothing at all like magical incantations. Our God bears no resemblance to a vending machine. The real scandal of the study is not that the prayed-for group did worse, but that the not-prayed-for group received just as much, if not more, of God’s blessings. In other words, God seems to have granted favor without regard to either the quantity or even the quality of the prayers. By instinct, we might selfishly prefer that God give preferential treatment to those who are especially, deliberately, and correctly prayed for, but he seems to act otherwise.

True to his character, God appears inclined to heal and bless as many as possible.

That… or the authors couldn’t handle the results, so they purposely misinterpreted the study. You can take a wild guess what they would have been saying if the data showed statistically significant results in favor of prayer…

Anyway, back to Noah’s Ark.

What makes them 99.9% (but not 100%) sure it’s the Ark? Is there some science behind that or a random number just being thrown out there? I’m going to say the latter. Don’t forget: 99.9% of bullshit is still bullshit.

And what will happen when this claim — like every other Creationist claim — is thoroughly debunked?

Nothing. The supporters will just plug their ears, close their eyes, and pretend like it never happened. They’ll crawl back into ignorance.

If any Christian publication or fundie leader supports this “discovery,” we need to be ready to call them out on it when this “Ark” is found to be something else entirely.

Could it be an interesting discovery? Maybe. But they have yet to show evidence that it’s actually Noah’s Ark.

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  • Houndies

    I wonder how big the structure is. It better be freakin’ huge if it was suppose to house two of all the critters on the planet, except the dinosaurs of course, they were to big and made it list heavy to port, so off they went. Poor dinos….

  • littlejohn

    But, but, they said carbon dating isn’t reliable. Look how badly it failed on the Shroud of Turin. Bacteria or something. The scientists must have fixed it.

  • What? A group that set out with a presupposed conclusion found something that might (if you tilt your head and squint from about 50 meters away) support that presupposition?



  • No matter what this boat actually is, it’s pretty cool sounding, especially is the carbon dating is correct. I don’t care if it’s actually Noah’s Ark, or a giant Thetan spaceship. Whatever it is would make a great discussion in an archeology class.

  • Trace

    “But they have yet to show evidence that it’s actually Noah’s Ark”

    Finding some preserved dodo or Tasmanian wolf dung among the remains should do the trick.

  • “Noah’s Ark Ministries International”

    Is it just me or is there a hint of confirmation bias here?

  • brent

    I’m really quite interested in this.

    It would be fascinating to discover what zoological mystical knowledge they had used to keep all those tens of millions of species alive and separated from each other.

    I mean, the refrigeration system ALONE – for storing all the meat for the carnivores, not to mention how they controlled infection on board the ship, and how they maintained the animal’s habitats in such a condition that they left the Ark in perfect breeding condition.

    I mean – wow. The sheer engineering marvels that await us when we get to examine this discovery. I can’t wait to read about it.

  • Bob

    The Biblical account of Noah is nothing more than a just-so story (and a long-winded one) to explain the rainbow.

    Just the math alone makes any suggestion that this was a real account (you know, the Bible-is-the-Word-of-God-inerrant thing). We’re to believe Noah built a ship approximately half the size of an Essex-class aircraft carrier? That this ship would hold two of every animal, plus seven of the clean ones? No mention is made of food for Noah, his sons, their families, or the animals, but the Ark’s journey comes out to be over a year in length?

    So, you find some wood and scraps of rope on a remote mountain and, lo and behold, miracles of miracles, you’re 99.9% certain it’s the fabled Ark? Ooooookay.

    And it’s not just ‘See? The story of Noah is true!’ – it’s the implication that EVERYTHING ELSE, from God to Adam & Eve to the Tower of Babel is 100% accurately recounted in the Bible.

    Utter hogwash.

  • Bob

    And you just KNOW that if they found an old shepherd’s hut, they’d be claiming it was the wheelhouse.

  • Sunioc

    That this ship would hold two of every animal, plus seven of the clean ones?

    Which is even more interesting, considering which animals are unclean isn’t established until centuries later, when Moses brought the rulebook down from the mountain.

  • Bob


    God retcons? Whodathunkit.

  • Patrick

    Not even 2 days have passed an it already seems as if the story is debunked.

    PZ Myers already has an article on it:

    Gotta love bad biased research, without actual proof, being presented as fact. Exactly what they claim so called “Evolutionists” do :).

    Ah the irony tastes oh so sweet.


  • Regarding STEP, the Christian “scientists” claimed “True to his character, God appears inclined to heal and bless as many as possible.” If he’s God, wouldn’t healing and blessing EVERYBODY be “possible.”
    The 99.9% gives them that .01% chance to backpedal when real scientists come in with undeniable proof that the structure was a goat shed or something instead of a boat.

  • Next they will find an old shoe in the belly of some ancient whale remains and conclude that the story of Jonah is also true.

  • Apeist-Not

    Well they found an ape(actually just a lemur) they called Ida and claim it is the missing link… Wow they sure got really GREAT faith to believe that claim. Also the carbon dating is always used wrong. The get 49 readings out of 50 readings claiming for example a sample is 6000 years old, while the remaining one claiming to be 6 million years. Which do they choose? the 6 million claim of course… Just because it fits into their “faith”.

    Another thought: how did the DEAF rattle snake find out it needed something to rattle to warn its hunter? hmm… How did pretty much all animals find out they needed eyes to see? …converting light into image inside their brain? wow you must have some faith to believe big bang and natural selection.

  • Chas, PE SE

    One of my co-workers saw the story: “Hey, the found the Ark on a mountain in Turkey!” pause. “Why would anyone build a boat on top of a mountain?”

    (face palm)

  • Why would anyone build a boat on top of a mountain?

    Well obviously that is merely the place where the ark was floating by when the water receded enough to expose land. They beached the ark there and all the animals got off. That is why skeletal remains from all the world’s animals are found on and around that particular mountain in Turkey. Or I’m assuming that is the case. 😉

    Or perhaps the devil then moved all the animals to other places on the planet to cause doubt among people later on. Bad bad devil!

  • Roxane

    Don’t they come up with a new ark on this blasted mountain every 20 years or so?

    I wonder how excited they’d be if the carbon dating showed the structure to be more than 6,000 years old.

  • Dave B

    I’m the archaeologist in my family and every time something like this happens I have to do damage control for my Catholic fathers side.

  • Bob

    @Jeff P:

    I hate to break it to you, but the story of Noah’s Ark ended in tragedy. The pair of anacondas ate one of Noah’s sons and his wife. Another slipped and fell into the elephant pen, which had 370 days of dung in it, horrible way to go.

    But the real tragedy is that the rest of Noah and his family were devoured by a reptilian creature they thought was some kind of lizard, but turned out to be a Lovecraftian elder god. And they brought TWO of them along for the ride, even!

    At least, I’m 99.9% sure that’s what happened.

  • H

    There are lots of ways to refute the Noah’s Ark story, but my favourite is this: If you estimate the weight of the Ark, even with conservative values for the number of species and food supply, it exceeds the weight of water displaced. In other words, Genesis gives instructions on how to build a gopher wood submarine.

  • Stories like this crack me up. The only thing I wonder is whether they know they are putting out bullshit or if they are actually that self-delusional.

  • Judith Bandsma


    2 each of the ‘unclean’ animals, 7 each of the ‘clean’.

    Best story of the ark comes from a Sunday school teacher who asked her class of 5 and 6 year olds what Noah might have done while waiting for the water to go down.

    Nobody really had any answers so she prodded them with ‘don’t you think he might have done some fishing’ (I guess the idea of shoveling animal shit out of the pens was beyond the kids’ reach)

    One little girl answered her “not with only 2 worms he didn’t”

    (Disclaimer…just in case it’s necessary…I believe the tale of Noah’s ark about as much as I believe in unicorns, dragons and fairies [the type with wings])

  • plutosdad

    When someone says to pray for certain events to happen, and I point out every study on prayer shows it only helps the person praying, and so it’s no different than mediation or cognitive therapy, they say “stop trying to redefine prayer, it doesn’t work that way, god doesn’t do what you ask”

    so then I say if he doesn’t, 1. why pray and 2. who is trying to redefine prayer? You just said to ask for things, then suddenly say the purpose is not to ask for things

    In addition, if he only does his will and not what you ask for, why do so many christians point to “answered prayer” as their reason for faith (despite having “evidence” means it’s not faith).

    I believe the whole “god only does his will not what you ask for” is just a way to work around the fact things you ask for don’t happen, it’s all random, and we tend to remember things the way we want.

  • Bob


    In my personal experience, what I ask for through prayer tends to be things I already have, but for any number of reasons feel that I am unable to bring into play in a given situation. Patience. Insight. Charity.

    In this sense, prayer is not so much a dialogue with a formalized God, but an attempt to reconcile the rational/emotional sides of myself (hopefully so the rational side can assert itself) – essentially meditation. It’s what one acting teacher called ‘getting out of your own way.’

    A couple of years back, some other friends got all caught up in ‘The Secret’ (exert your will upon the universe through prayer, get cool stuff and prizes). To which I posed the question, if Barry Bonds is calling upon the universe for his record-breaking home run, and he doesn’t get it, was hit because someone else was praying otherwise? The pitcher? The outfielder? Someone in the stands?

    The response, as you might have guessed, was ‘you don’t understand prayer.’

  • “Why would anyone build a boat on top of a mountain?”

    Have you ever tried building a boat in the water? It always sinks before you finish it.

    Noah and the truth about dinosaurs.

  • Siamang

    The real scandal of the study is not that the prayed-for group did worse, but that the not-prayed-for group received just as much, if not more, of God’s blessings. In other words, God seems to have granted favor without regard to either the quantity or even the quality of the prayers.

    I guess “people just got better because of the medicine” wasn’t even on this dude’s radar.

  • IN breaking news:

    Religious people engage in cognitive dissonance!

  • Alan E.

    “It’s not 100 per cent that it is Noah’s Ark, but we think it is 99.9 per cent that this is it,”

    They must be bad at statistics, too, unless they have a mountain of data that is irrefutable. Of course, one can easily fool yourself into being overconfident about data. If they had claimed some level of confidence that the data was true within some range, I might have read into it more. But this ambiguous 99.9% means nothing.

  • There are good prayers and bad prayers. Good prayers are defined as prayers being consistent with God’s will. Bad prayers are defined as prayers not being consistent with God’s will.
    Since God’s will will be done, God answers all good prayers. When something you pray for comes true, God has answered your specific prayer. If you pray for something and it doesn’t come true, then obviously the prayer was a bad prayer and God didn’t answer it. Why pray? Because God wants us to. He likes it when we pray. And we all want a happy god on judgment day. If only atheists could understand this…

    P.S. The same logic works for any entity imaginable that you could pray to. 😉

    So start praying and confirm your positive results!!!

    P.P.S. @Bob, that is sad about Noah’s family being devoured by the Lovecraftian elder god. They should have prayed over the decision of whether or not to include them on the Ark.

  • Killer Bee

    In other news NASA scientists are considering the implications of 40 years of circumventing the dreaded “firmament.”
    So far, propelling right through it seems to be doing the trick. But, more research is needed to investigate this strange phenomenon of unimpeded space travel.

  • Stephen P

    Bob wins the thread.

    As far as the clean animals go: God first tells Noah to take two of every sort. Then he gives all the instructions over again but this time tells him to take seven pairs of the clean animals and one pair of the unclean. (Bit like some customers I have encountered.) Then Noah actually takes two of each sort “as God had commanded”. Then the flood arrives, and it rains for forty days and forty nights. And then Noah goes into the ark again, taking two of each sort. (Look, I’m only reading what it says.)

    It’s one of the pieces of evidence for the documentary hypothesis: two versions of the story shoved in together without much effort put into resolving the mismatches. (Again, like some customer specifications I have met.)

    And indeed it hasn’t yet been defined which animals are clean, and won’t be for a good many generations. But time travel seems to have been commonplace then. In chapter 12 Abraham comes out of a city that won’t be built yet for a few centuries. Nice trick if you can do it.

  • Dan Covill

    How high is Mt. Ararat? 5,000 m. or about 3 miles. How big is Turkey? About 310k sq mi. If Mt. Ararat is the only visible land, then Turkey is covered with close to 1 million(!) cubic miles of water!

    Where did it come from? 40 days/nights of rain won’t come close to generating 3 miles of water. Where did it go? For the water in Turkey to be 3 miles deep then at least the Mediterranean and Eastern Europe are flooded to similar depths.

    I’d love to see the ARKeoligists explanation of the physics of the flood.

  • TheLoneIguana

    @Dan Covill:

    Once again, Ken Ham provides his ridiculous set of “answers” to how it all went down.

    Full of the usual fallacies, smug self-righteousness and ignorance, scientific and otherwise.

    As usual.

  • Lisa

    “True to his character, God appears inclined to heal and bless as many as possible. ”

    As many as possible? Isn’t it supposed to be God doing the healing?

  • Flah the Heretic Methodist

    “It’s not 100 per cent that it is Noah’s Ark, but we think it is 99.9 per cent that this is it,”

    With a +/- 49.9% margin of error.

  • This reminds me of the tabloid I read a few years ago (I was bored and a long way from home), with the headline, “Existence of god proven! DNA test of hair sample from beard of god shows 100% match!”

    Of all the millions of thoughts that went through my head as I read that, the one I recall most prominently was definitely, “If they had god’s DNA to test it against in the first place, wouldn’t that constitute proof in and of itself?”

    And that is one reason (among many other, less funny ones) why I do not trust science which involves itself in religious pursuit in any way.

  • muggle

    OMG, how they stretch credibility and jump through hoops to “prove” absurd claims!

    This too may amuse:

    Not only does the animal population seem rather sparse, it also seems to assume animals had no need to move around etc. while definitely displaying them as anything but hibernating babies. (See Lone Iguana’s Ken Ham link above.)

    Oh, these people really are too funny.

  • Alan E.

    I like this little tidbit from Ken Ham’s website

    Answers in Genesis has seen many photos that were released, but without corroboration by the leading creationist organizations and not knowing all the research methods that were employed, we will withhold judgment until further study. Over the decades, we have learned to be cautious about such Ark claims.

    Now that sounds pretty reasonable! Of course, you must continue reading. In this case, the very next line:

    We have no doubt, however, that there once was a massive Ark that served as a vessel of salvation during a global Flood and landed on the mountains of Ararat, as recorded in the book of Genesis.


  • one would think that with camera phones and youtube, they would have pics and videos of it.

    oh well…

  • Mel
  • littlejohn

    I wonder why Noah landed on Ararat when Everest must have been available at least a week or two earlier.
    Oh yeah, they couldn’t. It was infested with abominable snowmen.

  • martin sluier

    Your comments seem to be logic, but what if?
    Contemplate on that for a while, it would really rock the world, wouldn’t it?
    Really investigate the flood theory, because that’s the the only key to the carbon dating becoming accurate after it.
    So if it is true we would have to adjust our view on everything? Wouldn’t we?


  • Christel

    @martin sluier: Carbon dating for this find came back at 4800 years old. By YEC estimates, it HAS to be older due to the great flood affecting carbon levels.
    Contemplate on that for a while: It would really rock your world, wouldn’t it?

  • Steve 1001

    I hope you know the “mountains of Ararat” are in Armenia, not Turkey. Dag Agri was not known as Mount Ararat back in the day. Maybe the Turkey Board of Tourism just needed a cash cow, but the name Ararat was centuries after the Bible was written. So why does it matter if the Titantic, the Spanish Aramada, or the Minnow are up there, its not even the right country.

  • Of course there is no ark, it is just another attempt to try to justify all their lies

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