September 20, 2002 | David F. Coppedge

National Geographic Calls Noah’s Ark Search a Stunt

National Geographic News has taken the announcement that McGivern’s team failed to get a permit to search Mt. Ararat (see 04/26/2004 headline) as an opportunity to question all searches and the historicity of Noah’s flood.  They questioned the character and motives of the search team and its guide, and quoted a historian who called the search for Noah’s Ark “fringe archaeology.”  The article recalled previous claims that turned out to be hoaxes, doubted the ability to detect an artificial structure from space, and discounted the story of a world-wide flood in the Bible (unless the Black Sea Flood fit the bill; see 08/22/2003 and 04/21/2001 headlines).  “Most geologists seem to agree that it would probably be impossible for a ship to make landfall at an altitude of 15,000 feet (4,570 meters),” said Stefan Lovgren, author of the article.

This illustrates the damage that can be done by pre-announcing a discovery before any facts are gathered.  The satellite photo McGivern had was much too vague.  Whether his guide is a man of integrity or not could have been moot if he indeed was able to lead them to a ship on the mountain.  Lacking proof, one has no science, just hypothesis and suggestive leads.  When the promised evidence doesn’t arrive after the media fanfare, the opponents can have a field day.  This fiasco could hurt future attempts to explore the mountain.
    It’s not McGivern’s fault that the Turkish government refused his request for a permit, but every would-be explorer can learn a lesson from this episode.  In a rare show of wisdom, wicked old King Ahab warned his enemy, “Let not the one who puts on his armor boast like the one who takes it off” (I Kings 20:11).  Next time, keep away from the press until you’ve got the goods in hand.  That goes for you, too, National Geographic (see 03/18/2003 headline).
    For a wealth of material, photos and news on the search for Noah’s Ark, see NoahsArkSearch.com.

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