Tuesday, 27 April 2010


“There’s something in every atheist, itching to believe, and something in every believer, itching to doubt.” - Mignon McLaughlin

The reconciliation of religion with history is always a tough proposition. Religion relies mainly on faith, whereas history relies on facts. The older a religion is the less the facts and artifacts we can find to substantiate claims made by that religion’s holy books, its adherents and belief systems. History, which relies on facts and documentary evidence is sometimes more reliable, but unfortunately, even in history books serious errors have been promulgated (for one or another reason) as time and closer investigation often shows. It is an electrifying experience when one finds some real documentary evidence that tends to support a religious belief and it galvanises the adherents of that religion into raptures of joy, while the non-believers are somewhat shaken in their skepticism.

I read in the paper in the train this afternoon that a group of explorers said on Monday they believe they may have found Noah’s Ark. Apparently, while searching for the remains of Noah’s Ark on Mount Ararat in Eastern Turkey, a team of evangelical Chinese-Turkish explorers successfully excavated and ventured inside a large wooden structure at an elevation of more than 4,000 m above sea level.

Specimens of the wood found at the site were dated as being 4,800 years old. Officials of the Turkish government and Cultural Ministries regarded the finds positively and jointly announced the discovery with the exploration team in Hong Kong. They planned to submit an application for the wooden structure to be included on UNESCO’s World Heritage List. A mutual agreement for further co-operation was signed and the Hong Kong team members were recognised as Honorable Citizens of Agri Province, Turkey.

The decrepit wooden structure that was discovered by the team was entered through various openings, to discover seven enclosed spaces. More “rooms” are expected to be discovered. Attending experts and government officials agreed that the discovery is of great significance. In light of historical records, they believe that the most probable identity for the structure is Noah’s Ark and subsequent scientific studies should be undertaken. Mr. Gerrit Aalten, renowned Dutch Ark researcher said, “The significance of this find is that for the first time in history the discovery of Noah’s Ark is well documented and revealed to the worldwide community.”

The absence of photographs from the report is conspicuous. The types of dating tests that were done (and by whom) are not given. The composition of the expeditionary team is also rather suspicious as it is a prejudiced group that has a vested interest in the discovery. The Turkish authorities also are far from impartial as they can only benefit from publicity surrounding the supposed find: Tourism to the region will be greatly boosted by any claims that the Ark has been discovered. Furthermore, when I googled the “renowned” Mr Gerrit Aalten I found very little on him, except one site which he has obviously constructed.

Call me a skeptic, but I regard such claims with suspicion. Maybe it is my scientific training and my logic that is getting in the way of pure faith. However, let me also add that anyone who believes in a religious idea fervently needs no tangible proof to underpin that faith.


  1. Wow!!!! this could be a very historic discovery if it is true Nic!!!
    I havent heard anything about it except here...

  2. OK, we have pictures! But the scientific community is highly sceptical!


  3. But was there elephant shit? I read sometime ago where a team of mathematicians got together with zoologists to compile a list of animals for the ark (seven of every good and something less of every bad - arbitrary at best)and the minimum space requirements, food required for a 40 plus days at sea, waste products generated and time to muck the stalls, even buckets needed to haul water over the rail (provided it was not to saline from mixing with the seas beneath the rain).

    It was a very interesting read just in the list of considerations the Bible does not note. Bottom line was there was not enough staff (Noah, wife and sons and their wives), or space for the animals let alone their food regardless of your interpretation of a cubit. Nor would our largest vessel at sea suffice.

    But the biggest question is why when you discover a huge wooden building at the top of a mountain (isn't which mountain as Ararat still in debate?) it is immediately the impossible - a boat, and not a large apartment complex.

    Signed, a doubting Thomas

  4. I must say that I have followed this story and agree with your assessment of it. People believe and once they believe an ounce they will believe a pound or a hundredweight...