More Crappy Archaeology Reporting

From ABC News:

A team of Texas archaeologists believe they may have located the remains of Noah’s Ark in Iran’s Elburz mountain range.

Who are these Texas “archaeologists” who have purportedly found Noah’s Ark? The BASE Institute. Who or what is the BASE Institute? From their Methodology FAQ:

The BASE Institute is a parachurch ministry, founded with the goal of uncovering physical evidence and ancient testimony that confirms the biblical record in all of its details. The goal of BASE Institute is twofold: (1) the encouragement of believers’ confidence in the Bible and excitement about the Bible; and (2) a witness to unbelievers concerning the historicity of the Bible as well as its reliability about spiritual issues, Jesus
Christ, and personal salvation.

Yup, real archaeological shakers and movers there…But what is their approach to science?

We recognize that scholarship does not have the final say on the Bible; rather,
the Bible has the final say on scholarship.

We live in a culture that has all but deified “science” and “scholars,” as though the Bible has taken a back seat to the assessments of the “experts.” While we recognize the limited value of qualified, objective scholarship – and draw on that discipline when appropriate – we always recognize the Bible’s ultimate pre-eminence over the
conclusions or consensus of scholars. According to the Bible, the Word of God is “alive and powerful” – the theories, conclusions, opinions, and publications of scholars are not. The Bible is the source of all truth – scholars, however, simply are not. The Word of God is often equated with the nature and character of God Himself – not many scholars would claim that for themselves. The Bible is inspired, inerrant, and authoritative – no scholar (though some sound as though they think they are) can make these claims. Again – we freely acknowledge the value of genuine scholarship that is submitted to the ultimate authority and scrutiny of the Bible. Scholarly study has lent a certain amount of light to the Scriptures; but it has also brought a huge amount of confusion, controversy and conflict to biblical issues. When this is the case, we believe the Bible stands as the final, clarifying, validating authority on the propositions of scholarship.

And so on through eight pages of drivel. No where on the site could I find anything relevant to the practice of archaeology such as; field experience, number of sites excavated, peer-reviewed journals contributed to, degrees in anthropology or archaeology. etc. In point of fact BASE is not an archaeological institute and it’s practicioners shopuld not be described as “archaeologists”. In fact they are biblical apologists with leanings towards all manner of pseudo-archaeology:

However, we need look only as far as the mystery is of ancient megalithic architecture, ancient astronomic records, ancient medical technology, and other unexplained feats of ancient humanity to see that discounting the potential of the ancients to accomplish and accurately write about great things is a huge mistake.

ABC News’ front page headlined the story “Archaeologists Believe They’ve Found Noah’s Ark” and then spends two pages credulously qouting everything the “christian archaeologists” say. Which makes one wonder what’s happened to journalistic standards at ABC…
Update: Abnormal Interests, Hot Cup of Joe and Darksyde have stories on it as well. Darksyde has a link to an an article and some video. Couple of things stand out.

According to Bonnema, in biblical times, Ararat was in the region which is today northern Iran.

Does that mean it moved later??

A Houston lab used by the Smithsonian tested the alleged ark. Bonnema says they found that it was petrified wood, and that fossilized sea animals were buried inside it.

I’d really like to know the name of this lab, maybe see the report. As it stands they seem to be relying on the power of the word “Smithsonian” to prove the point. It would make more sense if they claimed they had fossilized land animals, as it stands it sounds more like they found this guy’s ship:
All kidding aside, it sounds like they found fossil bearing strata and nothing more…
Second Update: Chris O’Brien at Northstate Science makes a convincing case that his find is the real ark…which, let the record show, is perfectly consistent with my theory that BASE found the ship of Davy Jones (the squid guy, not the former Monkey)…
But lest you think I’m not taking this seriously enough let’s compare.
The above is columnar basalt. Below is what BASE found.
Basalt%202.jpg (Note to BASE: Fair Use)
Is there a difference between the two other than that the first picture displays cross bedding while the second displays parallel bedding?

25 Responses

  1. Wow! They found Noah’s Ark! You wouldn’t think a boat made out of wood would have survived several thousand years, but there it is in black and white.
    Incidentally, I’m an “archaeologist” too, and I recently found the remains of Santa’s workshop in Northern Ontario. I’m also an anthropologist and I have discovered a secret tribe of Keebler elves living in my rectum. I wonder if I can get the BASE Institute to give me some money.

  2. There goes that liberal media again.

  3. Hmmmm, Iran. Maybe BASE is a CIA front and they made this claim in order to throw those Iranians off the track of their *REAL* mission.

  4. No wonder the public is so confused about science. Some people still believe that there is no scientific consensus about global warming. Maybe that is because there is no journalistic consensus about who is a scientist, and who is a poseur.
    The example you cite is very much like the instances of news media taking video press releases and passing them off as news items. It’s sloppy and dishonest, especially when even the most cursory fact-checking would reveal that the story has not merit.

  5. They have pictures here.
    Looks like a pile of petrified wood.
    His discovery will greatly distress evolutionists who do not want the story of Noah and a worldwide flood to be verified.

    Yeah, those evil evolutionists.

  6. Yeah, it took me all of five seconds to find the info. It really sounds like they took a press release added a few words here and there and published the thing. Boggles the mind they would call these folks archaeologists…

  7. Wow!!! I have a peice of Noah’s Ark at home!
    Except mine didn’t come from Iran. It came from this black dike in the Middle Teton.
    These formations occur where lava has filled cracks in the earths crust. It looks like quite a bit of the older softer rock has worn away from the one they found and left it in a shipwreck. And by shipwreck, I mean big pile.
    Here are their photos.
    How much freakin water would it take to flood the earth to 13,000 feet?
    How flat out dumb are these people?

  8. Hmmmm…..
    I wonder how much I can get for a peice of Noah’s Ark on e-bay?

  9. It is kind of astonishing that an organization the size of ABC wouldn’t even bother with basic fact checking. I edit several trade magazines and even I manage to find time to check facts on stories a whole lot more believable than this.

  10. Gaaah! Now they have video!

  11. Except mine didn’t come from Iran. It came from this black dike in the Middle Teton.

  12. I don’t know. I think if he claimed that the animals carried a piece of the ark with them (for sentimental reasons) as they dispersed, he could probably sell quite a few pieces of the “ark”…

  13. Shoddy archaeology and the horrific methodology FAQ aside, I just love the leap of logic from “We found Noah’s Ark!” to “God must have existed” (loving the past tense too). As an amigo on another forum posted, it’s equivalent to saying, “Wow, we found the ruins of Troy, therefore Theseus must have slain a Minotaur!”. Wish I could take credit for that one…

  14. Today the carbon dating has proven that the wood they found was from the same time as Noah’s Ark (about 2350 BC)and there is DNA evidence of hundreds of species of animals as well.

  15. Gimme a break. They claimed to find petrified wood, which to my knowledge can’t be RC dated (but I could be wrong). Where did they find the DNA? Your sources for this info are?

  16. I’m a geologist so I’ll give my qualified opinion. From the photos (I wish I had a hand sample), it looks like basalt with some foliations. Simply put, it’s basalt that’s undergone some metamorphosis and is part way to turning into slate. Foliations often have a “woody” texture because elongate mineral grains will align their long axes when stresses are applied. Given that this rock formation is exposed in a mountain chain, it’s likely that it has undergone some heat and pressure in its history, explaining this woody texture.
    If it’s basalt, there is no possibility that this ever was wood.
    Building an ark out of basalt would be incredibly stupid.

  17. date of flood 2350 BC
    this puts it in the midst of recorded history
    did they forget to tell the Chinese, or the Egyptians because they did not seem to get the word. All those structire they built must have been built under water.
    Confucius said “…what flood”

  18. Hasn’t the ark been “found” several times already? This is sort of like the Shroud of Turin – every few years somebody gets into the news with it.
    The credulous faithful never seem to learn that there’s always a huckster willing to make money off their belief.

  19. Yeah, it’s been found at least once before but maybe that first one was the ark of Atrahasis

  20. I don’t don’t have anyone posting at my blog on the subject, but there’s been a lot of traffic from sites like:
    People, regardless of the religious beliefs, are talking about the issue and looking for opinions and information, so it’s good that blogs are discussing it. At least some critical thinking appears to be going on.

  21. Thanks for the info. If you hear anything about this lab in Texas that is supposed to be affiliated with the Smithsonian let me know. There seems to be some misinformation being spread (see Jack above and some of the comments on Ed’s original post on this) that I would love to track down the source of…

  22. I think Jack’s mention of radiocarbon dating and DNA is a good example of some of the willingness by believers of biblical mythology to completely invent evidence to support their beliefs. Ron Wyatt was certainly good at this before his death, and went to extravagant lengths to do so.

  23. What a load of crap. It looks like slate to me.. but without a hand sample (better yet, a thin section to examine) there is no way to tell for sure, other than the fact I would bet my eye teeth it isn’t wood.
    In addition, the surrounding area (the little I could tell from the pictures directly SURROUNDING the “wood”) appeared to have rocks all around it that were similar to the original structure. Funny how it’s spread out so far…I would wager to say it is an exposed dike. It has undergone some metamorphics though, as it doesn’t have the same cleavage as the columnar basalt.

  24. That was Miguelito’s opinion as well – at least in terms of undergoing metamorphics.

  25. If you guys keep bringing up global warming, some of us will begin to think you’re BASE moles. By the way, some guy in Texas PROVED that the Garden of Eden was originally in Texas. And Eve didn’t snitch an apple…it was a jalapeño pepper. It’s in the Bible. Look it up.

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