I got a barrage of emails over the past couple of days regarding a press conference claiming that Noah’s ark has been found on Mt. Ararat.

I have many friends who have been expedition organizers/participants on Mt. Ararat as they searched for Noah’s ark, and while I haven’t personally been there yet, I have been invited to participate in expeditions.  After getting a second-hand email from Randall Price (who’s been on Ararat multiple times) giving cautioning words, I also phoned Dr. Don Patton to discuss the recent press release.

The Press Release:

You can read a report on the press release here:

http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/news/2949640/Noahs-Ark-found-in-Turkey.html

And the website for the Hong Kong search team:

http://www.noahsarksearch.net/eng/

The history:
First, you need to understand that this is the same team that claimed to have a piece of petrified wood, assumed to be part of Noah’s ark, taken from Mt. Ararat two years ago:

http://www.thepeninsulaqatar.com/Display_news.asp?section=local_news&month=january2008&file=local_news2008011955044.xml

After the 2008 press release, Dr. Patton and another friend of mine, Dr. Don Shockey (another long-time Noah’s ark researcher and Ararat explorer) flew to Hong Kong to meet with the Chinese team to discuss their findings, and see if they could possibly collaborate on research.

It very quickly became apparent that the “petrified wood” was simply volcanic rock, and not petrified wood at all.  An honest mistake, but unfortunately, this particular piece of “wood” has resurfaced with the media hub-bub of this past week.  This “petrified wood” was not the sample that was carbon dated, mentioned in this recent press release (more on that in a minute).

The person who “found” the site is a Turkish man by the name of Parasut, who has already been known to con ark researchers in the past, and it would appear that this particular case is no different.  Parasut has been the “guide” for the Hong Kong team.

In 2008, Dr. Price and Dr. Patton joined the Hong Kong team for an expedition to the alleged site of Noah’s ark.  After a month of waiting, with Parasut continually drunk, the expedition never happened, and a lot of money was lost.  Not to mention, this is an incredibly dangerous area all-around.  People die on these expeditions – regularly.

The Videos & Photos:

It is difficult and confusing to wade through the photos and videos provided on the noahsarksearch.net website.

The photos are apparently the exact same photos that were presented to Dr. Patton, Dr. Shockey, and Dr. Randall Price two years ago. These photos were apparently not taken by the expedition team but were taken by Parasut, at an undisclosed location.  If the team had “successfully excavated and ventured inside a large wooden structure at an elevation of more than 4,000m above sea level” (noahsarksearch.net website) then why are they using the same photos from two years ago?

In fact, according to Dr. Patton, multiple witnesses have now come forward, saying that the photos of rooms built with wood were actually taken in a wooden ship at the Black Sea.  The Ark Ministries website does not make it at all clear which photos presented on their website were “provided” by Parasut, and which photos were actually taken by the Ark Ministries team.

Also, many “eye-witness testimonies” are recounted on the Ark Ministries website, but again it appears to be a mixture of testimonies from Parasut and his men, and accounts from the Ark Ministries people.  Over and over again, this is found to be the case on the noahsarksearch.net website – for example, in the press release video, which you can see here:

http://www.noahsarksearch.net/eng/video.php?id=5

This is apparently a composite of multiple videos, taken by multiple people, years apart.  But once again, this is not made clear.  The video footage you see inside “rooms” (starting at 1:04 in the video) was apparently taken by Parasut and his men.  Whereas the footage with the Ark Ministries team members is actually in a cave, some 13,000 feet high on Ararat, with some wooden beams and rope – nothing more!  Because of the unclear segway between the different footages, one is left with the distinct impression that this was all shot on the mountain, during one expedition, in one “cave” with several “wooden rooms.”

While watching the video, one has to ask questions when two men rappel down into this room – supposedly 13,000 feet above sea level, carrying very little gear, not even wearing ice-climbing crampons, wearing dust masks and coveralls!  I would think they would be wearing different clothing and carrying different equipment if they had just hiked up to the 13,000 foot mark on the mountain.

Wood fragments & beams:

Beams were apparently transported up the mountain and planted in a cave on two separate ocassions in 2008 and 2009, as has been claimed by several witnesses living the Ararat region.

The wood fragment that was carbon dated was apparently provided by Parasut – so not only do we not have a clue where this wood came from, the carbon date achieved is subsequently invalidated (and I’m not going to get into the dating methods used to date such fragments).

The actual location of the alleged site of Noah’s ark (the “rooms” Parasut and his men photographed and videotaped) is still kept secret, so no one can verify or refute the claims.

Healthy Skepticism:

Unfortunately, everything about the whole report smells of a hoax perpetrated on the Chinese team.  I must be clear: No one is suggesting that the Hong Kong team is involved in any way with the hoax – it would appear that they are the victims of a hoax.  Now of course, I would not be the only one who would be very happy to be proven wrong.  But at this point in time, there are many reasons to be highly, highly skeptical of the claims made thus far.

Perhaps the team will clarify several of the issues raised here, and perhaps correct me and say I have several points wrong.  However, I’m getting the same reports from multiple sources.

The Hong Kong team is doing some splendid work in Hong Kong, building a HUGE replica of Noah’s ark, complete with a creation museum in it. They deserve our support in these matters, as they are doing a tremendous, evangelical work in a country pretty much closed to evangelism.  We need to pray for the team, and especially that if this is a hoax, it would be exposed as such that the Hong Kong team may move on and focus on what the Lord would have them to do.

You can also read Randall Price’s comments here:  http://ezekielcountdown.wordpress.com/2010/04/28/randall-price-ark-pictures-are-fake/

Addendum: Forgot to add in this analysis:  http://smtp.antelecom.net/blogs/bsmaArk/

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