Noah, FEMA, Media, Resignation

July 1, 2006 | By | 5 Replies More

At first, I scoffed at this ABC News headline: “Has Noah’s Ark Been Found? Christian Archaeology Team Believes It’s Found Biblical Remains?” 

According to this recent story,

Texas archaeologists believe they may have located the remains of Noah’s Ark in Iran’s Elburz mountain range.  “I can’t imagine what it could be if it is not the Ark,” said Arch Bonnema of the Bible Archaeology Search and Exploration (B.A.S.E) Institute, a Christian archeology organization dedicated to looking for biblical artifacts.

The Bible also describes the Ark’s dimensions as being 300 cubits by 50 cubits — about the size of a small aircraft carrier. The B.A.S.E. Institute’s discovery is similar in size and scale.

The story indicates that the B.A.S.E. Institute’s samples “are being examined at labs in Texas and Florida.”   The story doesn’t mention whether the sample will be analyzed using secular methods or Bible methods. Choice of methodology might matter, though. According to the official website of BASE, here is the methodology used by BASE:

The BASE Institute employs a methodology that seeks to apply the best practices of many disciplines, while giving absolute priority to the Bible itself. While we do not discount the opinions of scholars, we do not place undue emphasis on them.

Here are the highlights of the BASE “methodology:

  • We recognize the weakness of a “Premise + Proof” methodology.
  • We recognize the strength of a “Possibilities + Problems” methodology.
  • We recognize that the Bible is fully inspired (superintended by God) in its autographs (original writings), without error in all its details and in every subject to which it addresses itself.
  • We recognize that scholarship does not have the final say on the Bible; rather, the Bible has the final say on scholarship.
  • We recognize that because scholarship can “prove” anything, it ultimately can “prove” nothing beyond doubt.
  • We recognize that history by its very nature cannot be “proved”; it can only be argued on the weight of evidence and testimony.
  • We recognize that older sources are superior to newer sources, that ancient testimony is superior to modern testimony, and that original evidence is superior to later opinions about that evidence.

Therefore, when real life evidence conflicts with the Bible, BASE urges that we ignore the evidence.  This is consistent with the official quest of BASE:

The Bible Archaeology, Search & Exploration (B.A.S.E.) Institute is dedicated to the quest for archaeological evidence to help validate to the world that the Bible is true, and that it represents an accurate, non-fictional account of God’s will to bring the people of this world back into relationship with Him.

What kind of scientists do they use at BASE?  Who said anything about real scientists?  If you read this story carefully, there is no hint that any real archeologist is involved in this recent alleged discovery of the ark.  The story quotes a fellow named “Arch Bonnema,” but he is not an archeologist, only a “Dallas businessman.”  And see here.

A separate story regarding this expedition shows that the expedition was led by Dr. Bob Cornuke, police officer and member of the famed Costa Mesa SWAT team in the Los Angeles area.  “Bob’s team consisted of a Who’s Who of business, law, and ministry leaders.”

With a team this unqualified in archeology, it is easy to let the imagination run wild.  Making things worse, BASE knew the ark was there before it ever started this expedition.  If you doubt this, just check out the BASE bookstore, where you can buy Ark Fever:

Ark Fever Paperback Book – 246 pages plus 8 pages of clor and b&w photographs. Ever since embarking on his first expedition to Mount Ararat, Bob Cornuke has been in the grip of “ark fever”, a passion shared by a select group of explorers, to be the one to make the greatest archeological discovery in human history – finding the remains of Noah’s ark. Join him now as he brings this exciting adventure to life in the pages of Ark Fever. His relentless search for the ark, investigating local legends, surviving life – threatening misadventures, and narrowly escaping political unrest will leave you breathless. But beware, ark fever is contagious and you just might catch it! $15.50

 ark fever1.JPG
This sort of “Ark Found” article is an easy story with a cheap headline, of course.  It’s one of many cheap articles out there to be plucked by weak-minded readers.  And who could resist such a headline?  Primed by such a headline, some readers might even take this wild leap of logic, which the article completely fails to question:

“There’s this idea, if we can prove that the ark existed then we can prove that the story existed, and more importantly, we can prove that God existed,” said Bruce Feiler, author of “Where God Was Born.” 

Therefore, this ABC News article invites us to believe a totally unsubstantiated claim that Noah’s ark has been found based upon evidence that is not disclosed.  We are then invited to think that this expedition proves the existence of an undefined version of God (or at least, the claim is that a “God” previously existed, if I understand the quote).

The article fails to point out that this BASE “archeological” expedition lacked any real archeologists.  The reporter did absolutely no investigative work before submitting this article.  Five minutes of skepticism and Google would have demonstrated that this entire expedition was a sham. For instance, many of the obvious scientific questions regarding this allegedly significant find are raised in a recent post found in Dispatches From the Culture Wars.

You know, I just can’t take this anymore!!!  I’m just giving up on being skeptical.  It’s too much work! From now on, I’m just going to take the Noah story for granted just like this ABC News article invites me to do. From now on, I’m just going to believe that Noah gathered one male and one female of each species on earth.  Noah had to take two of each species, because there is no evolution–all of the animals existing today owe their continued existence to Noah.  I know, I know . . . those scientists using secular logic of counting claim that there are more than 1.5 million named species in the world, including 4,500 species of mammals.  But I have a new way around that problem of the numerosity of the species of animals: there’s simply no problem!  This is my newly adopted fundamentalist way of thinking.

I know that putting two animals of each of those species on a single wooden boat seems insurmountable, but I don’t worry about insurmountability anymore. Instead, I’ll just believe. I’m ready to fall into the big wide open arms of the huge fundamentalist community. I’m just going to believe that Noah got all those animal pairs on his big boat.  I’m just going to believe that it his wooden boat more than half the size of the Titanic (450 feet long versus 883 feet long for the Titanic). 

I’m just going to believe that Noah successfully retrieved a male and a female for each species and that they all procreated. For instance, I’m just going to believe that Noah knew how to tell the difference between the males and females of each species—he lined them up two by two: two zebras, two gnats, two amoebas . . . .  Don’t bother me with details! I’m just going to believe that Noah took great care to be sure that every animal he loaded up was not only at child-bearing age but was heterosexual.  In my newly-adopted way of believing, I simply know that there was a big sign at the ark entrance “NO GAY ANIMALS.” Couldn’t have been otherwise, because God hates gays.

I’m just going to start using that BASE logic and fundamentalist Christian epistemology wherever I go.  All I’ve got to do is believe the Bible—everything else in life is then impervious to all evidence and logic. Yeah, the logistics of building and using the ark (“arkeology”) must have been a big headache, but we’re all here, so Noah must have really pulled it off, right?  Into one boat, Noah must have gathered up and loaded not only all the paired sets of animals, but also enough animals for the carnivorous animals to eat. I suppose this means that Noah took more than one pair of some of the animals, which challenges me to think of the Bible as imperfect, but I proudly resist that challenge!

Until now, I have never given Noah all the credit he is due.  Single-handedly, he did way more than the entire Bush administration did after the New Orleans flood.  By no means should this be overlooked: Working alone without radar equipment, Noah handled the whole flood, something our government failed to do.

Or maybe God spoke to Noah differently than God speaks to President Bush.  Or maybe there were too many gays and degenerates down in New Orleans so God decided to reach into his Old Testament bag of tricks to clean the place out wholesale.

It’s not my place to question any of this anymore. Using fundamentalist Christian logic, I can now say almost anything I want.  I don’t need encyclopedias, Google or even archeologists, even when I’m giving archeological opinions.  Nor do I need to listen to those heathen people warning me about the “confirmation bias.” 

Life is simpler and life is easier for me now. Now that I’m a believer in fundamentalist logic, I can enjoy and praise news stories that have no factual basis as long as I enjoy the stories.  And I’m going to heaven!  If you’re smart, you’ll follow in step.


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Category: American Culture, Evolution, Meaning of Life, Psychology Cognition, Religion, Science

About the Author ()

Erich Vieth is an attorney focusing on consumer law litigation and appellate practice. He is also a working musician and a writer, having founded Dangerous Intersection in 2006. Erich lives in the Shaw Neighborhood of St. Louis, Missouri, where he lives half-time with his two extraordinary daughters.

Comments (5)

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  1. Erika Price says:

    No logical process seems to sway the devoutly religious, but maybe an outright absurd example of their own mindset could?

    Wait, nevermind. These B.A.S.E. people do enough to make the Christian right look absurd on their own. The Discovery Institute claimed to have reputible scientists on board their project, but B.A.S.E.'s members seem to celebrate the fact that they senselessly reject all scientific or logical inquiry.

    The fact that ABC decided to call these kooks "archaeologists" bothers me the most of all this. Would ABC take a band of eccentric scientists researching the Lock Ness monster seriously? I think not.

  2. Karen Lowe says:

    * We recognize that older sources are superior to newer sources, that ancient testimony is superior to modern testimony, and that original evidence is superior to later opinions about that evidence.

    I wonder if those B.A.S.E. people approach medicine the same way they approach archeology?

  3. Erich Vieth says:

    In response to Karen:

    I know for a fact that the members of this "archeology" group couldn't have traveled to Iran on airplanes built according to the B.A.S.E. principles of truth and understanding.

  4. grumpypilgrim says:

    Just this morning, I heard a televangelist ask the hypothetical question, "How can archeologists who don't believe in the [literal truth of the Biblical] Flood possibly do valid science?" To him, any archeological results that do not confirm the stories in the Bible simply *must* be invalid. Thus, there are two types of scientific findings: those that confirm the Bible, and those that are invalid.

    How disturbing that Believers should be trying to wage the same battle today with their ignorance and blind doctrine that the church tried to wage four centuries ago against Galileo. Indeed, as Erich points out, it's a good thing our airplanes are not designed by people who believe flight is a miracle performed by God. (On the other hand, if flight is a miracle performed by God, then I sure would love to own one of those magic flying carpets….)

  5. friend of erich&#039 says:

    My two cents: Thank you ABC. Thank you Noah. There is a Heaven. I'm going to Disneyland. Forever.

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