You wouldn’t know it from the coverage of the most recent “discovery” of Noah’s Ark, but there is rather a huge difference between an archaeologist and an “ark-eologist.” Fed up with seeing their field’s legitimate discoveries lumped in with such ludicrous events as the umpteenth discovery of Christ’s tomb, the Ark of the Covenant or Jimmy Hoffa’s body, a group of scientists have begun to fight back. Exhibit A is this debate, naturally, this latest “discovery” of Noah’s Ark by a group of overzealous Chinese Christians, with spades in one hand and bibles in the other:
“There are certain biblical artifacts—like the Ark of the Covenant and the Ark of Noah—that just seem to bring out a lot of amateur searchers,” says Bill Crouse, president of Christian Information Ministries, who has spent years searching for Noah’s Ark. “My concern is that well-meaning Christians jump the gun, and this thing becomes viral on the Internet. A lot of Christians are confused because they thought the ark was found two years ago, or two years before that.”
Scholars acknowledge that amateurs can make important discoveries: a Bedouin goat-herd found the original Dead Sea Scrolls cache while searching a cave for a missing member of his flock. The problem, they say, arises when these amateurs try to interpret what they find instead of passing it along to scholars for investigation and publication in scholarly journals.
When they “publish by press conference,” Cargill says, the ark hunters betray their real motive: cash. “Noah’s Ark quests are always about the money—always,” he argues. “This group was put together to do one thing and one thing only: make money and spread ideology by pimping both archaeology and religion.”
He points out that one member of the recent expedition, Yeung Wing-Cheung, has directed a documentary about the hunt for the ark and is selling the DVD online. The Media Evangelism Ltd., meanwhile, operates a Noah’s Ark theme park that needs to sell tickets.
All this, Cline says, makes the lives of real scholars more challenging. “The gullible believers and evangelicals, along with other faiths, throw money at these expeditions not knowing whether they’re going to produce anything,” he says. “Every year we have to scrounge for money to run a real excavation that may shed some real light.”
In any event, Cargill says, if Noah’s Ark existed, it would have been taken apart years ago for its wood—which long since would have decomposed. “It’s just one big scam. The ancients were great recyclers,” he says.
“In my opinion, there is no Noah’s Ark. And if there is, it’s not there anymore.”
Scholarly Squad Debunks Biblical ‘Discoveries’ (AOL News)
Posted by Richard Metzger |
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