On September 21'st of this year, KFI A.M. 640 Los Angeles talk radio had their usual 8:00

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On September 21'st of this year, KFI A.M. 640 Los Angeles talk radio had their usual 8:00 a.m. Thursday morning "Bible Studies" hour. Bill Handel picks one of the mythologies from the Christian Bible every Thursday and asks callers to discuss the story. Typically callers try to justify contradictions, fix logical flaws, and rewrite the laws of physics to salvage their beliefs in the stories (not to mention adding suitable text to the Bible when needed.) Today's discussion was "Noah's Ark and the Big Flood." The telephone guest at the start of the 8:00 a.m. hour is known to most skeptics who bother to debunk Creationists: David Fasold, the author of "The Ark of Noah," published by Wynwood Press. (ISBN 0-922066-10-8.) Though Fasold professes to believe in a great many Velikovskian-type absurdities, his claims to have found Noah's boat was treated as real news in newspapers around the world and several religious groups have taken notice of him. Now within the computer networks around the world, Creationists used to claim that Fasold actually found the mythical magical boat and that the find was verified by "scientists" using "real science." One such Fasold-believer, back in May of 1994, was quite insistant to the point where several skeptics eventually decided to find copies of the book and offer everyone a quick summary of what they found. Since Fasold's claims get so soundly debunked these days, few Creationists make the mistake of invokeing his name. After I offer two of these reviews, I'll describe the KFI 640 interview which took place. On May 26, 1994, Simon Ewins had this review of the book to offer. He directed his report to the claimant directly: Well, I managed to find a copy of David Fasold's book and, giving you the benefit of the doubt, I have read it. First off I must say that it is hard to find. There is only one copy in the entire Toronto Public Library system and there are no copies at any of the University, College or Private libraries in Toronto that I could find. The copy that I read was last checked out over 18 months ago. The introduction is written, with much admiration, by Charles Berlitz, who wrote "The Bermuda Triangle" and other nonsense. This put me off a bit but in an effort to remain as open minded as possible I read on. The 'photographs of the Ark' are ludicrous. There is a very vague boat-like shape to an unusual rock formation but one really needs to be willing to see it to the exclusion of all else before it becomes apparent. Rather like seeing faces in clouds. While Fasold occasionally quotes a respected scientist he does so by quoting that which really has no bearing on whatever point he is trying to make. He quotes Velikovsky (in "Worlds in Collision"), a number of Turkish farmers, Thor Hyerdahl, the NIV, Berlitz (in "Doomsday 1999"), The Watchtower Bible and Tract Society, Berlitz (in "Atlantis, the Eighth Continent"), Reader's Digest, M. R. DeHaan (a rabid fundamentalist), Tim F. LaHaye & John Morris (equally rabid fundamentalists) as well as others who's scientific or even literary credibility is doubtful. Before I gave up counting I came across seven occurrences of phrases such as "In Genesis it says [...] but I believe [...]" or "In Genesis it says [...] but that is based upon a misunderstanding..." or "In Genesis it says [...] but what was meant was [...]". The Bible obviously does not support what he had found so he changed it or reinterpreted it until it did fit with what he had found. Using his methods I could quote Genesis a lot and make it appear that the Ark is actually on a mountain top in Colorado. His reinterpretations of Genesis are highly eisegetic and very often completely baseless. Given your proclaimed stance on the OT scriptures I am amazed that you have any respect for either Fasold's writing or his conclusions. At one point he actually goes to great lengths to redefine the cubit so that it will fit with his "discoveries". (If I were to eisegete Genesis the way that Fasold does you would jump all over me, yet you admire his work when he does so. Why is that?) Fasold does not claim that the remains of the Ark are fossilized, as you stated, but rather that they are petrified. However, he offers no support for the rock formation actually being petrified wood beyond his own opinion. The rocks that he calls 'anchors' look more like monuments or grave-stones. The holes in the rocks (suppositional in some examples, based merely on there being a roundish chip missing) would fit nicely with the holes that were cut into monuments to allow wooden poles to be inserted as an aid to the transport or other manipulation of such monuments, stele or gravestones. I am afraid that, after reading the fool thing, I can see no reason to attribute any more credibility to "The Ark of Noah" than I do to such books as "Worlds in Collision", "Atlantis, the Eighth Continent", "Doomsday 1999", "The Bermuda Triangle" or even "Chariots of the Gods" (which Fasold mercifully did _not_ quote). In short it is an imaginative and fanciful piece of work that has minimal entertainment value but is little more than a farce if taken to be a factual or scientific investigation into the actual existence of a boat on a mountain in Turkey. Sorry, but it just don't cut it. I am also sorry that I wasted three days of my life reading the fool thing. It's interesting to note that John Morris debunked Fasold's claims in the Institute for Creation Research publication _Impact_, September 1992, "THE SEARCH FOR NOAH'S ARK." John Morris states, "My conclusion, and the conclusion of almost every other team, was that it is an unusual geologic phenomenon, but not Noah's Ark." On June 1st, 1994, mathematician Robert Curry offered his review of the book to all of the participants of the FidoNet HolySmoke discussion forum. He elected to take the questions skeptics had been asking of various Creationists who believed the Fasold tales and look for the answers in Fasold's book: As promised, here is my report on _The Ark of Noah_ by David Fasold, the book that "Raoul Newton" calls evidence for his claim that he has a boat at over 7,000 feet above sea level. For those who requested an ISBN, it is 0-922066-10-8. Copyright 1988 by David Fasold (self-described "Ark-ologist"), and published by Wynwood Press. Now for some questions to be answered in no particular order. 1> Q: What's the location of "Raoul's" boat? A: Fasold says it's 16 miles SW of Ararat, buried underground: "I have every anticipation that the boat will eventually be excavated by the Turks..." (p. 120) 2> Q: Is it really over 7,000 feet about sea level? A: Not quite. The site in question is said to be 6,350 feet above sea level. (chart on p. 46) 3> Q: Are there photographs that clearly show the boat? A: No, as it is supposedly buried, but there are some pictures of rocks and of ribbons stretched along the grass and dirt. There are _drawings_ of a boat, by Fasold himself, where he "shows" the building of the ark, the inside of the ark, a cutaway view of the bow, and more. Quite an imagination. 4> Q: What does Fasold think the Ark is made of? A: I refer you to his own words - "a solid reed raft covered with a bituminous mixture of cement... "Unfortunately those scientists visiting the site at earlier dates were geologists rather than geochemists. What they failed to realize was that what they considered a clay upswelling was in actuality decomposed cement!" (p. 272) 5> Q: Did he dig up something on which to base that conclusion? A: No, it is merely the product of his fanciful and selective patchwork of various flood stories from a few cultures. His group was restricted to surface investigations. (p. 253) 6> Q: So what did Fasold do to investigate? A: The details are unclear. He claims to have detected iron under the surface of the site in 1985. Helpers attached survey ribbons to stakes that he placed in the ground where iron was supposedly detected by what he calls "the frequency generator." He claims that this device was "a new prototype, actually the fourth one in existence," obtained from someone named John Fales whom he met while diving off the coast of Florida. This is the only mention of Fales. (pp. 103-105) Suspiciously vague? That's nothing compared to the bizarre description he gives of this mystery device in operation: "With the frequency set on iron I gave the pulse some time to spread out through the structure. The response was strong. The object was so hot the frequency wave came up above the ground almost eighteen inches." (p. 115) Later, he wrote that "the frequency generator [heats] up the iron in the Ark." (p. 317) 7> Q: What? A: No need for explanation. Surely we can trust Mr. Fasold's knowledgeable use of an instrument that came from nowhere, and his objective connection of the dots to discover the "iron lines" revealing the structure of an underground boat. No need to mention his fanatical desire to find the "Ark of Noah" nearly bankrupting him, according to his own report. The obsession couldn't possibly have affected his completely unbiased credibility. 8> Q: Is Fasold some kind of nut? A: By all means, judge for yourself. "The Bible plainly declares that in pre-Flood times, and also for a brief period after the Flood, the earth was visited by extraterrestrials. They took up residence on the earth, having direct dealings with man. If the comment by Jesus in Matthew 24:37 ("as the days of Noah were") can be taken in this regard, then we might be looking toward a close encounter with the Nephilim in the near future." (p. 75) 9> Q: So what is the main theme of his book? A: That he is the One True Ark-ologist, who found the Real Ark of Noah where the poor, misguided would-be Ark-ologists simply refuse to look because they all unreasonably insist that the Ark must be on Mt. Ararat. A considerable portion of the book is spent criticizing these other nuts, and in trying to defuse their criticisms of his One True Site of the Real Ark of Noah. The usual religious squabbling over imagined things. The radio interview with Fasold was not very informative nor very verbal. In fact, it was quite disappointing. Bill Handle asked some questions and Fasold answered them. After the first half hour, the show took three callers only. (Much of the available air time was used by playing a recording of a wonderful spoof where the Christian god instructs Noah on how to build his boat. It was a bit of a cross between Bill Cosby's Noah skit and Mell Brook's, "The 6,000 year old man.") Bill Handle started off by telling Fasold that he would dispense with offering listeners his credentials so that they could "get right to it." This was unfortunate as listeners probably assumed that Fasold held scientific credentials and was speaking as a scientist. This was the first time I had heard Handle fail to comment upon his guest's credentials. I was left wondering if the two had talked before hand and had agreed that the embarrassing subject of Fasold having no scientific credentials would not be mentioned. (The guests are usually treated to a non-confrontational interview and debate.) What I found very shocking was that David Fasold admitted that Noah's Ark is a Sumerian myth yet he still insisted that the ark itself manages to exist. How the ark itself could exist when it's an admitted myth wasn't even discussed. He claims that the boat was found in 1985 and that Turkey labeled it an archeology site then closed it to the public. He stated that he expects the site to be opened to the public "in a couple of years." Bill Handle commented that out of all the impossible things in the Bible and all the contradictions, the Noah's Flood story was the most undefendable. He started by pointing out the small size of the ark according to the myth and the hundreds of thousands of animals which existed at the time, correctly pointing out that only a very small percentage of all animals on Earth could have fit. Handle made the mistake of repeatedly stating that all the fish in the oceans would have survived even though nearly all species of fish require a specific level of salt and turbidity in their water to survive; they would have all needed to have reserved rooms on board else they would have died as well. To start defending against the small size of the ark, Fasold claimed that the size of the cubit was actually 23 inches, not 18 as everyone else in the world mistakenly believes. He then made some vague comment about how "Los Alamos scientists" sent to his ark used surveying equipment to measure the boat. According to Fasold, "scientists" discovered that the boat was 500.7 feet long -- nearly exactly what Fasold said his "theory computed." The claim was so lame that I was disappointed Handle didn't ask Fasold the question I was thinking: Did he measure the rock formation, divide by 300, and then "discover" the "true" length of the cubit? And then throw in eight inches just to make it look like it wasn't contrived that way? Handle pointed out that even with the added length, it still didn't make the boat anywhere near large enough to do the job. Fasold then made vague comments about how the Bible really ment only four-legged, grass-eating animals instead of all the animals on Earth. Where he got his devine revision was lost in his mumbleing. Sadly, Handle didn't think to ask how all the other animals managed to survive if only four-legged, grass-eaters were saved. After less than half an hour, Fasold hung up and Handle began taking callers. The first caller stated that he was once a fundamentalist but that he now understood the whole book of mythologies to be rubbish. He tried to suggest that there was some kernel of truth in the myth and commented that he once read about a land-bridge somewhere in the Artic Circle millions of years ago which disappeared due to plate tectonics and perhaps, he said, people at that time saw that the land-bridge was disappearing and so they built an ark to carry all the animals across. Over the many years the story grew in the telling to become the Noah's Ark myth. Sadly, Bill Handel didn't point out that humans didn't exist at the time and that plate tectonics would have been imperceptable at any rate over the generations. He said something like, "eh, well, that's one possibility." The second caller said that she didn't see any problem with the size of the boat providing baby animals were brought on board. When Handel repeated himself by saying that we're talking about hundreds of thousands of different species and that they couldn't possibly fit, the caller asked, "Now why should I believe you?" Presumably she believed that, since the mythologies say they'll fit, they'll fit, and anything Handle had to say to the contrary is nonsense. The caller also said that there were not many different species of animals "back then" and made vague comments about different varities of dogs not all being represented. Again, Handle did a bad job in pointing out the fallacies. He didn't even ask how she came to this hidden knowledge, nor did he ask whether she knew anything about evolution and genetics. The last caller stated that he believed Fasold is a scientist. The reason why the Noah's Ark story contains physically impossible feats, he said, is because it was written by his gods to give a _general_ description of what happened rather than a detailed, scientific, and _harder_to_understand_ description of what happened. (So much for the Christian Bible being valid today just like it was 2,000 years ago.) For a one-hour look at the Noah's Ark myth, neither the believers nor the non-believers presented a single rational, thoughtful, intelligent comment. Fasold was allowed to state that Noah's Ark had been found and that he had visited it several times and yet the validity of these claims were never questioned. Since it wasn't pointed out that Fasold holds no discernable scientific credentials, listeners probably walked away with the impression that "scientists" are now in agreement that the mythical boat has been proven to exist. Even though the Bill Handle Show isn't intended to be accurate or in any way a champion of science, I was annoyed at the lack of rational debunking. A good change to correct some pseudo-science was wasted.


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