Ship of Fools: The Price of Stupidity

Back at the end of January, the Lynchburg News & Advance reported on Liberty University’s Randall Price, who declared that he was preparing to go to Turkey in order to find Noah’s Ark:

This summer Price, 57, plans to continue on a journey to prove just that as he joins an expedition to Mount Ararat. His team believes that it is there, in Eastern Turkey, where Noah’s Ark remains preserved underneath layers of rubble and ice.

“There’s a whole trail of history pointing to it (Mt. Ararat),” Price said. “But in our age, people tend to think it is more of a story like ‘Jack and the Bean Stalk.’ Our aim is to show that the Bible is good history.”

Price teamed up with Richard Bright, who has “visited Turkey more than 30 times over the past 25 years in search of the vessel”; Bright in turn has previously been accompanied by the astronaut James Irwin, who is now Pastor and President of the High Flight Foundation. The article ends with a promise from Bright:

“Keep your ear to the road, so to speak, this summer,” he said. “Because there will be discovery. The only thing that’s holding us back is to finance the machinery that we need.”

Robert Cargill wrote a scathing assessment of Price’s plan and his motivations in a blog post at the time.

Nearly a year later, the News & Advance now published a follow-up. Those of us who regularly track these kinds of crackpot stories will not be totally surprised to learn that the promised “discovery” is not quite apparent yet, although we are assured that a breakthrough is just around (yet another) corner:

“We did penetrate about 18 feet down into the glacier, and we have some evidence that we’re in the right place,” Price said, adding satellite data puts them about 30 feet from their goal.

Price said he’s aware that whatever rests under the glacier might not be the jackpot he has been looking for.

“While we’d like to think it’s Noah’s Ark, we’re not sure what it is, but it’s in the right place,” he said.

Price’s newsletter has further information about Price’s 18-foot Ark-hole:

water began to ooze up from below. This may be an indication that we are in the vicinity of the anomaly as a darker mass under the ice would absorb heat and melt the ice around it. This could also be evidence of a thermal vent, as the mountain is volcanic and partially active.

So, thermal vent? Or evidence of the structure which once contained living specimens of all the animals in the world, and from which the only human family to survive a global flood emerged around 2000 BCE? There’s only one way to find out:

We are quite certain that if the authorities cooperate and funding is secure that we will make a discovery in these areas… If you wish to make a tax-deductible donation toward the work, please make your gift to World of the Bible Ministries and earmark it for Noah’s Ark Search LLC. We have a pledge for a matching gift of up to $75,000, so we encourage your end of the year donation as it will be doubled at this time!

Maybe Price should have a word with those unnamed Oklahoma government officials who have supposedly been so helpful to Jim Barfield’s hunt for the Copper Scroll treasure.

Price is a prolific author of apocalyptic Christian Zionist tomes and DVDs, with titles such as The Coming Last Days Temple and How the MidEast Conflict is Preparing the World for the End Time. However, he also has a PhD in Middle Eastern Studies from the University of Texas, and he has been involved in professional excavations with Israeli archaeologists at the Qumran site.

(Hat tip: Pharyngula)