EXCERPT There are a number of issues that frequently are raised as reasons for disregarding the body of testimony asserting Noah’s Ark has not only survived on Mt. Ararat, but has been seen by numerous eyewitnesses. We now turn to a consideration of several of these issues.
Resolving a Few Other Ararat Testimony Issues
There are a number of issues that frequently are raised as reasons for disregarding the body of testimony asserting Noah’s Ark has not only survived on Mt. Ararat, but has been seen by numerous eyewitnesses. We now turn to a consideration of several of these issues.
The Ark Has Never Been Found, Despite Many Searches
This matter is raised by Ararat skeptics as a form of the “phantom Ark” problem, under the assumption that what was reportedly seen from the air was always a misleading rock formation seen at a distance, and for this reason close-up ground searches were unsuccessful. But it must be kept in mind that the only time of year air sightings are claimed (when we know a time was specified) is during the summer, when glacial melting is at a maximum. During most of the year, the Ark would have been hidden in snow and ice, making both air and ground sightings impossible (except in the case of a really unusual drought/heat wave, as appears to have been the case in Hagopian’s time). Planes do not normally get close to the mountain during summer, due to updrafts that are strongest where the Ahora Gorge on the northeast side funnels hot air rising from the plains below (Corbin 221). Of this, US Air Force serviceman Vince Will remarked in his testimony: “the updraft pushed the plane up so high…” (Corbin 407). This helps explain why detailed air sightings are not common—the planes keep a safe distance back from the mountain. Those air-based testimonies we have, such as those of George Greene (Corbin 417–420), the “U-2 pilot” (Corbin 411) and Will, happened because they purposely made an unusually close approach to the mountain. This implies most claimed aircraft sightings of the Ark from aircraft were due to the dumb luck of a close approach combined with good melting, or to a conscious attempt to locate it.
Conversely, ground search failures may be attributed not only to their not being undertaken at a time of maximum meltback, but also to the difficulty in reaching the proper location; as anyone who has undertaken it will attest, climbing Mt. Ararat is not for the fainthearted. An additional factor is that the testimonies persuasively indicate that the Ark lies in deep shadow during the first half of day. George Greene claimed he saw the Ark “in the slanting rays of the western sun” (Richard Bright, Quest for Discovery, p. 89), and similarly Vince Will said his sighting was around 4 pm in the afternoon (Corbin 407). The hot air rising off the plains in the afternoon also frequently results in violent thunderstorms and blizzard conditions on top, persuading ground-based searchers that it is the better part of wisdom to descend from the high elevations by early afternoon. By this early pull-back to lower elevations, ground-based searchers miss being able to see clearly into higher areas best illuminated by the western sun….
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