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Yearam guided 3 vile scientists to Noah's Ark in 1916 (Talk.Origins)

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Response Article
This article (Yearam guided 3 vile scientists to Noah's Ark in 1916 (Talk.Origins)) is a response to a rebuttal of a creationist claim published by Talk.Origins Archive under the title Index to Creationist Claims.

Claim CH505.1:

In 1952, Harold Williams wrote a story told by Haji Yearam, an Armenian Seventh-Day Adventist, in 1916. According to the story, Yearam as a boy helped guide three English scientists to the ark in 1856. Upon finding the ark sticking out of a glacier near the summit, the scientists, "vile men who did not believe in the Bible," flew into a rage and tried futilely to destroy it. Then they took an oath to keep the discovery a secret and murder anyone who revealed it. About 1918, Williams saw a newspaper article giving a scientist's deathbed confession, which corroborated Yearam's story.

Source: LaHaye, Tim and John Morris, 1976. The Ark on Ararat, Nashville: Thomas Nelson Inc. and Creation Life Publishers, pp. 43-48.

CreationWiki response: (Talk.Origins quotes in blue)

1. The story has several questionable elements.

  • Why did Williams wait until 1952 to relate such a story?

Actually 1952 is when he wrote about it not necessarily when he first told it. This may simply have been when Williams first thought to write it down.

  • There is no record of such an expedition leaving England. (A five-man English expedition did explore Ararat that year, but they used Kurdish guides, and they were not interested in the ark.)

That we have an English expedition on Mt. Ararat in the right year is at least partial conformation of the story. While they had no interest in the Ark, they may have been told of it by people in Yearam's village. This may have raised the curiosity of three of them enough that they unofficially took Yearam along to show them where it was. The result being that Yearam only actually led three of them to the Ark.

  • Why would the scientists try to find the ark if they did not believe its existence and did not want it found?

If they were told about it by villagers, they may have gotten curious, and they may have even hoped to prove that it was not the Ark.

  • Why would they threaten their guides not to reveal the ark's location if the location of the ark was apparently common knowledge to the local Armenians?
  1. They were in a situation where their entire worldview was threatened, so they may not have been acting rationally.
  2. If the other guides were Kurdish, they may have been trying to make certain that they did not tell anyone and that Yearam himself never took any else to see it.
  • Yearam died in 1920 at the age of 82. The scientist, who was reputedly much older than Yearam, died around 1918. His age must have been 100 or more.

This is not really a problem, since people do sometimes live to be over a hundred. As a side note, there have been studies to explore why the people of that area, especially the Armenians, live extremely long lives.

  • The newspaper story has never been found, despite diligent search.

This is a difficulty, but without an exact date and the name of the newspaper, finding such an article would be like finding a needle in a haystack. The problem is compounded by the date being so old, it is possible that the paper went out of business and no copies exist.

According to the account, Yearam's father thought God wanted people to know the ark was still there. That combined with the vilification of unbelievers suggests that the story was created as religious propaganda.

Possibly, but then again it could be true. Would Talk.Origins show such skepticism if it were an atheist relating a story as a refutation of a Biblical narration?

The fact that this is a second hand account and the fact that it was written down years later is a problem, particularly since these could result in a true account getting mixed up.