Dr. Carl Wieland from Australia is one of the most respected and responsible thinkers among Young Earth Creationists. Many critics have not bothered to investigate the NAMI discovery, but Wieland has sought to more carefully examined the reported finds. His initial investigation seems to have deeply impressed him, but in his most recent post, he has stepped back. Citing reasons such as machine markings on the ancient wood timbers, and various speculations of how this site might have been fabricated, Wieland now supposes this discovery most likely a hoax.
Due to his initial open-mindedness about this discovery, Dr. Wieland’s change of mind may seem impressive. That will be the case at least among those who have little time to study Wieland’s reasons for his change of mind and who are unfamiliar with the theory, the theology, and the community pressures of the Young Earth Creationists. Those who are familiar with these note that NAMI’s discovery has deeply troubled the Young Earth community. One important reason, as I noted in my earlier post, is the fact that NAMI has submitted and received a radiocarbon dating of wood belonging to this structure. Young Earth Creationists frown on radiocarbon dating. The problem is not just that NAMI has done this, but that the wood dates to 4800 BC.
Now, considering that wood dates to the time of its growth, and that trees used for the ark may have been harvested a few hundred years later, with the Flood dating some years later than that, this beautifully suits the biblical date of the Flood (c. 2345 BC, according to James Usher’s calculations). Responsible Young Earth Creationists acknowledge that radiocarbon dates are often accurate for more recent times. The problem for the Young Earth Creationists is that this discovery suggests that radiocarbon dating might be reliable even for the era before the Flood. That is troubling for their very young dating of the earth. Their comments on this discovery frequently raise these concerns.
Turning now to Dr. Wieland’s reasons for changing his mind, a big issue seems to have been what he has judged to be machine markings on some of the wood in the NAMI pictures. Even if it be the case that these are in fact machine markings, I have a question for Dr. Wieland and his Young Earth colleagues. Those who are unfamiliar with the theory of Young Earth Creationism may not know that that Young Earth Creationists tend to deny that human remains exist from before the Flood.
Attributing the deepest fossils to Noah’s Flood helps explain a young earth, but how do they explain the lack of human remains among the deepest fossils? Their answer is that the entire earth’s surface was destroyed by the Flood as might be necessary for the creation of oil, coal, and gas and other organic remains deep within the earth. This is important for their dating the entire fossil record subsequent to what they suppose were 24-hour creation days. The truth is Young Earth Creationists do not want to discover human remains that date from before the Flood! But since Young Earth Creationists have never identified any human remains or artifacts from before the Flood, I have a question for Dr. Wieland and his Young Earth colleagues. On what basis are you making your judgments concerning the technology available to those who built Noah’s Ark?
Young Earth Creationists suppose that the entire archaeological record dates from after the Flood. This has caused many of them, including Henry Morris, to suppose that the Flood had to have happened during the era of Paleolithic man. That being the case, it is not surprising that they would find such a sophisticated construction on what NAMI is suggesting as Noah’s Ark most troubling. But if they have no evidence for human remains of any level of sophistication, how are they able to judge what technology Noah may have had available for building the ark?
I will address some of Dr. Wieland’s other reasons for supposing this discovery a hoax in additional posts.