Australian Court Case: ‘Noah’s Ark Site’ Chronology

(For more information on this case please go to the Plimer Files.)

Prof. Plimer has accused others of plagiarism—not giving credit to prior work. But the following chronology of the recent history of the Akyayla ‘Noah’s Ark’ site shows that he is guilty of that and more.

Sept. 1985: Two Turkish research teams visit the site, returning a negative finding; there is no ark at Akyayla.
Dr Salih Bayraktutan, the director of the Earthquake Research Centre at Ataturk University, Erzurum, also leads a team to the site who keep their options open.

1987: Bayraktutan returns to the site with Dr John Baumgardner, one of the world’s leading experts on plate tectonic theories, and the geologist/geophysicist/applications engineer Tom Fenner. They conduct systematic surveys with sophisticated mining equipment and ground radar. At this stage, Fenner is an ‘Ark-believer’ regarding this site.

1988: Bayraktutan and Baumgardner take drill core samples from the site.

1990: Allen Roberts visits the site.

1991: Roberts visit the site with Ron Wyatt.

1992: Roberts conducts a public lecture tour, asking the now infamous question: ‘If it’s not Noah’s Ark, then what is it?

August 1992: the free quarterly Creation Science Foundation newsletter Prayer News debunks the Akyayla site based on Bayraktutan/Baumgardner analysis.
Plimer appears in Good Weekend magazine claiming the Akyayla site is a syncline based on his own examination of photographs and the existence of similar structures in desert around Tibooburra.

Sept. 1992: Dr Andrew Snelling’s 13 page article, Noah’s Ark Exposé appears in the quarterly Creation Science Foundation’s magazine Creation Ex Nihilo Vol. 14 No. 4, taking 3 and a half columns to describe the site properly and disagreeing with Plimer on it being a syncline. Snelling bases his conclusions on the reports and hands-on analysis of Bayraktutan, Baumgardner and Fenner whom he clearly acknowledges.

Snelling concludes the site is a large block of bedrock uplifted by earthquake. Unstable mud flowing around the block has created the boat shape and partially covered the uplifted block.

Sept 1994: First printing of Telling Lies for God by Ian Plimer (Random House) circulates wherein on page 101 Plimer again declares the Akyayla site to be ‘a syncline.’

Oct 1994: Plimer appears on ABC TV’ s Four Corners program declaring the site to be the result of mud flow.

Dec 1994: Plimer’s book Telling Lies for God is reprinted, wherein page 101 has been changed from the original, now stating that the site is an allochthonous (transported) block and claims such a conclusion is in part, based on his ‘own geological experience.’ He provides no proper referencing or acknowledgment of the work done by Bayraktutan, Baumgardner or Fenner and while deriding Snelling’s previous article suggests by implication that such Snelling references are not the work of “real scientists.” He further suggests Snelling’s article is deceptive, selective and plagiaristic.

Let the reader decide who is being deceptive, selective and plagiaristic.

Clearly, the definitive work on the Akyayla site was done by Bayraktutan, Baumgardner and Fenner in 1987/8 - a full 6 years before Plimer published his conclusions on the ark site which mirrored their findings yet remain unacknowledged in Plimer’s work.

To quote Plimer from page 255 of Telling Lies …:

‘This concept of priority is very important in science.
This omission of earlier published work … could hardly be accidental.’

It seems that there is much that is not absolutely original in Mr Plimer ’ s Telling Lies For God.

Plimer would probably question whether he plagiarised in the strictest sense of the word. He would probably argue that he is merely pulling together all the various evidence together into one volume for the enlightenment of the masses - if so, then acknowledgment of pre-emptive articles is the academic and gentlemanly thing to do .

It’s ironic that a large part of the Plimer/Roberts court case is about plagiarism …

Plimer has recently alleged in court (April 1997 Plimer/Fasold v. Roberts, Australian Federal Court, Sydney) that Bayraktutan has been deceiving creationists to profit from the Akyayla site. So it is interesting to note that three well-credentialled creationist geologists, Baumgardner, Fenner and Snelling, have all concluded, on the strength of field reports done by Bayraktutan, that the site is in fact a normal geological structure. They in turn have been publicising the fact, giving due credit to Bayraktutan.

If Bayraktutan’s field studies have led these creationists to disseminate the conclusion that the Akyayla site is not the remains of Noah’s Ark, how is it that Plimer has come to claim in court that Bayraktutan has been keeping the Ark dream alive to profit from incredulous creationists?

Further, even if Plimer’s accusation is correct (which would be unusual), this would let Roberts off the hook. After all, it is not a crime to be the victim of deception!

Adapted with permission from the essay “Telling the truth about Telling Lies for God”—copyright 1995 by Cameron Horn, journalist, with Macquarie Radio Network, Sydney.

Published: 24 February 2006