Plimer the Perjurer?

In the recent ‘Noah’s Ark’ trial, Ian Plimer apparently made some very serious allegations under oath against Dr Salih Bayraktutan of Atatürk University, Turkey, the geophysicist in charge of the site. According to Brad Clifton’s report in the Sydney Daily Telegraph (11 April 97, p. 8) and other reports, Plimer accused Dr Bayraktutan of using this site as the Turkish version of the Loch Ness Monster, to deceive Christian fundamentalists, to raise money from them. Plimer claimed that Dr Bayraktutan didn’t really believe in Noah’s Ark, and apologised for the deception because it was the only way to raise money for research.

The secular humanist dominated media often dutifully repeat Plimer’s outrageous charges without getting the other side — contrary to journalistic ethics. Or if they do, it is distorted — see Media Mendacity. And Plimer is well-known for exaggeration and innuendo. Further, the reader can judge for themselves from the CMI response to his charges against them and the enquiry led by Clarrie Briese whether Plimer is guilty of outright lies.

We will now provide the other side of the story. In an interview with Deborah Menelaws and Richard Long on Radio Station MFJ, Edinburgh, 11 May 97, Dr Bayraktutan firmly refuted these charges. The abridged interview transcript below allows him to speak for himself:

MENELAWS: Dr Bayraktutan, we want to give you the opportunity to respond to certain allegations which have been made against you by somebody called Ian Plimer, and he’s reported by major newspapers of America of having made some accusations.

Now first of all you have been accused of using your standing as a noted geologist and your position at Ataturk University to mislead so-called Christian fundamentalists and in fact, to quote it, you have given information to allow yourself to rake in wads of cash. That is one statement that I’ve seen made about you - to make lots of money, in other words.

And secondly, an allegation has been made saying that you’ve never believed in the story of Noah in the first place but you’ve used it as a Turkish equivalent of our Scottish Loch Ness plesiosaur, or it’s commonly known as the Loch Ness Monster, but the Loch Ness plesiosaur — to bring in cash into your country as a feature to bring people and visitors to it.

And thirdly, that you have apologized privately to Ian Plimer for the perpetuation of this fraud; and that you said to him it was the only way that you could fund your research.

Now these are the three allegations that have been made against you. So I’ll ask you your first question: Is Ian Plimer telling the truth when he says these things about you?

BAYRAKTUTAN: So I also have been informed by some of my friends working in newspapers some days ago last week, and his three main points that you have also repeated. They are — that is the three false words he has put in my mouth actually, because everybody knows, I mean in my university, also in all Turkey actually who is interested in this issue — those people know very well from the beginning, I mean the early 1980s, that I am working very strongly in this issue and I am just the founders and, I mean, holders of the site that, you know, believing that such an event happened in history, I mean the flooding …

BAYRAKTUTAN: This is actually one answer, I mean, my answer to one of the questions that I have been from the beginning and still on the same line, that I am sincerely believing very simply, you know, believing in this event - I mean, the flooding happened and Noah’s Ark exists, whether we could have found him or not - but it exists …

BAYRAKTUTAN: You know, that’s my basic opinion. And about that other question, that I have apologized him: and this is false and a big lie because there is nothing to apologize. I am believing, you know, in the site, I mean the Ark exists. But there is one question, that there are now not only one site but some other localities also. I mean, many objects, not only one object but at least three or four objects: one not on top of, on the mountain but a little bit south of the mountain, on another mountain but near to the other mountain, and other objects on the mountain. But my firm view is that all these objects has to be very carefully, in a scientific way, should be investigated …

MENELAW: Thank you very much. Could I just interrupt there. I just want to say — so basically, Salih, Ian Plimer is not telling the truth, then, about these things. Have you raked in lots and lots of money?

BAYRAKTUTAN: No money at all, because in three important projects, important joint projects have been started. But in the first project I should express that that project carried out by the California University, Los Alamos Laboratory where the American team leaded by [creationist and leading plate tectonic researcher] Dr John Baumgardner — he is, really has been an honest scientist …

LONG: So that not only is what Professor Plimer said false, but Dr Bayraktutan’s life for the past few years has been dedicated to Ark research and he has aggressively pursued this and is pursuing an aggressive research program even to this day. So this has got to be some type of a thing that was just made up in someone’s mind to accuse a man like Dr Bayraktutan of such a patent falsehood.

BAYRAKTUTAN: … So the real situation around the site is not — how shall I say — is not convenient for making, you know, some money — you understand? …

BAYRAKTUTAN: I’m not in a position, I mean by the principle to use, you know, this kind of object and to just machine-making, you know, a money-making tool. That’s against all my beliefs, everything, you know, also my character. Even though I have the facility, I did not even think, you know, to try such a way, actually.

MENELAWS: Another question, please. Is your faith as a Muslim compatible with the Biblical version of Noah and the flood? … As a Muslim it’s easy for you to understand, to believe the story of the flood, isn’t it?

BAYRAKTUTAN: Yes — just let me — to be honest I am approaching, I mean, my approach to this issue is not only from a religious point of view. If you consider in, you know, the three major religions: Christianity, Islam and …

MENELAWS: Judaism?

BAYRAKTUTAN: Yes — in all these religions there is many descriptions of the flooding, you know, even before flooding, during flooding and after flooding, and also the Ark itself, how it is constructed, etc. This is of course very important for me. But before all these major religions, you know, I mean, came into, you know, to mankind, I mean, the older civilizations like the Sumerians, Babylonian tablets and many other very early civilizations, human beings have been always describing this event. So this is another point of approach, you know. Religion is one side but before religion, all non-religious approaches or civilizations having no relation at all with these three principal religions - they have also this story, this description …

BAYRAKTUTAN: So that in the story of mankind this event, flooding and Noah’s Ark, is a reality. Something happened. I mean, something happened because without any — how shall I say — anything, you know — without any reason all the different regions of the world and different civilizations should not describe the same thing …

LONG: To get back to Dr Bayraktutan. What is your own personal view as to whether we will find the Ark or not. Do you believe that there is a distinct possibility that we can find the remains of the Ark of Noah in our day?

BAYRAKTUTAN: Yes, it’s my personal opinion that the Ark remains will be sooner or later — I mean will be found, and this will put big, a very important light on the, you know, genesis of the human beings, about the discussions on the creation; also the Adam — whether, you know, prophet Adam is the first man or not …

MENELAWS: I find that this has been very interesting, obviously what Dr Bayraktutan has said, and I just want to clear up for my listeners just one last time clearly. I have a number of newspaper cuttings in front of me, Dr Bayraktutan, and it’s just that I want to be absolutely clear that this claim which is made against you in the Federal Court in Australia is false; that you’ve not lied, and you’ve not just been trying to bring money in. If I could have just a clear statement from you about that, then that would be me finished; I would be very happy.

BAYRAKTUTAN: I have prepared one page of my ideas and faxed it directly to the judge himself, just including my answers I have as I, just my answers and I have just explained now …

BAYRAKTUTAN: Just one page of expression, and said if they need more information of course I am just ready.

MENELAWS: Thank you very much indeed.


LONG: Well, thank you so much, Salih, and it’s been a pleasure talking with you today and this has been very eye-opening and enlightening, and I will be talking with you soon.

As can be seen from the above, Plimer has made accusations under oath which Bayraktutan has strongly denied. With Plimer’s track record, whom should we believe?

Finally, we should note that Plimer’s accusation was illogical as far as his court case was concerned (not surprising; see the article Plimer’s Bloopers to decide whether logic is one of Plimer’s fortés). If Bayraktutan really was guilty of deception, then Allen Roberts is not — it is hardly a crime to be the victim of deception.

Published: 24 February 2006