Alright, a little background before we get started on this entry. Because I am in between jobs, and because I’ve been trying to improve my blog, I spend quite a bit of time online at home. Thanks to my Yakezie membership, I’ve downloaded the Alexa Taskbar, which, among other features, displays some of the most popular trending stories and topics near the top of my web browser. This arrangement mean that I have the opportunity to see some of the most popular topics of conversation as they develop.
Today, there was an especially unusual topic: Noah’s Ark was found! At this point, I had to go and check the calendar, to make sure that April Fool’s Day wasn’t moved to the 27th while I was attending a ceramics convention with my fiancee. (Just in case you were worried: no, it wasn’t.) No, the truth is possibly even odder: an expedition in Turkey claims to have found the actual remains of Noah’s Ark.
If true, the results could be quite profound for history and science. Meteorologists have long maintained that there simply isn’t enough water in the world to flood the entire world up to the top of Mount Ararat, and proof that a boated sailed up to that height would certainly raise some interesting questions. History would have to be altered to note the new reality of the Arc as truth rather than myth. The changes would be quite profound.
(That said, I think the impact on religion is less than what some might claim. The story of Noah’s Ark is part of the Talmud, the Bible, and, if memory serves properly, also mentioned in the Koran; finding the Arc doesn’t ‘prove’ any of these religions correct. Plus, there are other traditions that maintain a belief that there was a great flood; even proving that there was a Noah who built an Ark, gathered animals, and sailed in it to survive the flood doesn’t preclude other survivors elsewhere.)
The Lessons to Learn
1) Expect the Unexpected: It seems no matter how odd your expectation become, life manages to be even weirder. Of the many things I may have expected to happen today, finding Noah’s Ark would not have made the list. I doubt that finding Noah’s Ark would be on the list, well, ever, really.
In the same way, unexpected things happen during our daily lives; being prepared for multiple eventualities is an important part of life. (See how I tied this back into personal finance?) It’s impossible to prepare for absolutely everything (like the rediscovery of a five thousand year old boat), but the more prepared you are, the more circumstances you can handle, the better off you will be.
2) Trust, But Verify: A great policy from Ronald Reagan, one that you should especially keep in mind when confronted by things that seem to stretch the bounds of your imagination. While one can hope that things of such importance are handles truthfully, that’s not always the case. Even though news of this discovery has only been up for a day, already there are skeptics doubting the Ark.
While you shouldn’t automatically assume that everyone is lying, you need to have healthy skepticism, particularly when discussing issues of this nature, where there is much to be gained from false claims. There have been plenty of claims involving the discovery of the Ark, dating back to at least the 1930’s. While it’s quite possible that this time it’s different, we still need to retain our skepticism.
3) People are Basically Good: As with any discovery that threatens to greatly change our perception of reality, the universe, and life itself, there’s quite a bit of disagreement. As is too often the case with discussions on the internet, foul language is tossed around, intelligence is insulted, and generally, things get very unfriendly, very quickly.
Here’s the truth: the people who believe that this is the true Noah’s Ark are, by and large, good, hard working, and intelligent people, led by faith or their own feelings to their beliefs. Here’s another truth: the people who doubt that this discovery is Noah’s Ark are also mainly good, hard working, and intelligent people who have good reasons for their doubts. Neither group is evil or stupid; there’s simply a disagreement on the truth of the matter.
On that note, I suppose I should share my view on this Ark discovery. I am currently leaning toward skepticism, although I’d be willing to be proven wrong. (Unless, of course, the discovery and confirmation of the Ark triggers the end of the world; I’m perfectly happy for the world not to end for another half century or so, at least.) I’m interested to see how this whole thing will play out; it is surprisingly engaging.