National Geographic: Ark expedition was probably about publicity, not archaeology

National Geographic: Ark expedition was probably about publicity, not archaeology
Daniel McGivern's $900,000 effort to investigate a Mount Ararat structure he's "90 percent sure" is Noah's Ark never happened, National Geographic News reports. But the news service says McGivern may have known that the Turkish government wouldn't allow them to climb the mountain due to security restrictions. "McGivern may have been more interested in generating publicity than mounting a serious search, critics now suggest," writes Stefan Lovgren. "By making an early announcement, he may have tried to persuade the Turkish government into granting him a permit. Few expeditions have actually obtained clearance to climb Mount Ararat, which is located in a military zone. The choice of expedition leader—a Turkish academic named Ahmet Ali Arslan, who claims to have climbed Mount Ararat 50 times in 40 years—also raised a red flag with those familiar with previous expeditions."

Sources told Christianity Today earlier this year that Arslan would be a boon to the expedition and would help the team get the necessary permits.

"The government of Turkey did not issue a research visa, which is sad, but it's their country," McGivern told the conservative news site WorldNetDaily for an August article. "We haven't totally given up, but it's pretty obvious they're not going to give us one."

But earlier this month, McGivern told the Honolulu Star-Bulletin that he has given up and won't try to put another expedition together. "This was the year," he said. "I don't have Ark fever like many who go year after year. … A good businessman calculates what amount of money and time ...

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Ted Olsen is Christianity Today's managing editor for news and online journalism. He wrote the magazine's Weblog—a collection of news and opinion articles from mainstream news sources around the world—from 1999 to 2006. In 2004, the magazine launched Weblog in Print, which looks for unexpected connections and trends in articles appearing in the mainstream press. The column was later renamed "Tidings" and ran until 2007.
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