Letter in Skeptical Briefs, vol. 3, no. 4, December 1993, pp. 14-15

Correcting Some Errors

I would like to correct some mistakes in my letter, "Noah's Ark," which appeared in the September 1993 Skeptical Briefs. In that letter, which I wrote in late April, I stated that the Institute for Creation Research had made no mention of the CBS/Sun International Pictures program, "The Incredible Discovery of Noah's Ark." Subsequently, I received the April 1993 and September 1993 issues of the ICR's Acts & Facts, both of which were supportive of the Noah's Ark program. The latter went so far as to defend the authenticity of hoaxer George Jammal's claim to have visited the Ark and suggested that skeptic Gerald Larue was hoaxing Time magazine at Jammal's expense. (Jammal has now publicly admitted the hoax, but when I spoke to John Morris about it, he was unwilling to commit to publishing a retraction of his September article.)

I was also mistaken in stating that only John Morris and Roger Oakland were affiliated with both the ICR and the CBS program. I was correct regarding the show's technical advisors, but not with regard to the "experts" who appeared on the program. ICR faculty members who appeared on the program were Henry Morris, John Morris, John Whitcomb, Larry Vardiman, and Kenneth Cumming. Others on the show who have been published by the ICR include Roger Oakland and Ethel Nelson. So, contrary to what I said in my previous letter, the ICR did have significant association with the program and should share some of the blame for its misrepresentations.

By the way, Sun's "chief researcher," David Balsiger, who wrote the script for the Ark program, has some previous experience in putting forth the stories of hoaxers. He was the ghost writer for Mike Warnke's book The Satan Seller, which told Warnke's tale of being a Satanic high priest turned Christian. Warnke's story was found to be fabricated by the Christian magazine Cornerstone in 1992. Balsiger was also the author of Fernand Navarra's Noah's Ark: I Touched It, a story regarded by many Ark researchers (e.g., Ararat Report, May 1993) to be a hoax.

Jim Lippard
Tucson, Ariz.