A Turkish academic who claims to “speak for science” said that Noah used a cellphone to call his son before the Flood and powered the Ark with a nuclear reactor. The latest bizarre pseudoscience out of Turkey comes a year after the Turkish government claimed that the patriarch Abraham’s father built Göbekli Tepe and a couple of years after Turkey’s strongman president claimed that Muslim explorers built a mosque in Cuba long before Columbus visited the island. Such claims are part of a growing religious fundamentalism in the Turkish state, where the secularism of Ataturk has eroded in recent years in favor of Pres. Erdoğan’s policy of Islamization.
Yavuz Örnek, 59, teaches marine science at Istanbul University. He was educated in Turkey and here in upstate New York (but of course) at Syracuse University. He is a specialist in organic chemistry and studies algae, but he is also an outspoken opponent of women’s rights, claiming that families break down when women are free and that gender equality must be bad because “the Jews” advocate for it. Speaking on the state-run TRT 1 television network on Saturday, Örnek outlined his strange claims about Noah’s Ark.
“There were huge 300 to 400-meter high waves and his [the Prophet Noah’s] son was many kilometers away. The Quran says Noah spoke with his son. But how did they manage to communicate? Was it a miracle? It could be. But we believe he communicated with his son via cell phone,” Örnek said, according to a translation published in the Hürriyet Daily News.
The passage Örnek refers to appears in Qur’an 11:42-43: “And the ark swam with them between waves like mountains: and Noah called up to his son, who was separated from him, saying, Embark with us, my son, and stay not with the unbelievers. He answered, I will get on a mountain, which will secure me from the water. Noah replied, There is no security this day from the decree of God, except for him on whom he shall have mercy. And a wave passed between them, and he became one of those who were drowned” (trans. George Sale). As you can see, there is no indication in the text that Noah’s son was kilometers away; rather, the plain reading is that Noah passed him in the Ark and called to him as the ship sailed by him.
Örnek also took issue with the Abrahamic article of faith that the Ark was made of wood and rode along atop the waters. Such an account is given in Genesis, though the Quranic version in Sura 11 omits the material the Ark is made from but alludes to the Judeo-Christian account in having Allah refer to “the form and dimensions which we have revealed unto thee.” Later, in 54:13, the Qur’an is specific enough to describe the materials used the make the Ark: “And we bare him on a vessel composed of planks and nails.” Örnek, who is apparently as bad at Quranic study as he is science, decided to replace this clear statement with random fantasy, in this case that Noah built the Ark like an aircraft carrier, made of steel, and then powered it like a submarine with nuclear power.
He claims that the birds Noah released were not actually birds but unmanned aerial vehicles.
“I am a scientist, I speak for science” Örnek added.
I believe that should be “fantasist” and “fantasy.”
He said he could prove his claims scientifically, but declined to offer evidence. He conveniently expects us to take the Qur’an literally when it suits him and metaphorically when it does not.
What bothers me is that Turkish state media and organs of the Turkish government seem interested in promoting this Ancient Aliens style exploration of the mysteries of the Qur’an, and seem happy to give air time to lunatic ideas that are both godawful science and prima facie bad theology. I don’t know if their intention is to provoke outrage, but the growing government patronage, direct or indirect, in Turkey of nut-job ideas about history is a sure sign of the country’s retreat from modernity and secularism.
1/11/2018 09:42:21 am
Perhaps this an attempt to subvert Western influence? Similar to what Russia did in the 60s and 70s, but with a religious overtone.
1/11/2018 12:10:34 pm
That guy's a wanker. It's obvious to me that a small party of Hebrews had earlier accompanied a band of Templars to Minnesota where they interbred with the Native Americans and acquired stone canoe technology.
1/11/2018 12:53:13 pm
Several things about the Ark have always puzzled me. First, how did Noah keep the meat eating animals from not eating the plant eating animals? Second, animals tend to eat, so that what goes in one end comes out the other. What did Noah do with all the shit? Third, if Noah gathered one of each kind of animal, how did he determine the sex of such animals as mosquitoes, bees and ants?
1/11/2018 01:47:47 pm
According to the Biblical account of this imaginary event that never happened Noah was commanded to load two of some kinds of animal, and more than two of others onto the Ark.
Just some guy, you know?
1/13/2018 03:16:47 am
The ones of which Noah was commanded to bring more than two were the clean animals, of which he was required to bring seven. That's not enough to feed all the unclean carnivores, especially the ones hungry from swimming across one or two oceans to some guy in the Levant.
1/11/2018 05:14:41 pm
luckily for you, there is Ark Encounters in Kentucky. They can answer all of your questions with their life size, biblically accurate ark. Also, enjoy the biblically accurate laser light show and zip line.
1/11/2018 10:37:22 pm
See, you're obviously not religious enough, or you would know that the answer is a hand-waving "God told the animals to behave."
1/30/2018 03:03:05 am
A (sky)wizard did it.
1/11/2018 01:20:53 pm
Its like looking into the future of the US if the fundies/Rethugs keep adding to their political power.
1/11/2018 01:49:46 pm
"Its like looking into the future of the US if the fundies/Rethugs keep adding to their political power."
1/11/2018 05:51:16 pm
What sort of cellphone and contract did Noah have?
1/11/2018 08:16:07 pm
1/11/2018 09:33:45 pm
A good example that someone might be very knowledgeable in one field and totally clueless in another. As an Organic Chemist I would hope he had obtained some level of critical thinking..O chem is pretty hard (I had a year of it) but there you go. which is why I tend to discount "experts" when they go into other fields..and often even their own (in economics and social science especially).
Yes, Turkey is retreating from modernity. How was this possible? Wasn't Turkey a really modern state, with a clear modern state philosophy, implemented by founder Atatürk?
1/12/2018 08:35:00 am
Pres. Erdoğan is doing in Turkey what Trump is attempting to do here. Create a power base that relies on: ignorance and myth; the destruction of liberal and rational thought; tight control of the media; complete denial and suppression of opposing views; use of fundamentalism and fear; and strong arm, bullying tactics to govern. <P>
1/12/2018 09:11:51 am
First, ONE big kudos to Jason for including the diacritics (is that the right word in this context?) in his rendering of Turkish names. Those in the know know that the "ğ" in "Erdoğan" is NOT pronounced and it grates on me when news readers, pundits, and politicians pronounce it "Air doe gan".
1/13/2018 05:03:18 pm
Serious lack of understanding says what? I am a longtime student of Islam and read Arabic. Islam is not about Justice and Mercy, it LITERALLY means "Submission". You can keep raping your Turkish "guestworkers" in the Land of the Jewkillers" but I will just keep telling the truth.
1/13/2018 06:16:59 pm
And it bears adding that the "original meaning" of all religions, without exception is "How can I set up a scheme to get sex with twelve year old girls?"
1/14/2018 03:28:47 pm
The image of the Hitler Youth (HitlerJugend) laying out in the fields and masturbating to the SkyGod is wonderful.
The Anonymous Nerd
1/16/2018 06:52:24 pm
Where was Noah's phone tower?
1/16/2018 07:21:29 pm
At the Tower of Babel ?
1/16/2018 10:04:07 pm
In the Everest Valley in Proto-Tibet.
1/16/2018 10:34:44 pm
Is the Newport tower that old ?
1/18/2018 12:31:48 am
It's a fish smokery, I tell you! And a tannery! Do not taunt Happy Newport Fun Tower.
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I am an author and researcher focusing on pop culture, science, and history. Bylines: New Republic, Esquire, Slate, etc. There's more about me in the About Jason tab.
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