June 26, 2010
Chariot Wheels in the Red Sea Not a Good Fundraiser
In line with my post on scientifically proving Josuah’s long day, I recently received a letter from the president of Prairie Bible College, the school where I got my bachelor’s degree, that made me wish I did not have to list it on my CV. Here’s the opening paragraph,
“Some 3500 years after God miraculously parted the Red Sea, evidence has surfaced that just may support the biblical account. WorldNetDaily.com reports that Egyptian chariot wheels have been found in the Red Sea and Photographs are leading scholars to a whole re-mapping of the Exodus route. Nassis Mohammed Hasssan, director of Antiquities in Cairo, examined a hub with the remains of eight spokes radiating outward and declared it to be a wheel used only during the 18th Dynasty of ancient Egypt – the time or the Exodus. “
Prairie President then goes on to meditate on how the school, like the escaping Israelites of those days, is in a tight spot because of decreased donations. Like Moses they have nowhere to look but up.
Just a quick overview of the problems with this chariot wheel story,
- This well known fabrication was started or at least popularized in the 70s by notorious “amateur archeologist” (fraud) Ron Wyatt. It has given people interested in debunking Christianity a lot to work with. Ron Wyatt also claimed he had discovered both the ark of the covenant and Noah’s Ark.
- From the above description of the find you would think that this was a recent discovery, but in fact the article at WorldNetDaily.com says nothing new. Though it was posted in 2003 and it says it was written in 2010. I have to say, the site looks a little sketchy to me too. Tons of add space and double underlined words in the article link to even more ads. Basic browsing intuition says, “Run away!”
- In any case there are not chariot wheels (plural), but one single chariot wheel in question. And we don’t even have evidence that it actually exists. As the article states, “Curiously, no one can account for the precise whereabouts of that eight-spoked wheel today, though Hassan is on videotape stating his conclusion regarding authenticity.”
- The Hassan mentioned here is a Nassif Mohammed Hassan, supposedly the one time director of Antiquities in Cairo. A search of this name on the Internet will yield many returns that all say that same thing, and nothing else. In other words there is no evidence that this is or was a real person or that the suspiciously vague institution “Antiquities in Cairo” exists or existed. Note that in the letter the name is misspelled the name as Nassis. Adding typo to injury.
- The entire idea that a needle in a haystack like this would survive is just ludicrous (similar to efforts to find the anchor of the ship Paul was shipwrecked on), and the fact that it just so happens to “prove” a very contested historical occurrence is extremely suspicious (of course, it doesn’t prove the Exodus because the chariot wheel does not exist). Add to this that there is no recognized archeological authority attached to the story and it’s a pretty sure sign of fraudulence.
So here I am dissing my own school. What is wrong with me? I guess I feel compelled to bring some accountability to bear on a school that I am inextricably associated with (Bachelor of Theology, 1992). An academic institution should be helping us distinguish between myth and fact and should be a model of balanced assessment. If academic institutions don’t do this who else will? We need you, Prairie, but we need in much better form!