Thursday, October 25, 2007

From Noah’s Ark to the Ark of the Covenant and Beyond: Junk Science, Amateur Enthusiasts, and Irresponsible Documentary Filmmakers

Saturday, November 10, 2 - 4 pm (Flyer)
Eric Cline, Ph.D.
National Science Foundation, Room 110 (note new location)
4201 Wilson Boulevard, Arlington, VA (map)
One block south of Ballston-Marymount University metro stop on Orange Line. Enter NSF from the corner of N. Stuart Street and 9th St. N. Room 110 is on the left. Parking is available in the Ballston Common mall, in the NSF building, and at other area parking lots and garages. Metered parking is also available on the surrounding streets. NSF visitor directions and information

The amount of pseudo-scientific nonsense that has been published on so-called “mysteries” of the Bible is appalling. The vast majority of this work has not been produced by professional scholars but by amateur enthusiasts. These enthusiasts--most of whom are self-trained and self-employed, and some of whom publish only, or primarily, on the Internet--all work outside of academia. As such, they are not held to the same standards of rigor, peer review, and scrutiny as professional scholars employed by colleges, universities, and other institutions of higher learning. Indeed, the work of such enthusiasts frequently meets the criteria of “junk science,” especially when it “advocates a cause, pays little attention to the investigative process, ignores contrary evidence, and advertises a high moral purpose.” In his talk, Dr. Cline will present, and debunk, examples of such junk science--especially as it pertains to topics such as the possible locations of the Garden of Eden, Noah’s Ark, Sodom and Gomorrah, the Ark of the Covenant, and the Ten Lost Tribes--and issue a call to arms for professional archaeologists, ancient historians, and biblical scholars to take back their fields from the amateur enthusiasts, pseudo-scientists, and irresponsible documentary filmmakers who have had, for the most part, free reign to do what they wish, without any regard to scientific method or an unbiased investigation for the truth.

DR. ERIC H. CLINE is Associate Professor of Classics and of Anthropology (Ancient History and Archaeology) and Chair of the Department of Classical and Semitic Languages and Literatures at The George Washington University, where he has won both national and local teaching awards. A former Fulbright scholar and award-winning teacher and author with degrees from Dartmouth, Yale, and the University of Pennsylvania, he is Associate Director (USA) of the ongoing excavations at Megiddo (biblical Armageddon) in Israel as well as Co-Director of the ongoing excavations at Tel Kabri, also located in Israel. An award-winning author, he is perhaps best known for his books The Battles of Armageddon: Megiddo and the Jezreel Valley from the Bronze Age to the Nuclear Age (2000) and Jerusalem Besieged: From Ancient Canaan to Modern Israel (2004). He has just published a new book entitled From Eden to Exile: Unraveling Mysteries of the Bible (National Geographic Society, June 2007).