According to some sources, the ship is infested with “cannibal rats.” But this is more theory than fact, as no one has been on the ship in a year. The cannibal rat theory comes from Pim De Rhoodes, a Belgian salvage hunter, who told tabloid The Sun, “There will be a lot of rats and they eat each other. If I get aboard I’ll have to lace everywhere with poison.” De Rhoodes has no actual information about whether there are rats on the boat, or whether they’re diseased, cannibalistic or perfectly civilized.
According to the BBC, the ship has yet to be sighted off English waters. The Irish Coast Guard isn’t worried, nor is the U.K. Maritime and Coastguard Agency. For more Orlova sightings, the blog Where is Lyubov Orlova tracks sightings and theories about the ship. You can see map of sightings, as well as the ship’s deck plan, and there are shirts and mugs on offer for the most intrepid Orlova hunters.
1. The ocean is a very big place, to claim to know with absolute certainty that there cannot be a cannibal ghost rat ship (or RATBOAT) seems to me the height of arrogance.
2. The burden of proof lays with those who — dangerously, in my opinion — claim that there is no RATBOAT. “The burden of proof (Latin: onus probandi) is the obligation resting on a party in a trial to produce the evidence that will shift the conclusion away from the default position to one’s own position.
The burden of proof is often associated with the Latin maxim semper necessitas probandi incumbit ei qui agit, the best translation of which seems to be: “the necessity of proof always lies with the person who lays charges.”
He who does not carry the burden of proof carries the benefit of assumption, meaning he needs no evidence to support his claim. Fulfilling the burden of proof effectively captures the benefit of assumption, passing the burden of proof off to another party.”
3. The absence of (ghost rat ship) evidence is not the evidence of (ghost rat ship) absence. “Argument from ignorance (Latin: argumentum ad ignorantiam), also known as appeal to ignorance (in which ignorance stands for “lack of evidence to the contrary”), is a fallacy in informal logic. It asserts that a proposition is true because it has not yet been proven false (or vice versa). This represents a type of false dichotomy in that it excludes a third option, which is that there is insufficient investigation and therefore insufficient information to prove the proposition satisfactorily to be either true or false. Nor does it allow the admission that the choices may in fact not be two (true or false), but may be as many as four, (1) true, (2) false, (3) unknown between true or false, and (4) being unknowable (among the first three). In debates, appeals to ignorance are sometimes used to shift the burden of proof.”
4. No one ever called the rats ‘diseased,’ Smithsonian Magazine. Where are you getting your information? Suspicious.
5. The absence of one ghost-rat ship does not equal the absence of all possible ghost-rat ships.
6. The ocean is full of ships; the world is full of rats. It feels premature to definitively claim there are NO Ratboats anywhere right now. We need more studies.
7. I believe the Smithsonian Magazine should retract their spurious and sensationalist headline. By their own admission, “according to some sources, the ship is infested with cannibal rats. But this is [a] theory…no one has been on the ship in a year.” They admit that they themselves have not been on Ratboat! They have not swept the decks of Ratboat clean and found it ratless. They are damned by their very own words.
8. If there is no Ratboat, where did Brian Jacques get the idea for Rathelm in the Redwall series?
9. There are rats. There are ships. It is not impossible for a rat to be on a ship. It is not impossible for a rat to eat another rat. In four easy steps I have brought you to the possibility of Ratboat. Draw the Venn diagram yourself.
10. There is a Catboat in the canals of Amsterdam. Is anyone prepared for the culture clash (and cat-rat war) that must inevitably arise when Catboat and Ratboat meet on the icy waves of the Atlantic?