The Flood

alanf00 at alanf00 at
Mon Oct 2 22:28:19 EDT 2000

To Rolf,

I have a few questions and comments:

> The best place to dig in order to learn the history of the Middle 
East is not in Israel, not in Jordan, not in Egypt, not in Syria, not in 
Iraq, but rather in the basement of the British Museum. In the last 
20 years, tablets have been read and published, which even have 
jeopardized the New Babylonian chronology, one of the best of the 
old chronologies.

What tablets, and where has the information been published?

> ... In the Cambridge Ancient History I:2 there are chronological 
tables from page 994. The first Egyptian dynasty is dated to c. 
3100 BCE and the Sumerian period is dated to 2700. Is it not 
strange that there are no accounts of human cultures before these 
dates? (The age of a few isolated finds of habitation are highly 

I am not sure just what you mean by "accounts of human cultures" 
before these dates. If you mean the preserved *written records* of 
these cultures, you may be right. However, your statement below, 
"that human culture suddenly apears on the scene 3.100 BCE or 
700 years earlier" than 2,000 B.C.E., seems to indicate that you 
mean *all* evidence of human culture, written or otherwise.

But this presents a serious problem. The archaeological record of 
human culture in Europe and the Middle East goes much further 
back than any written accounts. We have remains of Neandertal 
culture going back perhaps 200,000 years, preserved in the form of 
stone tools and the skeletons of these people. We have a similar 
record of modern-type humans going back at least 100,000 years. 
There are dozens of caves all over Europe containing paintings and 
other artifacts; these go back from 10,000 to more than 30,000 
years. In the 1990s William Ryan and Walter Pitman found good 
evidence that the Black Sea was inundated by the Mediterranean 
breaking through the Bosporus about 5,500 B.C.E. This past 
summer their expedition found remains of human settlement, 
including buildings and a trash heap, in about 100 meters of water 
about 20 km. off the Turkish coast. If your contention is correct -- 
that human culture is not older than about 2,400 B.C.E., then all of 
the dating of these things, and much more, must be discarded. Do 
you have any evidence apart from your interpretation of the 
geneologies in Genesis to support 
such a wholesale discarding of everything that has been dated 
before 2,400 B.C.E.?

> ... In my view it is highly remarkable that human culture suddenly 
apears on the scene 3.100 BCE or 700 years earlier. This accords 
better with the Biblical information than with the traditional 
evolutionary scheme.

Unless you can show that *all* of the standard archeological dates 
on pre-2,400 B.C.E. periods are wrong, there is little basis for this 

> What I have tried to do in this thread, is to plead our ignorance.

Indeed we are ignorant of many things, but much archaeology and 
the associated geology of the past few tens of thousands of years 
is extremely solidly documented. To repudiate such findings is to 
repudiate essentially all of geology and ancient archaeology, do 
you not agree? I don't know a lot about archaeology, but I do know 
something about geology and I can provide copious amounts of 
evidence that is solidly documented.

> While the Biblical information about a worldwide flood is 
categorically rejected by most researchers, this is not done on the 
basis of data, but rather on the basis of the paradigm to which 
most are subscribing.

This is simply untrue. I have done a great deal of checking of 
evidence that various supporters of a global flood have advanced. 
Absolutely nothing -- nothing at all -- has turned out to be as they 
claimed. Each claim that they set forth is found, after careful 
checking, to be either impossible or extremely unlikely, and far 
better explained by normal geology.

There is also the problem of negative evidence. A worldwide watery 
catastrophe only 4,400 years ago would be expected to leave 
massive, unmistakeable evidence in every part of the world. Such 
is not found. There are indeed evidences of massive, *local* 
flooding found, but nothing that I am aware of that occurred 4,400 
years ago. For example, according to standard geology, 
somewhere between about 12,000 and 15,000 years ago some 40 
or so massive floods occurred in Washington/Oregon/Idaho. These 
were the result of the damming of a river system in Idaho by a 
continental glacier, such that some 2300 cubic kilometers of water 
accumulated in a lake extending hundreds of kilometers eastward 
into Idaho and Montana. That is more than the volume of Lakes 
Erie and Ontario combined. When the water reached about 600 
meters deep, the ice dam broke and the entire contents of the lake 
spilled out in a couple of days. This massive amount of water 
carved out huge gashes in the thick lava beds that cover much of 
eastern Washington, forming what is locally called the "channeled 
scabland". It also deepened and widened the Gorge of the 
Columbia River, from north-central Washington all the way to the 
Pacific Ocean. Today there are thick sediments from these floods 
up to 10 kilometers out in the Pacific from the mouth of the 
Columbia. You can find a great deal of documentation on this 
flooding event by typing "Missoula flood" into a decent search 
engine. You can get a nice picture at this URL: .

If a mere local flood caused as much geological damage as these 
Missoula floods did, how much more would a massive, earthwide 
flood produce? Anyone who wants to say that a massive, earthwide 
flood occurred some 4,400 years ago must be prepared to explain 
why topography like that left over from the much earlier Missoula 
floods is not found everywhere on the earth. The fact that it is not is 
extremely strong evidence that such flooding never happened.

> Because clear astronomical data are lacking in the third 
millennium BCE and historical information is scarce, there are no 
data that really contradict the Biblical information about the flood, 
but the young age of human culture and the fact that the surface of 
the earth is very young, accords with the Bible.

The surface of the earth is young only in some spots. In others it is 
demonstrably far older than 4,400 years. For example, the oldest 
ice in the Greenland ice cap has been found during the last 20 
years to be about 250,000 years old. That age has been found by 
extrapolation of thinning rates and so forth, and might be 
questioned. However, a *direct count* of annual layers in certain 
ice core drillings has shown more than 40,000 layers, with some 
blurring causing an uncertainty of at most about 10% in the age at 
40,000 years, and only 2% at 11,000 years. Researchers are 
confident that they have a good record for at least 110,000 years. 
The top annual layers contain the chemical and physical 
signatures of various historical volcanic explosions which are 
extremely well correlated with the ice core layers. The point at 
about 11,600 years ago shows an extreme climate change, with 
rate of snow accumulation doubling after that point. This 
corresponds to the large climate change usually called the 
"Younger Dryas", whose signature can be found in various places 
all over Europe and America. For example, a peat bog in northern 
France shows a change from near-Arctic to temperate climate in a 
few decades, judging by pollen in the various layers. Radiocarbon 
dating of this climate breakpoint correlates well with the Greenland 
ice core dates. You can find much information on this by typing 
"gisp greenland ice core" into a search engine. You can find some 
information at this URL: .

Now, one might find fault with any number of details in these ice 
core and climate studies, but one thing is certain: the Greenland 
ice cap would not have survived a massive, worldwide flood 4,400 
years ago. Therefore, how it came into existence in such short 
time span must be explained, along with how the ice core records 
in today's ice sheet correspond so well to climate changes inferred 
from many other kinds of information from all over the world.

The Hebrew bible contains much interesting information on ancient 
middle eastern culture, and I have little doubt that some kind of 
flooding in the Middle East some few thousands of years ago gave 
rise to the legend of Noah's flood, as well as many other flood 
stories in the area. In other words, the best evidence is that 
"Noah's flood" was a local, massive flood that so disrupted the lives 
of people in the Middle East that its memory survived a very long 
time, in the writings of the Sumerians and Hebrews and other local 
peoples. The date of this flood hinges on pinning down which of the 
many potential flood events actually spawned the legend. The 
geology of the region has been only partially studied, and is largely 
on hold now due to the political situation in Iraq.

Alan Feuerbacher

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