The Flood

Rolf Furuli furuli at
Tue Oct 3 01:30:55 EDT 2000

Dear Alan,

Regarding the flood, I have to respond on three fronts, and this is beyond
my capacity because I have very much teaching this semester. In addition, I
think geology is somewhat beside the purpose of this list, although flood
geology may have some relevance. I will, however, give a few comments. What
I have tried to do in this thread is to stress the following: Nobody can
*prove* that a world-wide flood ever occurred, and nobody can *prove* that
it did not occur, not even as late as 2.400 BCE. I am surprised how many
persons there are who subscribe to the creed: To build on the Bible is
based on faith, to build on science is based on data. I have tried to show
that this picture is false and that the view of the history of ancient man
simply is based on a scientific religion whose basic dogma is the evolution
on man. I have further pointed to different data which would accord with a
recent world-wide flood, but in no way prove it, and I have tried to show
that there are no reliable methods that can be used to date man and his
artifacts in the third millennium and beyound. This has been an attack on a
model, and not a defense of a model.

I give a few comments below.

>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?
For instance: LEICHTY E. 1986, Catalogue og the Babylonian Tablets in the
British Museum, vol VI, Tablets from Sippar 1. London,
LEICHTY E/ GRAYSON A.K. 1987, Catalogue of the Babylonian Tablets in the
British Museum, Vol VII, Tablets from Sippar 2, London. also later volumes
in the same series.

Some problematic tablets are:

BM 58872  Amel-Marduk  ? day, 5. month,accession year.
BM 75322 Amel-Marduk   20. dag i 5th month, accession year
BM 61325 Amel-Marduk  17? day, i 10. month, 2nd år.
BM 75489 Nergal-shar-usur  4. day,  2. month, accession year.

The whole New Babylonian chronology rests on the astronomic diary VAT 4956
which is correlated with Nebuchadnezar's 37 year. This is a later copy, and
remember, just one year extra that can be demonstrated in the succession of
kings, the information of this table falls apart. It must be correact as to
the year, if not, it is totally wrong.

>> ... 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 sudd
>enly 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
>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 pai
>ntings 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
>osporus 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
>enesis to support such a wholesale discarding of everything that has been
>dated before 2,400 B.C.E.?

Sorry Alan, but I believe your references to be pure religion, as far as
dating is concerned. I have my own view of the Biblical account which I
have not stated and not defended. But I have used the information of the
Bible of a worldwide flood around 2.400  as an example of how the religion
of science works. You can demonstrate that my claim about the religious
nature of the dating business of the historical sciences is false, by doing
the following:

Demonstrate the the rate of cosmic rays hitting the earth has been constant
throughout history, and that the finds of human artifacts or bones has not
been contaminated, and on this bases point to *ONE* example of humans
existing before 2.400 BCE. Or you can demonstrate the complete reliability
of another dating method and apply this to one particular find.

While I reject most of what the creationists say about flood geology, I
think they have an extremely strong case as far as the age of mankind is
concerned. But you have your opportunity.

>> ... 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
>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

The onus of proof is not on me; I am just pleading our ignorance and the
religious nature of dating science. It is you who has to prove that mankind
existed before 2.400 BCE.

>> 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
> 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.

When I started my investigation of humanism versus creationism 30 years
ago, I read more than one thousand books found in the university libraries
of historical geology, biochemistry and biology pertaining to  ancient
humans and the Geologic Time table, and even more articles in scholarly
journals - and  I was completely shocked! I could not imagine that the
paradigm presented to the students to such a great degree was contradicted
by these books written by scientists. And because of their pressing
curriculum students would not have time to read all this literature. I am
positive to geology, but what I have found to be less than satisfactory is
the paradigm of historical geology.

>> 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 tha
>t 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 indee
>d 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
>assive 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 hu
>ndreds 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 sp
>illed 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
>d 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
>umbia. 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 year
>s 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 neve
>r happened.

I beg to disagree, but do not have capacity to go into more detail than I
already have done.

>> 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
> 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
>00 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, w
>ith 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
>rs 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
>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
>ample, 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 G
>reenland 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, ho
>w 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 ove
>r the world.

Extrapolation is tricky business, and in geology even more than in
language, there may be several explanations for the same phenomena. First
when you present a reliable mechanism for dating I will retract my claim of
the religious nature of scientific dating.

>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



Rolf Furuli
University of Oslo

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