Home > Religion, Science > Why the flood is a myth

Why the flood is a myth

A few years ago, in a local laundromat, I overheard a well-intentioned elderly gentleman proselytizing to some of the other patrons. I knew my turn was coming, and sure enough, he approached me as well. The man eagerly shared, “Did you know they found Noah’s Ark on Mt. Ararat? The Bible is real! The kingdom of God is coming.” Being somewhat confused on how best to respond, and not seeking confrontation, I just nodded and said “okay, thank you.”

In retrospect, I should not have tolerated this spreading of unreason, however innocent. Without being mean spirited, I should have patiently explained that he was mistaken about the Ark and pointed out how the flood never happened. Any person who thinks it through will quickly notice that the story absolutely must be a myth. I could have easily asked a few simple questions to engage his critical thinking like:

  • Where did all the water come from? Where did it all go?
  • Why is there no evidence of the flood in archeological dating?
  • Don’t boat makers say a wood ship that big wouldn’t float?
  • How did he handle the animals? food? ventilation? waste?

If that didn’t work, I would be forced to go through the major reasons point by point…

Impossible Water Supply – There is no plausible source for the 5 fold increase of water needed for a global flood. Rain, geysers, comets, ice caps, etc. all cannot account for the amount or its disappearance. The only explanation is magic.

Polar Ice Caps – Counting layers of compacted snow allows for dating ice cores back thousands of years. Records going back tens of thousands of years show no record of a flood or any disturbances, sediment deposits, etc.

Tree Rings – Annual tree ring records can show us changes in climate going back thousands of years. Called dendrochronology, this practice take us back about 11,500 years with no sign of a global flood.

Fresh vs. Salt Water – The majority of fresh water wish cannot survive in the seas and a global flood would have mixed all water sources together, along with upsetting a lot of dirt. There is no record of associated and necessary extinctions.

Modern Plants – The submersion of plants for weeks on end coupled with enormous soil erosion would make the diversity and strength of modern day plant life a statistical impossibility.

The Ark Construction – Wood is not sufficient for a 450 foot ship. The longest wooden ships in modern seas are about 300 feet and they need iron reinforcement and leak at the joints. Even ignoring the rough seas and tremendous cargo of animals the feat is impossible.

Ark Management – The task of gathering pairs of every animal is dwarfed by the ongoing care at sea. Special diets, fresh food, proper sanitation, ventilation, animal handling, and more all point to the impossible task for a small family of humans.

Atmospheric Pressure – Both the human and animal passengers would have experienced a tremendous increase in atmospheric pressure. If they could survive the added water vapor, the pressure would crush their lungs.

Genetic Diversity – For humans alone, an examination of Mitochondrial DNA places our common ancestors nearly 140,000 years ago. The diversity in other species also corroborates the impossibility of a genetic narrowing a few thousand years ago.

At this point it would be pointless to go on citing other scientific reasons that illustrate the mythology involved. We could turn our attention to refuting alleged finds of Noah’s Ark at Mt. Ararat and Mt. Suleiman, but people often believe what they want to. Saying there has been no scientific corroboration of anything like an Ark at those sites would likely have done very little with the elderly man.

The most troubling part of this entire myth is the moral lesson. (I’ll put aside the problem of incest with Noah and his family being the only humans to repopulate the planet.) The lesson is that God destroyed nearly every living thing on the planet for the apparent sins of humans. How many men, women, and children did he wipe out? How many animals were innocent victims? This story strikes of genocidal rage that seems incompatible with a loving God and the concept of redemption. Likewise, why did he not just strike down the evil people with a more targeted approach? He should have had more careful options at his disposal surely… he is God after all.

Isn’t it more reasonable that the worldwide flood never happened and instead the flood legend is exactly that, a myth? It was most likely morphed from a historical event that accounts for Noah’s flood, the Epic of Gilgamesh, and other ancient flood narratives. There are several theories out there including the a Euphrates river flood in 2900 B.C.E. or the flooding of the freshwater Black Sea in 5,600 B.C.E.. Either way, “the flood” never happened and it is not reasonable for well-intentioned old men to believe it or try to convince others of the same.

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Categories: Religion, Science
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