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Here is the Flood Evidence department!

In September 2010, the then-current editors of (Mark Elliott, Paul V.M. Flesher, J. Edward Wright) rejected the following rebuttal to Robert Cargill's article on their website.

According to their Philosophy statement, they do not accept "esoteric and improbable positions nor apologetic and dogmatic agendas".  Ironically, their website's official Purpose is to appeal to people interested in "the most current news and interpretations on the Bible", a book that contains esoteric and improbable positions, with apologetic and dogmatic content.

You can post comments at the related entry on LMLK Blogspot or LMLK Wordpress.

Science writings by G.M. Grena:

Flooding Robert Cargill with Scientific Evidence

In order to even entertain the possibility that there was no worldwide flood, Robert Cargill had to completely ignore the geologic record, the fossil record, and the scientific method.

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     In response to one creationist organization that claimed to have found evidence of Noah's ark earlier this year (which fellow creationists did not accept^1), Robert Cargill, Ph.D. recently wrote an article, "Forget about Noah's Ark; There Was No Worldwide Flood".


^1) See "Noah's Ark Discovered Again?" published online by Associates for Biblical Research, plus "Deluged with Inquiries About the Ark" by Answers in Genesis.

     To support his proclamation, he offered two major points:

  1. The record preserved in Genesis is a combination of myths derived from earlier myths.
  2. There is not enough water in Earth's atmospheric system to produce a worldwide flood.

     In the words of Isaiah, "Come now, and let us reason together." Dr. Cargill's points demonstrate logical fallacies known as Division and Denying the Antecedent following these forms:

  1. X has characteristic Y.  P is a part of X, so P also has characteristic Y.
  2. If A, then B.  Not A, therefore not B.

     Basically what he has suggested is:

  1. Mesopotamian deluge stories are phony.  Whoever wrote Genesis used this Mesopotamian literature, so the Genesis version is also phony.
  2. If our atmosphere has an enormous quantity of water in it, there could have been a worldwide flood.  Our atmosphere only has a small amount of water in it, therefore there was no worldwide flood.

     So at the outset, we know Cargill's points are wrong, but let's examine their components for a better understanding of why they violate these elementary laws of logic.


Detailed Rebuttal to Point #1


     Cargill supported the "myth from myths" hypothesis with these four pieces of evidence:

A) We have specimens of Sumerian, Akkadian, and Babylonian myths that pre-date the earliest copies of Genesis.

B) There are different numbers used for the number of animals on the ark, either one pair or seven pairs.

C) There are different time periods for the flooding, either 40 days or 150 days.

D) There are different Hebrew words naming God.

     These facts do indeed support his point, in that the Genesis record may be a combination of earlier, separate myths, with a few new inventions tossed in for good measure (such as the seaworthy ark dimensions in Genesis 6:15); but they do not disprove the possibility that there was a worldwide flood.  In other words:

a) The Sumerian, Akkadian, and Babylonian versions may have been derived from an earlier, more accurate source, but they distorted it.  Obviously if the earlier version was not preserved on durable media such as fired clay rather than perishable (parchment, papyrus, or memory), we may never find a copy of it.^2


^2) How ironic that Cargill doesn't seem cognizant of this point after having spent so much time doing firsthand research with the extremely rare and fragile Dead Sea Scrolls.

b) There could have been at least two pairs of all basic land/air animals rescued, but seven pairs of certain kinds.^3  These numbers do not necessarily contradict; they can overlap.  Qualifiers such as "at least" or "only two pairs" (as implied by Cargill) are not in the text.


^3) Amor Sabor (07/20/2010 - 02:56) posted this and the next point in a comment to Cargill's article:  "It did not rain for 150 days..." and "7 pairs of the clean ... and 2 pairs only of the unclean animals..."

c) Forty days of worldwide catastrophes could have presented enough water to float the ark, with 110 more days (150 cumulative) during which either the waters continued to rise from an underground source, or the land sunk due to tectonic plate activity.^4


^4) From an ark-passenger's perspective, there would be no difference between these latter two possibilities once the ark was afloat.  Noah's family probably had no knowledge of tectonic plates.

     For an obvious modern analogy, look at Hurricane Katrina.  Rainfall only lasted a few days in late August 2005, but flooding from breeched levees increased well into September 2005, subsiding during October with the help of modern machinery.^5


^5) See "Hurricane Season 2005: Katrina, Latest Update - October 13, 2005" by NASA and "Tropical Cyclone Report: Hurricane Katrina, 23-30 August 2005" by Richard D. Knabb, Jamie R. Rhome, and Daniel P. Brown at the National Hurricane Center, 20 December 2005 (updated 10 August 2006).

d) The same writer/redactor who combined separate, but not-necessarily-contradictory accounts of the Creation in Genesis, also "intertwined" the previously separate, but not-necessarily-contradictory accounts of the Flood.

     It is easy to understand Noah preserving one version during the Flood, and Shem writing his own version many years later,^6 with Moses combining them centuries later.  Name substitutions provide interesting research clues, but are not necessarily a means of determining the story's authenticity.  Multiple Old Testament documents named one king as Jehoiachin, Jeconiah, and Coniah.  New Testament writers referred to Jesus Christ as "Lord", "Jesus of Nazareth", "Son of Man", "Son of David", "Son of God", "The Christ", etc.^7


^6) According to Genesis 9:28 and 11:10-11, this son of Noah outlived him by about 150 years.  A technical defense of this issue is beyond the scope of my rebuttal (i.e., whether a global flood occurred).  If, hypothetically, Shem only lived 15 years after Noah, my point remains the same.

^7) How ironic that Bob, Robert, or Dr. Cargill would make a big deal out of this!

     Of course, Cargill and mainstream scholars know all of this, but cannot resist the temptation to argue that their popular interpretation is the only possible one.  Such an attitude is anathema to the scientific method, which brings us Darwinian (or Neo-Darwinian) Evolution taught in Science classes.

     To paraphrase objective Science teachers in schools throughout the world, "Even though we currently don't know what caused the Big Bang, or how the first cells of life formed, or what they looked like, or which mechanism adds useful, complex information to DNA, there's a possibility that it all just happened, and therefore it's a scientific theory." It may be considered scientific, but in logic, it is known as being arbitrary since it is not based upon reason.  The only possible rationale delves into metaphysics.

     It becomes just as unscientific and circular to argue that God/gods do or do not exist, or that utilizing a supernatural datum circumvents the scientific method.  All theories have a traceable foundation through reasoning.  No neutrality exists, and belief in the Christian God remains the only logically consistent foundation for interpreting all the evidence.  Here's why:

     After acknowledging immaterial, invariant laws that govern logic, math, and nature, it is irrational to posit a randomly expanding universe (Big Bang), and our arrival (as complex functioning organisms) by a purposeless, unguided process (Darwinian Evolution).  Randomness (unpredictable events) can only exist (i.e., appear to exist) within a controlled environment.  If the entire environment is out of control, nothing within it can logically be in control.^8


^8) Feel free to test my point.  If you set up an experiment to prove me wrong, you have just proven me right!

     But for the sake of this current discussion, it is irrelevant whether you believe mine is the best interpretation or not; nor does it matter whether Genesis inspired it.^9  I am content to merely point out that my interpretation of the data remains a valid historical possibility.


^9) Job 28:25, Psalm 8:8, and Ecclesiastes 1:6 were among the verses that inspired Matthew Fontaine Maury to make important scientific contributions to oceanography and meteorology.

Detailed Rebuttal to Point #2

"Simply put: there is not enough water in Earth's atmosphere to raise the ocean's [sic] levels over an inch, much less to cover Mt. Ararat with water from 40 days of rain."

     Genesis does not record the Flood as strictly the product of rainfall:  "[A]ll the fountains of the great deep [were] broken up, and the windows of heaven were opened."^10  After the planet had been completely deluged, "The fountains also of the deep and the windows of heaven were stopped."^11


^10) See Genesis 7:11.

^11) See Genesis 8:2.

     Another astute reader already alluded to this obvious refutation in a comment to Cargill's article,^12 so I will refute it from three slightly different angles.


^12) Andrew Price (06/04/2010 - 09:27):  "If Noah's flood was accompanied by massive geological movements..."

Counterpoint #1:  Which is more likely on Earth?

     Creationists who list observable scientific facts indicating our world is only thousands of years old,^13 are ignored or chastised by people who believe Earth is billions of years old.^14  To support the mainstream belief that the first life arose from non-life (abiogenesis), evolutionists assume without hesitation that the atmosphere has changed dramatically over time, and their bumbling attempts to describe it (let alone demonstrate it) are entertaining:


^13) For starters see "Evidence for a Young Earth from the Ocean and Atmosphere" by Larry Vardiman, "Evidence for a Young World" by D. Russell Humphreys, or "Six Evidences of a Young Earth" by Answers in Genesis (with sub-links to detailed articles by multiple scientists).

^14) One need look for examples no further than Cargill's article, and some of the responses to it, such as this gold nugget by Ed Thompson (06/03/2010 - 19:06):  "They don't use evidence, or reasoning, or scientific principles when arguing the bible."

"For a long time it was thought that the early Earth had a reducing atmosphere. ... However, most of the scientific community now BELIEVES that the early Earth's atmosphere was not reducing. ... There is much known about the environment and composition of the early earth. However, there is even more which is uncertain and not known. Because of this, scientists are studying and searching for the conditions which they BELIEVE were present when life began."^15

^15) From an online article, "Pre-biotic Earth" authored primarily by professors at the University of California, San Diego, with help from "high school teachers, university students, university faculty and industrial professionals."

"Now, current geochemical OPINION is that the prebiotic atmosphere was not so strongly reducing as the original Miller-Urey atmosphere, but OPINION varies widely from moderately reducing to neutral."^16

^16) From "Icon of Obfuscation: Jonathan Wells's book Icons of Evolution and why most of what it teaches about evolution is wrong" by Nick Matzke at The TalkOrigins Archive.

     I capitalized the B-word and O-word above, as a courtesy to those who think unfounded, unsubstantiated belief/opinion (such as whether pre-Flood humans lived for several centuries) runs counter to the scientific method.  After decades of research spending millions of dollars with collaboration among thousands of biologists, they still have not facilitated the appearance of a self-replicating cell from scratch in a lab.^17  Using Cargill's banner hyperbole with my own little substitutions:


^17) The reason they have failed is life cannot start with oxygen (it disrupts simple chemical bonds), and life cannot start without oxygen (complex respiration and photosynthesis, plus it forms ozone to shield Earth).  A detailed technical explanation is beyond the scope of this rebuttal.

     In order to even entertain the possibility of abiogenesis, one has to bypass all laws of physics, exit the realm of science, and enter into the realm of the miraculous, which many Evolutionism loyalists are willing to do!

     By contrast, I can easily demonstrate that a worldwide flood is scientifically feasible by this statement from a recent, secular science publication that promotes mainstream Evolutionism:

"[T]he volume of water contained in the oceans and seas is so great that if the Earth's surface were converted to a smooth sphere without topography, it would be entirely covered by a layer of seawater about 8,300 ft (2,500 m) deep."^18

^18) "Smithsonian Earth" edited by James F. Luhr (NY: DK Publishing Inc., 2003, p. 383).

     Cargill asked, "So even if water could enter Earth's closed system, where did it go?" One obvious answer would be:  underground, where we cannot make a reliable measurement of it.^19  A more intelligent question would be, "Does Earth's surface today match its topography before the hypothetical global flood occurred?"


^19) Note the relatively recent hypothesis that FIVE TIMES the amount of water in the oceans may reside underground, according to "Water in Earth's Lower Mantle" by Motohiko Murakami, Kei Hirose, Hisayoshi Yurimoto, Satoru Nakashima, and Naoto Takafuji in Science magazine (8 March 2002: Vol. 295. no. 5561, pp. 1885-1887).

     Since the Flood would have changed the entire landscape of our planet, it is impossible to say what the highest elevation was for the waters to exceed by 15 cubits.^20  This depth would ensure the non-miraculous drowning of all land animals, and clearance of the ark, which was twice this distance tall.^21  But assuming it even existed before the Flood, today's Mt. Ararat is not necessarily the same height it would have been prior to the geologic upheavals that contributed to the Flood.^22  Ararat is primarily igneous, which could have formed in a relatively short time after the Flood, as demonstrated by Surtsey island in modern times, which grew about 1,000 feet in less than 5 years.^23


^20) See Genesis 7:19-20.  Fifteen cubits are only about 25 feet.

^21) See Genesis 6:15.

^22) DMoore (06/28/2010 - 14:50) posted a similar point in response to Cargill:  "[Y]our rebuttle [sic] does not seem to take into account geologic differences between the Earth at the time of 'biblical creation' and today."

^23) It grew from about 130 meters below sea level in 1963 to about 174 meters above it in 1967; details are available at The Surtsey Research Society.

     Furthermore, Ararat was not necessarily the resting place of Noah's ark; the Himalayas seem more likely (which, along with Everest and K2, were probably formed by a catastrophic collision of the previously independent land mass known today as India^24).  According to one interpretation of Genesis 11:2, the Flood survivors traveled west ("from the east"), eventually settling in Mesopotamia.  The Ararat in modern Turkey is somewhat north of Mesopotamia.


^24) See this special sidebar page of the online edition of "This Dynamic Earth: the Story of Plate Tectonics" by W. Jacquelyne Kious and Robert I. Tilling (USGS Unnumbered Series, 1996).  Note also the tremendous discrepancy between the proposed collision date (50Mya) and the modern extrapolation based on Everest's height (<1Mya), prompting the writer to ask the obvious, "If that is so, why aren't the Himalayas even higher? Scientists BELIEVE..."

     My point remains that it is far more scientific to believe a worldwide flood occurred, than to believe in abiogenesis.^25  This prompts many scientists who believe in Neo-Darwinian Evolution to accept the possibility that some god(s) or space alien(s) jump-started the process, as celebrity-atheist Richard Dawkins embarrassingly did in the 2008 movie, "Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed".


^25) Note that Genesis 6:17 records God's out-of-the-ordinary personal involvement in the Flood, though I don't need to resort to this verse to demonstrate the scientific possibility that a worldwide flood occurred.

     Basically, Cargill's argument is equivalent to saying Katrina did not rain long enough to cause all the flooding reported in New Orleans, therefore there was no flooding in New Orleans.

Counterpoint #2:  Date shifting of plate shifting!



     Currently 80% of the globe is covered with water,^26 and nearly all the remaining 20% bears obvious evidence of having once been underwater, or smothered by volcanic lava flows.  We know this because these catastrophes form rock layers rather rapidly.  The 20th-century eruption of Mount St. Helens demonstrated this on a minor, localized scale compared to what the Bible records happened all over the planet for several months.


^26) This is a rough estimate from "Smithsonian Earth" edited by James F. Luhr (NY: DK Publishing Inc., 2003, p. 126):  "More than two-thirds of its surface is covered with liquid water; if frozen water, in the form of ice, is also included, this proportion rises to more than four-fifths."  Whether it is actually 70/30% or even 60/40%, my point stays the same, particularly if a large quantity resides deep within the planet.

     In a single day you can visit Grand Canyon, Zion National Park, and Bryce Canyon (each about 50 miles apart), and observe surface layers dated by mainstream geologists to the Cenozoic, Mesozoic, and Paleozoic eras (i.e., the full spectrum of what evolutionists believe to be Earth history).  They always explain this via tectonic plate activity:

"Throughout Paleozoic time, the area of the present Grand Canyon ... was a region of low relief close to sea level. This position made the area very sensitive to the many sea-level changes that occurred during this time. When the sea level rose, the area was FLOODED by shallow seas teeming with life, and the seas deposited sediments. ... When sea level dropped, the area emerged above water, no sediments were deposited, and some of the sediments that accrued earlier probably were eroded...  The beginning phases of this deformation also caused warping that allowed the Interior Seaway to FLOOD the land, resulting in deposition of strata such as the somber Mancos Shale. Eventually, the sea retreated, leaving behind residual lakes in low spots."^27

^27) This is an excerpt of a letter by Dr. Ivo Lucchitta in the Spring 2001 issue of Boatman's Quarterly Review (the journal of Grand Canyon River Guides).

     Did you catch those shocking F-words I capitalized in the middle?  Yes, though they might not emphasize it, any decent book on Geology will explain the vast continental rock layers as the product of flooding on a massive scale.  Most global-flood critics rarely realize this.^28


^28) Comments such as the one by Jason (07/18/2010 - 12:47), where he first says "there's no evidence for [a global flood]", but then admits there were "local ... floods all over the world", never cease to amuse me, and demonstrate a lack of understanding about the very sedimentary rocks upon which we live!

     Many people are also unaware of the fact that the vast majority of fossils are the product of flooding through permineralization, the most common type of preservation for most fossil bone.^29  Permineralized fossils are created when spaces in an organism that usually hold liquids or gasses are filled with mineral rich water.^30  The majority of fossils are of marine organisms.^31  Geologists even explain the vast Sahara desert as a recent development, which only a few thousand years ago was a lush swampland:


^29) See "Mineralized Fossil Bone" by Andrew MacRae at the University of Calgary, Dept. of Geology and Geophysics.

^30) See "Activity 3: Permineralization" from the U.S. Government's National Park Service.

^31) See "Geological Biology" by Henry Shaler Williams, 1895, p. 80 (available at Google Books).

"During the early Holocene humid optimum, hunters and gatherers obviously preferred the less wooded grassland further north to the regularly FLOODED and densely wooded environments of the southern Sahara."^32

^32) Again, I capitalized the F-word as a courtesy; see "Climate-Controlled Holocene Occupation in the Sahara: Motor of Africa’s Evolution" by Rudolph Kuper and Stefan Kropelin (Science magazine, 20 July 2006).

"[T]he Sahara was in fact a lush green tropical paradise, home to giant dinosaurs and crocodiles and nothing like the dusty desert we see today."^33

^33) See "Giant Dinosaur Fossil Found in Sahara Desert" by Nizar Ibrahim (Live Science, 17 December 2008).

     These geological interpretations obviously differ with Genesis based on when this flooding occurred:  slow processes over a long time (billions of years) vs. a fast process in a short time (one year^34).


^34) Though Genesis records the flood lasting a year, residual processes in remote parts of the world away from Noah's family, including the Ice Age and Grand Canyon's formation, extended over decades if not centuries, even to the present day (as Mount Everest continues to rise).

     Unfortunately for Cargill, radiometric dating is not reliable enough to validate the conventional interpretation and falsify the Genesis record.  The scientific process used in radiometric dating does not automatically produce dates; it merely counts atoms (actually isotopes).^35  Dates are calculated from those quantities based on assumptions about the condition of the sample, cross-referenced by other methods such as tree rings and ice cores, all interpreted via the same circular Evolutionism bias.  For decades, scientists with a Creationism bias have published numerous examples of discordant dates and problems with the method, especially with samples from Mount St. Helens that are supposedly thousands or millions of years old, when obviously they are only a few years old.^36 


^35) For details, visit the the U.S. Geological Survey's "Radiometric Time Scale" page.

^36) Peruse this extensive index at Answers In Genesis, particularly "Excess argon within mineral concentrates from the new dacite lava dome at Mount St Helens volcano" by Steven A. Austin.  Here is a relatively recent one from a non-creationist organization, "Solar ghosts may haunt Earth's radioactive atoms" by Justin Mullins.

     You cannot use the assumptions of one scientific hypothesis to invalidate that of another (e.g., Mount Everest could not have been formed during a hypothetical flood a few thousand years ago because we know it was formed millions of years ago based on our assumptions about slow, gradual processes observed today when we ignore rapid, catastrophic ones that don't fit into our hypothesis).

Counterpoint #3:  Which is more likely in our solar system?

"There is not enough water in the earth’s atmospheric system to even come close to covering all of the earth’s landmasses."

     Let's suppose that Cargill is correct, and that the Bible relies solely on rainfall for the Flood, and that there is not enough water in our atmosphere to flood our planet with its current terrain.  Would it still be scientific to conclude that there was no worldwide flood?

     Well, that is not the way NASA scientists reacted to their recent discovery of tremendous water-erosion on Mars:

"[O]ne of the largest floods ... in solar system history", "a great flood of a billion cubic meters per second swept the region for weeks..."^37

^37) See "Pathfinder Strikes a Rocky Bonanza" by Richard A. Kerr (Science magazine, 11 July 1997: Vol. 277. no. 5323, pp. 173 - 174).

     A flood that lasted weeks on a planet with virtually no liquid water today? Yes, there was plenty of water once, then it vanished:

"Spacecraft photos of Mars reveal signs of ancient rivers, lakes and maybe even an ocean. They might have been filled with water billions of years ago, but something happened -- no one knows what -- and the planet became a global desert."^38

^38) See "Once Upon a Water Planet" reported by NASA on March 12, 2002.

     Isn't it funny how just when you think you know there cannot possibly be a flood on a planet because there is not enough water, then all of a sudden you find yourself deluged with evidence?  Actually, scientists not only believe in liquid-water flooding on Mars, but that it could possibly have been hospitable to life!^39


^39) See "Mars Rover Scientists Wring Water Story from Rocks" by NASA (03.02.04).

     Yes, they believe all this about a planet that not only has less than 80% of its surface currently covered in water (actually, you can erase the "8"; it's closer to 0%), but it has almost no oxygen and almost no water in its atmosphere!^40  Subsequent probes detected ice under the surface of Mars,^41 so if you want to believe it came to be frozen under the surface after having been liquid above the surface (after arriving there by unknown means), which is almost always frozen except at the equator, be my guest as I continue believing the Bible's report of a global flood here!^42


^40) Only about 0.03% water vapor ("Mars" by Steven W. Squyres; World Book Online Reference Center. 2004 NASA), but on your next trip to Mars, bring an umbrella anyway!

^41) See this NASA report:  "Found it! Ice on Mars" (May 28, 2002).

^42) "Scientists THINK that the climate on Mars 3.5 billion years ago was similar to that of early Earth: warm and wet", according to the Mars FACTS page at NASA Quest (retrieved September 2010).  Apparently some "facts" are subject to THINKing!

     I wonder if Cargill thinks it's acceptable for scientists to dream up scenarios to explain massive flooding on barren, frozen planets, but it's unacceptable to dream up scenarios that would explain global flooding on our waterlogged Earth?

Sir, give me this water, that I thirst not

     It's rather incredible how lucky Cargill's two (or more) proposed authors of Genesis were, living in Mesopotamia, isolated from the rest of world, each dreaming up a global flood story with different numbers.  How amazing that most of it was actually covered by water, and that there are actually no other land masses on this planet that have not been deluged.  We even have a neighboring planet with virtually no water, yet it too was significantly flooded at some point in time!

     So yes, there is more than enough water on and in our Earth to have flooded it to just about any depth, depending on what you choose to believe about its interior and its surface at that time.  You can even believe what you want about how wet our atmosphere was, since that is essentially what evolutionists do, and nobody would ever accuse them of being blindly dogmatic, would they?

     It is also up to you whether you want to fulfill the prophecy in 2Peter 3:3-6.  This does not mean all of the claims made by Dr. Cargill are false (or true for that matter);^43 I have merely dealt here with his shallow research into the Flood.


^43) False claim by Paul D. (08/02/2010 - 02:35) supporting Cargill with this comment: "Christ never said anything about Noah's Ark or the Flood." Apparently he overlooked Matthew 24:37-39 and Luke 17:26-27.

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