Noah's flood story is based on historical evidence
Judges shall judge the debate strictly on the following criteria and explain why:
1) Strong definitions " If any ambiguity is found within each debators terms, count it against them
2) Arguments " The effectiveness of the arguments presented based on the premises and how well either side presents them with clarity.
3) Counter-arguments " Their effectiveness in how well they defend their argument or/and weaken their opponent's argument
4) Logical fallacies " Pointing out logical fallacies in their opponent's arguments demonstrates how well the debators understand logic. If an opponent uses personal attacks, etc. That is counted against them. Judges must name a specific fallacy and quote con or pro's exact words in context.
5) Unaddressed points " If an opponent fails to respond to a point, you are to count that against them. If they agree, that boosts their opponent's side.
6) Burden of proof " Was the burden of proof fulfilled by either side? If not, count that against the debator(s)
7) Evidence " who used the most qualitative and quantitative evidence to back up their claims? Who discredited their opponent's sources as fraud? Any evidence demonstrated to be weak is counted against the person who presented it. Judges may also discredit the evidence with an explanation. If however another member finds multiple sources discrediting their explanation, it won't count.
Whoever uses the most qualitive/quantative arguments/counters and evidence wins.
First round acceptance
Thanks TS, I accept the debate on your terms!
I will use indirect witnesses to support my position. Indirect witnesses are allowed to be used in History so long as they fit the following:
"(1) On whose primary testimony does the secondary witness base his statements? (2) Did the secondary witness accurately report the primary testimony as a whole? (3) If not, in what details did he accurately report the primary testimony?" (1)
Satisfactory answers may allow for other sources to be credible. The more sources there are to confirm an account, the more credible it is.
Myths are a collection of stories used to explain nature, history, customs, practices, and rituals. Myths typically contain personification, truthful or exaggerated descriptions, etc. (2). Comparative mythology seeks to find common elements, themes, characteristics, etc. and a common source from which it derived from (3).
I will start with Genesis 5
Gen. 5 has a list of Adam's family line with very long periods of life. The Septuagint version of Genesis 5 has even longer periods of prolonged life (4).
The Sumerian king's list also has a pattern of people with pro-longed life. Before the flood, Sumerian kings lived much longer and after the flood, they lived much shorter (5). Thus, there is an extra-biblical source confirming the historical accuracy of long life in Genesis 5 (6)
The Bible never describes a global flood, but a local one. The word used in Gen. 6:6 in relation to the flood is eretz which is typically used of a local area (7).
" As 1st Samuel 30:16 shows sometimes "the whole earth" or "all the earth" can refer to a country or land area. The word translated land or earth in 1st Samuel 30:16 is the main one of the two words used in Genesis when talking about the extent of Noah's flood. Either Hebrew word "erets" or "adamah" can refer to a country, land, etc." (The Flood and Joshua's Long Day)
Many accounts confirm the narrative
The ancient historian Berossus (275 B.C) writes "...grounded in Armenia some part still remains in the mountains of the Gordyaeans in Armenia, and some get pitch from the ship by scraping off, and use it for amulets."
Josephus (50 A.D) mentions the Ark of Noah 3 times in "The Antiquates of the Jews". 1 was when a group was afraid to come from the mount to Mesopotamia because of another flood. He writes about the time when Noah left the Ark:
".. after he had staid seven more days, he sent the living creatures out of the ark; and both he and his family went out, when he also sacrificed to God, and feasted with his companions. However, the Armenians call this place, The Place of Descent; for the ark being saved in that place, its remains are shown there by the inhabitants to this day.." (Antiquities 3:5)
When writing about other authors, He writes:
"The Armenians call that spot the Landing-Place, for it was there that the Ark came safe to land, and they show the relics of it to this day. This flood and the Ark are mentioned by all who have written histories of the barbarians. Among these is Berosus the Chaldean, who in his description of the events of the flood writes somewhere as follows: 'It is said, moreover, that a portion of the vessel still survives in Armenia on the mountains of the Gordyaens, and that persons carry off pieces of bitumen, which they use as talismans.' These matters are also mentioned by Hieronymus the Egyptian, author of the ancient history of Phoenicia, by Mnaseas and by many others. Nicholas of Damascus in his ninety-sixth book relates the story as follows: 'There is above the country of the Minyas in Armenia a great mountain called Baris, where, as the story goes, many refugees found safety at the time of the flood, and one man, transported upon an ark, grounded upon the summit: and relics of the timber were for long preserved.' (Antiquities 3.6 1.93-95)
"... the country called Carrae: it was a soil that bare amomum in great plenty: there are also in it the remains of that ark, wherein it is related that Noah escaped the deluge, and where they are still shown to such as are desirous to see them" (Antiquities 20.1.2 (20.24-25)
Nicholas of Damscus writes:
" "There is a great mountain in Armenia, over Minyas, called Baris, upon which it is reported that many who fled at the time of the Deluge were saved; and that one who was carried in an ark came on shore upon the top of it; and that the remains of the timber were a great while preserved. This might be the man about whom Moses the legislator of the Jews wrote."
Theopilus of Antioch in early christian writings of his letter to Autolycus, he writes:
"And of the Ark, the remains are to this day to be seen in the Arabian mountains" (Book 3 Chap. XIX)
Epiphanius of Salamis writes:
"Do you seriously suppose that we are unable to prove our point, when even to this day the remains of Noah's Ark are shown in the country of the Kurds? Why, were one to search diligently, doubtless one would also find at the foot of the mountain the remnants of the altar where Noah, on leaving the Ark, tarried to offer clean and fatly animals as a sacrifice to the Lord God"
He mentions the location of Noah's Ark in other writings and in "The Panarion of Epiphanius of Salamis book 1 2:1, he writes
" After the flood, since Noah"s ark had come to rest in the highlands of Ararat between Armenia and Cardyaei on the mountain called Lubar,1 the first human settlement following the flood was made there. And there the prophet Noah planted a vineyard and became the original settler of the site."
C John Chrysostom writes in "Homilies of Thessolonians, 8
"Do not the mountains of Armenia testify to it, where the Ark rested? And are not the remains of the Ark preserved there to this very day for our admonition"
Isidore of Seville writes in "Chronicon":
" Ararat is a mountain in Armenia, where the historians testify that the Ark came to rest after the Flood. So even to this day wood remains of it are to be seen there"
Jehan Haithon writes:
"Upon the snows of Ararat a black speck is visible at all times: this is Noah's Ark"
Adam Olearius in "Voyages and travels of the Ambassadors" writes:
"The Armenians, and the Persians themselves, are of opinion that there are still upon the said mountain some remainders of the Ark, but that Time hath so hardened them, that they seem absolutely petrify'd. At Schamachy in Media Persia, we were shown a Crosse of a black and hard Wood, which the Inhabitants affirmed to have been made of the Wood of the Ark"
According to an account of the Byzantine emperor Heraclius, he climbed Jabal Judi in order to see Noah's Ark. This is taken from Historia Saracenica 1:1
"Heraclius then came to the village of Thamanin (where Noah, of pious memory, built his Ark and afterward came out from it), and in order for him to see the place of the Ark, he ascended the mountain of Al-Judi, which rises above all these lands, for it is very high. (my trans.)"
Benjamin of Tudela, a 12th century historian writes in his work "the travels of Benjamin Tudela":
"I traveled two days to Jezireh BenOmar (modern Cizre), an island in the Tigris, at the foot of Mt. Ararat...on which the Ark of Noah rested. Omar Ben al-Khatab removed the Ark from the summit of the two mountains and made a mosque of it." (Pg. 402)
Marco Polo wrote in his work "The travels":
"In the heart of Greater Armenia is a very high mountain , shaped like a cube (or cup), on which Noah's ark is said to have rested, whence it is called the Mountain of Noah's Ark. It [the mountain] is so broad and long that it takes more than two days to go around it. On the summit the snow lies so deep all the year round that no one can ever climb it; this snow never entirely melts, but new snow is for ever falling on the old, so that the level rises."
Dr. Friedrich Parrot wrote in his work "Journey to Ararat" (pg. 162)
"all the Armenians are firmly persuaded that Noah's ark remains to this very day on the top of Ararat, and that, in order to preservation, no human being is allowed to approach it"
Scholars have verified the account in comparative mythology and it's basis is likely to be on an actual event (8).
Noah's flood narrative is historically reliable.
7. Gleason Archer, Survey of OT Introduction (Chicago, IL: Moody Press, 1964), 194.
8. "Among many theorists, George Smith in 1872  famously linked the great Biblical Flood of the book Genesis to an historical event, probably of the 3rd millennium BC, which deposited a 50-cm- sediment-layer in the Mesopotamian lowland.", Haigh & K"5;eček, "Environmental Reconstruction in Headwater Areas", p. 14 (2000).
Thanks Pro for your fine Argument:
From the same source: “Longevity mythsare traditions about long-lived people (generally supercentenarians), either as individuals or groups of people, and practices that have been believed to confer longevity, but for which scientific evidence does not support the ages claimed or the reasons for the claims. “
As there is no scientific support for any such long-lived humans.
No bones have ever been discovered demonstrating a lifespan greater than the maximum acceptable of modern humans.
So we cannot consider the Sumerian mythology as backing up the Genesis accounts as according to the most recent evidences, the Genesis accounts are merely inaccurate copies of the Sumerian myths.
From the above Source: "According to historical mortality levels from the Encyclopaedia of Population (2003), average life expectancy for prehistoric humans was estimated at just 20 – 35 years; in Sweden in the 1750s it was 36 years; it hit 48 years by the 1900s in the USA; and in 2007 in Japan, average life expectancy was 83 years. "
Con claims that Sumerian myths were the origins of Noah's flood, however scholars no longer believe that any borrowing occurred (1). Most scholars hold this view (2).
Con cites a source saying that the ancients used a lunar calendar and so counted in terms of moons, however Genesis 8:13 makes a clear distinction between months and years:
"Noah was now 601 years old. On the first day of the new year, ten and a half months after the flood began, the floodwaters had almost dried up from the earth. Noah lifted back the covering of the boat and saw that the surface of the ground was drying."
Evidence for pro-longed human life:
There are several things which can prolong or shorten human lifespan (genetics, stress, environmental factors, etc.) Human longevity is consistent with natural decay rates (3) as well as other factors.
Con fails to address the evidence confirming Noah's flood narrative. It's very clear that Noah's flood narrative is based on historical evidence.
1. "However, it has yet to be shown that there was borrowing, even indirectly. Differences between the Babylonian and the Hebrew traditions can be found in factual details of the Flood narrative (form of the Ark; duration of the Flood, the identity of the birds and their dispatch) and are most obvious in the ethical and religious concepts of the whole of each composition. All who suspect or suggest borrowing by the Hebrews are compelled to admit large-scale revision, alteration, and reinterpretation in a fashion that cannot be substantiated for any other composition from the ancient Near East or in any other Hebrew writing. If there was borrowing then it can have extended only as far as the "historical framework, and not included intention or interpretation. Millard,"A New Babylonian "Genesis� Story, in Hess
2. "The similarities between the Genesis account and the "Atra-Hasis Epic" do not support the idea that Genesis is a direct borrowing from the Mesopotamian but do indicate that Mesopotamian materials could have served as models for Genesis 1-11, as Jacobsen holds. P.D. Miller also admits that "there were Mesopotamian models that anticipate the structure of Genesis 1-11 as a whole.", Tsumura, "Genesis and Ancient Near Eastern Stories of Creation and Flood", in ibid., p. 47.
Thanks Pro for some interesting insights:
Con stated: " however scholars no longer believe that any borrowing occurred (1). Most scholars hold this view (2)."
Con's sources are somewhat fallacious and the statement by Con: "Most scholars hold this view" is unsupported by evidence and thus a Hasty Generalization Fallacy and a Bandwagon Fallacy or a False Authority Fallacy by the Author, demonstrating the author is more about Apologetics (nonsense) than truth.
Though I do believe Pro should review the dates of his Sources.
Rebuttal on Pro's first source: "New Babylonian 'Genesis' Story. A. R. Millard" was produced in 1966.
There has been thousands of new discoveries since that article was produced and most evidence has proven Millard wrong.
The similarities between the Sumerian tales and the Genesis accounts are too much the same to be discounted as having no relation, since the writers of Genesis were captive in Babylonia during the time that they evidently wrote those accounts in the 4th Century BCE. The likes of Ezra the scribe who was attributed with compiling the Torah/Pentateuch. Since there are no similar myths on the other side of the Israelite story, or the Egyptian/Persian empire.
The only correlating myths are the Akkadian/Sumerian legends.
Once you discount these myths as being unrelated, you can consider the Genesis myth as null and void.
as all myths need support or correlation from other cultural myths to be considered valid, remove the correlation and you remove the historical validity, making the myth unsupported and imaginary. This is how studying history works. We can only go on what is supported by the myths of surrounding cultures. Thus the Genesis legend, must be directly related to the Sumerian legends to remain a viable legend, or else it becomes useless vapor as there is no archaeological nor geological evidence supporting any other floods in their region in the boat building period of human existence.
There is no geological evidence for a Global Flood, thus it had to be a local flood and since this is the only regions the Israelites inhabited, the flood must be in this region, during the boat building and pitch using period of human history.
This means it must correlate with the Sumerian legends as these are the only floods there is geological evidence to support in this period.
So if Pro is not going to consider that the Sumerian Flood as being the source of the Genesis Flood, then he may as well just state that the Genesis Flood never happened at all, as there cannot be any evidence for it.
These are the only flood myths ever found where the stories match perfectly, a man saving his family and many animals in a boat from a devastating flood which had them stranded with no sight of land for a reasonable period of time.
Though the most recent findings (translations) for the flood now has the Ark as a circular vessel, which is more like a wheel where animals are housed in segments of this wheel.
This source, dated JANUARY 25, 2014, is far more recent than Pro's 1966 source and even Pro's 2007 source.
Excerpt: "A 4000-year-old tablet from ancient Mesopotamia contains the specifications for an ark pre-dating the story of Noah"
IT'S a few notches on a 4000-year-old clay tablet. But what it reveals about the ancient biblical story of Noah's ark has scholars crowing the world over.
The British Museum yesterday put the recently deciphered clay tablet from ancient Mesopotamia - now Iraq - on display.
It's claimed to be one of the most important archaeological discoveries ever.
What it contains are specifications for the legendary Ark which was said to have saved two of each animal - and a handful of humans - from a catastrophic flood.
But some of the details are different to the generally known version.
It describes a circular vessel known as a coracle, not the rectangular vessel of modern mythology."
Rebuttal on Pro's Second Source:
Pro's second source is From Biblical Archaeology, which as many Genuine Archaeologists know is Biased towards supporting the Bible, thus much of their claims are fallacious, due to My-Side-Bias.
Real Archaeologists rarely consider the work of Biblical Archaeologists.
Besides, the Author, David T. Tsumura PhD, has his PhD in Old Testament Scholarship, not in Archaeology.
So essentially he is an Old Testament Apologist, rather than a Genuine Archaeologists, even though he works in a museum with Archaeology.
So we need to read his works, with a realization of Bias towards the Bible.
Thus there are likely to be fallacies introduced by his bias.
Thus Tsumura is not an Authority in Archaeology, only O.T. scripture.
Finally Pro's last Source is likely Fallacious, as Arnold Mendez is only a UCG elder with qualifications in Biology and Chemistry, and has no Qualifications in, Geology, Archaeology, Astrophysics, Cosmology, nor Palaeontology yet makes false claims on these topics, nor does he have any qualifications in structural engineering (ark building), thus Pro cannot assert that Source has having any Validity as far as Authority goes.
Arnold Mendez is a typical Creationist, holds some scientific qualifications, but rants and holds seminars in fields that he has no real knowledge no authority in at all.
Thus he is making money from publishing false knowledge (pseudo-science) and spreading creationist propaganda, similar to Ken Ham and Ray Comfort.
So that source is Non-Sequitur as the Author has no Qualifications in anything he Asserts.
Theology is not Science.
Thus: That Source is an Appeal to false Authority.
The fact that destroys Mendez's fallacious rants are that there has never been found any evidence of fossils indicating such longevity.
If the longevity was caused by a reduced background radiation change then it would not only affect human lifespan, but the lifespan of all creatures on Earth. There is no fossil evidence for this extended lifespan in any fossilized remains.
There is also no evidence of such background radiation changes at the flood period of 5000 years ago.
As we know when the flood occurred as there is cuneiform evidence for it as well as sediment evidence indicating that it was a freshwater flood, in the Euphrates and Tigris river region.
These floods were so devastating to the locals that they left a lasting impression and thus were recorded in their legends.
Though I agree that the Genesis "Garden Of Eden" legend may also be a result of flooding, but a slower flood of the sea rising to take over the very fertile river valley, where there were lush forests, like a Garden Of Eden.
It was the rising sea from the melting ice caps that caused the dwellers to flee from this nice fertile valley into the arid lands surrounding them.
Thus they were kicked out of the Garden of Eden, and they felt and believed it was punishment for their wrongful doings.
Thus the origin of the "Fall from Grace" or Original Sin, myth concerning Adam (a fictitious name).
So the Garden Of Eden myth is also likely a flood myth.
The sea kicked them out of their fertile home, not God.
They did nothing wrong to cause this, as they were just victims of a warmer planet atmosphere.
But, that is another subject and non-sequitur here. Maybe fodder for another debate down the track.
Other Sources for Reference:
Thanks again Pro
Hope I've given you something to bite on!
Back to Pro for some interesting Rebuttals.
Con claims there have been thousands of new discoveries but never correlates them to Noah's flood narrative. No reliable mythologist has found that Noah's flood narrative was derived from other myths (Akkadian and Sumerian). Con claims that the similarities are too much of coincidences and thus cannot be discounted, however there are also notable differences as well.
1) The Babylonian flood tablet was not originally in the epic of Gilgamesh (1), but drew upon Sumerian myths and the epic of Atrahasis.
Lets compare the similarities between Gilgamesh and Noah's flood narrative (2):
1. Gilgamesh has many gods forming a council in secret about causing a flood.
Yahweh directly tells Noah openly that a flood is coming (Gen. 6)
2. Ea tells Utnapishtim to build a boat of 180 feet and 6 decks with 1 acre of floor space. The seed of every animal was to be carried as well as family and possessions.
Noah's Ark was 450 feet long, 75 feet wide, and 45 feet high. Noah's Ark only had 3 decks (Gen. 6).
3. Ea instructed Utanpishtim to lie to the people of Shuruppak in saying that they are leaving the city because Enlil hated them. When they left the city, it would be filled with good fortune. It took 7 days after a festival.
Yahweh simply tells Noah to build the Ark and it takes about 120 years (4)
4. When the storm came, the gods climbed up and wept
Yahweh simply was sorry that he made man but no indication that he cried or climbed any mount.
5. Utnapishtim was made a god
Noah was blessed by God and entered a covenant but was never made divine
Now to the Akkadian (4)
Genesis and Atrahasis
1. The gods get each portion of the universe.
Yahweh rules over all
2. Humans multiply and become too noisy, thus the gods send a plague 1st, but their plan fails. Famine and drought then follows. Finally the gods send a great flood.
Human wickedness grows in the earth (Gen. 6) thus God executes his ultimate judgement of the great flood, saving Noah because of his righteousness.
3. The gods would allow for humans to grow, but 1/3 of the children would die.
Yahweh promises to never flood the earth again.
Now were these important details completely derived from one another? Absolutely not. Therefore, the similarities found are just characteristics common in ancient near east literature, but show no literary borrowing.
Con's attack on Arnold Mendez has no relevance to the debate. He's qualified to speak of the longevity in Genesis. Same goes for the other experts.
The Garden of Eden has nothing to do with the discussion at hand. If you want, we can have a separate debate for that, but we're now debating Noah's flood narrative.
Sagey forfeited this round.
Sagey forfeited this round.
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