The Instigator
Truth_seeker
Pro (for)
Losing
4 Points
The Contender
SPENCERJOYAGE14
Con (against)
Winning
10 Points

Noah's flood story was NEVER meant to be scientific fact

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 3 votes the winner is...
SPENCERJOYAGE14
Voting Style: Open with Elo Restrictions Point System: 7 Point
Started: 8/2/2014 Category: Religion
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,216 times Debate No: 59862
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (27)
Votes (3)

 

Truth_seeker

Pro

Most Christians take the position that Genesis is literally true and that a global flood did occur, however i will argue for why Noah's flood is NOT a global and go as far as to admit that it was never meant to be taken as literal scientific accurate.

According to the book "Reading the Old Testament" by scholar Lawrence Boadt,
modern historians are objective and ancient historians are subjective. Modern historians prioritize being scientifically and historically precise, ancient historians do not. Modern historians are more concerned with gaining knowledge of the past for intellectual purposes, whereas ancient historians studied the past to help better live moral lives.

I must be honest and admit that there is no evidence for a global flood or Noah and his ark which leads me to question claims of creationists who say there is. I now turn to alternative explanations of understand the narrative. I take the position that there is more evidence to suggest that it was based on a true story.

There are many flood myths around the globe in every culture and tribe which parallel the account in Genesis, so the flood story in Genesis is technically a "myth" but it doesn't imply that it's false. I will start by defining a myth.

A myth according to Wiki is a sacred tale telling of the origins of humankind. It can be a truthful depiction or an allegorical and personified one involving gods and other supernatural beings. It's purpose is to explain the origins of a culture, practices, people, etc. and instill religious values.

Now, Noah's flood myth seems to fit that description as we note the following:

1. The flood - every myth around the globe involves a disastrous flood being caused by gods to wipe out mankind. Noah's flood follows the same pattern, except that it is centered on Yahweh's judgement on moral evil.

2. Animal sacrifices - Noah was commanded to take in clean and unclean animals which probably explained the origin of the Jewish concept of kosher food.

3. The Dove - the Dove can be symbolizing God's grace towards those who are faithful to him (Noah).

4. The Ark - the Ark is a symbol of God's salvation to those who believe on him.

Scholars now agree that Mesopotamian myths are based on a true historical event, therefore Noah's flood myth is not completely made up (1).

Rebuttals are after my opponent's turn.

Sources:

1. The most characteristic element of the Babylonian account seems to be that the Ark, driven from the South inland against the current of the rivers, was stranded in the northern mountains. This element is so remarkable that it could only have been stimulated by a corresponding natural phenomenon. E. Suss (25ff.) suspects that a violent earthquake in the Persian Gulf may have been the cause. A powerful cyclone from the South, associated with voluminous rain and horrible darkness, drove the destructive waters far into the inhabited land. This event must have taken place in a very ancient time. The news of the terrible catastrophe was preserved through all times. This theory is certainly very plausible.", Gunkel "Genesis" (1910), Biddle (trans.), p. 77 (1997 English ed.).
SPENCERJOYAGE14

Con

Hi! I'm excited to take this debate, "Noah's flood story was NEVER meant to be scientific fact" that Truth_seeker initiated! :D I accept this debate and I would like to remind everyone Truth Seeker has the burden of proof to prove that “Noah's flood story was NEVER meant to be scientific fact”

This is my major key point, which I will be expanding on later:


Information vs. Poetry


Genesis is written in an actual informational form. It is not poetry and therefore should be taken literally. Hebrew poetry shows “parallelism”. If it were written as a poem like the Psalms are, then perhaps Noah’s flood could be taken figuratively but, due to the way it was written it needs to be read as if it is real.


I will be bring up more points and expanding this in the rebuttals.


Debate Round No. 1
Truth_seeker

Pro

I thank SPENCERJOYAGE14 for accepting lol

I refute my opponent's position by saying that just because it's literal, doesn't mean it's scientific. I will point out that there is no evidence for Noah or a global flood. The Bible as my opponent pointed out is a collection of poetry, not of scientific facts.

I will wait Con's answer next round.
SPENCERJOYAGE14

Con


“I refute my opponent's position by saying that just because it's literal, doesn't mean it's scientific.”



If we look at the resolution clearly, we’ll see that this debate is not about the scientific evidence for the worldwide flood, but, what we are debating is that the people who wrote the bible meant the flood story to be read as a literal story.



Now onto refuting my opponent’s first round:



My opponent starts by pointing out that there is no evidence for global floods, but that isn’t the point of this debate as we can see in the above sentence.



Then he goes on to say that people will say the Biblical flood account is a myth. We need to remember that it doesn’t matter what people say nowadays. It matters what the author of the flood story’s intention was.



In conclusion,


My arguments remain wholly unopposed and pro has not fulfilled his burden of proof and it is too late to do so.


Please vote con.


Debate Round No. 2
Truth_seeker

Pro

"what we are debating is that the people who wrote the bible meant the flood story to be read as a literal story."

Being a literal story doesn't imply that it was meant to be proven scientifically. For 1, Genesis uses poetry (something that is far removed from precision in science) to explain things. Here is the outline of the scientific method (1):

1) Observations - in science, you need to make observations on how the world works. Since all we have is the Bible's text, where are the observations of a flood of that proportion? Where can we observe Noah and the Ark? The animals? We can't..

2) Hypothesis - In science, you must make predictions of the outcome of events (namely the extent of damage in the biblical flood) How can we test to see if the claims of the narrative are true? We can't

3) Experiment - With that in mind, science requires experimentation for phenomenon to be validated. Because it happened in a region not specified in the Bible, we really can't give experiments as this is set in historical format and it already happened.

In conclusion, the author clearly wasn't intending to confirm this as scientific fact.

" We need to remember that it doesn"t matter what people say nowadays. It matters what the author of the flood story"s intention was."

We know what the author's intention was based on the observable data we have of the ancient near east. According to wiki, myths can be true stories and also mix in allegory. Since we have so many different parallel versions of Noah's flood story (2), we can only conclude that Noah's story followed the same pattern and was trying to communicate God's truth of his justice and grace vs. confirming the actual story as scientific fact.

Vote pro

Sources:

1. http://chemistry.about.com...

2. http://en.wikipedia.org...
SPENCERJOYAGE14

Con

Contention One: Genesis and the usage of prose

The whole of Genesis uses prose form, and there is almost no room for the metaphorical use of words in such a form. Take into account that:


1. Hebrew Poetry goes via the lines of parallelism.

For example, take Genesis 6:1-6:5 (according to the Geneva version of the Bible):

1 So when men began to be multiplied upon the earth, and there were daughters born unto them,

2 Then the sons of God saw the daughters of men that they were fair, and they took them wives of all that they liked.

3 Therefore the LORD said, My Spirit shall not alway strive with man, because he is but flesh, and his days shall be a hundred and twenty years.

4 There were giants in the earth in those days, yea, and after that the sons of God came unto the daughters of men, and they had born them children, these were mighty men, which in old time were men of renown.

5 When the LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and all the imaginations of the thoughts of his heart were only evil continually


This is written in prose form; there is no parallelism. This is an example of Biblical Parallelism, as stated in Proverbs:


"My son, my teachings you shall not forget and my commands your heart shall guard." (Proverbs 3:1)


Observe this:

My son (the subject);

1 parallel. my teachings you shall not forget

2 parallel my commands your heart shall guard

This is the true structure of Biblical poetry. As we can see, the Biblical passages of Genesis, especially from the Geneva version and when Noah’s Ark was mentioned, holds no such values and properties. Therefore, we are forced to conclude that the passages mentioned her are clearly meant to be taken literally, as no Biblical prose is ever meant to be taken metaphorically.


Contention Two: Science

May I remind voters that the motion of this debate is regarding the interpretation of the Biblical Verses in question; not on the truth-values of such claims. The opponent’s coded assault on science, although quite inflammatory and inciting, makes no relevance to this debate. In fact, the opponent admits and concedes to our position in R1 by saying that “just because it’s literal doesn’t mean its scientific”

Nevertheless, taking this into account, we must debunk the opponent’s case rigidly. His assaults on the scientific method is based upon the assumption that all texts, in order to prove its validity and its true meaning, must be accordingly used with the scientific method. This is a very faulty assumption; let us take this for example. We cannot ensure that Alexander the Great, via the scientific method, fought his battle and won many. This is an illusion accordingly to the scientific method. However, we know it happens because literature suggest so; there are many accounts from many countries of this fight/war happening.

This debate must be based on deductive reasoning; we cannot change history. We can only logically deduce the fact and true intention of these texts, via literature, not science.


In conclusion, please vote con. :)
Debate Round No. 3
27 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by Sagey 2 years ago
Sagey
The same goes for the Resurrection myth passed on by rote to the Gospel writers some 35+ years after the event.
Posted by Sagey 2 years ago
Sagey
Con is forgetting or doesn't realize that most ancient cultures such as the Australian Aboriginals don't pass on Metaphor as poetry, it is in story telling or prose.
So just saying that Genesis is not poetry, does not defeat Pro, since metaphor is often in the form of stories that are Rote remembered and delivered to pass on important concepts, but the stories themselves are Metaphorical, as the concepts are important, but the details are altered to make the story more memorable and easily taught to be passed on by Rote.
This is why Rote is not accurate in detail, but only in concepts taught.

If Genesis was passed on by Rote, it cannot be considered Scientifically accurate.
Posted by NiamC 2 years ago
NiamC
... lol I was talking bout my RFD...
Posted by SPENCERJOYAGE14 2 years ago
SPENCERJOYAGE14
Wut? Why did you yell, "what do you want from me!!" on the thingy?
Posted by NiamC 2 years ago
NiamC
what do you want from me!!
Posted by NiamC 2 years ago
NiamC
ok, truthseeker, you bring up an interesting point.

As you have said before, a situation such as the bible flooding, would obviously be very hard- almost impossible to prove. The fact that you instigated the debate with the said resolution would mean that one would have to assume to the standards that the subject - the flood, had to exist, metaphorically, literally or what not. In this case, because we can count this debate as a philo-religious debate. Our physical and mental properties are determined by it. With this in mind, we are somewhat naturally forced into a very small thought of mind basis"directions"; choices we think this matter (the flood) as best fitting. from what Con showed as well as what I just said, one can assume to the most appropriate point that the flood was written with the intention of being metaphoric or most probably literal. Literal doesnt always correspond with having to exist or be factual etc
Posted by NiamC 2 years ago
NiamC
300th view!!! kinda big deal
Hold on, pro.
Let me respond in a minute...
Posted by Truth_seeker 2 years ago
Truth_seeker
I pointed out that there was no evidence of Noah's flood story, so the author probably didn't mean for it to be scientific fact or historically accurate in the modern sense. Con simply said that we had to accept the Bible as literal.
Posted by NiamC 2 years ago
NiamC
Dang.. I ran out of characters....

My rfd:
Lol... only pro used sources... there weren't many though... sources go to pro. Grammar and conduct was fine. No points awarded. In terms of arguments (rereading now...). Okay, i have to say that this debate would have been better if both side's arguments were longer; it would have been nice if pro could have included a greater range of argument points. in my honest opinion, most of this debate was focusing on the actual resolution and arguing about that... this often happens in debates like this. The arguments were equal until the 3rd round; I dont appreciate pros round 2 argument being short- more effort could have been put into it... I do like how con used extracts from the bible against pros argument. This is effective because it was a source which pro was using in his favor, and because... get this.. the bible is an effective source because it is considered a moral source of authority at knowledge. This point alone wouldn't be enough for con to win. Con would win because in the long run, most of pros points were refuted- not all; therefore pro didnt fulfill the BOP.
Posted by Truth_seeker 2 years ago
Truth_seeker
Dang it, should have made this a 5 round debate lol
3 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Vote Placed by Blade-of-Truth 2 years ago
Blade-of-Truth
Truth_seekerSPENCERJOYAGE14Tied
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Total points awarded:03 
Reasons for voting decision: Conduct - tie. Neither had poor conduct in this debate. S&G - Tie. Neither made any major grammatical or spelling errors. I am also tying sources - this is because although Pro had more sources, I judge it based on quality and in regards to Con's position, her sourcing of the Bible to provide examples is equally valid at strengthening her points. Arguments - Con. I believe Pro simply misunderstood the resolution and what it called for in regards to his burden. Con was able to show that the story was meant to be taken literally by comparing the difference in writing style/delivery to the audience. Pro wasted time arguing that it wasn't meant to be taken literally, without realizing that his burden was to show that it was never meant to be taken as scientific fact. There is a difference that Con was able to use to her advantage. For these reasons, Con takes arguments and thus wins the debate.
Vote Placed by Kc1999 2 years ago
Kc1999
Truth_seekerSPENCERJOYAGE14Tied
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Total points awarded:24 
Reasons for voting decision: Sources to pro; he had some. Arguments to con; pro based his debate upon another debate motion, henceforth destroying the point of this debate. Pro's analogy on the scientific method was very laughable; this debate is supposed to be a Biblical debate, not an atheist vs theist debate. Pro had the BoP, yet he barely fulfilled it. Apart from this, conduct to con because pro barely tried, and argued for something completely different.
Vote Placed by NiamC 2 years ago
NiamC
Truth_seekerSPENCERJOYAGE14Tied
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Total points awarded:23 
Reasons for voting decision: Lol... only pro used sources... there weren't many though... sources go to pro. Grammar and conduct was fine. No points awarded. In terms of arguments (rereading now...). Okay, i have to say that this debate would have been better if both side's arguments were longer; it would have been nice if pro could have included a greater range of argument points. in my honest opinion, most of this debate was focusing on the actual resolution and arguing about that... this often happens in debates like this. The arguments were equal until the 3rd round; I dont appreciate pros round 2 argument being short- more effort could have been put into it... I do like how con used extracts from the bible against pros argument. This is effective because it was a source which pro was using in his favor, and because... get this.. the bible is an effective source because it is considered a moral source of authority at knowledge. This point alone wouldn't be enough for con to win. Con would win because in the..