The Biblical account of the Flood is not historically accurate.
Debate Rounds (3)
Resolution : The Biblical account of the flood as written in the Bible is not historically accurate. There is no emprical evidence to support the claim that the account of the flood in the bible is in fact true or historically accurate.
Pro is accepting and defending the stance that the flood that occurred in the bible and the story of Noah is in fact true and is historically accurate. No semantics or trolling.
R1 : Resolution and rules
R2: Opening contentions, no rebuttals
R3: Closing statements, rebuilding contentions and offering rebuttals
R1: Opening contentions
R2: Closing statements, rebuilding contentions and offering rebuttals
R3: Shall type "no round as agreed upon"
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Secondly, I'd like to make a disclaimer that should not affect the parameters of this debate and is hopefully self-evident, but due to the sensitive nature of the topic, here it is nonetheless:
There is no way (at this point in time, at least) to prove anything with absolute certainty. (And obviously if there was, there would be nothing to debate.) Even in the realms of science, nothing is definite. Scientists postulate and theorize, new information comes up and they theorize once more. As such, I cannot and do not claim to bring indisputable evidence proving the accounts of the flood in the bible to be historically accurate. To do such a thing would require years, if not a lifetime (or more) of hands-on research. What I can only attempt to do is bring adequate, reasonable evidence and suggestive proofs - nothing more.
It's interesting to note that followers of the bible are not the only group with accounts of a great flood. Mesopotamian folklore, Hindu mythology, and Greek tales all contain stories similar in content.  With over 100 different flood myths from various cultures, it wouldn't be implausible to assume that tales of a great flood manifested from survivors of such an event.
When, where and how are all legitimate questions raised with such an assertion, and without going too much into detail (for those interested, I provide sources below) here is at least one explanation for how it could have occurred:
Bruce Masse, an environmental archaeologist, offers a realistic possibility for such an event.   His hypothesis is that approximately 5000 years ago, a large comet crashed into the coastline of Madagascar, resulting in a succession of 600-foot-high tsunamis colliding along shorelines of the world. The comet also, to quote, "...injected plumes of superheated water vapor and aerosol particulates into the atmosphere. Within hours, the infusion of heat and moisture blasted its way into jet streams and spawned superhurricanes that pummeled the other side of the planet." Masse estimates that up to 80% of the world's population may have perished.
This answers the when, where and how. It also fits in with description in the bible. "...all the fountains of the great deep broken up, and the windows of heaven were opened." [Genesis 7:11]
As for historical relevance, the flood of Noah's time is said to date back to before 2100 BC (the exact year is not known; there is some controversy regarding the exact timeline. It is placed usually somewhere between 2300 BC and 2100 BC. ), which puts it within the approximation of the 5,000 years Masse estimated.
The above information implies that the historical accuracy of the flood as written in the bible is perfectly plausible.
I also would like to apologize - these past few days have been unexpectedly busy, which (to my regret) has not allowed the time I would have liked to have spent on these arguments. As such, I've (made an attempt to) boil my points down to their simplest forms. Once again, my apologies.
Looking forward to PRO's arguments.
I am going to jump straight into this then. I am going to start this off with a history lesson.
The first civilization on earth was known as Mesopotamia with Egypt following right behind . In Mesopotamia the current system of writing and recording things was called cuneiform . These are how accounts such as the code of Hammurabi and what occurred in the civilization was passed down. During this time the first epic novel was written which was called The Epic of Gilgamesh . So the cool thing about this book was that it incorporated Gods as well. So how or why is incorporating Gods in this book applicable to this debate? The reason it is applicable is that there was a global flood mentioned in this novel, that is almost exactly the same as the story of Noah in the bible. The reason for the cause of the flood was that the God(s) were upset.
There were a few differences in between the two flood accounts but they are practically identical. For a full account and comparison of the flood and the two stories click . So again you may be asking why is this applicable. Mesopotamia was in existence around 3500 BC, with Egypt following around 3200 BC . Ancient Israel was around 1950 BC . Now when did the flood occur according to the bible? Some biblical scholars have shown that one date they can say with reliable certainty is 967 BC . Now some scholars have the epic of Gilgamesh being written around 2750 BC, and others have it being written as early as 3000 BC .
So there is an obvious issue, with the biblical time line and most scholars agreeing that the flood had to have happened around 1,00 BC and 967 BC how was the Epic of Gilgamesh written and have the same story of the flood (almost verbatim) 1500-2000 years prior to this? It almost seems impossible that 2 floods could have occurred. With slim evidence actually supporting a global flood, if one were to have occurred, how was it recorded 1,500 years prior to the biblical account of the flood with almost the same text word for word. There are differences as I have said such as the main character and there being an assembly of Gods that caused the flood rather than Yaweh, but it seems as if the bible copied this from the novel itself. So how is that possible?
The earliest account of the bible being written is 1445 BC . This is according to the bible, not actual historical context by the way. So Alexander the great conquered the known earth and set out on a giant conquest to rule the earth. This was between 356-323 BC . During this time he merged cultures among civilizations. This time was a melting pot of cultural bliss. Basically culture ideals and practices were being spread throughout the world, as he conquered it .
Now for a main point that should be noted.
" According to Christian tradition, spans a wide range of years. In fact, most religious scholars believe that the final books of the Old Testament were completed around 450 B.C."
This number varies from 450 BC to 300 BC according to most scholars. 
So with it being noted that cultures were being spread around this time frame, and the account of the story of Gilgamesh predating the bible by 1,500 years it is a very likely possibility that the bible actually used the story in the novel with some minor changes. Such as Yahew instead of an assembly and, a dove instead of a raven, and a main character change. 
The closing point to this is that the chance the biblical flood actually occurred is almost 0 percent. The chance a global flood actually occurred is very slim as well, but if really did occur according to Mesopotamia script it would have had to have happened prior to the novel being written which was around 2750 BC. The most logical assumption is that the bible was written during the time cultures were merging and used the story with minor changes. We can see this very easily as we look at the timeline.
Assuming the biblical account is to be believed, we must consider what it is saying. It said 2 of every animal was taken upon the ark.
One scholar breaks it down like this
"with one pair from each genera, living and fossil, he lists 7428 mammals, 4602 birds and 3724 reptiles on the ark. This totals to 15,754 animals on the ark"
This number varies a lot but it is usually around 15,000 to 20,000 that are calculated. Some people claim around 250 but this is to try an justify it logically. This is also false. If you look at the original context and scripture the word "kol" is used in Hebrew which translates to all. So the verse was literally meaning , he took all animals. Another debate is if the flood was global or local. Even if it was a local flood the number of animals in the local populace still rises to over 1,000.
Okay so lets break this down logically. This is best worded logically by scientist whom have broke this down realistically.
"Evolution is not capable of producing the millions of species observed today from the 15,000 different kinds of animals on the Ark" 
Remember this is just with 15,000. This is even if it were possible (which it is not). To hold 15,000 animals on a boat for 40 days and 40 nights, plus the food it takes to feed them, and the chance of keeping them calm is physically impossible. It would take a boat the size of a city or even bigger. The way Christians try to justify this is using a play on words by saying the flood was a local flood, and only 200 animals were on the ark. If it is already scientifically impossible to get millions and millions of species from 15,000 animals in the elapsed time frame as it is, it is even more so impossible to arrive at millions of species from 200 in that same time frame.
Essentially the biblical account of the flood does not line up with history, nor is even physically possible. Accounts of a global flood in a epic novel ( which was stated as a story and nothing more), is recorded 1,500 years prior to the bible being written. Then the exact same story shows up in the bible 1,500 years later. This is not a coincidence, but a prime example of cultures mixing and the bible taking stories from Mesopotamia and the ancient Sumerians.
The biblical account of the flood is not historically or realistically possible.
I shall also 'jump right in'.
"The first civilization on earth was known as Mesopotamia with Egypt following right behind ."
Abraham, the first of the Hebrew patriarchs is said to have grown up in Mesopotamia.  While I will get into the timeline later, it is important to note that within Mesopotamia were already the origins of the Jewish nation. (And subsequently the Christian nation.)
"Ancient Israel was around 1950 BC."
That is only partially true. The origins of biblical stories date back to 3760 BC, with the creation of Adam and Eve.  As such, if the bible includes those stories, it would be reasonable to assume that they are a part of the tradition, and part of the formation of the Jewish nation.
"Now when did the flood occur according to the bible? Some biblical scholars have shown that one date they can say with reliable certainty is 967 BC ."
Here, I'd like to call out Pro for not reading his sources correctly. The site he mentions clearly states, "The next date we can put down with reliable certainty is 967 BC or 2,948 years ago. *This is the date at which Solomon laid the foundation of the Temple*." That has nothing to do with Noah's flood and, in fact, the conclusion of the article is that "...the Biblical data places the Flood at 2304 BC " 11 years."
"Now some scholars have the epic of Gilgamesh being written around 2750 BC, and others have it being written as early as 3000 BC . "
Once again, another source issue that I will point out. The dates that Academy for Ancient Texts gives are not related to the epic, but rather to the time period the King of Uruk may have reigned.
And a VERY important point:
"The Gilgamesh Epic is named after its main character Gilgamesh, a king of the Sumerian city of Uruk, a historical figure who ruled sometime between 2800 and 2500 BC.
The story itself "evolved" so to speak... Also, the earliest versions of this epic did not even include a flood story. That was added toward the end of the second millennium and was deliberately adopted from Atrahasis." 
The Epic of Atrahasis is another of the Sumerian Epics and the full version of the flood tale was only edited sometime between 1300 and 1000 BC. Even the short version of the flood story dates back only to 2000-1500 BC. 
This makes the timeline something like this, in fact:
First date recorded in Old Testament - 3760 BC
Noah's flood - (somewhere between) 2300-2100 BC
Sumerian Flood story (the short version) - 2000-1500 BC
The revelation at Sinai and giving of the Torah - 1280 BC 
That places the flood in a reasonable time frame for stories to have come about.
If we take the long version of the flood story (1300-1000 BC), we actually find that it falls remarkably within the time frame of the giving of the Torah. There is the possibility that the short version is nothing more than a legend based off a real event and the long version was copied from the bible itself.
In addition, if both the Epic of Gilgamesh and the bible are indeed based on the same event, there is no reason why the two shouldn't be similar. The only contention I might see here is if the bible copied almost word for word the Epic of Gilgamesh and definitely post dated the whole Mesopotamia period. However, neither are the case. Both accounts aren't worded exactly the same, and they are both written in different languages.
Part of the Jewish tradition is that even before the Torah was put into a written format, it was still observed and taught by the predecessors of the Jewish people.  For example, G-d commanded Noah to have one pair of the impure animals, meaning it was assumed he knew which animals were pure and which were not. As another example, Joseph refused to sleep with Potifar's wife because it was a sin. If there was no Torah, how would he know it was a sin? So it is possible that the Sumerian flood tales actually derived from this oral tradition of the Torah. Shem, one of the three sons of Noah was born at approximately 2300 BC.  Him and his family also inhabited the Mesopotamian valley after the flood. 
So, as mentioned by Pro, there is controversy over whether the flood was local or global. I would like to explain how both are actually possible, depending on the interpretation.
In regards to the flood being global, I'm going to recommend an excellent book: Noah's Ark: A Feasibility Study, by John Woodmorappe. The title describes the content and the book is based on seven years of research (including research on animal care). Woodmorappe maintains that there were approximately 16,000 different animals aboard. Now, it's important to understand just how big the ark actually was. It was approximately the size of 1.5 football fields in length.  That's quite big. He then assigned the animals into categories according to their body weight (16,000 elephants might not fit on a boat, but 16,000 rats might.) Only 15% of the animals were the size of a sheep or bigger. Woodmorappe explains a system where the animals are given adequate housing, some are placed together (for example, several farm animals could be housed in one unit as opposed to in separate spaces), and mentions the possibility of bringing baby animals aboard to minimize spacing. All in all, he manages to provide adequate housing for all the species of animals as well as space for food and water with room still to spare.
In addition he documents how excretion would be disposed of (three levels of the ark, bottom level is for waste), how 8 people could maintain the animals aboard, and fulfill food requirements, basically by designing the ark in a very self-sustaining manner.
He also discusses the evolution aspect, showing how small populations have increased and even given rise to new species within centuries, and even decades. As a personal example, my family adopted a mother cat and her three kittens one September. Before the end of that year we had fourteen cats in our yard just from the original four. (And that doesn't include the four kittens that died during the births). That means our cat population tripled in just one year! Woodmorappe also explains how genetic diversity was also possible given the small number of animals. 
The reason there is speculation of the flood being local comes from the wording of the text. The words used to describe the flood are "Al ha'adama" (on the earth) and "Al ha'aretz'" (on the land). In Hebrew, 'adama' doesn't just mean earth, it can also mean soil or land.  If, indeed, the flood was local, then the problems Pro mention all disappear. If 16,000 animals can fit aboard, then 1,000 local animals certainly can, with food, management and excretion all being taken into account.
Whether local or global, the possibility of a flood as described in the bible is certainly possible. There are currently two scientific theories in existence which have yet to be refuted. One suggests a global flood, the other, a local flood. The global flood theory is described in the previous round, with a comet crashing into the ocean. Then there's the local flood theory which is the flooding of the area now known as the Black Sea. The idea there is that when glaciers from the last Ice Age melted, the Mediterranean Sea overflowed, flooding the entire area. 
I have explained how the timeline, as presented by Pro, is inaccurate, and given a timeline where the flood fits in with the various legends. I have also described how it was possible for Noah to care for the various animals on the ark, explained the problems regarding evolution, and offered possibilities for how the flood may have taken place.
In the future, I might recommend structuring such a debate slightly differently, where Pro's second round includes opening contentions and rebuttals because that offers his opponent an opportunity to defend their points. The way the debate is currently structured, Pro can respond to Con's refutations in the third round, while Con cannot respond to Pro's refutations, only their contentions.
All in all though, many thanks to Mikal for this debate which has been thoughtful, respectful and overall enjoyable.
Abraham grew up in Mesopotamia.
The only way to address this is to actually state that is blatantly wrong. First we must address the fact that there was an Abraham. Again there is no sources other than the bible that confirm this. Second if the bible actually happened to be correct, Abraham was born around 1813   . There is no possible way Abraham was around at the time the epic of Gilgamesh was written. There is a chance he could have lived in a branch of Mesopotamia, because notice ancient Israel was almost in the same time frame, but he was not a part of the culture at the time the flood was first described. At that time Sumerian was still a common tongue.
Ancient Israel was around 1950 BC.
See my sources, trying to place a date on when "Adam and Eve" were said to have existed does not contradict this point. The actual civilization began around 1950, this is a fact . Con is trying to relate adam and eve to the start of the ancient Israelite. This is just pure wrong and fundamentally flawed. Again the only sources to confirm adam and eve are the bible. Con would first have to show the bible is a source of empirical evidence and is historically accurate to use this even as a reference. The fact is there are no other records of Adam and Even existing outside of the bible itself, and even if there were it would certainly not mean that was the start of the ancient Israeli civilization.
The "next date we can use with reliable certainty" is in fact a date that is thought to have been the actual time a flood could have happened. That is not a failure in reading by any means. It states it clearly that "a date we can use with reliable certainty" is 967 BC . `This number is just one in many numbers we see, but is also acknowledged by more than one source. A date that is commonly accepted is around 1000 BC . I do want to note that this is just not the only date given. There are dates from scholars that say the flood happened as early as 10,000 BC to 5,000 BC all the way down to 2,000 BC. This is irrelevant, to the point I made though. The flood would have had to occurred prior to the writing of Gilgamesh which is impossible. Think about this logically, how did a civilization whom noted the novel of Gilgamesh as a "fictional story", not write about an actual global flood occurring. The only way a global flood occurred prior the novel date, would have been if there was recorded evidence. No where outside of the bible do we see this. We only see the flood listed in numerous cultures as a parable and lesson to learn from.
Epic of Gilgamesh.
Pro questions my dates on this, and says the novel was edited around 1300 BC. Again Con is wrong and just blatantly throwing around bad facts. The novel was stabilized around 600 BC , if that was what con was intending to say. Almost
Facts about the novel
(a) The author is unknown
(b) The exact date is was written was unknown
(c) The first begins in roughly 2700 B.C.E. when the historical Gilgamesh ruled in Uruk( this is also what con is hinting at), a city in ancient Mesopotamia. The earliest written versions of the story date from roughly 2000 B.C.E( This is the entire novel actually be compiled), but oral versions of the stories both preceded them and continued on. The actual novel was written in segments and even in scripts of cuneiform. Verbal versions of the story go back as early as 2800 BC with written segments going anywhere from 2750 downward. The compilation of the entire novel was done in 2000 BC. Almost any source you sell will acknowledge that the novel was written and compiled between 2750 BC and 2000 BC.  [insert countless more sources]
This makes the timeline something like this, in fact:
First date recorded in Old Testament - 3760 BC
Noah's flood - (somewhere between) 2300-2100 BC
Sumerian Flood story (the short version) - 2000-1500 BC
The revelation at Sinai and giving of the Torah - 1280 BC
First as I have shown there is no accurate date of the flood. Some accounts have it as early as 10,000 Bc others around 2,000. The Sumerian flood story/ Epic of Gilgamesh was written between 2750 and 2000 BC[7. Noahs flood is commonly accepted to have happened around 2000 BC - 1000 BC  ( this is assuming the bible is an accurate and empirical source which is questionable in itself). The as the only two dates I have mentioned. Again with the flood story being spread verbally and in scripts as early as 2750 BC . Add this to the fact the story of Noah and the flood was believed to occur around 2000 BC - 1000 BC, and you will realize there is no logical way to give credit to the biblical account of the flood within in the bible. With verbal accounts starting around 2750 BC , if there was a global flood it would have had to have happened prior to this date, and it surely would have been recorded as something other than " a fictional story". Even people acknowledge that the ark would have had to have been built around 1500 BC . There is no argument Con can give to even logically explain this. With scholars believing the ark was built around 1500 BC and version of the flood epic verbally being spread as early as 2750-2200 BC, the only logical explanation is to assume the bible adopted a tale the Sumerians described as "fictional".
Even if we operate under the assumption that their was a global flood, it would have occurred prior to 2750 BC, and the biblical account would still be false and a fabrication.
I do not feel the need to go into this much, but con quotes
"The ark was the size of 1.5 football fields in length"
That is 150 yards or 450 feet if the figure con is using is correct. She then claims there are 16,000 animals on board the ark. This would be including both male and female animals (two of every kind). "Only 15 percent of the animals were the size of a sheep or bigger", is another direct quote
I just want to note some of the animals that were bigger than the size of a sheep. Horses, rhynos, elephants, tigers, lions.
According to Con all of these animals would have been aboard the ark. So lets break this down mathematically. 15 percent of 16,000 is 2400. This is animals the size of a sheep of bigger meaning tigers and lions. Rams and sheep are generally around 5 feet or so . So lets assume that 15 percent of animals were only the size of a sheep and not bigger. 5 x 2400.
That is 12,000 feet. A football field and a half is 450 feet. A single football field is 300 feet. 12,000/300 = 40. Just in length alone it would take 40 football fields to host 2400 sheep which is 15 percent of the assumed number. This is if every animals was only 5 feet. Elephants alone are 3 x this. Add in the fact there is another 85 percent of animals and the fact that some of the animals in the 15 percent are larger than 5 feet, and some of the animals in the smaller category can vary from 1-5 as well, with a lot being under 1. To even assume this was possible to fit that many animals on the ark, it would take a 20 football field wide, and 20 foot ball field long ark to hold them all in a cramped space. This is squared. It realistically would be bigger, and this is only operating under the assumption that the animals that are larger than a sheep = 15 percent or 5 feet. This is also operating under the assumption was like 5 foot ball fields high and had layers to hold all of these animals. Best case scenario is if the ark had layers, it would be 10 foot ball fields wide 10 long and 10 high at minimum. There is no way to assume this is a coherent argument.
Con has failed to show why it is logically possible to believe in a flood. There is no empirical evidence outside of the bible to assume a global flood actually occurred. All of the outside accounts of a global flood are labeled as "fictional" with this being acknowledge as early as 3,000 BC by the Sumerians. Cons time line makes no sense, and they have failed to address the fact a flood would have had to occurred prior to 2750 BC which is when verbal word of the fictional flood began to spread. The time the bible has the flood and when the flood was first brought up as a fictional tale, vary anywhere from 500-1500 years.
There is no logical way to believe the biblical account of the flood is true. I have shown this throughout the debate and Con has failed to show that the biblical account of the flood is accurate.
 George, Andrew R., trans. & edit. The Epic of Gilgamesh, Penguin Books, 1999, ISBN 0-14-044919-1
Many thanks to Pro for a good debate.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by MysticEgg 3 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: Good debate with a relaxed style! My opinion wasn't changed, but as for the points themselves: Conduct was fine; spelling and grammar were OK, I think both could have done better, but I'm not going to award a point either way. Arguments: Pro and Con both argued well, although some miscommunication was apparent. Pro, I felt, was skirting around the edges a lot, until the last round, in which he "cracked the case". Conm on the other hand, did well at responding to Pro, although Pro did successfully rebut her in the end. The evolution aspect was not wrong, but not being applied correctly by Con, either. In fairness, I feel that Pro was "parrotting" what scientists say about evolution, rather than explaining it, per se. Nevertheless, it was sufficient. Good debate! (Also, I do not count comments as a continuation of the debate)
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