I think this discussion fits nicely with the subjects of life, earth, and geology.
The earliest layers of the Geologic Column, i.e., the lowest ones, were laid down progressively more early in prehistory so that the higher layers contain progressively more complex fossil lifeforms at the very top layers down to progressively more simple fossil lifeforms as you go farther down the Geologic Column, with the simplest lifeforms found in the first layer of the Column at the very bottom. This agrees with Darwinian evolution through natural selection. This is just what geologists would expect to find precisely if there had never been a global flood, a progressive climb from simplicity to complexity reflected in a properly ordered Geologic Column, and that is what geologists find.
So for several reasons the world myths of a global flood simply cannot be true:
(1) Had Noah's flood really occurred the Geologic Column would not be in the proper order from simple to complex as it actually is. It would be a jumbled mess with different stages of simplicity mixed in with varied stages of complexity in every layer from bottom to top. But it is not like that.
(2)Had Noah's global flood really occurred the air would be completely saturated with water molecules, and anyone with the good fortune to be alive would drown in the mere act of trying to breathe.
(3)The weight of the water would completely kill all plants and their seeds on the earth, and there would be nothing for the animals on the ark to eat after the water had abated. Also the weight would kill everything living on both land and sea; there would be no fish to harvest left.
(4)Had the earth ever been enveloped by a water vapor canopy containing enough water to flood the whole world to over the tops of the highest mountain peaks as Creation scientists claim, the pressure and mass of the vapor on the earth's atmosphere would generate tremendous amounts of uninhabitable heat on the earth's seas and surface.
All these traditions among various peoples of a global flood is simply no more than a fantastic myth. What else in either Old or New Testament might simply be mythic ?
I've seen a number of speculations that the Global Flood Myth is really a historical memory of the flooding of the Black Sea basin at the beginning of the Holocene. We know that the rising Mediterranean suddenly breached the Dardanelles isthmus and flooded into the Black Sea basin at that time. The suggestion is that a folk memory of this dramatic event lingered on as the Great Flood Myth. It's plausible.
Yes Chris, I agree. I know about that and it makes perfect sense.
Of course a global flood is mythic. But that doesn't preclude a local flood, which a primitive people could have interpreted as the worst flood they'd ever heard of -- by golly, it must have covered up the whole world!!! Primitive people concocted myths because they had no other way of explaining the mysteries of the universe. Aren't we lucky to live in a time when we DO have science and enough of a scientific history to know as much as we do? :-)
"Of course a global flood is mythic. But that doesn't preclude a local flood, which a primitive people could have interpreted as the worst flood they'd ever heard of -- by golly, it must have covered up the whole world!!!"
The problem is, though, that here in this modern age of technology in the year 2013, there is a very large number of people who still whole heartedly believe this myth. And a great number of these people are the ones who believe everyone ought to own assault weapons, and who oppose abortion in all cases, and oppose gay marriage, and let their children die of illness in favor of faith healing instead of taking them to a doctor. And these people believe the world and the universe is no more than at most ten thousand years old. And these people do not even believe that the geologic column is real.
Anthony, I know. But I wonder whether by explaining the propensity of primitive peoples to invent myths, and talking about how they might have interpreted their world might help believers to understand that we don't live in that world or culture any more. Like giving them a handle to grasp.
I dunno, could be that they are just too hard-headed to be cracked -- sort of like "my mind's made up, don't confuse me with the facts!" kind of mentality, but among the teenagers, at least, there is some possibility of a bit more open-mindedness, which is why we NEED accurate and thoughtful science teaching in high schools. Also in history classes, which really need to include the thoughts and philosophies of primitive people instead of starting with the Greeks, who are definitely NOT the start of history! What I noticed, when I was in school, is that the cultures of the Hebrews and Phoenicians, about which we really DO know quite a lot, were completely ignored, and the cultures of the European pagans didn't even enter the consciousness of our classes. And the cultures of others, in Africa, Asia, and the Americas did not even exist. And what I saw of history classes when I was teaching, had not changed at all. Maybe it will, now that Anglo Protestants are no longer the majority in this country, although they're still the plurality.
Very well said. So, you used to be a teacher ? If so...COOL ! Teachers rule !
"What else in either Old or New Testament might simply be mythic ?"
In 2005 the catholic bishops of England, Wales, and Scotland junked Revelation and the first eleven chapters of Genesis: creating the world in six days; Adam, Eve, the "apple", and the talking snake; Cain's murder of Abel; Noah's arkful of animals, the global flood, and the rainbow; and the Tower of Babel.
It would be very difficult, at least for me, to say anything decisively about a global flood but there is also a mention of a similar flood in Indian mythology. Manu is the equivalent of Noah in Indian mythology and the present human race is said to be descended from him and and so is called manav. It is of course impossible to believe that all life on earth has anything to do with Manu or Noah.
Perhaps -- perhaps -- the Indian flood myth is also based on the Black Sea inundation. After all, the subcontinent was invaded by an Indo-European group, and we believe that the Indo-European peoples originated in the Russian steppes.
But this is purely speculation on my part.
"It would be very difficult, at least for me, to say anything decisively about a global flood but there is also a mention of a similar flood in Indian mythology."
The flood myth is pretty much ubiquitous. But one thing I can say decisively is that if the flood occurred as described in the Bible then the geologic column would not be in proper order from simple to complex life. But wherever we look at the geologic column it is in the proper order.
L'arche de Noé! Comment stupide de croire que la merde !
All of it is a myth. The bible is nothing more than stories past on from generation to generation by people who had nothing but time on their hands.