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Author Topic:   Where Did The (Great Flood) Water Come From And Where Did It Go?
Rahvin
Member
Posts: 3966
Joined: 07-01-2005


Message 7 of 432 (642578)
11-29-2011 7:57 PM
Reply to: Message 5 by Trixie
11-29-2011 5:10 PM


I used to find topics like this interesting...but now, I'm tempted to just say that, when we're including in the proposed scenario a magical man in the sky who created the Earth and all life in 6 days and took a year to drown it, maybe naturalistic explanations just don't matter and we'll just say it was magic. After all, we don't ask where the water comes from when Harry Potter casts a water-creating spell.

“The human understanding when it has once adopted an opinion (either as being the received opinion or as being agreeable to itself) draws all things else to support and agree with it.”
- Francis Bacon

"There are two novels that can change a bookish fourteen-year old's life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged. One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world. The other, of course, involves orcs." - John Rogers


This message is a reply to:
 Message 5 by Trixie, posted 11-29-2011 5:10 PM Trixie has not yet responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 20 by Portillo, posted 12-01-2011 9:15 AM Rahvin has not yet responded

  
Rahvin
Member
Posts: 3966
Joined: 07-01-2005


(4)
Message 55 of 432 (643029)
12-03-2011 11:22 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by Trixie
11-29-2011 5:09 AM


Okay, so apparently I lied, and this is still interesting to me. This time, though, I'm going to try to play devil's advocate. Please understand that I don't necessarily believe the arguments I'll make in this thread, but I intend to do my best to argue in favor of the Biblical flood myth as representing an actual global event. So, here we go:

{Devil's Advocate}

Arguments have been made that the flood was not catastrophic or violent, that water flows uphill, that the opening of the fountains of the deep doesn't mean water reaching high in the atmosphere, that water wasn't in the mantle pre-flood, but got there afterwards when the "single land mass" divided in the days of Peleg.
...
In the distant past we've discussed this topic, touching on Walt Brown's hydroplate theory and vapour canopies etc, but it would be worthwhile to discuss this subject in light of the ongoing thread "Evidence for a recent flood". In that thread many claims are made regarding the source of the flood water. Discussion of that would be off topic in that thread (I think) and it would be useful to have all the claims together in one thread.

As has been mentioned many times on this forum, there simply is not sufficient water currently on the Earth to allow a global Flood to have occurred as described in the Biblical story, covering the mountains and killing all life aside from that which was preserved on the Ark.

The answer, then, is that the flood itself was miraculous, and that God literally used magic (or however one wants to describe deific omnipotence) to create the water as He created the Universe, and then took the excess water away afterward. The water was not drained to "hide evidence," as the Biblical God is not a trickster like Loki, but rather because as has been mentioned, if sufficient water existed on the Earth to cover the mountains, the mountains would still be covered.

To deny the possibility of a miraculous appearance/disappearance of the water unfairly discounts a valid hypothesis. It is conceivable, though admittedly not probable through the lens of modern experience, that some agency used technology or other abilities to alter the water content of the Earth beyond normal naturalistic processes. If we're even allowing that the flood myth in the Bible might describe a real global event, then we're also talking about accepting for the argument the existence of a deity who warned Noah, allowed him time to prepare, and put the entire sequence of events in motion. To accept that basic idea we're already talking about a being who can violate what we would call the laws of physics, because that level of prediction requires at a minimum either precognition (basically time travel, since it involves receiving information sent from the future), or the ability to set in motion a global flood.

This provides a problem: how do we tell whether the flood myth recounted in the Bible was representative of a real global event? With miraculous flood waters, the amount of water on Earth as we observe it today would be the same, either way.

The problem is somewhat akin to a criminal investigation, where the perpetrator of a crime has deliberately tried to cover his tracks, or to even place evidence that would mislead investigators. This is not to say that deception was God's motivation, however - remember, so long as that amount of water exists on the planet, the whole of the Earth would remain flooded as sea level would be a higher elevation than any land mass. God had to add and remove water from the Earth in order to create a flood, if there was going to be a global flood at all.

So what, then, should we look for? We have one potential hypothesis in which the evidence in question would be the same regardless of whether the flood happened or not.

The answer is simple: we need to ask ourselves what else we would expect to see, both if the world had been flooded, and if the world had not been flooded, and then examine the evidence to see which hypothesis best represents the world we actually live in.

Off the top of my head, one thing we would expect to see would be the frequency of myths, legends, and religious stories involving global floods, either as creation myths or as divine acts to cleanse the world of the wicked. The survivors of the Flood were all parts of Noah's family - after a few generations and tribal migrations as the human population recovered, we would expect the tale to be retold and slightly changed across multiple different cultures. Since all cultures would of necessity trace their ancestry back to Noah's family, it's conceivable that some tribes would eventually regard the flood as a creation event - in a way, it was the beginning of the world, because the old world was swept away and drowned.

We would expect to see more of these flood myths (specifically dealing with divine punishment or creation) if the flood was an actual event than otherwise, because many myths and legends are at least based loosely on true events, and because a global flood is sufficiently specific to make spontaneous similarity (similar stories arising in multiple cultures independently) unlikely.

And of course, when we look at cultures around the globe, we find that flood myths are extraordinarily common. They exist in cultures from every corner of the world.

I realize that the topic of this thread is the origin and destination of the actual flood water - but I think that sufficient evidence has already been posted so as to make the question moot. Clearly, there is not today enough water to flood the Earth as described in the Bible. Clearly, there was not sufficient water on the Earth before the flood. In either of those cases, the Earth would simply have been flooded.

The answer, then, regardless of how improbable, has to have been some additional mechanism capable of adding and removing that volume of water to the Earth. Hypotheses involving extant water have simply been ruled out, and the remaining hypothesis space including a global flood requires for the water to have been added and removed.

Since we know of no natural process that would allow for such a volume of water to be added and removed, we know we need to find an additional factor for our equation. We're missing a necessary term.

And the very Bible that leads us to investigate the possibility of a global flood also gives us the missing piece of the puzzle: an omnipotent deity, who earlier in the same narrative created the entire Universe ex nihilo. If God created the entire Universe, where water is the second-most-common molecule in existence, certainly He could have created a bit more water on Earth and then removed it once His purpose was accomplished!

The claim is unfalsifiable, at least so far as quantities of water are concerned. That particular bit of evidence would look the same to us, either way. But when we have exhausted the alternatives, the remaining hypotheses, however less probable they seemed at first, must contain the truth. Even if those hypotheses require something as improbable and untestable as divine intervention. Science cannot exclude potential hypotheses - what we do not understand today, we may understand tomorrow. "Magic" carries significant negative connotations in science, but the simple fact is that sufficiently advanced technology, or indeed any sufficiently mysterious phenomenon will be indistinguishable from "magic." My cell phone would appear to work by magic to a person from three centuries ago.

And the God of the Bible is no trickster. He would not lay false trails and attempt to deceive His own creations - if He were that sort of God, He wouldn't have bothered to leave us the Bible at all to recount the true story.

So while this one bit of evidence would look the same either way, we must shift our focus to other observations, other facts about the world that would be different if the Earth had or had not been flooded.

{/Devil's Advocate}

How'd I do?


“The human understanding when it has once adopted an opinion (either as being the received opinion or as being agreeable to itself) draws all things else to support and agree with it.”
- Francis Bacon

"There are two novels that can change a bookish fourteen-year old's life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged. One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world. The other, of course, involves orcs." - John Rogers


This message is a reply to:
 Message 1 by Trixie, posted 11-29-2011 5:09 AM Trixie has not yet responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 56 by Chuck77, posted 12-04-2011 1:31 AM Rahvin has responded

  
Rahvin
Member
Posts: 3966
Joined: 07-01-2005


Message 71 of 432 (643264)
12-05-2011 8:08 PM
Reply to: Message 56 by Chuck77
12-04-2011 1:31 AM


{Devil's Advocate}

As far as magic goes, I think there are better explanations.

The earth could have been "smoother" than it is today, the ocean floors not as deep as they are today letting the water available back then cover the earth.

After the effects the flood caused (deeper ocean floors, and more mountanous) it leveled out to where it stands today. Possibly.

If the Earth was "smooth" enough to allow a global flood, then the Earth would have been flooded.

The Genesis story involves an Earth that was not flooded, then was flooded for a brief time, and then was not flooded again.

In order to posit geological events as the cause of the flooding, you would require rapid geological movement via an unknown mechanism to raise the sea floor (and thus sea level) to cause the flood, and then more rapid geological movement after the flood to lower sea level and allow the water to recede, all without rendering the Earth uninhabitable or boiling away the flood waters. This level of geological motion would be greater than the sum total of all geological activity involved in the breakup of Pangaea into the modern continents combined, focused into less time than the flood waters covered the Earth, twice.

You still, in other words, require miracles.

Since the Bible specifically mentions water but does not specifically mention catastrophic geological processes, I think the most parsimonious view is that God created additional water to cause the flood ex nihilo, and then removed it after the flood was complete. It fits the story without requiring additional miracles.

Catastrophic geology strikes me as an apologetic attempt to give the flood story a more "sciency" feel, but the reality is that it does nothing of the sort to anyone who knows the slightest bit about geology.

Since parsimony also suggests ex nihilo water creation via an agent already known within the context of the narrative to create things like water ex nihilo, I think catastrophic geology is by far the less likely of the two hypotheses.

{Devil's Advocate}


“The human understanding when it has once adopted an opinion (either as being the received opinion or as being agreeable to itself) draws all things else to support and agree with it.”
- Francis Bacon

"There are two novels that can change a bookish fourteen-year old's life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged. One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world. The other, of course, involves orcs." - John Rogers


This message is a reply to:
 Message 56 by Chuck77, posted 12-04-2011 1:31 AM Chuck77 has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 93 by Chuck77, posted 12-11-2011 4:41 AM Rahvin has not yet responded

  
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