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TGWATY
04-07-2009, 03:44 PM
What I am specifically asking is what geologic features do we observe which are incompatible with a Great Flood occurring sometime in the last 10,000 years? By a Great Flood I mean a catastrophic event primarily involving water which was extensive enough to kill off a majority of mankind.

Assuming there was not a Great Flood, how would the earth look differently today if there had been such a Flood?

I am not asking for any and every argument against the biblical Flood. The sort of things I am NOT looking for:

* Objections to the Noah story. I am only interested in the effects of the Flood itself.

* Biological arguments. For example, arguing from biological theory that evidence does not support a reduction in animal population to a few individuals anytime in the last 10,000 years.

* Criticism of young-earth creationism arguments that geological strata were laid down by the flood, or that the Grand Canyon was carved by the flood, or that mountains were lifted during the flood. I am not proposing those arguments so I don't need responses to those arguments. The thread topic is "what geological evidence is there that there could not have been Flood?" For the sake of this discussion how long the earth was around prior to it does not interest me.

* Impossibility arguments such as "where did the water come from?" and "where did it go to?" I am just curious for now about observable lasting effects (or the lack thereof) which we can observe today.



An example of the sort of thing I am looking for is: Some of the ice of the Antarctic ice cap is millions of years old. Yet if there had been a Flood that raised the sea levels enough to cover mountains, the ice cap would have floated off Antarctica's surface and broken up.

I don't know if this ice-cap argument is valid. It is just an example.

DrCube
04-07-2009, 04:06 PM
Fossils.

As rocks get younger, the fossils within them become more complex and more like modern life. At best, they would point to a series of floods over eons of time. Which is more or less what happened.

ETA Most theories based on the biblical flood don't allow for eons of evolution beforehand. I suppose fossils don't directly refute the "Flood" itself, just the assumption that it is responsible for fossils.

The Hamster King
04-07-2009, 04:09 PM
The biggest piece of geological evidence against The Great Flood is the lack of geological evidence for it. If there had been a massive flood that spanned the entire globe we should be able to dig down a few feet almost anywhere on the planet and find an unexpected layer of sediment. We should find a layer of dried mud under the sands of the Sahara, and a similar layer in the Australian outback, and one in the Great Plains, and so on. But sediments from around the world don't show any sort of uniform pattern that would indicate any sort of global catastrophe in the recent past.

BTW, it was exactly this sort of sedimentary evidence that first put scientists on the trail of the meteor that killed off the dinosaurs millions of years ago. Sediments the world over DO show high concentrations of iridium at exactly the same depth -- a reminant of the planet-wide dust cloud that followed the massive impact.

Giles
04-07-2009, 04:17 PM
The other question about a flood covering every part of the Earth where humans lived 6,000 or so years ago -- which includes Australia and the Americas -- is, Where did all the water come from?

DrCube
04-07-2009, 04:18 PM
I should furthermore point out that you're not going to find much geological evidence against a worldwide flood. Most of the earth has been underwater at one time or another and the only thing keeping scientists from believing the bible story are various arguments you've already ruled out ("Where did all the water come from?", "How did Noah fit all those species on the Ark?"), the overall time frame, and the general lack of evidence for it.

The Great Philosopher
04-07-2009, 04:38 PM
I think it's mainly geological evidence. When there is evidence of a flood in the Middle East, there is usually a thick layer of clay separating two layers of whatever the soil and rock is normally made of. While layers of clay like this have been found in places like Ur in Iraq (and the archaeologists have argued from these discoveries that a great flood occurred between 4000-2000 BC, covering all the extended flood plains around the Euphrates river, which at that time would have seemed like 'the whole world') they have not been found in lots of places even in the flood plains of the Euphrates, let alone across the whole world.

As has been pointed out, it's probably impossible to determine whether there was a great flood covering the entire Earth at any stage in its history (most of the planet has been flooded at some point or other), from the geological records there is no evidence that even the whole middle east was flooded at any time in the last 20,000 years or so.

GreasyJack
04-07-2009, 04:52 PM
It depends on how literal you want to be. The "it rains for a few weeks and everything is underwater" is made so improbable by the problem of where did all the water come from and where did it go, that I don't think people really feel the need to get too in depth looking for other ways to disprove it. Assuming the water level gradually rose and receded (as opposed to catastrophically flooding), you wouldn't expect a lot of sediment from only a couple of weeks underwater, especially considering that there's no terrestrial erosion going on (since everything's underwater!).

There's obviously an enormous absence of evidence, but for evidence of absence you might look to glaciers. There's the obvious reason you mentioned, but there's also yearly layers that are annual layers that form from cycles of snowfall and melting on the surface of the glacier. They have these pretty well mapped out and dated relative to volcanic eruptions and the like through ice cores or in places like greenland where there's regular exposures. Assuming by some (additional) miracle the glaciers didn't float, there would probably be a missing layer, which as far as I know hasn't been found. I don't necessarily know anyone has gone looking for one, but I'm suspecting someone has counted them across whenever the flood was supposed to happen and didn't find anything unusual. Okay, not exactly earth-shattering proof, but did I mention where did all the freaking water come from and go to??

However, if you're willing to be less literalist about it, there's plenty of examples of catastrophic floods in the recent geologic record you can look to that left tons of evidence if you want to see what one on a "smaller" scale. There were the Lake Missoula floods (http://vulcan.wr.usgs.gov/Glossary/Glaciers/IceSheets/description_lake_missoula.html) and the Lake Bonneville Floods (http://imnh.isu.edu/digitalatlas/hydr/lkbflood/lbf.htm) in North America, but more to the point though, there's pretty good geologic evidence of a massive flood occurring in 5600 BC when the Mediterranean broke through the Bosporus straits and flooded the Black Sea basin, which had been drying out since the end of the last ice age. There's a lot of speculation that this event was the inspiration for the flood stories in so many of the middle eastern cultures, including the Noah flood. See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_Sea_deluge_theory

Tapioca Dextrin
04-07-2009, 04:53 PM
If there had been a Bible sized flood, we're talking about covering the Earth in roughly 10,000 feet of water in forty days. That's 250 feet per day or ten feet per hour. If this had happened it would have been incredibly violent. There would be immense destruction. All topsoil would be completely stripped. Rocks the size of city blocks would be strewn pretty much over the whole planet. When the flood receded, it would have been worse - any soft rock formations would be massively eroded, there would be enormous gorges cut - there would Grand Canyon sized gorges off the side of every mountain range everywhere in the world. There would be marine deposits 100s or 1000s of feet thick lying off the coast of every continent (flood deposits are really easy to recognize - and they're not there).

Lemur866
04-07-2009, 05:11 PM
Actually, biogeography is very strong evidence against a world wide flood and was one of the first puzzles that led to the scientific rejection of the flood hypothesis back in the 1800s.

Why were there no placental mammals in Australia aside from bats?
Why were there no mammals in New Zealand aside from bats?
Why are there no penguins in the arctic?
Why are there very few terrestrial mammals on isolated islands?

If you postulate a flood that covers everything except the mountaintops and kills almost every human, how did every species of animal present in every habitat on earth today migrate from whatever refugia we might postulate (mountaintops, arks, whatever)?

yandoodan
04-07-2009, 05:22 PM
I remember hearing, some years ago, that a Creationist scholar constructed a computer model of the Earth's inner structure in which a great blob of mantle floated up through a mid-oceanic ridge, displacing enough water to cause the world-wide 40 day flood. By his theory the rain was an effect of this occurance and not the cause. This, of course, fails to save Biblical inerrancy, as the Bible is pretty plain in blaming it all on the rain. Still, it's a clever theory, and overcomes the objection, "Where'd the water come from? And where'd it go?"

The Hamster King gives the correct answer to this question, with Tapioca Dextrin filling in with colorful details. If there had been a world-wide flood within the last 10 kyr, you could find its sediment layer by digging a hole with a shovel in your back yard -- anyplace on the planet, including mountain tops.

SlowMindThinking
04-07-2009, 06:52 PM
I remember hearing, some years ago, that a Creationist scholar constructed a computer model of the Earth's inner structure in which a great blob of mantle floated up through a mid-oceanic ridge, displacing enough water to cause the world-wide 40 day flood. By his theory the rain was an effect of this occurance and not the cause. This, of course, fails to save Biblical inerrancy, as the Bible is pretty plain in blaming it all on the rain. Still, it's a clever theory, and overcomes the objection, "Where'd the water come from? And where'd it go?"


Actually, the Bible pretty plainly does not blame the flood only on rain. Genesis 8:2: "Now the springs of the deep and the floodgates of the heavens had been closed, and the rain had stopped falling from the sky. " I'm not sure what "floodgates of the heavens" are, as opposed to rain, but "springs of the deep" clearly are not rain. (is not rain?)

Be that as it may, a great Flood would have left plenty of animal remains entrapped in the layer of mud that we do not see.

A great Flood would seem to imply vegetation in equivalent ecosystems would be more or less uniform world wide. (This is an extension to Lemur's points.) For example, the Amazon and Congo rain forests should have greater similarities, as would deserts. Likewise, with animal life, too of course. (How did tortoises, and not much else, get to the Galapagos?)

Some individual organisms would not exist. There is a creosote bush in the Sahara that might be 11K years old. Mind boggingly enough, there are some Aspen in Utah that might be 80,000 years old. http://hubpages.com/hub/Oldest_living_thing

Wouldn't there be Pompey type preserved ruins somewhere?

dracoi
04-07-2009, 07:09 PM
By his theory the rain was an effect of this occurance and not the cause. This, of course, fails to save Biblical inerrancy, as the Bible is pretty plain in blaming it all on the rain.

The Bible is quite clear that "all the springs of the great deep burst forth and the floodgates of the heavens were opened." Rain is only blamed in the children's Bible version and by adults who have that image stuck in their head. And for what it's worth, I think many of the terms in Genesis may be interpreted somewhat literally by modern people. (For example, the tribe names for Noah's sons seem to map to Middle East groups, but the literal translation is that they spread over the "earth." If we define "earth" as only the Middle East, then the flood scenario becomes pretty plausible, but not as a global phenomenon.)

To go back to the OP... floods almost always create some kind of discontinuity in the geological layers, either by removing deposits through erosion or by laying down new deposits that would not normally be expected. While you see these discontinuities everywhere, no one has been able to locate a world wide discontinuity at a single point in time.

The Great Philosopher
04-07-2009, 09:03 PM
The Bible is quite clear that "all the springs of the great deep burst forth and the floodgates of the heavens were opened." Rain is only blamed in the children's Bible version and by adults who have that image stuck in their head.

Sorry for the hijack, but this has been said a couple of times now, and the response I keep thinking is- what does the 'floodgates of heaven were opened' refer to if not rain?

Duckster
04-07-2009, 09:13 PM
I remember hearing, some years ago, that a Creationist scholar constructed a computer model of the Earth's inner structure in which a great blob of mantle floated up through a mid-oceanic ridge, displacing enough water to cause the world-wide 40 day flood.

And where is the physical evidence for the great blob of mantle?

Uh huh.

GreasyJack
04-07-2009, 10:09 PM
Also to add to things you would see if the world were inundated with water, there's things like this (http://image51.webshots.com/151/6/98/15/503669815BpwHLq_fs.jpg) and this (http://lh3.ggpht.com/_2d-yO5n43I4/SFExbja3UMI/AAAAAAAAaIg/1lOjVPSxa_U/2008_06_11_snow_1.jpg) and this (http://maps.google.com/maps?client=firefox-a&channel=s&hl=en&q=mount+sentinel+missoula&ie=UTF8&ll=46.850389,-113.982768&spn=0.014323,0.027637&t=h&z=15).

These are all the hills in the Missoula valley in Montana. During the last ice age, there was a huge lake in the valley (about the same volume as Lake Huron) caused by an ice dam around Sand Point, ID. The dam would periodically break up, sending collosal floods across eastern Washington and through the Columbia gorge (if you're viewing it as a catastrophic flood as opposed to water just magically appearing and disappearing, the channeled scablands of Washington would be of great interest). The almost straight channels going down the hillsides around Missoula have never carried water in the historical era-- they were formed when the giant lake in the valley would disappear in a matter of days and the water-saturated hillside would make mudflows that formed these channels. So, in the "water magically appears and disappears" model, which I contend would not leave significant sediments or erosional features, you would still probably see these channels basically everywhere that has hills.

tomndebb
04-07-2009, 10:47 PM
Sorry for the hijack, but this has been said a couple of times now, and the response I keep thinking is- what does the 'floodgates of heaven were opened' refer to if not rain?In Hebrew cosmology, the Earth and sky provided a separating layer that divided the primordial waters. The vault of the heavens was a literal vault holding back all the upper waters. This is, indeed, what the phrase "'floodgates of heaven" indicates.
However, you seem to have missed the phrase "springs of the great deep burst forth" which is a reference to the waters below the Earth.

The Creationist scholar with his computer model was fully within the tradition of such persons who have been putting forth similar attempts at explanations for well over a hundred years. (Pretty much ever since geology and meteorology and related sciences began chipping away at the literal tale in Genesis.)

Now, there remains no evidence of any upthrust to trigger the flood and all the other negative evidence cited remains accurate, but he was true to his traditions,

dracoi
04-07-2009, 10:57 PM
Sorry for the hijack, but this has been said a couple of times now, and the response I keep thinking is- what does the 'floodgates of heaven were opened' refer to if not rain?

There was rain too, but the point I made is that the Biblical story talks about water from the deep, which is definitely not rain. If you believe the Black Sea version, that fits very nicely, since "the deep" would refer to the ocean and any rain would be irrelevant to the flooding. "The deep" could also be interpreted as any ground-based source of water. It could have been a Tigris or Euphrates flood. The floods that created the American badlands came from glacial lakes that broke. Flooding during Katrina came from ocean swells. The floods in Washington last year followed a month of nonstop rain, but melting snow in the mountains played a bigger role than the rain. So the floodgates of the deep is a detail that suggests to me a truthful, historical core to the story - when we have evidence of massive, once-in-a-lifetime floods, we see that they are not powered by rain alone.

Regardless of the interpretation, people spend a lot of time arguing about how that much rain is impossible... and even a fundamentalist new-Earth creationist would agree with them.

Fake Tales of San Francisco
04-07-2009, 11:00 PM
It always confuses me why it has to be asked where the water came from and where it went when we're dealing with a god here, who you know, said 'let there be light' and somehow the sun appeared. I wonder what would happen if he said 'let there be water'. Answers on a postcard.
Not that it was true or anything.

Out of curiosity though, isn't there evidence there were localized floods in the middle east (the myriad deluge myths notwithstanding)? I remember reading a collection of theories that dealt with the origins of the deluge myths.

Sage Rat
04-07-2009, 11:11 PM
If there had been a Bible sized flood, we're talking about covering the Earth in roughly 10,000 feet of water in forty days. That's 250 feet per day or ten feet per hour. If this had happened it would have been incredibly violent. There would be immense destruction. All topsoil would be completely stripped. Rocks the size of city blocks would be strewn pretty much over the whole planet. When the flood receded, it would have been worse - any soft rock formations would be massively eroded, there would be enormous gorges cut - there would Grand Canyon sized gorges off the side of every mountain range everywhere in the world. There would be marine deposits 100s or 1000s of feet thick lying off the coast of every continent (flood deposits are really easy to recognize - and they're not there).

And coupled with this, all of the current geological formations present are consistent with what would be expected via known, standard weather and geologic movements.

And while the OP says that biologic arguments aren't allowed, I'll just point out that plantlife was not collected in the story, and so even if you explain away the lack of reduction of animal life, you'd still have to explain where all the plants went. I doubt that very many plant species would survive ~300 days under seawater. If only the mountaintops were above water, only plantlife that can survive at high elevations (which isn't a lot) would remain to repopulate the land. Evolution isn't going to allow the amount of variety we see to have occurred within 10,000 years. And it would be significantly more tedious to reseed the land than to repopulate it with animals.

ftg
04-08-2009, 07:16 AM
Regarding ice cores: Here's (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ice_cores#Ice_core_data) a chart of data going back 420,000 years. The oldest core goes back 800,000 years. Multiple cores in multiple regions of the world with no sign of a huge break across them.

Tree rings (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Timeline_of_dendrochronology_timestamp_events) sequences have been worked out going back ~10,000 years.

Swedish varve (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Varve) sequences have been worked out for 13,200BP. (A worldwide flood that doesn't mess with thin layers of mud? Okaaay.)

The study of cave formations (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Speleothem) also allows dating of frequently quite fragile rocks going back ~500,000 years. (The flood didn't get into caves?)

Lichens (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lichenometry) can also be used going back as much as 10,000 years.

-----------

The excuse that an all powerful deity could "fake" anything needed to have a flood occur and yet leave no trace is weird. Since the purpose was just to wipe out most of mankind, why didn't God just wish everyone except Noah's family into the cornfield? Way too much mental backflipping there. It all seems to me to be just a form of Last Thursdayism (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Omphalos_hypothesis).

The Great Philosopher
04-08-2009, 09:36 AM
There was rain too, but the point I made is that the Biblical story talks about water from the deep, which is definitely not rain. If you believe the Black Sea version, that fits very nicely, since "the deep" would refer to the ocean and any rain would be irrelevant to the flooding.

You keep making this extra step- 'the Bible refers to the waters from the deep, therefore the rain was irrelevant!'. If the passage you quoted is accurate, I think the Bible pretty clearly says the flood had two causes, and one of them was rain.

SlowMindThinking
04-08-2009, 10:05 AM
You keep making this extra step- 'the Bible refers to the waters from the deep, therefore the rain was irrelevant!'. If the passage you quoted is accurate, I think the Bible pretty clearly says the flood had two causes, and one of them was rain.

We were responding to claims like "This, of course, fails to save Biblical inerrancy, as the Bible is pretty plain in blaming it all on the rain." It is precisely our point that the Bible does not blame it all on the rain. Not that it really matters, the OP specifically requested no "Impossibility arguments such as "where did the water come from?" and "where did it go to?" "

Fish
04-08-2009, 11:26 AM
It always confuses me why it has to be asked where the water came from and where it went when we're dealing with a god here, who you know, said 'let there be light' and somehow the sun appeared.
Because any person who insists on seeing "scientific evidence that the Flood did not happen" should not be allowed to have it both ways: to wish into existence a magical quantity of water, and wish it away again, and insist that the effect of this magical water must leave concrete scientific evidence behind.

yandoodan
04-08-2009, 07:02 PM
Thanks for the correction about the wellsprings of the whatever. Didn't bother to check.

My original point was that the amount of water was not impossible. The magma upsurge not only explains a world flood adding, then subtracting, new water, it was based on a computer model of the Earth's core that was (at least then) widely accepted.

Of course, this doesn't explain how the magma plug mysteriously disappeared. There should be a Holocene pluton on an oceanic ridge somewhere, and there isn't.

The true argument against the World Flood, as others have pointed out, is that it would have left massive signs everywhere, and these do not exist.

HPL
04-09-2009, 12:01 AM
Of course, this doesn't explain how the magma plug mysteriously disappeared. There should be a Holocene pluton on an oceanic ridge somewhere, and there isn't.


Sure there is. Cthulhu lives there.

PBear42
04-09-2009, 12:21 AM
Ya'll realize, right, that none of this shakes the faith of a true believer? Answers in Genesis (http://www.answersingenesis.org/) has "answers" for all of it, e.g., the ice cores (use the search box). Which is to say, OP, if (as appears) the context of this is that you're in a debate with a fundamentalist, the best answer is to walk away. The debate can't be won by science. A fundamentalist's need for the Bible to be literally true (which is the main reason they care about the Flood) is too strong. All evidence can be waved away if one tries hard enough.

The Seventh Deadly Finn
04-09-2009, 05:29 AM
Wouldn't the Dead Sea and the Great Salt Lake have more water in them now if they'd been filled by a flood in Biblical times? The water in both is evaporating at a known rate; extrapolate back 6000 years and see if they seem to have been "topped off" at that time.

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