Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Proof of Noah!

Just as I suggested in this post, some people are already taking the "Noah's flood" story as proof of the Bible. Case in point, the always precise and careful journalism of Fox News:

"Robert Ballard, the underwater archaeologist famed for discovering the wreck of the Titanic in 1985, claims to have found evidence of the biblical flood that Noah fled, surfing the waters for 40 days and 40 nights, according to Genesis. He says the Black Sea was once merely a freshwater lake -- until an enormous wall of water from the Mediterranean 200 times more powerful than Niagara Falls swept it and everything else away. Including Noah and his ark."

The Fox article links to the ABC article I cited previously, and if you can read above kindergarten level, you already know that's really not what the ABC article says. Nowhere does it claim that the archaeologist actually thinks he's going to find Noah's ark, or proof that Noah himself actually existed, or even that it was a worldwide flood, as the Bible indicates. What Ballard seems to be saying is that there was an abrupt flood in the Black Sea region, precipitated by the melting of glacial ice, which eventually inspired the stories of Noah and Utnapishtim.

Of course, none of this means that six-hundred-year-old Noah actually existed, that God wiped out all humans but eight, or that there was a magical ark that could somehow hold two specimens of every species on the planet. Ballard doesn't seem to be claiming any of this, but because of ABC's sloppy "reporting" (designed to promote their special rather than to clearly convey facts), it's pretty much inevitable that credulous fundamentalists and the brilliant reporters of Fox News will jump on this and claim it as "proof."

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