Re: Physics of a Mesopotamian Flood

Glenn Morton (
Sat, 11 May 1996 17:24:43

Hi Dick,

You wrote:

>Glenn, I admit I never gave the landing site much consideration
>because there is so much disagreement. Landing sites in Turkey, Syria
>and Saudi Arabia have all been suggested, and they could all be wrong.
>The only place mentioned in ancient history where the voyage began is
>Shuruppak where Ziusudra (the Sumerian Noah) was king. His father was
>named "Suruppak" after the city. This naming technique is seen in the
>Bible as well where Abraham's brother was named Haran and Abraham left
>Ur for Haran (Gen. 11:26,31).
>I do place some credence on the start point, with which you also
>disagree, but not on the landing site.

The problem as I see it is that it does no good to have a harmonization of
the flood account which pays no attention to the geology, the physics or
the details of the Biblical account. If your harmonization requires
(because of the physics) that Noah land along the Persian Gulf, and maybe
requires that the trip could only have taken a week rather than a year,
what is the point of the harmonization? The length of time is not
harmonized, the landing place is not harmonized. The size of the flood
and apparent anthropological extent of the flood is not harmonized. The
Biblical account becomes nothing more than a story that is wrong in nearly
all of its details. If this is the case, then lets just say that the
Bible is wrong and move on to other things. It is a harmonization with
little harmony.

If your view is correct, that the flood story in the Bible was seeded by a
local mesopotamian flood with only the foggiest relationship to the
details of the Biblical account, then it seems to me that the Gilgamesh
epic is more correct than the Bible. If this is true, why do we not
worship the Sumerian Gods? They were powerful enough to convey to
humanity what actually happened. Jehovah, it seems, wasn't that powerful!
What becomes of the inspiration of Scripture in your view?

>Where your methodology runs into trouble is that your location for
>the flood has no historical backing. It's just a place you selected
>where a geological event transpired. I can't think of any
>paleoanthropologist who would agree with the notion that Homo
>erectus knew anything about brass and iron working, or how to make
>"lyres" and "harps." I can't think of any theologian who believes
>that the patriarchs were other than Homo sapiens. It is primarily
>your time frame that runs afoul both science and theology. Noah at
>5.5 million years ago is a stretch of unthinkable proportions.

Let me point out that you are making a logical error here. Absence of
evidence for metal work is not evidence of absence. The first iron is
found from Egyptian strata dated at around 4000 BC. Is this the first
iron? Probably not. Surely we didn't find the very first piece of iron
ever made. Within my view I made no claim to the early, geographically
widespread use of those metals (indeed metal objects would not be easily
preserved in the fossil record anyway. Iron and copper rusts away to

You say I run afoul of theology. Since when is it considered running
afoul of theology to believe in 6 days in Genesis 1, a real Adam, a real
Eve taken from Adam's rib, a real Fall, a real anthropologically universal
flood etc. I believe in the unity of humanity. If that is running afoul of
theology, I plead guilty here, now, and forever.

You say I run afoul of science. I disagree. I have the only view which
actually harmonizes the details of the Biblical account with the science
of geology. Your view ignores the details such as the landing place. I
agree that my view is quite different. But I know of no other way to
actually believe the details of the Bible and the details of science at
the same time. I do not run afoul of science at all. I can point to an
actual layer and say, there that is the Flood.

A glance at the anthropological record in light of what the Bible says,
presents huge problems for the traditional christian view of the
Scripture. Where is Adam? Evidence for human activity is found in strata
from millions of years ago.

But if you reject my view because you say there is no evidence for
ancient homo sapiens, there is a data point you should consider. If I
really wanted to I could claim that the bones of Homo Sapiens have been
found in strata dated at 4.5 million years old. While I am not making
that claim now, some creationists have made the claim. In 1965, a fossil
humerus was found by Bryan Patterson at Kanapoi, Kenya. It is quite

"It was found in 1965 by Bryan Patterson (Harvard Universtiy), and is in
an excellent state of preservation. The most recent dating of the fossil
gives it an age of 4.5 m.y.a." ~Marvin L. Lubenow, _Bones of Contention_
(Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1992), p. 52-53

A multivariate statistical analysis was made of the fossil. Lubenow cites
Henry M. McHenry,

"The results show that the Kanapoi secimen, which is 4 to 4.5 million
years old, is indistinguishable from moddern Homo sapiens..." Henry M.
McHenry "Fossils and the Mosaic Nature of Human Evolution, Science 190 Oct
1975 p. 428, cited by Lubenow op.cit, p. 53

and Lubenow cites Howells,

"The humeral fragment from Kanapoi, with a date of about 4.4 million,
could not be distinguished from Homo sapiens morphologically or by
multivariate analysis by Patterson and myself in 1967 (or by much more
searching analysis by others since then)." William W, Howells "Homo
erectus in human descent: ideas and problems," _Homo erectus: Sigmon and
cybulski ed. Univ. of Toronto Press, 1981, pp 79-80 cited by Lubenow, p.

I just looked in a book I have in my library but have yet to read and
found the following statment, Charles Oxnard

"This techniques also confirms the extreme similarity of the Kanapoi
specimen and modern man (fig. 76), a finding that is already well known,
of course, from the studies of Patterson and Howells (1967)." Charles
Oxnard, _Uniqueness and Diversity in Human Evolution: Morphometric Studies
of Australopithecines_ University of Chicago Press, 1975, p. 98.

Oxnard is well-known for his multivariate studies of fossil man. Maybe I
should make the claim that Noah was a Homo sapien and H. sapiens lived
that long ago! What could your view say about such a fossil? Nothing
because your view does not even allow for this possibility.

I looked in my anthro books and it is interesting that the Kanapoi
specimen is not mentioned a whole lot. It doesn't fit the standard view
and no one knows what to do with it.

Your friend,

Foundation,Fall and Flood