Sunday, October 18, 2009

Black Sea Flood

There are three basic ways to explain the flood while also taking in account science. One is to use scientific sources and work that into scripture. Another is to utilize scientific sources to an extent and then use scripture to modify it. Finally, one can just use the Bible and show how science was different back then.

Here is the first approach. I am going to use scientific sources that are widely accepted to show how the flood could have happened.

There is a dispute among modern scientists (not dealing with creationists) about how the Black Sea flooded. The first report that came out was in 1996 by Drs Ryan and Pitman, here is their idea summed up by the Earth Institute of Columbia University, "Ryan and Pitman theorized that the sealed Bosporus strait, which acted as a dam between the Mediterranean and Black seas, broke open when climatic warming at the close of the last glacial period caused icecaps to melt, raising the global sea level. With more than 200 times the force of Niagara Falls, the thundering water flooded the Black Sea, then no more than a large lake, raising its surface up to six inches per day and swallowing 60,000 square miles in less than a year. As the Mediterranean salt water replaced fresh water, it expelled a wave of human migration from what had been an oasis of fresh water within very arid lands."

In 1999 an explorer by the name of Robert Ballard, made famous because of his discovery of the Titanic, went looking for evidence for Ryan and Pitman's idea. In National Geographic magazine it says, "During the 1999 expedition, Ballard’s team discovered a submerged ancient shoreline with a flat beach area beneath about 550 feet(168 meters) of water—evidence supporting Ryan and Pittman’s theory." However, this was not the best part of his trip. He realized that "Radiocarbon dating and paleontological evidence from a sample of shells and sediment collected from the site suggested that a massive flood occur ed about 7,500 years ago. However, carbon dating using marine life is notoriously vague. Dates can be off by several hundred years. Dating a sample of wood from the site would provide a much-needed confirmation for Pitman and Ryan’s proposed flood date." This led him to keep searching for man made structures.

The National geographic article exclaims, "Early last week, (this article appeared in September 13, 2000) using the remotely operated vehicle (ROV) Argus, Ballard’s team spotted a rectangular feature about 12 meters (13 yards) long and 4 meters (4.4 yards) wide at the intersection of two ancient inland river channels . It appeared to be made of wood. Though intrigued, they were forced to wait for the arrival of the more nimble ROV Little Hercules, whose superior video capability enabled the crew to get closer to the structure and get a much clearer look.

Through Little Hercules’ robotic eyes, on Friday the team looked again at the mysterious structure, and confirmed it was a type of dwelling. 'The building [has] carved wooden beams, wooden branches, and stone tools collapsed among the mud matrix of the structure,' Ballard said.

Archaeologist Hiebert noted the presence of a stone axe, which looked exactly like one in a Sinop archaeology museum, located just 40 miles (64 kilometers) from the find.

The structure was likely made of wattle and daub—a framework of wooden sticks covered with mud or clay. This type of construction, with wood supports sunk firmly into the ground, would account for the fact that the wood was not carried away by floodwaters. As the waters rose, the mud probably melted away, leaving the wooden 'bones' behind."

Unfortunately, later it came out that "Scientists who in the summer of 2003 visited the underwater site off the northern Turkish coastal town of Sinop couldn’t arrive at any conclusions. The settlement, about 330 feet (100 meters) underwater, was 'contaminated' by wood that had drifted in, foiling any attempt to accurately date the ruin — and thus date the flood.

'We were not able to get a smoking gun,' said Robert Ballard, the underwater explorer and discoverer of the Titanic, who led the $5 million Black Sea expedition.

But the trip was successful nonetheless, and the scientists are preparing to publish their findings early next year.

Ballard heralded the work of Hercules, an underwater excavator that was used for the first time. The 7-foot (2.1-meter) robot gingerly dug around the deep-water ruins and retrieved artifacts using pincers outfitted with sensors that regulated the pressure they exerted — much like a human hand."

However, recently there have been studies done, like the one in 2003 by a man named Aksu, that assume they have disproved this idea of the Black Sea flood. However, as this is an ongoing debate among scientists there have been rebuffs. For example, there is a paper from a french institute that concludes that the flood is very likely and brings proofs that I will not go into. Also, Ryan defends his own theory more recently. Finally, there is a paper that talks about experiments that were conducted to see if a rapid flood was scientifically possible in terms of the water flowing in and how it could have happened that was done recently.

With this in mind, it seems likely that the black sea was filled up with water from the Mediterranean around the time of the flood of Noach could have occurred, as stated by these scientists. I am not saying that this is definitely the flood of Noach, but it is a possibility. What is especially interesting is where people migrated as stated by a research paper recently. Basically, it points out that people migrated all over Europe and the middle east. It also states that several coastal areas where people lived must have been flooded as well because of the rise in sea level that occurred at this time.

With this in mind we are now able to discuss how the words of the Bible can describe this type of flood. Basically, how do we explain a flood that is not global when scripture seemingly describes a global flood. This will be discussed in the next post.

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