Headlines, Social Memory, Robert Ballard, and “Noah’s” Flood

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. (here)

That is really nothing new and is a theory that has surfaced from time to time. No doubt, he has found proof for the theory. Added to this is his insistence that it happened something like 5000 years ago.

That is the singular connection to the biblical Noah, but that hasn’t stopped the headline writers from doing what, um, well, I do oftentimes and luring people in with false headlines.

There are so many differences between Noah and Ballard’s flood that you could float a, well, ark.

But, what is interesting is his use of social memory to tell a story. This is, and I hate to say this, something that is interesting. Yes, the story of Noah may be related to some event in the past, remembered through the culture in various ways. Of course, if we were looking for a direct origin of the flood story, we should turn to Gilgamesh.

One thing that gets me, though, is the use of the word “expert” when speaking about people who believe that Genesis 1-11 is physical, historical, and scientific fact.

Anyway, I am sure the YECs are just as happy as Noah was when a bird brought back the branch.

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