Ken Ham’s Impeccable ‘Logic’

The finding of a 4000 year old artifact from Babylonia that tells an earlier version of the flood myth than is found in the Bible has fundamentalist Christians in a bit of an uproar, spouting nonsense and pretending that the find doesn’t undercut their beliefs. Ken Ham’s “logic” is exquisite:

Finkel said the account of the flood and the ark was probably passed along to the Jews during their Babylonian exile in the 6th century B.C. and served as the basis for the Genesis story. Biblical Archaeology Review’s Noah Wiener said the cuneiform tablet was created “a full millennium before the Genesis narrative was written down.”

But Ken Ham, who founded Answers in Genesis-U.S. and is trying to raise $73 million to build a full-scale replica of Noah’s Ark in Kentucky, says it must have been the other way around: The true account must have come first in Genesis, and was corrupted by the time the Babylonians set down their details on the Ark Tablet.

“Because the Bible is God’s inspired Word, it gives us the true account,” Ham wrote. “The other flood legends are man’s changed versions of the event called Noah’s Flood, which occurred close to 4,400 years ago!”

Fans of Ham’s Facebook page took up the argument and rejected Finkel’s claims. “This is just another clever attempt from Satan to try to disprove or distort the existence of the ark,” one said. Another wrote, “A round ark would have sunk.”

So the Biblical account must have come first because we believe it came first. How compelling. Then why, one might ask, do we not have manuscripts of the Biblical flood story from anywhere near as old as the manuscripts we have not only of this version of the story, but several others as well? If the Biblical accounts predate the Atrahasis and the Gilgamesh epic, why are the surviving versions of those stories so much older than the oldest Biblical versions? Oh, sorry. That’s an inconvenient fact and must be dismissed out of hand.

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  • Reginald Selkirk

    Another wrote, “A round ark would have sunk.”

    Isn’t it funny when Fundies attempt to make naturalistic arguments? Maybe God miraculously kept it afloat. It makes as much sense as everything else in the story.

  • wscott

    Then why, one might ask, do we not have manuscripts of the Biblical flood story from anywhere near as old as the manuscripts we have not only of this version of the story, but several others as well?

    Technically, it’s possible for one culture to maintain a story as part of their oral tradition for centuries, even tho other later cultures happen to write down their version first. Occam doesn’t point that direction, but as a point of logic I have to conclude it’s not impossible.

    .

    Just really freakin unlikely, and utterly unprovable.

  • dean

    Then why, one might ask, do we not have manuscripts of the Biblical flood story from anywhere near as old as the manuscripts we have not only of this version of the story, but several others as well? If the Biblical accounts predate the Atrahasis and the Gilgamesh epic, why are the surviving versions of those stories so much older than the oldest Biblical versions?

    Because they were left behind with the unicorns when the ark sailed and were lost to the flood waters. Duh!

  • Captain Mike
  • cptdoom

    A round ark would have sunk

    Just like an inner tube.

    One of my fundie cousins was promoting the “debate” between Ham and Bill Nye on her Facebook page. I opted not to ask her which version of the creation myth in Genesis Ham was going to defend – the 7 days story or the Adam & Eve story. Some things must be sacrificed to make family gatherings less tense.

  • tubi

    …why are the surviving versions of those stories so much older than the oldest Biblical versions?

    Asked and answered:

    “This is just another clever attempt from Satan to try to disprove or distort the existence of the ark,” [a Ham fan] said.

    Also, I’m surprised the other fan didn’t say, “A round ark would of sunk.” Or sank. Grammar is not their specialty.

  • Menyambal — making sambal a food group.

    Ham’s version of the flood is quite chaotic. There would be giant waves going in all directions at once. A rectangular, boat-shaped, ark could not be kept pointed into the waves. A round ark would have a few advantages.

    A flexible reed mat might be ideal, even, but nothing would survive Ham’s volcanoes, at least not without divine intervention. In which case Noah should have just hunkered down somewhere and done a Charlton Heston to the floodwaters.

    The flood story is about a relatively powerless god of nature. He can make it rain more, but he can’t work real miracles. All he can to is tell the man to build a boat, not build it for him or hold back the water.

    It really sounds like a farmer on a flood plain who made his barn on floats, just in case, and who survived a flood.

  • A Masked Avenger

    If the Biblical accounts predate the Atrahasis and the Gilgamesh epic, why are the surviving versions of those stories so much older than the oldest Biblical versions?

    There’s an answer to that particular question: Babylonians wrote cuneiform on clay tablets. Egyptians used papyrus, but stored them under cool, dry conditions away from sunlight (e.g., in pyramids). Israelites wrote on skin, and did not store them under reasonable archival conditions. There aren’t just no flood stories from ancient Israel; there are virtually no writings at all, apart from the odd bit chiseled on a tomb or cave, the occasional ostracon, and a bunch of official seals. The dead sea scrolls are a notable exception, because the dead sea caves did provide half-decent archival conditions.

    Which still adds up to no evidence for an ancient Noah account, of course. One can’t appeal to parchments that have rotted away before discovery.

  • Thumper: Token Breeder

    Another wrote, “A round ark would have sunk.”

    What?

    1- No it wouldn’t; not necessarily.

    2- Who’s claiming the Ark was round? X-/

  • kyoseki

    The cuneiform tablet says it was a circular ark.

    … which is a problem for AiG because the dimensions of the “real” ark are given in Genesis and it’s most definitely not circular.

  • lordshipmayhem

    I find Ken Ham’s logic quite peccable.

  • abb3w

    Also, fundies of Ham’s ilk don’t accept the validity of scientific dating methods; therefore, they need not concern themselves with your “anywhere near as old” line of questioning.

  • Reginald Selkirk

    kyoseki #10: and it’s most definitely not circular.

    Maybe if you draw your circle using pi = 3…

  • peterh

    It’s pretty clear Satan has/had a functioning time machine which allowed him to falsely predate the myths of cultures clearly older than the Hebrews’. Or that clay tablet and the Hitchiker’s Guide to the Galaxy may have fallen through the same worm hole. Moses should sue for copyright infringement.

  • fmitchell

    Ken Ham once again treads in the footsteps of early Christians. Similarities between Christianity and other contemporary but older religions, they said, were the work of the Devil, who planted fragments of the Truth in pagan religions to later discredit Christianity. Because the Devil had foreknowledge of Christianity, apparently, just like God.

  • dingojack

    A Masked Avenger – the only problem with line of argument is that none of those ‘archived’ papyri and clay tablets* mention anything that backs-up the stories written in the bible. If such a world-wide flood occurred how come these (relatively well archived) sources don’t mention it? How did the Indus Valley Culture, The early Chinese cultures, Amerindians, Australian Aboriginals** etc.. completely miss it? For a world-wide event it sure sounds local to me.

    Dingo

    ——–

    * You forgot tomb paintings and hieroglyphics, such as the reports of earliest known ‘imbedded’ journalist describing a battle for Megiddo around 1450 bce chiselled into the wall of a tomb.

    ** Australia is very flat (the highest point is a little over 2.8 Km high or about 1.74 mi) you’d think that they’d notice and write a songline about it, like they’ve been doing for the last 60,000 years or so.

    PS: Ed change back to the old blockquotes – the new ones have screwed up the embedded link formatting (again)

  • http://www.facebook.com/eo.raptor.3 eoraptor

    I would like to add just a little perspective to the possibility of a flood of epic, if not biblical, proportions. I don’t know how to embed images, so Google “scablands of Washington.” Imagine some poor paleolithic hunter wandering along the icy margins of a glacier between a big sea to the west, and lake to the east. Maybe there’s a trickle of water running off the glacier into the lake. Maybe the ice has retreated from the, perhaps warmer, sea to the west. Then imagine, that in the course of a day, the ice dam breaks. I can’t imagine the roar, the mist, the devastation, of a flow that makes Niagara Falls look like less than a kids squirt gun. Man, I’d think the fucking world was ending, too!

    If you do that Google, look at the pictures of Dry Falls. The water there was so deep, for maybe a a couple of weeks, that there was no fall, just a ripple in the rushing waters.

    Actually, I’d give my left… whatever, to have seen that.

    (I don’t mean, in any way, to be endorsing the hypothesis that there was an ice dam between the Mediterranean and Black seas, and that its collapse gave rise to the flood myth. I do mean to endorse the notion that the natural world is just freaking awsome!)

  • http://www.facebook.com/eo.raptor.3 eoraptor

    Does anybody know how to insert images in a FtB comment? I tried the usual html tag, but that didn’t work.

  • dingojack

    eoraptor – OK now imagine the Mediterranean refilling, the North Sea tearing away the chalk lowlands to form the English Channel or the formation of the Narrows in New York harbour…..

    :) Dingo

  • http://polrant@blogspot.com democommie

    “Because the Devil had foreknowledge of Christianity, apparently, just like God.”

    It was only recently discovered that, as counterintuitive as it might seem, SATAN was STILL on the HEAVEN.com “blastmail” list until well into the 1990’s.

    And why doesn’t GOD just blast him out of existence? Because he’s left an embarrassing piece of information with the guys in Asgard, Olympus, Hades and various other godly haunts (some of the demigods have it too) in an envelope with 7 Seals. It seems that JESUS, contrary to the ACCEPTED gospel accounts took Ol’ Scratch up on the offer he was given after his 40 day fast. They got some other schlub (I think it was Louie, his half-brother) to do the “Lamb-O-GOD” schtick–promises were made–and helped to spirit the corpse away after the plot was derailed by the Sanhedrin and the Romans.

    He KNOWS where the skeleton is.

    True story.