Pearce’s Potshots #47: Mockery of a Local Flood

Pearce’s Potshots #47: Mockery of a Local Flood September 30, 2021

+ Striking Analogies Between the Biblical Flood and the Great Mississippi Flood of 1927

Atheist anti-theist Jonathan M. S. Pearce is the main writer on the blog, A Tippling Philosopher. His “About” page states: “Pearce is a philosopher, author, blogger, public speaker and teacher from Hampshire in the UK. He specialises in philosophy of religion, but likes to turn his hand to science, psychology, politics and anything involved in investigating reality.” His words will be in blue.


First Jonathan wrote a blog article saying that a universal Flood model was ridiculous, but a local Flood model was equally so. No rational person could believe in either, etc. I started replying on his blog, underneath the posting:

I make a serious apologia for a local flood, drawing from a geologist and her husband, a physicist who make fascinating and quite scientifically plausible arguments. Needless to say, Jonathan hasn’t interacted with it (nor has anyone else). It’s real easy to simply ignore good opposing arguments. “Hear no evil, see no evil . . . ” My article easily answers and refutes many of the things that Jonathan trots out in his. See:

See also for much necessary preliminary info.:

Local Flood & Atheist Ignorance of Christian Thought

Are you serious? Your “paper” is really stretching credibility beyond…the outer reaches of sanity. Essentially, it boils down to “god did a miracle”. Well, if that’s the case, let’s stop presenting natural evidence.

But when you do try to present natural evidence, you present someone saying it might just about be done if x, y, z happen and there is a 40-day model of 2.75 inches of rain per hour and tapering off to “just” 1 inch per hour every hour for the next 110 days. Solid.
I stopped reading after that.
Let’s look at world records: Wettest place on earth by year: 1041 inches over 365 days = 2.85 inches A DAY = 0.1 inches per hour (your figures require 27.5 times that). Wettest place on earth by month: 370 inches over 31 days = 11.9 inches per day = 0.49 inches per hour (your figures require over 5 times that).
You would be demanding, with ALL SORTS of extra variables in place, at least 2046 inches per month, and then for an extra ten days, and then a whole big bunch more thereafter. That is over double the rate seen in one month than over one year in the single wettest place – a village. And I’m still not convinced it would not flow away too quickly.
I mean, your piece is littered with issue. Need I go on? If you believe that, you’ll believe anything and there is nothing we can prescribe for that.
That’s how you do it. Ignore, mock, move on. It’s a great strategy for the ostrich with his head in the sand. If I refused to interact with any atheist piece that I thought had atrocious reasoning I’d hardly respond to any, and I have several hundred.
It gets worse, though, because those rainfall stats I provided are for a tiny place, not a whole region. So for that amount of rain to fall over a behemoth region is – well – impossible. Actually impossible. There is simply not that amount of rain possible in the world. The atmosphere cannot collect that. For clouds to hold that much rain and dump it over THE ENTIRETY of Mesopotamia is utterly ridiculous. Just think about it. Dude, look at the sheer size of the area. It’s mahoosive. Then there is the entire land to the South – flat and sandy. And then the seas.  I mean – seriously, no actual scholar even remotely entertains such claims. In any field. Your paper is a) demanding things that have never even remotely been experienced in the history of the planet and b) demanding things that are still physically impossible.
It’s only the floodplain of Mesopotamia, and it doesn’t have to be all that deep. Also, there was snowmelt and springs and seawater causing significant amounts of the sustained water volume. But that’s probably in the parts of the paper that you never got to, because you split, all self-righteous in your supposed profound intellectual superiority.
I wouldn’t want your head to explode, pondering opinions different than your own, so maybe your arrogant, condescending intransigence is for the better in the long run.
There have been several floods of the magnitude that my model posits: from storm surges, tidal waves, etc. And there have been instances of a great deal of water remaining for months. 
No – not for that amount of time and over that area. There have not.

Consider the Great Mississippi Flood of 1927:

The Great Mississippi Flood of 1927 was the most destructive river flood in the history of the United States, with 27,000 square miles (70,000 km) inundated in depths of up to 30 feet (9 m) over the course of several months in early 1927. . . .

Flooding began due to heavy rainfall in summer 1926 across the river’s central basin. By September, the Mississippi’s tributaries in Kansas and Iowa were swollen to capacity. On Christmas Day of 1926, the Cumberland River at Nashville, Tennessee, exceeded 56.2 ft (17.1 m), the second-highest recorded level (a destructive flood in 1793 had produced the record level – 58.5 ft (17.8 m). . . .

The flood affected Missouri, Illinois, Kansas, Tennessee, Kentucky, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Oklahoma, and Texas. Arkansas was hardest hit, with 14% of its territory covered by floodwaters extending from the Mississippi and Arkansas deltas. By May 1927, the Mississippi River below Memphis, Tennessee, reached a width of 80 miles (130 km). . . .

By August 1927, the flood subsided. [note that this is a year after it started] . . . (Wikipedia)

Another article on the same event observed:

Ninety years ago, the Mississippi and Atchafalaya rivers — swollen from months of rainfall — burst through levees, sending muddy water into businesses, homes and farmland across Louisiana.

Families and farm animals sought refuge on rooftops, raised railroad beds and levees. Thousands were left homeless for weeks, even months. . . .

As heavy rainfall in 1926 continued into the spring of 1927, the Mississippi River began cresting in places like Cairo, Illinois, sending tons of water rushing south to Arkansas, Louisiana and Mississippi.

Note that the rainfall began in August 1926 and lasted till April 1927: that’s eight months or more than 240 days: six times the length of the 40-day rains in Noah’s Flood (Gen 7:4, 12). The entire Genesis Flood, up until the waters dried up, lasted 10 1/2 months (cf. Gen 7:11 and 8:13). No problem. The waters in the Great Mississippi Flood of 1927 took even longer to dry up: an entire year.

A 2001 National Geographic article noted the size of this flood:

A period of heavy rain for several months eventually led to the great flood . . . They [the rains] came down over several hundred thousand square miles, covering much or all of the states of Missouri, Illinois, Arkansas, Mississippi, Texas, and Louisiana. In New Orleans in 18 hours there were 15 inches of rain—the greatest ever known there.

In comparison, the Tigris–Euphrates Basin is 879,790 square kilometers or 339,690 square miles. The floodplain portion in the lower basin is certainly no more than half of the entire area at most (likely less than that). So it’s maybe 170,000 square miles, compared to “several hundred thousand square miles” in the Great Flood of 1927 in the southern US.

Moreover, both areas are similar and analogous insofar as:

1) they are (in the costal areas) very flat,

2) lie near a large body of water (Gulf of Mexico / Persian Gulf),

3) have a large river or rivers running through them (Tigris & Euphrates / Mississippi).

4) probably have similar climates as well (without verifying it, but they are located virtually at the same latitude).

5) both have “rings” of mountains or much higher elevations around the flat basin and flood plain on three sides: in the US South there are mountains in Arkansas, Tennessee, and northern Alabama and Georgia.

So yeah; contrary to Jonathan’s bald statement: “No – not for that amount of time and over that area. There have not”: this one flood alone had:

1) sustained heavy rain for six times as long as the biblical flood,

2) flood waters remaining for a year, compared to 10 1/2 months in Genesis, and

3) coverage over an area larger than my proposed local Mesopotamian flood (likely twice as large or more).

And that’s just one flood. Certainly we can extrapolate from this data that there have been many more such floods in the entire history of the world. This one was within the previous hundred years. Both my parents were alive when it happened.

So, nice try. Jonathan provided unsubstantiated (and cynical / skeptical) words; I provide historical and scientific facts. We’re different that way. I like to stick to facts and reason and not mere wild subjective speculations and theories with little objective basis at all.

It’s easy to bash a straw man. You say my supposed model is all of Mesopotamia. It’s not. It’s a small part of the whole: in the Mesopotamian floodplain, north of the Persian Gulf, between the Tigris and the Euphrates (incidentally one of the flattest places on earth: perhaps the flattest).
1) Notice how YOU didn’t interact with my figures and claims.
2) No offence, but of course I mock it – it’s patently ridiculous. I literally don’t understand how someone can rationally assent to the claim. 
Your claims were (in a general sense: “how do we get this much water?”) dealt with in the paper (that’s assuming one actually reads it). I’m not intellectually obliged to go off on the rabbit trail of your reasoning, when you don’t even grant me the courtesy of reading and considering my argument.
But that’s your only choice (mockery and dripping condescension). That saves you from serious point-by-point interaction, which you want no part of.
Photo credit: suemon123 (12-27-11). Mississippi flood of 1927, in Vidalia, Louisiana [Flickr / CC BY-NC 2.0 license]
Summary: I wrangle with the intransigent, condescending atheist Jonathan MS Pearce about a biblical local flood, & note striking analogies to the Mississippi Flood of 1927.
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