You Geeve Me the Idol, I Geeve You the Whip
Posted by scott at April 27, 2004 08:26 AM
In the "press releases are not actually news" category, we have this announcement of the imminent discovery of Noah's ark:
The Trinity Corporation today announced that they have collected new satellite images taken over Mount Ararat in Eastern Turkey [which] reveal a man- made structure at the site where the Bible states Noah's Ark came to rest.
Paging Indiana Jones, white courtesy phone please....
I personally find the Black Sea flood theory a much more interesting and more likely scenario.
Update: Slashdot linked the story too, but chose this CNN article. Interesting in that you get to see how the media transform a press conference and issued release into a news "story".
Space.com actually has one of their pictures. Looks like a weird outcrop to me.
eMail this entry!
[Posted on behalf of someone who can't get their windows install to work. See! Ain't we helpful? -Scott]
I was going to comment on the story, but windows here is broken and won't do popups. So I thought I'd email you in case you are interested in some detailed stuff about Noah's Ark in an archaeological sense.
Not to go into huge detail, the tale about a flood isn't unique to the bible, in fact the story existed a long time before Israel and many variations have been found, some in fragments and some fairly complete. Unlike the bible, which
was edited (in effect) by the Romans, there are more than one version of these sources and there is a measure of evolution of the story.
That is to say, the story changes in stages to become gradually more impressive as time elevates it from an eyewitness account, to a legendary tale, but at the same time, certain traditional elements remain in place because they are part
of the story rather than awesome descriptions of how much bigger and better things were in the good old days.
Here are some examples of the common aspects Indicating a common source:
As you look through the various versions of this story, the evolution is apparent. Initially a river flood, the event becomes deeper and larger until it is covering the whole world. Initially fetching up against a mound, this becomes the top of a mountain in due course, which conveys a bit more than just a place to park a boat as it is closer to god and prophets often went up high
mountains to talk to god who live in the sky. As it were. It's certainly not a likely resting place for a ship because as the waters subsided, the ship would slide down the side of the mountain...
Anyhow, the point of all this, is "proper" archaeologists would say that the story of Noah and the Flood is actually a morality story based on an earlier account of a river flood, which also spawned other tales very similar to the Noah one, e.g. the Epic of Gilgamesh includes the account but with several key differences, and we know how old the Epic is, a lot older than Israel so the
ancient account would be much closer to the event than a derivative work more than a thousand years less ancient.
Incidentally, the reason for the Ark ending up on a mountain is another story worth mentioning. If you go to the top of a large mountain, e.g. the Alps, you will find fossil sea shells, quite unmistakably so.
Now, this seems an odd place to find sea shells, and it's only been a few decades since the reason was discovered - plate tectonics. What happens, is the surface of the Earth is made from huge basalt plates that move about. Continents are made of lighter granite, which mostly sits on top of the basalt plate. Anyway, where two plates meet, one goes over the top of the other.
If there is a granite continent on top of each plate, they will eventually crash into each other where the plates cross over, and when this happens, the granite material will be scrunched up. You get the same effect when you jump onto a rug on a polished wood floor, the rug slides until it reaches a wall and then must scrunch up until you stop moving.
Now, the material ending up at the top of the scrunched up granite pile, will be mostly whatever was at the front edge, and since that was originally sea shore in the case of both granite islands, there's no surprise that it ends up
at the top of a mountain and includes sea shells.
Hope this was interesting. Please email me if you use any of it, just so I know, you're welcome to (of course).