The Great Flood of China — Without Noah

This appeared at PhysOrg a few days ago: Ancient Chinese flood is latest to match oral, geologic histories, and as soon as we saw the headline, we knew that the creationists would be jumping all over it. PhysOrg says:

A paper published this week in Science finds evidence to support stories that a huge flood took place in China about 4,000 years ago, during the reign of Emperor Yu. The study, led by Chinese researcher Quinlong Wu, finds evidence for a massive landslide dam break that could have redirected the course of the Yellow River, giving rise to the legendary flood that Emperor Yu is credited with controlling.

Wowie — a flood, roughly 4,000 years ago! And a hero is associated with the tale. Unfortunately, his name is Yu, not Noah, and there’s no mention of an ark, but for creationists, it’s close enough.

This is the article in Science: Emperor Yu’s Great Flood, but you can’t read it without a subscription. They have another article by the same author: Massive flood may have led to China’s earliest empire, and you can read that online without a subscription. Here’s a bit more from PhysOrg:

An accompanying commentary by David Montgomery, a UW [University of Washington] professor of Earth and space sciences, discusses how this finding supports the historical basis for traditional tales about China’s Great Flood. It even explains some details of the classic folk story. “A telling aspect of the story — that it took Yu and his followers decades to control the floodwaters — makes sense in light of geological evidence that Wu et al. present,” Montgomery writes.

That’s interesting, but except that it’s about water, it seems to be a local event, utterly unrelated to the biblical tale of Noah. One more excerpt:

“Great floods figure prominently in some of humanity’s oldest stories,” Montgomery said. “In researching my book, ‘The Rocks Don’t Lie,’ I found that while the idea of a global flood was soundly refuted almost 200 years ago, many of the world’s flood stories have their roots in real catastrophic events — like tsunamis, glacial dam-break floods and disastrous flooding of lowland valleys and areas along major rivers.”

Nevertheless, we know the creationists can’t ignore this. We’ve been hearing rumblings that Ken Ham is already claiming that it’s evidence that the Noah tale describes an actual global catastrophe, but if that’s happening, it must be on Twitter or some place like that. Nothing about it has appeared yet at his website — but we’re confident that it will. So instead of waiting, we decided to get in ahead of ol’ Hambo and let you know about the news. The entertainment is certain to come — and soon.

Update: Ken Ham & The Great Flood of China.

Copyright © 2016. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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10 responses to “The Great Flood of China — Without Noah

  1. I seem to remember one of your earlier post where AIG discussed Noah’s flood (I think by the obstetric creationist), saying whilst there are other flood stories and some pre-date Noah, those stories are totally wrong and the genesis account is true. Will that be their response?

  2. docbill1351

    Well, what a journey that was! AAAS changed their login procedures, now require a 10-character password; took me 30 minutes to run the traps. And this is a site for which I pay a subscription! Grrrrrrrr.

    The pieces were pretty good, the extended abstract (more like a report) and the actual peer-reviewed article. The Jishi Gorge had been plugged up by a landslide eons ago enabling a large reservoir to build up behind it formed by the Yellow River. Around 1928 BCE the dam was breeched and hilarity ensued at the rate of about 0.48 million cubic meters per second. The flooding was episodic over several decades causing communities downstream to reorganize, regroup and implement strategies (dredging and levees) to “tame” the river.

    Emperor Yu was credited with slaying the dragon who caused the floods and repairing the river course.

    In the Chinese histories and stories about the flood there is no mention of rain. Analysis of the climate at that time indicates it was dry and cool. It was erosion that caused the breech.

    A lot fieldwork went into this study mapping sediments on either side of the gorge, upstream and downstream over a wide area. Contrast that with the goofballs at AIG who sit in their comfy chairs making up [edited out].

  3. docbill1351 says:

    The flooding was episodic over several decades causing communities downstream to reorganize, regroup and implement strategies (dredging and levees) to “tame” the river.

    Was there any mention of one family and a bunch of animals on a gopher wood boat with a cargo of dino poop?

  4. Well, what a journey that was! AAAS changed their login procedures, now require a 10-character password; took me 30 minutes to run the traps. And this is a site for which I pay a subscription! Grrrrrrrr.

    Yeah, me too. Also notice how annoying their website is, have to do thorough many web pages just to download an article. I suspect there is a creationist on Science’s payroll, trying to sabotage science. You heard it here first!

  5. docbill1351

    Right, so after all the hoopla to get my userid/password reset, I gleefully clicked on “Read entire article” only to be thrown back to the first page to sign in again! Curse you, Hambo!

    Curmie is on to something. The reason the Yellow River valley is so fertile is from all the dino poop they dredged out of the river.

  6. docbill1351

    One more thing. Yes, because the authors were aware of flood stories from many cultures, they did investigate the rain patterns concluding it was cool and dry during that period. They also noted that different cultures had different stories about floods. Island and coastal cultures associated flooding with tsunamis and earthquakes, battles between sky and sea gods; high valley and inland dwellers with angry sea gods; and low lying river dwellers with rain.

  7. OT, @docbill1351 @Ted Lawry all that security to stop someone from reading an occasional article without paying for a subscription. They should be worried about people going to their local public library!

  8. docbill1351

    On Topic @TomS First of all, I don’t think anyone is going to “hack” my login to read science articles, but I would be delighted if they did!

    “Creationist hackers from Kansas break in to AAAS website to download science articles!” Where would I find that headline, The Onion?

    Second, my old userid/password seemed just peachy. The change just gave me a few minutes of unnecessary grief and an opportunity to whine here.

    What’s next, delivering my printed copy by Brinks?

  9. @docbill1351: I live in an apartment building and chuck my old copies of Science in the box for paper in the trash room at the end of the hall. I bet if the publishers knew that, they’d cancel my subscription!

  10. Worse yet, my apartment trash room has a place for display of old magazines. If you don’t mind being not quite au courant, you can get week-old Us magazine.