Sunday, 7 August 2016

The Great Flood Happened - In China

Evidence of the exceptional outburst flood in the upper valley of the Yellow River.
(A) Distributions of OFS, DLS, and landslide dam. Light purple and dark green shaded areas indicate purple-brown mudrock and greenschist, respectively. Line AB across the Lajia site shows the location of the reconstructed cross section in fig. S6C.
(B) The vertical distribution of the OFS, landslide dam, DLS, Lajia site and reconstructed lake levels relative to the longitudinal profile of the present Yellow River.
DLS are classified into lacustrine sediments (LS) and fan delta deposits (FD).
Outburst flood at 1920 BCE supports historicity of China’s Great Flood and the Xia dynasty - Science

One of the many problems faced by Bible literalists is the singular lack of evidence for any of it, especially the much-cherished early creation myths found in Genesis. This means that those who try to cling at all costs to this primitive superstition have to perform all manner of frankly idiotic mental gymnastics to either explain away the lack of evidence or try to force-fit other geological evidence into their mythology.

One traditional attempt is to claim that many/most/all other cultures have a flood myth in their history. No matter how little these, where there are in fact any, match the biblical flood myth, they will always be waved around as proof of the historical accuracy of the Bible, as though not actually equating to the biblical myth in time, location, scope or detail actually mattered. There is the story of a flood at some point, therefore this is the biblical flood - case closed!

One such flood story, for example, is the Chinese Great Flood story which is traditionally believed to have been the start of the Xia dynasty; the first such dynasty in Chinese history and the beginning of Confucian system of government. It matters not to a bible literalist that this was never presented as anything approaching a global flood, or that only a small handful of people survived on a boat and repopulated China from somewhere in the Middle East. In fact, even the Chinese doubted that this was ever more than a myth written by the winners in some political struggle for power.

But, in a paper published in Science a few days ago, a team of Chinese archaeologists believe they have found evidence that the basic essential of the Great Flood story may be based on a real event, albeit one which occurred several centuries after the traditional date.

China’s historiographical traditions tell of the successful control of a Great Flood leading to the establishment of the Xia dynasty and the beginning of civilization. However, the historicity of the flood and Xia remain controversial. Here, we reconstruct an earthquake-induced landslide dam outburst flood on the Yellow River about 1920 BCE that ranks as one of the largest freshwater floods of the Holocene and could account for the Great Flood. This would place the beginning of Xia at ~1900 BCE, several centuries later than traditionally thought. This date coincides with the major transition from the Neolithic to Bronze Age in the Yellow River valley and supports hypotheses that the primary state-level society of the Erlitou culture is an archaeological manifestation of the Xia dynasty.

Q. Wu, Z. Zhao, L. Liu, D. E. Granger, H. Wang, D. J. Cohen, X. Wu, M. Ye, O. Bar-Yosef, B. Lu, J. Zhang, P. Zhang, D. Yuan, W. Qi, L. Cai, S. Bai.
Outburst flood at 1920 BCE supports historicity of China's Great Flood and the Xia dynasty.
Science, 2016
; 353 (6299): 579 DOI: 10.1126/science.aaf0842

Copyright © 2016, American Association for the Advancement of Science. Reprinted with permission under licence #3923690176539

The traditional Chinese story, which is as much a part of Chinese traditional history as the Noah myth is to Western tradition, is that this Great Flood was eventually tamed and controlled by the Emperor Yu who ordered the dredging of the Yellow River and so brought stability to the area in what was to be the central area of Chinese civilisation, separating it from the wild peripheral areas. This earned Yu the divine right to become Emperor and establish the first dynasty.

The date of the flood circa 1920 B.C... roughly marks the beginning of the Bronze Age in China. A major transition occurred then, with the appearance of the first bronze ritual vessels and weapons, as well as walled settlements on a scale not seen in the Neolithic. These are the hallmarks of state-level societies in China, which come to appear across the landscape of the Yellow River valley.

Co-author David Cohen,
Assistant professor in the Department of Anthropology.
National Taiwan University.
The archaeological evidence presented in the paper is that there was indeed such a flood and it was caused by a chain of events. Firstly an earthquake caused a landslide which formed a natural dam in the Yellow river upstream of the Jishi Gorge. This led to a massive lake to form behind it backing up into the Xunhua Basin, the weight of which eventually caused the dam to give way. This led to a catastrophic flood in the lower Yellow River flood plain in the order of 500 times larger than would be expected of heavy rainfall. The estimated flow through the broken dam and the Jishi Gorge was 300,000 to 500,000 cubic metres of water per second!

Using carbon dating of the bones of children killed in the original earthquake and of the youngest charcoal found in the flood runoff sediment, the team have dated the flood to 1920 BCE. The date of the beginning of the Xia dynasty is between 2070 and 2200 BCE. The date of this flood closely coincides with the beginning of the Bronze Age in China.

So, yet another of the famous 'proofs' of the biblical flood so beloved of creationist propagandists turns out to be anything but. This flood was local and has been shown to be local. What it does show however is what the remains of a massive, catastrophic flood looks like. Of course the biblical flood should have left just this evidence globally. Guess what! It isn't there, and nor is anything remotely like it.

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  1. I have been searching for a weblog like this all of life! I found the silly story about Jonah wonderful. Can you do more of them? (Unless they are already around here somewhere):
    For instance, the silly story of Cain & Abel (Cain's my all time favorite bible baddie. And I know who his father is. Not Adam!)
    The silly, silly story of Noah
    The silly stories about Babel and Sodom & Gomorrah
    The silly story of the Wooden Plank that would later become part of Jesus's cross.
    The silly story of King David
    The silly story of mommy's darling Jacob, that treacherous rat, and his much more sympathetic brother Esau.
    The silly but also mesmerizing story of Lucifer.
    In short, all the paleolithic, patriarchal, egomanical humbug in the Old Testament.
    I already featured these subjects on my own blog, inspired by modern and classic art illustrations, but I love to read others ventilating their thoughts on those Old Testament sillies as well.

    1. If you use the search facility (top right) you will find I have already posted articles on several of these.

    2. Great, I'll look them up!

  2. Of course the Old Testament is largely based on neighboring legends. Certain Gilgamesh elements do return in Genesis, but the point is that Gilgamesh was not the first man, he was a kind of King David (and one could see Enkidu as his nemesis Goliath, although their relationship turned out for the better).

    There is really a lot more to be said about the Adam and Eve episode. It's the only story in the hebrew/christian scriptures that I find truly beautiful, by the way. It also shows the most serious flaws in the Creation project.
    I don't know if God 'lied to them', as another post here states. For me it feels that this deity character had his restrictions. He tended to fail.

    The nudity concept is in itself very interesting, because the remark "Who told thee that thou wast naked' is the single one line from God in the bible that really makes SENSE. And he lost that sense spectacularly when he had his bout with A & E's son Cain. The dialogue between them is so telling. God didn't know how to deal with Cain. And Cain reacted insolent, almost like a teenager who didn't care what an elder thought of his actions and views. It's the classic child/parent and father/son situation we see here.
    But God had foresight, didn't he? He KNEW that the murdering of Abel was going to happen! To state that 'Yes, but He also gave Man a free will' is a very weak excuse. The all-creator allowed the serpent in the garden, and everything that came from that. He tested A & E... and didn't foresee the outcome? Shame on you, God.
    The problem in our monotheist religions is that believers hugely overestimate the god entity. I sometimes call him mockingly 'Gandalf', that is exactly who he reminds me of. In possession of great powers, but not almighty. No wonder I'm 25% agnostic and 75% atheist...
    (end part 1)

  3. (part 2)
    In yet another post Rosa wonders if the Genesis story could repeat itself in other solar systems. Could be; the whole evolutionary process of intelligent life condensed into a metaphorical first male and female (or whatever) is much easier to comprehend.
    The biggest blooper in Genesis is that this creation is said to have taken place in 6 days. The ancient inventors of monotheism didn't know any better. But today it would be much easier to believe in a Creation if you are told that it took God a couple of hundreds of millions years - including the rise and fall of the dinosaurs - to set things up and give the first two humans more time to 'grow up' and develop themselves. Alas, the reli-nutties will never be willing to re-write the scriptures. The Old Testament is in fact a trap from where mankind can no longer escape.

    In my eyes Adam & Eve were actually God's first fail. And he failed again with Cain. Abel was a goodnatured softie like Adam, so was baddie Cain contaminated with an evil virus? He could have been...if the Serpent had fathered him. Eve was seduced with a fruit, a fruit comes from seeds, say no more.

    And God did nothing. He send Cain away, and yet marked him with the sign of His protection. Cain and his descendants mingled with the descendants of the Nephilim- thus bringing more evil into the world.
    It is here where hebrew temple priests must have panicked: "OMG- we to erase both Canaanites and Nephilim from the earth, let's insert a Deluge!"
    And God, wiping the sweat from his brow, mumbled: "That's a great idea- let's roll."

    By the way, I think that religious awareness is unavoidable. Should we get extinct and leave the place to the animals, some - most probably insects because they got everything going for it - will gradually evolve into a higher state (we started out as primitive animals too after all), enter their own prehistoric phase, and start building their altars and temples. Worshiping is simply inherent to intelligence.
    So I would be careful to say that believing in an invisible Father Gandalf is a dumb thing to do...

    >>"A claim made without evidence can be dismissed without evidence. Remember: your opinion is not an established fact unless corroborated."
    Um, of course I claim nothing, as I have no evidence, I'm just following my sense of logic. How could I proof what is a monolith of fantasy in itself?


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A claim made without evidence can be dismissed without evidence. Remember: your opinion is not an established fact unless corroborated.

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