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January 28th, 2014
10:37 AM ET

Noah's Ark discovery raises flood of questions

Opinion by Joel Baden, Special to CNN

(CNN) - That faint humming sound you’ve heard recently is the scholarly world of the Bible and archaeology abuzz over the discovery of the oldest known Mesopotamian version of the famous Flood story.

A British scholar has found that a 4,000-year-old cuneiform tablet from what is now Iraq contains a story similar to the biblical account of Noah’s Ark.

The newly decoded cuneiform tells of a divinely sent flood and a sole survivor on an ark, who takes all the animals on board to preserve them. It even includes the famous phrase “two by two,” describing how the animals came onto the ark.

But there is one apparently major difference: The ark in this version is round.

We have known for well over a century that there are flood stories from the ancient Near East that long predate the biblical account (even the most conservative biblical scholars wouldn’t date any earlier than the ninth century B.C).

What’s really intriguing scholars is the description of the ark itself.

The Bible presents a standard boat shape - long and narrow. The length being six times the measure of the width, with three decks and an entrance on the side.

The newly discovered Mesopotamian text describes a large round vessel, made of woven rope, and coated (like the biblical ark) in pitch to keep it waterproof.

Archaeologists are planning to design a prototype of the ark, built to the specifications of this text, to see if it would actually float. Good luck to them in trying to estimate the weight of its cargo.

So, why does this new discovery matter? It matters because it serves as a reminder that the story of the Flood wasn’t set in stone from its earliest version all the way through to its latest incarnation.

The people who wrote down the Flood narrative, in any of its manifestations, weren’t reporting on a historical event for which they had to get their facts straight (like what shape the ark was).

Everyone reshapes the Flood story, and the ark itself, according to the norms of their own time and place.

In ancient Mesopotamia, a round vessel would have been perfectly reasonable - in fact, we know that this type of boat was in use, though perhaps not to such a gigantic scale, on the Mesopotamian rivers.

The ancient Israelites, on the other hand, would naturally have pictured a boat like those they were familiar with: which is to say, the boats that navigated not the rivers of Mesopotamia but the Mediterranean Sea.

This detail of engineering can and should stand for a larger array of themes and features in the flood stories. The Mesopotamian versions feature many gods; the biblical account, of course, only one.

The Mesopotamian versions tell us that the Flood came because humans were too noisy for the gods; the biblical account says it was because violence had spread over the Earth.

Neither version is right or wrong; they are, rather, both appropriate to the culture that produced them. Neither is history; both are theology.

What, then, of the most striking parallel between this newly discovered text and Genesis: the phrase “two by two”? Here, it would seem, we have an identical conception of the animals entering the ark. But not so fast.

Although most people, steeped in Sunday school tradition, will tell you without even thinking about it that “the animals, they came on, they came on by twosies twosies,” that’s not exactly what the Bible says.

More accurately, it’s one thing that the Bible says - but a few verses later, Noah is instructed to bring not one pair of each species, but seven pairs of all the “clean” animals and the birds, and one pair of the “unclean” animals.

(This is important because at the end of the story, Noah offers sacrifices - which, if he only brought one pair of each animal, would mean that, after saving them all from the Flood, he then proceeded to relegate some of those species to extinction immediately thereafter.)

This isn’t news - already in the 17th century scholars recognized that there must be two versions of the Flood intertwined in the canonical Bible.

There are plenty of significant differences between the two Flood stories in the Bible, which are easily spotted if you try to read the narrative as it stands.

One version says the Flood lasted 40 days; the other says 150. One says the waters came from rain. Another says it came from the opening of primordial floodgates both above and below the Earth. One version says Noah sent out a dove, three times. The other says he sent out a raven, once.

And yes: In one of those stories, the animals come on “two by two.”

Does this mean that the author of that version was following the ancient Mesopotamian account that was just discovered? Certainly not.

If the goal of the ark is the preservation of the animals, then having a male and female of each is just common sense. And, of course, it’s a quite reasonable space-saving measure.

Likewise, the relative age of the Mesopotamian and biblical accounts tells us nothing about their relative authority.

Even if we acknowledge, as we probably should, that the biblical authors learned the Flood story from their neighbors - after all, flooding isn’t, and never was, really a pressing concern in Israel - this doesn’t make the Bible any less authoritative.

The Bible gets its authority from us, who treat it as such, not from it being either the first or the most reliable witness to history.

There is no doubt that the discovery of this new ancient Mesopotamian text is important. But from a biblical perspective, its importance resides mostly in the way it serves to remind us that the Flood story is a malleable one.

There are multiple different Mesopotamian versions, and there are multiple different biblical versions. They share a basic outline, and some central themes. But they each relate the story in their own way.

The power of the Flood story, for us the canonical biblical version, is in what it tells us about humanity’s relationship with God. But, as always, the devil is in the details.

Joel S. Baden is the author of "The Historical David: The Real Life of an Invented Hero" and an associate professor of Old Testament at Yale Divinity School. The views expressed in this column belong to Baden. 

- CNN Religion Editor

Filed under: Belief • Bible • Christianity • Judaism • Opinion

soundoff (5,820 Responses)
  1. moon shadow moon shadow

    those good things found in the sermon on the mount
    combine them with the words of his saints

    January 29, 2014 at 12:03 pm |
    • Billy

      It would be like the lightest angel food cake! (Because basically – it would just be all air.)

      January 29, 2014 at 12:12 pm |
  2. moon shadow moon shadow

    unless the soul is just our way of seperating ourselves from the animal kingdom, seeing we are the ONLY creature god talks to.

    y do u think there is a difference between u and animals?

    January 29, 2014 at 11:54 am |
    • Sungrazer

      There isn't, qualitatively speaking.

      January 29, 2014 at 12:02 pm |
    • richard

      "y do u think there is a difference between u and animals?"

      who said there is? it is reasonable to think that some animals have morals for instance. why is it not reasonable to think that there is not some degree of similarity in all aspects of brain functions between man and some animals? where would be evidence that this is not so?

      January 29, 2014 at 12:03 pm |
      • richard

        unintended double negative – corrected: ".....that there is some degree...."

        January 29, 2014 at 12:05 pm |
    • doobzz

      How do you know that god doesn't speak to animals?

      January 29, 2014 at 12:07 pm |
      • Christian Crusader

        Cuz he speaks English in the bible. DUH!

        January 29, 2014 at 3:30 pm |
        • doobzz

          Well, he could at least TRY pig Latin! He's so lazy.

          January 29, 2014 at 3:54 pm |
    • Alonso

      He talked to the talking snake, whose descendants are still crawling on the ground today, didn't he?

      January 29, 2014 at 6:05 pm |
  3. Samuel

    In ancient times, before we had any understanding of plate tectonics, people found seashells on the tops of mountains and reached a conclusion that was somewhat reasonable for the times: there must have been a flood that covered the mountains. To continue to believe that today, however, is simply foolish.

    January 29, 2014 at 11:49 am |
    • QuesCity

      Do you have any evidence that people did that? Or is that just an unproven theory?

      January 29, 2014 at 11:54 am |
      • In Santa we trust

        It seems likely as people used gods to explain other natural phenomena that they didn't understand – eclipses, thunder, earthquakes, drought, etc. etc. I'm sure floods were on that list and many tribes would have had some experience of a local flood.

        January 29, 2014 at 12:00 pm |
      • Christopher

        Read "The Seashell on the Mountaintop" by Alan Cutler.

        January 29, 2014 at 1:40 pm |
      • Barcs

        People still do it today. It's one of the leading creationist arguments for the great flood. And they aren't seashells btw, they are fossils of seashells and marine life. The reason for this, however, is not a great flood, it's called "uplift" and accounts for the formation of many mountain ranges.

        January 29, 2014 at 3:28 pm |
  4. moon shadow moon shadow

    There will most likely be a day soon when we will be able to directly feel the thought of another person.

    until then, put your faith in what u can't c

    January 29, 2014 at 11:48 am |
    • doobzz

      Good idea. I'll put my faith in Russell's Teapot.

      January 29, 2014 at 11:50 am |
    • Billy

      "until then, put your faith in what u can't c"

      (make up stuff, if necessary)

      January 29, 2014 at 11:53 am |
  5. moon shadow moon shadow

    The Sermon on the Mount contained some excellent advice and wisdom.

    like what? elaborate

    January 29, 2014 at 11:44 am |

    • Something about love the people you are called upon to kill.

      January 29, 2014 at 11:46 am |
  6. Phil

    Good thing Noah saved the chickens... Like that I'm able to eat roasted and fried chicken!

    January 29, 2014 at 11:42 am |
    • moon shadow moon shadow

      if ur eating boneless chickns they're probably cloned and u'd be a fool. can u say illegal?

      January 29, 2014 at 11:50 am |
      • Jeff

        Snopes says false. Stop reading drivel.

        January 29, 2014 at 11:54 am |
        • doobzz

          Where is Cluckles the Boneless Chicken when you need him?

          January 29, 2014 at 12:10 pm |
    • doobzz

      And pigs.

      I just smoked three slabs of bacon yesterday as an offering and the aroma is surely pleasing to the FSM. I have received a divine dispensation from the FSM to substitute the bacon for pancetta in my spaghetti carbonara.

      January 29, 2014 at 12:09 pm |
      • Barcs

        Good stuff. FSM will be proud and will reward you with unlimited pasta alfredo in the afterlife. I feel bad for those out there that deny the truth. They are destined to end up in the giant boiling pot to be burned and tortured for eternity.

        January 29, 2014 at 3:25 pm |
        • doobzz

          I will laugh and dance as they scream and get all pruney.

          January 29, 2014 at 3:53 pm |
  7. dalecc

    well this is truely amazing stuff...this story is just a story...it doesnt matter the words....it just show's GOD'S love for all creature's...great and small..

    January 29, 2014 at 11:42 am |
    • WASP

      @dale: " GOD'S love for all creature's...great and small.."

      how is that exactly? by drowning everything on earth; yeah that's the same kind of love that one christian woman showed her children.

      January 29, 2014 at 11:44 am |
    • AverageJoe76

      So if the story is just a story, and God's a big part of the 'story', can't we agree that God is a character in a story?

      January 29, 2014 at 11:45 am |
    • JW

      In the end it doesn't matter if they find evidence... The majority of the unbelievers will continue to be that way. For me the bible says and that's more then enough proof.

      January 29, 2014 at 11:46 am |
      • Doc Vestibule

        Have you any response to the historical innaccuracies in the Bible I pointed out on the prior comment page?

        January 29, 2014 at 11:48 am |
        • JW

          Ill replay eventually,I'm just not now I. A position to go into detail.

          January 29, 2014 at 11:51 am |
      • truthprevails1

        Yep, cause you don't care about actual evidence. Sad that you choose to remain so ignorant!

        January 29, 2014 at 11:49 am |
        • JW

          I'm not ignorant. History and science proves who believes in the bible is not ignorant... But I'm a man of faith! Where tied truth!
          You have your proofs, I have mines... You deposit your faith in men, I have my faith as well.

          January 29, 2014 at 11:55 am |
        • truthprevails1

          No science and history do not prove that. Stats prove that religious people are usually less educated and thus far more ignorant of the world. You prove that ignorance when you refuse to look outside your holy book for answers.
          Faith is defined as belief without evidence. I do not have faith, I have reasonable expectations based on the evidence we have in this world, evidence that has been peer-reviewed and shown to be accurate.

          January 29, 2014 at 11:59 am |
        • JW

          Proof without evidence... Well Hebrews 11:1 doesn't say that!

          What other evidence for the existence of God can you have just by studying our universe of the complexity of living things?!

          January 29, 2014 at 12:09 pm |
        • Barcs

          JW, what proofs do you have that are based on objective evidence? You clearly said above you have faith. So which is it? Is it based on fact or "proofs"? I think we all know the answer to that one.

          January 29, 2014 at 3:11 pm |
        • Barcs

          Sorry I meant Faith or Fact, not "fact or proofs"

          January 29, 2014 at 3:13 pm |
      • Sungrazer

        You may get all your "proof" from the Bible, but it is not admirable. What is admirable is going wherever the evidence takes you. I was a Christian until about age 25, but I never just closed my eyes and ears to outside claims and evidence.

        January 29, 2014 at 11:52 am |
        • JW

          I'm not closing my ears as well to the outside world. Though you cannot believe all the evidence or knowledge the outside world comes with...
          Some critisize the bible as a scheme, but they keep on believing in what other humans say... There not less flow less the. The same humans that wrote the bible!

          Human evidence and knowledge generally became old tommorrow or obsolete!

          January 29, 2014 at 12:07 pm |
      • Barcs

        People don't understand what evidence is. An ancient story written on a table is evidence of exactly that. A story was written. It doesn't prove that events are true. It could have been a bed time story for kids loosely based on the flooding that occurred all over the world at the end of the last ice age. If a comet hit the earth tomorrow and humans were mostly wiped out and then re-emerged as a society thousands of years later, they might find fragments of "Lord of the Rings" novels and think they are historically accurate as well. Imagine the future of Hobbitism in the world. It's no different than digging up an ancient story and blindly believing it as true.

        January 29, 2014 at 3:10 pm |
      • Des

        Everyone, be careful of JW. He has been back out here often lately, on recruiting missions for his deadly cult. That's how they keep it going; heavy sales efforts. You can see him on his latest con job for his cult in recent posts. This is well documented now. He will keep pushing bible nonsense at you to try to change the subject. Don't let him. He must get cult brownie points for his doorknocking efforts here. He needs to engage you on his agenda to do that. Instead, keep pressing him on points like this, and watch him squirm:

        So, JW, are you opposed to blood transfusion in the case of an accident victim who has lost a lot of blood and will die without transfused blood? Yes or no answer please; none of your usual dodging will get you by. We are watching for you and your deadly ilk.

        January 30, 2014 at 6:34 pm |
      • Des

        Everyone, be careful of JW. He has been back out here often lately, on recruiting missions for his deadly cult. That's how they keep it going; heavy sales efforts. You can see him on his latest con job for his cult in recent posts. This is well documented now. He will keep pushing bible nonsense at you to try to change the subject. Don't let him. He must get cult brownie points for his doorknocking efforts here. He needs to engage you on his agenda to do that. Instead, keep pressing him on points like this, and watch him squirm:

        So, JW, are you opposed to blood transfusion in the case of an accident victim who has lost a lot of blood and will die without transfused blood? Yes or no answer please; none of your usual dodging will get you by. We are watching for you and your deadly ilk.

        January 30, 2014 at 6:34 pm |
    • Barcs

      Yeah, nothing shows gods love for all creatures, like drowning the entire world(billions of lifeforms) at once in a flood because of the actions of a few hundred or thousand humans. The story isn't about love, it's about obeying your god or else.

      January 29, 2014 at 3:04 pm |
  8. kenrick benjamin

    The Universe was created when Energy which is Eternal was converted to Matter which is not Eternal, setting our Universe in motion. Our Universe is approximately 13.8 billion years old and Finite, because if it wasn't, we would not be able to tell that it's expanding. Our Universe is not Eternal because it has not always been here. However due to the 1st law of thermo dynamics we know that Energy is. The 2nd law of thermo dynamics tells us that Our Universe is moving from a State of order to disorder (Entropy) through the Window of time (Past, Present and Future).

    January 29, 2014 at 11:17 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Other One

      Just curious. How did the laws of thermodynamics get to be laws?

      January 29, 2014 at 11:22 am |
      • AverageJoe76

        Humans.

        January 29, 2014 at 11:27 am |
      • kenrick benjamin

        TT it's all due to the scientific study of heat transference in a system.

        January 29, 2014 at 11:42 am |
        • Tom, Tom, the Other One

          I'd call something a law if it is logically impossible for it to be false. Do observations show that?

          January 29, 2014 at 11:44 am |
        • kenrick benjamin

          According to Science it did.

          January 29, 2014 at 12:14 pm |
        • Bones McCoy

          Tom Tom, that isn't the definition of a law in science. Too many people think that laws are proven theories. A law is a calculation based on observable tangible phenomena. Yes, it's absolutely true, but it doesn't tell the whole story. The Law of gravity talks about the speed of falling, which is consistent and measurable. The THEORY of gravity tries to explain what causes it, how it affects other systems, and why it functions as it does.

          January 29, 2014 at 12:44 pm |
        • Vic

          A law in science is when a theory is proven.

          Also, it is the acceleration of gravity and NOT speed. The acceleration of earth's gravity is 9.81 m/s^2 or 32.2 ft/s^2.

          January 29, 2014 at 1:33 pm |
        • Bones McCoy

          Vic, I just clearly explained how a LAW in science IS NOT a proven theory. Find me a single scientific resource that claims that, or name me a SINGLE theory that one day became a law. You can't, because that's not how theories and laws work. It's one of the most fundamental and common misunderstandings of science. A law IS proven, yes, but it never changes unless the variables change. Theories are based on scientific facts and experiments and often contain tons of more facts and results than laws do. Obviously I was simplifying it by saying the "speed" of falling. But again, the theory of gravity is about understanding how it works and why it works. It's not about the acceleration caused by gravity, that aspect of it is the law. But we still know gravity is 100% proven and real, yet its still a theory.

          January 29, 2014 at 2:52 pm |
        • Barcs

          Bones is right. Laws can be parts of a theory, but theories don't just become laws when they are proven. Laws are mathematical measurements and calculations, not proven theories. Otherwise there would be no more theory of gravity, since it's also a law. But it's not like that. The LAW of gravity is part of the THEORY of gravity. Hypotheses become THEORIES when they are proven. Theories aren't just made up because it might be true. The only way something qualifies as a theory in science, is if the phenomena is proven. The theory then takes that proven phenomena and attempts to paint a most likely scenario based on the evidence and further experimentation. Theories often work with hypotheses, but if they are falsified they are taken out. If they are proven right, they become part of the theory.

          January 29, 2014 at 3:20 pm |
    • Vic

      Well, energy is a thermodynamic entity that is in a certain form and is quantifiable, hence physical and finite; it has the ability to change from one form to another while being conserved.

      And yes, according to the Second Law of Thermodynamic, Entropy is increasing and is inversely proportional to the total usable energy available, increasing disorder. The universe is winding down to a state of equilibrium where entropy is at its maximum and the total usable energy at zero, hence death.

      January 29, 2014 at 11:26 am |
      • Kenrick Benjamin

        Vic- The Second law leads us to the Zeroth law (thermal equilibrium).

        January 29, 2014 at 3:27 pm |
    • igaftr

      Just curious..what does that have to do with the myth of Noah?

      January 29, 2014 at 11:32 am |
    • Bones McCoy

      energy = matter. Energy was not converted to matter. It just cooled down and became more solid. Energy cannot be created nor destroyed, it can only change forms. This means neither can matter. This also indicates that the universe could indeed be eternal.

      January 29, 2014 at 12:41 pm |
      • Vic

        I just noticed this reply.

        In extreme short:

        The universe can never be eternal since it had a beginning, physical, and entropy is only increasing-directional, hence finite, hence non-eternal.

        Note: Anything that had a beginning could have not been out there for all eternity/infinity, hence non-eternal/finite.

        January 29, 2014 at 1:19 pm |
        • Bones McCoy

          Science must not be your thing. You cannot prove that the universe had a beginning. Only that the energy was AT ONE POINT very close and condensed together and eventually expanded. Anything before this expansion is impossible to study. Claiming the universe has a beginning would be a false claim because nobody actually knows what happened before a few nano seconds after the expansion started.

          And enough with the entropy. You'd have to assume the universe is a closed system for that to be true, which,again, is something we cannot possibly know. Black holes are still a huge mystery and could be the key to understanding how the universe recycles its energy, especially when you look at the super massive black holes.

          There's too much we don't know about the universe to make any assumptions like you did in that post.

          January 29, 2014 at 2:59 pm |
        • Kenrick Benjamin

          Bones McCoy- If Energy changes State, donesn't it have a beginning when it does so.

          January 29, 2014 at 3:37 pm |
        • Bones McCoy

          No, because the energy already existed. You could say that when energy changes forms it is the beginning of that TYPE of energy, but not the energy in general. You can delve deep into the philosophy of it, but that's what the laws of physics say.

          January 29, 2014 at 5:03 pm |
      • kenrick Benjamin

        Bones McCoy do you know what convert means, look it up.

        January 29, 2014 at 4:40 pm |
        • Bones McCoy

          Converting is not the beginning of something new. It's a state of change. Energy = matter, so saying that energy is converted to matter is redundant.

          January 29, 2014 at 5:05 pm |
        • kenrick benjamin

          Bones McCoy – Its redundant but true, Einstein prove that.

          January 30, 2014 at 7:21 am |
        • Bones McCoy

          Sure, it may be true, but that's like saying a car was converted into a car. Energy and matter are one in the same.

          January 30, 2014 at 10:48 am |
        • kenrick benjamin

          Bones- Energy comes in many different forms(Matter, Anti-Matter, Kinetic..etc..ect) however these are just states that Energy under takes and as such are subject to dissipation to their orginal, Energy it self. Each state is defined for what they are, however Energy is defined as neither being created or destroyed and the capacity to do work.

          January 30, 2014 at 3:15 pm |
  9. Colin

    It is an interesting broader question. Is Christianity a good or bad thing for the planet when you list its pros and cons

    Pros:

    1. Gives people comfort by letting them pretend they and their loved ones will live happily ever after they die. A kind of escapism from reality.
    2. Keeps a lot of people gainfully employed.
    3. Motivates charity.
    4. Provides a sense of community.
    5. Provides those who need it with a basis for their morality.

    Cons
    1. Historically, religious differences have led to many deaths and suffering and still do today in many parts of the World.
    2. Tends to subjugate woman and other $exual minorities.
    3. Causes people to scientifically woefully ignorant (just look at this blog). Although cause and effect may be reversed here. Scientific ignorance may cause Christianity.
    4. Makes people vulnerable to $exual repression and financial exploitation.
    5. People who believe in God tend to deny environmental issues like global warming, although, again, religious belief and environmental unawareness could simply be two manifestations of an underlying scientific ignorance.

    On balance, I would like to get rid of it. I think many Christians underestimate themselves. I think they would be every bit as moral and charitable even after they stopped believing in their sky-fairy and immortality reward. They didn't stop behaving once they realized Santa Claus did not exist.

    January 29, 2014 at 11:13 am |
    • W.S.

      'Methinks the lady doth protest too much'

      January 29, 2014 at 11:14 am |
      • doobzz

        Really, how so?

        January 29, 2014 at 11:43 am |
        • W.S.

          Colin's overly frequent and vehement attempts to convince others that he is superior to religious people really just makes him look insincere and defensive.

          January 29, 2014 at 11:59 am |
        • doobzz

          I was referring to this particular post of his.

          But if you were referring to Colin's body of work in general, I suggest using the scrolling feature of your computer.

          January 29, 2014 at 12:04 pm |
        • W.S.

          That specific post is to simplistic to be sufficient. It sounds like something one might imagine a hostile internet atheist would post on a religious blog message board as an attempt to ruffle the feathers of a Christian reader. It is opinion heave and fact deficient.

          January 29, 2014 at 12:08 pm |
        • doobzz

          So present your opposing side. Otherwise, just quoting Shakespeare is silly.

          January 29, 2014 at 12:40 pm |
    • Dyslexic doG

      well said Colin.

      January 29, 2014 at 11:19 am |
    • Billy

      Great post, Colin

      January 29, 2014 at 11:56 am |
    • ?>?

      Just curious..what does that have to do with the myth of Noah?

      January 29, 2014 at 12:00 pm |
    • lngtrmthnkr

      Colin , your post is just simplistic and basicly false. You make assumptions and therefor them.

      January 29, 2014 at 12:26 pm |
  10. Warren

    Oh please let John Cleese play the dude pictured in the SCIFI docudramedy.

    January 29, 2014 at 11:10 am |
  11. moon shadow moon shadow

    Astronaut Edgar Mitchell, who rode on Apollo 16 in 1971, had this to say about the adventure:

    What I do remember is the awesome experience of recognizing the universe was not simply random happenstance…that there was something more operating than just chance.

    Most of the astronauts who have been to the moon say the experience affected them in a profoundly spiritual manner.
    “God delivered me from anger, unforgiveness, just everything that was wrong,” he says. “It was dramatic. He saved our marriage. Not one promise of God has failed us.” charlie duke

    January 29, 2014 at 11:03 am |
    • Timmy

      Anecdotal evidence is evidence of an anecdote.

      January 29, 2014 at 11:06 am |
    • tony

      Confusing "awe" with "spiritual presence" is par for the course when trying to justify religious belief.

      January 29, 2014 at 11:07 am |
    • tallulah13

      How very nice for them. Do you have numbers on how many of them were christian before they went into space? I know that amazing experiences create an emotional response in me. It makes sense that a christian would associate such an experience with his religion if he was already a believer.

      January 29, 2014 at 11:11 am |
    • Science Works

      Sounds like Hagee ?

      How Vaccine Fears Fueled The Resurgence Of Preventable Diseases

      by Michaeleen Doucleff
      January 25, 2014 1:13 PM

      January 29, 2014 at 11:11 am |
      • Science Works

        Map too looks like Texas is there ?

        http://www.npr.org/blogs/health/2014/01/25/265750719/how-vaccine-fears-fueled-the-resurgence-of-preventable-diseases?utm_content=socialflow&utm_campaign=nprfacebook&utm_source=npr&utm_medium=facebook

        January 29, 2014 at 11:48 am |
    • Colin

      STOP FOLLOWING ME!!

      January 29, 2014 at 11:14 am |
    • AverageJoe76

      What special creatures we believe ourselves to be. We're not absolutely certain of the beginning. Not absolutely ceratin of the end. And we have yet to define everything in the middle.

      YET... the majority of us cling to this notion of knowing the creator of EVERYTHING. Is that the height or arrogance or delusion? Or because we don't see another creature controlling fire, it's a good mix of both?

      January 29, 2014 at 11:14 am |

    • They've spent their adult lives breathing unusual gas mixtures and undergoing exposure to high G-forces, radiation, risk of sudden death etc. It's not surprising that they retreat into some comforting fantasies sometimes.

      January 29, 2014 at 11:15 am |
    • Woody

      "Astronaut Edgar Mitchell, who rode on Apollo 16 ......"

      Edgar Mitchell was actually on the Apollo 14 crew.

      January 29, 2014 at 12:58 pm |
    • Bones McCoy

      It's called radiation, and it's been explained by science. They are living outside of our electromagnet shield that protects us from all kinds of radiation. In space, you do not have this protection. Many astronauts have said every now and then while in space they see flashes inside their head. This is why they feel so profoundly effected. We can't survive in the space that makes up 99.9999% of the universe. It's not healthy, and since people become religious when closer to death, it's no surprise. As if an astronaut noticed anything different while physically in space, than they have all their years of studying it, that would make them believe that a god did it. It's also appeal to authority fallacy. Astronauts have no more reason to claim god exists than I do.

      January 29, 2014 at 2:44 pm |
  12. Bones McCoy

    Round ship eh? Sounds very much like a spaceship.

    January 29, 2014 at 10:57 am |
    • tony

      Just a scaled up collection plate. They sure knew how to make those from day one.

      January 29, 2014 at 11:10 am |
  13. Colin

    Can anybody remember when Topher said Australia and North and South America did not exist until the flood? I want to copy and paste it.

    January 29, 2014 at 10:49 am |
    • Jorge

      kkkkk. that is a funny one.

      January 29, 2014 at 10:56 am |
    • Vlad

      Nobody wants to take your internet atheist trolls vs internet christian trolls class.

      January 29, 2014 at 10:57 am |
      • truthprevails1

        Oh dear, feelings hurt so bad that you need to call others trolls because the thought of Colin's work scares you that severely???

        January 29, 2014 at 11:08 am |
        • Vlad

          No, his described his assignment and it sounded like internet atheist trolls vs internet christian trolls. Nobody but you few who religiously post on this blog would care about it.

          January 29, 2014 at 11:11 am |
        • truthprevails1

          Actually I would disagree with you. I think discussing these issues does matter to many people. While it may not be important to you, it very well could be to someone else. The use of the word trolls is rather infantile. The internet allows for all sorts of debates on religion from all sides...so calling one an internet atheist or internet christian is rather silly.

          January 29, 2014 at 11:14 am |
        • Vlad

          Take a look. Almost all the posts on this page are attempts at trolling. People posting things completely off topic trying to get a rise out of someone.

          January 29, 2014 at 11:19 am |
        • truthprevails1

          No no no!! It is a public blog, freedom of speech reigns here and if you're not happy, no-one is forcing you to read this stuff. You fit the description of troll by whining than anyone else here does!

          January 29, 2014 at 11:22 am |
        • Colin

          Somebody who agrees with my point – blogger
          Somebody who disagrees with my point – troll.

          typical internet stuff....

          January 29, 2014 at 11:20 am |
        • truthprevails1

          Colin: True but I think Vlad is a little rude considering he/she has not been around this blog long enough to know of the people you speak of.

          January 29, 2014 at 11:21 am |
        • Vlad

          Blogger – a person who writes articles that gets featured on a website and includes the person's credentials.

          Troll – a person who post absurd notions and hostile messages in the message board section, because no logical and reasonable person would allow such messages in an article.

          January 29, 2014 at 11:24 am |
        • Observer

          Vlad,

          You need to address the person with the mental issues who uses dozens of aliases and makes idiotic comments and insults in support of the Bible and Christians.

          January 29, 2014 at 11:30 am |
        • Vlad

          I will. But I think the atheists who claim to be rational and logical, turn around and act irrational and illogical more fascinating right now.

          January 29, 2014 at 11:33 am |
        • truthprevails1

          Vlad: Isn't human nature a wonderful thing? Logic and rationality can be from anyone...it has nothing to do with belief.

          January 29, 2014 at 11:36 am |
        • In Santa we trust

          Vlad
          Can you provide examples of atheists posting absurd notions? Unfortunately some people define messages disagreeing with them as hostile – doesn't necessarily mean they are.

          January 29, 2014 at 11:34 am |
        • In Santa we trust

          Vlad
          "... atheists who claim to be rational and logical, turn around and act irrational and illogical ..."

          Examples?

          January 29, 2014 at 11:35 am |
        • Vlad

          Read dyslexic dog, truthprevails and colin's posts for an example.

          January 29, 2014 at 11:38 am |
        • truthprevails1

          Vlad: And what have you offered in the way of debate? You came here and without offering anything attacked Colin, calling people trolls...how mature is that? I personally don't care if you don't like that I'm posting here or what I'm saying, it is a public blog and I am polite when shown the same, however, if all you are doing to do is pull the holier than thou crap, you'll get called on it. Once again, no-one is forcing you to read these comments and trust me, we wouldn't be disappointed if you didn't. Calling us trolls is simply ignorant. I get that you don't see it that way but don't call us out, you're not any better.

          January 29, 2014 at 11:43 am |
        • In Santa we trust

          I was aking for specific examples of where they were irrational and illogical.

          January 29, 2014 at 11:41 am |
        • Vlad

          They are human beings. By definition they are imperfect, and thus can not be completely logical or reasonable. The fact that they claim they are logical and reasonable demonstrates arrogance, not intelligence. For the most part, they seem to have a hatred toward Christianity and are trying very hard to rationalize that hostility. They probably have been harmed by Christianity, but unfortunately that haven't let go of the dangerous fundamental mindset that went with their indoctrination. Now, instead of being an intolerant and closed-minded religious person, they are an intolerant and closed-minded atheist.

          But there is nothing logical or reasonable about what they are doing on this blog. NOBODY will mistake these guys for brain surgeons or rocket scientists. They are internet atheists. Guys and gals who spend way too much time posting on religion, belief and faith blogs.

          January 29, 2014 at 11:48 am |
        • truthprevails1

          Vlad: Do you have anything positive to say??? How does our posting here affect your life? Once again if you do not like it feel free to stop reading it. How I spend my time is none of your business...so be a good little boy and stop. You remind me of trying to debate with my 2 year old nephew...it's about the same maturity!

          January 29, 2014 at 11:51 am |
        • Vlad

          truthprevails1

          I bet a lot of people say that about you, too.

          January 29, 2014 at 11:52 am |
        • truthprevails1

          Vlad: If they do, I haven't read it here. In my life outside of the internet (it does exist), my friends wouldn't say so either. I live a very mellow life...my family and friends know I'm an Atheist-my husband is also, we usually agree to disagree but we are also mature enough to be able to speak about our differences should it come up.
          My whole point to you is that you started out calling u trolls and in doing so you don't make yourself out to be much better than those you are calling out.
          This is the internet, far worse has been said on it...what you decide is on you, we're not asking you to read and insult...contribute something or don't call us out when you're not any better.

          January 29, 2014 at 12:04 pm |
        • Vlad

          I just saw a bunch of atheists ironically acting like religious people. And posting in a manner similar to what trolls do. Not all are trolling, but a few are. Sorry, you appear to be a troll.

          January 29, 2014 at 12:12 pm |
        • truthprevails1

          I'm not any more a troll than Colin is. You need to look in the mirror at the true troll.

          January 29, 2014 at 12:17 pm |
        • Vlad

          I am trolling, yes. And you are, too. It takes one to know one.

          January 29, 2014 at 12:28 pm |
        • truthprevails1

          I'm here almost every day and I do add something to the conversation...that is not trolling.
          What you have done is trolling and you're an ignorant fool (I call them as I see them).
          Have a good day

          January 29, 2014 at 12:29 pm |
        • Troll

          In Internet slang, a troll (/ˈtroʊl/, /ˈtrɒl/) is a person who sows discord on the Internet by starting arguments or upsetting people, by posting inflammatory, extraneous, or off-topic messages in an online community (such as a forum, chat room, or blog), either accidentally or with the deliberate intent of provoking readers into an emotional response or of otherwise disrupting normal on-topic discussion.

          Colin = Troll 😦

          January 29, 2014 at 12:40 pm |
    • Billy

      Topher also said that the ark didn't have to travel very far once the flood was over and that it probably just dropped the giant turtles from the Galapagos off at Gibraltar. I'm thinking the poor things would have died only a few miles into the ocean trying to get across the Atlantic.

      January 29, 2014 at 11:02 am |
      • doobzz

        Especially since their food supply had been killed off.

        January 29, 2014 at 11:03 am |
    • truthprevails1

      Page 1 of this article...there's a lot more from L4H there also.

      January 29, 2014 at 11:07 am |
      • Colin

        Cool, thanks truth

        January 29, 2014 at 11:15 am |
        • truthprevails1

          If your paper helps to shed some light on this, all the better. 🙂

          January 29, 2014 at 11:32 am |
      • For Colin

        Colin,

        This may be where Topher and L4H get some of their wacky ideas:

        There's a book by a creationist named Woodmorappe in which he tries to explain those things... and more (math, physics, humidity, where the water came from and went afterward). Interesting, but wow, way out there in many of the explanations proffered – just a few:

        - The Earth had only one continent at the time
        - "God" instilled a homing instinct so the animals all went to Noah's area
        - Noah trained all of the animals beforehand to eat sparingly, obey commands and poop in buckets (and installed poop chutes on the ark)
        - "God" altered the animals food preferences, so after they landed they all ate the bloated bodies of the victims until the predator/prey numbers and the vegetation got reestablished

        More on it here:
        http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/woodmorappe-review.html

        January 29, 2014 at 1:05 pm |
        • Cpt. Obvious

          Well, once you start using magic to explain stupid sh!t, where do you stop?

          January 30, 2014 at 11:04 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Other One

      As a joke I mentioned that, nearer in time to Creation, the earth was a more perfect sphere – no continents. A bit later someone, JW?, independently brought that exact thing up in all seriousness.

      January 29, 2014 at 11:09 am |
      • doobzz

        I saw that...pretty funny.

        January 29, 2014 at 11:46 am |
  14. tony

    The one thing I do like about following the bible is its encouragement of having hand-maidens once you wife is barren.

    January 29, 2014 at 10:49 am |
    • Saraswati

      People have only recently learned the dangers of sperm from older men. In those days if you didn't yet have kids to take care of you in your old age almost anything probaby looked better than starvation People weren't going to live off their IRAs and 401Ks.

      January 29, 2014 at 11:12 am |
  15. Colin

    I am copying a lot of the interactions between atheists and Live4Him and Topher for my class next semester. I am putting together a module on "How religion Shuts Down Rational Inquiry."

    January 29, 2014 at 10:46 am |
    • tony

      Make that "any" enquiry.

      January 29, 2014 at 10:48 am |
    • Observer

      Colin,

      You might include a section on how words supposedly don't mean what everyone knows them to mean. For instance, fred has told me that "vengeance" does NOT mean "punishment" and "reality" is the "afterlife and not what we are living today". Other gems from bloggers include that "dead" does NOT mean "not alive, but just spiritually dead" and that "women cannot talk in church" means "they can talk, but not tell gossip".

      January 29, 2014 at 10:53 am |
      • Colin

        Thanks Observer. Yes, that's going in my book, too!!

        PS: I think Fred is in his 80s. I hope so.

        January 29, 2014 at 10:55 am |
        • Observer

          Colin,

          One more: fred said that slaves had rights in civil court even though they are property. (I sure hope my computer doesn't sue me).

          January 29, 2014 at 11:09 am |
        • fred

          Even if I was 13 you would reject the truth simply because it is absolute. Your rejection of truth has little to do with the messenger as even believing Jews attacked even the prophets. Acknowledgement of absolute truth requires acceptance of a higher power. It need not be God but it does need to be an authority that two conflicting parties will agree to accept. Certainly the issue of God is one where you could not accept any authority that could bridge the conflicts of our beliefs.
          My conclusion Colin, is that you have a problem with authority. Sorry to hear that because pride comes before the fall.
          Yes, that is biblical because you actually hear the voice of the serpent. Right? I think so, as you quote the serpent often "did God really say that".....................after which came the fall.
          Remember Colin, the oral tradition of the Hebrew when written was a picture language. The voice of the serpent is in picture language and pictures speak to you in the same tone. (i.e. it is not a wave length you are hearing as it is independent of amplitude).

          January 29, 2014 at 3:45 pm |
        • Bones McCoy

          Fred, he's not denying truth. He's denying YOUR WORLDVIEW. Please stop confusing the 2. Christians can be some of the most condescending people on the planet because they act like everyone else is crazy for not believing god incarnated himself into a human to suffer and die because of sin that he created in the first place. Now, if you had any objective evidence to support this view, I'd consider it, but there's none, just ancient stories. And we all know there are thousands of ancient stories with no way to tell which ones are true and which ones are false or simply written for kids as bedtime stories. Calling your faith based belief system "truth" would be a flat out lie. You may think it's true, but don't tell somebody else they are denying the truth when you have no evidence whatsoever to support your case. That's like me telling you to stop denying the truth about Frodo Baggins.

          January 30, 2014 at 10:56 am |
        • fred

          Bones McCoy
          Frodo is known to be fiction which is very different than what is known about what the Apostle Paul, Peter, Jesus, Moses down to Adam are recorded as having been said. Evidence establishing what they said is a different issue and subject of much debate. I am not the crazy one because I know the difference between a known fictional character and ancient truths that remain true to this very day even though we cannot prove Adam, Abraham or Moses existed to the satisfaction of skeptics. There is a difference between what is known and what is not subject to scientific evaluation at the present.

          January 30, 2014 at 11:11 am |
        • fred

          Bones McCoy
          "Fred, he's not denying truth. He's denying YOUR WORLDVIEW. Please stop confusing the 2"
          =>There is not doubt Colin denies the predominate Worldview that something other than an accidental existence without purpose is at play. The problem with Colin's WORLDVIEW is that its very foundation is philosophical naturalism that accepts only facts and theory established through scientific methodology which clearly concludes such WORLDVIEW is without merit at this time. Not a single reputable scientist including Stephen Hawking (who has a bias against any form of God or gods) will dispute this. The excuse is we don't know but given enough time we will know someday. Soon we will have a unifying theory then we will know that there is no god needed.

          =>discussion concerning absolutes is separate from WORLDVIEW but eventually ends up with a conclusion that can only be resolved by ones worldview. I do not confuse the two.

          January 30, 2014 at 11:29 am |
        • fred

          Observer
          You are clearly wrong as one cannot argue that the Hebrew had laws concerning tort and civil penalty when slaves were harmed or killed. What you overlook is these laws set the Hebrew apart from the people around them who brutalized slaves at will.

          January 30, 2014 at 12:16 pm |
        • Up Your Rear Admiral

          fred, I'll see you in the Rapture Capsule with the unicorns. Don't forget to wear your nose ring – the big steel one that I padlocked the chain onto when we were practicing for the Uplifting.

          January 30, 2014 at 12:21 pm |
        • fred

          Up Your Rear Admiral
          Bondage has been around for thousands of years. It was God who came to set the captives free. Even if you do not buy into the Bible the simple truth remains in that those in bondage need a savior. Many today wear what they claim is voluntary nose rings. The subtle master is oppression in its various forms. Were you to hoist your captive by physical chains as you suggest then the oppressor and oppressed are evident.
          Subtle oppression can place more people into bondage because the vast majority cannot see what has happened. You have been drawn away from true freedom as has everyone who sees only the pleasures of this world.

          January 30, 2014 at 12:36 pm |
        • Observer

          fred,

          Here are the words of God in case you haven't read them:

          (Ex. 21:21) “If, however, he survives a day or two, no vengeance shall be taken; for he is his PROPERTY”.

          Are you worried about your computer or house taking you to court?

          January 30, 2014 at 12:46 pm |
        • fred

          Observer
          Great, you have provided evidence that you have found and read a law that addresses civil penalty for treatment of slaves. Good for you! Now, do not simply turn around and start lying again by claiming there were no civil laws regarding Hebrew slaves.
          We call this process education. You learn how you were wrong then begin to build upon what is right. If you go back and present your erroneous point again you are either a liar or incapable of learning right from wrong.

          January 30, 2014 at 12:58 pm |
        • Observer

          fred,

          The "law" I quoted is from God. He said NO VENGEANCE if the slave doesn't DIE in a day or two.

          Did his laws take precedence over civil laws back then?

          GET REAL. NO PENALTY if you beat your slave with a rod and then didn't die in a day or so. NOT ONE word from God that this issue should go to a court. God SETS the rules, remember?

          Totally BARBARIC. It's just another reason why it's GOOD that the Bible doesn't set our laws.

          January 30, 2014 at 1:17 pm |
        • fred

          Observer
          "Did his laws take precedence over civil laws back then?"
          =>ok, I see the problem. You are confused because you think civilizations in 1420 BC look like todays civilizations. They did not. These peoples were tribal and as such Gods laws did take precedence within the Hebrew community. Other "Kingdoms" or tribes did what ever they held to be their laws. It was not until Roman rule much latter when we had stable central control.

          January 30, 2014 at 1:36 pm |
      • doobzz

        I think it was Vic who told me that "evil" as in Isaiah 45:7 (I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things.) doesn't mean evil, it means natural events like tornados, floods and earthquakes.

        January 29, 2014 at 11:41 am |
    • Vlad

      Oh gawd, your looney atheist class that you always post ridiculous tests about? NO.

      January 29, 2014 at 10:55 am |
      • Colin

        Want to attend?

        January 29, 2014 at 10:59 am |
      • truthprevails1

        Vlad: Atheist and agnostic can go hand in hand. Atheism only defines belief whereas Agnostic defines knowledge. Agnostic Atheist is a perfectly legitimate stance to take. Most theists are gnostic in the sense that they claim to be 100% certain they have the knowledge to justify their belief in their god.

        January 29, 2014 at 11:11 am |
        • Vlad

          Theists can be agnostic, too.

          January 29, 2014 at 11:12 am |
        • truthprevails1

          Yes Theists can be agnostic but most aren't. Look at this blog and see the certainty of LoA; L4H; Austin; Topher...they will all say they have evidence that their god is true and it wouldn't matter what is said to show why their god is not realistic, they don't care.
          As an Atheist I remain Agnostic...I simply see no evidence to support a god of any form but that doesn't mean one doesn't exist or that somewhere in the future on won't be discovered, it simply means there is zero evidence at this point.

          January 29, 2014 at 11:27 am |
        • Vlad

          And some atheists are very looney. And ironically they act and think a lot like fundamental religious people.

          January 29, 2014 at 11:13 am |
        • truthprevails1

          Some theists are looney also...what does that have to do with proper definitions???

          January 29, 2014 at 11:23 am |
        • Vlad

          I didn't need your opinoin of what an atheist or theist is. I'm saying there are a lot of looney atheists on this page acting just like fundamental religious people.

          January 29, 2014 at 11:26 am |
        • truthprevails1

          Nice that you didn't need my opinion...you got it whether you wanted it or not :-).
          I understood what you stated and that goes both ways.

          January 29, 2014 at 11:29 am |
        • Saraswati

          The looney atheist have generally couched atheism (a simple belief state) within one or more larger belief systems about which they become fanatical. You are really looking at some sort of naive materialist fanatics or people working within a competing ethical system. Atheism in itself is not likely to breed fanaticism.

          January 29, 2014 at 11:26 am |
        • truthprevails1

          Sara: I do think Atheists tend to be a little more fanatical about Christianity but it is the belief system that is prevalent in so many societies.

          January 29, 2014 at 11:35 am |
        • Saraswati

          truth, In predominantly Christian countries, certainly. In india and most Himdu and Buddhist areas the lines don't exclude atheists, so it isn't an issue there of the same sort, although people object to the ignorant or backwards. Really the other Abrahamic traditions are the strict limiting ones, and in Israel and the Islamic world atheists pretty much focus on the dominant religion.

          January 29, 2014 at 5:37 pm |
    • truthprevails1

      Don't forget to include some of Austin and LoA's work.

      January 29, 2014 at 11:04 am |
    • Doc Vestibule

      Alternate ti/tle suggestions:
      Religion: Discouraging the Rational while Encouraging Rationalization.
      or
      The Theistic Necessity of Doublethink

      January 29, 2014 at 11:26 am |
      • doobzz

        Or the simplicity of "GIGO".

        January 29, 2014 at 11:49 am |
  16. Billy

    If the Bible can't even get straight, among other things, how many stables Solomon had around 950 BC, why would anyone think anything about an account of some alleged flood some alleged ~1500 years or more prior would actually represent what literal theists purport? There simply isn't any decent evidence to back up such an event.

    January 29, 2014 at 10:44 am |
  17. tony

    "Onward Christian Soldiers" just about sums up the controlling desire side of religion.

    January 29, 2014 at 10:42 am |
    • Wesley

      A lot of religious people do not like that song.

      January 29, 2014 at 10:51 am |
  18. Des

    Everyone, be careful of JW. He is back out here often, on recruiting missions for his deadly cult. You can see him on his latest con job for his cult in recent posts. This is well documented now. He must get cult brownie points for his doorknocking efforts here. He needs to engage you on his agenda to do that. Instead, keep pressing him on points like this, and watch him squirm:

    So, JW, are you opposed to blood transfusion in the case of an accident victim who has lost a lot of blood and will die without transfused blood? Yes or no answer please; none of your usual dodging will get you by. We are watching for you and your deadly ilk.

    January 29, 2014 at 10:35 am |
  19. tony

    Here's the paradox.

    God supposedly gave most of us a thinking brain, an ability to acquire knowledge and learn from experience, along with a concience to survive living in social groups and a heathy amount of skepticism to confront stupid ideas.

    Then along comes the bible, that basically says, "forget what I gave you and do this instead"

    January 29, 2014 at 10:34 am |
    • Cpt. Obvious

      Yes. I'm afraid that even I were to believe in god, I could never respect his level of intelligence. He's just soooo stupid!

      January 29, 2014 at 10:38 am |
    • AverageJoe76

      I agree. Doesn't make sense to actually prevent yourself from gathering new knowledge as it comes out. Or to state it better, to REJECT the information becuase it doesn't fit the ancient view. It's ridiculous, and we'd never get anywhere with that thinking.

      January 29, 2014 at 10:46 am |
    • Madtown

      Exactly Tony. Seems to me God would actually be pleased with us if we made effective use of our brains, to seek knowledge, ask questions, employ logic, and be skeptical of fallible man-made systems.

      January 29, 2014 at 10:49 am |
    • Wesley

      That is not what the Bible says. That is what you say.

      January 29, 2014 at 10:51 am |
      • Saraswati

        To believe in the god of the bible one does have to suspend critical thinking, but we humans are pretty well practiced in that area.

        January 29, 2014 at 11:14 am |
    • Observer

      The Bible makes God terribly IMMORAL by today's more enlightened standards.

      January 29, 2014 at 11:18 am |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.