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Researchers To Climb Ararat To Seek Noah's Ark 2226

Posted by simoniker
from the try-everest-next dept.
fudgefactor7 writes "CNN/AP has a story about researchers that plan on ascending Mt. Ararat in search of the Ark of Noah. My favorite quote: ''We are not excavating it. We are not taking any artifacts. We're going to photograph it and, God willing, you're all going to see it,' McGivern said.' As if pictures can't be doctored and are absolute proof...."
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Researchers To Climb Ararat To Seek Noah's Ark

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  • Um... it's a myth (Score:3, Insightful)

    by ObviousGuy (578567) <ObviousGuy@hotmail.com> on Monday April 26, 2004 @10:36PM (#8979208) Homepage Journal
    Kangaroos in Australia? Did they just swim there?

    I'd rather read an arkful of Chick tracts than be force-fed this kind of tripe from CNN.
  • Re:Uhhh (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ybmug (237378) on Monday April 26, 2004 @10:39PM (#8979251)
    But at least it could be carbon dated to determine if it was from the right time. Carbon dating is a little more difficult to doctor than photographs.
  • by clifgriffin (676199) on Monday April 26, 2004 @10:40PM (#8979258) Homepage
    I'll wait to see what they turn up rather than discounting any of their finding before they've gone.

    Plus, does this mean that Turkey is finally letting people back on Ararat?
  • by cduffy (652) <charles+slashdot@dyfis.net> on Monday April 26, 2004 @10:42PM (#8979276)
    Hrm? I'm ready to believe that there genuinely exists a boat roughly the dimensions specified that the myth was based off of. Now, that this boat was used to ensure the survival of all the creatures of Earth during a giant flood -- maybe not. But that there exists a really damn big boat with an even bigger myth surrounding it? If there's reasonable evidence, I have no trouble with it.

    Honestly -- would you have a problem with an expidition set off to find a really old boat if it weren't for that boat being part of Christian mythology?
  • by dj245 (732906) on Monday April 26, 2004 @10:42PM (#8979279) Homepage
    ''We are not excavating it. We are not taking any artifacts. We're going to photograph it and, God willing, you're all going to see it,'

    I love how he assumes that he is going to find a large boat, and he assumes that any large boat he happens to find is going to be the one and only Noah's Ark. In his mind, "It" is Noah's Ark. He isn't looking for evidence that whatever it is on top of Mt. Ararat is Noah's Ark, he is already firmly convinced that it is.

    Compare this with an arcaeologist excavating a tomb of someone. Who? I don't know, anyone: "Well, we're going to go inside the tomb, and hopefully we will find stuff. We hope we will find things that can prove who this person was, and what thier daily life was like, and maybe what their beliefs were; and maybe we'll find something really cool."

    See the difference? This guy is no archaeologist. He is a christian on a quest for the 21st century holy grail.

  • by AmericanInKiev (453362) on Monday April 26, 2004 @10:44PM (#8979296) Homepage
    The story as I heard it includes the assertion that the neighboring countries (turkey and one other I believe) were opposed to the idea because of the foreseable influence on their state religions.

    Personally - I think there is a good deal about the Bible which is clearly historical. (I belong to the "Jesus save me from your followers" camp of distant believers.) And as I understand it - some story about a flood exists as lore in most cultures.

    It would be a great disappointment I think if we were to prove that Noah's ark doesn't exists - as the largest benefit of religions as it applies to this life - are the metaphors and the lessons taken. (I am agnostic on the theory that wars are all religious). I think also that much good has been done in the name of religion - but even that must be seperated from how religion informs our secular thinking today.

    Civil rights is based on the presumption (for example) that God created all men - er and women - equal.

    AIK
  • Re:Uhhh (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Ziviyr (95582) on Monday April 26, 2004 @10:45PM (#8979301) Homepage
    And we will get a picture of a printout of a carbon dating result and some text saying "we did it".

    Groovy.
  • Re:Oh great (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Faeton (522316) on Monday April 26, 2004 @10:45PM (#8979306) Homepage Journal
    Pseudo-science? Just because the Bible mentions it?

    Ironically, people thought that Troy were just figments of the imagination 150 years ago, and now they have pretty good proof of where it is [iit.edu].

    I don't think that everybody should be so closed-minded about such things, just because a religious text mentions it.

    If they do find real proof, that's pretty cool. If not, no big deal. I mean, there was and are millions of hours of research that pretty much amount to nothing, yet I wouldn't call that all wasted time. Science should not be afraid to explore, period.

  • Re:So..... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by killjoe (766577) on Monday April 26, 2004 @10:46PM (#8979321)
    If it was there it would have been found by now. You have millions of christians all over the world who have everything to gain by finding it. Many people have trekked up the mountain and flown around it and nobody has found anything yet.

    even if they found it there it would not mean anything. I don't think there is any doubt there was a huge flood in the are. There is geologic evidence for it, every single culture records it, and there is even a pretty solid theory as to how it came about (hint it was not due to 40 days and nights of rain). All it proves is that there was a flood (we already knew that) and that some boat floated in the flood and got lodged somewhere on the mountain.

    None of that proves that there was a boat containing two of every single creature on earth and a handful of people who then proceeded to populate the entire earth. That story is ridiculus on the face of it.
  • Re:So..... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Beer_Smurf (700116) on Monday April 26, 2004 @10:47PM (#8979327) Homepage
    Like "Why would someone build a boat at this altitiude?"
  • just wait. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by runfaster (687790) on Monday April 26, 2004 @10:48PM (#8979331)
    I don't know why everyone is jumping all over this guy already. I'd imagine that this is not the ark he thinks/pretends it is, but so what? A) He comes back with pictures, other people go look, its not there, he's a quack. B) He comes back with no pictures. Wasn't really there. He says he was wrong, we move on. C) He comes back with pictures, other people go find the same things. Now we've got a really old ark up there, that supports the idea of a flood of the magnitude that could move an ark up that high. Then we've got something to talk about. Is there really any harm in this guy going to investigate? Let him do his thing. If he comes back with something, then we can start to look at it seriously.
    Geologists say even though there is evidence of a flood in Mesopotamia in Sumerian times, it is not possible for a ship to make landfall at an altitude as high as Mount Ararat.

    So it he does find something, its a big deal, for one reason or another. Why not just keep an open mind about it until he gets back? My understanding is that its his buck. No hurry to write the guy off. Maybe he really did see something, be it the ark or no, that bears investigating.
  • by Peyna (14792) on Monday April 26, 2004 @10:48PM (#8979333) Homepage
    Of course, the interesting thing is not that you found a real big boat, but where you found it: several thousand feet above sea level. It would be difficult to come up with another explanation at that point.
  • by merdark (550117) on Monday April 26, 2004 @10:48PM (#8979340)
    3) It is Noah's ark, we will go on with our regular lives, and the scientists say "Umm... can we have a closer look at that book of yours?"

    Umm. No. The scientists will not care any more about that book than they do now. It does not provide anything that helps us do research (otherwise known as science). They may ask to see the boat though, there is stuff to apply science to there.

    Science is not some alternative to religion, it's only a tool. I guess the truth scares religous folk, and hence they always see science as some sort of competitor.
  • by glwtta (532858) on Monday April 26, 2004 @10:51PM (#8979368) Homepage
    3) It is Noah's ark, we will go on with our regular lives, and the scientists say "Umm... can we have a closer look at that book of yours?"

    I am a little fuzzy on that point - you are saying that if they find something that is definitively identified as The Ark (like a little plaque on it, that says "The Ark"), then the laws of physics will be rewritten to accomodate a literal reading of the bible? Somehow I doubt that is going to happen, even if there is a little plaque.

  • Re:So..... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Peyna (14792) on Monday April 26, 2004 @10:52PM (#8979384) Homepage
    Sea level has never been that high since humans have been around.
  • by T5 (308759) on Monday April 26, 2004 @10:58PM (#8979436)
    consistent with archaeological evidence. Nothing in the Bible has ever been disproven based on ancient findings by any reputable scientific investigation.

    Supposing that Noah's ark actually exists (which I believe is the case), its sheer size and climatological conditions would suggest that there should be at least some respectable quantity of wood left above the timber line of some mountain in the Ararat range that could be identifiable as being (1) about 4300 years old; (2) quite probably above the timberline; and (3) showing signs of having been worked with tools.

    Why is it, therefore, here at /. there is such open hatred for Judeo-Christian beliefs when just about anything else goes? If this were an Egyptian dig, no one here would denigrate it. If this were Mayan or Aztec, or Hindu or ancient Sumerian, it would be taken at face value. Why the hatred, then, for what has been shown time and time again to be the most accurate and most studied ancient historical text in the world?

  • by dj245 (732906) on Monday April 26, 2004 @10:59PM (#8979449) Homepage
    If he finds a very large boat stuck on top of a mountain, there are very few possibilities as to which boat it might be.

    Many old civilizations considered burial in boats a high honor. The Vikings were well known for this, but also the Egyptians to a smaller extent (The Nile played a huge role in their lives), and other lesser known civiliazations. A huge boat on top of a mountain is certainly very unusual, but there are other explanations for it other than an ark. When they find viking boats smack in the middle of England, does this mean that England was covered by water 1000 years ago? Or that Noah ended up there? No, of course not. They did a proper excavation and came to the conclusion that it was a viking burial. Has the boat on top of Ararat even been excavated? If not, Why not?

  • by OneBarG (640139) on Monday April 26, 2004 @11:04PM (#8979491)
    I guess the truth scares religous folk, and hence they always see science as some sort of competitor.

    The same could be said about a lot of "scientific folk" that see religion as a competitor. Most religious people I know (including myself) aren't anti-science in any way. It's easy to stereotype any group of people, whether they're religious, into science, white, black, Republican, Democrat, etc. but the simple fact is that stereotypes can't cover every member of a group.

    I'm Catholic, I believe in the Bible but I don't think it's 100% fact, there are a lot of stories that are just symbolic, but the basic idea is true. I also believe in evolution (I won't go into exactly what I think about it, it would be a waste of typing and I'm not exactly going to convince anyone of anything they don't already believe).

    It's just as easy for religious people to think about those "heathen scientists" as it is for scientists to think about those "religious kooks." The important thing is that most people aren't morons that refuse to think more than one way, though typically the most vocal are.
  • Re:Oh great (Score:3, Insightful)

    by JamieF (16832) on Monday April 26, 2004 @11:05PM (#8979493) Homepage
    >Science should not be afraid to explore, period.

    Science doesn't explore; people do. Science is just a method, and sometimes people use it to refer to the body of knowledge that we currently hold to be true that was acquired via the scientific method. Scientists also peer-review each others' work, unless somebody is trying to hide something. That might mean that the researchers know their work won't hold up under scrutiny, or it might mean that the reviewers have an interest in the status quo and are trying to silence the new research. After all, if the work is bogus, it's a lot more powerful to bring it out in the open and point out all of the things that are wrong with it, than to say "nope, can't be true, lalalalalalala." Just because somebody thinks that the expedition won't find anything doesn't stop the people from going, provided somebody is willing to fund it and they can get whatever permits are necessary to go explore their target site.

    When things get ugly is when someone claims to have performed an experiment that proves something new, and no respected scientific journals will publish it for whatever reason. Then you get cries of "conspiracy" which may or may not be true (it certainly has been true in the past). Sometimes the experiment is extremely badly designed and obviously can't prove anything, or maybe the researchers are pulling some kind of scam and don't want to subject themselves to scrutiny, but sometimes it's just plain resistance to change on the part of the science establishment.

    Better than photos of something they claim to be the ark would be photos plus carbon dating results (and the results from a few other accepted dating techniques) a precise location of what they found. "It's up there somewhere; it was a miracle we found it" doesn't count.
  • by eclectro (227083) on Monday April 26, 2004 @11:05PM (#8979496)
    Now that you mention it-

    From the story text;

    As if pictures can't be doctored and are absolute proof....

    If that is not a "troll" I do not know what is. What if they do come back with pictures, does that automatically make them liars?
  • by JCoplen (630450) on Monday April 26, 2004 @11:06PM (#8979515) Homepage
    The Epic of Gilgamesh, written long before Genesis, had an ark story the bible blatantly ripped off. I'd go with it being THAT ark if they found anything. To assume most of the early bible is history is to assume too much. I am sure some of it is, but the ark story...yeah, right. Tell me another one.
  • Why so negative? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Fiz Ocelot (642698) <[baelzharon] [at] [gmail.com]> on Monday April 26, 2004 @11:08PM (#8979521)
    Why so negative about these people wanting to explore this? In the past people were ridiculed for wanting to explore other parts of the world, and find other artifacts. Should they have never gone?

    I would never want to discourage anyone from such an endevour, whether it is about something from the Bible or studying creatures in the Galapagos.

    Who knows, maybe they'll find something totally unrelated...oh that's "never" happened.

  • Re:Ugh... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by black mariah (654971) on Monday April 26, 2004 @11:09PM (#8979537)
    Incorrect. Borderline psycho tradition depends on the bible being the infallible word of God. Most SANE followers of the bible see it as a collection of stories, some true others myth, that act as a guide.
  • Re:-1: Flamebait (Score:2, Insightful)

    by SkoZombie (562582) <skozombie@NOsPam.kruel.org> on Monday April 26, 2004 @11:10PM (#8979559) Homepage
    I dont think i could agree more.

    You're going to have a lot of people bagging it out because its associated with a common religion, and then you're going to have another group of people defending their right to believe what they want.

    The wording of the story, and most of the replies i've read have shown me that while most of us want everyone to have free software (as in freedom) we still dont respect people's right to be free to believe what they want, no matter how much we might disagree.

    Time for a reality check, do we really want freedom or are we content with a less free life?
  • by black mariah (654971) on Monday April 26, 2004 @11:13PM (#8979584)
    Scientists find shit all the time that makes them rethink their view. That's what being a scientist is. To disregard facts is to assrape sans lube everything it means to be a scientist.

    Besides that, it was a fucking joke. Lighten up.
  • Re:Uhhh (Score:5, Insightful)

    by CODiNE (27417) on Monday April 26, 2004 @11:13PM (#8979587) Homepage
    I'd rather they collect hair samples from it. A little monkey, a little giraffe here and there, etc... how does it compare genetically to the animals we have now? If this were indeed the ark then there would be some sort of definitive proof of paternity for every single sample found. Excluding those of the animals which were sacrificed or eaten of course . ;-)

    -Don.
  • by SAN1701 (537455) on Monday April 26, 2004 @11:13PM (#8979589)
    I have two very naive questions about a global flooding happening few thousands yrs ago :

    1- If it really happened, wouldn't all river fishes be dead, since they cannot live in sea ?

    2- Wouldn't we expect to find amazing evidences like whales, dolphins and sharks skeletons in the most unusual places, from the animals trapped in some valley when the water came back to the normal levels ?

    Just my 2 cents...
  • by arkanes (521690) <arkanes AT gmail DOT com> on Monday April 26, 2004 @11:16PM (#8979617) Homepage
    The Bible contains tons of historical fact, and in fact it's well-researched by anthropologist and archeaologists. On the other hand, there's also tons of stuff in the Bible thats totally contradicted by the archaeological evidence, too. It's usefull to science in the same way that any very old text is usefull. One particular find isn't going to change anything.
  • by Bruce Perens (3872) <bruce@perens.com> on Monday April 26, 2004 @11:20PM (#8979654) Homepage Journal
    If there really is a creator, how could anyone think that such a superior being would have anything to do with all of the hate and ignorance in the bible?

    Bruce

  • by Daniel Dvorkin (106857) * on Monday April 26, 2004 @11:23PM (#8979688) Homepage Journal
    Most scientist are atheists and choose that because its the intellectual thing to do. Most try to prove there is no God. It's funny that people don't understand how people can believe stuff in the Bible but they have no trouble believing in theories in a textbook that can't be proven either.

    I have never known, nor known of, a single scientist who tried "to prove there is no God." Scientists try to prove things about the natural world; if some of the things they prove (and they do prove them, quite extensively, before they get to the "textbook" stage) conflict with your belief in a book of fairy tales, that's your problem, not theirs.
  • Re:Ugh... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by ckaminski (82854) <(moc.xobop) (ta) (iksnimakc)> on Monday April 26, 2004 @11:24PM (#8979695) Homepage
    The Bible of Christ's time, is not the bible of today. In fact, a great portion of it was written after his death.

    Nevermind that the Bible in any form doesn't contain *ANYTHING* that purports to be Christ's own words. You take it as "gospel" that Christ though so, through the words of his disciples.

    There's a reason Corporations don't let their employees speak for them...

  • by black mariah (654971) on Monday April 26, 2004 @11:27PM (#8979716)
    It boggles the mind how anyone can accept the Big Bang as truth. We're even. Your turn.
  • by Fiz Ocelot (642698) <[baelzharon] [at] [gmail.com]> on Monday April 26, 2004 @11:30PM (#8979747)
    They laughed at Galileo, and Copernicus. My point is, there's nothing wrong with exploration that goes against the popular thoughts of the society of the day.
  • Re:God of the gaps (Score:5, Insightful)

    by gad_zuki! (70830) on Monday April 26, 2004 @11:32PM (#8979767)
    > so feel free to mod me down.

    Oh man, quit saying that. You are way too passive agressive.

    A couple points: You can't have faith-based belief AND a theory. A theory is an explanation based on facts (tests, observations) while faith is complete belief in something without question with NO EVIDENCE. So you either believe this conspiracy of yours or you entertain it as a theory based on pure speculation (which makes for a lousy theory).

    >My faith is in the word of the Bible,

    You mean that obscene book full or murder, rape, advocating of genocide, slavery, etc?

    For kicks take this fun Bible quiz. [ffrf.org] That's what you believe? Weird.

  • Re:Oh great (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Mattintosh (758112) on Monday April 26, 2004 @11:33PM (#8979769)
    The Bible is not a science textbook. That said, it isn't inaccurate on scientific matters.

    There are plenty of fossils buried in silt deposits in Nevada at altitudes where no river could possibly have been, in areas where the average rainfall is a mere fraction of an inch each year. Geology, right?

    The Sphinx in Egypt shows signs of water erosion, again in an area where annual rainfall is negligible. More geology.

    Meanwhile, any dead tree matter (read: wood) from an ark that existed 4500 years ago is probably long gone. This expedition will prove nothing.

    On another note, I was under the impression that the "four corners of the Earth" referred to compass points. True, compasses haven't been around that long, but the concept of North, South, East, and West have been around for millenia.

    Meanwhile, the prophet Isaiah speaks of "One dwelling above the circle of the Earth." The Hebrew word translated as "circle" can also mean "ball" or "sphere". Note that a sphere is the only shape that looks like a circle from any angle. And for all you folks out there that wish to nitpick, yes, the Earth is actually an oblate spheroid, being slightly flattened at the poles. It still looks round from space... and Isaiah didn't need to go there to find that out. Isaiah's writings date back to approximately 800 to 850 B.C.E., by the way.
  • Re:Actually no (Score:4, Insightful)

    by killjoe (766577) on Monday April 26, 2004 @11:36PM (#8979805)
    I don't know where you got that idea from. The mountain is a popular tourist destination and there have been many expeditions to find the ark already.

    If somebody found the ark it would be the biggest tourist destination in the world and the Turkish govt would make billions off of it. It's in their interest to find something.
  • Don't you suppose that the money spent on finding the ark might be better spent feeding someone who is starving? Hell, they are going all the way to Turkey. It's just about as far to some starving kids in Africa.
  • by rodgerd (402) on Monday April 26, 2004 @11:39PM (#8979822) Homepage
    It was the strawmen, I tell you. *They* said he never existed!
  • by DroopyStonx (683090) on Monday April 26, 2004 @11:42PM (#8979843)
    why be so dead-set against religion

    Most of what's wrong in this world stems from religions. Not the beliefs that state "be kind/loving/generous to your fellow man", but the zealots who blindly follow, believe, and misinterpret everything that they've been told/read.

    I know 100% for a fact this will fail, but that won't stop people from bringing up counter-arguments against it.. and how that these events really took place, yadda yadda.

    No, they aren't taking my money, but they're definitely taking someone else's money. Not only that, but I have to live in a world and witness things turn to shit due to religion.

    For example, President GWB doesn't want Gay Marriages because... *gasp* religion says it's bad. I'm not gay, but if that isn't some closed minded thinking, I don't know what is. Any extremist (terrorists in particular).. it seems that most of the closed minded events that take place in this world are driven by misinterpreted religions, but religions nonetheless.

    Spouting off about it on a "Researchers look for Noah's Ark" is probably not the best of places for it, but I like to speak my mind when given the slightest opportunity to do so.
  • by bhima (46039) <Bhima@Pandava.gmail@com> on Monday April 26, 2004 @11:43PM (#8979855) Journal
    Perhaps it is because the bible has been shown to be wrong in many ways over and over and over; or because many of us have experience with zealots shoving that ridiculous collection of myths in our faces; or have seen a fairly loud minority try to force laws based on their interpretation of the Bible on the rest of us.

    Why such open hatred for the Judeo-Christian (I'll throw in Islam as well) religions and not Egyptian Mayan or Aztec, or ancient Sumerian? A couple of things pop into my mind:

    NO Sumerians going to be knocking on my door telling me if I don't go to their temple and believe in their gods that I'm going to their hell.

    There are not a lot of Aztecs flying planes into tall buildings, strapping bombs on themselves and killing women and children, or perpetrating other various acts of genocide.

    Nor are there many Mayans are running schools teaching hatred and xenophobia.

    The Babylonians are not occupying a neighboring people, holding their leader hostage, assassinating community leaders, and engaging in a wholesale land theft program.

    And you don't see Egyptians, who believe in the sun god ra running a huge military-industrial complex pumping out vast quantities of arms and explosives for sale to the highest bidder in order to retain their position of world dominance.

    Oh and the Aztecs aren't running about trying to get their version of the creation story back into science books.

    Or it could be that all of these old religions have faded away and no one proselytizes their truth any more, lessening their contribution to world suffering.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 26, 2004 @11:51PM (#8979914)
    Mt. Ararat is in historic Armenia. Its funny that the Turkish historians are travelling on Mt. Ararat even though there are probably many more qualified Armenian historians. Mt. Ararat (and Masis, right next to it) is still the subject of famous Armenian poems, songs, and stories. The land was inhabited (and ruled!) by Armenians for thousands of years before the Ottoman Government committed genocide against Armenians in present-day Eastern Turkey in the late 1800's and in 1915.

    Ah well. At least we'll find out if the darn ark is there or not!
  • by black mariah (654971) on Monday April 26, 2004 @11:52PM (#8979928)
    Yeah, like the tales of the coelocanth, Vikings in Canada, a round Earth, and black holes were fairy tales, right? Because, as we all know, none of those can be true. Right?

    Source material is irrelevant. The important thing is proving or disproving that something occurred. To write off the stories in the bible as absolute fiction is the LEAST scientific thing I can think of. Science is about INVESTIGATION, not about trying to out-atheist each other.
  • Re:So..... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by stlthVector (468932) * on Monday April 26, 2004 @11:53PM (#8979937)
    Not to say that this Bible story is wrong or Evolution is wrong but can you really say that "two of every single creature on earth and a handful of people who then proceeded to populate the entire earth" is less probable than Evolution? Would you also say that Evolution is "ridiculous on the face of it"? Different people find different things ridiculous. Think about other things that you may not find ridiculous that could be to others - possibly with some good, although maybe questionable, reason.
  • Re:Uhhh (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 26, 2004 @11:54PM (#8979945)
    You mean like some crappy books that 'prove' evolution.

    People like you piss me off.

    No real evolutionists will say that evolution is 'proven' or 'fact' or 'the truth'.

    Only religious zealots are after 'the big ultimate one really big greatest bestest truth ever'.

    Any evolutionist will tell you that they don't believe that evolution has any truth to it, just that it's a logical probability based off the evidence at hand.

    Creationists see evolution as a threat and wrongly assume that evolutionists are after the same 'truth' that they claim to have.

    Point is that there is no ultimate proven truth and there never will be. Only possibilities and probabilities.

    The 'truth' doesn't exist.
  • by sashang (608223) on Monday April 26, 2004 @11:55PM (#8979950)
    You're right. A god would be able to do this - break all natural laws and put a boat on Ararat. A god could also pull the sun across the sky and shift the waves in the ocean to make tides. The problem is that they don't make good explanations for natural phenomenon. Explaining anything (an event, why the sun rises, why we exist etc..) by inventing a god is a weak answer because anyone can make it up and it shifts the question from 'how did the boat get there?' to 'how do you know that your version of god is correct?' which is a harder question to answer. Fortunately the scientific method is able to do that and has proved itself over and over again with countless examples.
  • by bckrispi (725257) on Monday April 26, 2004 @11:56PM (#8979960)
    The story as I heard it includes the assertion that the neighboring countries (turkey and one other I believe) were opposed to the idea because of the foreseable influence on their state religions.

    What influence would this have? Christians, Jews, and Muslims share the Noah story.

  • by Vellmont (569020) on Monday April 26, 2004 @11:56PM (#8979961)

    To write off the stories in the bible as absolute fiction is the LEAST scientific thing I can think of

    Who's writing them off because they appear in the bible? I write them off because there's an enourmous amount of scientific evidence that there was no global flood. If there were such a MASSIVE geological event a mere 5000 some years ago, there would be a mountain of evidence that it happened. There is no such evidence, so the Noahs Ark flood didn't happen.
  • Re:bullshit (Score:5, Insightful)

    by EchoMirage (29419) * on Monday April 26, 2004 @11:57PM (#8979962)
    *sigh*

    It's pretty hard to reconcile the bible with the abundance of archaeoligcal evidence that shows that dinosaurs ruled the earth for millions of years before the first humans showed up.

    Reading and believing in the Bible doesn't require the reader to take it literally. Some random and eclectic [preteristarchive.com] examples of people [hiwaay.net] who don't read [united.edu] the Bible literally. [rutgers.edu]

    These fairy tales don't fly on slashdot because the people here are educated enough to know better.

    No, they really aren't; I read views on Christianity and other religions that are chock full of misconceptions or misunderstandings all the time.

    There's a major tendency by various posters on Slashdot to overgeneralize American Protestant fundamentalism into Christian orthodoxy. If you don't know the differences between fundamentalism and orthodoxy, realize that your knowledge of Christianity ranks fairly low. (Which is to say that people can't be experts on everything. Even on Slashdot.)

    My opinion, having been a Slash reader since the site's infancy, is that there's actually a fairly low level of religious knowledge amongst the learned Slashdot crowd. This tends to [unfortunately] manifest itself in haughty arrogance. QED indeed.
  • Re:So..... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by kfg (145172) on Tuesday April 27, 2004 @12:01AM (#8979989)
    Exactly. I've always asked people why they're so all fired up to find Noah's Ark.

    Wouldn't it be much easier to just go find Jerusalem?

    The finds are exactly equal in their significance.

    KFG
  • by FuzzyBad-Mofo (184327) <(fuzzybad) (at) (gmail.com)> on Tuesday April 27, 2004 @12:06AM (#8980025)

    No doubt. There's not enough water on the planet to "cover the highest mountains", even if the polar ice caps were to melt. Accepting the great flood mythology at face value is to believe in magic.

    Personally, I view the old testament as no more than the accumulated myths, genealogy, and records of an ancient nomadic mid-Eastern tribe. It is interesting from a historical perspective, but no more so than Beowulf, Homer's Odyssey, Nights of Arabia, etc.

    In my opinion the "great flood" was perhaps a severe localized flood, something not uncommon to the Tigris and Euphrades river valley. Building a boat in anticipation of flooding certainly shows foresight, but is more suggestive to me of logic than divine intervention.

  • Re:Uhhh (Score:2, Insightful)

    by gilrain (638808) <gilrain AT lunarpolicy DOT net> on Tuesday April 27, 2004 @12:08AM (#8980033) Homepage
    Only religious zealots are after 'the big ultimate one really big greatest bestest truth ever'.


    I agree that good scientists won't say that the Theory of Evolution is anything more than a theory -- of course, plenty poorer scientists do anyway, but that is beside the point.

    I do take issue with the above quote, however -- that is precisesly what scientists are also trying to find. It's casually referred to as the TOE (Theory Of Everything), and currently Superstring Theory is a favorite contender. But yeah, science is pretty much about finding the ultimate truth...
  • by Bruce Perens (3872) <bruce@perens.com> on Tuesday April 27, 2004 @12:08AM (#8980036) Homepage Journal
    Ya, there's some savage stuff in the Bible (like stoning), but you should try to interpret it relative to its time.

    Yeah, I wish religious people would do that.

    You want an example? How about the story of Onan? Homosexuals get a lot of trouble from that one today. I doubt many of them decide to be homosexuals, they can't help it and the bible says to treat them... the way it says to treat lepers, which is another part that led to tremendous pain on the part of innocents.

    Bruce

  • by Jerk City Troll (661616) on Tuesday April 27, 2004 @12:10AM (#8980051) Homepage
    If this were an Egyptian dig, no one here would denigrate it. If this were Mayan or Aztec, or Hindu or ancient Sumerian, it would be taken at face value. Why the hatred, then, for what has been shown time and time again to be the most accurate and most studied ancient historical text in the world?

    A few reasons. First, these gentlemen, as far as I can tell, are doing this in an attempt to prove Christianity. They are not out to learn anything they do not already know, and if they are, they are not intending to share it with the rest of the world by any verifiable means (pictures, are as the story points out, weak as evidence for anything). Their ultimate purpose is to deliver a conclusion, not facts. Your typical archaelogist visits a location to learn more about an unknown culture, not to offer conclusions, but simply to offer knowledge and let the information speak.

    Do you see the subtle distinction here? On one hand, we have the scientist that assumes something to be true then goes looking only for evidence that supports it. On the other hand, we have the scientist that that explores and records only what is observed and lets the facts speak for themselves. Which of these categories is likely to get the most cynical reaction? Which category do you think these guys fall into?

    There is also a negative reaction from many rational people to the heavy-weight evangelistic nature of Christianity. Rational people usually want evidence to back up claims, evidence which is often not offered by evangelism. This can put people at odds against an idealogy. Would you dislike it if people of other religions came thumping you with their religious beliefs using threats of punishment and slander? Would it make you uncomfortable? Also, many active religions today (key point to remember with your claim--many ancient religions of noteworthy attention are no longer practiced) use fear and coersion to recruit new members. Fear of eternal suffering or punishment is commen. Religions often do this at great financial benefit to themselves.

    I could go on and on, but I digress. Nevertheless, I think when you look at all this, you find that there is a great deal of cause for people to express hostility towards religion. Perhaps you should take these things into consideration before you feel like you or your belief system are being picked on.

  • Re:Doomed to fail (Score:4, Insightful)

    by firewrought (36952) on Tuesday April 27, 2004 @12:10AM (#8980057)
    I believe God has kept people from checking out the location. Cool stuff, to me.

    Yeah... I thought it was cool when I was a Christian too. Seriously! A kind of curse-of-the-ark thing. It poses a difficult question for theologians though: God loves you enough to torture his own son to death, but he's pretty meticulous about sealing off any avenue of empirical verification.

  • Correction (Score:3, Insightful)

    by gad_zuki! (70830) on Tuesday April 27, 2004 @12:14AM (#8980087)
    > They laughed at Galileo, and Copernicus.

    No.

    "They" censored Galileo and killed Bruno. Copernicus published on his deathbed in fear.

    "They" were the Catholic Church.

    The good thing is that now that adults are more or less in charge the worst we can do is laugh at them. There is no secular police that will kill these men for being heretics and its thanks to the pioneers, western enlightenment, etc who went AGAINST the grain and fought for human rights that we are allowed to live in a secular state.

    >popular thoughts of the society of the day.

    What "popular thoughts" are you talking about? Most Americans believe in a creation and in various biblical myths. These people are the status quo defending "popular thoughts" not rugged individualists like the great minds of the past.
  • by TychoBrahe (635569) on Tuesday April 27, 2004 @12:16AM (#8980091)

    5,000 or however many years ago, there wasn't the distinction between freshwater and saltwater fish, but that over the last 5,000 years of natural selection, you ended up with fish that can only survive in fresh water and fish that can only survive in salt water.

    Except such a change would almost certainly be enough to ensure that the evolved population would be unable to breed with the original population, if for no other reason than the two would not be able to meet to breed. That would be speciation, and thus macro-evolution. What's more, it wouldn't be as though a new species or two evolved, it would be every water-dwelling species! I would think that this would leave significant genetic evidence.

    The argument is that the the seismic activity that led to the breakup of the continents and the formation of the large mountain ranges took place at the end of the flood,

    The energies required to move so much of the Earth around in a few days or weeks rather than eons would liquefy the surface. Of course, sticky problems such as this is where creationists will generally invoke another ad-hoc miracle.

  • Supposing that Noah's ark actually exists (which I believe is the case), its sheer size and climatological conditions would suggest that there should be at least some respectable quantity of wood left above the timber line of some mountain in the Ararat range that could be identifiable as being (1) about 4300 years old; (2) quite probably above the timberline; and (3) showing signs of having been worked with tools.

    Why is it, therefore, here at /. there is such open hatred for Judeo-Christian beliefs when just about anything else goes? If this were an Egyptian dig, no one here would denigrate it. If this were Mayan or Aztec, or Hindu or ancient Sumerian, it would be taken at face value. Why the hatred, then, for what has been shown time and time again to be the most accurate and most studied ancient historical text in the world?


    First, I don't think you understand the ship-building capabilities that far back. We're talking bundled reeds, dugouts, and small, rudimentary plank vessels. This is from archaeological and pictographic record. Hint: early bronze age. The nail was not invented yet. They hadn't even gotten mortise and tenon down yet.

    Second, what sort of wood do you think this is that just lays there on an exposed mountain top for 4300 years? Is it a petrified boat? The only organics that could survive that are fibers, seeds and pollen, twinkies (some argue, inorganic), and my aunt Helen (also possibly inorganic).

    Third, in archaeology, you generally survey and find stuff, then piece your history together. As much Indiana Jones as you apparently like to impute to archaeology, there is no map where X marks the spot. Or even a small pamphlet with vague poetic directions (though there is a nice Sumerian beer recipe poem). The other cultural digs you cite were not driven to prove some bit of literature, but to examine the physical remains of a culture in order to learn more about it.

    Looking for the Ark is teleological; you've got your facts, and your looking for validation. You won't find many Mormons looking for Smith's golden tablets/spectacles that the angel Moroni (hey, I didn't name the angel) supposedly gave him to translate "Reform Egyptian" whatever that is. Because it's primarily a spiritual text. If you need to find a boat to validate God, you've got a spiritual crisis on your hands already. Why not try something more productive, like why many cultures have myths of floods, and what psychology a flood story implies.

    But when it comes down to it, looking for the Ark's not real research, that's not even real Biblical research, and those in search of the Ark are not scientists in any serious use of the word, but big school kids digging up dinosaur bones in the backyard. They're the same people that discover Roman coins on a beach in Texas and spin an entirely new history of trade from it (but woops! That coin was in the ballast of a 18th-20th century ship that got it's rocks from the Mediterranean. There goes that theory).

    You've got to be very careful when you discover some evidence that flies in the face of current theory. You've got a very large burden of proof - no grainy photos or 3rd hand stories. And biblical history and archaeology are in practice not matters of faith.
  • by cmholm (69081) <cmholm&mauiholm,org> on Tuesday April 27, 2004 @12:19AM (#8980112) Homepage Journal
    I agree that if there was something to be found, it would not only be well known by now, it would have been a pilgrimage site for millenia.

    I'd like to take small exception to your assumptions about flooding in the area. Non-literialist biblical researchers had long thought that flooding in Mesopotamia led to the story of the Flood, as a major flood is recorded in the Summerian Epic Of Gilgamesh [ancienttexts.org]. More recently, a case has been made [nationalgeographic.com] that the flooding [cnn.com] of the Black Sea basin, which previously held a smaller fresh water lake, would have provided the seed for the story.

    Compare this localized 1000 foot (300m) flood with the 17000 foot (5000m) global flood posited by the biblical story. Now, before someone lays into me for discounting the power of the Lord, consider how scientific research approaches this.

    1. make observations of nature.

    2. based on those observations, make an informed guess about why something came to be what was observed.

    3. develop series of tests that might support your assertion, tests that other people can make independently.

    4. collate data collected from many such tests, and see if the results support the theory.

    For a localized Black Sea flood, there is previously collected evidence that due to the end of the last ice age, ice sheet melt flooded the eastern Med area, and what is now the Bosporus strait was breached about 7000 years ago. Salt water added 300m to the level of the Black Sea within a matter of months, drowning hundreds of square miles of land. Recent archeological dives along this now submerged land seem to show paleolithic human settlements. Further research is needed before strong conclusions can be drawn.

    For a global 5000m+ flood, the very first thing we need to account for is the lack of suitable debris that would have washed ashore at high elevations as the waters subsided. If the Ark survived, some of the other wood left floating around might be expected to. The next thing would be to account for the volume of the ocean being doubled, and then halved, all in the course of a few months. Where did it come from, and where did it go?

    As a biblical literalist, if your answer is basically that the Lord gave, and the Lord took away, then you've provided faith as evidence. While one's faith can be tested, it can't be independently checked and verified. The scientific method of investigating the works of the Lord assumes - baring evidence to the contrary - that the Lord maintains His creation in a consistent state: hot air rises, the sun sets, gravity sucks. If He doesn't, then the method will need to adjust.

    So far, however, the method has proved useful at measuring the nature of Nature, such that we can reliably do things based on many of the conclusions we've drawn so far.

  • Re:Uhhh (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 27, 2004 @12:26AM (#8980158)
    I'd expect the wood would have loads of DNA from all the crap and urine.

    It'd probably have been saturated.
  • Re:Uhhh (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Entropius (188861) on Tuesday April 27, 2004 @12:27AM (#8980167)
    The difference is that science, by definition, can never claim to have actually *achieved* absolute truth. That's indeed what we're looking for, but science can never claim to have found it.

    The best that science can say is "We have this model that, so far, doesn't conflict with any data. If you've got an argument that our model is wrong, we'd love to hear it."

    Religions, on the other hand, generally claim absolute certainty about something: "We know the Earth was created 6000 years ago, because this book says so. To question this is heretical."

    It's this claim of certainty that pisses off science types. I've got no problem with the idea of a deity, just the "take it on faith that there is a deity with these traits" bit.

    IAAP (I am a physicist)
  • by mark-t (151149) <markt@nOSPam.lynx.bc.ca> on Tuesday April 27, 2004 @12:32AM (#8980217) Journal
    People who believe in the Bible will continue to believe in it even if this expedition comes up with zilch. After all, maybe they just didn't find it. People who disbelieve in the Bible will insist that lack of photographic evidence substantiates their own view. Likewise, if they do come back with something, people who believe in the Bible will say that this is proof, while people who already disbelieve in the Bible will continue to disbelieve in it even because the photos themselves could be faked. Either way, you end up with a conspiracy theorist attitude towards the whole thing that won't do a thing to change anybody's opinion so there's absolutely no purpose served by this expedition.

    I suppose if they want to go and prove it to themselves, that's one thing. But if they are trying to go and prove it to the world, they are totally messed up about the way human beings really think and this expedition is a waste of time and other resources that could be better spent puruing more productive goals.

  • by VivianC (206472) <internet_update&yahoo,com> on Tuesday April 27, 2004 @12:36AM (#8980243) Homepage Journal
    I doubt many of them decide to be homosexuals, they can't help it and the bible says to treat them... the way it says to treat lepers, which is another part that led to tremendous pain on the part of innocents.

    Bruce, check out the second half of the Bible. There is this one guy who hangs out with lepers, prostitutes and even tax collectors (much worse than homosexuals, in my book). He had this funny habit of loving everyone despite their sins or social status. Of course, the powers that be kill him for this but it all works out in the end.
  • by quinkin (601839) on Tuesday April 27, 2004 @12:39AM (#8980275)
    Ok, against my best wishes not to get involved in the theological flame wars, I can't let that one go by.

    Disclaimer: Staunch athei-ostic (I don't believe in religion).

    "If one believes in God, Christ, and The Holy Spirit then one has to believe that The Bible is the Word of God."

    Now this is an obvious logical fallacy. Even working from an assumption that God, Christ, et al are true deities there is no assertion that they have ensured the validity of the bible.

    I think the standard response by believers is "do you know the mind of God?". Implying that God could have written a pile of crap as a test or some-such...

    Q.

  • by eddeye (85134) on Tuesday April 27, 2004 @12:56AM (#8980373)
    What biblicists who get so excited over archaeological discoveries like these apparently can't understand is that extrabiblical confirmation of some of the Bible does not constitute confirmation of all if the Bible.

    It goes much further than that. Suppose all the material facts of the Bible did prove correct. That would have absolutely no bearing on the factuality of the Bible's supernatural claims. We know the city of Troy existed, do we therefore believe every word of the Iliad? Historical accuracy does not and can not imply supernatural validity.

  • by Laebshade (643478) <laebshade@gmail.com> on Tuesday April 27, 2004 @12:58AM (#8980391)
    You're missing the point. It's not a troll. The burden of proof lies on them. What would make others believe that it is truthful? Pictures can be doctored easily and even video clips. So how would one prove it? I can think of a few things. For one, bring back DNA samples (as someone else already mentioned) and bring back part -- or better yet, all -- of the boat (eventually).
  • by Methuseus (468642) <methuseus@yahoo.com> on Tuesday April 27, 2004 @01:05AM (#8980451)
    Amen to that. People should act according to their beliefs. If you believe in Christ, why do you act the opposite?

    Yes, I am Christian, specifically Catholic. I am tolerant of other views, and am one of the few "true believers"* that doesn't believe you all are going to hell for being of a different religion.

    * True believers (for my definition) believe that Jesus is The Way, the Truth and the Light, meaning the way to heaven is through Him. There is much argument as to whether that means you have to partake of the eucharist to be "through Him" or if that phrase is meant as if your actions follow his teachings (more or less, at least, in the case of other religions).
  • Re:Difference (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Snoopy77 (229731) on Tuesday April 27, 2004 @01:06AM (#8980457) Homepage
    All the Old Testement requires for it all to fall into place is one step of faith, that God is who he says he is.

    If you are waiting for the absolute proof please don't hold your breathe.

    As for the Big Bang theory, it is at best a conceptual model that present day analysis may one day fit (while disregarding data that doesn't), and at worst a fairy-tale that cannot be proven. Funny how scientific attacks on spiritual beliefs can be turned.
  • by be-fan (61476) on Tuesday April 27, 2004 @01:08AM (#8980481)
    Any system of logic starts with axioms. At a metalogical level, if you don't accept certain principles of logic, then yes, religion becomes a tangible alternative to modern western philosophical thought. On the other hand, if you do accept the basic framework of logic, then religion becomes an entity independent of science, though the underlying principles of logic place restrictions on the form religion can take. In summery:

    - You can be a literalist religious person and not believe in modern logic and science. This is a perfectly self-consistent set of beliefs.
    - You can be a scientist, and not believe in religion, this is also consistent.
    - You can be a scientist, and believe in God, but not many elements of literal religion, and still be consistent.
    - You cannot be a literalist religious person and embrace modern logic and science at the same time without rejecting the principles of consistency.
  • by MightyYar (622222) on Tuesday April 27, 2004 @01:09AM (#8980492)
    I don't know many (any?) people that "believe" in the big bang theory. There are a lot of people that sort of accept it as a likely consequence of Einstein's theories, but there are competing theories that are becoming more credible as of late.

    At least the expansion of the universe is something that is observable, unlike, say, a flood that killed everything on earth 4000 years ago - yet left behind absolutely no evidence. No aberration in the Antarctic ice cores, no strange worldwide sediments, no disturbance of the 30,000-year-old cave paintings in France.

  • by Sgt York (591446) <jvolm@nOspAM.earthlink.net> on Tuesday April 27, 2004 @01:11AM (#8980509)
    What's so funny is how many people get riled up about all of this, on both sides of the argument. Well, not so much funny as it is odd. And not so much odd as it is sad.

    I can't say anything about it to people that aren't Christians, I don't really know what your motivations are (nor do I really care...believe what you want). But I can say something to my fellow Christians out there. So, if you're not a Christian, please stop reading. Especially if you're touchy about people discussing their religion. The following will be at best boring, and possibly quite irritating.

    You base these arguments on the idea that the Bible is infallible. That is, that it is incapable of being incorrect because "God said it". Or, rather, "All scripture is God breathed" (I Tim 3:16). OK, you've started. You read something. Most likely you just heard it, but I'll give you the benefit of the doubt. Now find out more. Those represent the first 5 words of a sentence of 30, in some translations. Read the rest. It says "...and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work."

    Where does it say that it's good for establishing an accurate archeological record? Or check historical facts? Or provide an astronomical model? Or a biologocal model?

    No, it's made for instructing people in what is right. Morally right, not factually right. After learning, we are to use this knowledge to do "every good work".

    Some part of me doubts that finding Noah's Ark and taking pictures of it to "prove" the Bible to the world was what God had in mind when He breathed that little statement. Read Matt 23 sometime, and try not to let spohism and "proving" that you're right substitue for real "good works". What are we (as Christians) really asked to do? Look it up. (Clues: Fruits of the spirit; actually read the Dispensation; what were the specific instructions? What about if people don't want to listen to you? What are you supposed to do?)

  • by dj245 (732906) on Tuesday April 27, 2004 @01:13AM (#8980519) Homepage
    No matter what explanation, I really doubt that humans will stop coming up with reasons why it isn't the ark. Many people are unable to accept that perhaps it could be fact.

    That is because all the expeditions to the formation on Mt. Ararat are religious based. When embarking on a scientific expedition, scientists try very hard to eliminate any expectations,preconceptions, or assumtions they may have about the expedition/experiment. This may be why many scientists are athiests, it just helps them put aside broad assumptions. The NASA folks even got broadsided a couple times when they discovered things they never were expecting and assumed couldn't happen (They're still trying to figure out the "mud").

    My point is, these researchers, instead of doing good, honest, scientific-method based research; will inevitably fall to their beliefs and assumtions and assume things they shouldn't go assuming. Their beliefs brought them halfway around the world, isn't it plausable their beliefs will blind them to the fact that they don't have enough evidence to make any assumtions or conclusions at all? They are not allowed to excavate. Not a whole lot of information can be gained by surface penatrating radar and other gadgets and by mapping. They ought to conclude that "there is definitely something under the mound, and that they don't have enough evidence to determine what it is". What they actually conclude, however, is entirely speculation.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 27, 2004 @01:14AM (#8980522)
    Serial killers are not divine in nature. How can a mortal question the author of his existence? We acknowledge that horrible things happen. Explaining why is something few have much hope of attaining.

    Merely saying that a serial killer may use an argument does not in and of itself make the argument invalid. This is a straw man. Why don't you think of a valid rebuttal? Surely, you would acknowledge that madmen such as Hitler, Mao, and Stalin were great orators, extremely skilled in the art of pursuasion. If I happen to use one of their arguments, it may reflect well on me as being skilled in rhetoric. Not that when analyzed calmly, one cannot find the error of their messages. That is hard to do, especially when you have an emotional attachment to one side or the other.
  • by blackpaw (240313) on Tuesday April 27, 2004 @01:15AM (#8980535)
    But also - remember the quote "Extraodinary claims require extraodinary proof".

    I've seen no proof, even ordinary "proof" for the existance of a god, therefore I'm disinclined to believe in it.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 27, 2004 @01:20AM (#8980566)
    How do the terrestrial plants survive the flood? Did Noah plant a forest on his ark?
  • by bmajik (96670) <matt@mattevans.org> on Tuesday April 27, 2004 @01:23AM (#8980594) Homepage Journal
    Lots of the comments revolve around a few themes

    1. the bible is all made up
    2. there's no way $situation could happen
    3. this wont prove anything

    To which i have a few short responses. Please give them some consideration before flaming me :)

    1. This is a hard argument to make. The bible talks about lots of different things. Some of these things have been verified via archalogical evidence. Insofar as a recording of ancient history, the bible is surprisingly accurate in all of the things it depicts which are verifiable

    Note that this is sort of the same as me writing a book with 100 pages, and on 3 randomly distributed pages, i describe newtonian physics, and the other 97 pages contain stuff that doesn't make sense to anybody, and can't be proven or disproven using any known technique

    From a scientific perspective, my book isn't very interesting.

    Until somebody figure's out page 4. And then in another 50 years, maybe someone figures out what page 5 means. And so on.

    There's lots of stuff described in the bible that has been shown to be historically consistant. Much more than has shown to be historically inconsistant.

    2. This won't be a very satisfying answer, but here goes.

    the bible is sort of axiomatic. If you beleive
    - that god is all powerful
    - always does what is right
    - is smarter than you
    - the bible is the inerrant word of god as transcribed via people divinely inspired to do so

    then a lot of what happens in the bible can be swallowed. Still, some things are hard to beleive. It's hard to beleive that somebody could part a body of water so that people could walk through it unharmed. It's hard to beleive because we've never seen anything like it, and because we cant explain how it would work.

    There are lots of things in the bible that we have a hard time buying for those reasons - we've never experienced it, and we can't understand/explain how it would work.

    The first "Reason" isn't a reason at all. We never experienced the creation of planet earth, but we know it happened. None of us were alive when president lincoln was shot, but most of us know it happened. The issue of never experiencing something personaly is really not an effective argument against unbeleivable things depicted in the bible.

    The more interesting and common argument is the second one - there's no way that could happen. This usually revolves around some scientific argument, or rather, some lack of a scientific explanation for how it _could_ have happened. Parting seas, turning water into blood, feeding thousands with just a little food, healing blindless/leprosy/etc.

    This is where the axiomatic nature of things comes into play.

    If you buy that God is all powerful, then god can do whatever he wants to, certainly any of the above mentioned things.

    The part is what people _Really_ dont like to hear. Just because _you_ cant explain something, doesn't mean god doesn't know how it works. Your inability to come up with a thoery or explanation for how something could have happened isn't standing in the way of an all powerful smarter-than-you god in the slightest.

    So, if you buy the basic axioms of god, the rest sort of comes out in the wash. It's nice when science or achaeology catches up with what the bible has already described, but its not necessary.

    3. Of course not. The point isn't to prove god exists. You either think he does or you don't. If it was factually obvious that god existed then you having a choice in the matter of wether to beleive or not wouldn't be very useful, now would it ?

    I'm frankly not sure what the point of this trip is, but it won't prove god does or doesn't exist. People that refuse to beleive in god will read the results of this journey how they want to. People that refuse to beleive in anyting but god will read the results of this journey how they want to.

    But there's the ever important swing vote.

    W
  • Equally Plausible (Score:3, Insightful)

    by boaboy (319727) on Tuesday April 27, 2004 @01:25AM (#8980609)
    Researchers To Explore North Pole In Search Of Santa Claus.
  • Bullshit. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Ayanami Rei (621112) * <rayanami@gmai l . c om> on Tuesday April 27, 2004 @01:27AM (#8980630) Journal
    I'm going to safely assume you are not a zoologist or botanist.

    What do you think is the first thing the lions would do when they left the ark?

    EAT THE MEASLEY TWO GAZELLES. Oops, no more gazelles.

    You can argue it all you want, but the gestation period of any 3 generations of gazelles, zebras, or whatever required to even begin feeding the a single generation of lions or other carnivores would mean a lot of carnivores would go hungry if everyone started with a PAIR at the same time.

    You can't just "start up" the food chain like that. Ever do a "rabbit and foxes" related rates problem in diff eq? The stable state is impossible to achieve with a deficit of prey in the initial conditions.

    A little thought is dangerous.
  • Re:God of the gaps (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Citizen of Earth (569446) on Tuesday April 27, 2004 @01:28AM (#8980639)
    When will the "gappers" stand-down and not take some ancient script as fact, but as interpration of events through the eyes of highly religious and uneducated peoples?

    You forgot the part about the stories being past from generation to generation by oral tradition for hundreds of years before ever being written down. (No tall tales there.)
  • Re:Uhhh (Score:3, Insightful)

    by GMontag451 (230904) on Tuesday April 27, 2004 @01:33AM (#8980660) Homepage
    since carbon 14 decays into gaseous nitrogen 14, the amount of carbon 14 in the wood originally is unknown.

    Wrong. For anything younger than 20,000 years old we know the ratio of C12 to C14 from direct measurements of tree rings or lake sediment samples. You just use the amount of C12 currently in the sample to figure out how much C14 was in the sample when it stopped respirating.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 27, 2004 @01:36AM (#8980677)
    If you're not Christian *or Jewish*, you have no business classifying Noah's Ark as a myth.
    If you're not a polytheist, you have no business classifying Hades as a myth. If you don't believe in astrology, you have no business classifying horoscopes as superstition. If you're not a geocentricist, you have no business saying the earth revolves around the sun. If you're not a Nazi, you have no business classifying Hitler as a very bad man. If you're not a vegetarian, you have no business saying bacon tastes good. &c. &c. &c.
  • Re:Ark Myth (Score:5, Insightful)

    by stand (126023) <[stan.dyck] [at] [gmail.com]> on Tuesday April 27, 2004 @01:49AM (#8980746) Homepage Journal

    I don't understand why anyone would find the fact that most cultures have some sort of flood myth unusual. Humans tend to collect themselves around bodies of water for various reasons having to do with commerce, agriculture, transportation, etc. People that live near bodies of water occasionally experience floods. Flood stories tend to be dramatic because people have to make heroic efforts to make it through the tough times that ensue. It's not surprising that these flood stories make it into their mythology.

  • by md358 (587485) on Tuesday April 27, 2004 @01:56AM (#8980790)
    The new testaments were originally written in Hebrew/Aramaic and Greek. From there they were translated into Latin and remained so for many centuries. The English King James had a group of scholars translate it into English (one of them reputedly Shakespeare - good arguments both for and against). The KJV is the translation that's used across much of the english speaking Christian world.

    Both biblical Greek and Hebrew are very expressive (someone studying them would say vague) languages, written passages can be vastly open to interpretation (much like Arabic). That's why many biblical scholars study the biblical languages, so they can look up their favourite passages and translate them themselves.

    So for the purest stream of the testaments, you must read them in their original language. The Greek(Attic), Latin, and English translations are simpler expressions of the original. That's not heretical - go to any seminary or serious bible college and you'll see that's what's what biblical research is all about. The original poster was still being particially correct when he sarcastically called it an interpretation, because it IS an interpretation, of a relative few translators who were highly religious, though probably very educated for their time.

    I'd say there's no need to rush out and buy the "First Hebrew Primer" grammar book or anything. It mostly checks out to the KJV with some notable exceptions. But I had to study Biblical Hebrew for my majors and can say it's not very hard to learn. The first year basically just teaches some pronunciation, aleph-bet(alphabet), grammar, and how to use a dictionary. That's all anyone needs to read the Hebrew Bible.
  • by Micah (278) on Tuesday April 27, 2004 @01:58AM (#8980798) Homepage Journal
    The Old Testament is simply the history of God's interaction with man. Like any history book, it contains some ugly episodes. Just because they exist does not mean that the author of the book (God) condones the behavior. Many senseless things have been done in God's name.

    Where the Bible lists objectionable actions, there are a couple possibilities:

    1. The action was influenced by Satan, not God. The Bible says much about spiritual warfare. God is not the only supernatural being. He IS the most powerful, but His nature requires for all creation (humans and angelic beings) to choose Him for themselves. Satan is described as one who comes to "steal, kill, and destroy." That to me fits fairly well with much of the violence, both in the Bible and in modern times.

    2. The action was actually initiated by God, as a way of carrying out His justice. That is, I believe, why God led the Israelites to slaughter all the tribes living in Canaan. The Bible makes it fairly clear that they were allowed to do that because the wickedness in that area was so great. That does NOT mean we as humans should be following their example. It IS evidence that God can use nations to accomplish His will and justice.
  • by 2short (466733) on Tuesday April 27, 2004 @01:58AM (#8980799)
    How is he anti-catholic? Are you claiming catholics have never repressed non-catholics? Certainly non-catholics have opressed catholics too.

    I'd put it this way: a lot of people have opressed a lot of people. Differences in religion have been one of the more popular excuses for doing so.

    "And yes, religion can provide peace, but I can tell you right away you will have none of it until you see for yourself and take that leap of faith. Else you're little more than dust in eternity."

    Got news for you: you're little more than dust in eternity whether you beleive in santa or not.

    I, and as far as I can tell the grandparent poster, do not hate the religious; we don't spread a doctrine of lies. We just think you're a little silly to spend so much energy and attribute so much of your own goddness and acomplishments to what as far as I can tell is an imaginary friend.

    But you're free to spend your energies how you want, it's none of my business. I will get annoyed when you say that christianity is the only answer for "the people in Iraq", and that we should base our foreign policy on your beleifs. Saying things like that is not exactly helpful in selling the "this war is not against Islam" concept, see.
  • Re:bullshit (Score:2, Insightful)

    by djplurvert (737910) on Tuesday April 27, 2004 @02:07AM (#8980853)
    Right, slashdotters aren't talking about what most christians believe, just a minority. It's not "us" who are nutbags, it's those fundamentalists over there. No matter how it comes accross to you, what people are criticizing is belief in the supernatural. Without the supernatural, you are making the agnostics argument. Belief in god is not just a philosophy, even to non-fundamentalist. I doubt most people would care one way or the other if christians just felt that the Bible should be read as philosophy. That, however, is not the case.

    Here is a quote from one of your links:

    "There is something about people who are in touch with the sacred that can be felt by those around them; it evokes awe and amazement and impresses people with the feeling of another world."

    What does that mean? I don't find it to be true, I find people "in touch with the sacred" to be either annoying or in need of help. Define "in touch with the sacred". Describe how you measure how someone is "in touch with the sacred". The point of course is that "being in touch with the sacred" is a fairy tale no different than the fundamentalist fairy tales. From my experience, religious "scholars" avoid discussion through meta-argument, that is, arguing about arguing. The issue isn't literal vs non-literal, it's that you ascribe anything to the bible at all other than a collection of stories. If you bother to respond, explain please what value you think one should get from a specific quote from the bible and why one needs to read the bible and have a christian viewpoint in order to hold that value.

    plurvert

  • by Jugalator (259273) on Tuesday April 27, 2004 @02:09AM (#8980864) Journal
    It boggles the mind how anybody can accept anything as truth.

    Yes, it seems to escape some people that we (yes, even scientists!) call it the big bang theory. Maybe some day that will sink into their minds.

    There was a bright guy who said "Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind". I wish more people would agree about that, and keeping both eyes open instead of closing them. I'm more at the "science" side, but even I cannot rule out that there's something else. Right now I look at the bible as a fairy tale to enforce laws, raise childrens, etc, but who knows what I'll believe in when I'm on my death bed?
  • by Forge (2456) <kevinforge@@@gmail...com> on Tuesday April 27, 2004 @02:28AM (#8980950) Homepage Journal
    Do you people realize you are acting like religious zealots, in dismissing the findings of an expedition that hasn't started yet?

    Mount Ararat is named in the Bible as the resting place of the Ark. That section of the Bible was written more than 2000 years ago. Scientific principles absolutely demand that someone must go up there and search for it.

    If they find what looks like the remnants of a big wooden ship then whoopee, we get to debate what it really is and launch further expeditions and employ other technology and analysis to see if this is true.

    If they find nothing, Someone will claim that they looked in the wrong place and try again. (Ararat is a big mountain)

    If they die trying; tough luck. That happens sometimes to people trying to test an important theory.

    At the very least searching for the Arc on Ararat is more important than going back to the Moon or climbing Everest again. It is roughly on par with searching for signs of life on Mars and the SETI program. I.e. Published and authenticated success would revolutionize thinking.

    For the record There were many attempts to launch such an expedition in the 20th century, They all suffered political trauma. I.e. Ararat, sat on a border between enemies. The political climate has changed and former enemies are now tolerant neighbors.

  • by Citizen of Earth (569446) on Tuesday April 27, 2004 @02:29AM (#8980956)
    This may be why many scientists are athiests, it just helps them put aside broad assumptions.

    You seem to be implying that people are free to choose their faith and that scientists chose athiesm for convenience. It's the other way around. There are certain attributes that make a person be scientific, and these attributes cause both the interest in science and a lack of religiosity.

    The stereotypical personality type of a scientist is INTJ, which is what I happen to be, and I'm Agnostic because it is the only intellectually honest thing that I can be. I couldn't be a Christian, for example, because I cannot force myself to believe something that I don't (not that I would ever want to). Religion doesn't stand up very well to scientific scrutiny to anyone who understands human nature, so scientific people tend to be Agnostic or Athiestic.

    Though, I've run across a few scientific people who are actually religious. They're always such killjoys, though, since they are always like "Yeah, don't bug me about it." You'd think such people would understand the benefits of cognitive dissonance.
  • I find it hard to believe that the world was flooded so much that a ship landed on top of a 17,000ft high mountain. Even assuming it was only halfway up the mountain that is still a water level rise of 8,500 feet. That's maybe 2.5KM of water level raising. I'm sure some smart SlashDotter will be able to work out the cubic volume of water that must have been needed to do that, and I'm guessing it is more water than is available in the entire planet.

    You've got to be able to differentiate between the fairy stories and real ones, it's a part of becoming an adult.

  • by Dave114 (168228) on Tuesday April 27, 2004 @02:42AM (#8981005)
    I find it hard to believe that the world was flooded so much that a ship landed on top of a 17,000ft high mountain.

    Perhaps it wasn't 17000 feet tall at the time. Simply because the earth currently has "deep" oceans and "high" mountains doesn't mean that it always did.

    I'm sure some smart SlashDotter will be able to work out the cubic volume of water that must have been needed to do that, and I'm guessing it is more water than is available in the entire planet.

    There's a fair bit of water on the planet. If you hypothesize a flatter planet then it seems definitely possible that the whole of it could be covered with water, assuming that your hypothesis holds.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 27, 2004 @02:43AM (#8981011)
    Anyone who believes that there was a major rise in ocean levels anytime in the past 10,000 years does not know the first thing about coastal glaciation patterns.

    If there was any evidence at all that such a flood occured in the recent glacier movements, the creationists would be all over it.

    Accepting the plain-as-day proof of Geology is the first step to seeing Genesis as either the religious metaphor or myth that it is.
  • by cixelsyd (239) on Tuesday April 27, 2004 @02:49AM (#8981027)
    Hear, hear! =) I'm a Christian. I believe Jesus died to save sinners. I don't know all the answers, and am satisfied in believing that God made things the way they are. Whether it be through evolution, whatever. Big Bang? Sure, God made it that way. Evolution? Who's to say it wasn't part of God's process to create things the way He designed? Science and religion aren't necessarily mutually exclusive. Personally, I think that trying to literally interpret a translation of a translation of something a guy wrote on papyrus or whatever back in the day is a bit on the foolhardy side. You can't nitpick the details unless you're looking at the ORIGINAL texts, not some guy's attempt at translation. Ever played the game "Telephone"? As an example, try translating anything using "The Fish". Granted, it's not the same as a "real" translator, but just try translating something to a foreign language, then translating back to the original language. You can lose a lot, and totally mangle the sentence in the process. In short, I have faith that God did things the way he did, and since I'm not God, I can't understand all of his ways, and perhaps, just maybe, (dare I say it?) the way that God did things is in COMPLETE AGREEMENT with science.
  • by zhenlin (722930) on Tuesday April 27, 2004 @02:59AM (#8981066)
    We just want lasting peace, which only Christ can provide.


    With a statement like that, it will be highly unlikely you'll ever get lasting peace.
  • The apparent impossibility you describe is exactly why, finding it would revolutionize thinking. I.e. Finding a Big old boat 30' above sea level in a geologically unstable area would just mean a section of seabed rose up.

    I used to pick up fossils in the area where I live as a child. Lots of them, small, embedded in limestone. They all looked aquatic to me. I.e. Shellfish etc... My section of Jamaica probably was under water fairly recently (In geological terms).
  • Mount Ararat is named in the Bible as the resting place of the Ark. That section of the Bible was written more than 2000 years ago. Scientific principles absolutely demand that someone must go up there and search for it.
    No, scientific principles demand no such thing. There is no law of nature to be proven or disproven. No fundemental theorem to examine. Nothing scientific at all.
    If they die trying; tough luck. That happens sometimes to people trying to test an important theory.
    There isn't a theory at stake here. Quit using scientific terms to describe a situation in which they don't apply.
    At the very least searching for the Arc on Ararat is more important than going back to the Moon or climbing Everest again. It is roughly on par with searching for signs of life on Mars and the SETI program. I.e. Published and authenticated success would revolutionize thinking.
    It's interesting that you only adress the consequences of sucess. Your only comment on possible failure is "well, they'll just try again".
    For the record There were many attempts to launch such an expedition in the 20th century, They all suffered political trauma. I.e. Ararat, sat on a border between enemies. The political climate has changed and former enemies are now tolerant neighbors.
    For the record, no not all expeditions of the 20th century met with such fates. There were several before WWII, and several more in the 19th century. None yielded and definitive results.
  • My own thoughts (Score:5, Insightful)

    by aptenergy (688428) on Tuesday April 27, 2004 @03:27AM (#8981188)
    This is definitely my second or third post on Slashdot. After not commenting for a long time, I think I'll step in for a bit. So what is this tolerance stuff that I keep hearing about? As in, tolerate gay marriage. Tolerate all religions. Tolerate points of view that are different from your own. And yet when I come on Slashdot and read this article, and all the (I read at +4) comments, my face turns sour because of the horrendous amount of crap that I see from people here. Look, you don't believe Christianity, fine. You think the ark idea is crap, and that science proves yadda yadda yadda, fine. At least have the guts to refrain from bashing those who do. It takes a mature individual to let people have their say without exploding in anger or cracking up in laughter. You have to understand that most people have developed for themselves a framework for how they view life. Most /. readers, I'm guessing, are scientifically minded. So they believe in all the things that science has accomplished. Good work. Hooray for you. Then there are those who believe that a God exists and has made everything we see, and created laws that science is discovering and utilizing. Good work, hooray for you. If you were really tolerant, and if you were really following what you believe you should be doing, then you'd have a solid discussion with them based on the facts, based on what you've seen, etc. etc. But... no. All we see are lousy jokes and other definitive statements - "the Bible is crap," "the Bible has contradictions," etc. etc. I just don't understand how some /. readers can force Christians onto a pedestal ("You have to be perfect, you Christian moron, and aren't you supposed to LOVE everybody?!") and cannot subject themselves to any sort of standards. If you're going to argue that the Bible has bad teachings, or that it has contradictions, read the Bible yourself before you make a decision. Actually, don't do just that - be a real student and go and find commentaries from Christian writers. Find commentaries from non-Christian writers. (Why commentaries? Have you ever really been able to explore a book without seeing what lots of people thought about it?) Read it with an unbiased eye. If you think you've found a contradiction, then see what the other side has to say. Read it for yourself. If you end up unconvinced the Bible is true, then great. If you don't find contradictions, then great too. Decide for yourself what you want to believe. What astounds me is how FEW people actually take that offer. Personally, I don't know of anyone who has. Why? Because they're lazy. Too lazy to go and find out things for themselves. In the meantime, they (non-Christians AND Christians) rely on a few lousy articles and information (which are debunked by different people, depending on who you ask), and then post knowingly uninformed, uneducated entries on /. to the approval (and subsequent positive moderation) of their knowingly uninformed, uneducated peers. Watch people read this comment and ask, "Is the author of this comment a Christian?" If the answer is yes, they immediately go and trash it because suddenly none of my arguments and comments make any sense. "Those moronic Christians, what a bunch of idiots, they must not believe in science..." right? So maybe I am, or maybe I'm not. I will say that I HAVE taken up my own challenge. That should be enough for you.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 27, 2004 @03:28AM (#8981190)
    Perhaps.... no it's too soon to suggest it.

    the other day I read an article that states that Davinci's Clock Car was built. It has not practicle purpose, but it backs up a historical belief.

    I've seen a ball of twine that was at least 2-3 meters tall and the guy who did it still avidly works on making it bigger.

    I've watched some idiot, evil kenevil I think try to jump the grand canon on a motor cycle.

    Canada built a space needle, it has as far as I can tell no practicle purpose what-so-ever, but they built it to have a really tall building I think.

    Is it at all possible that maybe a person familiar with the tales of Noah's ark actually built a boat on top of this mountain simply to convince the people of the time of something?

    I am willing to believe very easily knowing what I know of the time period that in the same way which the priests of ancient mesopotania built zigrats and convinced his followers that the gods themselves built it. I am willing also to believe that priests of a later time forces slaves to build an ark in order to prove to disbelievers that Noah's ark is true, so the rest must be too.

    BTW... although we Jews very much enjoy celebrating... I mean morning.. whatever... ever historical event that is convenient for us to remember. We at one time had a small empire in Israel which we controlled using FUD. We forced our religion on others, performed extensive ethnic cleansing, built palaces (sort of), and even enslaved entire countries (Etheopia for example).

    We very much enjoy letting others believe that we've always been the victim. For proof of that which can be backed up with other information, but can best be described as circumstantial in this context... remember that history is written by the winners :)
  • by number (309649) on Tuesday April 27, 2004 @03:50AM (#8981267)
    Why are you going to such great lengths to explain how the world could have flooded? Don't you think God could just make more water appear out of nowhere? He willed the entire universe into existence apparently.

    Personally, I think it would have been easier to make the water appear and then make it disappear, than to re-shape the entire surface area of the planet. And if you think the Rocky mountains could have been formed by 40 days or 40,000 years of continuous rain erosion, I question the value of this conversation.
  • Re:Bullshit. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Dirtside (91468) on Tuesday April 27, 2004 @03:50AM (#8981271) Journal
    This is... possibly a good point, actually, now that I think about it. If you're going to assume that God actually did manage to flood the world, why not assume that he miraculously made it possible for the carnivores to survive on whatever non-animal food Noah brought along?

    I think the issue is that the grandparent (and others like him... such as me) aren't assuming that the one happened but not the other. What we're saying is more like this:

    "The idea of a worldwide flood itself has all these various and sundry problems, A, B, C, etc..."

    "But IF you come up with explanations for those problems (without invoking miracles), then you have the problem of Noah building this incredibly unlikely boat, and sub-problems D, E, F, etc..."

    "But even IF you assume that Noah got the boat built (without God performing a specific boat-building miracle), then you have to figure out how Noah got all the animals to the boat, sub-problems G, H, I, etc..."

    "But, again, even IF you assume that Noah got all the animals there (again, without a divine miracle to help), you have to figure out how he kept thousands of animal species and millions of insect species alive and fed for 40 days, which causes sub-problems J, K, and L... etc..."

    And so on and so forth. The whole idea is to point out the innumerable problems with the whole plan. Naturally you can just invoke miracles left and right, but the whole point of scientific inquiry is to understand our world, and if the response to that is, "You shouldn't try to understand it, you should just have faith," then guess what? Those who understand it are inevitably going to out-compete those who don't.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 27, 2004 @04:05AM (#8981320)
    I find it hard to believe that the world was flooded so much that a ship landed on top of a 17,000ft high mountain. Even assuming it was only halfway up the mountain that is still a water level rise of 8,500 feet. That's maybe 2.5KM of water level raising. I'm sure some smart SlashDotter will be able to work out the cubic volume of water that must have been needed to do that, and I'm guessing it is more water than is available in the entire planet.

    Indeed. It would be an impossibly large volume of water. That's why it's viewed as one of the miracles in the Bible -- a miracle being something that happens but does not follow natural laws. Something that can only happen if God decides to suspend the laws of nature and make it happen.

    I'm not saying you have to accept that miracles happen, but I am saying that if we're talking about miraculous things, then we need to keep in mind that it's a given that during a miraculous event, there will be something that happens that is impossible according to the regular laws of nature. An exception to natural laws is part of the definition of a miracle.

    You could argue that the laws of nature cannot be broken, but I actually think that's a logical fallacy. It's the assumption that science is based on, and science has been very successful with that assumption, but that doesn't make it logically sound. The laws of nature are not a set of requirements that the universe is somehow compelled to satisfy. They are a human description of a pattern we have observed in the past and that we expect to see in the future. But we cannot say that they must happen in the future; we can only say that that is how things have happened in the past. Well, we can also say that in the past we relied on them and they did apply, but then that is still just another statement of a pattern we saw in the past.

  • And all this has happened in the last 3000 or so years? The whole earth was vastly flatter and just got really bumpy in the last few thousands years?
  • Re:Conspiracy (Score:4, Insightful)

    by cdavies (769941) on Tuesday April 27, 2004 @04:25AM (#8981378) Homepage
    Let me get this straight. You seriously believe that thousands of years before the industrial revolution, god commanded Noah and his nearest and dearest to build a boat entirely of wood, that would be larger than any later wooden battleships. Putting this into context, god commanded the Ark to be 300 cubits in length, which is roughly 140 metres, whereas at the battle of Trafalgar Nelson's flagship was about 65 metres in length.

    Once he'd and his mates had accomplished this amazing feat of nautical engineering never to be equalled before or since, he then went around the world rounding up 2 of every type of animal and loaded them on this Ark, and somehow it didn't sink? Whats more, Noah was able to identify the sexes of hundreds of different species, and even identify those that reproduced asexually thousands of years before the enlightenment.

    Then you believe that somehow it rained so much, that the entire earth was covered, something which would involve the melting and evaporation of the entire polar ice caps.

    Now, once this boat of his was afloat, you seriously believe he managed to survive for 40 days and 40 nights on what food could be stored in the ship, as well as keeping his mates and all the animals alive durinmg this period.

    Then you believe that the flood waters receeded leaving no trace of this world covering flood.

    Even the most die hard christian fundamentalists would have a job believing so much patent bullcrap. Please, if you want to be christian then at least be one of the ones that whines "well, you ren't supposed to take it all litterally" every time you are challenged.

  • I understand plate techtonics (in laymens terms anyway) but those forces take hundreds of thousands of years to millions of years. You are talking about it happening in a few thousand years at best. You can't have Christians claiming the earth is only 6000 years old, then claim the flood happened in that time period, and that there was at least one dinosaur crawling around *after* the flood. It's laughable at best.
  • Re:bullshit (Score:3, Insightful)

    by number (309649) on Tuesday April 27, 2004 @04:34AM (#8981417)
    I actually think it's more to do with a greater awareness of logical deduction and critical thinking.

    Christianity relies on the accuracy of the Bible. If you start doubting certain passages and disregarding others, the entire deck of cards comes crashing down. How can the word of God be inaccurate? If you can ignore certain parts, why not all of it?

    This is what drove Thomas Paine to write The Age of Reason [infidels.org], a thorough debunking of this have-your-cake-and-eat-it approach to religion.

    The only religious positions that have *any* solid philosophical or logical foundations are deism, atheism and agnosticism. Everything else has as much credulity as me saying "last night while I was watching TV an angel appeared and told me the word of God!!!!!!! Check out my rough draft of what it said on my AOL homepage!! Praise Ungdor who died for us while orbiting the moon bathed in the blood of his enemies!!"

  • by perly-king-69 (580000) on Tuesday April 27, 2004 @04:45AM (#8981453)
    Two points (one only slightly 1. The Epic of Gilgamesh. Basically this guy called Utnapashtim has to build a really big boat, gather all living things aboard it and wait for the flood which lasts for seven days and nights. The boat comes to land on a mountain. This story comes from Sumeria and in written form is over 5000 years old. This thing is just a middle eastern folk tale. 2. Which culture's creation myth doesn't have a flood story? Aztecs, Incas, Sumerians, Mayan, Jews, Greeks all feature catastrophic flooding. Could it just be something to do with the fact that early settlements had to be in a riverine environment and before they were able to control that environment floods were a real risk - and their tales reflected these concerns? ...and as an aside...if there were two of each animal...what did the carnivores eat?
  • Re:Uhhh (Score:3, Insightful)

    by fucksl4shd0t (630000) on Tuesday April 27, 2004 @04:54AM (#8981485) Homepage Journal

    Okay then, how do you reconcile the claim that the earth is only 6,000 years old with the preponderance of scientific evidence to the contrary? The way I see it, religious zealots' faith that the earth absolutely must be only 6,000 years old is absolutely mutually exclusive with science, which has easily proven this wrong.

    That claim is pure absurdity and I patently dismiss it. :)

    However, I have heard claims that made a lot more sense. Consider that Man, at the level of development at which he wrote the first parts of the bible (the parts generally used for dating the earth) was very primitive, and likely wasn't yet capable of understanding a great many things, such as the entire concept of a millenia, let alone eons and so forth. So he wrote it in terms that he could understand. That doesn't mean it happened in those terms. So, what we wind up with is something along these lines: "At some point while the earth was heaving and hoeing, at great odds against it, three proteins combined into a self-replicating molecule called DNA, the successor of RNA (or whatever it is, I'm not a geneticist). When the Bible says that God created Man and animals and so forth, what God really said was 'I caused the three proteins to combine, because otherwise it wouldn't have happened'." I've also heard explanations that make God into Energy, all the energy of the universe, in fact, and that the big bang was God banging out in all His Glory, creating the heavens. Then he created the Earth. The bible does say "God is the light" or something, and primitive man wrote in terms the he could understand, because he couldn't understand what He was really saying.

    As for dismissing believers, what's wrong with that? If someone believes something with absolutely no rational basis for this belief, and this belief flies in the face of a large amount of evidence to the contrary, then why shouldn't that person be dismissed as a crackpot? These days, if some guy starts telling people he's communicating with aliens, he usually gets locked up in the funny farm. Why are religious people given any more respect?

    "Because it's my religion, and you have to respect it." Blah, stupid is stupid. I'm with you on this one, believe me. Take it on faith, if you have to. ;)

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 27, 2004 @04:55AM (#8981486)
    There's cognitive dissonance, and then there's beating a dead horse. A religious scientist? He's probably had people like you trying to "discuss" religion with him for as long as he can remember. Helpful atheist scientists trying to show him the error of his ways.

    I have no doubt he knows by heart every point you would make, has every reply perfectly formulated in his mind, and is horribly sick of running through it with every goddamn person he works with. It took me about 20 minutes of Descartes to realize that science and religion are totally disconnected and using one to describe the other is practically a non sequitur. Yet atheists - and I probably should count myself a member of that camp, though I despise being associated with most of them even that much - find endless delight in equine flagellation.

  • Re:Gee... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by pe1rxq (141710) on Tuesday April 27, 2004 @05:02AM (#8981511) Homepage Journal
    Different ark, indy found a box, not a ship.

    Jeroen
  • by Yorrike (322502) on Tuesday April 27, 2004 @05:04AM (#8981520) Homepage Journal
    Just to start off, I'm currently doing a degree in geology, with an interest in tectonics. I am about to do a lot of guess work with the numbers we have to deal with, so if a biblically knowledgable person would like to correct me anywhere, feel free.

    If all the ice in the world melted, the sea level would rise by about 70 meters. That leaves ~2400 meters wanting for the seabed, if this boat was only half way up the mountain (assuming the parent got that height right, and 2,500 meters isn't that high)

    Let's assume this shortfall was made up by plate techtonics. I haven't read the bible, but I'm assuming they're dealing with a relatively short time frame here, since the Noah story was supposed to have taken place. Let's give them a good chuck of time, say 7200 years to keep things nice a mathematically simple.

    So, to give plate techtonics the credit, the Ararat area would therefore have to be moving 33cm a year, or 1mm every single day for the last 7200 years, vertically.

    Continental drift occurs at, on average, at the same speed your fingernails grow, or ~5-10cm a year. Now three time the average would be something special, but three times the yearly average purely vertically would have geo physicists very interested, esspecially considering the Arabian plate is esitmated to have an average tectonic movement of around 4cm [hypertextbook.com] per year (this is largely horizontal movement, remember).

    OK, so let's give a little give and say the 4cm/y was purely vertical over the last 7200 years, that's 288 meters, leaving us still 2,112 meters short of the sea level, even if all the ice had melted.

    So, tectonics would have had to have being working overtime and a half to have made up for this shortfall.

    Let's think about this from the perspective of the geological record. From observation by many different people around the world of sedimentary strata, from gas sample taken from ice cores along with many other observations, it is agreed in the scientific community that sea level was about 6 meters higher ~8,000 years ago.

    Now, truth is that ~8,000 years ago (7600 to be a little more precise), there were huge floods [noaa.gov], as the weather was very unstable, but the flooding that occured certainly didn't cover the Earth (there'd be some wicked Quaternary [gov.ns.ca] formations if it did), which leads me to thinking that the story of Noah's ark should be taken more in terms of a fishing tale (thiiiiiiis big), rather than an accurate record of a historical event.

    Besides, need we get into the debate about exactly how big that arc would have to have been in order to contain two of every species on earth? Or that for a gentically viable population, you need around 10-20 breeding pairs (according to a genetics scientist friend of mine). Or that reforesting the Earth would have taken hundreds of thousands, if not million of years. Or that the bible has been rewritten, translated and modified many, many times (but let's not go there) .

  • by NoOneInParticular (221808) on Tuesday April 27, 2004 @05:14AM (#8981554)
    Another possibility: a tribesman climbed a mountain way back in the past, found (like Darwin did) fossils of fish and seashells on top of the mountain, and made the (correct) inductive leap that the mountain was covered with water at some point in history. Unfortunately, the tribesman wasn't aware that mountains can actually grow due to tectonic movements, and that this particular mountain might have started out at the bottom of a sea. He came back from the mountain to his tribe with the story that obviously the entire earth was flooded at some point. A few generations down the line it was God's wrath that flooded the earth, and obviously some guy survived the flood by building a big boat. Without the guy, there's no explanation how anyone but the fish could have survived the experience. And another myth is born.
  • Re:What happens if (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 27, 2004 @05:35AM (#8981602)
    something which doesn't exist can't have a sense of humour, dumbass.
  • Re:Conspiracy (Score:3, Insightful)

    by dave420 (699308) on Tuesday April 27, 2004 @07:15AM (#8981998)
    you're basing your ideas on a plural? The bible isn't that accurate. Heck, it's not even accurate to whole pages, let alone letters. It's not meant to be taken literally. It's passed down through thousands of pairs of hands, each of which has added its own slant to the story - imparted their agenda upon the text.

    To take it as face value is being blindly lead by all those people.

    Why do some people keep on saying it's all 100% accurate? It's hard to find a book printed in the last 5 years that's 100% accurate, let alone one "written" 5,000 years ago. Maybe, instead of "mountains", they meant "biggest 7-11". It's not as if everything else in the bible is spot on.

    It makes the mind boggle. Sheesh. It's the 21st century. Sure - take the bible and use it as inspiration to live a better life. It's great for that - Jesus is a cool guy. Don't, however, take it as an accurate record of the zeitgeist of the biblical ages. Like you wouldn't think of it as the Zagat survey of falafel shacks in Arabia c.-4000. I could go on for hours about how it's supposed to inspire, not instruct, but it usually annoys people.

  • by jkantola (84776) on Tuesday April 27, 2004 @07:26AM (#8982046)
    There are certain attributes that make a person be scientific, and these attributes cause both the interest in science and a lack of religiosity.

    Wow. That's a lot like I used to see things when I was twenty. I don't think there's any substance to what you're saying however.

    I'd say something like: there are certain attributes that make a person be curious and these attributes cause both the interest in science and interest in religion stir up at various times, sometimes even simultaneously.

    Science stems from a curiosity towards nature, a seemingly infinite search for explanations for what our senses tell us. The senses, however, are not the whole story, and our best quantifiable science even says so. And this is where we inevitably take the leap to the realm of religious kind of thinking. And it's okay! A truly scientific line of reasoning should not discount a "religious" thought based on its origin or present unproveability only.

    I haven't seen an atheist who didn't believe in something -- most believe in science with equal fervor and closed-mindedness to some who believe in bible. They know that they have the right, therefore good, knowledge; and anyone who's sceptical has to be wrong and therefore a witch. But a mind that thinks in terms of good and bad is a corrupt mind.

    The way us with scientific background tend to overlook the opinion of all the others is the saddest statement of where our science has really gone. In my opinion, a good scientists has above all an open mind, clear thinking and a solid knowledge of what has already happened and been found out. Often scientists have the latter two but lack the first.

  • by fucksl4shd0t (630000) on Tuesday April 27, 2004 @07:29AM (#8982068) Homepage Journal

    Though, I've run across a few scientific people who are actually religious. They're always such killjoys, though, since they are always like "Yeah, don't bug me about it." You'd think such people would understand the benefits of cognitive dissonance.

    As both scientists and Christians, I'm sure they're weighing the benefits of cognitive dissonance against the drawbacks of persecution. That's what I'd be doing if I were them. ;)

  • by jcsehak (559709) on Tuesday April 27, 2004 @07:50AM (#8982191) Homepage
    It's a myth. There's a larger truth going on that trancends geological proofs. You either believe it or you don't.

    It's scientifically impossible for someone to turn water into wine or raise the dead, but you don't see people spouting off technical explanations about why it can't be done. Everyone agrees it's impossible. It has to be -- shit, if the bible said "Noah then took his dog Patches and went to the beach for 40 minutes," what would be the sense in that?

    Yes, it's impossible. Obviously. But that doesn't mean it didn't happen.
  • Re:-1: Flamebait (Score:3, Insightful)

    by fucksl4shd0t (630000) on Tuesday April 27, 2004 @07:51AM (#8982204) Homepage Journal

    The wording of the story, and most of the replies i've read have shown me that while most of us want everyone to have free software (as in freedom) we still dont respect people's right to be free to believe what they want, no matter how much we might disagree.

    Sometimes it can be difficult to tell the difference between respecting someone's right to hold a stupid belief and not respecting the belief itself. See, I can respect people's right to believe whatever religious tripe they want. But the religion would have to be pretty damn, well, I don't know what word would describe it, but pretty damn not-stupid before I could respect the belief itself. Somewhere along the lines people started saying that the right to believe whatever stupid thing they wanted meant we had to respect it, too, and that's just not true. We have to respect the right, but not the belief.

  • by Beardydog (716221) on Tuesday April 27, 2004 @07:55AM (#8982223)
    I think that's listed under "Reasons you don't get to worship anyone else." I suppose that's easily explained by revisions and mistranslations, but it's a little odd.

    So God allows suffering because it causes us to turn to him? That's really not a healthy relationship, not even in a parent-child context. That's like secretly burning your kid's homework at the last minute so he has to beg you for help.

    And why do we need to turn to him? Because believing in him is the only way to stay out of Hell. Why is Hell there? He allowed it to be there, and apprently he tossed some asshole in to be the DM, so he must have a reason for it. Whoever this devil fellow is, he seems to get a kick out of his job, so it doesn't sound like much of a punishment. But maybe it is, what do I know. The result is that a God who claims to love us and can run the show just about any way he wants to was directly involved in the creation of a place of such evil, pain, and eternal horror that it would be morally wrong of him NOT to fill the world with cancer, man-eating tigers, and asteroids that crush dogs, just so we have to to pray to him for mercy.

    Why does disbelief in God warrant eternal suffering? Because he's smarter than me, and I wouldn't understand? You know, I consider myself to be more loving and merciful than most, but I'm certainly not up there with any God worth praying to for any but the most selfish and calculated reasons, and -I- think that's fucking extreme. He's God. If he REALLY wants to keep someone from crashing Heaven's parties and spiking the bunch, he's got Ultimate RBL power. As a last resort, just erase the poor bastards.

    When a rottweiler eats a child, you don't put it on life support and torture it for ten years, you put it to sleep.

    And you don't let a rottweiler eat a child now and then just so the rest have to beg you to keep them leashed.
  • by Analogy Man (601298) on Tuesday April 27, 2004 @08:09AM (#8982306)
    "We are not excavating it. We are not taking any artifacts."

    I would hope they are careful not to disturb the footprints of all the animals disembarking 2 by 2. They may not be very fresh after 5000 years, but it would be a shame to loose that important scientific evidence forever.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 27, 2004 @08:09AM (#8982309)
    As a fellow Christian I am appalled that you would continue to circulate secular lies about the accuracy of the Bible!

    The "modifications" to the Bible theory was disproved by the Dead Sea scrolls... that's why they were such a big deal! The Dead Sea scrolls contained thousands of parchments preserved since 100BC. That's right... there were hundreds of Old Testament fragments found that were dated 100 years before Christ! Do you know how many "modifications" they found... less than 1 percent... and none of those 1 percent were considered major changes in doctrine... merely changes in wording.

    For once and for all, the Bible has NOT been modified over time. We have copies of the Old Testament Hebrew manuscripts, over 2000 years old, and they are 99% pure when compared to the copies used for our modern translations.

    And for the record, Bibles are not translated using a "layered" approach. All translations are based on the same manuscripts... so we don't have drift over time.

    I could spend another 1000 words describing all the ways in which the copies of the manuscripts have been examined, and how copies were made... but I'm not going to do this. Our society subsists too much on "spoon-feeding" people who are too lazy to look up facts.

    If you are truly interested in learning about the authenticity of the Bible, PLEASE go out and pick up a copy of "Evidence that Demands a Verdict" by Josh McDowell. Josh was a lawyer who set out to disprove Christianity, and ended up converting due to all of the evidence that supports it. He goes about examining the evidence for Christianity in a very thorough and exacting way. I highly recommend it (although its about as big as a college Physics text!).

    God bless.
  • by Colonel Cholling (715787) on Tuesday April 27, 2004 @08:18AM (#8982376)
    It is surprising how easily science lines up with the "fairy tales" of the Bible when you don't approach it from a pre-conceived, Darwinian "this is the way it had to be" mindset.

    Yeah, like when you have the completely objective opinion that the universe cannot be more than six thousand years old, and some astronomer points out parralax measurements showing that we can see stars which are millions of light years away, you're free to come up with some story about the light being created a few miles from Earth, and given a trajectory that just happens to make it look like it came from millions of miles away. Surprisingly, none of these people take me seriously when I propose that Ogobo the Nine-Headed Monkey God created the entire universe a mere three minutes ago, and implanted us with artificial memories and fossils and stuff to make us believe everything is older.

    Trust me, I've looked at creation "science." They really employ only two methods: they presuppose the Bible is 100% accurate, so their "science" is reduced to coming up with increasingly improbable stories to cover up for the fact that the Bible is frequently inconsistent with scientific observation; or they make some statement such as "science can't explain x" (such as what happened before the Big Bang) so therefore you have to accept their creator god as the only possible alternative.

    The trouble is, when you read their accounts to the exclusion of genuine scientists, and you never find out how easily their claims can be debunked, it sounds pretty convincing.
  • by scottblascocomposer (697248) on Tuesday April 27, 2004 @08:27AM (#8982458) Homepage
    Just to point out the possibility you seem to leave out:

    I am a Christian. I believe in the Trinity, that Christ came, was born, crucified, died, entombed, and raised up again. I believe that the Bible is God's written word to us.

    I also believe in evolution. I believe that the world is almost unimaginably old, that the Big Bang happened, that life evolved from simple seeds to what it is now.

    The thing is, I believe all that physical evidence is also God's word to us. Nowhere in the Bible is the "Sola Scriptura" mantra given to us, but we are told to consider the world around us and what it tells us about God. Seems to me that it tells us that God uses his established "rules of nature" to accomplish most (if not all) of what he wants done here. Do I necessarily know how? Nope, I'm not a scientist, but I know many of them who are, in fact, Christian and believe the same as I do.

    You misunderstand science: it is not a quest to prove your hypothesis, but rather a quest to disprove it. It's easy to line up data that appears to back up what you claim is the truth (this is where Creation "Science" usually ends up... seeking proof for a foregone conclusion), what's difficult is to formulate a hypothesis, and then attack it with everything you can muster to see if it survives; if and when it passes, you publish your findings in a peer reviewed journal, and everyone else attacks it with everything they've got, goes over you equations, checks everything, and tries to replicate your findings. Only after something repeatedly survives this kind of rigorous testing is it accepted as a theory (not the "theory" that people mean when they try to denigrade Darwinism, that's a different meaning for the word... look it up).

    I was raised as a Young Earth Creationist, and it took a lot for me to be able to give that up and accept the scientific proof of these things. The thing is, my faith grew as I accepted them. Does believing that much of the Bible is not meant to be taken literally bother me, or hurt my faith? Not at all! Do you believe that all of Christ's parables were literally true, or was he telling a story to get a point across? I believe the same benefit can be taken from a lot of the Bible: look for what it tells you about God, about his relation to the world and to us. That's the meat of the whole book...

  • Perhaps you could help me to believe by addressing the key points that are hard to swallow. Personally, I do believe there was a great flood, since there is ample scientific evidence of flooding and there are stories of it in many diverse cultures. What I don't believe is that it covered the entire world wiping out all life except for that bird,that olive tree, and the occupants of the ark. I don't believe all the genetic diversity of both the human and animal kingdom then sprang forth from the handful of survivors. I don't believe they then managed to mass migrate to the entire rest of the world, change skin colour, change genetic disposition to certain dieseases, change hip bone and skull shape, and all the myriad other changes that have supposedly happened in the last 6000 years. These kinds of changes happen over hundreds of thousands of years.

    Now, assuming that the whole world was flooded, who rounded up one of every insect, many of which are indigenous only to certain continents? There's millions of types of insect, many with lifespans way shorter than the time it would take to round them up. How did Noah get a pair of Wetas (New Zealand hissing raoch like thing), or the red backed spider? How did lavae with a lifespan shorter than 40 days survive? Didn't the relativity high temperatures and the low humidity bother the polar bears? How did the wheat, grass and other low lyying vegetation survive the salting of the land that would have occured after it was all under the sea? Salting is deadly to soil.

    If you or anyone can sensibly, and without "an act of god", explain those questions then I will personally eat the entire Ark when it is excavated. That's right, I will fly to Turkey, climb the mountain and eat the whole Ark. I'll send photos to SlashDot as proof.

  • by jeffasselin (566598) <cormacolinde@gma ... minus physicist> on Tuesday April 27, 2004 @08:34AM (#8982520) Journal
    That's the key. Our perception is the only thing that's changed. He has not.

    But which is the God you worship? The "true" one, or the one you believe in, of which you hold the idea in your mind?
  • Re:My own thoughts (Score:3, Insightful)

    by cranos (592602) on Tuesday April 27, 2004 @08:36AM (#8982547) Homepage Journal
    I think you'll find that the reason so many people make comments about christians is that by and large the christian churches have held themselves up to be the image of piety and correctness, and yet time and time again they have proven to be less than perfect, sometimes down right criminal.

    As to the bible, as a creation legend and a basis for society it does well enough, however, the bible really is full of contradictions, not the least between the old and the new testament, but even within the old testament there are many instances where if you try and examine them on a logical level, just do not work. Adam and Eve is one example, their kids is another.

    Yes I am an athiest, yes I do believe in a persons right to worship as they please, and yes I do reserve the right to question a religious system which dominates the western world and much of africa with outmoded ideas that are quaint when viewed on their own but when taken so seriously by others can lead to needless tragedy and devastation.

  • by Yorrike (322502) on Tuesday April 27, 2004 @08:38AM (#8982568) Homepage Journal
    As a human with the ability to use basic logic, I'm appalled with your assumption that because someone wrote something down, it has to be true.
  • by Yorrike (322502) on Tuesday April 27, 2004 @08:41AM (#8982588) Homepage Journal
    Yes, it's impossible. Obviously. But that doesn't mean it didn't happen.

    Yet many christians are not willing to accept concepts that are truly based in reality, are not far fetched, have scientific fact you can confirm by going out and observing youself without relying on a book filled with fanciful fairy tales.

  • by Yorrike (322502) on Tuesday April 27, 2004 @09:05AM (#8982792) Homepage Journal
    The ancient Greeks assumed the existence of Antarctica [condorjour...ntures.com] hundreds of years BC, no one prays to their gods, but hey, they were right.

    None of the prophecies have been proven false

    It's amazing how interpetation with 20/20 hindsight can't be disproven.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 27, 2004 @09:10AM (#8982839)
    "But that kind of curiosity could never drive me to be a closed mind, mindlessly believing something just because an old fairy tale said so. Religion is exactly contrary to what the scientific method is all about."

    So you think religion is about being closed-minded and mindlessly believing something just because an old fairy tale said so? That's kind of what it sounds like. To me, that's not what religion is about at all. Maybe you've had a bad experience with organized religion in the past? It's just people that run organized religion... just regular folks. Why should they be different from the people that run any other institution? They're plenty able to twist something good into something that serves their own selfish needs (and likely not even realize they've done the twisting). Religion shouldn't be about what you seem to think it's about, and it doesn't need to be.
  • by pherris (314792) on Tuesday April 27, 2004 @09:16AM (#8982902) Homepage Journal
    The Meek Shall Inherit Nothing

    Some take the bible
    For what it's worth
    When it says that the meek
    Shall inherit the Earth
    Well, I heard that some sheik
    Has bought New Jersey last week
    'N you suckers ain't gettin' nothin'

    Is Hare Rama really wrong
    If you wander around
    With a napkin on
    With a bell on a stick
    An' your hair is all gone ...
    (The geek shall inherit nothin')

    You say yer life's a bum deal
    'N yer up against the wall ...
    Well, people, you ain't even got no kinda
    Deal at all
    'Cause what they do
    In Washington
    They just takes care of NUMBER ONE
    An' NUMBER ONE ain't YOU
    You ain't even NUMBER TWO

    Those Jesus Freaks
    Well, they're friendly but
    The shit they believe
    Has got their minds all shut
    An' they don't even care
    When the church takes a cut
    Ain't it bleak when you got so much nothin'
    (So whaddya do? Hey!)
    Eat that pork
    Eat that ham
    Laugh till ya choke
    On Billy Graham
    Moses, Aaron 'n Abraham ...
    They're all a waste of time
    'N it's your ass that's on the line
    (IT'S YOUR ASS THAT'S ON THE LINE)

    Do what you wanna
    Do what you will
    Just don't mess up
    Your neighbor's thrill
    'N when you pay the bill
    Kindly leave a little tip
    And help the next poor sucker
    On his one way trip ...
    SOME TAKE THE BIBLE ...
    (Aw gimme a half a dozen for the hotel room!)

    Religion is fine until people insist there is a basis in reality. If I asked you to believe in a computer program that speeds up dialup connections 1000x what would you say? "Show me the code". Yet way, way too many accept religion with zero physical proof. Guess what kids: they won't find Noah's Ark because there is no Noah's Ark.

    Look at what religion has done to the the US: Bush has wrapped himself in the bible and the flag and see what mess he's gotten us in. Without his money, flag and bible he'd be washing dishes at Dennys. I'll die fighting to support one's right to pray to whatever God or Gods they wish but please don't try to make me believe in your shared hallucinations.

    And remember to kindly leave a little tip to help that next poor sucker on his one way trip ...

  • by jaoswald (63789) on Tuesday April 27, 2004 @09:21AM (#8982942) Homepage
    If I choose not to believe what is in the Bible, I still have science, which gets tested every day billions of times and keeps working.

    Don't believe fluid dynamics? Planes keep taking off day after day. Don't believe quantum mechanics? Your CD player and DVD player keep reading disks using semiconductor laser diodes.

    I've also got modern constitutional principles to explain that we, as citizens of our respective countries, can come up with reasonable rules for living with one another without killing people who choose to have silly beliefs that don't affect me.

    I don't need to give some 2500 year old book of Hebrew just-so stories enormous importance in my philiosphical system to get by. I can use ideas that definitely came from humans, and seem to work, and when they don't work, they can be changed to fit new circumstances. That way, when new discoveries happen and make 2500 year old stories look sillier and sillier, I don't have to get my panties in a bunch; I can properly appreciate how people can understand the universe and each other better and better through hard work. That's called progress, and I like it. If you don't believe in human progress, perhaps you'd better turn your computer off and stop using the benefits of it. Your God of Abraham and Isaac and Jacob didn't give you the internet, science did. Now have some fucking respect.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 27, 2004 @09:45AM (#8983229)
    well actually it is a little more complicated than that - since Lot and Noah both showed plenty of signs of unfaithfulness. If you read on, you'll see Lot's daughters got him drunk and slept with him after S&G. The truth of the Bible, Old and New Testament is not that any of us are faithful to God, but that he is faithful to us, and it is not because we earn or deserve it.

    And I prefer to think of miracles as "time lapse" pictures of what God does. If you believe there is an omnipotent God, then he has control of everything. So he's ultimately in charge of punishing, healing, and everything. So miracles are just him doing his thing, only faster so we can see it. The point of miracles is not an "out" to explain things away - the point is supernatural, above or outside the natural order of things.

    And reading the Bible one quickly sees that miracles don't often lead to faith - virtually every person in the Bible that sees a miraculous event still acts unfaithfully at some point towards God.

    I understand your point - that people who believe see miracles everywhere and that is probably true. But you can't believe in a supernatural God unless you accept that he could act in supernatural ways. I'm a pretty educated guy with a post graduate degree who believes in scientific method, and it is against my nature to believe in things I can't explain. But I've seen one or two in my lifetime and my faith demands that I deal with those things.
  • by Christianfreak (100697) on Tuesday April 27, 2004 @09:47AM (#8983252) Homepage Journal
    If you could point to proof that says "God Wrote THIS!" what we have today has been overly perverted by man so much that it is almost nothing like the origional[sp].

    Then why do the Dead Sea Scrolls (which are close to 2,000 years older than any other old source) almost 100% accurate to what we have today?

    Do you have any clue how Bibles are translated? They take the oldest manuscripts they can find and those come from before the Catholic church as it is today was ever formed. The Jews very closely guarded their written and oral traditions so its hard to say they changed stuff to suit them. If it was all about power and control of people wouldn't they just make it up?

    The Catholics have more in their Bible than the protestants do. And you can still read any of the works that weren't put in the Bible and decide for yourself if they should be there or not. Its called the Apocrypha. So its hard to say that they changed things to suit them either.

    I agree that some churches and church leaders are about money and power and that the Church (i.e. Catholic back when that's all there was) has twisted meanings to get their way and done all kinds of evil things. The great thing is that as a whole people are more educated and have more access to the actual sources than ever before and those who truely care can check and see wheither or not their leaders and telling them the truth.

    Just my beef, 90% of christians are hippa-christans

    100% of Christians are hypocrites. For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. But, ... while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. I agree with your idea though, if Christian's lived closer to how God asked us to do and really became "Little Christs" (which is what 'Christian' comes from in Greek) there would be huge differences. The trick is to be that way yourself and surround yourself with others that do.

    For the record, I'm a Christian and I go to a church that meets in a plain building. They have built a gym and they have inner-city kids come play in it, they have a food pantry to feed the homeless, they openly ask in church for people to take food to elderly or to mow their grass or fix their roofs. There are good churches out there, and even if you can't find one that's perfect you can make a difference by doing what Christ has called us all to do.

  • by Beardydog (716221) on Tuesday April 27, 2004 @09:50AM (#8983289)
    If he makes the rules, why did Christ have to suffer and die for us to get preferential treatment?

    The entire city of Pompeii was killed by a sudden wave of toxic gas, then buried under ash. What is the valuable lesson they learned for future use?

    Being creator doesn't make him more right, it just makes him more powerful. People in positions of power don't deserve respect and worship simply by virtue of their status. He created us with free will, then cursed us with pain and death the minute we exercised it.

    Pain and death are bad. They are the ultimate enemy. If God made hunger hurt like all get out so I'd learn to plant my crops on time, I'd be fine with that. When I plant my crops on time, and God sends a killing frost in early spring and blows a tree onto my child's bedroom as she sleeps, I'm not a happy camper.

    But maybe hell won't be that bad. Lack o' God doesn't sound all that troubling. We'll set up a nice government, lock up the pedophiles and murderers like we do topside, and open a few Starbucks.
  • Ark Search Facts (Score:3, Insightful)

    by RobbieW (4330) on Tuesday April 27, 2004 @09:51AM (#8983304) Homepage

    If you are interested or curious you can find out a LOT of interesting information at my Uncle's site. He has a country place that no one knows about!

    Here [noahsarksearch.com]

    Uncle B has been on several expeditions to "the mountains of Ararat" and has co-authored a book on the subject.

    Many of the "facts" that have been presented on Slashdot are... well... this is Slashdot!

    For open minded individuals, the abusive distortion of facts by ANY dogmatic belief (creation, evolution, humanism, christianity, islam, ufos, atheism, whatever!) is pathetic.

    Facts are facts. The problem is always interpretation. As Rush said, "you can twist perceptions, reality won't budge." The problem is that many people accept the interpretation of data as FACT and that's just as dogmatic and foolish as someone who doesn't question the beliefs (or total lack thereof) that were imparted to them.

    I find it interesting that the most "open minded" people turn out to be the most zealously dogmatic when confronted with something that is contrary to their opinion and beliefs, because let's face it: it is all a system of belief. Every factual interpretation is based on assumptions. Those assumptions probably seemed reasonable at the time. But they were wrong. It turns out that the Earth orbits the Sun, not the other way around!

    As a Christian, I'm classified by a lot of people as ignorant or simple. The truth is that I choose to believe in Christ for one simple reason: if you want to know what it is, you can read my reply to this message. If you don't want to know, I won't proselytize. I give you the choice to read it or not.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 27, 2004 @10:11AM (#8983538)
    Unlike the big bang theory which says the universe arose from the explosion of a dot of matter smaller than the period at the end of this sentence. It did that some 13 or is it 20 billion years ago (heck it may have doubled in age again since I last looked a few weeks ago) and that wasn't a miracle thats science!
  • History (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Thangodin (177516) <elentar AT sympatico DOT ca> on Tuesday April 27, 2004 @10:58AM (#8984092) Homepage
    The written history of the Jews (which Christians call the Old Testament) was compiled during their exile in Babylon, with the intent of solidifying the Jewish identity against absorbtion by the Babylonians. As such, it made many exagerated claims about Israel's military prowess, to instill a sense of nationalistic pride. But no one has ever found any evidence of great wars or the exodus. In this case, lack of evidence is evidence--as one Biblical archeologist put it, "If it had actually happened, we would have found something." So the vast conquests probably amounted to a few tribal skirmishes. But hell, the Trojan war was a tribal skirmish. The rest is myth. We do know that the Jewish tribes probably originated in Egypt (though probably not as slaves), because most of the myths in the Old Testament are almost exact copies of older Egyptian myths (as is Christianity.)

    Judaism is not and never has been a triumphalist religion. It does not proseletize and has no interest in converting others unless they become affiliated by marriage. It is first and formost a tribal religion providing an ancestral memory. To this end, it has been wildly successful, and has avoided most of the excesses of the triumphalist religions, Islam and Christianity.

    As for Noah's Ark, this too is a much older myth predating Judaism (Atlantis is one version of it.) The story of the flood may have a historical basis; at the end of the last ice age, the melting of European glaciers flooded the Mediterranean Sea until a natural barrier collapsed. The water flooded the Black Sea in a massive rush, with water levels rising hundreds of feet in a matter of months. There is evidence that this displaced a lot of people living on the shores of the Black Sea. The flood myth may have originated with this event.
  • by EllisDees (268037) on Tuesday April 27, 2004 @11:03AM (#8984174)
    No, it's not possible for all the mountains in the world to have sprung up over a 40 day period. The amount of energy required to raise the Himalayas in that period of time would have turned the entire crust of the earth into a lava field.

    Trillions of tons of mass raised miles into the air in 40 days?!? Just think about it for a second.
  • by AyeRoxor! (471669) on Tuesday April 27, 2004 @11:04AM (#8984184) Journal
    "''We are not excavating it. We are not taking any artifacts. We're going to photograph it and, God willing, you're all going to see it,' McGivern said.' As if pictures can't be doctored and are absolute proof...."

    They're certain they're going to see it; you're certain they're not. You're both two sides of the same irrational coin. Me? I'm a real scientist. I believe anything is possible, and, realizing many ancient stories are based upon a real, however romanticized, person or event, I try not to have presuppositions. And when I may have a presupposition, I don't gloat it as a source of pride.

  • by Thuktun (221615) on Tuesday April 27, 2004 @11:26AM (#8984471) Homepage Journal
    Perhaps it wasn't 17000 feet tall at the time. Simply because the earth currently has "deep" oceans and "high" mountains doesn't mean that it always did.

    I find it even harder to believe that the remains of a wooden boat would remain on a mountain long enough for such radical geological changes to take place.
  • by lcsjk (143581) on Tuesday April 27, 2004 @11:35AM (#8984596)
    Since the Bible is a book of religion and not a history book, and since some of the stories like "Adam and Eve" and "Noah and the Ark" could have been handed down for eons before they were ever transcribed to writing, these early Bible stories may be hundreds of thousands of years older than recorded history. The actual water depth, and mountain height could be wrong, and even the name of the mountain could be wrong. However, a flood event is recorded in many cultures other than just the bible. So, perhaps something happened that is not outside the laws of nature, but still is within the events of the Bible as a book of religion. There may be an ark on some mountain, and there may be an "Ark of the Covenant" somewhere. The existance or non-existance of either will not explain nor disprove any parts of a "book of religion". Discovery of something, like the remnants of an ark, will give historians and scientists something to talk about. Being able to date parts of a boat back to about 1-5 million years would really give some credulance to the flood story, regardless of how it happened, yet it would not change the "miracle" event as recorded in the Bible. It's easy to believe in science. It's hard to believe in miracles.
  • by corngrower (738661) on Tuesday April 27, 2004 @11:41AM (#8984677) Journal
    Of course Islam would have the legend of Noah's ark. Christianity, Judaism, and Islam share a comman ancestry. That which is contained in the Old Testament texts.

    Other posters have noted that because a large flood is such a catastrophic event, one is surely to find recorded evidence of one in many cultures. It doesn't mean that the flood was global.

  • by Thuktun (221615) on Tuesday April 27, 2004 @11:46AM (#8984752) Homepage Journal
    Indeed. It would be an impossibly large volume of water. That's why it's viewed as one of the miracles in the Bible -- a miracle being something that happens but does not follow natural laws. Something that can only happen if God decides to suspend the laws of nature and make it happen.

    I think it's much more likely that some people saw something and utterly misunderstood it. That would appear to be a common human failing, even today.
  • by |/|/||| (179020) on Tuesday April 27, 2004 @11:58AM (#8984906)

    It's easy to believe in science.
    The best thing about science is that it doesn't require belief. :)

  • Faking History (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 27, 2004 @12:00PM (#8984929)
    If they want help on FAKING HISTORY, they should contact a few evolutionary archiologists....


    "I'll take this baboons head that I find over here....and place it on this humans body I find over heeeeeeeeere....and BEHOLD... HOMO SHAQULLIS!! Notice the primate sinus cavities!"

  • by Asic Eng (193332) on Tuesday April 27, 2004 @12:02PM (#8984955)
    As pointed out in this post [slashdot.org] several archeological finds disprove parts of the bible.

    there are many well known _objections_ to some things in the bible, but i'm not aware of anything that is universally understood to be simply incorrect. are you ?

    No I'm not aware of anything universally understood, yet alone of anything universally understood to be incorrect. :-) So once you set the bar that high I have to stop arguing with you - you'll always find at least one person (apart from yourself) which will disagree. If the validity of their position does not matter, I have no chance in convincing you.

    if there was anything in the bible that was uncontestably false, nobody would believe in the bible anymore.

    Well you can contest anything, even if your objection has no observable merit. In the case of the cited post you could just say "what do archeologists know?". However if you use any archeological evidence to support the claim that parts of the bible can be proven to be correct, then the archeological evidence showing that other parts of the bible can be proven to be incorrect need to be considered, too. You need to use the same criteria to decide which archeological evidence is credible, no matter whether it proves or disproves.

    So you'll need to retract "part of the bible can be proven" or you'll need to accept "part of the bible can be disproven" - or you need to show that the archeological investigations pointing to the latter are somehow flawed. And showing these flaws you need to use the same standards for both kinds of archeological investigations.

  • by BlackHawk-666 (560896) <ivan.hawkes@gmail.com> on Tuesday April 27, 2004 @12:21PM (#8985223) Homepage
    Did those same creation scientists bother to mention the list of animals that did contain all the DNA needed to produce the offspring we have now? Please explain to me how only a pair of dogs is able to father the complete dog genus as we know it now, and make sure you take into account the age of the Noah story being ~6000 years ago.
  • by Dh2000 (71834) on Tuesday April 27, 2004 @01:09PM (#8985888) Journal
    You either trust God and what he said about it, or you trust man and what he says.

    Let's try that again..

    You either trust man and what he says about what God said about creation, or you trust man and what he says of it.

    The difference is only one concerning which person or group you trust to be more honest.

    I don't know about you, but I like the honesty that's integral to science.

  • The Angry God (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Catbeller (118204) on Tuesday April 27, 2004 @01:58PM (#8986539) Homepage
    This will be technically offtopic, but so is almost half of the postings here (not that I mind - lots of fun to be found).

    Here's some gristle for you religionists out there -- I'm not calling you Christians, for its rather silly to give southern American fundamentists the impression that they represent THE Christianity.

    Here we have the story of das Boot that survived the wrath of god about a dozen generations after the earth was created.

    Apparently god, a supernatural superpowerful spirit that refers to itself in the plural, decides that the entire world, except for this one family, was too "evil". He decides to kill every last thing on the plate (not planet - its flat), while Noah races against time before the god kills him along with everything else before the deadline. Fair's fair; if Noah is too slow, EVERYTHING dies. The god is a bit of a sportsman here. Move it or lose it, human!

    Now, here's the thing. This god apparently wants more than anything else to be flattered. To be begged, cajoled, importuned, deferred to,have animals sliced up and charcoaled (a bit of a Texan). People just aren't properly on their knees (both meanings intended).

    The angry god kills everyone. Noah and his terrified and emotionally destroyed brood find dry land and tell the god that they will do what he wants, please don't hurt us.

    The now appeased god promises never to do it again.

    Now, what is the difference between a Luciferian embodiment of all evil and this murdering psychotic all-powerful spirit?

    If I lived in a world controlled by such a lunatic power, I'd deny its divinity and work to take the motherfucker DOWN every minute of my life!

    The true measure of a god is to compare its actions with that of a good man.

    What kind of man would murder a plate of people and animals because they weren't paying attention to him?

    A man who ain't no god, that for sure. And I expect better behavior from all-powerful Yahweh -- or it's just an evil demonic power, to be opposed at all costs.

  • by Newtonian_p (412461) on Tuesday April 27, 2004 @02:17PM (#8986759) Homepage
    I see, you meant evolution in a more general sense than just evolution of living species on Earth.

    However, you shouldn't put the big bang or any natural beginning/early/creation of the universe in the evolution group because it may lead to confusion. When we talk of the evolution of the cosmos, we usually mean how the universe changed from an early stage (big cloud of gas) to a latter one (stars). We usually separate beginning (creation) with evolution (changes from that beginning to a latter stage).

    So to go back to what you meant, you are saying that the big bang violates the 2nd law of thermodynamics, that it implies that the universe gained order at its creation so that it may start gradually loosing it afterwards? But to gain something means to go from not having something before and up to a certain point in time to having acquired it just after that point in time. However, time itself begins with the big-bang, there is no before the big-bang, the big-bang is time 0+.

    How can you gain something when there is no 'before'? Or to put is another way: how can you say that the universe had some higher disorder 'before the big-bang' then during the big-bang when there is no such thing as 'before the big-bang'. Before is a temporal concept, it only applies in linear time.

  • by rwa2 (4391) * on Tuesday April 27, 2004 @02:40PM (#8986974) Homepage Journal
    There are a few scientific explanations for the miraculous stuff alluded to in biblical times. Some theories:

    The Great Flood was inspired by the creation of the Black Sea. Before 5600BC, it used to be a much, much smaller lake below sea level. In short order, the Mediterranean broke through and flooded vast amounts of farmland. This is the kind of event that could trigger enough content for an epic. Unfortunately, the best reference I can find on this at the moment is this amazon link [amazon.com].

    There have been similar studies done on other events, such as how Moses parted the Red Sea. It was on Discover or one of those shows, where some university was attempting to explain how a specific combination of high winds and tidal forces combined with the shape of the bottom of the Red Sea could have possibly temporarily cleared a wide channel/sandbar across the way. Sounds a bit more tenuous, and I can't find an online reference, but it seems plausible that someone with mastery of astronomical calendaring back then could have predicted an extremely low tide and used to to pull off such a feat.

    The Bible was certainly written over interesting times... back when books were made by hand of expensive materials (vellum doesn't come cheap, back at a time when wealth was expressed in livestock). Having something written down in a book laborously by monks was just as well as having it carved in stone -- it had enough proofreading and checking to have been taken as the ultimate truth. There was a time when judges used to literally carry around The Book of The Law, and pass judgements based strictly on what was written.

    After inventions like the Gutenberg press made books, journals, and newspapers a commodity, did people realize that what was written was not always true, and begin to look at such things critically as they should.

    For some reason, the religious communities have managed to shield their sacred texts from the same sort of transformation in the way we deal with sources of information. But it's doing what they're good at, aligning and organizing people along some lines of belief to accomplish some goal that they probably wouldn't have attained on their own or if they were liberals :P

    I like the way Neal Stephenson presents this kind of idea in Snow Crash. A bit exaggerated and fantastical, but altogether tangible and chilling.

  • Re:Conspiracy (Score:2, Insightful)

    by BeatlesForum.com (545967) on Tuesday April 27, 2004 @05:34PM (#8989779)
    rounding up 2 of every type of animal

    I take exception to that statement. The Bible states that two of every living thing and seven of every clean beast and two of every unclean beast were taken aboard. Most people just think it was two of everything.

    Even the most die hard christian fundamentalists would have a job believing so much patent bullcrap. Please, if you want to be christian then at least be one of the ones that whines "well, you ren't supposed to take it all litterally" every time you are challenged.

    I am a die-hard Christian fundamentalist. I believe the Bible to be inerrant and I take the Bible very literally. If you read it you can see when the writer is speaking figuratively or literally. So I won't whine about not taking it literally if you challenge me. :)

    thousands of years before the enlightenment.

    The who?

    Noah was able to identify the sexes of hundreds of different species, and even identify those that reproduced asexually

    Noah didn't. God did.

    Putting this into context, god commanded the Ark to be 300 cubits in length, which is roughly 140 metres, whereas at the battle of Trafalgar Nelson's flagship was about 65 metres in length.

    Amazing, isn't it? Of course, there's always been God around that created the heavens and the earth. He did that before ANYONE even thought about building anything.

    You seriously believe that thousands of years before the industrial revolution, god commanded Noah and his nearest and dearest to build a boat entirely of wood, that would be larger than any later wooden battleships.

    He had 120 years to build it. Remember that God told Noah that man's days were numbered to 120. Noah was the only person found righteous in the eyes of the Lord so he and his family were told to build the ark.

    I'll defend my faith until the day I die.
  • Re:History (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Dread_ed (260158) on Tuesday April 27, 2004 @07:00PM (#8990813) Homepage
    "Judaism is not and never has been a triumphalist religion"

    You have got to be kidding me! Triumpahlist means that you believe your religion to be superior to all others. The Jews not only believed this, but believed that they as a race were superior as well (and in many ways are). This prevented them from prosletyzing because they saw others as not worthy of even knowing about "their" God.

    Read the Old Testament closely and you will realize that the Jews were punished for NOT proselytizing, and the history you speak of is rife with examples of the failings of the Jews and their leaders. If the collection of books is supposed to be about boosting nationalistic pride, why would they show thir leaders as flawed, sinful, and vulnerable people? Why would they attribute to their God the sole responsibility for their survival instead of making up stories about thier own inherent strength? Why would they consistently show how weak they were and how they were punished and destroyed for their disobedience repeatedly if their aim in compiling this supposedly hyperbolic history was to impress their offspring?

    I'm sorry, but you make no sense.
  • by the_mad_poster (640772) <shattoc@adelphia.com> on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @09:58AM (#8995700) Homepage Journal

    Especially since science is not at all about finding an absolute truth and is forever seeking to discredit its own work as a means to either strengthen the position, or destroy it by replacing it with a new, stronger idea. After all, at one time, Ether was a good explanation for the gap between heavenly bodies. Now, we know better. But, we have things like dark matter that are just kind of stop gap solutions to problems we haven't solved yet. It's a pretty good bet that will be debunked eventually and replaced with a better explanation for extra gravity.

    Science doesn't require anymore faith than you have in humanity anyway. The fact is, any goober with a degree in some "scientific" field can come out with a wild theory. That's why other scientists set out to discredit it. If they can't discredit it, you have a pretty good reason to believe it... for now.

    The difference between real science and psuedo-science or religion, of course, is that those two things require you to simply have faith in the "truth" that an individual is speaking. Whereas science says, "here, I believe this and I can back it up! Come and get me!", religion says "Uh... here... I believe this, but you just have to believe me, because there's no way to prove what I'm saying".

    Big difference in the type of faith science requires and the type of faith religion requires.

  • by |/|/||| (179020) on Wednesday April 28, 2004 @11:46AM (#8996886)
    Theories that don't have "evidence" absolutely are *not* taken on faith. If a theory is elegant, say loop quantum gravity, for example, then you might *hope* that it works out - you may even assume that it's true for certain purposes (while remaining skeptical of the theory and any theory derived from it), or you may try to find a way to test the theory and see how well it works. If you were to simply take the theory on faith, then you would be easily misled by every wrong theory that came along!

    Assuming something is true for practical purposes, or hoping that something is true because it seems like it *should* be true, are not the same as being absolutely convinced that it is true. We must always remain skeptical of even the most well tested theories, not to mention the ones that don't even have any evidence!

    No, I am not sure that my brain doesn't communicate with others via some undiscovered phenomenon. However, it would be stupid of me to assume that it *does* do so, without a good explanation.

    As you say, there are lots we don't know and cannot explain. The point of science is to know and explain as much as we can. We shouldn't expect to be able to explain everything, and we also shouldn't go around believing in things that don't have an explanation.

How many hardware guys does it take to change a light bulb? "Well the diagnostics say it's fine buddy, so it's a software problem."

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