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Sensationalism instead of science,
Rezension bezieht sich auf: Noah's Flood: The New Scientific Discoveries About the Event that Changed History (Gebundene Ausgabe)
William Ryan and Walter Pitman are senior scientists at the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory of Columbia University. "Pitman is a fellow of the American Geophysical Union, and both authors have received the Shepard Medal for exemplary research in marine biology." However, this book is not about marine biology, but history and mythology. The main problem with this book is that the authors are clearly in over their heads.
The title makes it clear that these geologists--who are otherwise quite reasonable scientists--are seeking to "prove" their pet theory. This, together with the fact that these earth scientists are attempting to address questions of history, mythology, and archaeology that are well beyond their areas of particular expertise, makes their science especially suspect.
My principal problem with the book is that , but they never address the fundamental issue of how any useful information about a specific historical event can be transmitted orally across twenty five centuries in the context of small, politically decentralized Neolithic societies. If the Black Sea flood is the one recalled in Genesis, this means that the memory of this event was preserved for 2500 years before the appearance of any writing system and then another 2000 years before it was written down in Genesis.
The probability that any story could last this long among human populations seems to me extremely small. Think about the oral transmission of information about the Trojan War, which probably occurred (in some form) in the 13th century BC and evolved into the story as recounted by Homer over a period of four centuries. Or the story of the Exodus, which mostly likely occurred (in some form) in the late 13th century BC but wasn't recorded in the Biblical account until the 10th century BC. Both of these stories were conserved in the context of semi-literate cultures that are likely to have had formal specialists in "remembering" and the composition of epic poems and sagas. Any story of a "flood" that occurred 7500 years ago would have had to be conserved for SIX TIMES as long as the Iliad or TEN TIMES as long as Exodus in the context of much simpler societies that had NO written records at all! For how many generations can an oral tradition be conserved among non-literate peoples? The author's failure to address this key problem makes Ryan, Pitman, and now explorer Robert Ballard's identification of "Noah's Flood" a major interpretive leap that smacks of pseudoscience.
As an archaeologist, I've learned to be extremely skeptical about the claims of non-archaeologists about the human aspects of the ancient world. Another distinguished marine biologist who went off the deep end was Barry Fell, an expert on invertebrates at Harvard who abandoned all reason in his pursuit of "epigraphic" evidence for the presence of Celts, Phoenicians, Iberians, and other Old World explorers in the Americas. He treated as authentic dozens of objects that were widely recognized as fakes and hoaxes and promoted the worst kind of pseudoscience and pseudohistory. However, his popular book Saga America was identified as one of the best history books of 1976 and his writings have spun off a wide circle of disciples who continue to identify spurious runestones in Oklahoma and ancient naval academies in Arizona! Serious archaeologists consider Fell and his followers' claims as nonsensical as those of Creationists.
I suspect the Genesis Flood theory will not hold up well to criticism. The story of the Black Sea's dramatic rising and the possibility of well-preserved, submerged Neolithic settlements is exciting enough without the investigators resorting to sensationalistic interpretations.