I could go into the details but I’m not sure that’s the direction we want to go here. But all these different things about the Ark itself, I think have very rational explanations. If one takes the time to look into those things, I think you’ll at least come to the conclusion that there is a rational defense of this.
What I defended was the idea that it was such a consistent story over virtually every culture in the history of humanity. And not just a flood story with various elements, whether it be eight people or animals and a boat and a dove or raven. Not just little details like that that are so conspicuous that we need to address them but other things. This flood and this whole boat situation was a result of some hybridization thing that happened and that was why the flood was sent. It goes even further than that. Beings that were a part of that hybridization that were locked in some sort of abyss. It’s these weird consistent things.
As it happens, I’m editing right now James Frazer’s 250-page comprehensive study of world flood myths (which I hope to have ready for release next week or so), and I have read more flood myths than I would ever care to read again. The results are rather unambiguous. There is no consistency across cultures, in either large things or small. Several traditions lack boats or arks of any kind, and the other details exist in such a range of variables that no conclusion of common origin can possibly be warranted. Neither are flood stories universal, nor are hybridized beings involved in all, or most. Frazer is probably correct in his conclusion that flood myths arose for many reasons, none of which have to do with a real flood. The observation of marine fossils on mountains inspired many stories, exaggerations of real but local floods still others, and a great number were created in response to or altered to conform with Jewish, Christian, or Islamic traditions. (Where ancient texts and modern traditions exist side by side, we can see this at work.)
I was impressed with Jason Colavito who is also a skeptic and certainly an Atheist or Agnostic. I’m not sure where he stands but he’s certainly not a Christian. He wrote another article saying, “Look, Skeptic.com just totally blew over this ancient Chinese flood myth.” He pointed out that this really is a connection. You can’t just simplify this and say, “Oh, it’s just a flood. We don’t have to worry about it.” He was saying that there are really consistent things and it really did happen. And at the end of the article he’s essentially saying to the skeptic community, “Look, I don’t believe Chris in this regard or whatever but these things are real and we haven’t come up with a good explanation for them.”
I think readers know my views on the Great Flood. There is no geological evidence it ever happened, and absent any such flood, we have no reason to speculate about the seating arrangements on the ark. That said, I did agree that some Chinese stories bear a resemblance to the Near Eastern flood myth, and I do not know why—but this shouldn’t be taken as evidence for a real flood. Such stories are found throughout Southeast Asia, an area with consistent cultural contact with India and through them to the lands beyond. Therefore, contact with Near Eastern, Hindu, Buddhist, Greek, Christian, or Muslim stories may well be involved.
White went on to discuss the similarities of ancient myths and their relationship to actual “hybridization” events. I hope to write more about this tomorrow.
However, I have repeatedly said that skepticism is an activity, not a belief, so White’s arguments about Noah’s Ark have no bearing on whether his Ancient Aliens Debunked offered sound criticisms of ancient astronaut claims. (By the same token, Ancient Aliens has to be taken on the merit of arguments, not on the dubious credentials and New Age spiritualism of its stars.)
That said, I do want to point out an undercurrent in the podcast. In the interview, Tsakris takes skeptics, including Skeptic’s Michael Shermer, to task for advocating scientific materialism and supporting mainstream, conventional beliefs:
I mean, Michael Shermer, great, he published your thing and did an article on his website and his magazine, but I find them to really just be Apologists, more or less, for scientific materialism which, let’s face it, is really a cover for Atheism.
I will leave it readers to judge how secular they find our soceity. I’ve often criticized organized skepticism for falling too much into the trap of the iron triangle proposed by philosopher Paul Kurtz, which saw skepticism as one side of a triangle composed also of secular humanism and atheism. While there is significant overlap among the adherents of each, I’ve repeatedly argued that these three systems are not synonymous and need not be taken together.