Chinese flood: Does Ken Ham realize how strongly he's contradicting his own paradigm?

Interesting new archeological evidence was published concerning an ancient flood near the Yellow River in China… It was dated at 1922 BC.

Of course, Ken Ham has something to say about how it all confirms the global-flood model:

But, ironically, the dating of this flood in China was performed using carbon dating. Thinking about this, I come to the conclusion that associating this Chinese flood with Noach’s flood gives very serious problems for the YEC timeline.

Since the RATE project assumed accelerated decay times, it would place this Chinese flood in much more recent times. But there is no space for any additional floods in the YEC timeline.

These are just my thoughts upon reading this news. I’m interested in hearing more about what other people have to say about this. People who know a lot about the geological issues with the YEC timeline and its relation to RATE. I would be happy if, for example, @Joel_Duff would like to comment.


Casper, I think that is a great observation connecting the RATE project conclusions to a real-world example like this ancient flood evidence. YECs have no set of rules for how to determine when the C14 data is accurate, when it should be accelerated and when it should just be dismissed as bad data. Well, no, they do have one rule. If the data don’t fit then call into question the source of the data of the assumptions for interpreting the data.

Ken Ham and others will probably list this report on the future bibliographies of articles and put another point on the chart of flood legends on the Ark Encounter. But the approach is to glean from the headline that people remember a flood and so therefore it was the Biblical flood and the story is simply distorted because they are atheist and don’t want to acknowledge the truth. Ken Ham isn’t going to read the original research and pull out any details and see how they might fit because all of the individual details are facts that have to be interpreted through the lens of the past and so can’t be trusted. However, the generic truth of the story – a flood happened – is probably true and that supports their narrative.

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Hi Joel, thanks for commenting! A certain kind of sadness appears to radiate from your assessment of Ken Ham’s likely strategy, combined with a touch of cynicism.

As far as I know, the authors of the original article on the Chinese flood also managed to delineate the exact geographical extent of the flood by means of the sediment deposits. If the effects of this flood are completely constrained to that particular area, it can’t be linked to or occurring simultaneously with a global flood. What’s more, the effects of an actual flood would be easy to distinguish from the outrageous claims YECs make regarding global flood deposits.

It might be an idea for a blog post on your website to comment more on this particular finding. I don’t know whether you’ll have time for it, but you would have at least one reader here :slight_smile: .

The article you linked to about the Chinese flood exhibits all the traits of looking for evidence to support a view in spite of the actual evidence that is presented. How could this flood be anything but a post-flood event? The mountains and rivers had to form and people had to live in this region (it is likely that the bones found could probably even be identified as being of Asian descent) prior to this event occurring. Just as you point out, the evidence includes sedimentary deposits that sit upon much older deposits. They are clearly much more recent and limited in scope. There is nothing here to suggest that this flood could be related to a global flood. It would be foolish for Ken Ham to use this as evidence of a global flood. Unfortunately (and cynically I suppose) as I said before, Ken Ham and his colleagues may never read beyond the headlines or will read a very secondary sources like the one you linked, and never realize that their argument makes no sense in light of the “observational” evidence. And his followers aren’t going to look up the research themselves to test his words. I really do feel bad from some AiG speakers like a Bryan Osborne whom I have heard speak. He thinks that this is good evidence because he puts so much trust in Ken Ham and the other staff and so he will never know when he uses this flood on a future slide that in no way supports his talk.

Am I to assume this is an attempt to prove the “Noah” flood happened on a worldwide scale?
I am sorry, no disrespect intended, but I think this is a fools errand. I gave up a long time ago taking the story of Noah as a historical event. Quite a number of biblical scholars take the Noah story as just a Hebrews version of other common stories in the Middle East. Yes it has certain unique parts to it gving it a moral and covental them not seen in other stories. I think its one of the great mythical sagas that has more to do with the nature of the character of God in relation to humanity and the world. The geological record in many parts of the world point to ancient catastrophies leading to exinction of much of life, regionally and globally, on several occasions. God in His goodness helped some species to survive and start again with new ecosystems. Being a natural aspect of light I am sure that ranibows have been around for millions of years before humans existed to see them. The rainbow may be seen as a sign of promise of God’s love towards creation but I doubt it was just put there for Noah and us to see.

I understand how those who really are not inclined to study science are sincere in their beliefs, but what goes through my mind is: Do those with science backgrounds andwho look at these things seriously really believe what they are saying, or is it all a front to prop up their financial and psychological support systems? (Unfortunately, it is usually about the money)
I have YEC friends who are sincere in their beliefs, but even they really do not want to hear the arguments, as it would place their worldview at risk.
Sorry to add to the sadness and cynicism, but is something I often struggle with.

They probably don’t care that the geologists say the Chinese flood was caused by a natural dam formed by a landslide during an earthquake finally breaking, not by 40 days of rain. Details.

You mean like how theistic evolutionists believe that souless ape men existed, when the bible clearly states Adam was the first man or the fact that you don’t believe in unscientific things like a global flood, but believe in scientific things like dead raising or talking donkeys. Really…were going to accuse others of contradiction? This flood solidifies Ken Ham’s presupposition that a global flood took place, no different than your presupposition is solidified that this flood is not part of the Noahic flood based on carbon dating. fallible presupposition vs fallible presupposition. That is why we have the bible

And nights :wink: The biblical global flood did not form just due to rain.

(Genesis 7:11) “In the six hundredth year of Noah’s life, in the second month, on the seventeenth day of the month, on the same day all the fountains of the great deep burst open, and the floodgates of the sky were opened.”

Hi Wookin, good to hear from you again.

The problem I was pointing out was that of internal contradiction in Ken Ham’s claims. I’m just evaluating Ken Ham’s own statements within his own paradigm. This Chinese flood cannot be part of Ken Ham’s global flood, because the sediments (together with human remains et cetera) are on top of the much older sediments which were assigned to the global flood by Ham and colleagues. Also, the RATE research (organized by YECs) assumed accelerated decay rates such that the Chinese flood would have to be much more recent than the global flood. See EDIT 1 and EDIT 2 below. According to the YEC paradigm, the Chinese flood could not have coincided with the global flood.

As for your accusations of contradictions on my part, I think you misunderstand my position (I prefer the label Evolutionary Creationist by the way). I’m not against the occurrence of miraculous events. Actually, I rejoice in Jesus’ Resurrection, Healings and other Miracles He and His disciples performed. I’m just against the assertion of an event (like a global flood) of which can be demonstrated right now that it never occurred in the first place. Especially when there are arguments based on biblical scholarship which place the account of Noach’s Ark in a different perspective.


This also runs into more serious problems because then post-flood people would need to travel from the Tower of Babel to this part of the world, build their Chinese civilization, develop their distinctly Asian characteristics, combined with the post-flood formation of rivers and valleys… all of it would have to take place within about the time window of about a single human lifetime… Just to have this additional flood destroy everything. This is all evaluating Ken Ham’s claims on their own merit. I have not introduced any “evolutionist claims”.

Additionally, the Chinese civilization would have been documenting incorrect history (even after the invention of documentation tools), because a large part of their history would have to be compressed into much more recent times. It must be because they were against the Bible… :wink:


One thing I have noticed on creation websites when they try to bring scientific evidence out to support their theory is that they grant the model the scientific theory is based on temporarily in order to get the conclusion they like (In this case, the conclusion that the flood occurred was based on coherent models of earth science that differentiate between sediment layers and reject the idea that all sediment layers were deposited during a single cataclysmic flood event and C-14 dating, things YECs reject.) Then they pretend the conclusion stands even though all the observations and facts that the conclusion is based on they deem wrong, because they want to sub in their own pre-existing narrative. You can’t do that. You can’t reject all the premises and still insist the “scientific conclusion” stands, or even worse, substitute other premises and pretend the same conclusion still follows. That is dishonest and ignorant. If the “scientific conclusion” that there was a catastrophic flood in China 4,000 years ago stands, it stands on the evidence scientists presented, evidence which doesn’t allow at all for 40 days of rain causing the flood and doesn’t support immigration patterns consistent with Chinese civilization originating with the Tower of Babel. There is no logical reason why Ken Ham should be excited about this news, other than the fact that he can count on his readers not actually thinking through his claims very hard.


Just one question about this particular report: have any of the Big Three YEC organisations said anything about it on their own websites? Any news reports, blog posts, etc?

All I’m seeing here is a clickbait-y news article written by a journalist (and journalists have a tendency to get over-excited about just about everything you can imagine) which doesn’t cite any sources, and only includes some fairly generic looking Ken Ham quotes about Noah’s Flood. It’s not even clear whether he made them in response to this particular news item or whether they’re just more general quotes of his.

Good question James. The finding is pretty fresh so I couldn’t find anything else with a quick Google search. I expect some official responses will hit the internet soon. I just assumed that this particular journalist had contacted Ken Ham about the finding, or reported one of his statements from elsewhere.

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The research article was in Science on Aug. 5 (not open access.) Here’s the link to the Science news article.

Creation Ministries International has come to the correct and necessary YEC conclusion. This flood was a local post-flood event and thus not Noah’s Flood. Chinese Jishi Gorge flood They correctly read the evidence but what is interesting is that this myth is now based on reality but not the reality of Noah’s flood but the reality of a local flood. How many other “flood myths” are really faded memories of local catastrophes. CMI doesn’t really acknowledge this part of the story they simply realize that it would be embarrassing for YECs to refer to this flood as evidence of Noah’s flood when it is so clearly not and so they had to set the record straight.

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It’s good that they recognized this fact at least. Thank you for sharing this! (I guess this answers @jammycakes’s question.)

But it’s interesting though. Their timeline requires them to place the Chinese flood at ~1,400 BC, while the Chinese historical accounts place it at 2,200 BC. So CMI decided that it’s okay to do away with 800 years of orally transmitted Chinese national history?

It triggers the following questions, not sure whether these are answerable. When stretching their model to the max, CMI have to compress everything that happened near the Yellow River into a 900 year time window between the dispersion from the Tower of Babel and the Chinese Flood. If we consider the time needed to build their Empire and the time needed for geological features to form, what can we say about how realistic their proposal is? What if, for example, we compare that proposal to changes as they have been observed to occur within a time-window of 900 years in recorded history? I don’t have a background in geology but it seems like there are very serious problems with this whole time compression approach.

There is that. However, the same can be said of thousands of other geologic features that they ignore or gloss over, which leads me to feel the problem is not the science, but rather the theology.

It does indeed. I’m not surprised that CMI said what they’ve said here. It’s very easy for us to see some of the more absurd claims that the Big Three YEC organisations are coming out with – things such as accelerated nuclear decay, catastrophic plate tectonics, hyper-evolution and so on – and stereotype them as having an attitude of “make an announcement now, ask questions later.” In actual fact, I get the impression that they do seem to be making a genuine effort to introduce as much rigour as they can, though obviously there are limits to how far they can do so when they are treating a 6,000 year old earth as axiomatic.

That’s a very good point. But the core problem also seems to be that they’re mixing their theology with science in unhealthy ways. So, in principle, getting the science right should be possible without fixing the theological issues, given that they stop their practice of mixing the two inadvertently. Then again, that practice of theirs also appears to be based on theology so it appears you’re right after all. It’s a vicious circle :frowning: .

To a certain extent I agree with you. They appear to strive for some optimum of coherence, given their (self-imposed) constraints… But the ways of misrepresenting previous research seems inexcusable if one claims to hold an expertise in a certain field. For example, I read this article today, written by John Hartnett (a YEC with a PhD in physics), in which he claims that the field of cosmology “is more like a religion”. Now I don’t see how something like that can be part of any rigorous approach to science. The same seems to hold for flood geology, hyper-evolution, et cetera. The Christian lay people can be excused… But I’m still having trouble with the “experts”, I can’t imagine what’s going on in their heads as they mull over all of the actual findings.

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