Rev Dr Jane Leach, Principal of Wesley House, Cambridge

It’s another week in politics, which brings me neatly to my amateur photography and Noah’s ark.

Noah’s ark is a children’s story, where the Invisible Magic Friend loses it, and in a psychopathic, murderous rage kills nearly every one and every thing on the planet before inventing rainbows. (Before that, the dispersion of light in water droplets into its constituent colours didn’t happen.)

14 thoughts on “Rev Dr Jane Leach, Principal of Wesley House, Cambridge

  1. Rev Leach’s ‘faith perspective’ amounted to a “biblical account” which she doesn’t believe and which she doesn’t associate with her version of an Invisible Magic Friend. Presumably she doesn’t claim her IMF to be unchanging when she admits her hippy IMF is not the same as the genocidal idiot depicted in Genesis (but I shouldn’t assume religionists won’t hold contradictory beliefs).
    She also tells us Noah’s tall tale is about preserving “the ecological diversity on life itself depends” – if she thinks 2 (or 7) of any ‘kind’ can lead to a flourishing ecosystem in a landscape of drowned trees & salty farmland, she’s even dafter than I thought.
    And what was gained from killing off all the dinosaurs, unicorns, etc? – I’d have loved a pet trilobite 😦


  2. While it is abundantly clear that Jane Leach doesn’t believe in the literal truth of Genesis, it is equally clear that she does believe that it is some sort of (divinely inspired) allegory for humanity. This view is almost as naïve as the literal view, and is rejected by almost every expert on the Bible.

    The consensus is that Genesis was composed from an earlier source (the Yahwist source) and its descendants. Composition for the Yahwist source is variously put at 1000 – 600 BC. The purpose seems to be, as with the Greek myths, to give contemporary notables and their families a link to a regal and heroic past. As descendants of Moses / Abraham / Achilles, we are entirely suited to rule over you. In the case of Noah and the flood, a few oral flood stories and myths, a bit of rejigging, and hey presto – a story that tells the people they’d better do as they’re told by those with a direct link to God or it’ll be mass destruction all over again.

    The middle ground between rejection of the obviously wrong literal version and acceptance of the likely correct political version is like a sandbar in a rising tide. Increasingly, it is the last place anyone with an iota of rationality can stand without succumbing entirely to the secular view of the Bible as a cynically political piece of propaganda. It’s no wonder they don’t want anyone to ask questions of them.


  3. When I was studying A Level Physics in 1972 I was taught that the position of a rainbow is directly in front of the observer when the sun is directly behind the observer. Well if thats the case I have seen a rarity today. A small section of rainbow appeared just to the left of the sun. No doubt many would claim this as a miracle. Even so I dont understand the physics behind this special rainbow. I remember my Physics teacher spending a lesson on rainbows with the advice that what we had just learned was the basics and that there was very much more complexity in the subject than specified in the curriculum. I have a photo but could not figure out how to attach it.


      1. Yep Steve, seen all that thanks. What I saw was a single Sun Dog. Sun Dogs are quite well known apparently but I have never seen one before. Shakespeare knew of them.

        Dazzle mine eyes, or do I see three suns?
        Three glorious suns, each one a perfect sun;
        Not separated with the racking clouds,
        But sever’d in a pale clear-shining sky.
        See, see! they join, embrace, and seem to kiss,
        As if they vow’d some league inviolable:
        Now are they but one lamp, one light, one sun.
        In this the heaven figures some event.
        ‘Tis wondrous strange, the like yet never heard of.
        I think it cites us, brother, to the field,
        That we, the sons of brave Plantagenet,
        Each one already blazing by our meeds,
        Should notwithstanding join our lights together
        And over-shine the earth as this the world.
        Whate’er it bodes, henceforward will I bear
        Upon my target three fair-shining suns.

        Much more interesting than the tosh expounded by Jane Leach this morning and with the merit of being a well understood phenomenon explained by science.


  4. Very neatly dismembered above. My own observation was how readily she was prepared to suggest that she might not actually accept Noah’s story as real. Would that she had done the same for some of JC’s miracles, or the resurrection – but it seems the churches now pick and choose at will those bits of the BBOMS they want, and those they’re prepared to discard; I wonder what system of scriptural analysis they employ in this scholarly exercise?

    Anyway, she claims her IMF was so fed up with his world that he ‘decided to re-create it.’ But he didn’t – not according to the Ark story. He saved all the nice animals and killed all but one family of the naughty humans. Quite how all the plants were supposed to survive a 40-day immersion is anybody’s guess. If there was the least suggestion that she actually believed in Noah’s Ark and the flood, she dug a hole for herself early on by mentioning zoos. We’ve all seen zoos, and the diversity of pens, enclosures, terrain and foodstuffs required to keep even a small collection. Noah would have required similar facilities for his floating zoo, even for a few weeks.

    I’m sure I’m not alone in looking forward to turning the news on in the morning and evening whilst there are such tasty and fascinating issues developing by the minute. If her IMF didn’t intend his ‘creation’ of mankind to be contrary, disputatious, stubborn, zealous etc etc, then he oughtn’t to have bothered, as life would have been very dull indeed. Of course, her IMF doesn’t want dissent, only cow-towing obedience. I’d be surprised if Jane didn’t secretly want a bit of rebellion and independent thought too.


    1. Yes indeed. How did the plants survive such a lengthy immersion? I have a some plants in pots outside growing from a bulbs that I save and store overwinter. Dark green foliage and bright purple petals around a bright yellow centre. Beautiful but fragile. Overwater at peril. I overwatered a few specimeins last year and they shrivelled up overnight.

      The Ark myth is so absurd I am always astonished that any apologist or cleric even refers to it. Presumably the birds flew around for the whole event. The Chinese had a way of culling the overpopulations of birds in towns. The inhabitants simultaneously clattered pots and pans for many hours not letting the birds land or perch. Soon the birds, exhausted, became unable to fly and easy to kill.


      1. I suppose penguins, ducks and swans would have been OK.
        The bigger question is were only two of each fish, cetacean and coral taken on board? We should be told!!


  5. Jane Leach was on very shaky ground in claiming the Noah myth for bio-diversity and preserving the environment. The ancient Israelites would have had no concept of either. Nor does her analogy of the Ark with a zoo hold much water: zoos are by no means always a good thing, especially those that exist just to keep wild animals in captivity. Those commenting above, between them, have skewered most of the absurdities of the story. For my part, I have sometimes wondered who was looking after the Yersinia bacteria, the Herpes viruses, and the amoeba that causes amoebic dysentery, and how many of each there were at the end of the 40 days and nights.

    Still, I had to laugh when she referred to Noah and family as “giving up the rat-race”, as if they were Tom and Barbara Good in Surbiton. On the whole, people can only afford to give up the rat-race if there are large numbers of other people who don’t.


  6. Many decades ago I used to get involved in a lot of debates with creationists. Their solutions to many of the obvious problems with the Noah story would sometimes leave me speechless. When asked how the tigers were prevented from eating the sheep, the answer was that all animals in those days were vegetarians, even the ones with large pointy teeth.

    Their solution to the problem of space constraints on the ark was even more ingenious. It wasn’t necessary to include every single species on the ark, only the requisite number of each “kind” (a taxonomic classification that varied depending on necessity). To generate the variety of species that we see today, these “kinds” – and try not fall off your seat at this point – would then rapidly evolve because of numerous niche environments that were suddenly available.

    I finally gave up on creationists when I saw the argument that all dogs are spies from the planet Venus.


  7. More problems than I thought possible may be found at:
    Robert A. Moore: The Impossible Voyage of Noah’s Ark
    Creation Evolution Journal, Volume: 4 Number: 1, Winter, 1983; Page(s): 1–43


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