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Thread: The difficulty of the Noachian Flood Story

  1. #1

    The difficulty of the Noachian Flood Story

    The difficulty of the Noachian Flood Story is that it is hard to interpret it as anything other than a myth.
    • If there had been an enormous worldwide flood that killed all animals but those put on the ark, we should be able to find a record of the flood. No such record exists.
    • The Ark is alleged to be a certain number of cubits in size. Depending on how big one assumes a cubit to be, the maximum size is a boat of about 600 feet. Assuming that such a boat had been built, it would have been the largest for that time in history. But, it would be quite difficult to imagine all the species of animals (and presumably plants) stuffed into a ship of that size.
    • How were the animals and plants fed, watered, exercised, etc.? Some enterprising fundamentalist or literalist may have proposed some kind of superfood that all the animals can eat but there was little mention of this food or water supplies on the ark.

    The uncomfortable questions go on and on... The following article asks these questions to the point of ridiculousness:
    http://www.skepticfriends.org/forum/...=4&fldAuto=390
    Fundamentalists Hate Noah's Ark
    By Phil Gillette
    Posted on: 8/15/2007
    The story of Noah and the Ark leaves much to be desired, from many different fields of knowledge.

    ’Tis true, dear friends, ’tis all too true. They loathe, despise, and outright hate that wretched Flood and it’s associated Ark with a malevolence usually reserved for Communists, Democrats, gays, atheists, sex because it feels good, anyone named Clinton, and those who accept the Theory of Evolution, whatever their names & titles.

    Of course, you’ll never get the first of ’em to admit that.

    It is extremely difficult, nay impossible, to defend the Noachian Flood Story as anything other than a myth; a yarn to be spun and passed on by nomadic, tribal elders around the evening fire. All one needs to do is study the geologic record to cast fatal doubt upon it. Such an event in the so-recent past would have left a huge and unmistakable imprint upon the world; indeed, it would show up all over the world, explainable by no other process. But no such imprint exists, and we’ll be getting into that a little farther along.

    Let us begin with simple logistics. The Ark is alleged to have been somewhere between four and six hundred feet long, depending upon which version of the cubit one might prefer — there were several in use at the time, varying widely in dimension. A vessel of this description is not all that easily built.

    Scrimshaw on sperm whale’s tooth,
    by David Adams.
    Used with permission.
    It would require saw pits, smithies, foundries, rope-walks, cranes and other heavy-lifting devices, and all of the other facilities found in a large, early shipyard. It would have required a master shipwright and a construction crew with experience. And it would require a vast amount of timber to be harvested and processed in a land not noted for its forests. And lest we forget, in the days of the Ark there was little more than Bronze Age technology.

    The largest clipper ship ever built is said to have been the Great Republic. She was somewhere, depending upon whose account you read, between 320 and 350 feet long with quite a wide beam to increase cargo space. She was relatively slow and in spite of oak construction, iron bracing and multiple keelsons, her hull hogged and sagged enough to render her a chronic leaker. She was only moderately successful and ultimately was lost in a tropical storm when the sea came in through her sprung hull strakes. There was some 15 feet of water in her holds when her crew abandoned her.

    This vessel was built by Donald McKay, one of the world’s premier shipbuilders, on speculation. She was one of the few mistakes he ever made. While she wasn’t a complete and utter failure, she was never the success envisioned by McKay. Wood is simply not strong enough for a ship of her dimensions, even with a hull design and conformation close to ideal for taking heavy weather. What then of the Ark, with its barge’s hull, suitable only for rivers, coastal and inland waters, and with, by design we are asked to believe, no steerage?

    Any deck-ape worth his salt & biscuit can tell you precisely what then: broach, hog, sag, twist, founder and break-up with loss of all hands and cargo in the first hour afloat in the maelstrom! Was landlubber Noah a superior shipwright to Donald McKay? Did he have a skilled crew and the necessary facilities at his disposal? The Bible fails to elaborate.

    The oceans are never still, never entirely at rest. Even with a glass-calm surface, currents and eddies, often at odds with each other, move huge volumes of water under that surface. Ships, even the largest of them, roll and toss a bit under any conditions. In the conditions that would have been produced by the described Flood, the waters would be anything but calm; indeed, due to severely disrupted weather patterns, it could conceivably be one category-5 howler after another, or worse, and even a great many (most?) modern ships would not survive that for an unbroken year. Certainly their crews could not. After the first couple of weeks, it would be rather like an endless boxing match with Muhammad Ali in the days when he was known as The Louisville Lip. Any livestock aboard would fare even worse than the crew.

    And speaking of the livestock… In my experience, and rather to my amusement, the literalists and apologists go all but berserk over the livestock. Remarkable indeed, are the descriptions of the ways in which eight terrified, seasick people were supposed to have cared for a truly staggering number of eating, defecating, ill-tempered beasts locked in the holds with all but no ventilation and less illumination. One conjecture is that many or most of the animals hibernated.

    But, nope. Won’t work. Hibernation in the mammals and reptiles, et al., that do it is triggered by length of daylight as well as decreasing temperatures. Under the artificial conditions in the dismal holds of the Ark, it would not happen. The Institute for Creation Research, of course, begs to differ.

  2. #2
    Banned adi chicago's Avatar
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    i watched on history channel...some still search for the boat.....they think that could be in turkey ...strange .....
    • Dum spiro, spero.
      • Translation: "As long as I breathe, I hope."

  3. #3
    Dr. Young,

    I agree with you on this issue. What would you say to believers in the story of Noah's ark that the Grand Canyon is proof of a worldwide flood?


  4. #4
    I'd say rather than the Grand Canyon is an example of what water can do, particluarly when confined to a relatively small space. There are example of great floods around the world, for example, the Missoula Lake flood.

    The Noah's ark story is just that - a good story, written/told by people who had no conception of genetics or the diversity of species, of the mechanics of shipbuilding, or of the many other physical impossibilities involved (not at all to denigrate them - they were intelligent people with the knowledge of their time, who were doing their best to understand and explain the world, and they obviously had great imaginations).

    On the other hand, if one believes in magic, then logical arguments are irrelevant.
    - Richard

  5. #5
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    No! You can take away my Easter Bunny, even take away my Santa Claus but leave me my Noachian Flood.
    "The world will not perish for want of wonders but for want of wonder."
    J.B.S.Haldane

  6. #6
    Banned adi chicago's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Juke_spin
    No! You can take away my Easter Bunny, even take away my Santa Claus but leave me my Noachian Flood.
    life without hollydays do not exists for humans .am i right or wrong?
    party guys ...do not be ashame.hehe...let others to find the arch[boat]/
    • Dum spiro, spero.
      • Translation: "As long as I breathe, I hope."

  7. #7
    Thank you for the response, Richard. The Bible is not the only source of a fabled worldwide flood. That story actually existed in many other ancient cultures. Personally, I believe it is was a tale told to keep the morality of people in check by enforcing a belief in a destructive god.


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    I don't necessarily

    believe the arc story either, but isn't it a little presumptive to assume it couldn't have been done. There were many similar arguments among the leading scientific minds regarding the iliad being just a nice story and look how it turned out. So, which "stories" do we decry as myth, just the ones we can? Or when some turn out to exist can't we just say that despite evidence to the contrary, or lack of evidence, it could just possibly be true? Sounds alot like the cure for SCI.

  9. #9
    The Iliad is based on a true story, it's not the literal truth. You're making the same point regarding the Old Testament?


  10. #10
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    myth

    is what people considered the iliad until the lions gate was found, it was just a nice story. Science of the day said that Troy was too far away for someone to circle it three times in a day and many tried to debunk the myth on these and other grounds. Finally, someone took the literal translation and looked where it said to look and amazingly, there it was. It wasn't told first hand but hundreds of years after the fact. My point is that anything is possible until proven otherwise and to state that it isn't possible without the benefit of proof is not the way science works. Most people who try to debunk these stories simply have an anti-christian bias for whatever reason and try to use their positions to sway opinion without any facts to base their positions on.

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