Noah's ark

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In the Bible, this is the story of how God drowned every person on earth with a great flood, sparing only a man named Noah and his family of seven. Fundamentalists believe that the story is literally true, and there have been many claims to have found the ark on which Noah and his family sailed.

The story

The story of Noah's ark is told in Genesis 6:11-8:22. God sees that the world has become full of evil, and decides to kill everyone on Earth, with the exception of Noah, his three sons, and their respective wives.

God explains to Noah that he is going to flood the earth, and tells him to build a vessel, an ark. God gives instructions on how to build the ark, what its dimensions should be, and so forth. He also tells Noah to bring representative samples of all living creatures: either one pair of each animal (Genesis 6:19-20) or seven of each clean animal (or seven pairs) and two of each unclean animal (Genesis 7:2-3).

After the animals have been loaded onto the ark, god sends rain and opens up the "fountains of the great deep" for forty days and forty nights, until the earth is covered with water and every living being has died, except for those on the ark. The floodwaters start subsiding, and a year later the ark rests on "the mountains of Ararat".

Noah releases a raven through the window of the ark, but it can't find any dry land, and keeps flying around until the water subsides. Noah sends out a dove, but it returns, not having found any dry land. A week later, Noah releases the dove again, and this time it returns with an olive leaf in its beak, indicating that the water level is getting low. A week later, he releases the dove again, but it fails to return, and Noah looks out to see that the world has dried out.

Counter-arguments

  1. There are millions of known animal species in the world; it would take an impossibly large ship to hold representatives of all species, not to mention food for at least a year.
  2. Assuming that Noah did not take two of each species, but two of each "kind", that still requires an awfully rapid evolution explosion to account for the biological diversity today. If all creatures on earth were destroyed some five thousand years ago in the Great Flood, it would require incredibly fast evolution to cause, for instance, the dog "kind" to produce both dire wolves and chihuahuas.
  3. The flood story does not explain the present geographic distribution of species, e.g., how did marsupials wind up in Australia, and only in Australia?

External Links

  • Torpedo Ye Arke, by Pat James, lists many logistical problems with the story of Noah's ark.
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