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 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.
- 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.
- 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. If we take a very conservative estimate of 1 million species that decended from creatures on Noah's ark, and asume that 16,000 "kinds" of animal were on the ark, each "kind" would have had to evolve into over 62 species in the 4000 years since Noah's flood.
- 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?
- The story of Noah is not the first Middle Eastern deluge story. The story told by Utnapishtim in "The Epic of Gilgamesh", in which the god Enlil and other deities drown the world to rid it of evil, is referred to as far back as 2000 B.C.E. Its most complete version comes from tablets dated between 669 and 633 B.C.E. The modern book of Genesis was not compiled for another 200 years.
- The Deluge would have meant the resetting of DNA lines for nearly every living thing on earth. All DNA lines should curiously and rapidly narrow to small breeding populations located in the Middle East. Ignoring every other creature on earth, we can say with some confidence, that human DNA lines appear to originate in Africa. Most lines do not appear to have stopped in the middle east 4000 to 5000 years ago.
- The Deluge, according to available timelines, occurred between 2348 B.C.E. and 2150 B.C.E. It should have represented a clear historical breaking point for every civilization around the world. No such break point exists. The river of history appears to have continued flowing uninterrupted through the Great Flood.
- Once the animals got off the ark, they would have nothing to eat. All the plants would have died in the flood, so the herbivores would have nothing to eat. The carnivores would wipe them out anyway, and then they would die too.
- Creationists often claim that there were only babies of each species and only seeds of each plant on the ark, but then this would require a time for them to grow. For every ten units of mass on one level of the food chain, only one unit of mass can be created on the next level. That means for a lion, which wieghs over 400 pounds, to become fully grown, he needs to eat 4,000 pounds of meat, and that animal would have to eat 40,000 pounds of plant to get that much weight. It is therefore absurd to think that Noah could have taken babies on the ark.
- Wood is a bad ship building material. While the ark is supposed to be roughly 450 feet long, modern shipwrights can build a wooden ship about 300 feet long, that require steel braces to keep it from breaking.
- All of the animals could not have gotten there. Is a polar bear going to swim from the north pole just to get on a boat? Is a sloth going to walk there?
- Special habitats: Did the ark have special habitat chambers for the animals that required special temperatures or humidity levels?
- No one knows what a "kind" is. If someone says that all the modern dogs came from the dog kind, then that person acknowledges that evolution happens.
- Some arguments state that the ark took only infants. The bible says there was a pair. A male and his mate. The word mate implies sexual maturity.
- There isn't enough room to house all of the animals in adult form, food, corridors, bracing, and all other necessities, without overloading the ark.
- Contrary to a "Doctor's" beliefs, moonpools will snap the boat in half, and drogue stones will cause the ark to go in a direction with the waves that will capsize it.
- Disposing of waste from all the animals with 8 people, from three decks, at least one of which waste will have to be carried up, is a daunting task at best.
Counter Arguments to the Flood itself
Counters to the origin of the water
-Model in which the water was suspended above the Earth until the 40 days of rain. In the form of water, ice, or vapor.
- Water: A canopy holding more then 40 feet of water would cause atmospheric pressure to skyrocket to 64 times higher then standard pressures. Pressure this high would raise Nitrogen and Oxygen to toxic levels causing the bends world wide.
- If the water was in gas form, (water needs to be at 100°C to be in a gas form), the atmosphere would be superheated and the ark would have been cooked.
- If the water began as ice the gravitational potential energy would cause similar temperatures, as well as blocking out the sun.
- Any water orbiting the Earth would be broken apart by the UV radiation.
- Friction caused by this much water falling through the atmosphere may have ignited the atmosphere, and at the very least would have made it inhospitable for life.
-Model in which a layer of water was contained roughly ten miles down and was released by ruptures in the Earth's crust. (Fountains of the deep)
- As the a majority of the Earth's Crust is not made of pumice, it doesn't float. As a result, the water would have been forced the the surface long before the flood.
- Even a mile down, the water would have been boiling. Since it was under high pressure, it would have been unable to vaporize. When released, the heat would have dispersed into the atmosphere and cooked the ark.
- Escaping waters would have left huge gashes in the Earth crust. Such huge formations would be obviously visible, but we see none.
-Model in which the flood waters came from a comet or comets that hit the Earth.
- Any comet large enough to provide sufficient water to cover the highest mountains would have pulverized the Earth when it impacted.
- Any comet burning up in the atmosphere would have had all of its water vaporized, and it would have been steam.
Where did the water go?
-Most models have the water draining into basins which are our present day oceans. During the flood there was much global reconstruction. Mountains were pushed up and the oceans were lowered.
- The amount of heat required to make the crust malleable enough to cause such drastic change so quickly would have been disastrous to life.
- If water had drained off the continents and into the new basins, we would expect to see sediment patterns such as those found in the Mediterranean Sea after the Straits of Gibraltar broke open, or in Washington when an ice dam broke. We see no such patterns.
- Most sediments are carried with the water until the water slows or stops moving. We would expect most sediments to be in the ocean, where the water slowed down. Instead, we see most sediments on land.
- Global reconstruction of the Earth's surface squeezed into such a short time would have cause tsunamis large enough to circle the globe, and the aftershocks of the earthquakes would have been devastating for years.
- If most mountains were formed at the same time, why do we see large variation in the erosion levels of the Rockies and the Appalachians. They should have eroded at the same rate.
- If all fossil bearing strata were laid down during the flood, why didn't one dinosaur make up to the higher levels?
- The polar ice caps would have floated and broken apart. They would not have regrown this fast. Greenland's wouldn't have regrown at all.
- Why don't any modern plants or animals appear in the lower layers?
- Small organisms dominate the lower strata layers, fluid dynamics states they should sink slower and as a result should be higher up.
- No human artifacts are found in any layer except the uppermost layers.
- For the flood timeline to be true, some formation were formed by 15 meters of sediment settled per day. Despite this, there are significant differences in the chemical properties from centimeter to centimeter. i.e., carbonate level changes would have to take place on a minute to minute basis.
- Chalk is made of tiny plankton bodies 700-1000 angstroms(100×10−12 meter). Objects like this settle at a rate of 0.0000154 millimeters/Second. During the flood they would have settled about half a meter.
- Tree rings date back 10,000 years. Ice core samples in Greenland date back 40,000 years. Neither of these show any sign of any kind of global flood.
- Most plants would have been killed not only by being underwater for so long, but because at their depth there would have been little to no sunlight to photosynthesize.
- Noah must have taken vast quantities of seeds with him on the ark in order to repopulate the plants of the world.
- Most seeds would be under miles of sediment, preventing sprouting.
- Many plants require humus and other organic matter to grow in. Such soils would have been stripped by the flood.
- Some plants only germinate after a fire. Fires would have been rare after the flood for obvious reasons.
- Even if Noah did bring all the seeds with him, many can't survive a year without germinating. There must have been a large greenhouse on the ark as well.
- Fish require different habitats: some need salt water, some need fresh water, some need submerged logs, different oxygen levels and other factors, the flood would have disrupted and destroyed many on these habitats.
- Many corals need shallow water. The sediments from the flood and the flood water itself would kill the shallow coral that we see today.
- Many diseases can only survive in non-resistant human population for a few weeks before the population becomes resistant. Diseases such as typhus, measles, smallpox, polio, gonorrhea, and syphilis should have gone extinct during he flood.
- Species such as mayflies would have died in a few days, and the larva need fresh, shallow running water, a rare condition during the flood.
- The animals traveled impossible journeys to reach there current homes from Mount Ararat. Polar bears to the Arctic, Penguins, Koalas, Kangaroos, etc.
- There hasn't been sufficient time for all the different body shapes, body structures, skin colors, facial structures to have evolved from just Noah's family.
- God could have just killed what we wanted to, and left the rest alone.
- The whole point of the flood was to rid the world of evil and wickedness. Did it work?
- About.com Religious Timelines
- The Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary Timeline
- Word Sight's Bible Time-line
- The Metropolitan Museum of Art historical timeline
- Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago historical timeline
- Infoplease.com Ancient history timeline