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 Bible-icon.png. God sees that the world has become full of evil, and decides to kill everyone on Earth, with the exception of Noah, Noah's unnamed wife, and his three sons and their respective unnamed wives.

God explains to Noah that he is going to flood Earth, and tells him to build 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 Bible-icon.png) or seven of each clean animal (or seven pairs) and two of each unclean animal (Genesis 7:2-3 Bible-icon.png).

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.


  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. If we take a very conservative estimate of 1 million species that descended from creatures on Noah's ark, and assume 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.
  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?
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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 breaking point exists. The river of history appears to have continued flowing uninterrupted through the Great Flood.
  7. 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.
  8. 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 weighs 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.
  9. The Deluge cannot explain the distribution of fossils in the fossil record, for example why dinosaur fossils only appear in lower rock layers that can be dated to be at least 65 million years old, and trilobites only appear in rocks that are dated to at least 250 million years ago, while human fossils only appear in the highest rock layers, radiometrically dated to the past couple million years.

Flood models

Vapor Canopy

This is the Flood Model in which the water was suspended above Earth in ice, liquid water, or water vapor state. At the end of the seven days, it came down to the surface as rain.

If a canopy of more then 40 feet of water were suspended above Earth, atmospheric pressure would skyrocket to 64 times the norm; nitrogen and oxygen would reach toxic levels causing the bends worldwide. If the canopy began as vapor, it would have to be at a minimum of 100 degrees Celsius to remain in a gaseous state. As this heat dispersed, Earth would have been cooked. If the suspended water were in ice form, the gravitational potential energy would also have raised the temperature past the boiling point. Some models have the ice orbiting Earth; if it were not within the ozone layer, UV radiation would have broken them apart.

A canopy thick enough to provide the water for a global flood would have blocked a great deal of sunlight, lowering the temperature greatly.


This model proposes that roughly ten miles below the Earth's surface was a layer of water, and at the end of the seven days, the crust of the earth ruptured and and the pressurized water shot out and fell as rains.

Rock (with the exception of pumice) doesn't float, a layer of water below Earth's crust would have been forced to the surface long before the flood. Even a mile deep, the earth is hot enough to boil water. When it did finally come out it would have been superheated, as that heat dispersed throughout the atmosphere the global temperature would have increased dramatically and the ark would be cooked. There is also a large lack of evidence. When the water escaped from the ground, it would have left huge gashes in Earth's crust. Blowing through ten miles of rock is no small task, there should be large holes, and poorly sorted basaltic deposits (Noah also would have had to watch his head for falling rocks). Such formations should be easily visible but we see none.


Kent Hovind proposed that the flood waters came from comets that broke up in the atmosphere and rained water down to Earth.

Any comet large enough to contain all the water needed to flood Earth would have been too large to just break up in the atmosphere, and it would have taken far too many smaller ones for them to all come at Earth at the same time. Comets entering the atmosphere would have been burned up, and the water would be steam.

Runaway Subduction

This flood model proposes that the pre-flood ocean floor sank into the mantle, the heat released caused the plate to melt faster. All the original plate subtucted and the new magma raised the ocean floor and boiled off water that then fell as rains. When this magma cooled, the sea floor lowered again and the oceans got deeper. Isostatic rebound formed mountains like the rockies and Andes.

To get the proposed subduction rates, the thermal diffusivity of Earth (how well heat moves through Earth) would have to increase 10,000 fold. Additional miracles are required to cool the new ocean floor in months in stead of the millions of years it should take. Studies estimated that the energy released would be 10^28 joules, more then enough to boil off the oceans. The mantle also would have had to be hotter for this model to work. All this heat would have to be radiated to the surface, and eventually out of the atmosphere.

New ocean basins

This is the model that most others use to explain where the flood water went after the flood. It states that the water became our present day oceans, Earth's topography was much flatter in the time before the flood, and during the flood there was widespread reconstruction of the surface. After the flood the water drained into the new ocean basins.

The heat required to make the crust malleable enough for such widespread reconstruction packed into a few months would require additional miracles. Most sediments are found on high ground. Most sediments are transported with the water until the water slows down. Since it is expected that the water was rushing off the continents and into the basins, there should be much more sediment on the ocean floor, where the water slowed down and deposited to sediment. The opposite is true. With all that water rushing to the lower ground, there should be evidence of large torrents crossing the continents. There are similar marks in Washington when an icedam broke and a lake drained.

It never happened

This story assumes that a perfectly loving Omnibenevolent God killed the whole human population including innocent babies and children. A perfectly just God judges that these babies and children deserved death by drowning. Perhaps it is easier for Christians to assume it never happened.

External Links

Logical Inconsistencies

Biblical Timelines

Historical Timelines

Gilgamesh and Utnapishtim

DNA and Mapping Human Migration

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