Noah's Malarkey, Arky

♫ God told Noah to build him an arky, arky 

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  If you partook in a childhood similar to mine, you sang about Noah's Ark in Sunday School or as part of a children's program at your parent's church. Hooray, God is saving Noah and his family, what a swell thing for God to do! What a great story of salvation, grace, obedience, and... ... wait... God killed everyone else on the earth? God killed men, women, children, the mentally handicapped, babies, the unborn (and every animal and plant that didn't thumb a ride on the ark) because everyone- other than Noah's family- was wicked and evil?  Apparently little children are wicked, evil beings.. as I suspected.
  Speaking of adorable, drownable babies, Mr. Deity did a great piece on Noah's Flood called "In Defense of Killing Babies."  
  The humor and bite of Mr. Deity shines through in this video as he goes through the spin many Christians put on the story of Noah and his genocidal cranky god.  
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  My Sunday School teachers didn't hide the fact that the flood "destroyed" everyone on earth when the floodwaters came. "Destroyed" is a good, child-friendly word instead of "murdered everything".  Upon placing the flannelgraph (I do miss flannelgraph) scene of Noah looking down upon the water from the deck of the ark, the teacher would tell us the story of Noah's ark in a brief, important-details-omitted fashion. Noah's ark is presented to children in churches in a such a manner because the facts are.. well.. nonexistent. When a teacher is afraid of small children calling out the curriculum's bullhonkey, that should give them reason to reevaluate their material. 

  Here's the way the story is usually presented in a Sunday School setting: Noah was righteous and he and his family were spared from the flood because of their faithfulness to God. After the flood, God promised to never flood the earth again and created the rainbow as a symbol of that promise.
  They throw in "two monkeys, two lions, two zebras", the story of the dove and the olive leaf, "it rained for forty days and forty nights", and usually encapsulate halfway through the story with "God flooded the entire world, destroying all of the wicked people."

The most family-friendly picture of "drowning baby" I could find.
  The not-so-thinly-veiled message is quite clear. God didn't destroy Noah because he was faithful. The other people were destroyed because they were not faithful. Yeah, the message of God's grace (from himself) makes the children go "yay, God!" at the end of the story. The message of "disobedience leads to destruction", however, is all the more present.  


Disobedient children? Drown them all!

Why Noah's Ark (the Genesis Flood) is nonsense:

1) There is not enough water for such a flood to occur.
  There is not even 1/3 of the water needed for a flood of such proportions on the earth.  Where did that incredible amount of water come from, where did it go after the flood?  Some theists argue that the earth was "flatter" back then, thus allowing for less water to cause such a catastrophic flood, showing the straws some people will clutch at to try to make a fictional story fit reality.  Also, the "flatter planet" theory argued by some believers ignores how high some of the mountains of Ararat are and how deep some parts of the ocean are (inhabited by can-only-survive-in-such-depths aquatic life).  
  Someone better at maths than I ran several calculations on the volume of water, the surface of the earth, the necessary depth, ect...  His video(s) here goes into detail about the mathematical absurdity that is the Genesis Flood.

"I bought a ticket, you jackass!"

2) There would not be enough room on the ark for that many animals.
  Even if all of the animals were babies (which would result in the extinction of many species, being that some animals are co-dependent on older members of their group to be able to feed, protect, clean, instruct or incubate them) there still wouldn't be nearly enough room on the ark!  Many creationists also claim that dinosaurs were on the ark... I won't even bother with that silliness.  I'm also going to not bother bringing up the harm that could befall the animals and Noah's family during the jolting and rocking of the boat from the water and likely collisions with either terrain or debris.
  I know some people (I hate even linking to the ridiculousness that is Answers In Genesis) go "there was all of the animal kinds, not every different type of dog was present on the ark!"  Even if (I'm giving away a lot of "even if" conditions in this write-up) all dogs came from a wolf-like ancestor that Noah preserved, we wouldn't have all the variations of dogs we have nowadays from only those two dog kinds leaving the ark after the flood.  Arguing for the salvation of only the base animal kinds shows an ignorance concerning speciation.  In the 2014 Bill Nye vs Ken Ham debate, Bill Nye argued that there would need to be 11 new species of animals appearing every day since the Genesis Flood to fit the genetically-restrictive figures some apologists argue for in attempt to make the animals fit onto the ark.  Then there's the musings about animals groups that are single sex, gay animals, animals that can engage in parthenogenic birth, self-replicating animals, animals that can change sex, ect...?  
  And, yeah, the tale tells that there were no fish, whales, or plankton on the ark- but let's talk about them.  The flooding would have killed every living thing in the ocean due to the atmospheric changes, temperature changes, the salt content of the water (the mixture of salt/fresh water alone would fill the oceans with death), the clouding from the landslides and mud, all of those decomposing bodies (countless rotting babies and children, millions of bloated animal corpses all over the place, destroyed vegetation all throughout) wouldn't be very environmentally-friendly. 

That's just silly. How did those warthogs get up there?

3) There would not be enough room on the ark for all of the food.

  I'm not even talking about the animals sharing the ark with the food, there would not be enough room on the ark for all of that food even if the ark was only carrying food.  Some animals eat several hundreds of pounds of food per day (granted, those are adult measurements, but the babies of that animal would still eat substantial amounts of food).  Even if Noah fed the animals dangerously low amounts of food every day, there would still not be nearly enough room on the ark for all of that food.  
  Then there's water, drinking water- some animals need gallons of the stuff every day.  How would Noah store such an immense amount of water (he would need several thousand gallons of water daily)?  How would Noah distribute so much water?  What about after the 40 days of downpour, "the windows of the heavens were closed, the rain from the heavens was restrained", even if Noah had an impressive water catch and water distribution system it would take a generous, continuous downpour to keep the animals watered.

Well... not enough food for the animals.

4) Noah's family wouldn't be able to perform such animal upkeep.
  Upkeep would include taking care of animal waste (scat, urine, shedding/molting, sickness), feeding the animals (food and water), allowing the animals to exercise/move around, tending to animals (sickness, injury) and keeping the animal population under management.  Even if Noah and his families spent every hour of every day, without rest or break, performing these duties, they would not be able to keep with all the work necessary to keep the animals healthy and alive.
  Answers In Genesis suggests that maybe Noah had built slanted floors with which to dispose of animal waste.  Discomfort for the animals aside (and the spreading of sickness), the waste (#1 and #2 and vomit on slanted floors, mmm) would slide out of the pens and pile up at the base of the ark.  All the while not even being able to keep up with tending to the animals and the ark, Answers In Genesis expects Noah's family to have been able to scoop and dump thousands of pounds of poop and hundreds of gallons of urine every day "without an excessive expenditure of manpower".  Answers In Genesis also gives the details on how Noah and his family kept up with the impossible workload: "The key is to avoid unnecessary walking around. As the old adage says, “Don’t work harder, work smarter.""

We have to feed and clean up after how many of these?

5) What of the animals with specific diets?
  What of the carnivores (lions, anteaters, spiders), parasites (tapeworms, ticks, fleas), herbivores (koalas, bark beetles, termites, carpenter ants), omnivores (pandas, monkeys) and all of the many other animals that may have specific diets?  Some animals can only get their food from the region they live in, food Noah would not have been able to gather, "every sort of food that is eaten", as God commanded him to.  
  Also, concerning food, Noah's family was on the ark with all of the animals for around an entire year.  A year's worth of food is going to spoil long before the ark opens its doors again.  What would Noah do about all of those animals needing meat, other animals, berries, and even grass (because hay does spoil.)  Meat can be cured or dried, but many animals won't/can't eat meat like that.  There are animals that only eat other living animals.  There are animals that only eat very specific plants.  So on top of Noah not being able to collect food from all over the globe, probably all of that food would be inedible before the end of the cruise.  

"Of course we packed a year's worth of bamboo!"

6) What of the animals with delicate living conditions?

  There are many animals that live in delicate ecosystems that only exist because of symbiotic relationships or specific floral environments (or even from the limited lifespans of some animals).  Some animals can not survive outside of the rainforest or their part of the jungle, whether due to their diet, shelter, adaptability to particular weather/temperatures, or their reliance on neighboring animals.  Some animals can literally die of fright or need to introduced to new habitats gradually- Noah had to load all of the animals onto the ark in seven days.  
  While this is only partially related to living conditions, what about the nocturnal animals bunking next to the diurnal animals?  Not only would sleep for the animals be a difficulty, but Noah and his family wouldn't get any sleep providing upkeep for the nocturnal (and also crepuscular, twilight-active) creatures.  
  All of this completely ignores the terrible conditions of living on a crowded, dark (a single, small window on the top level), constantly-moving (the forty rainy days, there would be massive waves and an earth's worth of debris), damp boat.  Animals would share diseases very quickly, muscle atrophy would also be a problem.  Some animals won't reproduce except for in specific conditions (pandas and some wild cats) and even if there was regular sex occurring on the ark would there be room and food for the babies?
  Other problems with all of those animals on the ark during a flood that covers the tallest mountain is the vast change in atmospheric pressure (breathable air) and temperature.  There would be dead animals all over the ark, critters that couldn't adapt to the changes or simply are completely incapable of living in such conditions. 


7) Some of those animals wouldn't be able to get to and from the ark.
  There are some wild, hilarious theories out there about how penguins, koalas, polar bears, some dinosaurs (guess they time-traveled to a bad year) and many other animals not native to the fertile crescent got to the ark.  The Bible says the animals traveled to Noah "to keep them alive."  There are some animals (specific diets/dependencies, climate capabilities, lifespans, mobility, ect...) that simply could not make the trek to the ark.  A sloth can't cross a desert, a tortoise can't navigate a mountain range, a koala can't cross an ocean.  One attempted response is that "the animals worked together, giving rides to smaller, less capable animals".  The total absence of justification for believing such a theory aside, it still ignores the problems of diets and climate. 
  Now... how did the animals get back to their environments after the flood?  The carnivores would cause many species to go extinct in a matter of hours, and upon eating all the other animals they would find that they themselves would die out.  For the herbivores or meek omnivores that survived the gauntlet of carnivores, they would soon die out because every plant on earth would be dead after the flood.  Noah would be releasing the animals to a barren planet.  The insufficient genetic diversity would also present immediate post-flood mass extinctions- but bronze age folks wouldn't, understandably, be aware of that fact.  
  Even if there was vegetation on the ground after the flood, even if the animals didn't all maul each other upon the door to the ark being opened, a lot of the animals would not be able to travel back to their homes.  The same problems that would prevent them from getting to the ark would still be problems leaving the ark (compounded with the fact that the ecosystems and food sources of many animals are now destroyed or, at best, wholly unfamiliar.)  

Penguin sunhats.  Checkmate, atheists.

8) A wooden boat of those dimensions wouldn't even survive the initial flooding.
  An all-wood boat of such magnitude would break to pieces when the torrents of water from below and above brought about the flood.  There would be large waves, debris, hills and boulders, all to be withstood by a wooden boat- probably exceeding the weight limit- with no metal (heck, plastic) reinforcement?  Also, if the animals weren't placed properly throughout the boat, the improper weight distribution would end the voyage very quickly.
  There's also the issue of it floating over the freshly flooded world for several months and then sitting atop the mountains of Ararat- what about pumping water (not gonna happen with a single small window potentially over 200 feet from a water problem), fixing leaks, warped wood, any damage the ark may have taken?  We're expected to believe Noah's family had to to upkeep the animals and the boat?  Well, "upkeep" may not be appropriate because if the boat breaks in half there's no amount of elbow grease that'll get them to chapter 8.
  The ark's dimensions exceed the structural integrity of wood, simple as that.  Take a look at this Wikipedia article about many of the large wooden boats built throughout history; there are links to articles further detailing the individual boats and in those you can see the many complications wooden boats present.  Top all that off with the fact that Noah probably didn't install a system to steer the boat through the chop (as if he'd have the time) and Biblical literalists have an argument that can't hold in water.

There's your problem, you didn't build it out of wood!

9) What about after the flood?
  Post-flood, the earth is desolated, many animals are thousands of miles away from their natural habitats, locale-specific flora is gone and need to be replanted (if Noah happened to gather every type of seed on earth), drinking water would be difficult (if not impossible) to find... in short, no means of living for the animals and Noah's family.

Sure it's a fixer-upper, but think of the opportunity!

  Before I wrap this up, a few other things that make the story of Noah's Ark seem extra goofy:

"And *presto* all of your babies are dead!"
  A lot of Biblical scholars place the Tower of Babel incident a mere 100ish years after the Genesis Flood.  The Tower of Babel story is one that isn't taken seriously by historians, but toss in the detail that it happened (chronologically) right after the flood and... it's now extra silly.  

  Every field of paleoclimate research, especially ice core dating, has only evidence against a worldwide flood.  According to Genesis, there should be fossils of everything (EVERYTHING) all in the same strata.  What about Egypt's uninterrupted record of their history (predating the flood and continuing long after it) and their also uninterrupted depictions of varying races.  There is also the not-interrupted history of China, who, along with Egypt, have layers of fossils underneath their oldest structures (structures which would have been destroyed by a flood as described in Genesis).  

  Yes, ladies and gentlemen, the Bible claims Noah and his family (and all of the animals) procreated within their own families for many, many, many, many, many, many generations to repopulate the planet.  Just like Adam and Eve, Noah's family defies basic genetics and magically inbreeds their way into history!  

  There are an extraordinary amount problems with the account of the Genesis Flood.  I realize that this article isn't very scientific in nature (few links, few references) and perhaps I'll revisit it in the future and tidy things up a little.   
  EDIT: actually, if you want something better-written and more thorough on the science, just read Robert A. Moore's The Impossible Voyage of Noah's Ark.  It doesn't have any pictures or songs, but shy of inserting *magical god magic magic magic* there are points raised in his piece that I observe Biblical apologists seeming to be in no rush to attempt to excuse away.  

  Until next time, we all better behave ourselves or else God will murder us and our children and our ferns and the family dog! 
and people will make future generations sing about it in church

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