Add Homonym Attacks!
Ad Hominem: Appealing to personal considerations rather than to logic or reason.
Ad Hominem Attack: An argument that focuses on a personal attack as opposed to the subject in question.
Add Homonym Attacks!: The process by which one inserts a homophone and it bites you.
(It also serves as the title to Inside Pulse’s representative column in the world of Critical Thinking, Science and Skepticism.)
Imagine this guy, a father. He’s the greatest father in the whole wide world. He can do anything. Got a dozen kids. Then one day he realizes, hmm, most of these kids are misbehaving. So to inspire better behavior he takes them all to the new Six Flags Great America water park. Oh yeah! And then he drowns all but his favorite kid in Dragoon Lagoon. What a great father!
I am, of course, alluding to that famous “capital F” father, the big G, himself, jumping Jehovah, God. The role of the good son shall be played by Noah, you know the guy with the ark from the book of Genesis? I’m pretty sure most people out there know the story of Noah’s ark. If you don’t you can replace all the “Noah”s in this article with Ziusudra (provided you are up on your Sumerian myth), or Utnapishtim’s (provided you are up on your Babylonian myth) otherwise, here is a ball. You can bounce it.
At any rate, let’s examine the logic and morality of God’s decision here. We have an allegedly omnipotent being disappointed in his creations. So what does he do? He commands a good man and his family to build an ark, rescue two (or maybe 7 or 14) of every animal, and sail around for a while as He floods the planet. I was actually able to get an interview with Yahweh for this column, and asked him the first question that came to my mind.
MLK of AHA!: So, G-funk, uhmm, you’re omnipotent right? Why flood the earth? Wouldn’t it have been easier to start some sort of big disease and only give Noah the medicine? I don’t get the flood angle. Couldn’t you basically just zap all the bad people into non-existence?
The fountain of all that is holy: Hey, I’m omnipotent, but I’m not that omnipotent.
Today, we are going to take a look at the feasability of the story of Noah’s ark. A story, I might add, that is believed as literal truth by many (otherwise) educated and intelligent people.
Rainfall, by the Numbers
I’m a mathematical sort of fella. I’ve formally taught 5-8th grade math. I’ve tutored every grade level of math. I’ve even tutored ASIANS in math! It’s true! So it is the first thing my mind jumps to in these situations.
God made it rain for forty days and forty nights. The resulting flood covered the tops of the mountains by more than 20 feet (Gen. 7:20). We are going to skip the questions of where did all that water come from and where did it go. (But where the hell did it come from and where the crap did it go?) Instead let’s look at the amount of rainfall necessary to accomplish this thing.
The ark landed on Mount Ararat, which itself is just shy of 17,000 feet. Now the tallest mountain is, of course, Everest which stands at an impressive 29,035 feet. So plus at least 20 more feet we are looking at no less than 29,055 feet. Now, Creationists sometimes argue that mountains weren’t as high back then pointing to… umm… their own speculations as evidence. So let’s give them about 10,000 feet and say the water had to rise to merely 20,000 feet to cover Everest. Sounds fair. Makes my division easy. That means it had to rain an average of 500 feet each day, about 20.8 feet of rain per hour.
Now rate of rainfall isn’t the most published data around, but it is usually measured, by my admittedly limited experience, in MILLIMETERS per hour. According to the Canadian government’s building digest, the heaviest five minutes of rainfall in a ten year period drops about .5 to .6 inches of water. If we extend this five minute downpour to an hour we get, at most, 7.2 inches of rain per hour.
So the worst rain you could possibly get might be able to approach a foot an hour. That’s a pretty generous estimate, wouldn’t you say? But the Great Flood would require over 20 times that rate. Frank Zindler, former professor of Biology and Geology, has described such a rate of rainfall as “hydraulic mining.” It would be very effective in not only killing off creation, but also destroying the shape of the continents, knocking all sedimentary rock everywhere into the basins, and erode basically everything into nothing.
Goodbye polar icecaps. If they weren’t blasted to death immediately, the rains would have floated them off and broken them down into ice cubes. Things like that don’t regrow quickly, you know. Some of them wouldn’t grow back at all what with these modern climates of the last 4000 years.
And hey the trees would’ve been washed away too! But, the thing is, our tree ring record goes back 10,000 years and there is no evidence for a Great Flood. Hell, I’ll even cite my source:
Becker, B. & Kromer, B., 1993. The continental tree-ring record – absolute chronology, C-14 calibration and climatic-change at 11 KA. Palaeogeography Palaeoclimatology Palaeoecology, 103 (1-2): 67-71.
Silly Becker! The earth was created in 4004 B.C. (that is to say, if you do the biblical math). How could a tree be older than the Earth? Unless of course you are talking about Yggdrasil.
Now I’m from Buffalo, where snow was invented. As any Buffalonian can tell you, an inch of rain is about a foot of snow. That would be 250 feet of snow falling on Buffalo every hour, about 4 feet of snow per minute. Man, even my parents would put on coats for that!
Bring me 2 of every animal, no wait 7, or maybe 14? I don’t know, hold on…
Genesis, Chapter 6
20 Two of every kind of bird, of every kind of animal and of every kind of creature that moves along the ground will come to you to be kept alive.
21 You are to take every kind of food that is to be eaten and store it away as food for you and for them.
Genesis, Chapter 7
2 Take with you seven of every kind of clean animal, a male and its mate, and two of every kind of unclean animal, a male and its mate,
3 and also seven of every kind of bird, male and female, to keep their various kinds alive throughout the earth.
4 Seven days from now I will send rain on the earth for forty days and forty nights, and I will wipe from the face of the earth every living creature I have made.
2 of these, 7 of these, wait is it 14? 7 isn’t divisible by 2? Aw crap. Noah was able to figure out just what God wanted apparently. I’m not so clear. I do know that Leviticus points out certain animals as “unclean.” In fact, according to Leviticus, it is a sin to eat anything of the sea that doesn’t have a dorsal fin. Seriously, look it up, craziest book of the Bible.
The first problem here is arthropods. Estimating conservatively, there are over 1,000,000 species of arthropods. Granted these are things like spiders, insects and crustaceans, so they don’t take up a lot of room individually, but we are looking at 2,000,000 of them and possibly over 14,000,000. And hey, those are just species alive today! How many extinct species are there?
Let’s do some more quickie math. God gave Noah and his family 7 days notice before the flood, so 7 days to load them up, right? Except that Genesis 7: 13-14 tells us that all the animals were loaded on the same day.
So, let’s just look at insects, with Noah, his wife, his 3 sons and their three wives loading up insects. There are at least 800,000 species of insect, and 8 of them loading, so that is an easy 100,000 insects for each of them. That’s about 4200 species for each of them every hour or about 70 each minute. So each would be loading more than an insect per second for every second of the day.
Hell, there are 350,000 species of beetle! I doubt Noah’s crew would be able to handle beetles alone.
And do you take extra mayflies? I’m just saying, considering their life span, you’ll go through 2 of those each day. Plus, they require a pretty specific environment. So by the end they’d wind up extinct or really inbred.
Also we have birds. Lots of ’em. Depending on your taxonomy there are around 8,800-10,200 living bird species and about 130 more, that we know of, that have become extinct in the course of human history. So, it sounds like we got 70,000 birds on this boat. That could get messy. Plus, you gotta keep the hawks and owls and such away from the rodents.
The other side of the coin consists of things like elephants. There are two species of elephants, so we have to take at least four, provided they are “unclean” animals. Elephants, if you don’t know, are quite big. In fact, one elephant can weigh around 12 metric tons.
Ooh and their food too, don’t forget! Elephants can eat between 300 to 600 pounds of food a day. They digest about 40 percent of what they eat. But let’s figure the elephants don’t have a lot of room to wander around the ark, so each of them only eats 100 pounds of food daily. That is 400 pounds of food every day. Now you have to feed them until the boat lands on Ararat, which is at least 150 days.(Gen. 7:24) Simple multiplication gives us 60,000 pounds (30 tons) of elephant food that has to be loaded up. It also gives us a resulting 18 tons of elephant dung. But hey, at least we got something to feed the 700,000 beetles!
Oh, but that’s not all! God says every animal. So that should include sea life too right? So apart from all the fish we got to worry about dolphins, narwal, porpoises, and whales. A Blue Whale can be over 100 feet long and weight over 300,000 pounds! And you got to take two of them. Unless they are clean, then you gotta take 7 or maybe 14, I’m still not sure.
Of course, Creationists and Ark-eologist (they actually call themselves that) don’t believe that God really meant all animals, i.e. sea life can live in the sea. (Me, I think that the book was made up by a bunch of people that didn’t realize that fish were alive.) So maybe we can leave the whales behind. But don’t put away those aquariums just yet. You see, flooding the earth would have the disastrous effect of turning all the freshwater into saltwater. So, at the very least, we got a lot of freshwater fish to worry about on board our boat.
Some people say Noah would have trouble gathering up all these animals from the four corners of the world, and figuring out which tortoise is female, etc. But in this instance at least, God will provide. The animals came to him according to Genesis chapter 7. Which saves him a lot of running around believe you me. Of course, God must have given the sloths and snails a big head start on their trip to Noah. As for the kangaroos, lemurs and other things specific to a particular island, I’m sure he had some sort of shuttle/ferry system worked out. And as for the Koalas, Pandas and things with highly specialized diets, well I hope they brought some of that with them. Unless there used to be a lot of more bamboo in the Middle East…
Cougars (AKA pumas, panther, mountain lions, catamounts, etc.) are interesting critters; they can survive in just about any habitat. Gila monsters, koalas, Siberian tigers, and Antarctica’s wingless flies might not be able thrive in the same environment. Some things have very specific needs when it comes to climate. Some arthropods, for instance, can only live in 100 percent relative humidity. And, well, air conditioning was a long way away. This could be a bit of a problem.
Plus add to all these troubles, the problems of cleaning the animals, taking care of their waste, exercising them (it is at least 5 months on the boat), feeding them, keeping the lions from eating everybody, collecting rain water to change the water of the fish and for everybody to drink. Oh, and you gotta do it in the dark. The sky would be black from the rain, and candlelight isn’t really a good idea. You see the, uh, methane emissions from that many animals would be quite impressive. More simply: you can light a fart!
All right so the rate of rain we figured on would’ve basically washed most plant life away. If it didn’t well, the amount of rain we figure on would’ve made the sky dark for the entirety of the 40 days, not allowing for photosynthesis and killing many plants. If that doesn’t kill off the plant life well then, I have to tell you, most plants and seeds would die after being soaked in any water for several months, let alone SALTWATER. Maybe, maybe some plants could survive but some isn’t good enough. We need all of them that we currently have or else this scenario doesn’t work. Especially since Creationists can’t say something like, “more species of plants evolved.”
Noah can’t really protect the plants. They can’t come to him like the animals. Unless Treebeard helps out a lot.
But does this little bit of data stop some people from believing the story of Noah’s ark literally? Well, not so much. The story in Genesis has it that Noah sends out a dove, and it returns with nothing. He does it again 7 days later and it comes back with a new olive branch. Man those things must grow fast!
It is very hard to build a ship, especially a big one (according to Genesis, 450 feet long, 75 feet wide and 45 feet high), especially out of wood, and especially when you are 600 years old as the bible says Noah was.
Don’t take my word for it? Mark Isaak in his 1998 paper “Problems with a Global Flood” wrote:
Wood is not the best material for shipbuilding. It is not enough that a ship be built to hold together; it must also be sturdy enough that the changing stresses don’t open gaps in its hull. Wood is simply not strong enough to prevent separation between the joints, especially in the heavy seas that the Ark would have encountered. The longest wooden ships in modern seas are about 300 feet, and these require reinforcing with iron straps and leak so badly they must be constantly pumped. The ark was 450 feet long.
It is not likely a sea worthy vessel. Especially since Noah had neither the technology for the iron straps nor pumping. But he did have the help of the big G!
More Flood Wackiness!
Let’s see… Let me say again Noah was 600 years old. He and his family managed to build an ark that was 450 feet long, and about 1.5 million cubic feet. This same giant three separate level ark had a single 18 inch opening. Yep, the ark was sealed all the way up save for one cubit. That’s the sort of ventilation I’d want with millions of animals on board.
Oh and to add to the wackiness, many creationists/literal interpreters of the bible say that Noah had dinosaurs on the ark. DINOSAURS! You see they think that the fossil record was all created by the great flood. They also believe in the biblical accounts of dragons and dragon like monsters, and stories like those of St. George. So they reach the conclusion that dinosaurs must have been on the ark. So not only do we have to worry about elephants, we also have to worry about T-rex, Apatosaurus, Diplodocus, Utah Raptor, etc. Many of these same Creationists say to save room Noah brought them as eggs and babies. But that contradicts Gen 7:2 which implies sexual maturity of all the animals.
Think I’m making this shit up? Check out http://www.answersingenesis.org/docs2001/dinos_on_ark.asp
I have had a lot of fun with the Answers in Genesis folks over the years. More on that later.
OOH! I almost forgot my favorite part! Despite what God might tell you some others did survive the flood! The GIANTS aka the Nephilim:
Revised Standard Version
1. Gen 6:4 The Nephilim were on the earth in those days, and also afterward, when the sons of God came in to the daughters of men, and they bore children to them. These were the mighty men that were of old, the men of renown.
Num.13:33 And there we saw the Nephilim (the sons of Anak, who come from the Nephilim); and we seemed to ourselves like grasshoppers, and so we seemed to them.
Inconsistent and silly. That’s the bible for ya!
Finally, a few more quick bits: were the story true, our fossil record would basically show all life starting from Turkey. A trail of kangaroo and Tasmanian Tiger bones should lead from Turkey to Australia. All current humans, from Aborigines to Zulus, should be descendants of Noah. Why would they look so different in such a short amount of time? Shouldn’t there be water marks on the pyramids? What did the carnivores eat after the flood. Did they wait it out a couple of generations as vegetarians? Where did Noah get enough wood to make a boat that is 1.5 million cubic feet with three decks? Did Noah keep a pet dinosaur named Denver and have a series of zany hijinks?
Noah’s ark is just a story, and not a very good one at that. Self proclaimed “creation scientists” and “Ark-eologists” have at best an interesting past-time that has no scientific merit. The dorks who try to explain away the bad science of Star Wars and Star Trek have nothing on these people.
I’m not doing a full bib, but here are some internet sources to poke around.
I’m occasionally going to share with y’all my e-mail adventures. The first one is some fun I had with the people from AnswersinGenesis.com. This is directly lifted from an old LiveJournal entry of mine. It also makes reference to a Leviticus question. I might share that one later. The quotes in my following E-mail were lifted from the aforementioned Skeptic’s Annotated Bible.
E-mail sent by ML Kennedy:
As a curious Christian, I would like to know:
How many gods are there? Like five, dozens and dozens, like a million?
These other gods seem to be mentioned quite a bit.
“And God said, let us make man in our image.”
“And the Lord God said, Behold, then man is become as one of us, to know good and evil.”
“Let us go down, and there confound their language.”
Ex.12:12 “And against all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgment.”
“Who is like unto thee, O LORD, among the gods?”
“Now I know that the LORD is greater than all gods.”
“Thou shalt have no other gods before me.”
“He that sacrificeth unto any god, save unto the LORD only, he shall be utterly destroyed.”
“Thou shalt not revile the gods.”
“Make no mention of the name of other gods, neither let it be heard out of thy mouth.”
“Thou shalt not bow down to their gods, nor serve them, nor do after their works: but thou shalt utterly overthrow them, and quite break down their images.”
“Thou shalt make no covenant with them, nor with their gods.”
“For thou shalt worship no other god: for the LORD, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God.”
Ye shall not go after other gods, of the gods of the people which are round about you;(For the LORD thy God is a jealous God among you) Dt.6:14-15
“Upon their gods also the LORD executed judgments.”
Wilt not thou possess that which Chemosh thy god giveth thee to possess?
“Ye shall give glory unto the God of Israel: peradventure he will lighten his hand from off you, and from off your gods.”
“And the king said unto her, Be not afraid: for what sawest thou? And the woman said unto Saul, I saw gods ascending out of the earth.
“God standeth in the congregation of the mighty, he judgeth among the gods.”
“I have said, Ye are gods.”
“For the Lord … is to be feared above all gods.”
“Worship him, all ye gods.”
“O give thanks unto the God of gods.”
“The gods that have not made the heavens and the earth, even they shall perish from the earth, and from under these heavens.”
“The Lord will be terrible to them: for he will famish all the gods of the earth.”
“The Jews answered him, saying, For a good work we stone thee not; but for blasphemy; and because that thou, being a man, makest thyself God. Jesus answered them, Is it not written in your law, I said, Ye are gods?”
“For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these
— ML Kennedy
“ph’nglui mglw’nafh Cthulhu R’lyeh wgah’nagl fhtagn”
My answer arrived in about a week.
Thank you for contacting Answers In Genesis again. Before I reply to
this e-mail, I need to ask you if you got my reply to your other one
(about the book of Leviticus). I replied to it but when I went to send
it, a message popped up telling me I was not connected to the internet.
So I don’t know if it was actually transmitted or not! Thanks.
To answer your question about how many gods there are, there is only one
true God, the God of the Bible. There are many (yes, thousands of)
false gods that people worship, but they are not alive and they are
powerless. The Lord speaks in Isaiah 45:5 and says: ‘I am the Lord,
and there is none else, there is no God beside me’ (see also Deuteronomy
32:39, Isaiah 48:11,12).
In Genesis 1:1, the Hebrew word for God is ‘Elohim.’ The Creator of
this universe is the triune God, Elohim, the uni-plural Old Testament
name for the divine “Godhead,” a name which is plural in form (with its
Hebrew “im” ending) but commonly singular in meaning. The Bible clearly
teaches the Trinitarian aspect of God–God the Father, God the Son
(Jesus Christ), and God the Holy Spirit. This concept is extremely
difficult (if not impossible) for humans to understand fully, but we
need to accept it as truth. The Bible teaches that God is also
omniscient, omnipotent, and omnipresent, which concepts we also cannot
I pray this helps. God bless and have a great day!
Donna O’Daniel, M.Sc.
Answers In Genesis Ministries International
P.O. Box 6330
Florence, KY 41022
Answers in Genesis is a non-profit, Christ-centered, non-denominational
ministry dedicated to upholding the authority of Scripture from the very
first verse! Due to the volume of email that we receive, not all will
receive a response. Priorities will be set for replies.
The information contained in this e-mail message may be proprietary,
privileged or confidential, and is intended for the use of the addressee
and no one else. If you are not the intended recipient, please notify
the sender immediately by e-mail and delete all copies of the message.
These people seem like nice folk. Maybe they don’t realize that the internet is usually a necessary tool for sending e-mail, but hey, Jesus never talked about that. They really didn’t satisfy me with their answer. The quote, “there is no God beside me.” doesn’t really do much for me. I mean, so what? Let’s pretend, Shaq said, “I am the lord of basketball, and there is none else; there are no players beside me.” He would be saying: I am the greatest; the other players are below me, not on my level. So maybe there are other gods, just lesser ones.
But that isn’t the case. Answers in Genesis says that there are gods beside him, i.e. the son and the holy spirit. Oh but they are the same. It is the trinity again. This concept isn’t impossible to understand. With the Trinity, God is like a wrestling stable, with the father, son and holy ghost as the wrestlers. So it’s like God is the original Degeneration-X, with the father being Shawn Michaels, the son being HHH, and Chyna as the Holy Ghost. All other deities are excluded from the stable GOD, you know so they don’t lose credibility with the marks. (Even DX let in the New Age Outlaws.)
‘Elohim.’ The Creator of this universe is the triune God, Elohim, the uni-plural Old Testament name for the divine “Godhead,” a name which is plural in form (with its
Hebrew “im” ending) but commonly singular in meaning.
“Commonly”? Commonly as in not always? The name is plural? So how do we know that the universe wasn’t created by several Elohim? I’m not sure where Galactus, devourer of worlds, was at the start of time.
Listen, if that’s what you wanna believe, great! I’m just saying, that when I read the bible, it DOES NOT come off as monotheism. It just seems like god the father is the toughest, strongest, most badass god in the book. Hey that’s cool. Why deny the possibility of other gods, if your god is still the strongest? I mean, why worship Artemis more than Zeus? That wold be stupid.
This would seem to be more of a problem in Norse mythology. With those guys, the All-father Odin is not nearly as powerful as Thor.