The Bible Knows Nothing of Science

The Bible Knows Nothing of Science
by Dave E. Matson

Many educated people reject the Bible because of its total ignorance of science, ignorance to the point of making horrendous blunders. We are not talking about a few miracles that contradict the laws of nature. We are talking about really gross blunders that can have no place in a book by God.

One such blunder, which we have already seen in another context, is the Bible's failure to distinguish between mold in houses (or on leather goods) and leprosy. All these growths were dreaded and probably viewed as different forms of leprosy. Note the desperate and similar measures taken against them. Though modern translations of the Bible tend to obscure the fact, the ancient Hebrews used the same word in all three cases. (See: "Silly Laws Attributed to God")

Surely, a book that doesn't know the difference between mold and leprosy cannot be the word of God.

A second major scientific blunder is the story of Noah's ark. To begin with, the ark far exceeded the maximum size for wooden ships 6. The largest wooden ships ever built were about 300 feet long, and they were restricted to coastal waters in good weather.

The ark's various joints would have been constantly popping open under the changing stresses and strains, and water would pour in far faster than Noah's crew could bail. (Leaking water was a problem even for relatively small wooden ships on long trips, and it gets dramatically worse the larger the ship.) Noah's ark floats in one of the roughest seas ever imagined. The impact of giant meteorites 7, the violent rains, the screwed up weather patterns, and the violent upsurge of water from below would contribute to an incredibly violent ocean. Let's be honest, God's design for Noah's ark was not even close to specs.

Intelligent planning would call for a whole fleet of smaller, wooden arks. Who, you might ask, would have taken care of the animals on these other arks? Who possibly had the time, dear reader, to take care of all the animals on Noah's ark? God had simply goofed by saving only eight people to do the job of a dozen zoos, and under impossible conditions. Remember, the animals living today are only a small fraction of all the animals that had ever lived. All those kinds had to be preserved.

Gathering the animals calls for another round of miracles. Creationist Henry Morris tried to ease the problems by claiming that the climate was uniform and that animals were distributed evenly over the earth. Thus, Noah need not go very far to get all his animal kinds. Unfortunately, the geological record nixes the whole idea; evidence of extreme variations in climate go back to Precambrian times. Also, many animals that are found today in isolated places (such as Australia) have their fossil record restricted to that same region. By creationist reckoning, those animals had to have lived there before Noah's Flood, so that the Flood could lay their fossils down in that region and nowhere else. Finally, a uniform environment would actually cause the extinction of many types of animals as the available ecological niches would have been greatly reduced.

Thus, poor, old Noah had to travel to the four corners of the world, dig snakes out of the ground, chase down speeding animals, round up insects that live high in the canopy of jungle trees, dig others out of the bark of trees, locate creatures living deep within caves, handle hornet and bee nests, dig up a queen ant for every type of ant, discover the hiding places of those small animals that only come out at night, cover every mile of the world's numerous marshes, tread the expanses of the hottest deserts, penetrate the densest jungles, search all the mountains, visit vast numbers of small islands, round up lions and tigers and bears, catch a couple of T. rex dinosaurs, persuade quite a few giant sauropod dinosaurs to leave the safety of their herds and follow him back to the ark, find and capture seven pairs of every kind of bird, stumble about the rocks off various shores in order to catch walruses and seals, visit Antarctica to collect penguins and polar bears, and do many more impossible feats. Imagine poor Noah trying to find the male of an all-female species of lizard! (Crews, 1994)

Creationist Henry Morris (for years the head of the Institute for Creation Research) imagines that those animals needed for the ark would magically develop an instinct and migrate to the ark. I suppose that a couple of koala bears simply abandoned their eucalyptus trees (their only form of natural food) and started a long trek from Australia. I suppose that the kiwi bird, which is flightless, joined those koala bears in swimming across a great ocean. I suppose that snakes that live only in the canopy of jungle trees decided to slither across deserts, rivers, and through icy mountain passes! And other snakes, that live in the tropical seas, had to swim through cold waters and slither through deserts. Perhaps a pair of pandas gave up their bamboo diet (their only natural food) and started a trek from China. Those 17-year cicadas, which "hibernate" for 17 years at a shot, would have missed the ark for sure. Once the bug emerges from its underground life, it doesn't live long enough to make it to the ark. Ditto for the 13-year cicada. It's all so very simple if you are a creationist! Just invoke a few miracles and forget about the sticky details.

Let us not overlook the impossible job of getting all those animals onto the ark. Start with Genesis 7:11-15 in which the Bible allots a day for the boarding of the animals.

If we assume that Noah took aboard five million species, that the gangplank was only twenty-five feet long, that each pair of animals had a space of six inches between them, that their average size was a measly three inches in length, then, in order to get into the boat within twenty-four hours, they would have to march up that gangplank at about thirty miles per hour! After the snails, slugs, and slower insects got through, the other animals could hit supersonic speeds and still not save Noah's schedule.
(Dave Matson, from: Mattill Jr., 1995, p.90-91)

Of course, there are the usual problems as well. Does any Bible-believer have any idea as to how many LARGE dinosaur kinds roamed the earth? According to Henry Morris, they all lived in Noah's time. Thus, Noah's ark had to accommodate dozens of the largest dinosaurs at the very least, and that included a pair of T. rex's and their various relatives. Add to that the hundreds of middle-sized dinosaurs and you won't need a storm to sink Noah's ark! Some mammals such as Indricotherium (the giraffe-rhinoceros), now extinct, were as large as a fair sized dinosaur. Of course, the elephants, mastodons, mammoths, walruses, hippos and giraffes must be loaded. (Don't forget to take seven pairs of giraffes!)

A sampling of other large mammals often overlooked are: Teleoceras (about the size and looks of a hippopotamus), Aphelops (resembling a cross between a rhinoceros and a pig, but the size of the former), Amebelodon (something like an elephant), Zygolophodon (something like an elephant), Megatylopus (dwarfs the largest living antelope), and the giant ground sloths of South America.

Is it even possible to send two 80-ton brachiosaurs up the gangplank side by side, as described in the Bible? How big must the passageways in the ark be? Since the purpose of the ark was to preserve each kind of every air-breathing animal, why did the dinosaurs (along with the vast majority of animals) become extinct? Was God's plan thwarted after all? What prevented God from saving all the animals as was clearly his intention? One joke has it that a second ark, carrying the dinosaurs, exploded when a lamp touched off all that dinosaur gas!

In sheer desperation, some creationists have suggested that the dinosaurs were not taken aboard Noah's ark. However, God's instructions to Moses are plain enough. No exemptions were given for dinosaurs! God gives no exemptions for the large, extinct mammals. God gives no exemptions for thousands of other extinct animals. Are these animals a wee bit inconvenient for the Bible-believer? To say that they got left out is to say that God is a bungler, an incompetent planner! In the Bible, God clearly instructs Noah to bring aboard all the air-breathing, land animal kinds. If we are going to take the Bible literally, we ought to take it literally here too. Thus, the dinosaurs and all the rest of the extinct animal kinds mentioned above had to be aboard Noah's ark!

Another desperate suggestion envisions that only babies or eggs were taken aboard. The Bible nixes that idea also by stating that the animals came off the ark by families. Two of each kind (of most animals) went aboard the ark; they came off according to groups of their own kind. Clearly, the Bible is talking about adults with families (Genesis 8:19), and many translators actually render the Hebrew word as "families." Thus, adults (or animals that would reach adulthood while on the ark) had to have been taken aboard. Food was to be provided for them, according to the Bible. One does not provide food for a pair of eggs. Finally, who is going to babysit those tens of thousands of helpless, baby animals until they reached adulthood? Nothing in the Bible suggests that Noah nursed animal babies for years after the ark landed! The Bible strongly implies that after the animals departed they were on their own.

Caring for the animals requires yet another basket of miracles. Did you know that even the kind of floor that some animals stand or walk on for a year can be critical to their health? How is Noah to know this? There are numerous quirky requirements for the safe transportation of many animals, and they all have to be met. Many of those requirements are poorly understood, if at all, even today. Shall we invoke yet another miracle in the form of a thick, heavenly manual? Perhaps God gave Noah a set of animal-care manuals to study. Odd, that the Bible doesn't mention it even though such obvious details as taking food aboard and caulking the ark are covered. Such trivial details are carefully listed, but the critical instructions for miles of air ducts and for pumping out leaking water and sewage are missing. The Bible is strangely silent on those and other vital points.

Most animals require daily exercise and fresh air at the very least. How do you exercise a large dinosaur? And, what about all that manure to clean up? Consider that in addition to the constant need to bail out water leaking in from all those popping hull seams. It would take a battery of full-time electric pumps just to keep the leaking water out. A few oxen-powered pumps, taking up scads of valuable deck space, just isn't going to do the trick.

Does anyone have any idea how much poop dozens of large plant-eating dinosaurs could unload in one day? Creationist thinkers speak of slatted and slanted flooring and troughs to automatically funnel the manure and urine to the bottom of the ark, where it might be buried under a layer of oil or something. Hey! With a little more planning Noah could have flush toilets and hot showers too!

The large animals must go on the upper decks lest access passages to the lower decks take too much space. The Bible says that the animals left the ark, not that Noah had to tear down half the ark to get them out!

Each cage must have its own vertical waste pipe feeding into the large ones above and below, and since the largest ones must start from the upper decks, there is a considerable loss of space.

Slatted floors mean that considerable space is wasted below the cage to collect the poop before it is sent down the waste pipe. The slats, of course, will still get dirty. They would have to be hosed down daily with salt water as Noah could not afford to use fresh water, at least in the later stages of the Flood. The Bible says nothing about a modern plumbing system, so all that salt water must be hauled up to the ark's window from the ocean. Of course, all the salt water used must be collected again and pumped out the ark's window, which means raising it the same distance or more once again. Thus, even if we don't count the fact that Noah's ark is virtually a sieve, Noah still must move many tons of water a considerable height every day. Add to that the tons of manure and urine, not to mention the constant leaking, and you will need a modern power plant to keep that ark afloat!

Once the poop hits the bottom of the ark, a costly covering of olive oil isn't going to do the trick. The poop would have to be evenly distributed so that the oil could cover it. Violent sloshing, as the ark rocks to and fro under incredible sea conditions, would likely break up this cover of oil unless it was incredibly thick. (In that case, precious space would be wasted.) As the ark rolls, sewage in contact with the hull and bulkheads would likely adhere to those surfaces, only to be exposed when the oil returns to its normal level. Before long, the oil, itself, would become polluted. And, what about all those aweful gasses bubbling up through the whole mess. Since we are not dealing with modern plumbing, we must also consider the noxious gasses that would be emitted from all parts of the waste system, and that includes the generation of ammonia, which is poisonous. The accumulation of methane would turn the ark into a time-bomb. In short, channeling the poop to the bottom of the ark is not a solution. It spells disaster.

What is Noah going to do if an animal "misses" the potty or vomits in its cage? Does that mean an extra round or two of cleaning each day? Are the animals—large and small—to be so tightly restricted that they can't move at all? How will they mate and take care of their young? Will animals even mate under those conditions? Zoos, despite their space and excellent care of animals, often have one heck of a time getting many of them to successfully mate. Remember, those animals came off the ark by families. Well, it's miracle time once again!

At this point some creationists have actually introduced the ludicrous idea of having Noah potty-train his thousands of animals before they go on the ark! Poor Noah! Not only must he round them all up, but he now must train them as well! Do these creationists have any concept of reality? Suddenly Noah must have the resources of a Roman Empire at his disposal! However, even their resources would fall pathetically short. Just how do you train a T. rex, a crocodile, a giant python? (Nice dino! Nice dino!) Even a trained pet, if upset, disorientated or ill, may easily miss the mark. Some animals "miss" on purpose to show their displeasure, and you may be sure that those on the ark will not be happy campers. Other animals urinate to mark their territory. Many pets will abandon a dirty sandbox despite their training, and what could stink more than the end of a raw sewer pipe on which the animal is supposed to relieve itself? Do creationists ever think of these little things? In short, Noah is still going to have to clean those cages every single day--if not twice a day.

When some of Noah's hardier animals start mating, after recovering from the shock of being on the ark, those that are still alive that is, Noah is going to have more fun than ever. Is he going to start a new potty-training program for the young animals? Where does Noah get all this spare time, the Twilight Zone?

So much methane would be released in dinosaur gas, as well as from cattle and other grazers, that the whole ark would become a floating time-bomb! Lamps would be out of the question. Imagine identifying, feeding and caring for the animals on the lower decks without decent lighting! The ever-inventive creationist talks of bioluminescence. Sure! Catch a few fireflies, put them into a fine net, and see how much light you get before they croak! Modern chemical lights can be useful in an emergency, but even they would not suffice on a daily basis. Let's not forget that we're dealing with the technology of 2000+ BC.

Disease, mildew, and molds of every description would soon take over the interior of Noah's steamy, dripping ark. Clothes would literally rot off Noah's back, should he and his relatives choose to wear any. The heat from all those tightly confined animal bodies would be oppressive in the extreme, if not fatal. The buildup of ammonia (from degenerating animal waste), hydrogen sulfide and methane would soon poison the air of the lower decks.

At this point some creationists throw tables of numbers at you and explain how easily barns and other modern housing for animals can be ventilated. I guess they think that Noah's ark is just an overgrown, Midwestern barn or something! If you have ever visited a real barn, the one thing that catches your eye is the enormous space that they enclose. The roof is way above your head. There may be hay lofts or other things taking up part of that space, but the bulk of it is just plain, open space. It controls the humidity level, maintains oxygen availability and even helps to control the temperature. In addition to that, it makes forced ventilation a relatively easy task. Modern animal housing, due to electric power, can cut back some on that space without becoming inefficient. However, the principle still remains.

Far from being an oversized barn, Noah's ark would resemble the miles of tight, honeycombed passageways and cubicals found in a battleship, only worse. The idea that such a convoluted space can be properly ventilated by wind blowing in through the windows is ridiculous, especially if the air outside is 100% humid and full of rain. That's why large ships have miles and miles of air ducts that feed fresh air into every inhabited cubical, crack and cranny. Other ducts remove the bad air. I once served on a carrier in the OI Division, and we sailors were packed rather tightly into a large berthing area just below the flight deck. Each bed had its own ventilation pipe, in addition to ventilation for the berthing area as a whole. When the system went down, it was worse than living in the Amazon. Try something like 100+ degrees at 100% humidity--despite electric fans desperately set up!

Noah would have lost most of his animals on the lower decks due to a lack of oxygen and the buildup of noxious gasses, if not to disease. Indeed, Noah would be quite lucky if lightning or a spark didn't blow his methane-laden ark to itty-bitty pieces!

Roaches and flies would be everywhere, assuming that the oppressive environment didn't suppress them. Flies would get into the manure and spread disease like wildfire. Rats would get into the grain sacks, and any exposed grain would quickly rot. By the way, how do you dump a dead dinosaur in the middle of the Flood? Do you break out the hand saws and shove little bits of dino out the upper window? Why, you would be so busy bailing water, removing manure, and keeping the lower decks ventilated that you would have no time for it!

To put things into a realistic perspective, the entire facilities of the spacious, world-renown San Diego Zoo, including its multimillion dollar budget and trained staff, a research department and an animal hospital, could not properly house and care for more than a fraction of Noah's animals. And, the San Diego Zoo doesn't have to worry about ventilation problems, a rocking boat, poor lighting, or ridiculously confined quarters.

Some creationists imagine that Noah's animals went into a supernatural sleep until their ride was over. However, the Bible nixes that idea as well. God commanded that food be brought aboard for both the animals and Noah's family. Again, the animals left the ark by families. The Bible, itself, gives us every reason to believe that normal activity prevailed during the Flood. God did not say "Lay up only a little food because these animals will be snoozing." God says, "Provide for them." That can only mean: "Provide for their normal needs." Special needs would have required special instructions.

A very popular view imagines that Noah only took a few very basic kinds on board the ark. After the Flood, through the magic of rapidly speeded up evolution, the full stock of animals was restored.

Brother! Talk about opening Pandora's box! Aren't these the same folks who say evolution doesn't have a ghost of a chance to work? Yet, they invoke a vastly speeded up version that would embarrass even the most opportunistic evolutionist! If evolution works that well, then maybe these folks should stop attacking it. Secondly, this speeded up evolution would not replace those animal species and genera lost in the Flood. New (and different) species would have evolved from the basic stock. Thus, God's plan for preserving each type of original animal would be thwarted by that approach.

By identifying the basic kinds as the "cat kind," the "bovine kind," the "dog kind" (including wolves, foxes, etc.) and, perhaps, the "trilobite kind" and the "T. rex kind," creationists have boxed themselves in. To be consistent, they must now include man as part of the "ape kind," or maybe even put him in with the "monkey kind"! The genetic differences between man and ape are far smaller than those within any of the above "kinds." Accordingly, any attempt to keep mankind separate while invoking the above "kinds" is really an attempt to have one's cake and eat it too.

In nature, it seems that the only meaningful dividing line is at the species level; the borderlines of all other groupings are somewhat arbitrary. Consequently, the idea of "kinds" suffers from yet another problem--it is not well defined. As if proof were needed, different creationists often come up with different groupings for "kinds," and they all lack the rigor of nature's "species." A rigorous definition is necessary for real scientific work.

The whole idea of taking "basic kinds" aboard Noah's ark is nixed on still another, important front: genetic variability.

For each trait, such as eye color, your chromosomes only have space for two alleles. (An allele is a member of a related group of genes that account for some trait such as eye color.) Let us suppose for the sake of argument that there are alleles for blue, green, hazel, gray, black and brown eyes, six different alleles in all for eye color. If the human population were reduced to two, then at least two of those alleles are lost. Our two survivors can carry at most two alleles apiece for eye color.

As many as 40 or more alleles account for the tremendous variety found in some of the traits of certain animals, alleles that are normally dispersed throughout a large population. If only two of those animals survived Noah's Flood, only four of those 40 or more alleles can be preserved. The rest are lost! Once an allele is lost, it is lost forever unless restored by a fortunate mutation or series of mutations, and even that isn't enough. The mutations must take hold in the population so that today's measured frequency is obtained.

Our two survivors can preserve in their bodies at most four different alleles for each trait. Thus, we are looking at a tremendous reduction of genetic variety since some traits are associated with more than four alleles. (The mouse has 92 different alleles associated with location K in its MHC complex 8.) Such an overall genetic loss cannot be made up in a few thousand years. That's one reason why the story of Adam and Eve, and that of Noah's ark, are clearly mythological.

Genetic variety is mostly built up slowly in large populations by non-lethal mutations. (More rare mutations can happen--and be stored--in a large population of plants or animals.) The key word is "slowly." Blacks who colonized Australia some 60,000 years ago are still black. The American Indians, whose ancestors colonized the New World some 12,000 or more years ago, still bear a striking resemblance to populations in Siberia. Chinese have looked like Chinese, and Egyptians have looked like Egyptians, since the dawn of recorded history. Forget about Noah's family generating all the races of the world in a few thousand years!

One can make rapid progress in artificial selection because the variation is already there in the population, and a large population is collecting new mutations all the time. Building new alleles (genes) by mutations, and establishing them according to their observed frequencies, is something that takes a lot more than a few thousand years.

This problem of genetic variation is inescapable. The genetic diversity of many animals today could not have been built up from a pair (or even seven pairs) of animals from Noah's ark in the 4350 or so years since. Noah had to take each species aboard (and often quite a few of that species) to account for their genetic diversity observed today.

Thus, we can forget about Noah taking representatives of the "basic kinds" aboard. (Just imagine how many tiger and lion alleles would be lost if Noah took aboard two domesticated cats to represent the "cat kind"!) Considering that there are at least five million species of life on Earth, not counting many more that have become extinct, Noah would have needed a whole fleet of arks!
(Paraphrased from:
Robert Bloomer, Common Sense and The Bible)

Poor Noah must now round up Tyrannosaurus rex (50' North American, Asian) and his numerous relatives to preserve their genetic diversity. Some of T. rex's large relatives are: Yangchuanosaurus (33' Asian), Allosaurus (35' North American, Australian, African), Albertosaurus (25' North American), Daspletosaurus (28' North American), Megalosaurus (30' European), Eustreptospondylus (23' European), Dilophosaurus (20' North American), Tarbosaurus (33' Asian), Acrocanthosaurus (40' North American), Carnotaurus (25' South American), Alioramus (20' Asian), Carcharodontosaurus (50'? African), and Giganotosaurus (South American), which seems to be even bigger than T. rex! Now for the bad news. Each one of those names properly describes a genus (a grouping of species), and Noah needs, at the very least, each of the species! For some species, he may need many pairs.

When Noah tires of chasing T. rex's relatives, he can start collecting the huge relatives of Brontosaurus (also called Apatosaurus). They include such great beasts as Supersaurus, Ultrasaurus, Seismosaurus, Mamenchisaurus, Brachiosaurus (up to 40' tall; 80 tons), Cetiosaurus, Diplodocus (up to 90' long) and other giant plant eaters. Again, each name represents a number of species, and poor Noah needs each species to preserve the genetic diversity invariably found in nature. Worse, he would probably need quite a few of some species.

No wonder Bible-believers would just as soon forget about the dinosaurs! How do you pack herds of dinosaurs into Noah's ark, anyway? And, we haven't even considered the "smaller" dinosaurs, which made up the greatest number of dinosaur species by far. Quite possibly, though of intermediate size, their large numbers may require even more space than that of the giant dinosaurs.

If all those dinosaurs and other large and small animals could get aboard Noah's ark, it would look something like a triple-scoop, ice-cream cone! The animals would be piled up in a great heap. The ark would roll over and Noah would lose his cool.

Although it is rather academic at this point, there is yet another horrendous problem Noah must face. When the ark finally lands on Mt. Ararat, the surviving animals are released and on their own.

The plant-eaters emerge and find themselves on top of a muddy mountain. They have an excellent view of a muddy world! There is not a green leaf in sight 9! There are no trees for those creatures that live in trees. There are no grasslands to support the grazers. There is no brush for those small creatures who depend on it for food and protection. Nothing! (Perhaps, as was true for the desolate landscape at Mt. St. Helens after the explosion, a few things, in time, will sprout.) Even the ground is still soggy and unfit for most animal burrows. A year of salt-water, violent churning, fluctuating temperatures and the destruction of established plant communities along with the soil (and the precious topsoil) has taken its toll.

The meat-eaters emerge from the ark. The first thing they see are their prey right in front of them, i. e., our poor herbivores! A hungry T. rex or two could finish off quite a few species right then and there! Is that why so many animals went extinct? Of course, the lions, tigers, and wolves are also hungry. I ask you, dear reader, is this any way to preserve and distribute animal species? This whole scenario is insane! A lunatic asylum could have written a better script!

One creationist suggested that many of the animals that died in the Flood would miraculously be deposited on the surface of the ground and be intact enough to serve as temporary food for the carnivores! Wouldn't that also be true of dead humans, whose pre-Flood population was put in the billions by creationist Henry Morris? Anyway, imagine a hungry T. rex eyeing a carcass that had been rotting and moldering for a year, one covered with a thin layer of mud. Then he sees a tender deer from Noah's ark that is stuck in the mud nearby. Care to guess what T. rex is thinking? Ditto for the lions and tigers and bears. Surely, this creationist "solution" must be some kind of joke! Either that or someone has reached the pits of desperation.

The story of Noah's ark is not only scientifically absurd, but it makes God look like an idiot! Thus, you have two very good reasons for rejecting that biblical account.

A third scientific blunder, the last we will touch on, is the biblical claim that the human race began with Adam and Eve. Evolution has long since overtaken this simple folk tale among open-minded, educated people.

The fossil record can easily be traced back to a time when there were no humans on earth, an age ruled by other animals, including humanoid creatures that could make primitive stone tools. Going further back, we find only a kind of small, ape-like creature representing the human and ape lineage. Much further back, we find that the earth was ruled by dinosaurs. And, so, life can be traced further and further back into the fossil record until the most advanced life form is nothing more than a jellyfish. Long before that only primitive "bacteria" lived. In a few places life has left nothing but a chemical signature in the rocks. Before that there is nothing.

This view, of course, is idealized as erosion may allow contamination of older layers with "out of place" fossils. Single-celled life forms also have an uncanny ability to penetrate rather deeply into some strata, thus becoming potential out-of-place fossils. Moreover, overthrusts and other complications arising from the collision of tectonic plates can result in out-of-order strata. Extended erosion, often down to the Precambrian bedrock, and the absence of many layers at some locations because they were never deposited, account for further deviations from the ideal geologic column. Nevertheless, there are enough relatively undisturbed areas around the world to prove that there is a clear and universal order to the geologic column.

Even in the disturbed, mountainous areas, a good geologist can often find numerous clues as to which way is up in the strata. In most cases, careful large-scale mapping reveals the true story of some local oddity. In a number of places in the world, contrary to creationist claims, all the major strata of the geologic column are present, and they are always in the same order. The order of the geologic column is further (and dramatically) confirmed by radiometric dating.

The order of first appearances in the fossil record is mirrored almost perfectly by a study of certain molecules, such as cytochrome c, which have preserved a quantity of random mutations over the ages. By studying the similarities and differences between the cytochrome c of many different species, one can reconstruct the chronological order of life. It is similar to the above fossil order of life!

A critical study of the inherited differences and similarities between living creatures, a field called cladistics, also yields the chronological order of life. The results strongly support the above order of life as determined from the fossil record! Substantial agreement is possible between these three independent fields of study precisely because life has changed over time. That is the only common factor that can unite these three fields of diverse study!

In the first case, that of the geologic record, the chronological order of life is obviously related to the first appearance in the fossil record of each type of creature.

In the second case, that of special molecules, the order of life is related to the similarities and differences between mutation patterns. Cytochrome c (and certain other molecules) have areas that collect neutral mutations at a reasonable rate. Thus, two species that had evolved apart relatively recently will have similar patterns in their cytochrome c mutations. The more evolutionary distance between any two species, the greater the difference in their cytochrome c mutation patterns. In that way the order of life is encoded into these special molecules and can be worked out by a careful, statistical study.

In the third case, that of cladistics, a study of the inherited characteristics of living plants and animals accomplishes the same thing. A careful study of inherited structures allows a reconstruction of life's chronological order. Species that have recently diverged will have similar inheritance patterns. From that clue the order of life can be reconstructed to a large extent.

Thus, we have three entirely different ways of independently reconstructing the chronological order of life, and they stand in magnificent agreement. Some small deviations do exist in these methods, as might be expected for complex procedures involving statistics, but they are nothing compared to the magnificent, general agreement obtained.

Therefore, we may conclude that the order of the fossil record, as depicted in the standard texts giving the geologic column, is real and not due to the hydrodynamic sorting, ecological zonation and animal mobility factors that creationist Henry Morris and others associate with their Flood geology. Once we have accepted the chronological reality of the fossil record, it becomes clear that life has changed greatly over the eons by descent with modification, and that is the essence of the "fact" of evolution. It is the only scientific explanation that anyone has ever come up with that makes sense of all the basic facts.

Legitimate scientists debate the historical turns and twists of evolution, its speed at different times, and its main mechanisms, which lead to various theories of evolution being criticized. But the "fact" of evolution has long been settled in the scientific community. Mainstream biology, paleontology, and related fields have long ago accepted the "fact" of evolution (common descent with modification). Look at any of the last 100 issues of Nature or Science, which are among the world's leading scientific journals, and you will find evolution treated as a fact. You won't find the kind of nonsense put out by "scientific" creationists.

There will always be fringe elements in the scientific community, and many creationists do love to cite them—along with obsolete data and out-of-context quotations from mainstream scientists.

The working brain is not impressed by a collection of suspicious quotations given in lieu of good reasoning. Indeed, the excessive quoting of authority figures sporting non-mainstream views is characteristic of creationist argumentation.

Since the biblical story of Adam and Eve does not square with the "fact" of evolution, not to mention the other findings discussed above, they must be rejected as God's literal word. The Bible is dealing in manmade folk tales.

A second lethal argument against the Adam and Eve story is the need to account for the genetic diversity of humanity, a point we just covered in our discussion of Noah's ark. Adam and Eve could only have carried four alleles for each trait. Since some human traits today have significantly more than four alleles associated with them, carried by the population at large, those extra alleles must have been created by fortunate mutations and worked into the population since the time of Adam and Eve. However, six thousand years or so is not nearly enough time 10 to have developed such variation.

6. Even the use of diagonal iron strapping on the wooden six-masted schooners, which were smaller than Noah's ark, was not good enough to make them fit for the open sea. They also had serious leakage problems despite being built by the highly skilled Maine shipyards.

7. Large meteorite impacts, traces of which may be found throughout much of the geologic column, would have caused massive waves at the very least. That is inescapable if much of the geologic record is attributed to Noah's Flood.

8. Morton, Glenn R. 1995. Foundation, Fall and Flood, alleles, p.49
DMD Publishing Company, 16075 Longvista Drive, Dallas TX 75248

9. ibid, p.71
An ordinary flood in the Midwest, though infinitely less destructive, will severely damage the vegetation. The ground cover and forest understory are essentially lost. Large deciduous trees, if totally immersed, are lost. Evergreens of all types are lost even if only partially flooded.

10. ibid, p.48

Bailey, Lloyd R. 1989. NOAH: The Person and the Story in History and Tradition; University of South Carolina Press, Columbia, South Carolina 29208

Bloomer, Robert A. 1996. Common Sense and the Bible
The Oak Hill Free Press, Pasadena CA

Creation/Evolution XI (Winter 1983).
"The Impossible Voyage of Noah's Ark"
A special issue on Noah's Flood by Robert Moore
NCSE, P.O. Box 9477, Berkeley, CA 94709

Creation/Evolution XIII (Summer)
"The Voyage of Noah's Ark -- An Epilogue" p.39-48
NCSE, P.O. Box 9477, Berkeley, CA 94709

Crews, David. 1994. "Animal Sexuality"
Scientific American, January 1994, p.108-114

Dawkins, Richard.1995. River Out of Eden: A Darwinian View of Life; BasicBooks, A Division of HarperCollinsPublisher

Gould, Stephen Jay (general editor).1993. The Book of Life: An Illustrated History of the Evolution of Life on Earth W. W. Norton and Company

Mattill Jr., A. J. 1995. The Seven Mighty Blows to Traditional Belief (chapters II and IV)
The Flatwoods Free Press, Route 2, Box 49,
Gordo Alabama 35466-9517

Morton, Glenn R. 1995. Foundation, Fall and Flood, Second Edition; DMD Publishing Company, 16075 Longvista Drive,
Dallas, Texas 75248

Zindler, Frank (editor). 1989. The Question of Noah's Flood: A Debate; May, 1989 debate: John Morris vs. Frank Zindler, an annotated transcription; Central Ohio Chapter of American Atheists, P.O. Box 8457; Columbus, OH 43201


  1. it doesn't really fix any of the problems, but Noah did not have to save insects. he wasn't direct to save them, just those creatures that breathe through nostrils. to the author of the bible, the insects and spiders and scorpions were not creatures with 'spirit' and not really alive. no more than the olive trees that survived the flood for the dove to find.

    1. The problem with "he didn't take the insects" idea is simply this: why are there still insects!? If he didn't take them on the ark, then they would have perished in the flood and would not exist today. If one actually believes this ludicrous story, they must believe that Noah took insects on the ark.

  2. So then lobsters don't feel pain when boiled alive.

  3. I suppose you interpret Plato's Republic, Plutarch's Lives, Aristotle's Poetics, and Homer's Odyssey in exactly the same way, as literal, word-for-word scientific facts, nothing figurative or allegorical or poetic?

    You have spent a lot of time dissecting a passage from Genesis as if it was meant to be a science book. I know there are fundamentalist Christians who believe that this is how it should be interpreted, but my understanding of Christian history is that the strictly fundamentalist reading is relatively recent.

    The books of the Bible are written in a variety of literary styles, with a variety of literary intents, by a variety of authors, over the course of several centuries. I think you should interpret a book according to its author's intent, and clues concerning this intent can be found in the literary styles and techniques used. Sure, the early chapters of Genesis seem absurd if they are read like science textbooks, but maybe the problem really is your interpretation of them. I don't know of any science textbooks, ancient or modern, that were written in the styles of the early chapters of Genesis. Why would you insist on reading them in that way?

    Being a Christian does obligate you to believing certain miraculous events, such as the Virgin Birth and the Resurrection. I don't put the recitation of facts about the ark on that list of essential tenets of the Christian faith.

    Here's a link []to an article that elaborates on the theme of why the "Bible vs Science" dilemma is a false one, resulting from misunderstanding the Bible, science, or both.

    That said, I did find your analysis of day-to-day life on the ark--if the account is read literally--to be pretty hilarious and entertaining.

    1. An even more detailed (and hilarious) bunch of questions related to the non-historicity of the Noah's ark tale can be read here, "The Impossible Voyage of Noah's Ark" by someone well acquainted with creationist defenses:

      Though one creationist did attempt to defend the tale even after the rebuttal above, but his defense was beaten down once again, quite decisively here, "A Review of the book, Noah's Ark: A Feasability Study"

  4. Hi, I'd like to add my voice to the debate about Noah's ark, specifically as it relates to the scientific plausibility of the gathering of the animals to the ark: Creation scientists and other Biblical apologists wish to employ science to help establish the truth of the tale. I think this essay helps answer that question.