101 Reasons Why Noah's Story Doesn't Float
Excerpt from Biblical Nonsense, Dr Jason Long
I can think of no superior example thoroughly demonstrating why the Bible is not the holy word of any deity than the tale of Noah and his ark. Although this book [Biblical Nonsense, available at Amazon.com] is intended to be a short introduction of biblical problems for those still hanging onto their programmed beliefs, I'm unable to fathom how I can be concise with the tale of the global flood. Rather than bogging you down with some mind numbing scientific data, I'll try to present the various problems in an organized yet fun to read manner.
A Dose Of Common Sense
Let's begin by looking at this highly questionable account from a common sense point of view. Within the story, we have a god who has to modify virtually all of his creations for the solely expressed reason of the people having become wicked and evil (Genesis 6:5), yet wicked and evil people continue to exist throughout the Bible. Right off the bat, the foundation for the story fails to make sense. Why would an omniscient god have to destroy all of his work for a specific quality that he knew would continue to exist even unto this very day? The flood was for naught, yet God carried out his horrific genocide anyway. I find this to be the most disturbing and perhaps the most ridiculous premise ever conjured by the human mind.
The author clearly tells the story from the perspective that God had just recently realized the way the world had become. This, too, fails to make sense because biblical authors repeatedly claim that God is omniscient. By definition, his omniscience requires him to have known at the time of Adam and Eve that he would later desire to start from scratch at Noah. This unnecessary and foreseeable correction is hardly the logical course of action for an omnipotent god to take. If you let your inhibitions loose, however, it should be painfully obvious that the original authors of Genesis didn't consider these salient points as they were writing. One might even ask if they bothered to proofread their work. Such casual observations work well against the hypothesis of an all-knowing god, a consideration we'll revisit repeatedly. At this point in our study, one must already concede that God is not omniscient, God behaves in an acutely illogical manner, or the flood simply never took place for the reasons provided by the Bible.
Appallingly, God drowned unborn children in the flood. This indisputably necessary consequence of his actions should ironically put a huge kink in the pro-life arguments from the church. God aborts countless unborn children for the questionable sins of their parents, yet the church expects society not to do the same? Infants and young children who do not possess the intellectual capacity to tell right from wrong were also casualties of the flood! How could they be among the wicked and evil? These are hardly the actions of the loving God depicted in the New Testament. The innocent children didn't deserve the fate God inexcusably dealt them, end of story. Helpless animals also suffered the horrible fate of the children. However, given the apparently twisted love that God has for smells from animal sacrifices (Genesis 8:20-21), that last point shouldn't have been very surprising to someone familiar with the Bible.
No one has ever found the enormous ark even though we know its final resting place is among the mountains of Ararat located around present-day Turkey (Genesis 8:4). All evidence presented as proof of the ark's discovery has been admitted to be a hoax, proven a hoax, or withheld from testing. Although one could reasonably anticipate that someone would have discovered a tangible piece of evidence from the craft if it hasn't decomposed, multiple expeditions have turned up absolutely nothing. While many people claim they have evidence for the ark being conveniently underground, no one has ventured to exhume it from the earth.
Genesis, the only known source of Noah's story, has several hundred additional problems in need of answers before we can consider it a reliable historical source. No known individuals recorded this particular version of the global flood myth until nearly 2000 years after the floodwaters vanished. Since oral accounts of an event can obviously undergo drastic changes even over a few generations, there's really no telling how much alteration the story incorporated before existing in its present form. In short, as we have seen and will continue to see, the book of Genesis is not a reliable source of historical information by any stretch of the imagination.
Observable Facts In Any Day And Age
A little known but important piece of information about the Genesis flood is that the extremely similar Epic of Gilgamesh in the Sumerian legend predates Noah's story by at least one thousand years in the written form and at least five hundred years for the setting. The similarities between the two tales are so remarkable that we cannot write them off in good conscience as mere coincidences. In the earlier flood legend, Utnapishtim receives instructions and exact dimensions on how to construct a large ship to avoid an imminent flood (as does Noah in Genesis 6:14-16), takes animals and his family aboard to preserve life on earth (as does Noah in Genesis 6:19-7:1), lands the ship on a mountain after the flood has stopped (as does Noah in Genesis 8:4), releases a dove and a raven from the ship in order to aid his search for dry land (as does Noah in Genesis 8:6-11), and burns a sacrifice after the flood for the gods who find its odor pleasing (as does Noah in Genesis 8:20-21). Because several additional minor parallels exist, I would encourage everyone to read Tablet XI of the short epic in its entirety in order to appreciate fully the similarities between the two legends. Since the Gilgamesh tale is the earlier version of the two, we can only surmise that the authors of Genesis copied the Epic of Gilgamesh or inadvertently patterned the story of Noah's ark on an even more ancient flood legend that we have yet to discover.
Records of flourishing civilizations in China, Egypt, Babylon, and Mesopotamia exist straight through the flood era of 2500-2000 BCE. This contingency creates a stack of obvious problems without planned solutions because the flood supposedly vanquished the inhabitants of these regions. If this was the case, why do we now possess their journals made before, during, and after this global deluge? The flood would have certainly destroyed these societal accounts if God were truly guilty of genocide. If people from each region somehow managed to survive and continue these records, why isn't the cataclysmic flood mentioned in their accounts? In fact, no sort of catastrophe on this level exists anywhere in the written histories of any society during any era. On the other hand, records of ancient civilizations frequently mention several local floods. This is quite possibly the most compelling reason why many Christians have abandoned a global flood hypothesis in favor of a local one, a proposal rapidly gaining in popularity that I will debunk toward the end of this chapter. Had the authors known their descendants would one day be able to date these civilizations, the story most certainly would have been different from what we have today.
Most people with a reasonable level of geographical education are aware of the existence of Mt. Everest, which has an apex well over five miles above sea level. In apparent contrast, the ancient Hebrews, as we discussed before, probably never ventured too far from their homeland and therefore knew of no such formation. If the textual description of the flood is assumed to be accurate, we know that this enormous mountain would have to be covered by fifteen cubits (about twenty-two feet) of water during the flood (Genesis 7:19-20). Had the authors been truly aware that there were mountains extending this far above sea level, they would have certainly altered the story again in order to bring the water requirement back to a somewhat more feasible level.
To this day, no one has ever been able to assemble a seaworthy boat the size and best possible composition of the ark even though the all-knowing God personally dictates the dimensions. Experts in the field agree on the long established three-hundred-foot limit for a wooden vessel, yet the ark extends 50% beyond this repeatedly verified limitation. In addition, researchers carried out their attempts to break the three-hundred-foot barrier under tranquil weather, not conditions indicative of the apocalyptic downpour depicted in Genesis. Furthermore, the modern boats used in these attempts had the benefit of iron braces to maximize cohesion. There's no indication that Noah used any metal when building his ark. If we accept the Bible as an accurate account of the event, Noah was necessarily confined to "gopher wood" and pitch (Genesis 6:14). Had the authors ever attempted to construct a craft the size of the one that they championed as a global flood survivor, they would have failed miserably. Consequently, the size of the ark would have been yet another factor of the flood story in desperate need of adjustment.
Hundreds of millions of animal species existed during the time of Noah, many of which could have been observed by undertaking a long journey from Mesopotamia. Had the authors spent more time researching animal life in the neighboring regions, they probably would have come to appreciate the futility in fitting two animals of every kind onto the ark. As a result, the authors would have to expand the ark's dimensions in order to accommodate Noah's guests. At the same time, however, the boat's larger design would further handicap its credibility as a seaworthy craft.
A surviving population of eight could not have rebounded quickly enough in order for the equally comical Tower of Babel story to take place only one or two centuries later. While God commands Noah's family to be fruitful and multiply, seemingly providing the story with a mirage of plausibility, the population simply could not have grown to more than a hundred or so even under ideal environmental conditions. Could this minuscule group of people have possibly posed a threat to God by building a tower so immense that Heaven would become attainable to them? Ignoring the obvious reply that God doesn't live on top of the sky, Noah's future descendents certainly didn't have the resources to accomplish this assuredly impossible task.
The Water Fiasco
As the title of this section indicates, we'll now look at a few problems created by the water supply, most notably the lack thereof. The amount necessary to produce a flood of global proportions far exceeds the current amount available on, in, and above the earth. While this doesn't prove the water wasn't present, the burden of proof is on those who defend the story to provide it with a plausible explanation. As the "fountains of the deep" (Genesis 7:11) contain only 1% of the necessary water, 99% would have to fall from the supposed sky ocean. Thus, the goal of covering every mountain with only forty days' worth of precipitation would require a rainfall of six inches per minute, which is far too tremendous for the primitive ark to remain intact. In great contrast, we would typically expect a rainfall of only six inches per hour from a category five hurricane. One can only decide that this requirement is hardly feasible to carry out, especially when the heat generated by the impact of the raindrops on the flood surface would have been more than sufficient to boil the water and prevent it from rising.
The water originating from underneath the earth's surface would erupt with noxious gases, such as sulfuric acid, that would make their way into the atmosphere and cause the earth to become uninhabitable. The lava expected to accompany the subterranean water would also bring the already scalding liquid to its boiling point. Furthermore, if the oceans somehow miraculously avoided vaporization, nothing would have prevented the water from receding beneath the earth once the outpour ceased unless the pressure exerted by the water above collapsed the previous passageways. Such a scenario would then force the water to remain or evaporate. Since the water is no longer present and the clouds in the supposed sky ocean don't have the capacity to hold this amount of liquid, we can only assume that it mysteriously vanished. However, the problems of the water's source and destination are moot points since the entire ocean should have almost instantaneously been converted to steam. In fact, the steam rising from the ocean beds would have been concentrated enough to boil off the planet's atmosphere.
Keep in mind that this tale would make sense to the early Hebrew who apparently believed there was an oceanic reservoir in the sky (Genesis 1:6-7). If a mysterious canopy of water existed above the earth at one time, as some Christians have offered as an explanation for the origin of the water, the mass of liquid would raise the atmospheric pressure enough to cause a dramatic increase of oxygen and nitrogen to toxic levels. Such a canopy would also extend beyond the ozone layer, a problem concluding with the denaturation of water molecules by high levels of ultraviolet light. If you subtract the requisite of covering the world's highest mountains, of which we have no reason to believe the story's inventors were aware, most of these problems would conveniently disappear. As it stands, however, the necessary water requirement is too extraordinary for covering the earth's surface by fifteen cubits.
The Geological Fiasco
One should also realistically expect at least a scant amount of geological or natural evidence for a global flood if the supernatural catastrophe took place, but the signs overwhelmingly point to the contrary. The flood should have created a massive extinction along the floors of the oceans. Likewise, millions of land organisms that would have certainly been victimized by the flood would also have deposited a large layer of terrestrial fossils. Of course, neither one of these evidential necessities is apparent.
Miles of coral reef, hundreds of feet thick, still survive intact at the Eniwetok atoll in the Pacific Ocean. The violent flood would have certainly destroyed these formations, yet the rate of deposit tells us that the reefs have survived for over 100,000 undisturbed years. Similarly, the floodwaters, not to mention the other factors leading to a boiling sea, would have obviously melted the polar ice caps. However, ice layers in Greenland and Antarctica date back at least 40,000 years.
Impact craters from pre-historical asteroid strikes still exist even though the tumultuous floodwaters would have completely eroded them. If these craters were formed concurrently with the flood, as it has been irresponsibly suggested, the magnificent heat from the massive impacts would have immediately boiled large quantities of the ocean, as if it wasn't hot enough already. Like the asteroid craters, global mountain ranges would exhibit uniform erosion as a result of a global flood. Unsurprisingly, we witness just the opposite in neighboring pairs of greatly contrasting examples, such as the Rockies and Appalachians.
Even if we erroneously assume there to be enough water under the earth's surface in order to satisfy the required flood levels, the size of the openings necessary to permit passage for a sufficient amount of water would be large enough to destroy the cohesive properties of the earth's crust. However, the outer layer is firmly intact, and there's no evidence indicating that it ever collapsed. All this hypothetical escaping water would have greatly eroded the sides of the deep ocean fissures as well, but no such observable evidence exists for this phenomenon either.
We can obtain additional geological evidence suggesting that there will never be records discovered for this particular global flood by examining fossil deposits via radiometric dating. This scientific process isn't as complex as it may initially sound. We know that isotopes, specific forms of chemical elements, will naturally convert to other isotopes over time. The rate at which they undergo this change depends on the concentration of the original isotope. Regardless of the original amount present, half of isotope A will become isotope B over x length of time, where x depends on the specific properties of the isotope that one wants to measure. After the same x length of time, the present amount will reduce by half again, leaving one-fourth of the original amount of isotope A. The length of time required by the isotope to reduce its concentration by half is referred to as the half-life. We know that this process will continue indefinitely, but we can only take an accurate measurement while a sufficient amount of the original isotope remains. For example, we know that Rubidium-87 decomposes into Strontium-87 over time. To demonstrate the natural phenomenon of radiometric decomposition, we can begin by collecting and measuring a pure sample of Rubidium-87. After a specified period, we can again measure the sample and observe how much has converted to Strontium-87. Now there's enough information to extrapolate the precise rate at which Rubidium-87 converts to Strontium-87. Many isotopes, such as the one mentioned in our example, have half-lives of several billion years.
Results from this radiometric dating method unambiguously indicate that many of the less complex fossils are billions of years old. This realization drives a painful thorn in the Creationist hypothesis that attempts to explain how the flood deposited the fossils only a few thousand years ago. Furthermore, time has also neatly separated the earth's fossils into distinct layers according to their radiometrically determined age. In fact, there has never been a verifiable instance in which two fossils discovered in the same layer were dated appreciably different. Even if we entertain the possibility of the fossils being deposited by the biblical flood, the field of fluid mechanics tells us that the smaller fossils of less complex, more primitive life forms would not sink as fast as the larger fossils, yet the remains of these tiny creatures are the sole occupants of the basement layer because they obviously settled millions of years prior to the deposition of fossils belonging to more complex, more recent life forms.
We can also observe algae deposits within the fossil layers, a phenomenon that could not have formed during the flood because they require sunlight to thrive. It's quite reasonable to assume that the clouds would have thoroughly obstructed the sunlight during such a tremendous rain indicative of the flood. Setting aside this and all other known fossil inconsistencies with the Bible, archaeologists have found human footprints within the upper layers. Moving water simply could not have deposited these markings. As I alluded to earlier, this seemingly endless list of geological problems was completely unforeseeable to the primitive authors, thus the Bible offers no justifications or explanations for our discoveries.
The Animal Adventure
Shifting topics, let's tackle the various animal problems and the question even the most rigid believer has asked at one time or another: "How did Noah get all those animals to fit on the ark?" An appropriate sequential analysis should begin with the problems Noah would have faced years before the ark ever left the ground. This recently appointed shipbuilder would have had extreme difficulty in gathering some of the more dangerous and sizable animals, such as tigers and elephants; and without falling back on divine intervention once again, the apologist can't justify a reason why these animals would readily decide to return with Noah to the construction zone. Thus, there's no good way to determine exactly how long it would have taken to trap and transport all the necessary animals in order to comply with God's orders. Noah would have also been required to know, collect, and preserve the food for special diets required by certain animals. While many finicky species, such as the koala, can survive for short periods away from their primary sources of nutrition, the choice to forego these considerations compounds the great risk of killing such animals already traumatized by the drastic relocation.
As we all know, many animal species are indigenous only to certain regions of the globe. There would have been no rational means by which Noah could have traveled to Australia to catch two koalas, North America to trap two grizzly bears, Antarctica to kidnap two penguins, etc. Even if we allow a miraculous way for Noah to journey to these remote regions, we're still looking at that enormous amount of time to venture across the earth for the sole purpose of preserving an insignificant percentage of animals that God could have easily recreated after the flood. As Noah and his family are already pressed for time with the ark's assembly, successful completion of such a futile journey seems exceedingly unattainable.
As a consequence of their forced relocation, the overwhelming majority of the animals wouldn't have survived in the near-desert region of Mesopotamia due to the extreme climate. For example, many cave dwelling animals require 100% humidity to survive. Such animals couldn't have lived through months of turmoil on the boat, much less a week's stay in the desert. Additionally, many animals require residency on an island due to their nature of being easy prey. Mainland creatures would have quickly driven them to extinction due to competition among the different species during the time prior to the flood. These considerable animal anomalies were, once again, unknown to the ancient authors.
In the last area you'd anticipate having problems, the thoughtless God only provided Noah with a seven day warning to load the ark (Genesis 7:4). This designated period wouldn't have been sufficient to secure even a few thousand animals onboard even when working around the clock. However, this task would have been relatively easy to accomplish if Noah was only boarding the handful of animals known to the flood story's original audience.
We also understand that God advised Noah to take a male and a female of each kind onto the ship (Genesis 7:2). An unconditional problem with this divine order is the presence of asexual and hermaphroditic species. Because variant asexual species reproduce without a sexual partner, there's no male or female distinction of which to speak. As for the hermaphrodites, they simultaneously exhibit qualities of being both male and female. These two anomalous creature classifications have no distinct male and female members, thus Noah couldn't have gathered a male and female member of the kind as instructed by God unless we alter the clear meaning of the text.
Unbelievably, the hypothetical sojourn aboard the ark would have likely created problems even more numerous than those encountered before the journey. The answer to the question on everyone's mind is that the animals, babies or not, clearly could not have fit on the ark if we follow the building guidelines provided by God. Remember that according to some Christian apologists, the flood was responsible for depositing the fossil layers. The consequence of this hypothesis is the requirement for every species, including those believed to have become extinct millions of years ago, to be present at the time of the flood in order to deposit their share of fossils in the geological column. Moreover, Noah would have been required to load the ark with dinosaurs. These enormous creatures wouldn't fit onboard even if they had the crude vessel entirely to themselves. Apologists are really grasping at straws by this point if they're still asserting that the global flood deposited the fossil layers.
Ignoring the dinosaur difficulty for a moment, the ark still would not have been large enough to house the remaining animals. Once again, the size of Noah's boat would have been sufficient if you only count the variety of animals known to the authors. While the attempt at this feat doesn't even come close to approaching success when considering two of each species, apologists will often regress to the "kinds of animals" hypothesis set forth in the Bible (meaning one kind of cat, one kind of beetle, etc.) However, this foolish proposition doesn't allow enough time for the deviation of species into their present forms. Once this issue is settled, perhaps they can begin work on a method by which the dinosaurs can come aboard.
Considering that there was only an eighteen-inch opening near the roof, the boat's ventilation system would have been inadequate for the animals' oxygen requirements. To make matters worse, some of the rooms were separated entirely from this makeshift ventilation system (Genesis 6:16). Any organism attempting to thrive in this isolated environment would have fortunately died much sooner than those slowly suffering with a more proximate location to the roof. In short, almost every living thing would have eventually expired from asphyxiation. Furthermore, the buildup of toxic methane gas from animal feces would have only compounded the respiration predicaments. While I imagine the smell would have been simply intolerable, one spark would have created a far more critical problem because methane is highly flammable.
Many special types of carnivores become very afflicted when forced to live off vegetation because they typically only meet their nourishment requirements from live foods. Likewise, many herbivores will only eat fresh foods. While the biblical authors would probably like us to believe that these special need creatures survived off stored foliage, such torturous concessions would be ill advised in this unfathomably hostile environment. Even with the supposition of these animals being able to tolerate a drastic change in their diets, Noah could not have feasibly provided fresh vegetation throughout the duration of their confinement. The lack of refrigeration and open storage of the accessible rations would have solicited a number of pests to facilitate the natural rotting process. The high level of humidity would also have created an ideal environment for mold to thrive and spoil the food. Every living creature, except for the strongest carnivores eventually able to dine on carcasses, would have soon starved because there would be nothing edible remaining on Noah's ark.
Several more dilemmas imminently faced over the duration of the stay are readily apparent. Some species, such as ants and bees, need a colony to survive. Thus, two members alone would not have been sufficient for guaranteeing the continuation of their survival because each individual has a limited capacity to perform only certain tasks for the community. Host specific parasites could not have survived with only one pair of hosts. Either the parasites would have expired from a lack of nutrition, or they would have doomed their hosts' species, as well as their own, by killing their only acceptable source of nourishment. Since moderate activity is quite necessary for most organisms to remain healthy, the relatively lucky prisoners would have further suffered due to a lack of exercise from the necessary space confinement. The lifespan of many species is shorter than a few months, but the ark would not have provided a suitable reproductive environment for most of these short-lived animals. There could not have been sufficient separation in the ark to keep the violent animals from attacking the weaker ones. There were no replacement animals for many species in the certain instance that one of them met an early death. The eight-person crew would not have been large enough to feed and take care of the countless number of animals taken aboard. I could really go on and on about the animal problems on the ark, but I hope this brief discussion will be sufficient.
Once nature has ultimately dispersed the floodwaters and Noah has released the animals, the problems still continue. The unfathomably heavy rains would have essentially annihilated any means for nutritive support to sprout from the ground. In order for the animals to continue their unprecedented survival, they would need some form of nourishment. Unfortunately, it would take quite some time before the ground would be capable of ever yielding anything of value. Of course, God could have recreated all the plant species, but that would be incongruent with the purpose of taking life onboard in the first place.
The two flood-surviving members of each species don't provide enough genetic variation to guarantee their futuristic representation in the ecosphere. More specifically, diseases and genetic defects had a great chance of pushing them into extinction due to the lack of essential variety at the molecular level. As I mentioned in the scenario before the flood, some species require very specific environments to live. The violent downpour would have destroyed certain foods and shelter required by these animals. Finally, we have no evidence that all the animals originated from the resting point of the ark near Turkey, yet a reasonable deduction leads us to believe that the animals found their way back to their original locations. However, their assumed success in beating such overwhelming odds raises the question of why they would want to return to their original habitats. It seems that if all these species were able to survive in such radical conditions, they would be equipped to thrive anywhere they desired.
All the grueling but necessary maintenance undertaken by Noah and company would have certainly led to lethal levels of exhaustion if the tasks were successfully completed. In reality, Noah's family couldn't have accomplished waste sanitation alone because the crude layout of the ark requires them to carry the manure from the lower decks above the water line for disposal. Let's also not forget that Noah's family still has feeding duties along with whatever else the enormous crew at the San Diego Zoo accomplishes every day. All the while, Noah's family would have to tackle and complete these superhuman tasks while serving as living hosts for viruses, bacteria, fungi, and other microorganisms capable of producing pathologically based ailments in humans. A population of eight obviously had no chance to survive this fatal concoction of illnesses. If everyone had gone onboard disease-free, the microorganisms would have nowhere to thrive. Likewise, the animals carrying their own specific parasitic problems could not have realistically survived such turmoil. It should be a foregone conclusion that the author wasn't well versed in the microorganism theory of disease.
Ignoring all these factors working against humans surviving the forty days of utter chaos, Noah's family also lacked a sufficient gene pool to guarantee continuation of our species once the ark landed. Even if we assume that they were successful in surviving against these unprecedented odds, could we have all descended from only eight original members? Genetic markers, such as DNA, are excellent timekeepers to determine the interval back to a common ancestor. Since delving into the subject in sufficient detail would require a book in itself, just understand that it's possible to observe the deviation of DNA strands by retroactively measuring them to a common strand. This period back to a common ancestor has been determined to be tens of thousands of years, an age remarkably consistent with the ones established for human civilization remains through previously mentioned dating methods. We do not see the five thousand years that our DNA would reveal if all humans descended from the sole survivors of God's flood.
The seemingly immune marine life could have fared no better than their terrestrial counterparts because, first of all, the rapid mixture of salt and fresh water from the conglomeration of various pure water sources would have killed all known marine creatures in a matter of hours. End of story. Of course, that is not really the end of the story. Like terrestrial creatures, some marine species have very specific requirements for their habitats. One such example would be the delicate breeding ground for salmon. The violent floodwaters would have certainly eradicated these fragile aspects of their environment. Similarly, the force of the rainfall would instigate an integration of large mud deposits with the now semi-salty water. This scenario would undoubtedly create an increasingly lethal environment for marine life requiring crystal clear water.
The required five-mile rise in the global water level would have drastically altered the pressure exerted within the ocean and forced many species to leave their only hospitable levels in order to avoid a pressure-inducing death by implosion. You may also recall that the oceans should already be boiling from subterranean lava, outer space asteroids, torrential raindrop impacts, and whatever else might be necessary to maintain apologetic proposals. Remarkably, we could consider salt and mud to be the least of the threats against aquatic survival.
The world's vegetation should also join the growing list of organisms without immunity from the effects of the morally shameful flood. Many plant species could not have survived throughout their continuous submersion in water, especially if the flood introduced them to the new saline mixture. Even so, is it possible that the vegetation could have vanquished, yet left viable seeds to continue their species as many have suggested? The answer is no for several reasons.
The flood would have buried the vast majority of vegetative offspring under hundreds of feet of sediment, far too deep for successful sprouting. Similarly, many seeds cannot survive the lengthy, yet necessary duration of the flood without undergoing germination. Others cannot germinate unless they've been exposed to fire or ingested by an animal, two specific conditions extremely unlikely to occur within the drenched post-flood era of tremendously reduced animal populations.
To compound the vegetative problems further, not all plants produce seeds as a method of reproduction. The common, nontextual, apologetic hypothesis proposes that Noah brought seeds onto the ark to assure plant survival, but this amateurish guess obviously fails to address the aforementioned problems. As I mentioned earlier, these obvious errors originally went unnoticed because ancient Hebrews almost certainly didn't appreciate the living quality of plants as we do today. A wonderful case in point is the ridiculous inclusion of the dove returning and olive leaf that absolutely could not have had time to germinate after the flood (Genesis 8:11).
Outside The Box
Let's now turn to the ark and its odds for survival throughout the violent apocalypse. Even before the first raindrop descends from the clouds or rises from beneath the surface, Noah would have had no way to prevent the wood from rotting in the hot desert sun. Even so, this factor is probably the least of Noah's wood-related problems because he would need to select a grain and species strong enough to prevent separation between the ark's joints during its hazardous journey. For reasons that should be painfully obvious by now, I doubt this mysterious "gopher wood" was selected using such advanced analytical thinking.
The endurance of the ark faces several more formidable obstacles than its primitively wooden composition. Wave undulation caused by the presumably violent winds accompanying the storm would have undoubtedly capsized the makeshift craft. Incredible hydroforces would have propelled loosened rocks from the sides of subterranean fissures into the air, only to return to the surface with a great chance of doing appreciable damage to the boat. Finally, there weren't enough people available to operate essential pumps for repelling the water that the primitively designed ark would have assuredly taken on. If Noah and his animal guests didn't kick the bucket from methane poisoning, incineration, starvation, disease, asphyxiation, dehydration, mutilation, or exhaustion, they would have certainly drowned.
A Local Flood?
It's painfully obvious that the story is burdened with a number of significant problems. For this reason, many apologists will attempt a hopeless defense for it by suggesting that the tale was speaking of a local flood. This notion, however, clearly contradicts the text, which states that all the mountains of the earth are covered (Genesis 7:19-20). Although the word in the text used for earth, erets, has an ambiguously additional meaning of land, we can still easily determine the author's intended connotation for this specific passage. How else would God's flood annihilate every living thing on earth, as this was his stated intention, unless the elevated water extended well beyond the Middle East? An additional difficulty, randomly selected from the pile of problems with the local flood suggestion, is the inability of the ark to travel hundreds of miles to Ararat without water high enough to reach the oceans. Liquids seek their own level and don't stand in one area without complete confinement. Since the barriers required for this magical constrainment are not present, we can only conclude that a local flood scenario is not only logically impossible but also entirely incompatible with the biblical text.
Recent archaeological evidence, on the other hand, has shed some light on the possible origins of the ancient global flood legends. Researchers have suggested that the Mediterranean Sea had likely become swollen with glaciers during the most recent ice age. If this proposal is representative of past conditions, it's quite likely that the water pressure increased to the point where a fine line of earth previously serving as a barrier between the Mediterranean Sea and the land currently under the Black Sea collapsed. Such a scenario would then allow a violent surge of water to rush inland and create the Black Sea. Needless to say, this feasible natural process would result in widespread devastation in areas now buried under hundreds of feet of water. As a further consequence, survivors who witnessed the aftermath of the tragic event would certainly spread their contrasting stories to neighboring regions.
Additionally, secular scholars agree that the biblical version of the flood account most likely culminated during the Babylonian Exile. During this troubling period for the Israelites, their priests likely embellished the historical event with supernatural attributes, possibly as a way of manufacturing propaganda to intimidate their captors. In essence, the Israelites may have wanted to increase their own power by frightening others with a deity angry enough to decimate even his own people. If the mystery behind Noah's ark has this much simpler explanation, why shouldn't we apply the same reasoning to the remaining ridiculous, unverifiable, and supernaturally based accounts of the incredulous Old Testament?
Is There Any Chance For Noah?
There's really no need to search here for a conclusion so obvious. The story's utter ridiculousness is probably why many polls indicate that an increasing number of Christians no longer claim a literal belief in the Old Testament. Sure, one can easily explain the whole fiasco by use of miracles: God made all the water appear and disappear; God prevented all the water from becoming too hot; God put the animals into hibernation; God kept the ark afloat; God repopulated the earth with life; and God erased all evidence of the flood. By invoking the miracle clause, however, Christians are using unverifiable events that any person can insert into any scenario in order to maintain the legitimacy of any religion.
To rectify all these problems in such a deceitful manner is to go against the whole purpose of constructing the ark in the first place. Applying such implausible explanations would also mean that God, once again, intentionally misleads people who rely on their logical and observational talents that he himself gave them for deducing answers to readily apparent problems. Searching for the truth behind Noah's ark isn't a matter of coming up with any solution for a problem that makes the story fit, but rather discovering the most likely solution to the problem so that we have the most likely answer.
The intent of the story is sparkling clear. An imminent flood was coming, and Noah was to perform specific duties to keep life thriving on our planet. The eight members of his family could not have accomplished this task for the reasons discussed at length in this chapter. Like every other global deluge story that came before and after Noah, the biblical flood is a lie. The source of the entertaining tale was most likely a tremendous flood that would later be embellished to fantastical proportions. When taken literally, the tale of Noah's ark is an insult to human intelligence and common sense. If the story didn't appear in the Bible, as is the case for dozens of other flood legends, no one would be giving it a second thought.