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Monday, January 30, 2006

How did Noah fit all those animals in the Ark?

Cranky Old Fart has been kind enough to get into the discussion concerning evolution versus creation. This post caused us to begin a dialogue and he has asked this question: "...how about that boat with the millions of species on board?"

The Bible states that Noah took birds, animals and creeping things in Genesis 6:20. Now we know that the Bible was not written in English and like most languages translations can change or hide meanings. The best use of the words for animal is "behemah" which implies a land-dwelling vertebrate. The word for creeping thing is "remes" which likely refers to reptiles/dinosaurs, etc. A great AIG article goes over this thoroughly. There was no call to take in invertebrates, nor insects (which don't breath through the nose and mouth) nor germs nor any water-dwelling creatures nor plants. In Genesis 7:22 it is stated that all that breathed through nostrils and were left on dry land died. The basic plan to bring animals on the ark was, if it breathes through the nose a representative goes. If it breathes through the skin(shell, etc) for itself it must fend.

Going back a bit, we also know that Genesis 1:24 tells us that God organized his creatures according to "kind" and animals of a kind would be able to mate and reproduce. Our designations of species and genus are not found in the Bible. God could call into the Ark a set of animals that had the coding in their genes to produce several species of animal. Perhaps Aurochs was the representative for all cattle kinds. Perhaps a dog pair held the genes for all dogs, wolves and so on. We have seen breeders bring out hundreds of varieties of dogs and we know they all came from one common ancestor dog.

Genesis 7:9 indicates that God brought the animals into the Ark. He was in charge of determining the Ark gene pool.

Quoting from the AIG site: "(John)Woodmorappe tallied up about 8,000 genera, including extinct genera. Thus about 16,000 individual animals had to be aboard. With extinct genera, there is a tendency among some paleontologists to give each of their new finds a new genus name. But this is arbitrary, so the number of extinct genera is probably highly overstated.

Consider the sauropods, which were the largest dinosaurs—the huge plant-eaters like Brachiosaurus, Diplodocus, Apatosaurus, etc. There are 87 sauropod genera commonly cited, but only 12 are ‘firmly established’ and another 12 are considered ‘fairly well established.’"


John Woodmorappe has some detailed explanations for how the Ark could easily hold the animals required to repopulate the earth. In his book "Noah's Ark: A Feasibility Study" he explains in detail the necessary animals could fit into less than half of the Ark's capacity, leaving plenty of room for food, and that the eight people on the Ark were more than enough of a crew to take care of feeding, watering and waste removal.

The article in AIG states: "The ark measured 300x50x30 cubits (Gen. 6:15) which is about 137x23x13.7 meters or 450x75x45 feet, so its volume was 43,200 m3 (cubic meters) or 1.52 million cubic feet. To put this in perspective, this is the equivalent volume of 522 standard railroad stock cars, each of which can hold 240 sheep.

If the animals were kept in cages with an average size (some would be much bigger, others smaller) of 50x50x30 centimeters (20x20x12 inches), that is 75,000 cm3 (cubic centimeters) or 4,800 cubic inches, the 16,000 animals would only occupy 1,200 m3 (42,000 cubic feet) or 14.4 stock cars. Even if a million insect species had to be on board as well, it would not be a problem, because they require little space. If each pair was kept in cages of 10 cm (four inches) per side, or 1,000 cm3, all the insect species would occupy a total volume of only 1,000 m3, or another 12 cars. This would leave room for five trains of 99 cars each for food, Noah’s family and ‘range’ for the animals, and air space. However, insects are not included in the meaning of behemah or remes, so Noah probably did not have to take them on board as passengers anyway."


Many of the animals, if not most, could have come to the Ark at an early and smaller age. God could have used hibernation to keep the animals still most of the time and made it easier on the human crew.

Plants could survive the flood through seeds and clumps of floating matter. Those clumps would provide shelter for smaller creatures such as invertebrates and insects, creatures that were not taken aboard the Ark. Of course, many kinds of these creatures could be wiped out and many kinds of water-dwelling creatures as well.

Certainly the Flood wiped out many varieties of flora and fauna that God did not choose to save, and many more have gone extinct in the time since the Ark returned to dry land. But the evidence shows that the ancestors of all living behemah and remes could have easily fit into the Ark and have been sustained for the year-long voyage until such time as Noah and the animals were released.

30 comments:

cranky old fart said...

Just fucking hilarious.

The myriad problems with all this are discussed here:

http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs
/faq-noahs-ark.html

A few highlights:

"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".

"Were dinosaurs and other extinct animals on the ark? According to the Bible, Noah took samples of all animals alive at the time of the Flood. If, as creationists claim, all fossil-bearing strata were deposited by the Flood, then all the animals which became fossils were alive then. Therefore all extinct land animals had representatives aboard the ark.

It is also worth pointing out that the number of extinct species is undoubtedly greater than the number of known extinct species. New genera of dinosaurs have been discovered at a nearly constant rate for more than a century, and there's no indication that the rate of discovery will fall off in the near future".

"Special diets. Many animals, especially insects, require special diets. Koalas, for example, require eucalyptus leaves, and silkworms eat nothing but mulberry leaves. For thousands of plant species (perhaps even most plants), there is at least one animal that eats only that one kind of plant. How did Noah gather all those plants aboard, and where did he put them"?

Why do you folks insist on taking all this stuff literally? Come out of your demon haunted world and into the light! Reality is not so great, but at least it is real.

radar said...

Your arguments are already addressed in the links I placed on the posting. I suspect you did not go to the AIG site and read the article I linked, which would address much of what you ask.

The problems of wooden ships not designed by God are not relevant. The Bible is clear that a kind of pitch was used to seal the boat and this plus a Designer who knows what He is doing aleviates leak problems. The general size and shape of the Ark is similar to large ocean liners today, so modern man is catching up to God in ship building skills, but that doesn't mean we have caught up all the way. One hundred years ago, a modern man might have pooh-poohed the concept of a luxury airliner but now there are thousands in the skies. None are as efficient as the God-designed Albatross.

I addressed the number of animals that had to go on the Ark, which is approximately 16,000. Each species of animal doesn't have to be represented, simply every "kind" that dwelled on land and was a mouth/nostril breathing vertebrate.

Noah had decades to build the Ark and plan for the care and feeding of the animals. Animals with very problematic diets could have hibernated for the majority of the trip, lessening the burden of care.

Name calling does not make a point, other than to suggest you don't have anything more enlightening to add. Talk Origins is behind the curve on most of this stuff, so it is no wonder the excerpts you quoted were already covered in the links I had posted.

cranky old fart said...

Look, since logic is obviously out the window; "The general size and shape of the Ark is similar to large ocean liners today, so modern man is catching up to God in ship building skills", why not just say it was all a miracle? It makes as much sense as the quoted statement.

Go outside. Imagine the size of the darn thing. Imagine the sheer labor and non-existant technology required. Use your mind instead of a man made text. It just makes no fuckin' sense. It's a STORY.

No wonder GWB is president. Reality is actually becoming faith based. Just frightening.

cranky old fart said...

"Noah had decades to build the Ark and plan for the care and feeding of the animals". With what? His vast knowledge of the environmental, dietary, social habits etc. of 16,000 species, from pandas to penguins???

Debbie said...

I can understand why cranky old fart is as he discribes himself, if it wasn't for Jesus I'd be a cranky old fart too. Cranky, miserable, complaining, depressed, cynical with no hope in the future; believing that this life is all there is. God has left us more than enough evidence to believe Him, but leaves enough room for faith so that the c.o.fs of this world can deny it.

Cranky, Jesus died for you , He loves you! I wish you could understand just how wonderful life is when you have nothing to be cranky about!

Debbie said...

I can understand why cranky old fart is as he discribes himself, if it wasn't for Jesus I'd be a cranky old fart too. Cranky, miserable, complaining, depressed, cynical with no hope in the future; believing that this life is all there is. God has left us more than enough evidence to believe Him, but leaves enough room for faith so that the c.o.fs of this world can deny it.

Cranky, Jesus died for you , He loves you! I wish you could understand just how wonderful life is when you have nothing to be cranky about!

Debbie said...

I can understand why cranky old fart is as he discribes himself, if it wasn't for Jesus I'd be a cranky old fart too. Cranky, miserable, complaining, depressed, cynical with no hope in the future; believing that this life is all there is. God has left us more than enough evidence to believe Him, but leaves enough room for faith so that the c.o.fs of this world can deny it.

Cranky, Jesus died for you , He loves you! I wish you could understand just how wonderful life is when you have nothing to be cranky about!

cranky old fart said...

Debbie, thank you for your kind thoughts.

Now, can we address the complete inanity of the literal reading of this Noah thing?

Mark K. Sprengel said...

Use of f* does not an argument make, nor does it make one stronger. However, it does make me wonder which f should come after cranky old.

radar said...

There is nothing inane about the literal account of the Flood. The rock layers found around the world are best explained by a worldwide flood, and hydrologists know this. Furthermore the Ark was large enough and the manpower was available to contain the animals necessary to repopulate the earth. The Biblical account of the Noahic Flood doesn't need any corollary explanations to dovetail with the evidence we find beneath our feet or the mountains overhead.

However, people who believe in very long ages and a gradualistic, uniformitarian view of the rock layers have to bring in corollary after corollary to try to explain away the problems.

A literal view of the Biblical account of the Flood? God said it, I believe it and the evidence reflects it. Nothing inane about it. Unless you refuse to believe in the concept of God. But that is another problem altogether.

cranky old fart said...

Everyone, forget about "The Flood" for a moment and focus on the boat and the animals. At least admit that some miracles were required regarding these issues, as raised in my last two comments.

By the way, I do apologize for the language. I tend toward the colorful at times.

Dave said...

Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear! This is all very sad. Why cannot people have faith in god without having to believe that the bible is the literal truth. The vast majority of christians in the world are fully aware that the bible is not meant to be taken literally and never has been. When you get to having to say:- 'Animals with very problematic diets could have hibernated for the majority of the trip, lessening the burden of care.' you really are clutching at straws. By the way my wife is a hydrologist and she just cracked up when she read - 'The rock layers found around the world are best explained by a worldwide flood, and hydrologists know this.'
Another point to consider, if the world is 6000 years old we'd only be able to see a few stars, ie those that are less than 6000 light years away! Hubble has seen galaxies full of stars that are 12 billion light years away!

radar said...

Dave,

Glad to have made your wife laugh! If she is a hydrologist and does not think the rock layers fit best into a flood scenario I am speechless. Multiple layers, many with ripple marks found at the top, layers sometimes going back and forth (like the pic I posted) typical of cross-currents in a flood, sharp demarcations between layers....This is gradualism?? The ranks of creation scientists are filled with hydrologists simply because they know these things.

Starlight is a separate issue that no doubt we will touch upon in the future but I don't want to go seven directions at once.

Why is hibernation "clutching at straws?" It is a phenomenon commonplace in the animal world. It is certainly logical, although there is room and time in the Ark for Noah's family to have fed and serviced the animals all the way through. It would make sense, however, to ease that burden if possible and hibernation is an obvious solution.

Miracle? Any time God works it could be called a miracle. The Ark, Flood, the gathering of the animals, all of it could fall into the miracle category. Life itself is a miracle. No one who doesn't believe in a Creator God has the slightest clue where life came from. I don't mean just the physical makeup, the cellular structure and so on. I mean the spark or breath of life itself.

Therefore if you refer to the Ark and the Flood as miracles that doesn't change anything.

Finally, plenty of Bible scholars are aware of the idea that there are parts of the Bible meant to be taken as allegory or to be symbolic. The parables of Jesus Christ are an excellent example. However, the Genesis account is presented as history, not in a symbolic fashion.

cranky old fart said...

"Finally, plenty of Bible scholars are aware of the idea that there are parts of the Bible meant to be taken as allegory or to be symbolic".

Every time I see this from you guys, you only cite the parables of Jesus. Why nothing else? Wouldn't the Bible (especially the OT) make a lot more sense if you take it as allegory?

I mean, talking snakes and stopping the sun? Sheesh.

radar said...

A snake talks? I missed that one!

cranky old fart said...

Genesis chapter 3, no?

cranky old fart said...

Though I think you're dodging the point, no?

radar said...

Me dodge a point? Not. The word is "Serpent" in Genesis 3 (nahash in Hebrew) and he is portrayed as subtle and crafty and beautiful as well. This is a case of Satan appearing as a creature as he tempts Adam and Eve to sin. I am quite sure we are not talking about a snake. The fruit was not an apple, either. The cartoon image of a snake convincing them to eat an apple isn't scriptural.

But back to our movie. What point am I dodging? If you mean allegories, the Genesis account of both creation and the flood are presented as historical rather than allegorical. If God is able to create, what hindered him from creating in six days? What purpose would it serve for God to make up a flood story that had nothing to do with millions of years of time?

We have found that all cultures around the globe have flood stories included in their histories. We all know what word of mouth can do to the retelling of tales and most of these stories are far removed from the Biblical account. But they are great evidence that all peoples passed on a flood story as they scattered around the earth. The one in the Bible just happened to be God-inspired so it is accurate.

cranky old fart said...

Serpent, snake, whatever. It's still a talking animal. Oh, that's right, it's Satan. That makes it much more realistic. Sheesh.

Ok, back to the point. Any allegories other than the parables?

radar said...

You see figures of speech, metaphors, etc throughout the Bible as poetic usage. In Psalms, for instance, the mountains are said to "clap their hands" and the heavens "declare the Glory of God." We do this ourselves when we say that the sun is rising or setting, for instance. There is a great deal of that type of usage. Few people have trouble in distinguishing such language for what it is.

I am not aware off-hand of any allegories not used in teaching such as Jesus' parables. Whether something is allegorical or not is usually pretty easy to understand when reading the Bible. Context matters, the intent of the book matters. Whether it is an historical narrative or whether it is a quote. There are plenty of quotes in the Bible. Satan in the form of a serpent, since we are there, said "Ye will not surely die!" It is true that he said this, but the statement itself is a lie.

Did you have a particular passage you wanted to discuss?

cranky old fart said...

Thanks for the offer. But if the parables are the only allegories you see, and you take talking serpents etc. as historical fact, there is really very little to discuss. I might as well be talking to a 5 year old...

radar said...

It is so refreshing to have adult discussions with those who call you a "five-year-old."

Easier to call names than to discuss points, eh? I feel another post comin' on!

cranky old fart said...

Well, if you want to discuss, then discuss.

Point me a friggin' story you accept as allegory other than Jesus' parables.

I see 'em all over the Bible (as anyone over 10 would) but you apparently see real people in the belly of real whales, real snakes (sorry, serpents) talking to real people, real seas parting etc....

radar said...

http://radaractive.blogspot.com/2006/02/natural-versus-supernatural.html is the post I promised, Cranky...

cranky old fart said...

Well, that is pretty much what it comes down to of course. You believe in the supernatural, and I do not. Cool.

Just quit mixing up the supernatural with science, and we'll get along just fine.

Though I gotta tell ya, such supernatural beliefs just give support to other conflicting, supernatural beliefs. That really can cause some problems, as you may have noticed.

radar said...

Ah, but Cranky if the supernatural is true then that will be reflected in science. I would say, quit trying to limit science to the natural and you will be better able to understand how things came to be and work. It is two differing points of view. But believing in the supernatural and scientific study are not mutually exclusive!

cranky old fart said...

Um, yes they are.

Supernatural-Of or relating to existence outside the natural world.

Science-The observation, identification, description, experimental investigation, and theoretical explanation of the natural world.

radar said...

Cranky inspires yet another posting!

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