CREATION "SCIENCE" AND THE FLOOD OF NOAH
by Lenny Flank
According to the Genesis geneology, the Biblical Flood took place when Noah was 600 years old, which, assuming the earth to have been created in 4004 BC, would place the Flood at about 2400 BC (about the same time as the Pyramids were being built). Yet no historical records of that time period, from the Egyptians, Phoenecians, Greeks or anybody else, mentions any such event (they could, after all, hardly have missed it). Historical records from such ancient civilizations as the Chinese or the inhabitants of the Indus Valley show no period of time where these civilizations were suddenly wiped out by a global flood, to be slowly repopulated later. There is simply no evidence whatever, from archeology, geology or history, which indicate a worldwide flood that wiped out all but eight people.
For many reasons, the account of Noah given in the book of Genesis simply cannot be literally and historically true. One obvious problem results from the building of the boat itself. According to the Bible, the Ark had dimensions of 300 cubits by 50 cubits by 30 cubits tall (this converts to roughly 450 by 75 by 45 feet). This is over four times the size of any wooden ship built by any civilization that existed in the second millenium BC. Large wooden ships must withstand severe stresses on the open seas, and the technical methods to deal with these simply did not exist then. It was not until the year 1900, some 4,000 years after Noah and his Ark, that wooden ships were built that even remotely approached the Ark's purported size. These were nine-masted schooners 300 feet long (some 150 feet shorter than the Ark). They were so long that they visibly undulated with the waves, and required large diagonal steel braces to prevent them from breaking in half. Even with these reinforcements, the stresses caused gaps in the plankings, and they leaked continuously and had to be constantly bailed with a pump. They could only be used in coastal waters since they could not survive in the open sea. The unseaworthiness of such large wooden ships was the major reason why the world's navies turned to steel ships before the First World War. The Ark, remember, had to survive open seas during a catastrophic raging Flood.
Apparently, the creationists would have us believe that 600-year old Noah managed to construct a wooden ship 150 feet longer than the largest one ever built, and managed to solve, by himself, all of the design, construction and materials problems that the world's largest navies could not deal with 4,000 years later. Then after the Flood, Noah apparently forgot how he had solved these problems--no ship of similar size would be built for another 40 centuries.
Now that we have the Ark built, how was Noah to stock it? He had been commanded to carry seven of every "clean" beast and two of every "unclean". But there was only so much room in his boat--and there are a lot of animals that need to be carried if all of the fossil species are to be considered too. It is obvious that even Noah's 450-foot Ark would simply not have the space to carry two of every animal, both living and fossil.
Therefore, the creationists argue, Noah didn't have to take two of every species of animal--just two of every "kind". After the Flood, the "kinds" would vary and produce all of the new species we see today.
"For all practical purposes, one could say that, at the outside, there was need for no more than 35,000 individual vertebrate animals on the Ark. The total number of so-called species of mammals, birds, reptiles and amphibians listed by Mayr is 17,600, but undoubtedly the numer of original 'kinds' was less than this." (Whitcomb and Morris, 1961, p. 69)
Thus, Noah didn't have to make room for a pair of lions, a pair of tigers, a pair of leopards, etc, on his boat--all he needed was a pair of "cat-kinds". (We will ignore for now all of the problems we encounter with the creationist idea of "created kinds".)
But there remain further problems. Whitcomb and Morris have assumed that aquatic animals, being aquatic, wouldn't be endangered by the Flood and wouldn't need space on the Ark. But if enough fresh water were to fall on the earth to cover it, the oceans would be diluted so much that no marine organism would be able to live in it, since marine organisms quickly swell up, burst and die when placed in fresh water. No problem, say the creationists; the "fountains of the deep" must have spewed out sufficient salt to keep the salinity high enough for marine organisms to survive.
But what about the freshwater organisms then? They cannot survive in salt water. Some creationists have tried to have it both ways by arguing that there must have been pockets of both salt water and fresh water that were somehow prevented from mixing. How this took place while churning Flood waters were destroying the surface of the earth is something they do not explain. Whitcomb and Morris instead speculate, "All fish must be adaptable to at least a certain range of salinities, so it is not unreasonable that some individuals of each kind would be able to survive the gradual mixing of the waters and gradual change in salinities during and after the Flood." (Whitcomb and Morris, 1961, p. 387)
Leaving aside for a moment the question of how a forty-day deluge that covered the entire earth was "gradual", Whitcomb and Morris's speculation can be disproven by anybody who has a freshwater and a saltwater aquarium. Simply add a cupful of salt to the freshwater tank and a cup of fresh water to the marine tank every morning, to respectively raise and lower the salinity. Continue this for about a month, and see what this "gradual mixing" does to your fish. There seems no other alternative but that Noah must have had some awful big aquariums on his boat to keep at least some of the aquatic organisms alive through the Flood.
But we still have not solved the space problems aboard the Ark. Noah would still have to feed all of these different "kinds" for a period of over a year. Large herbivores, like elephants, eat about 350 pounds of vegetation a day. Large carnivores, like lions, eat about 75 pounds of meat a week. Not only must Noah make enough room on his boat to store all of this food, but he must have some way to keep it fresh and consumable for over a year--without refrigeration. The creationists have no explanation for how this was done.
Neither are they able to explain what the various animals ate after they got off the Ark. According to the creationists, there were two "cat-kinds" and two "antelope-kinds" that got off the Ark. Presumably, the cat-kinds were awful hungry after their trip. But if they had immediately bounded over and had the "antelope-kinds" for lunch, that would be the end of that "kind", and we would not have gazelles, antelopes and springboks today. Let's suppose the cat-kinds ate, not the two from the Ark, but the offspring of the two. That will keep our cat-kind pair fed and happy for about a week. What then? Unless we assume that the antelope-kinds were prolific enough to produce over one birth a week, we must assume that the cat-kinds would either have to eat the entire antelope kind, or starve their own kind out of existence. And the same goes for the snake-kind and the frog-kind, the ant-eater kind and the ant-kind, the owl-kind and the mouse-kind.
Obviously the creationists do not know a thing about the ecological relationships between predators and prey. However, since they cannot admit that their entire Flood story is impossible because of all these insurmountable problems in gathering and caring for the animals, they must present some explanation. And they do, by once again appealing to their religious convictions:
"That God intervened in a supernatural way to gather the animals into the Ark and to keep them under control during the year of the Flood is explicitly stated in the text of Scripture." (Whitcomb and Morris, 1961, p. 76)
"It is because the Bible itself teaches us these things that we are fully justified in appealing to the power of God, whether or not He used means amenable to our scientific understanding, for the gathering of two of every kind of animal into the Ark and for the care and preservation of those animals in the Ark during the 371 days of the Flood." (Whitcomb and Morris, 1961, p. 79)
The religious basis of creation "science" could not be made more certain than it is in these two passages.
But the creationists are forced to invoke the Deity once again, when they attempt to explain where the water for the Flood came from. A flood sufficient to cover the entire earth would require about 4.4 billion cubic kilometers of water. The entire amount of water vapor present in the atmosphere would not even begin to produce this much water, and no known subterranean source is near big enough either. Once again, the creationists turn to the Bible for their "science": "If we accept the Biblical testimony concerning an antediluvian canopy of waters (Genesis 1:6-8, 7:11, 8:2, II Peter 3:5-7), we have an adequate source for the waters of the Flood." (Whitcomb and Morris, 1961, p. 77) Genesis 1:6-8 reads: "And God said, let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters. And God made the firmament, and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament, and it was so. And God called the firmament Heaven. And the evening and the morning were the second day."
Thus, the creationists present, as their "scientific evidence" for the source of the Flood waters, the Biblical description of a pre-Flood "vapor canopy" which surrounded the earth. Morris says, "If there were, in the beginning, a vast thermal blanket of water vapor somewhere above the troposphere, then not only would the climate be affected, but there would also be an adequate source to explain the atmospheric waters necessary for the Flood." (Morris, Scientific Creationism, 1974, p. 124)
There is just one problem with the creationist's "vapor canopy" theory--there is not a shred of scientific evidence which indicates that such a canopy has ever existed (other than the description in Genesis), and there are good reasons to doubt that it could have. The creationists are unable to offer any explanation as to how such a canopy was able to maintain itself during the pre-Flood period, or how it was released to produce the Flood waters themselves. Since water vapor tends to move from areas of high concentration to areas of low concentration, it would be impossible for a belt of atmospheric water vapor to exist unless it were prevented from diffusing away by a non-permeable barrier. Also, such a layer of water vapor would be destroyed by convection cells, produced by warmer air at the equator rising and being replaced by cooler polar air. Another problem would arise in connection with air pressure. Air pressure is caused by the weight of the atmospheric gases pressing down on the surface of the earth. Water vapor is very heavy, and a layer of vapor such as that postulated by the creationists would produce an atmospheric pressure at sea level of some 900 atmospheres, approximately equal to the pressure five and a half miles deep in the ocean. Noah and his Ark (and everything else on earth) would have been crushed by the staggering atmospheric pressures before they could have set sail.
The creationist assertion that the Flood waters were produced by the condensation of this vapor canopy presents yet another problem. Whenever water vapor condenses to form liquid water, heat is released. And the condensation of enough water vapor to produce a global Flood would have released an enormous amount of heat energy. As Arthur Strahler points out, "Calculations show that the heat liberated by a canopy such as that described by Morris would raise the atmospheric temperature to over 6,400 degrees F, boiling the ocean and the Ark." (Strahler, 1987, p. 197) The creationists, unable to explain any of these problems, can only conclude, "It is obvious that the opening of the 'windows of heaven' in order to allow 'the waters which were above the firmament' to fall upon the earth, and the breaking up of 'all the fountains of the great deep' were supernatural acts of God." (Whitcomb and Morris, 1961, p. 76)
Once again, the religious basis of creation "science" becomes painfully obvious. The creationists have no scientific explanation whatsoever for the events of the Flood, and once again must openly appeal to the "power of God" to keep their "science" afloat. This is not surprising, since, as the creationists themselves make clear, their "flood geology" is nothing more than their attempt to reconcile a literal reading of Genesis with the geological evidence. And in any conflict between the Bible and that evidence, it is the Bible which has priority:
"Either the Biblical record of the Flood is false and must be rejected or else the system of historical geology which has seemed to discredit it is wrong and must be changed. The latter alternative would seem to be the only one which a Biblically and scientifically instructed Christian could honestly take." (Whitcomb and Morris, 1961, p. 118)
"When one holds this high view of Scripture, he necessarily must accept Genesis at face value. This not only means six literal days of Creation, but also no geological ages . . . . The Scriptures clearly and emphatically teach that there was such a global and cataclysmic Flood. This can only mean that the Flood and its after affects must explain most of the stratigraphic and fossil evidences that are commonly found in the earth's crust." (Morris, Back to Genesis, August 1995)
"The Biblical record has provided a clear description of the causes, nature and results of true catastrophism, the Noahic Flood . . . We cannot verify it experimentally, of course, any more than any of the various other theories of catastrophism, but we do not need experimental verification: God has recorded it in His Word, and that should be sufficient." (Morris, 1970, p. 30)
The creationist "flood geology" is literalist Biblical doctrine, nothing more and nothing less. It has no more scientific validity than the rest of creation "science", and has no more place in a public school science classroom.
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