Noah’s Flood, Examining Some Questions, Part II

In his book, “A Biblical Case for an Old Earth,” David Snoke claims that the story of Noah in the Bible refers to a localized flood, and not a global one. I enjoyed his book, but I disagree with Snoke on this. So just for fun, I thought I’d answer some of his objections to a world-wide flood.

In part one I dealt with gathering the animals, fitting them into the ark, and feeding the carnivorous ones! Here, I will deal with whether or not 8 people can feed that many creatures every day, the ventilation of the ark, and animals with special needs. Let’s start with whether or not it’s even possible for 8 people to practice their animal husbandry skills with that many critters…

WHOSE TURN IS IT TO FEED THE MAMMALS?
In keeping with the disagreement over exactly how many animals were in the ark, Snoke says it would have taken a miracle for 8 people to feed the millions of animals every day, as well as shovel all the dung out of the ark. Woodmorappe’s calculation of just 16,000 animals (a lot less than millions in case you didn’t bring a calculator) radically changes the amount of work it would have taken. It is very possible to feed the 16,000, much harder to feed millions.

And that’s before you ask the question of just how old these animals were. Full-size adults take more feed, and smaller-sized baby versions take less, and they poop less too. If God was going to bring me a bunch of animals to put on an ark, I would hope for the smaller-sized young ones. And there’s no logical reason to believe He wouldn’t have done it that way. In fact, since it seems a lot smarter to bring the small ones, you almost have to believe that’s what God did since He’s pretty smart by definition.

WILL SOMEONE PLEASE OPEN A WINDOW?
Next Snoke says the ark needed a miracle to allow everyone to survive being couped up in a “closed space” or a “windowless box.” He claims the heat generated by so many animals would result in hundreds of degrees.

Here’s where I’ll scold Snoke. If he reads this, I hope he understands I still like him. Anyway, for a guy that believes in a literal interpretation of the Bible, this one is silly. The ark had an opening that ran around the entire top of the structure. Compare these two versions of the English translation of the Bible:

A light shalt thou make to the ark, and to a cubit shalt thou finish it upward; and the door of the ark shalt thou set in the side thereof; with lower, second, and third stories shalt thou make it. -Genesis 6:16 (ASV)

Make a roof for it and finish the ark to within 18 inches of the top. Put a door in the side of the ark and make lower, middle and upper decks. -Genesis 6:16 (NIV)

There is no version of the Bible anywhere that says the “window” of the ark was only such and such WIDE. The Hebrew says to finish the ark up to a cubit from the top, in other words, leaving 18 inches or so of opening at the roof, which goes all the way around.

Not only is this enough to ventilate the ark, but it’s the best way to ventilate a large structure housing animals. Those confinement farms that keep thousands of pigs or turkeys or whatever in houses will often ventilate in the same manner.

CAN YOU TURN UP THE HEAT? TURN DOWN THE HEAT? CAN I HAVE MY FIBER SNACK?
I’m combining two needed miracles according to Snoke. The first is that some animals would require special climate, and the second is that others would require a special diet. Certainly, a logical consideration.

Sounds logical anyway. In real life there doesn’t seem to be much problem with polar climate animals spending time in a warmer climate. Not only do you often see these guys at the zoo, but penguins have been found in the waters off New Zealand, fur seals have been seen off the waters in Australia within 27 degrees of the equator, and seals have also been off the coast of California.

Or as one expert put it:

“Polar animals do not, as was once thought, pine for refrigerated conditions -at least not in temperate climates. Surprisingly temperature tolerant, they do need a cool retreat and plenty of clean water in summer -but so do most animals. They take readily to standard feeds; reindeer fortunately do not demand an exclusive diet of reindeer moss, nor do polar bears require seals, or penguins’ exotic southern species of krill, squid, and fish.” (Stonehouse, B. 1978 page 2; “Management of Polar Birds and Mammals in Captivity” [Association of British Wild Animal Keepers]

As far as the dietary concerns go, again if the carnivorous animals are miraculously being taken care of in this way, then logically, so would certain dietary restricted animals. There is some argument that these dietary restrictions have arisen SINCE the flood in many creatures, but for me, this just isn’t a big worry on the miracle side of things. It’s something God has done before, so however He did it, either through natural means or supernatural means, it’s fine with me.

Next… where’d the water come from, or go, plus how salt-water and fresh-water fish survived in the same giant pool, etc…

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6 thoughts on “Noah’s Flood, Examining Some Questions, Part II

  1. Hello CrazyPastor / Brian, Good to hear from you.

    I thought I had caused you to disengage from the debate by straying a bit from original subject. For that I apologize, and I will do my best to stay on point. Thank you for your kind reply to my post to anonymous.

    First a quote from a Christian believer:
    “The maintenance of modern creationism and Flood geology not only is useless apologetically with unbelieving scientists, it is harmful. Although many who have no scientific training have been swayed by creationist arguments, the unbelieving scientist will reason that a Christianity that believes in such nonsense must be a religion not worthy of his interest. . . . Modern creationism in this sense is apologetically and evangelistically ineffective. It could even be a hindrance to the gospel.
    “Another possible danger is that in presenting the gospel to the lost and in defending God’s truth we ourselves will seem to be false. It is time for Christian people to recognize that the defense of this modern, young-Earth, Flood-geology creationism is simply not truthful. It is simply not in accord with the facts that God has given. Creationism must be abandoned by Christians before harm is done. . . .” Young, Davis, 1988. “Christianity and the Age of the Earth” Artisan Sales, Thousand Oaks, CA.

    You write:
    “twom, to answer just a couple of things. You perhaps don’t realize this, but the evidence of buried trees in the layers of the earth are used as evidence FOR the flood. Oil reserves are used as evidence FOR the flood. The evidence is not inconsistent whatsoever with a world-wide flood. And while the evolutionary assumption claims it takes millions of years to produce oil, there is evidence (including industrial production of oil) that shows this is not the case given the right cataclysmic conditions, -conditions which are thought to have occurred during the flood.”

    Polystrate fossils have been perfectly explained by common know geological processes. There is no need to bring magic into the equation as an explanation. Following link is to a Wikipedia article: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polystrate_fossil#Geological_explanation

    Following is an excerpt from EurekAlert by Alexander Goncharov, agoncharov@ciw.edu
    202-478-8947 at the Carnegie Institution.

    “Scientists have found that ethane and heavier hydrocarbons can be synthesized under the pressure-temperature conditions of the upper mantle —the layer of Earth under the crust and on top of the core. The research was conducted by scientists at the Carnegie Institution’s Geophysical Laboratory, with colleagues from Russia and Sweden, and is published in the July 26, advanced on-line issue of Nature Geoscience.

    Methane (CH4) is the main constituent of natural gas, while ethane (C2H6) is used as a petrochemical feedstock. Both of these hydrocarbons, and others associated with fuel, are called saturated hydrocarbons because they have simple, single bonds and are saturated with hydrogen. Using a diamond anvil cell and a laser heat source, the scientists first subjected methane to pressures exceeding 20 thousand times the atmospheric pressure at sea level and temperatures ranging from 1,300 F° to over 2,240 F°. These conditions mimic those found 40 to 95 miles deep inside the Earth. The methane reacted and formed ethane, propane, butane, molecular hydrogen, and graphite. The scientists then subjected ethane to the same conditions and it produced methane. The transformations suggest heavier hydrocarbons could exist deep down. The reversibility implies that the synthesis of saturated hydrocarbons is thermodynamically controlled and does not require organic matter.”

    Sorry but these conditions would not exist in a world-wide flood that covered the earth for a year. You information source validity is suspect.
    You write:

    You write:
    “Second, just the opening paragraph from that paper about radiometric dating has some six statements that I believe are false. In other words, I completely disagree with the assumptions at the very beginning. And I disagree because I sincerely believe the evidence proves otherwise.”

    Ever since science started to take on old (or new) beliefs (not necessarily all religious), there have been people who disagree and go on to make a living of sorts being the “devil’s advocate” (sorry) to mainline scientific thought. There have been people like Immanuel Velikovsky, Zechariah Sitchin, Michael Cremo, Erich von Daniken, and others like them that have taken ‘presently’ empty voids in our knowledge base and speculated and written amazing fantasies that they try to pass off as fact.

    You’ve probably heard at least a few of them…Jesus was an astronaut, or planet X that is exactly opposite the earth behind the sun, the Nazca lines are marking an alien spaceport, etc. Many of them build up amazingly complicated worlds and universes. Just hundreds and thousands of claims, that if they are made to sound official or scientific or believable enough they will gather believers/supporters and make the purveyors of the pseudoscience rich.

    From what I can find about the William D. Stansfield, PhD you mention, he is a follower of Velikovsky See: http://www.csicop.org/author/williamdstansfield Questions have been raised as to how much of a scientist is a PhD who believes in magic.

    He says”
    “It is obvious that radiometric techniques may not be the absolute dating methods that they are claimed to be. Age estimates on a given geological stratum by different radiometric methods are often quite different (sometimes by hundreds of millions of years) There is no absolutely reliable long-term radiological ‘clock’”. Evolutionist, Biologist, William Stansfield, PHD, California Polytech State. ‘The Science of Evolution.’, p.84.

    I, in return, offer this for your information. The immediately following sentence from that quote is as follows: “The uncertainties inherent in radiometric dating are disturbing to geologists and evolutionists, but their overall interpretation supports the concept of a long history of geological evolution.” http://jmm.aaa.net.au/articles/931.htm

    You write:
    “There has been in recent years the horrible realization that radio-decay rates are not as constant as previously thought, nor are they immune to environmental influences. And this could mean that the atomic clocks were reset during some global disaster, -and events which brought the Mesozoic to a close may not be 65 million years ago, but rather, within the age and memory of man.” -Frederic B. Jueneman “Secular Catastrophism” Industrial Research and Development, Volume 24, Page 21, June 1982 First off this is a nearly thirty years old reference to a science that has been very rapidly changing…remember it is now just over 60 years old.

    Regarding Frederic B. Jueneman
    “I have not been able to obtain the reference, which is very obscure, but the quote seems to be a case of one pseudo scientist citing another. That may be harsh; I don’t know much about Jueneman. He is (was?) a fan of Velikovsky, and has written for Aeon magazine. He has written a couple of books, and still writes a column for R&D magazine. My guess is that Jueneman is a maverick who likes to shake up people’s complacency by deliberately advocating wild and wacky ideas. At least, that is the most generous interpretation.

    In any case, the actual content of the quote is drivel, no matter who wrote it. I see no reason at all for taking it seriously. Nearly twenty years ago Jueneman suggested that the estimate of 4.5 billion years may be short lived. However, twenty years of further research and development has only confirmed that estimate, and made it more precise (4.54billion years +- 0.02).

    The “horrible realization” Jueneman mentions is most likely a reference to work in which careful measurement and extreme conditions was able to produce tiny variations in a few isotopes not used for dating; results which confirm the underlying theory of radioactive decay The quote implies that these results call into question the decay rates of uranium and thorium. That is false.

    Jueneman makes a very confused association between global disaster and varying decay rates. In fact, the notions are completely distinct. Resetting of radiometric clocks has nothing at all to do with varying decay rates. Even more comically, reset of a clock means that measured times now refer to elapsed time since the clocks were reset. Therefore Jueneman’s claim that a reset effect could bring the Mesozoic to within human history is complete bollocks.

    Here is an article written by Jueneman last year, which assumes without comment the great age of the Earth, and conventional dating of the Mesozoic. http://www.rdmag.com/features/0001fred.htm”

    You write:
    “But regardless, what’s really interesting is that radiometric dating doesn’t disprove the Flood account with the Egyptian civilization anyway. The Great Pyramid of Giza is thought to be the actual oldest sign of mankind. Accounting for the equilibrium problem with C-14 … it falls right within the first few centuries *after* Noah’s Flood ended.”

    The Pyramids of the Giza plateau were built hundreds of years *before* the supposed flood. There is NO record, either geological or sociological, of an overwhelming flood in Egypt. Nor is there any record of the same flood in China or the Indus Valley Civilization of Pakistan. There is NO geological evidence of a world-wide flood in the last 5,000,000 years…at least. In fact I don’t think there has ever been found any evidence at all for a world-wide flood…ever…at any age of the earth.

    The oldest actual evidence of mankind…Hmmm, let me see. Bones of actual humans (Homo-sapiens) from about 200,000 years ago (YA), in Africa. Evidence of mankind living in caves in South Africa, France, Italy, Germany and some of the former Eastern European (communist) countries. Living outside of caves in the same countries and Britain and the Scandinavian countries from about 50,000 YA to present time.

    Also beautiful Cave Art in France, Italy, Spain, etc. from about 30,000 to about 18,000 YA. Bones of both Neanderthals and Homo-sapiens co-mingled in a cave in Israel’s Mt. Carmel dated from 75,000 to 50,000 YA (Neanderthals died out around 25,000 YA). Evidence that Jericho is 8,000 +- years old. Beautifully preserved site in Gobekli Tepe, Turkey from 11,000 years ago, possible religious overtones here. Proof of American Indians felling a Mammoth in what is now modern day Arizona…9 beautifully preserved Clovis spears points in with skeleton…Mammoths (the big ones) last walked the earth about 10,000 years ago.

    There are literally thousands and thousands of prehistoric sites, all over the world, that show human occupation further back than 6,000 years ago. There is layer after layer of detritus from former civilizations below all the Historical Biblical sites…showing beyond a doubt that human life has existed for MUCH longer than 6,000 years.

    You write:
    “Radiometric dating was discovered AFTER evolutionists began with the assumption of an old earth. Often, circular reasoning is used in “dating” rocks or fossils, but they both depend on evolutionary time-scales being “true” in the first place. Both sides are starting with assumptions.”

    Darwin believed the earth to be about 5800-6000 years old when he was a young man on his long trip of discovery. At the point where he intuited Evolution and wrote his book (1859), he wrote that more time was needed then those 6,000 years for the processes to work…he left this unanswered at the time. Years later in 1897 Lord Kelvin postulated from currant knowledge that the earth was 24 to 40 million years old. In 1899, John Joly of Ireland calculated that we are 90 to 100 million years old.

    Below is from http://abyss.uoregon.edu/~js/lectures/age_of_the_earth/age_of_the_earth.html
    “Radioactivity is discovered by Henri Becquerel in 1896. In 1905, Rutherford and Boltwood used radioactive decay to measure the age of rocks and minerals. Uranium decay produces He, leading to a date of 500 million years for the oldest rocks.
    In 1907, Boltwood suspected that lead was the stable end product of the decay of uranium and published the age of a sample of urananite based on Uranium-Lead dating to be 1.64 billion years.

    Mass spectrograph was used after WWI (1918). Led to the discovery of over 200 isotopes. Many radioactive elements can be used as geologic clocks since each element decays at its own nearly constant rate. Once this decay rate is known, geologists can estimate the length of time over which decay has been occurring by measuring the amount of radioactive parent and the amount of stable daughter elements.

    So far, oldest dated Earth rocks are 3.96 billion years. Older rocks include meteorites and moon rocks, where Moon rocks from the Lunar highland are about 4.5 billion years old, mare basalt rocks are 3.2 – 3.8 billion years old. Meteorites are ALL older than 4.5 billion years.”
    Getting late here, will answer more tomorrow…assuming you would like to know more.

    Peace
    twom

  2. twom, Just what conditions do you believe were present in a global world-wide flood? For a world-wide flood to occur, as the Bible speaks of, you have to ask yourself how water could cover the entire planet, and then recede. Where did the water come from? Where did it go? And so on.

    The science behind a world-wide flood includes cataclysmic upheaval and destruction of the earth’s crust, massive volcanic eruptions, tidal waves 700 feet high, deposits of layers and layers of earth in a short time, the rise of mountain ranges, etc… There would indeed exist high temperatures and high pressures. It becomes a very plausible explanation for many things, such as fossil creation.

  3. You quoted about radiometric dating: “but their overall interpretation supports the concept of a long history of geological evolution”

    Exactly what I’ve been saying. The disagreement is over the interpretation of evidence. When you start with an old-earth/evolutionary assumption, you find ways to fit the data into that assumption.

    So although nearly all ancient civilizations believe in some sort of a flood story, we are UNABLE to put 2 + 2 together and realize that perhaps it’s because there was a flood in the ancient past?

    I think we don’t “see it” because it goes against our assumptions.

  4. The pyramids of Egypt were built hundreds of years before the flood? What year did the flood take place and how do you arrive at that conclusion?

    If you are already within hundreds of years, then you are within the range. Since radio-carbon dating has been used to show that the pyramids were built after the flood, are you now disagreeing with Carbon dating after such an enthusiastic defense of it?

    And when radiodecay dating was discovered, the earth, and evolution, were already thought to require an old age. Unless radiodecay dating had fit the evolutionary world view, I doubt it would have been supported. Scientists don’t like to admit they are wrong anymore than the rest of us.

    Of course, the dating of the ancient civilizations is always done using the evolutionary model. Certain layers are believed to be certain ages, and if you dig up a civilization in a certain layer…. presto, you have a good estimate.

    Unless of course, it turns out those layers were not deposited over millions of years, but at least many of them were deposited far more quickly as the result of a world-wide cataclysmic flood. That would mess up all the assumptions.

    We’ve built a house of cards in my opinion. Regardless, there’s certainly room for the Bible story regarding a flood.

  5. The important teaching from the flood story is that G-d promised humanity that no matter how bad it may become, He would never again destroy it in its entirety.

    This is ultimately an uplifting message about G-d’s love for humanity. Whether the story is factually true or a tool used by G-d to teach that uplifting lesson is not really important. The lesson is what is important.

    Therefore, it is more important that we focus our time on the lesson and what it may mean in our own lives — for example, perhaps to inspire us to focus on bettering our behavior toward others as instructed elsewhere in the text. Rather than to spend the time attempting to “prove” or disprove the fact portion of the story.

  6. I agree and disagree. I agree there is an uplifting message about God’s love for humanity in there, but there is more. There is also a sobering message about God’s judgment in there. And the truth of the story itself is also important. We are talking about a Christian faith that makes very specific factual claims about the resurrection of Jesus and the reality of life after death. If there is no truth to be found in many of the stories, then it would be more difficult to believe in the stories which are central to the faith. Does the flood have to be global or more localized in order for the Scripture to be trusted? That’s up for debate. If the story is nothing more than a fairy tale, then it calls into question the fact claims found elsewhere. Fortunately, there substantial scientific evidence for a major flood, including a global one. It allows me to remain very confident in the Scriptures.

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