Victory Declared! Science Reporter Trounces Straw Noah
The reporter kicked over a straw Ark, too, with a Flood of air.
“The Ark: Could Noah’s Tale Be True?” Benjamin Radford, a Live Science contributor, asked. The expected answer is that a “tale” cannot be true. It’s already been rendered false from the way the question was asked. But to fill in the rest of his column, Radford knocked down, with a Flood of air, a straw Noah standing beside a straw Ark.
It’s generally advisable in debate to take on your opponent’s best arguments. Radford clearly did not do his homework, because instead of facing the literature from scientific and theological creationist scholars about the evidence for a worldwide flood, the feasibility of an Ark, and the reliability of the story of Noah, he appears to have simply regurgitated the uninformed attacks of fellow skeptics. His only pro-creation source was a 1984 paperback by Dr. Henry M. Morris, Jr., The Biblical Basis of Modern Science, from which Radford quoted mostly assertions, not the evidence supporting them; this book was an overview of creation evidences, not a detailed examination of Noah’s Ark or Flood geology (see Morris’s earlier work, The Genesis Flood). Though he quoted Morris’s calculations of the capacity of the Ark, Radford did not consult any of the creation journals or book-length works that examine the Flood evidence at length, nor did he quote any living Flood geologists. His main skeptical source is Ken Feder’s Encyclopedia of Dubious Archaeology (2010), which lumps the Biblical record in with the bizarre like von Daniken’s meteoric fad, Chariots of the Gods. (See association and card stacking in the Baloney Detector.)
The article repeats these misconceptions about Noah and the Ark:
- That Noah needed to take two of “all of Earth’s animals” from all over the world. (God’s order was for two of each kind of animals. Given the dimensions of the Ark as equal to 522 freightcars, all the required animals would have fit in 15 of them, leaving over 500 more for food, gear, Noah’s family, or open space; see Dr. Jonathan Sarfati’s article on CMI.)
- That Noah needed to take hundreds of full-grown dinosaurs on the Ark. (Reducing to kinds of dinosaurs, and taking only juveniles, was sufficient. Ignores evidence of dinosaur sightings after the Flood.)
- That Noah needed to take drinking water for each animal for a year. (Was there no rainwater to collect?)
- That Noah needed to take 7 pairs of clean animals, therefore there would not have been enough room. (This is an assertion, without identifying quantities or capacities; see the CMI article for response.)
- That Noah would have had to collect koalas from Australia and llamas from South America. (Today’s continents were rearranged from a single antediluvian continent; God brought the animals; only kinds of animals needed to be preserved; today’s llamas and koalas are variations on created kinds that diversified after the Flood)
- That the carnivores would have eaten the herbivores aboard the Ark. (Animals were vegetarian at creation, as stated in Genesis 1. Besides, a shipbuilder smart enough to build an Ark would know how to cage the animals; Noah also had God’s instructions.)
- The Bible intended the Noah story as a parable or “instructive myth.” (Jesus and the apostles spoke of it as a historical fact. Radford thus makes Jesus Christ out to be a liar, deceiver, or ignorant teacher.)
Radford is right when he states that claims of the Ark’s discovery have not been corroborated, but that is a work in progress. Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence. Some creationists do not expect it will ever be found, since Noah and his descendents would have dismantled it for fuel. He also points out that many cultures have Flood legends, but interprets that to mean that Genesis is just another one of them. Creationists look at all the widespread, independent accounts of a global Flood as evidence for the Flood, being corrupted memories of a real historical event.
Radford offers a logical criticism, stating that “Once a supernatural miracle is invoked to explain one thing, it can be used to explain everything.” While true, this argument cuts both ways: once evidence is denied for a historical fact, denial can used to discount everything; once naturalism is invoked to explain one thing, it can be used to explain everything. Radford states some ridiculous hypothetical miracles God “could” have done, like “temporarily shrinking all the animals to the size of rats or even allowing them all to live for a year without food or water.” A scholarly argument should examine the evidence for what happened, not what “could” have happened. There is documentation in Genesis, and there is geological and genetic evidence. An interlocutor should stick with those.
The article repeats these misconceptions about the Flood:
- “there is no evidence for a worldwide flood.” (Abundant evidence from strata and the fossil record are discussed in detail in geologist Andrew Snelling’s two-volume work, Earth’s Catastrophic Past, an expansion and update to Morris and Whitcomb’s 1960 book The Genesis Flood; detailed scholarly articles on specific Flood deposits are numerous in creation journals; Dr. Walt Brown’s book In the Beginning also lists numerous independent evidences for a global Flood, with scholarly references.)
- A Flood would have left Pompeii-style ruins of thousands of cities and villages. (The antediluvian world was completely wiped out, leaving any remains of civilization buried under miles of sediment on rearranged continents. On rare occasions, modern artifacts turn up in coal beds and other unexpected places. )
- The Flood is not a true story. (An assertion or opinion, not an argument.)
What Radford and creationists might agree on is that the new Hollywood movie Noah that opened today is not a true story. Outrage by Christians appears to be growing against flagrant misrepresentations of the Genesis account.
Radford’s article generated a number of animated comments varying in their degree of misinformation.
Update 4/5/14: Students at the University of Leicester calculated, as an exercise, whether an Ark of Biblical dimensions could hold all the animals, the Daily Mail reports. To their surprise, it worked. The Ark would have floated, and it would have had room for two of every animal.
When engaging an opposing army, fight their Goliath. There’s no glory in smashing a straw man. Here at Creation-Evolution Headlines, we engage the very best that the Darwin Party has to offer. That’s why we quote journal articles from Nature, Science, PNAS and other leading sources at length, in scientific papers written by the leading lights of Darwinism. You get to hear both sides of each issue: what the Darwinists say, and then our analysis and “color commentary” addressing the taunts of their Goliaths. Check out our Geology category going back 13 years to find evidence for the Flood and problems with secular geology, all from secular sources.
Why don’t our opponents do the same? The boot-licking reporters in the secular media, like those on Lie Seance, never quote us, to say nothing of the leading creation organizations (CRS, ICR, AIG, CMI, etc.). They think they have done their job when they quote the NCSE or ACLU or use BAD arguments. We’re calling you out, cowards! Come forth and fight our Goliaths, not the straw men set up by Ken Feder and the spin doctors on your own side. What are you afraid of? Aren’t you ashamed to have nothing but prostrate straw men on your battlefield?