Reminder: Wanna hear some bad defenses of Noah’s Ark?


At noon my time Dan Phelps and I will be grading Answers in Genesis’s answers on the topic of Noah’s Ark. Spoiler: they fail. But you can tune in later to see how they fail.

If you want to help out, here is the AiG video (only 20 minutes long), and you can chime in in the chat. I’ll keep my eyes open for better rebuttals than ours. We sure won’t get it from the comments on their video, because they’re mainly about sucking up.

Comments

  1. says

    As far as I’m concerned, the Noah’s ark story is so ridiculous it isn’t worth rebutting. Anybody who can believe something that stupid is brain damaged and impervious to any form of reason. Furthermore, if the story were true, it would prove the rest of the Tanakh is false.

  2. says

    Anyone who thinks this is the Ark Noah’s sailed in is about as brain dead as the followers and sympathizers of that Stupid Idiot Trump.

    That so called “ark” Ham made up is modeled after the The Jahre Viking Crude Oil Tanker, which is a modern vessel that Dumb Idiot Ham took a look at and thought, “this must be is the one Noah sailed on” and built it as an add-om to his creation fantasy world ripped from the pages of pulp fiction and comics, and scenes from a sci-fi fantasy film and TV show.

  3. microraptor says

    Was this the Ark that got damaged in the recent Kentucky flooding, or was it a different Ark display?

  4. birgerjohansson says

    Re. PZ @ 2
    In other words, grifters and scammers are safe as long as they coat themselves in religion.
    .
    I seem to recall a recent episode of Sceoticrat/The Scathing Atheist where they told the story of a convicted fraudster who became a Bishop in a prosperity gospel church. He then staged a robbery when wearing expensive Bishops jewelry (!) which was insured for hundreds of thousands of dollars.
    But since he was streaming the service when the “robbery” took place, the inconsistencies in the behavior of him and his compatriots become obvious.

  5. says

    Just thought of this now. Maybe Dumb Idiot Ham made up the oil tanker ark out of his support from the oil and fossil fuel industry who paid the likes of Dumb Idiot Ham to spread manufactured lies about climate change and global warming caused by humans and how it affects the whole planet in a negative way.

    All of the sudden it makes sense now. Why did Dumb Idiot Ham created a wooden oil tanker and call it Nosh’s Ark? Because it has everything to do with him being an oil and fossil fuel industry sympathizer who cares only about $$$ than caring for “God’s Creation.”

  6. says

    Y’all are beating a dead horse here. Many Christians, when pressed to the wall about the utter stupidity and insanity of the whole Flood story, are already admitting we don’t really have to believe it to be Christian or to be “Saved” or to comply with Christ’s teachings (including famous Biggest Baddest Apologist Dave Armstrong). We can just file it in the same category as all the other silly stories that religious and political con-artists have managed to get gullible people to believe in order to pull off some scam or other.

    And we really don’t need any reference to any science to disprove the Flood story. All the Christians I’ve talked to insist that God is wise and compassionate; the god who gave us the global flood to wipe us all out for being as sinful as he allegedly created us to be is a fucking idiot; therefore the god who gave us the global flood is not the true God. QEDuh.

  7. René says

    Fun fact, enjoy while waiting for another AiG debunking: If you refresh/reload (Ctrl-R in my Firefox) while having the title of PZ’s previous post on screen, you will see his spider change color and move its legs!

  8. weylguy says

    I’m a conservative Orthodox Christian whose church fully recognizes Noah as a patriarchal type, but I fervently believe that the flood story was borrowed from Gilgamesh and at best is a metaphor. I only wish the ancient Jews had concocted something more logical, but there you are.

  9. birgerjohansson says

    It is to the credit of the Christians who admit that these kind of stories are at most allegorical. This allows them to maintain some intellectual honesty.
    .
    Members of another religion are in a worse situation: their main prophet explicitly forbade any allegorical interpretations.
    The damage to the critical faculties of millions of people manifested in USA yesterday when an author ended up in intensive care.
    .
    If fundie Christians must make theme parks, try something less boring than Noah, or the stuff Ned Flanders had in his theme park.
    (Thinks a lot)..
    .
    Have the alien tourist Zorblatt (whose two dozen limbs makes him look like a bush) manifest his phosphorescing mating display (which in darkness makes it look like he is on fire).
    .
    Massacreland: come beat the brains out of your bronze-age neighbors as simulated by robots.
    (rebuilt from the discarded robots of Itchy And Schratchyland).

  10. keinsignal says

    For those who may not have seen it, here is the true story of Noah’s Ark (well, a true story… for certain values of “true”), as presented by Irving Finkel of the British Museum: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s_fkpZSnz2I

    It’s an hour long but believe me, the time flies right by, Finkel’s an incredible personality.

  11. birgerjohansson says

    Keinsignal @ 13
    I have read the book version of The Ark Before Noah; I cannot praise it strongly enough.
    I donated my copy to Umeå library so more people would have the opportunity to enjoy it.

  12. PaulBC says

    Huh? Did I miss the good ones? Aha. I found some but they are in a language I don’t understand. Is that what Akkadian sounds like?

    I agree with cervantes@1 on “too stupid to rebut.” Noah reminds me of Paul Bunyan more than he does any mythological figure. It is not even a myth on the order of gods working miracles. It’s a tall tale about a guy who builds a giant boat and fills it with every animal on earth. It is hard for me to grasp it being understood as anything other than allegory.

  13. says

    keinsignal@13: Thanks very much for the link. Very interesting movie.
    Pretty conclusive evidence that the compilers of the hebrew and xian scriptures copied this bit from existing tradition.

    Dr. Finkel seems to be a bit of a character. It seems he has more videos on the British Museum channel (“curator’s corner”) on Youtube. Looks like I’ve got some more viewing to do.

  14. KG says

    Members of another religion are in a worse situation: their main prophet explicitly forbade any allegorical interpretations. – birgerjohansson@12

    Whether he did or not (you don’t give a reference), that hasn’t stopped Muslims accepting allegorical interpretations of the Quran, e.g. the Muʿtazila school, and many Isma’ilis. Worth learning a bit more about the diversity of Muslim beliefs, perhaps?

  15. jrkrideau says

    @ keinsignal
    Yes it is a great video. Finkel seems to prove that the age of great British eccentrics is still with us. His other video are worth viewing also.

  16. StevoR says

    On the remarkable and aptly named Giant Gippsland Earthworm (Megascolides australis) also called karmai. in the local Boonwurrung language (GGE wikipage) see :

    https://www.giantearthworm.org.au/

    Plus :

    https://www.australiangeographic.com.au/topics/wildlife/2017/12/the-plight-of-the-giant-gippsland-earthworm/

    As well as the David Attenbrough clip I mentioned in the comments which is just pretty awesome I reckon.

    As their IUCN Red List page shows they are restricted to just a tiny roughly triangular area with particuklar wet loamy soil to the south east of Australia’s second largest city and they are very delicate creatures so how they would have made it to the ark or from the ark is just, yeah, no. Plus if they – and the other 999 native Aussie earthworm species – could have evolved distinctly from the “kind” äncestor in situ, in under 5,000 years again, just no.

  17. indianajones says

    So, as a research project I would like AiG et al to get the toughest plant seed that they all agree didn’t come on the ark and then:
    1. Blast it with a high pressure salt water fire hose for 40 days and nights.
    2 Leave it in the best dirt for it under high pressure salt water and in the dark for 340 (I think?) days and nights.
    3. Get it to grow.
    4. Keep looking until they find a seed that survives that and document all the failures
    Good luck guys! If you can find one, just one, that would be evidence for viability at least. Perhaps such a thing has been done? I am not optimistic but I do have to be completely honest and say that I don’t know.

  18. says

    One can ponder a great deal at the selective determination of which “stories” are literal and which “stories” are metaphorical, exemplary, and/or allegorical to some degree or another.† And it sort of shoots Pascal’s Wager in the foot: How does one determine which “jealous god”‘s beliefs one should follow in order to accept and validate the wager? (But that’s a bit too far off topic.)

    Keep in mind that the most-likely progenitor of the “flood destroying civilization” stories is third-hand-accounts-through-a-preelectronic-game-of-telephone of a relatively highly developed civilization being wiped out by a natural flood. One possible (certainly not definitive) example would be the breaking of a natural dam of some kind to the west of that civilization during an unusually rainy season. And because we don’t really know where to look, finding archaeological evidence that’s definitively connected to the actual event that resulted in the story is going to be rather difficult.

    Frankly, I’m a lot more interested in the eyebrow-raising assumptions and handwaving about the kinds of joinery that would have been necessary (and possible) using stone tools only (the Ark story, if one credits the internal sequencing possibilities in the OT — even with highly selective views of what stated quantities and times are “just” for storytelling effect — occurred at least a millennium prior to the Bronze Age). There weren’t any Shopsmith all-in-one units available to make the thousands of dovetail joints, or matching keyed mortise-and-tenon joints, and those are the possibilities without metal (probably iron!) nails/screws and/or synthetic glues.

    So anyone who takes the Ark story literally is too busy trusting the story over their own lying eyes (or any “traditional-tools” woodwright).

    † Contrary to apologetics, these are not congruent sets, but intersecting sets (with a multidimensional Vren diagram from hell… all too literally, and isn’t that an amusing irony).

  19. birgerjohansson says

    KG @ 18
    The Mutazilids and their intellectual freedom got much diminished in the eleventh century.
    The Ismailis and other relatively liberal groups like the Alevi in Turkey are minorities. The latter have been ruthlessly persecuted by the majority.
    I do unfortunately not recall the exact number of the suras and hadiths.
    I know Muhammed described the instruction of the koran as clear. He wanted the instructions to be carried out to the letter.

  20. birgerjohansson says

    Addendum -there are plenty of enlightened muslims who want to adapt to modern times and practice a much more liberal islam.
    The problem is, they have a hard time finding justifications in the islamic written sources.
    .
    I am not familiar with the Ismailis.
    I know sunni muslims are bombarded with whahabi/salafist propaganda sponsored by the Gulf kingdoms.
    In this situation, liberal muslims living in muslim-majority countries cannot easily affect the culture.

  21. PaulBC says

    birgerjohansson@25 I think your distinction between Islam and other Abrahamic religions is a red herring. There are very few religions that let adherents pick and choose freely what’s literal and what’s a metaphor. Islam, Christianity, and Judaism all have different sects and at least in the latter two cases may disagree on what’s canon and what’s apocrypha. Catholicism numbers the commandments differently (lumping the first two and splitting the last two). No significant group of people believes there was ever a perfectly circular “molten sea” with a circumference/diameter ratio of exactly 3, so they come up with explanations. There are two creation stories in Genesis and four versions of the Gospel, and you have to do a lot of shoehorning to claim there are no contradictions.

    Despite this, there are Christian literalists, or those who claim to be, and those comfortable with allegory. There are Islamic literalists too, as well as moderate Muslims whose beliefs and practices clearly contradict any prohibition by Mohammed against any allegorical interpretations. In fact, there are many. It’s a huge religion influenced by cultures as varied as Indonesia and India. It does not follow a rule book like contract bridge in which an outsider can read the text and say “You’re playing it wrong.” which is effectively what it sounds to me like you’re doing here.

  22. Jim Balter says

    I’m a conservative Orthodox Christian … I only wish the ancient Jews had concocted something more logical

    This is like being a Republican accusing Democrats of being fascists and calling for the dismantling of the FBI who wishes that Trump would come up with a better excuse for why he was in possession of nuclear secrets.

  23. Jim Balter says

    He wanted the instructions to be carried out to the letter.

    Much like “For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass away from the law, till all things be accomplished.”

  24. Jim Balter says

    It’s a tall tale about a guy who builds a giant boat and fills it with every animal on earth. It is hard for me to grasp it being understood as anything other than allegory.

    I understand it as a tall tale meant to be believed by gullible people … just like all of religion.

  25. KG says

    birgerjohansson@21,

    KG @ 18
    The Mutazilids and their intellectual freedom got much diminished in the eleventh century.

    That’s true, but it’s surely noteworthy that they were able to flourish in the early centuries of Islam. They also, according to the last part of the Wikipedia article I linked to helped to inspire “Islamic Modernism”. The current turn toward fundamentalism in Islam is fairly recent, although of course, like Christian fundamentalism, it claims to be a revival of the original religion.

    The Ismailis and other relatively liberal groups like the Alevi in Turkey are minorities. The latter have been ruthlessly persecuted by the majority.

    Different sects of a religion persecuting each other… now where have I come across that outwith Islam?

    I do unfortunately not recall the exact number of the suras and hadiths.
    I know Muhammed described the instruction of the koran as clear.

    Shi’a don’t accept the validity of hadiths, and even among the Sunni, there are wide differences in which hadiths are accepted. But since your claim about Muhammed’s ban on allegorical interpretations appears central to your argument that Islam offers an intrinsic obstacle to them, it’s a bit of a weakness that you can’t actually specify where that ban occurs. (Not that, if it exists, such a ban would in practice prevent such interpretations, since the historical record shows that they have been and are held by individuals and sects within Islam.)

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