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Refuting Noah’s ark critics

First published: 3 February 2013 (GMT+10)
Re-featured on homepage: 13 August 2016 (GMT+10)

The article How did all the animals fit on Noah’s Ark? was only Dr Jonathan Sarfati’s second article for Creation magazine, published in 1997. But only in the last year, it has received a barrage of criticism from biblioskeptics. The article was probably linked on some atheopathic site inhabiting some of the darker corners of the Internet. We thought that Dr Sarfati’s refutations of these critics would be instructive for a weekend feedback article. They show that the biblical account can withstand the strongest attacks even better than the Ark could withstand the Flood waters (which is saying a lot).

Joe M., United States, 8 July 2012

The sheer silliness of this is mind boggling. There hasn’t been enough time for all species to evolve in 4 billion years, BUT … Horses,Zebras and Donkeys, which are estimated to be millions of years apart by science, evolved in 5000 years? Huh?

A guy had 8000 pairs of animals on an Ark? Can’t this be a story? Catholics treat all of these things as stories without anyone running off to become an atheist. I just will never get this.

What is really mind-boggling is how you can comment with so little understanding of the issues. It doesn’t take that long to vary, as shown by the rapidity that the breeds of dogs were formed from a pair of wolves only a few thousand years ago, and other examples of rapid speciation

No, the global Flood and Ark can’t be a (false) story. Jesus didn’t think so—in Luke 17:26–27 He said:

Just as it was in the days of Noah, so also will it be in the days of the Son of Man. People were eating, drinking, marrying and being given in marriage up to the day Noah entered the ark. Then the flood came and destroyed them all.

The New Testament writers treated it as history, and so did the early church fathers, many of whom the Catholic Church regards as doctors of the church or saints.

Finally, what do you care anyway? And as shown, people do run off and become atheists or at least abandon other key teachings. See our recent article Gay ‘marriage’ and the consistent outcome of Genesis compromise.

Warren L., Philippines, 11 July 2012

The flood of Noah couldn’t have happened. There wouldn’t be enough food and time to feed all 16000 animals. and for ten months, 8 people feeding them? How about the food after the flood? It’s funny how people could defend this story when it’s clearly full of impossibilities.

There are plenty of proven low-tech methods available to feed and water lots of animals. Both water and grain could have central stations, and separate pipes leading to troughs that would feed lots of animals.

And after the Flood, they didn’t disembark for some time, and the account records that already there was considerable vegetation growing by then. Meat eaters could catch fish trapped in pools left behind by the retreating flood waters, and also exhume the ample carrion buried.

This is all in the recommended reading. It’s funny how people could attack this story so dogmatically while being unaware of very simple solutions.

David W., United States, 13 July 2012

The animals and people native to Australia and North America that were discovered by European settlers clearly indicate the fictitious nature of this story. Unless you can present evidence that explains how dark skinned people and animals found no where else in the world wound up on these continents after the floods receded.

Chapter 17 of the Creation Answers Book answers:

  • How did animals get to Australia?
  • How did the animals get from remote countries to the Ark?
  • After the Flood, did kangaroos hop all the way to Australia?
  • What did koalas eat on the way?

Hint: the search button is your friend ;)

Joe M., United States, 16 July 2012

The concept of Biblical Literalism, as it is understood today, was foreign to the Church Fathers. Jesus told all sorts of stories to illustrate profound truths. So did Augustine and the other Fathers. That they were fiction didn’t change the message. Noah is about sin and redemption.

In any case, you have no idea how silly all of this sounds to scientists, many of whom are believers like me. Poodles and German Shepherds are still dogs. Zebras and donkeys, while clearly related like chimps and people, diverged millions of years ago.

I don’t know who these “biblical literalists” are, but I am a biblical originalist who follows the historical-grammatical approach. You also need to study the Church Fathers yourself, since they—including Augustine—accepted a global flood. Fathers like Basil the Great had no time for fanciful allegorization:

I know the laws of allegory, though less by myself than from the works of others. There are those truly, who do not admit the common sense of the Scriptures, for whom water is not water, but some other nature, who see in a plant, in a fish, what their fancy wishes, who change the nature of reptiles and of wild beasts to suit their allegories, like the interpreters of dreams who explain visions in sleep to make them serve their own ends. For me grass is grass; plant, fish, wild beast, domestic animal, I take all in the literal sense. “For I am not ashamed of the Gospel” [Romans 1:16]. (Hexaëmeron 9:1)

Anyway, you have no idea how silly such ipse dixits sound to real Ph.D. scientists like me who are Christian believers. Zebras and donkeys can still hybridize—see Zenkey, zonkey, zebra donkey! Apes and humans cannot.

Mike M., Nigeria, 29 August 2012

How is it possible that 8 couple = 7,000,000,000 people is less than 5000 years?

Extremely easy to answer—at least if you understand exponential growth. This population of 8 would need to double only 30 times to reach 8.6 billion. Since the Flood was about 4500 years ago, that means it would need to double only every 150 years on average. A simple way to work out the rough growth rate in your head is the ‘rule of 72’. This states that dividing 72 by the years to double the population provides the annual growth rate. This shows that the population would need to grow by <0.5% per year—less than a third of the current growth rate! For more advanced calculations, see Where are all the people?

Mike M., Nigeria, 29 August 2012

Gen 7:20 Fifteen cubits upward did the waters prevail; and the mountains were covered.

How high was the water? 15 cubits? Certainly that doesn’t cover the mountains.

Not at today’s height, but that’s a red herring. Today’s mountains are post-Flood, and grew rapidly after the Flood while sediments were still soft. Even Mt Everest has marine limestone on its summit, showing that it was once buried under water. See for example Did Noah need oxygen above the mountains?

No more replies to you until you follow our feedback rules and check our site first. I tell you this in the spirit of “teaching a man how to fish” ;)

Steve M., Canada, 30 August 2012

I laughed, I cried and sat starring mystified at the silliness I’ve been reading.

Your self-confessed emotionalism is clouding your judgment. Maybe a good counsellor would help ;)

The several articles I’ve read denies evolution.

That must have been a shock to find on a site called creation.com ;)

That Inbreeding was not detrimental to repopulation.

Who says it wasn’t? After all, this is one of our explanations for the exponential decay of lifespans after the Flood.

A lot of blanks like how were the animals were feed are made up with no facts whatsoever.
koeinfo.mysites.nl/mypages/koeinfo/244562.html A grupstal.
A grupstal.

No facts? Can you disprove the possibility of dried and concentrated foods? The technology has long been known and is not difficult. Other examples of plausible means for animal storage over many months come from the low-tech methods that Dutch farmers have used for centuries to keep animals over the harsh winters: the potstal and the grupstal (see How could Noah care for the animals?).

It’s up to critics of the Ark to prove that this is not possible; all defenders of the Ark account need to do is provide plausible ideas. Hence the title of the definitive book Noah’s Ark: Feasibility Study—it shows that the Ark account is feasible, and didn’t even require miracles.

I wanted to know how the other races of man came from Noah’s family:

The Search Button is your friend (top right of almost every page). If you had used this, you would easily have found this chapter from the Creation Answers Book which covers:

  • How did all the different ‘races’ arise?
  • What is a ‘race’? How did different skin colours come about?
  • What are the consequences of false beliefs about ‘race’?
  • Are black people the result of a curse on Ham?
and how pugs became great danes I got more silly science.

That above really is silly science. The real science is that both pugs and great danes came from a common ancestor, a pair of wolves. A great dane is likely the result of concentration of genes for growth already present in the wolf, or maybe some loss of control of growth. The pug is the result of a downhill mutation in genes controlling the growth of snout bones. See also ‘Parade of Mutants’—Pedigree Dogs and Artificial Selection.

The claim evolution is wrong that means it cannot be right when it suits you.

Nope, you can’t play bait-and-switch (i.e. the fallacy of equivocation) when it suits you. See Variation and natural selection versus evolution.

So Noah cannot have negroid children and they cannot become negroid because that would be evolving or changing.

They would be changing, but not in the direction that would change nematodes into Noah. Please study very carefully articles like The evolution train’s a-comin’ (Sorry, a-goin’—in the wrong direction). It’s good for you to study the opponent’s case properly and in its strongest form. You notice that we do that, for example addressing the best arguments for evolution from the National Academy of Sciences and Richard Dawkins, and the best arguments for old-earth compromise from Hugh Ross.

A cobra doesn’t give birth to a boa.

I don’t recall anywhere where we have claimed it does. A boa is a constrictor, very different from a venomous snake like the cobra.

Just like all fresh water fish will die in salt water and massive temperature changes.

No they won’t actually, if they have a chance to acclimatize gradually. I saw this for myself many years ago at Underwater World in Queensland, Australia. They had a freshwater and saltwater fish in the same tank. They achieved this by gradual adjustments to salinity in both fish until they could cope with the same salinity.

You also need to be aware of the well-known phenomena of thermoclines and haloclines, persistent temperature and salinity gradients. See also our old friends the search button and Creation Answers Book. Another chapter covers:

  • How did freshwater and saltwater fish survive the Flood?
  • How did saltwater fish survive dilution of the seawater with freshwater, or how did freshwater types survive in saltwater?
  • And how did plants survive?
Filling in the huge amount of blanks like species, races and how things were done without any facts.

The facts are abundant, but unfortunately we have no way under present technology to pipe them directly into your brain. Thus all we can do is point out that you need to search for them (cf. “the one who seeks finds”, Matthew 7:8), and we try to make this easy.

At least the evolutionist say they have a theory it means they are not certain.

I must admit that it makes a change to hear an evolutionist use this argument. Normally the likes of Dawkins whinge when less informed creationists use it, although we advise against it in our Don’t Use page.

You act like your “facts” are actual answers.

They are. Sorry that we won’t just take your word for the contrary.

You pretend to have answers where there are none but are to bull headed to admit you don’t know.

You’re just too bull-headed to admit that we do have answers to your hardest arguments, so you have no excuse to deny your Maker.

You see doubt and blind faith as heresy.

News to me. See for example The Importance of Evidence.

The Bible says all sorceress are to be put to death. Will you still follow this law?

Please see Is eating shellfish still an abomination? for a proper understanding of the place of the Law of Moses today.

It seems you follow the answers that fit your narrow minded views.

In reality, we, like you, interpret the facts in the light of a paradigm or set of underlying assumptions. See for example Presuppositionalism vs evidentialism and The role of axioms, internal consistency and real world application.

Primitive thinking for primates.

Aren’t you a primate too?—

any of various omnivorous mammals of the order Primates, comprising the three suborders Anthropoidea (humans, great apes, gibbons, Old World monkeys, and New World monkeys), Prosimii (lemurs, loris, and their allies), and Tarsioidea (tarsiers), especially distinguished by the use of hands, varied locomotion, and by complex flexible behavior involving a high level of social interaction and cultural adaptability.

T. N., United States, 30 September 2012

I thought you people (by which I mean literalists)

I don’t know any literalists, as explained to Joe M., United States, 16 July 2012 (above).

didn’t believe in evolution,

I can’t speak for ‘literalists’, but I as a representative of the historical-grammatical/originalist/textualist hermeneutic school certainly don’t. Indeed, I’ve written books with titles Refuting Evolution and Refuting Evolution 2 which should provide substantial evidence.

and yet now you’re arguing that evolution is the answer?

I am not sure how you could gain such an impression, except by playing bait-and-switch (aka the fallacy of equivocation). The free online book chapter Variation and natural selection versus evolution should reduce confusion.

FYI, I grew up Christian, still am, all my friends and family were Christian,

Evidently their compromise didn’t impress you either, so I am not sure what this proves.

and yet I never, to my knowledge, encountered a Biblical literalist until college (in biology, go figure).

You probably still haven’t actually.

And I grew up in Texas in the 70s and 80s thank you very much.

You’re most welcome. I grew up in New Zealand at the same time. Not sure what this proves though.

Jack J., United States, 25 October 2012

Nice article, but you live in a world of theoretical materials.

Not at all—the Woodmorappe book is full of applied low-tech methods. More recently, the article How could Noah care for the animals? documents how Dutch farmers for centuries used ingenious but low-tech methods to keep their animals safe over winter: the potstal and grupstal.

What did Noah make the ark out of, for instance?

Gopher wood, as the Bible says. And see also The pitch for Noah’s Ark.

The structural integrity of wood literally would have collapsed upon itself just from weight alone, not to mention human-errors in the construction.

A fact-free assertion. You appear to be unaware of huge wooden vessels of antiquity, as well as many methods of making very strong wood vessels (see Yes, Noah did build an Ark! under Broken apart).

That’s not even taking into consideration tidal forces.

Why would we? They are too weak (see The moon: the light that rules the night under Tides). It’s up to you to tell us why we should take them into account.

And did I forget the ‘excrement slots’ that would ruin the integrity further more?

Maybe you didn’t forget, since one possibility mentioned in the article is vermicomposting. Also, any slot could be reinforced.

And if there is some perfect design that utilizes outside force to make up for internal stresses, where did they get all the wood, and the technical ability to build such a thing?

Wood normally comes from trees to my knowledge.

After the flood, how did all the animals get back to their present-day continent? Flying maybe?

See answer to David W. above.

That’s just the surface though. Let’s look at the idea that the water surged from the Earth. Okay, so say that happened. Have you ever noticed that even the strongest submarines can’t withstand pressures past a certain point?

Indeed they can’t. But it’s up to you to show that this point would be reached with the Ark, especially when the problem for submarines is the constant strong hydrostatic pressure, not an issue for the Ark.

The point is, that cavities would form in the crust, and the sheer weight of the water above would crush them, forming huge tidal forces, tsunamis,

But as naval engineers showed, the Ark could easily stand up to all that. See Noah’s Flood and the Gilgamesh Epic under Ark shape.

things that wouldn’t just destroy the animals, but also the geography and fertility of the land.

Indeed, the Flood was a catastrophe. But this would recover quickly—see After devastation … the recovery.

And what about the oxygen?

Good ventilation. The long window on the roof of the Ark was similar to that on many factories today.

Even if you can solve all of these problems and form some cohesive solution, it doesn’t mean it happened.

The point is to show that was not impossible, so there is no excuse to doubt the eye-witness accounts in Scripture confirmed by Christ Himself.

It’s theoretically nearly-impossible, if there’s a chance at all, and the lack of evidence on the Earth that supports it makes that chance even slimmer.

Another ipse dixit, and I’ve refuted your best shots above.

The only evidence for Noah’s ark is the inbreeding, as you are obviously stupid enough to make any argument at all.

The genetic evidence supports that, as shown by Adam, Eve and Noah vs Modern Genetics by a Ph.D. geneticist.

I will not have fellow humans slander the works of humans.

Do you plan to censor speech you don’t like? Many atheistic regimes did just that. Whether you’d really want to live under them is another matter. See also The tyranny of ‘tolerance’.

Religion corrupts the world.

You must have forgotten the atheistic/evolutionary regimes that were responsible for more deaths than all ‘religious’ wars put together: 77 million in Communist China, 62 million in the Soviet Gulag State, 21 million non-battle killings by the Nazis, 2 million murdered in the Khmer Rouge killing fields. This was thoroughly documented by Rudolph Rummel (b. 1932), Professor Emeritus of Political Science at the University of Hawaii, who coined the term democide for murder by government (see his book Death By Government).

And it saddens me to see people living these lies, unable to enjoy life for what it is, rather than what it isn’t.

I know the feeling, believe me. Just look at what I have to deal with ;)

R. C., Canada, 1 November 2012

It would take another Ark somehow filled with non-perishable food (impossible!) to keep the animals alive for a few seasons until the food supply began to replenish itself (centuries is more likely).

I didn’t notice any documented refutation for the paragraph:

The Ark would probably have carried compressed and dried foodstuffs, and probably a lot of concentrated food. Perhaps Noah fed the cattle mainly on grain, plus some hay for fibre. Woodmorappe calculated that the volume of foodstuffs would have been only about 15 % of the Ark’s total volume. Drinking water would only have taken up 9.4% of the volume. This volume would be reduced further if rainwater was collected and piped into troughs.

But for the carnivores needing 16 pounds of fresh-killed flesh per day to survive there would have to be vast stores of surplus animals somehow released but prevented from escaping the range of carnivores.

Which carnivores did you have in mind? And as Woodmorappe’s book shows, meat can be dried, and fodder animals such tortoises are known from history. See Feeding carnivores on the Ark, and refuting an accusation of ‘closet scientism’. After disembarkation, animals could feed on exhumed carrion and fish trapped in pools left by the retreating Flood water.

While I commend the effort, the Ark story is just another Biblical parable. Searching/justifying (for) the Ark is like searching for the bones of ‘the’ Good Samaritan.

As should be clear from our site, we have no interest in looking for the Ark today. I’ve long said that it’s likely that Noah and his family recycled the material for building, since forests would have needed time to grow for lumber.

Mark S., United Kingdom, 21 November 2012

I very much hope you will answer my 5 questions.

I didn’t see any questions, but lots of unsupported assertions. Most are already answered on our site, which you should have searched as per our feedback rules.

1. You say in your answers that the insects could be kept in boxes 4″ square.

Indeed, and also that insects were likely not obligate passengers.

It is estimated that there are over 800,000 species of Beetles alone,

Huge exaggeration. The evolutionists’ favorite source, Wikipedia, says, “There are about 450,000 species of beetles.” And as explained in the article, the kind is much broader than the species.

(many well-over 4″ in length!)

A very tiny fraction. “300,000 described species, or approximately 90% of the beetle species so far discovered” are of the suborder Polyphaga, which contains much smaller beetles such as scarabs, weevils, and fireflies.

That equals a line of boxes of around 53 miles long! Then there are all the other millions of insect species.

Where do you get this number from? About 850,000–1,000,000 of all described species are insects.

You can work out how much room is required to house all of the known insects in their boxes and I don’t think it leaves much room for the higher animals.

Certainly if you use faulty premises such as insects were obligate passengers, Noah had to take pairs of species rather than pairs of kinds, there are millions of species not known to science that were on board, and that most were over 4″ long, you should not be surprised that the conclusion may not be true.

2. You also say there was no need to take fish onto the ark. The salinity level of water is absolutely crucial to all fish. Marine fish would all have perished as the salinity dropped, equally fresh-water fish would have perished as the salinity rose, (try dropping some salt into your fresh-water aquarium, or filling your marine tank with fresh or brackish water and see what happens).

Try reading the response to Steve M. above ;)

3. How did Noah know when he had collected two of each of the world’s insects? Even the most eminent entomologists couldn’t name but 10% of the world’s insect species.

He didn’t have to know. As the article pointed out, God brought the animals to him.

4. Have you ever tried working with animals in an almost fully enclosed environment? Methane and CO2 levels rise very quickly as oxygen levels fall and the atmosphere soon becomes stifling. Many creatures would very quickly suffer in such a place.

I haven’t, but Dutch farmers have done so for centuries. Again, see response to Steve M. above. Also, the recommended book Noah’s Ark: Feasibility Study has a section on Odors and Hazardous Gases, p. 31.

5. Salt is one of the best known weedkillers. After the flood the soil would have remained infertile for up to a year or more until the salt had leached away.

But since we are now 4½ millennia after the Flood, it should not be too much of a problem. And the article says, “Woodmorappe points out that salt can be readily leached out by rainwater.”

Virtually all plants would die almost immediately after germination. (Try growing common seeds, and water with a weak saline solution to see what happens.)

Ph.D. plant biologist Don Batten answered this long ago, pointing out that none other than Charles Darwin did what you suggested trying:

Charles Darwin contributed to the answer to this also. As well as doing experiments on seeds germinating after soaking in water, Darwin pointed out that seeds survive in the dead carcasses of birds and animals floating in the sea. That’s another way that seeds could have survived. Many families of plants have at least some species with seeds that have resistant seed coats (‘hard seeded’) that are impervious to the penetration of water and it is not until they are abraded or pass through fire, for example, that water will penetrate and germination follows. Many legume seeds are like this and will withstand prolonged submersion without losing viability. … My doctorate research was done on the physiology of plant propagation from cuttings. Olives are propagated commercially from cuttings, and have been for thousands of years.

Mark S., United Kingdom, 24 November 2012

[Ed. note: this further exchange is printed, in spite of defiance of the feedback rules, to show how many biblioskeptical arguments have long ago been thoroughly answered. Since the questions were quick throw-away lines, Dr Jonathan Sarfati’s response accordingly presents only brief links and references. Compare also his 1998 article Problems with a Global Flood?, a more extensive response to an atheist]

What is the present Latin name for ‘gopher wood’ and where can it be found growing today? If it no longer exists, what happened to it?

Woodmorappe ch. 6 suggests the extremely durable wood teak, or that ‘gopher’ may not refer to a type of wood but a method of hardening it.

I have worked on farms, and to feed, water and clean-out just 2–300 animals is as much as one person can do in a day. How did Noah and his small family look after so many animals for so long in a boat!

Did you not read about potstals and grupstals in the comments above (reply to S.M.), where Dutch farmers have left animals to themselves for the entire winter? See also Woodmorappe ch. 8.

Why did God get Noah to go to all this trouble?

Clearly Noah was willing, so how is this any of your concern? Here was I thinking that you had scientific objections, whereas here is a pseudo-theological one!

Couldn’t He have just re-created everything after the flood?

Of course He could have, but He is sovereign and can do what He likes. It’s presumptuous of a mere creature to tell the Creator what He should have done. See Woodmorappe p. iii.

Most animals require very precise habitats that can take very many years to create. How could these have been created so soon after the flood, and who put these millions of animals back into their correct habitats, (if they existed)?

No, most animals are very adaptable, as shown by zoos that keep animals from a wide variety of habitats. See also Woodmorappe ch. 13 (specialized diets) and ch. 14 (fallacy of climatic barriers).

Do you believe that the flood created the ‘fossil layers’?

See Fossils Questions and Answers and Noah’s Flood Questions and Answers. That’s why we have our Q&A pages.

How many deaths and casualties were there among these millions of creatures couped-up for so long?

As pointed out in my previous response to you, only about 16,000 obligate passengers on the Ark, and no recorded deaths.

How did Noah’s family remain disease-free in such putrid conditions, amid so many lethal viruses and bacteria?

Evidently you didn’t bother to read the article at all. There is a prominent pullout quote:

Another problem often raised by atheists and theistic evolutionists is ‘how did disease germs survive the flood?’ … In fact, even now many germs can survive in insect vectors or corpses, or in the dried or frozen state, or be carried by a host without causing disease. Finally, loss of resistance to disease is consistent with the general degeneration of life since the Fall.

See Woodmorappe ch. 28 and Diseases on the Ark.

Why did God not foresee how wicked and violent the earth was to become that required him to kill 99.9999% of all living things, especially especially those evil and violent children of God?

Who says he didn’t foresee it? See for example Does God’s foreknowledge entail fatalism?

Where were all the animals stored that were to become food for the thousands of carnivorous mammals, birds and reptiles?

Dried meats that could be reconstituted with the abundant supply of rainwater. And as we point out in Tortoises of the Galápagos:

The Galápagos tortoises were subject to overhunting by humans who kept them for food on ships. This decimated the population. The giant tortoises were seen to be an excellent source of fresh meat, as the tortoises could be kept for long periods of time with little food or water. The sailors on the Beagle took 30 on board for this purpose, discarding the shells and bones as they consumed them. (Woodmorappe [ch. 12] suggests this as one more possible food source for carnivores on the Ark; fodder tortoises.)

See also response to R.C. above.

And what would the carnivores have eaten once back on dry land?
After Henry Morris, The Biblical basis for modern science. Diagram showing how resistant the Ark was to capsizing. Click on picture for high resolution (126 kb).
Diagram showing how resistant the Ark was to capsizing. Click on picture for high resolution (126 kb).

Fish trapped in pools left behind by retreating floodwaters, exhumed carrion that would be in abundant supply. See also Woodmorappe ch. 21.

What did the fish-eating species live on while in the Ark after God had closed the door?

See also Woodmorappe ch. 12. Very few land animals are mainly piscivorous, and they can eat fish substitutes. Some fish aestivate: remain dormant in a cocoon in the mud if their pool dries up.

How many creatures became sea-sick and died during this violent storm?

None that we know of, perhaps because the Ark was an extremely stable boat. See Yes, Noah did build an Ark! Tsunamis are barely noticeable in deep water. See also Woodmorappe ch. 6.

How rife was disease in the Ark with animals so tightly packed into such a confined space for so long?

Again, see Woodmorappe ch. 28 and Diseases on the Ark.

Was all this carnage the work of a caring and loving God?

Yes, since this caring and loving God is also holy and just, so punishes sin. The New Testament treated this as a real event and warning of judgment to come. But it also shows the solution to this dilemma (see Good News! and The Incarnation: Why did God become Man?). This is the most important thing!

Mark S., United Kingdom, 27 November 2012

Thank you for taking the trouble to answer my many questions.

You’re welcome, although it wasn’t difficult, since these objections have been answered long ago. The main article was one of my first articles in Creation magazine.

I notice in your answers to me and others the much use of words and phrases such as “could”, “could-have”, “possibly”, “probably”, “may-have”. These are not words of conviction, but purely of supposition and blind-faith.

JS: Nope, they recognize that I wasn’t there, so of course I can’t be dogmatic that Noah did things the way I suggested. But these are biblically and scientifically reasonable solutions, based on known low-tech animal husbandry methods and known features of animals. Note also, Woodmorappe’s book had the word feasibility in the title. The onus is on the biblioskeptics (or their compromising churchian allies) to demonstrate that no solution is possible. Neither you nor anyone else has come even close to that, and you fired your best shots over two emails.

I’m sorry to say that you have shown no more idea as to how Noah could have built, sailed and cared-for an Ark full of wild animals than I have,

Actually, a lot more; just that I am not dogmatic that Noah must have used what I’ve suggested, only that it was possible.

your replies have been purely guesswork and referal to the work of others which also contain many words of doubt.

Very educated guesswork, as amply shown. If you want to see real “guesswork”, then look at chemical evolutionary ideas on origin of first life from non-living chemicals, or:

You have to understand that first there is speculation, then there is wild speculation, and then there is cosmology.

As you are always able to refer to your God as being able to do anything He wishes,

Note that this was only in reply to your pseudo-theological arguments. I did not resort to miracles to explain anything else about the Ark’s preservation. Similarly, Woodmorappe’s book showed the non-necessity of miracles for preserving the Ark’s cargo and their subsequent dispersion, which is not the same as ruling them out.

you leave yourself the perfect ‘get-out’ when facts,knowledge based answers and even guesswork desert you.

As above, not in my arguments, but only when you brought up God yourself. When you do so, then you open yourself to theological arguments based on God’s self-revelation in the Bible. As I pointed out to a university philosophy/religion professor:

If someone tries to show that a certain philosophical system is incoherent, it is perfectly in order for a defender of this system to invoke certain aspects of this system to defend its coherence. So when an atheist attacks biblical theism, it is perfectly in order to cite propositions from the Bible to defend the integrity of this belief system.

The only exception was where God revealed that He would bring the animals to Noah. But where Scripture is silent, I have proposed no miraculous means (see also discussion in Flood models and biblical realism).

I have no counter to that, so as they say, ‘I’m-out’. Thank you.

Eventually biblioskeptics run out of excuses, as we know from experience. This suggests that the whole exercise was a pseudo-intellectual smokescreen for unbelief that has different underlying causes.

Martin D., Australia, 7 December 2012

The Bible also describes in great detail how the Earth is a flat, geocentric platform. I can’t wait to read the book or article that will attempt to square that circle, Or rather circle that disc!

That boring old canard? Long ago refuted, e.g. in Is the ‘erets (earth) flat?

It’s also ironic that the leading proponent of the flat earth today is one of your fellow evolutionists!

Helpful Resources

The Genesis Account
by Jonathan Sarfati
US $39.00
Hard Cover
Christianity for Skeptics
by Drs Steve Kumar, Jonathan D Sarfati
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Readers’ comments

Jennifer P.
Great perseverance and patience answering such inane objections to the Biblical Flood judgement. Well done and God bless you Jonathan !!
You are an inspiration to all Biblical Creationist Christians especially for instruction on how to answer atheists and unbelievers. Ditto to the above comments about chronological snobbery and mockery.
Robert B.
So then WE need to say that we oppose "The General Theory of Evolution as defined by Gerald Kerkut" don't we? Otherwise we are being imprecise and arming our detractors.
Jonathan Sarfati
As shown by the pages on the Kerkut definition and bait-and-switch, we are doing just that.
David P.
I love Dr Sarfati's answers to the objections. It cracks me up that so many of those writing in have no concept of correct grammar or spelling, yet correct a PhD scientist! For Dr Sarfati and others in the creation community, though, it seems that we spend a lot of time trying to justify supernatural works of God with our limited human understand of science. The flood was a supernatural event and we should view the Ark account as supernatural as well. Noah did not go out searching for and collecting the animals and birds to go on the Ark; God brought them to Noah. Since God brought the animals, God would also have given Noah and his family the knowledge of caring for those critters for a year.
Jonathan Sarfati
Thank you for your kind words. I answered a similar concern about the original article How did all the animals fit on Noah’s Ark? as follows:

Thank you for your kind comments about the article.

The point of such articles is to show the non-necessity of miracles, not their non-existence. Compare also the biblical perspective on miracles and natural laws in Miracles and Science.

God was definitely involved, as we can see from the centre of the giant chiastic structure of the historical Flood account: “God remembered Noah” (Genesis 8:1). This is a Hebrew idiom for God acting again on Noah’s behalf.

One of the ways He did this was as per your #1: providing the dimensions of a demonstrably sea-worthy vessel, as opposed to the crass cubical shape of Utnapishtim’s ark in the counterfeit Gilgamesh Epic. God instructed Noah to pitch the Ark, and this was likely made by boiling pine-resin and charcoal, and would not only waterproof the Ark but also make it much more impact resistant.

As I say in The Genesis Account:

The biblical evidence suggests that God used natural means for much of this. E.g. God commanded Noah to build an Ark, rather than levitate them all or recreate all kinds. For the Flood itself, God named water sources that already existed. And … God used natural means to abate the Flood, and Noah had to use natural means to decide when it was safe to leave the Ark.
Hendrik B.
Excellent article and review—will keep it for future references. Actually, for me, the whole issue is very simple: If it was good enough for Jesus, the Son of God, its good enough for me!
Rocco P.
In an above comment Mark S. objects to explanations/answers to his questions with this observation: "
I notice in your answers to me and others the much use of words and phrases such as “could”, “could-have”, “possibly”, “probably”, “may-have”. These are not words of conviction, but purely of supposition and blind-faith."
In exchanges with evolution-believing researchers or reading articles which they have published, their explanations are rife with such wording (pick out any evolution-biology article and see for yourself!), but it doesn't seem to bother them in the least. On the contrary, they will laud this word usage as scientific honesty, because they can only propose solutions, not test things that happened in the past. However when a Creation scientist uses such wording, then he is blasted for being dishonest or dreaming up unscientific solutions. What hypocricy!
Albert V.
I am 50 years old and have truly discovered the grace of God in the last 3 years of my life. I do not know much about all this science that is spoken her but I do learn a lot. The only thing I am certain of is that God is great and with Him nothing is impossible. God knew what He was doing at the time of the flood and it was all part of His plan to save mankind from destroying himself. As Creationists (I believe in that very much) we all believe the bible and though people like Jonathan Sarfati and Ken Ham with others are trying to put some logical explanation to the events with arguments that are logical and possible in every way is for me an awesome beginning to learn more. The fact that evolutionists are trying to prove them all wrong is just from my perspective an attack on the legitimacy and existence of our Creator, no worries. God will always have His way and His will shall prevail. The word of God is true and from everlasting to everlasting.

Best regards,

GOD bless you all in this endeavour, you are truly a blessing to those who follow in the steps of Jesus
Robert B.
The ‘bait and switch’ tactic ascribed to some of the skeptic arguments and attacks is not totally the skeptics’ fault. We Creationists are generally guilty of bringing on the confusion by being imprecise in our statements.

We say that we are against evolution when we really agree with major pillars of evolution. Creationists believe in adaptation, speciation through natural selection, and change over time. Instead of opposing evolution, Creationists actually oppose the notions of abiogenesis, universal common descent, that mutations can lead to upward evolution, and we don't believe in ‘deep time’ for the Earth.

To apply the word ‘evolution’ in a blanket sense to what we oppose causes confusion and invites ridicule from the skeptics. Creationists aren't really opposed to evolution so we should stop saying that we are.
Jonathan Sarfati
The above actually illustrates the bait-and-switch, as explained in this classic article. No, the real dispute is always about the General Theory of Evolution as defined by the late Gerald Kerkut, or “From goo to you via the zoo.”

Actually, “adaptation, speciation through natural selection, and change over time” were “major pillars” of the biblical Creation/Flood/Dispersion model before Darwin and his disciples hijacked them and then tried to monopolize them. See for example this discussion.

But as I pointed out in Greatest Hoax on Earth? in line with your above: evolutionists like Dawkins claim to define ‘evolution’ as “Change in gene frequency over time”, and claim that ‘evolution’ is ‘a fundamental theory of science’ and the like. But then they should not be scare-mongering that creationists oppose ‘a fundamental theory of science’. Of course, no-one I know denies that gene frequencies change over time!

Darren C.
Hi guys, love your stuff. A couple of years ago I attended one of your seminars in Whakatane, New Zealand. At the end of the presentation I purchased some of the materials for sale at the sales tables, one of them Expelled by Ben Stein was very insightful and in it he interviews among others Richard Dawkins. In this presentations he absolutely denies the possibility of evolution and declares that a number of his peers recognise the folly of the debate. What do you suppose his theory was on origins when pressed by Ben, well it turns out intelligent design, but wait there's a catch, he could never accept the God of the Bible to be responsible so he postulates the only possible alternative, the Aliens did it. Wow, now that's fanciful thinking, but highly illogical. Love your articles and gladly support your awesome ministry.
God bless guys.

Geoff C. W.
I wonder if these people are descendants of the Pharisees of Jesus' day...
'You strain out a gnat but swallow a camel'.
All their questions and criticisms are a waste of time anyway. If they don't believe in God, all they have to do is ask who closed the door on the ark? Either it was God, or the story is false. No need to go any further. If it was God, the question is resolved. If the story is false, the Bible is untrue, and we need to find another plausible idea about where everything came from (and in spite of the dedication of enormous amounts of effort and money to this issue, none has yet been found).
Zach L.
Aleksandar K and David C: You are quite right about the arrogance displayed by most humanists and materialists today. That man is evolving to higher levels of intelligence and understanding is assumed as a given and is a pervasive presupposition when it comes to judging the intelligence and capabilities of ancient man.

C.S. Lewis actually addressed this fallacy, which he termed Chronological snobbery, in his book Surprised by Joy and notes this bias as being a major hindrance to him coming to faith. It was only after he came to realize how hypocritical and illogical it was to reject old ideas as being antiquated and out-of-date that he was able to truely and critically analyze the truth claims of theist religions without bias to reject them off hand.

Many of today’s atheopaths suffer from the same intellectual malady, which is rooted ultimately in humanism. It is just one more wall that must be torn down before the unbeliever can hope to engage in a fair investigation of the Bible's truth claims.
Harold W.
The skeptics assume the animals were adult. Young animals occupy less space and are hardier than adults. I also have read that many species are capable of hibernation or something similar. These two items would lessen food and waste amounts greatly.
DIeucer P.
Great article and great answers. By the way, CMI is where I come when I want to debunk my atheist and evolutionist friends … . :)
Fred J.
Hello heroes of CMI,

It was again very faith building and instructive to read all the answer. I still find it difficult to keep my cool sometimes when people start to be insulting/degrading. But I'm encouraged by your efforts on how to reply, and your use off humor to do it. If this wasn't such a serious topic it would be really funny, but I still had several good laughs. The best quote (in my humble opinion) is:

If you want to see real “guesswork”, then look at chemical evolutionary ideas on origin of first life from non-living chemicals, or:

You have to understand that first there is speculation, then there is wild speculation, and then there is cosmology.

Thanks again to all of the good work your doing and in this case especially to JS; God bless CMI all its staff and their families.
john P.
Isn’t it interesting how these same bibliosceptics , whether they realise it or not, are fullfilling Bible prophecies such as Peter’s about scoffers following vain doctrines in the last days? Maybe they need to thoroughly study a bible , especially 1 and 2 Peter. There seems a great deal of similarity between Noah’s time and ours. His ark is a historical reality. Their objections are based on fantasy and unbelief.
Pat G.
You know what all these objections remind me of? I recently read a book that stated that birds evolved when small dinosaurs started leaping to catch their food and subsequently developed wings. After mentioning that acquired characteristics are not inherited, I said, “I would like to learn to fly. I think I’ll go outside and hop awhile.” And they call us credulous?
David C.
I agree with what Alexander K. from Croatia said. Yes, there is a great deal of arrogance today among academia when addressing the intelligence and know-how of the ancient peoples.
Aleksandar K.
I think most of the criticism of the Ark is based on the assumption that everybody were idiots back then, meaning that nobody could have been smarter then the people living today.
Philip I.
Wonderful article. Carefully constructed answers to some pretty careless questions. I love reading what you have to say. Keep up the good work!
Curtis C.
It seems that Mark S. and perhaps most others like him actually believe that if you are not sure of something, rather than honestly stating that it’s merely one logical possibility to fairly consider, you’re supposed to either fake total confidence or simply feign total ignorance or rejection of the idea. Ironically he has accidentally let slip that he himself is guilty of this.

He pretends to be so sure of himself but in reality it is he who has a blind faith, by his own unintentional admission. Sad, though I know it is probably a failing of his educators to teach him how to think rather than what to think. I wish it would occur to him to fairly start applying his own criticisms to evolution—he would immediately notice all the “outs” that they actually do use, and if he thought about it long enough he’d see that it cannot ultimately make sense, given real-world observations—it is in virtually all cases reduced to “evolution of the gaps”.

Regardless, thanks for yet another highly in-depth, answers-filled response that shows once again that biblical belief is indeed logically consistent with real scientific observations, far too much to be a coincidence. I love articles like this that link to various other more in-depth articles about interesting details of creation science and often spend weeks afterward reading those other articles. Keep it up! ^_^
dean R.
If only the evolutionary ideas were put to the same test … but then many things are plausible, lots of fine sounding arguments, however plausibility is not truth. A deluge of arguments that oppose God’s word & arguments that complement … Noah had his critics, so did Jesus.

One of the hardest things to appreciate is the love of God and the justice of God, not to mention the wisdom of God. When it comes to God & His ways, many cant see the forest for the trees.

I have no reason to not take Him at His word and the informative articles from this site encourage me in that conviction and worldview.

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth … Moses and Jesus speaking as one.
Marc K.
Mark S complained that there were too many could-haves, possiblys etc and thus declared creationist explanations blind-faith. I encourage Mark to read a few peer-reviewed evolutionary journal articles on the origin of life and compare. I’ve recently read a hundred or so and was struck by the liberal sprinkling of these same qualifying terms. Geese and ganders, hey Mark?

Martin D made some odd comment about the Bible describing the earth’s shape as like a disc. I’m not entirely certain what Martin’s point is; however, last night I was watching a doco on the Apollo Moon landing history and one of the astronauts relayed his thoughts after first seeing the complete earth set against the black of space. His initial words were, “It was this amazing CIRCLE.” Go figure Martin!
F. G.
It’s funny to see “skeptics” trying (and, of course, failing) to take Biblical history apart to find holes in it. I’d like to see them try analysing their own beliefs like that, and see how well those stand up!
Bradley L.
Gold! ’…first there is speculation, then there is wild speculation, and then there is cosmology.”
Frederico L.
I’ve been teaching the Flood in children’s Bible School from the Biblical/Historical (“Young Earth Creationist”) perspective. I read the debates above searching for the best shots against the Flood. These Noah’s Ark critics have weak arguments. I wonder if there are stronger arguments against the Noah's Ark / Flood narrative.”
Paul R.
Good article. With reference to carnivores I had always thought they would have been vegetarians in the ark as the original creation and in the millennium. Even today some people feed their dogs on a vegetarian diet.
Evan B.
When I saw the “flat earth” part at the end I knew what the response would be from you guys :P
Jesse M.
“Wood normally comes from trees to my knowledge.”
Haha, Sarfati in action! Nice article.

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