Noah's Ark
A point of View by
Douglas Futuyma, PhD


"The fossil record can never be fitted into the creationist interpretation. Nowhere does the absurdity of their arguments become more evident than in their frantic, fanciful attempts to explain the fossil record and the fact that more than 90 percent of the species of the Creator is supposed to have created became extinct, just as if no one cared. At least the pre-Darwinian creationists, in their devoted search for enlightenment, supposed that God might have indulged in dozens or hundreds of successive creations, resulting in an orderly sequence of fossil faunas. But because fundamentalist creationists have to squeeze all of creation into six days, the only way they can explain the geological record is to invoke great cataclysms associated with the Biblical flood.   They visualize gigantic currents of water, enough to cover the world, pouring from the skies, accompanied by vast volcanic explosions and massive movements of the continents, great increases in the temperature and turbidity of the oceans and finally the depositions of sediments as the oceans settled. 'The very complexity of the model makes it extremely versatile in its ability to explain a wide diversity of data (although admittedly, this makes it difficult to test).'   That's the understatement of the decade.

Now listen to the 'obvious predictions' of the flood model.   Animals that lived together in the same ecological communities would normally be buried together ( despite great vortices and earth movements?) Marine fishes would be preserved in higher rocks than invertebrates because 'they lived at higher elevations' (as if fishes and invertebrates did not coexist in every marine habitat in the world).   Amphibians and reptiles would be fossilized in still higher rocks because they are found at the interface between land and water (but how is it that marine shells are found on mountain tops, and why weren't amphibians swept into marine sediments?)  Few birds would be found at all, because of their mobility (where did most of the birds go?) I don't know of any birds that can fly steadily, without food, for forty days and forty nights).   Higher animals such as land vertebrates would be segregated vertically in order of complexity, because the 'more diversified' animals could escape the cataclysm longer and move to the mountaintops (could mice really move faster than the small swift dinosaurs? And couldn't the winged pterodactyls make it up to the top?)

As long as we're entertaining such thoughts, let's go a bit further.   The creationists' source of truth is Genesis, wherein we find the story of the flood. Genesis also says that God commanded Noah to take into the ark a pair of every living thing that creeps upon the face of the earth, and we are told that Noah obeyed the Lord's command.  But if all the millions of extinct species in the fossil record perished in the flood, Noah didn't really obey the Lord, even though the Bible said he did.  If he didn't take them in, the Lord, for some unknown reasons, must have let them perish after they left the ark.  Nonetheless, at least the million species of animals and presumably half a million or more plants that we have today survived.   They must have been in the ark...all 2 million individual animals.  Australian kangaroos, South American boa constrictors, Arctic Foxes, New Zealand kiwis, and 250,000 species of beetles. Not to mention the parasites.  And, assumedly, food for a million species for a month or so.  I suppose all those species lived together in the Middle East, within easy reach of the ark, and Noah was the best animal collector in the history of the world.  Don't forget, of course, the thousands of species of fresh water fishes.  They couldn't have survived in a raging, salty sea, so the ark must have had a big aquarium in it.

Can you believe that any grown man or woman with the slightest knowledge of biology, geology, physics, or any science at all, not to speak of plain and common sense, can conceivably believe this? Can you for one moment imagine that this is to supposed to be taught to children in the name of science?  With or without the story of the ark, the flood cannot conceivably account for the facts of geology and paleontology.  Not only are the creationists who are propound such nonsense abysmally ignorant of, or blind to, the most elementary facts of biology and geology; not only are they willing to invent stories that defy every law of nature to save their myth of creation, but they have the arrogance to claim that these stories are 'science', and their 'science' is just as good as thousands of geologists and biologists who have devoted their lives to careful experimentation, observation, and logic. What conception can a young person have of how to seek knowledge if he or she learns that a myth of gigantic earth cataclysms unlike anything known to science, a myth that contains within it the most absurd contradictions and defies every fact of biology, deserves 'equal time' with hypotheses that have been tested and supported by countless careful experiments and observations?