The story of Noah and the Ark is one of the first stories introduced to children. It has all the elements of a good tale, One hero. Agreeable animals, devastation and Hope. It's not hard to see the appeal of the story, and we wonder why, while being one of the most laughable stories, it's truth is so desperately maintained at the most extreme stretches of the imagination. Sometimes what seems to be a solid slam dunk is so heavily defended. I tend just to laugh when I'm told that the story of the ark is a fact....then sigh with a stab of pity.
Where's Mt. Arrarat? We know where the "Mountains of Arrarat" are. There are a lot of mountains. Why would someone assume that they knew which one this imaginary ark landed on?
Further, who wrote the story? Hebrews didn't develop writing until hundreds of years after the supposed Ten Commandments were given. During this devastating flood, the Egyptians continued to build pyramids, apparently unaware that they were under water.
From the book itself, we do a little math and find that the water which covered the highest mountains wasn't really high enough to cover hills. Mythmakers are not good at math.
Yeah, but . . . it isn't in the Bible. The ark landed in the "mountains of Ararat. No mention is made that the mountain was then christened, "Ararat." And though the Armenians might revere the mountain, there is no reason to believe that it was the one that some ark landed on. Considering that the Bible didn't even begin to be written until around the sixth century BCE, one wonders how they managed to keep track of it.
just a correction:
scholarly consensus is that the oral traditions that took shape between 1200-1000 BCE began to be written down as the J document around 1000-950 BCE. between 920 and 722 the E document was written. then, shortly after 722 the J and E documents were redacted and combined into a single JE document. at some point between 770 and 600 the P document was written. then, between 640 and 609 the D document was written. somewhat later, right at about 450, the J, E, and P, and D documents were redacted together into a more or less unified whole. the person or persons that edited them together occasionally found it necessary to smooth the transitions from verse to verse and chapter to chapter and his/their material is referred to as the R material for "Redactor".
according to the working hypothesis of authorship in place for 200 years and that is the scholarly consensus, the Pentateuch was written starting around 1000 BCE on up to 450 BCE. in fact, far from beginning to be written in the sixth century, it was fixed by 450 BCE with no changes afterward; if you were to compare the Pentateuch of 450 BCE to the one in any modern bible you'd find almost complete agreement in the text, only allowing for translator and copyist errors and variables.
if anyone's interested in delving into the Documentary Hypothesis, as it's called, i recommend Richard Elliot Friedman's Who Wrote The Bible?
it would be awesome and so useful if they could somehow put together a comparative mythology wiki where each myth and mythological being branched off to show the derivations, influence, and relationships to other myths and mythological beings.
Any geneticist will also tell you its essentially impossible to start a stable population with only two individuals. Even an eight human being bottleneck should have wiped us off the face of the planet. At one point we supposedly only had about 10,000 human ancestors alive on the planet, and that almost did us in... so eight, wtf?
For many species the minimum viable population size is in the thousands, without human intervention. A recent study in 2007 showed that the median MVP for all terrestrial species was 4169. Granted, this will go down with human intervention (now that we understand population genetics).
In the end though, what can modern science possibly say when god gets to change all the rules of existence whenever he damn well pleases?
Traill LW, Bradshaw JA, Brook BW (2007). "Minimum viable population size: A meta-analysis of 30 years of published estimates". Biological Conservation 139: 159-166.
That still doesn't explain the population size problem, the genetic variation just isn't there. Without that variation inbreeding would kill off the species well before evolution could have any effect (even assuming the "theory" of instananeous speciation to be true the variation would not arise quickly enough). In many cases the species would die in a generation or two simply due to lack of a sufficient number of male/female offspring. Oh, crap.. all our kids were male, guess we're boned. The number of problems with this scenario is nearly infinite, and it is beyond me how anyone can possibly believe it to be true.
It's simple. 'God did it'. Clearly, in his Infinite Knowledge and Wisdom (funny how he didn't see the snake coming), genetics didn't exist until after the pairs had bred enough offspring so that genetic diversity wouldn't be a problem. Obvious, isn't it?
(And now I need to go wash my brain out after thinking of that)
i've actually had a nutball tell me that god created all life with all the genetic diversity they'd need for speciation from the first "kind" to occur.
it's pointless to argue with that kind of idiotic rationalization. it's so arbitrary. there's nothing in the bible justifying that belief, there's nothing from theology justifying it either. there's certainly no evidence from any of the life sciences for such an assertion.
it's just making shit up to rationalize away the problem. it's just 'if then, so must' without any reason or foundation arising from a desperate attempt to square the circle. they may as well just stick out their tongue at you and go neener neener neener! that would be approximately as intellectually honest.