I'm currently reading Dawkins' The Greatest Show on Earth and in Ch. 9, "The Ark of the Continents" there's this great passage where he brings logic and evidence to bear upon the story of Noah and his Ark. Passages like these still resonate with me since when I was a child I was taught that the Noah story was the literal truth, and most, if not all of my family still believes it to be so. Which of course mystifies me to no end.
"It is almost too ridiculous to mention it, but I'm afraid I have to because of the more than 40 per cent of the American population who...accept the Bible literally: think what the distribution of animals should look like if they'd all dispersed from Noah's Ark. Shouldn't there be some sort of law of decreasing species diversity as we move away from an epicenter--perhaps Mount Ararat? I don't need to tell you that this is not what we see at all.
Why would all those marsupials--ranging from tiny pouched mice through koalas and bilbys to giant kangaroos and Diprotodonts--why would all those marsupials, but no placentals at all, have migrated en masse from Mount Ararat to Australia? Which route did they take? And why did not a single member of their straggling caravan pause on the way--in India, perhaps, or China, or some haven along the Great Silk Road? Why did the entire order Edentata (all twenty species of armadillo, including the extinct giant armadillo, all six species of sloth, including extinct giant sloths and all four species of anteater) troop of unerringly to South America, leaving not a rack behind, leaving no hide nor hair nor armour plate of settlers somewhere along the way? Why were they joined by the entire infraorder of caviomorph rodents, including guinea pigs, agoutis, pacas, maras, capybaras, chinchillas and lots of others, a large group of characteristically South American rodents, found nowhere else?"
He continues with more examples (lemurs in Madagascar, penguins in Antarctica, etc.) and then writes, "Once again, I am sorry to take a sledgehammer to so small a nut, but I have to do so because more than 40 per cent of the American people believe literally in the story of Noah's Ark. We should be able to ignore them and get on with our science, but we can't afford to because they control school boards, they home-school their children to deprive them of access to proper science teachers, and they include many members of the United States Congress, some state governors, and even presidential and vice-presidential candidates. They have the money and the power to build institutions, universities, even a museum where children ride life-size mechanical models of dinosaurs, which, they are solemnly told, coexisted with humans. And, as recent polls have shown, Britain is not far behind (of should that read 'ahead'?), along with parts of Europe and most of the Islamic world.
Even if we leave Mount Ararat to one side; even if we refrain from lampooning those who take the Noah's Ark myth literally, similar problems apply to the theory of the separate creation of species. Why would an all-powerful creator decide to plant his carefully crafted species on islands and continents in exactly the appropriate pattern to suggest, irresistibly, that they had evolved and dispersed from the site of their evolution?" (Dawkins, The Greatest Show on Earth. 269-270.)
Humorous and chilling.