Sunday 12 February 2017

A whole mess of Flood-splaining

I have to start by pointing out the tortured grammar of this question on Quora.
"Surely the story of Noah's Ark is possibly the most ludicrous story in history?
If thought about logically the idea that a man built a ship to house hundreds of thousands of species is clearly impossible?"
Why do I have to point this out? Because the response from Mark Hunter doesn't really fit as an answer. The question has question marks but isn't obviously a question - perhaps it is form of trolling - and the response immediately jumps into Bible quotes and scientific claims with no scaffolding of explanation. The question is not good but the answer feels as if someone were to ask me, "Where is Bracebridge, Canada?" and I simply gave that person a map. Bracebridge might be on it, depending on the sale and whim of the cartographer but it's a small town in a big country.
For this reason, it is difficult to attack a theme in Hunter's argument. There aren't many obvious themes.
I'll try to share my problems with it.
" ago there were heavens and an earth standing firmly out of water and in the midst of water" - I think this is Day one of creation and the claim seems to be that the universe is water and Earth sticks out of it the the heavens are above it. Again Hunter does not explain the relevance of this quote so in my first reading I thought it was an attack on the Noah's Flood story. After all, we know the universe is not entirely water, if the Earth sticks out of the water as described then the Earth is flat and Heaven being above Earth doesn't work for a round Earth nor in a time of space exploration.
hunter next offers a quote on the materials and construction of the Ark. It starts, "Make for yourself an ark from resinous wood." He follows this quote up with a discussion of naval architecture which includes:
"same timber particularly favored for shipbuilding by the Phoenicians and by Alexander the Great"
The problem is, although Hunter's quote uses the word 'resinous', other translations of the Bible use 'cypress'* and 'gopherwood'. At Bible Gateway passage: Genesis 6:14-16 - New International Version the asterisk on cypress states, "The meaning of the Hebrew for this word is uncertain." And Gopherwood is the Bible's version of Star Trek's Dilithium Crystals - it sounds specific but means nothing. This clearly means that we can’t make such a statement about other maritime builders or materials.
The following is not a comment on the Ark but on watertight construction. Hunter quotes "You should put the entrance of the ark in its side... ". This is a terrible idea if you want watertight seals. You don't make a door that will be even partially underwater.
Included in his naval architecture points is this:
"only about 290 species of land mammals larger than sheep and about 1,360 smaller than rats" - this suggests to me that I am putting more effort critiquing the argument than he was in making it. It doesn't belong in a architecture list and also there are 1,200 species of bats alone so his numbers don't make sense. Further, it is irrelevant because he needs to look at all species of animal alive and extinct.
In his list of, I don't know, animal facts? He writes:
“10,000 are birds, 9,000 are reptiles and amphibians, many of which could have survived outside the ark”
There are a few birds who could fly for a year but there are a lot that cannot and also cannot land on water and take off again. I don't know of any bird that could live unsheltered through 40 days of rain falling around a meter per hour. They couldn't fly through it and a meter per hour of rainfall would break their wings and necks. There is no reason to imagine that chameleons could live a year in the water. Amphibians? Forget it. The water would be too salty.
"Where Did the Floodwaters Go?
Evidently they are right here on earth. Today there is about 1.4 billion cu km (326 million cu mi) of water on the earth. It covers more than 70 percent of the globe’s surface. The average depth of the oceans is 4 km (2.5 mi); average elevation of the land is only 0.8 km (0.5 mi) above sea level. If the earth’s surface was smoothed out, it would all be covered with water to a depth of 2,400 m (8,000 ft)"
All this seems to require massive earthquakes. Hunter's needs such Earthquakes to flatten and flood the world. This also suggests that more Earthquakes will be needed after a year to make the planet lumpy again and drain some of the lands. Such earthquakes would mostly flatten but not dig trenches or quickly raise tall mountains. This reads like a non-geologist hoping that the magic of the word ‘earthquake’ will fix all credibility problems.
This next point might be the craziest:
"a frozen mammoth was uncovered in Siberia in 1901. After thousands of years, vegetation was still in its mouth. Some see in this, as well as in such other things as marine fossils found on high mountains, deserts, convincing evidence of a sudden, catastrophic global flood"
He thinks something frozen would be evidence of the globes covered in liquid water. If the water is liquid, things won't freeze.
To finish things off:
"floodgates of the heavens were opened." - again, he seems to think the universe is full of water. That might be reasonable for person a few thousand years ago ignorant of the water cycle, but it has to be seen as crazy now, right? right?
Hunter goes on with a list of flood myths around the world. The thing is, I've read the Korean one mentioned in such lists and it describes a flood on a mountain rather than a large one. We might as well look at myths around the world that claim their tribe's founder was born of an animal. In Korea, Dang-gun was born of a god and a Bear who lived in a cave for a year to become human ( Dangun - Wikipedia ). Around the world, similar myths are offered. All are ridiculous.

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