—Or Reasons why “Flood Geology” was abandoned in the mid-1800s by Christian men of science
by Edward T. Babinski
Flood geology bears all the signs of an idea that has not been properly thought through: its implications have never been carefully considered by its creationist exponents. For instance, conglomerate is a type of rock that looks kind of like a natural concrete. It has a matrix of sandstone or other fine-grained rock, but embedded in this are many rounded pebbles of various sizes, and even boulders… The Institute for Creation Research implies that Noahʼs Flood was responsible for all the great concentrations of conglomerates throughout the world. But they nowhere face up to the great problems that this idea creates. One major difficulty is that many large deposits of conglomerate lie on top of great thicknesses - often several miles - of fine-grained sedimentary rock. The great conglomerate sea cliffs near Marseilles, for instance, are hundreds of feet high and contain boulders more than a foot in diameter. What purely natural processes would enable the Flood to deposit a thickness of several miles of fine-grained sediments first, and then place the boulder-laden conglomerates on top? Have Flood geologists not heard the expression, to sink like a stone? Another problem for them is the clean, sharp lines often found at the boundaries between geologic layers. (The layers which face upward often have fossil limpets or barnacles attached to them. This shows that those layers had time to harden into rock and attract rock-clinging shellfish before the next stratum was laid down, which is hardly likely to happen in a flood that laid down a mile-thick layer of unconsolidated sediments in less than a year.) These sharp boundary lines are particularly troublesome in the case of conglomerate rock atop underlying sandstone. Clearly, the lower layer must already have hardened into rock before the conglomerate was dumped on top, as otherwise the stones would have sunk into it. If one flood deposited both layers in quick succession, how could the underlying sandstone have hardened so fast? Above all, there is the fact that the boulders inside conglomerate often contain fossils. How did they get there if, as Flood geologists assert, fossils are the remains of creatures that died in the Flood? And these boulders in conglomerate are nearly always rounded, as if they had been rolled around on a river or sea bed for long periods before being dumped in their last resting place. Of course, one can always argue that God specially created these rounded, fossil-laden boulders, and then miraculously caused the Flood to place them on top of the fine-grained deposits…
— Alan Hayward [old-earth creationist Christian], Creation and Evolution
Oyster-like creatures are found from bottom to top of the geologic record-strange for slow moving bottom-dwellers. In chalk deposits a definite succession of different species of the same type of creature are found, separate and unmixed, at different levels… If they all once lived together, why do whales, seals, placoderms and oricthyosaurs not appear with modern fishes in fossilized marine Devonian environments?… Why, if the flood took place rapidly, are sandstones nearly always void of fossils? Uniformitarians reasonably explain that, over a period, shells are oxidized and abraded out of existence by the sand - but is a year long flood enough time for that to happen?…
— Michael Pitman [Christian], Adam and Evolution
Flood geologists have proposed that hydraulic sorting explains the succession of fossils found in the geologic record. But such a proposal is clearly a non-starter. There are fossil ammonites, whose beautiful spiral shells contain buoyancy chambers, and are therefore very light - yet theyʼre never found in the upper levels. And ammonoid species ranging in size from a fraction of an inch to several feet across are all found together in the same deposit… The proposal that differential mobility explains the order found in the fossil record loses all credibility too. Why is there not a single human fossil below the topmost layer? Were there no inhabitants of the coastal plains who were overwhelmed in their sleep? No cripples or sick folk unable to flee to higher ground? And why are the pterodactyl fossils all in the middle layers? You would think that at least one or two of them would have flapped their way to the hilltops… Another proposal is that the Flood scooped up hundred-mile tracts of marine and land surfaces complete with their inhabitants, and then neatly arranged them into one-mile deep stacks - and in the right sequence, and without intermingling… Even if the Flood could have achieved such results in one place, it could not possibly have done so all over the world. The average thickness of fossil-bearing rock throughout the world is about a mile. Yet the precious layer of soil in and on which all life must live (except for swimming fishes and floating plants) is never more than a few feet thick. Did the Flood pick up that thin layer and with it produce sedimentary rock one mile thick? Because, if so, God must have miraculously multiplied that layer of soil, like the loaves and fishes of Galilee!
— Alan Hayward [old-earth creationist Christian], Creation and Evolution
Even worse for the ecological zone stacking proposal of Flood geologists is the fact that it is often possible to trace such zones in the strata laterally (rather than vertically) over several kilometers and see them change from marine shelf, to beach, to terrestrial coastal plain, complete with rooted trees and coal. And there are sometimes volcanic ash beds which can be physically correlated over the same distance, confirming that the areas were synchronous - the ash bed was deposited by a single eruption (so the marine shelf and coastline at that lateral level existed at the same time in the past)… The empty shells of ammonites, like that of the modern pearly nautilus, float after the death of the animal. Nautilus shells are found over much of the Pacific and Indian oceans because they are transported after death by water currents. They sink when they are damaged and fill with water. How floating shells could be effectively sorted by their hydrodynamic properties I do not know, but the predictions of a hydrodynamic sorting model are blatantly inconsistent with everything about the distribution of shelled cephalopods and other fossils… The fossil succession of ammonoids having distinctive shell sutures is clear in the first appearance of each group… Flood geologists must somehow assume that (for example) oysters could run faster than (for example) the many other types of clam found in the Paleozoic. Considering the fact that most oysters are cemented to the bottom, this seems a little unlikely. There are some clams in the Cretaceous, known as inoceraminds, which get up to a meter in size. Why they got sorted into the Cretaceous, and not much lower, whether due to hydrodynamic, ecological, or differential mobility, I have no idea. There is a precise zonation of inoceramid clam species within the Cretaceous. Some are huge, some are small (fist-sized). They often co-occur. Even more paradoxically, for Flood geologists, is the fact that the juvenile (young) specimens, only a few centimeters in size and with much thinner shells, co-occur with the large, thick-shelled mature specimens of the same species. This is the normal situation in the fossil record… In fact, most fossil brachiopods (clam-like animals) are found in life position (cemented to the bottom of solid rock, and after they were buried and the rock hardened, another layer of brachiopods grew atop them)… The entire structure of Flood geology is nonscientific and is based directly on the creationistsʼ religious beliefs. Neither are their ideas and proposals new. All can be found described in 19th century literature. They were wrong then,and are still wrong now, because of the geological evidence. Creationist Christian Bible-believing geologists of that period tossed flood geology models overboard for the sound scientific reason that such models were discovered to be completely inconsistent with the physical evidence. They did this despite their religious beliefs, because the evidence was so compelling. There is currently no scientific reason to bring Flood geology back. It has had its day in court. In fact, there is even more evidence falsifying it now than there was one hundred years ago.
— Andrew Macrae [non-Christian geologist], from an email at the talk.origins newsgroup
Is the detailed record of successive fossil species, from simple to more complex, from general to special, from fish to man, entirely an artifact of Noahʼs Flood? Not one human being, or horse, or cow, or fox, or deer, or hippopotamus, or tortoise, or monkey, was so slow, or so stupid, or so crippled, that it lagged behind the others, and thus got caught down at the bottom of the hill. Not one! Conversely, there was not one dinosaur, or trilobite, or mammoth, that was lucky enough, or clever enough, or fast enough, to climb up to the top of the hill, and thus escape the fate of its fellows. Not one! And this is sound science?
— Michael Ruse [non-Christian philosopher of science], Darwinism Defended: A Guide to the Evolution Controversies
A flood strong enough to move all the sediments of the earth would tend to mix the different types of animals and plants into one big mishmash… The fossils are in the right order for evolution but not for hydraulic selection. The light animals refuse to stay in the shallow rocks, and the dense animals refuse to stay in the deep rocks, where they belong according to creationism. For instance, trilobites, light, fragile creatures resembling pill bugs, tend to be found only in the deepest rocks… The rocks show that each distinct species usually has its own horizon absolutely distinct from the horizons of other species of the same size, shape, and weight.
— Christopher Gregory Weber, “Common Creationist Attacks on Geology,” Creation/Evolution, Issue 2, Fall 1980
Flowering plants donʼt occur in the fossil record until early in the Cretaceous era. A forest of magnolias (a primitive tree) heading for the hills, only to be overwhelmed with the early mammals by the Flood, is unconvincing.
— Robert J. Schadewald, “Six ‘Flood’ Arguments Creationists Canʼt Answer,” Creation/Evolution, Issue 9, Summer 1982
Flood geology doesnʼt explain why characteristic pollens and spores are found alongside animal fossils of each age (stratum), or why large, slow-moving mammals are invariably found in strata above flying pterodactyls and early birds like Archaeopteryx. Flood geology also fails to explain the fossil pattern for trees.
— Ken Nahigian [former young-earth creationist]
Can creationists seriously believe that their Flood geology accounts for the numerous macro-evolutionary trends so well documented in the fossil record? Is it really possible that horses, humans, cows, and rats were true contemporaries of the primitive mammals known from Mesozoic deposits, but somehow only small noneutherian, apparently transitional (and small primitive eutherian mammals) managed to be buried beside the giants of the reptile world?
— Laurie R. Godfrey [non-Christian scientist], Scientists Confront Creationism
If the worldwide sequence of fossils are the products of Noahʼs flood and its resultant fallout, why, then - at no place on this vast earth - do we find dinosaurs and large mammals in the same strata; why are trilobites never with mammals (not even marine mammals), but always in strata below? Surely some retarded elephant would be keeping company with dinosaurs, some valiant trilobite swimming hard for thirty-nine days and winning an exalted upper berth with mammals.
— Stephen J. Gould [non-Christian evolutionist], An Urchin in the Storm
Why are whales and dolphins only found at high levels, while marine reptiles of similar size are found only much lower?… Why were not most of the birds exhausted far sooner, since perching places would have been hard to find in the raging Deluge?… Sardines and swordfish (teleostean fish), appeared in late Triassic times (200 million years ago) and show up in the fossil record more frequently with the passage of time. This contradicts predictions of Flood geology: these deep sea fish ought to be found in the lowest strata. Besides, these fish had no special hydraulic features and they were not especially fast swimmers. Yet all these lucky teleostean fish managed to resist the flood waters for a long time, while large numbers of speedy fish are buried beneath them.
— Philip Kitcher [non-Christian evolutionist, but not a critic of religion], Abusing Science: The Case Against Creationism (MIT Press, 1982)
We might well ask whether the impressively huge carnivorous dinosaurs and other reptiles of the Mesozoic were weaker and less agile than the sheep and other grazing mammals that lay in the Cenozoic layers above them. Were the Mesozoic fish somehow less capable of avoiding burial in the hydraulic cataclysm than the Cenozoic corals and snails that are found above them in stratigraphic succession? We must conclude that the similarity between the known distribution of fossils and the prediction of the creationist model is insufficient to provide a basis for serious comparison.
— Brian F. Glenister and Brian J. Witzke, Professors at the Dept. of Geoscience, University of Iowa
Remember that Flood geologists emphasize the violence of the Flood and its global scale. Dead plants and animals would have been very thoroughly mixed and transported large distances. How, then, could the sequence in which they settled out possibly be related to the original elevations of their habitats, or their running abilities? And why would man be a special case? His running and climbing ability is inferior to that of many animals. In any case, all the animals, including man, would have been killed long before the Flood finally ended, so that their ability to temporarily escape death (not burial) would have been irrelevant in the long run.
— Willard Young, Fallacies of Creationism
Creationists like to dismiss evolution as only a theory. My favorite rejoinder is that creationism isnʼt even a theory. When examined in the light of well-known and thoroughly researched scientific phenomena, creationist flood geology fails the most basic and simple test known to forensic science: bodies donʼt pile up the way creationists insist they must.
— Walter F. Rowe, “Bobbing for Dinosaurs: A Forensic Scientist Looks at the Genesis Flood,” Creation/Evolution, Issue 28, Winter 1990-91
Creationist Flood geologists are well aware of the second law of thermodynamics as it relates to the origin of life, but typically oblivious to it regarding the unlikely odds of so many fossils being segregated so perfectly in the geologic record… Like it or not, the association of certain types of fossils with certain strata, and the existence of trace fossils - like neatly laid eggs, tidy nests, rodent burrows and the footprints of air-breathing animals found deep within the strata - can only be explained by different types of animals and plants living at completely different times in the past.
— Neil Slater
The hydraulic engineer and co-author of The Genesis Flood, Henry Morris, not knowing that trilobites had a relatively light (non-dense) chitinous skeleton similar to that of crabs, has long said that trilobites were so dense they all sank to the lower layers during the Flood, and thatʼs why they are found there. Actually they were much less dense than the clam-type mollusks which are found in great abundance in the higher layers of Mesozoic and Cenozoic rock systems; and both animal types lived in the same marine ecological zone (subtidal sea floor)… Scleractinian corals are found in abundance almost worldwide, and more actual volume of their fossils is present on the earth than of any other group of Cenozoic animal fossils. So it is inconceivable that they would not have become mixed into the lower strata - in fact, all strata - of the earthʼs sedimentary cover if the Flood geology hypothesis were correct. By reading any of Henry Morrisʼs descriptions of the convulsive activities which he visualizes as having occurred during the Flood one can see how completely illogical it is to assert that the Paleozoic strata were formed by the Flood, with these dense calcified Scleractinian corals somehow being held up and not allowed to sink into the lower layers of sediment. Moreover, Scleractinian corals are as dense as the more ancient corals, because they are composed of CaCO3, the same as those orders were… If Morris and the folks as his Institute for Creation Research are correct, then God would have had to have performed a very specialized miracle to sink the trilobites and hold the more dense clam-type mollusks floating in the water above them. A similar miracle would have had to have been performed to keep the Scleractinian corals suspended while two other orders of coral settled beneath them. A third miracle would have had to have been performed to keep thick layers of microscopic diatoms all over the earth from mixing with the thick layers of microscopic radiolarians that settled in the strata beneath them! And so on and so forth. (I guess such specialized miracles were performed by God just to delude Christian geologists of the nineteenth century into rejecting the flood geology of their day? - Skip)
— Daniel E. Wonderly [old earth creationist Christian], Neglect of Geologic Data: Sedimentary Strata compared with Young-Earth Creationist Writings
There is a relative order to the fossilized species of plants found in the geologic record for which Flood Geology cannot account, unless you can imagine apple and orange trees with Nike sneakers on their roots, racing past the magnolias and primitive mammals, leaving the ginkgoes back therewith the dinosaurs when the Flood waters began to rise.
— Frank R. Zindler, “Creationism on the Rocks,” Dial-An-Atheist, Greatest Hits from Ohio]
Under the Flood geology hypothesis, one would expect that lowland-loving plants, such as cattails, willow trees and lily pads (which live on or near the surface of water) would have been buried long before those plants which favor higher and cooler areas, such as pine trees and other conifers. This, however, is not what we find in the fossil record. Instead, the evolutionarily primitive conifers appear much lower in the column than do modern angiosperms such as willow trees and oak trees. What a miraculous Flood to have sorted such an incalculably large number of plant remains (and also their fine pollen grains) in such a precise manner! What are the odds that one, big, violent Flood could have accomplished such a miracle? How did the oak and willow trees manage to get to the top of the sediment layer along with all those mobile mammals? Did the trees run for the high ground too? What about the many nesting sites that have been found for terrestrial dinosaurs? Are we to assume that these animals, panicked by the rising flood waters and the torrential rain and fleeing for the high ground, suddenly decided to stop and dig huge numbers of nests in the Flood sediments and lay eggs, which apparently had time to hatch before the Flood engulfed them?
Apparently, Flood geologists would have us believe that the therapsid reptiles (who they assert were all contemporary and lived side by side) just happened to drown and become sorted by the Flood into a sequence which looks just like evolutionary descent; the forms with well-developed reptilian jaw joints and incipient mammalian joints just happened to be buried first, followed by those like Probainognathus with double jaw joints, while forms like the Morganucodonts, with functional mammalian joints and receding reptilian joints, just happened to climb a little higher or sink a little slower than the others (but not so high or so slow as the true mammals with no reptilian characteristics). Sea turtles violate every presumed sorting mechanism that Flood geologists have proposed; they live in the open deep sea, but are found high in the sediment layer— above such terrestrial animals as amphibians and dinosaurs; they are big and heavy and sink rapidly upon death, but are found in the upper layers, above such lighter organisms as jellyfish and seaweeds; they are clumsy and slow on land, but apparently managed to run to the higher elevations before the Flood engulfed them (since they are found in the same sediment layers as such speedy animals as saber-toothed tigers and horses). Again, what are the odds that one big violent Flood could have sorted all the dead sea turtles in such an evolutionary fashion?
— Lenny Flank, Can Noahʼs Flood Account For the Geologic and Fossil record?
What are we going to do with all those fossil fragments? After all, most animal fossils come in bits and pieces. Are we to believe that a dinosaur knee had the same hydrodynamic sorting properties as a dinosaur claw, a dinosaur tooth, a dinosaur skull? Did baby dinosaurs have the same hydrodynamic sorting properties as the adults? Did bone fragments of baby dinosaurs, dinosaur egg shells, not to mention whole eggs, all have the same hydrodynamic sorting properties as the bones of adult dinosaurs? Odd, donʼt you think, that in those rare cases where dinosaur skin is preserved, it is found at the same level as the bare bones? Funny, that all these diverse bits and pieces should find their way to the same level of the geologic record, species by species. I would think that at least some dinosaur teeth would wind up with the trilobites, that a few hollow leg bones would be found near the top of the geologic column. This hydrodynamic sorting principle, as used by Henry Morris, is not just wrong statistically; it is totally Fraudulent. It is Dishonest. It has no more explanatory power than the usual creationist miracles. Indeed, it is nothing more than a modern day miracle couched in scientific terminology.
— Dave E. Matson, April 12, 1999
In 1938 Harold Clark (a disciple of the Flood geologist, George Macready Price) was invited by a student to visit the oil fields of Oklahoma and northern Texas, where Mr. Clark saw with his own eyes why geologists believed as they did. Observations of deep drilling and conversations with practical geologists gave Clark a real shock that permanently erased any confidence he had left in Priceʼs vision of a topsy-turvy fossil record. Clark wrote to Price: The rocks do lie in a much more definite sequence than we have ever allowed. The statements made in your book, The New Geology, do not harmonize with the conditions in the field. All over the Midwest the rocks lie in great sheets extending over hundreds of miles, in regular order. Thousands of well cores prove this. In East Texas alone are 25,000 deep wells. Probably well over 100,000 wells in the Midwest give data that has been studied and correlated. The science has become a very exact one. Millions of dollars are spent in drilling, with the paleontological findings of the company geologists taken as the basis for the work. The sequence of the microscopic fossils in the strata is remarkably uniform. The same sequence is found in America, Europe, and anywhere that detailed studies have been made. This oil geology has opened up the depths of the earth in a way that we never dreamed of twenty years ago.
— Donald R. Prothero, “Snake Handlers and Flood Geologists: A Review Essay of The Creationists by Ronald L. Numbers,” The Skeptic, Vol. 2, no. 2
Many fossil bones found in terrestrial deposits show evidence of having been weathered for months and having been scavenged. In addition, many bones are preserved in calcareous fossil soils, i.e. the Badlands of North Dakota and the Karoo of South Africa. In marine deposits, the bones are frequently encrusted by organisms, bored by organisms, and have teeth marks from sharks and other scavengers. These are things that preclude the idea of rapid burial in a global flood. There exist almost innumerable examples in geological literature.
— Paul V. Heinrich, [email protected]
Iʼd suggest taking a look at the DNA of a specific animal, say a bat, as compared with the DNA of itʼs closest living relatives, then see when the bat and its nearest living relatives first appeared in the fossil record and show how near they are to one another in geological time. How could a FLOOD sort these creatures into the irrespectively close geological layers via their DNA? It took man a thousand years to come up with DNA comparison testing, but it took those muddy violent waters no time at all to sort species after species after species after species after species, all according to their DNA. Some Flood!
— Edward T. Babinski
A Relatively “Dry” Flood
The geologic record contains evidence of a wide variety of ancient environments, including ancient oceans, seas, lakes, rivers, soils and deserts, it is not a record of “a year-long Flood.” There are desert strata, dried out lake beds and dried up river beds, paleosols (soil horizons), layers of rootlets at different horizons in the geologic record, layers of forests at different horizons, fossilized ant nests, termite nests, fragile wasp cocoons, cells from bees nests, dinosaur nests and eggs, reptile nests and eggs (in the Chinle Formation of the Petrified National Forest), bird nests and eggs (of a relative of the flamingo in the Green River Formation in Wyoming), fossilized worm holes, fossilized rodent burrows, tracks, trails and markings left by land-dwelling animals, even animal dung in its original position of deposition as it dried and cracked and hardened on solid ground. The geological evidence is clear that DRY land existed at many different periods throughout the past with land animals continuing to walk around, deposit dung, woo mates, build hives, nests or burrows, lay eggs, hatch those eggs (“empty hatched egg” fossils), then raise their young (then repeat the process), such evidence being found at different horizons in the geologic record. And of course, deserts formed, lakes formed and dried up, rivers formed and dried up, soils formed, layers of small rootlets had time to grow, then be wiped out and grow again at different horizons in the geologic record, even multiple layers of forests had time to grow, die and re-grow. According to young-earth creationists such evidence all accumulated during an alleged “year-long Flood” that kept the earth under water for a year, and whose incomparable violence pulverized rock to fine sediment, then piled that sediment at an average depth of one mile over all the earth that then hardened into solid rock overnight.
“Paleosols” are ancient soils that develop during periods of extensive sub-areal weathering and they are sometimes preserved in the geologic record. The key is that paleosols are found throughout the geologic column and represent periods of Earth history when the region they were found in was not covered by water. ~ Paleosols in the midst of a global flood are not possible.
—Joseph Meert, “Radiometric Dating, Paleosols and the Geologic Column: Three strikes against Young Earth Creationism”
(Original Verison Fall 1999, Updated July 3, 2002)
Other miracles of the “yearlong Flood” include the formation of layers of limestone and/or chalk many feet thick, which is made up of tiny shelled organisms that require time to reproduce, suck minerals from the water to form their shells, then die and settle. Not to mention layers of “pelletized limestone” many feet thick, which is the result of fish eating tiny shelled organisms, and then excreting them as fecal pellets that settle to the bottom. Try doing any of that in a single year. Trying to explain the entire geological record via a “year-long Flood” is itself a catastrophe of logic.
Experiment For Noah Enthusiasts:
1. Take one of your favorite household potted plants.
2. Water it like hell for 40 days and nights.
3. Observe rotted dead plant.
As a botanist I get extremely disgruntled when reading about Noah. You see, God appears only to be interested in animals. Noah received no instructions to take on board any plants (by plants I mean angiosperms, gymnosperms, pteridiophytes and bryophytes). Talk about shortsightedness. Could this be the root cause for Zoology always being more popular than Botany? Dear Flood supporters, pray tell how did plants survive the Flood? Waiting in anticipation.
— M. (Matto), University of Stellenbosch
Questions Concerning The Survival Of Plant Life After The Flood
After a year at sea, what is the likelihood:
That more than a handful of seeds miraculously survived the violence of “the Flood of Noah” — a flood that allegedly reduced rock to fine sediment overnight?
That such seeds did not sprout prematurely, which seeds often do in water, doubly so when their seed coasts are abraised which prompts them to begin sprouting.
That any surviving plant seeds would be dropped in an area where the temperature, rainfall, soil, and light would be suitable for the growth of that particular species?
Even after having reached a spot capable of supporting the growth of that particular species, how long would their flowers have to wait before the birds and insects arrived from Mount Ararat to cross-pollinate them?
Isaac Asimov observes that the ancient Hebrews did not regard plants as alive in the same sense animals are; therefore they had less of a problem than modern botanists do, imagining that an olive tree could endure a yearʼs drowning and sprout immediately afterward. [As in the Biblical tale of the dove that returned to Noahʼs ark with a live “olive branch” in its mouth. — E.T.B.] Todayʼs creationists should have learned some botany since then, but they still carry on about the “hardiness” of olives.
Creationists need to soak seeds in muddy salty water for a year [The water should also be “boiling” if “Flood geologists” are correct about the extent of the Floodʼs rock-pulverizing violence. — E.T.B.] and then plant them in unconsolidated, briny silt in an unfavorable climate without insect or avian pollinators to see what happens. Have their mathematicians, so skilled at calculating improbabilities for protein formation, ever determined the odds of plant survival?
— Robert A. Moore, “The Impossible Voyage of Noahʼs Ark,” Creation/Evolution, Issue 11, Winter 1983
With the land bare of plants what did all the herbivores eat after they disembarked from Noahʼs ark? Oh wait, I forgot, they did not have time to eat; they were too busy fleeing from the hungry carnivores that disembarked after them.
The marsupial population of Australia contains animals found nowhere else on earth — not even in fossil form. Are we to suppose that those marsupials managed to travel from the landing place of Noahʼs ark to. Australia? What a long perilous post-Flood journey. I guess God guided them. But you donʼt hear about that miracle in the Bible. Why not? Itʼs at least as good as the story about God herding the Israelites through the desert, only these marsupials were herded through a denuded post-Flood earth undergoing cataclysmic aftershocks. This menagerie of wombats and koalas, bandicoots and kangaroos (not to mention the flightless moa and kiwi birds of New Zealand) had to keep ahead of lions-ʻn-tigers-ʻn-bears all the way to Indonesia, and then — although the superior placental mammals could not manage it — reach the continent of Australia. As if this were not mind-boggling enough, it turns out that the types of marsupials that made it to Australia just happened to form an ensemble able to fill all the ecological niches available!
Thus, there were marsupial moles, marsupial ant-eaters, marsupial mice, marsupial grazers, marsupial carnivores, marsupial frugivores, etc. — not one of which can be found anywhere else in the world. If this highly diversified marsupial population evolved from one or a few primitive generalized marsupials that reached Australia millions of years before it separated from Indonesia (and before mammals had evolved on the mainland), then this peculiar situation is understandable. But if all these creatures had to journey from Turkey to Australia as an ensemble, it is incredible beyond computation.
— Frank Zindler, “The Kiwi Question,” American Atheist, May 1988
(Note: Molecular biology and anatomy both demonstrate that, of living marsupial groups, koalas are most closely related to wombats. And both the living species and fossilized remains of koalas and wombats are found only in Australia. — E.T.B.)
Such fragile creatures as the platypus and the blind marsupial mole raced across the land bridge to Australia quicker than the Malaysian tigers and other robust placentals?
— Robert A. Moore, “The Impossible Voyage of Noahʼs Ark”
Can I suggest that there was a large sign, somewhere in South-East Java, reading something like:
Celestial Quarantine Zone NO placental land mammals may be transported or allowed to wander past this point. American marsupial species must take the Bering Straits route. Maps available at the quarantine station office. (Office hours 9:00 A.M. — 5:00 P.M.)
— Peter Lamb, talk.origins newsgroup, April 30, 1996
God made all the animals in a single day; he could have swept them all away in the flood and re-created them in one day when they were again needed. Therefore it was an odd idea to save specimens of them for eleven months in the ark, whilst aware that eight persons could not feed or water them by any human possibility. If they were to be preserved by miracle, the ark was not necessary — to let them swim would have answered the purpose and been more indubitably miraculous.
— Mark Twain, “God of the Bible vs. God of the Present Day”
Catastrophic flooding occurs in most areas of the world. However, if [flood] stories are gathered from around the world, one may be struck far more by the divergencies than by their similarities. It is important that such collections have been gathered without regard for their support for a single universal flood. It would be easy to rule out those that sound dissimilar and then to be amazed at how similar the remainder are!
Although flood stories from around the world vary widely in their content, those from Syro-Palestine and Mesopotamia (the so-called lands of the Bible) are strikingly similar. While it is difficult, if not impossible, to believe that flood stories gathered from around the world descended from a single source (or describe a single event), the reverse may indeed be the case in the Ancient Near East. It is, after all, an area given to regular and catastrophic flooding, for which adequate archaeological and geological evidence has come to light. Furthermore, it is an area through which the story of “the flood” could easily spread: it is geographically small and well defined (the so-called fertile crescent), its inhabitants spoke closely related Semitic languages, there was occasional political unity of the whole (under Assyrians, Babylonians, and Persians), and commerce was widespread throughout at all periods.
— Lloyd R. Bailey, Noah: The Person and the Story in History and Tradition
Dr. Howard M. Teeple of the Religion and Ethics Institute is the author of The Noahʼs Ark Nonsense in which he traced the movement in space and time of the “Flood” story in the ancient Near East from its first known location and earliest version, uncovered by archaeologists in Sumeria/Babylon, to its subsequent appearance in a civilization just north of Sumeria/Babylon. Then the tale apparently headed east, then south, and finally continued east till a version appeared in ancient Greece. Each civilization along the way adapted the “Flood” story to their culture by changing the names of the people involved and which mountain(s) the “boat” allegedly “landed on.”
Additional Questions Related To “Noahʼs Flood”
The god of the Hebrews was so wise he couldnʼt think of anything better than flooding the whole earth to kill the people He was after? Thatʼs like burning down the barn to kill some rats, or using a sledgehammer to debug a rosebush. Even the worldʼs dumbest surgeon doesnʼt use a guillotine to remove a mole on someoneʼs neck.
I donʼt know who the worst sinners are on this planet, but I am quite sure that if a High Intelligence wanted to exterminate them, It would find a very precise method of locating each one separately. Carelessly murdering millions of innocent children and harmless old ladies and dogs and cats in the process is absolutely and ineluctably to state that your idea of God is of a cosmic imbecile.
A “God” intelligent enough to design even a molecule, let alone a whole universe, would, if he-she-or-it went loony and decided to take up murder, still be intelligent enough to murder only the people he-she-or-it disliked. Accepting the dubious Warren Commission Report, even Lee Harvey Oswald only hit one innocent bystander (the governor). The early Old Testament “God” appears not only as crazy as Oswald but clumsier, stupider and generally less civilized. King Kong is as convincing a portrait of God as that given in the Old Testament.
— Robert Anton Wilson
“Bible believers” are constantly telling us how wicked the pre-Flood generation was. In those Biblical movies you can practically feel the evil oozing out of such folks. By Jupiter, you can almost see it! But could they have done any wicked thing that hasnʼt been done just as wickedly by folks after the Flood? Conversely, if you examine the worst corner of the globe at its sorriest moment in history you will still find, by any reasonable standard of decency, a fair number of decent people. And, donʼt forget the children!
Die-hard Bible believers answer curtly that the children were part of the cancer which had to be cut out! Their poor limited God had no choice, I suppose. He couldnʼt let them corrupt the purity of post-Flood generations. Purity as exhibited by Noahʼs drunken state after the flood, which had to be preserved, no doubt, from the evil influence of pre-Flood children. And how horrible it would have been if a few pre-Flood children had survived and corrupted the folks of Sodom and Gomorrah.
— Dave Matson, “On Taking the Bible and Noahʼs Flood Literally”
The Deluge: A punishment inflicted on the human race by an all-knowing God, who, through not having foreseen the wickedness of men, repented of having made them, and drowned them once for all to make them better — an act which, as we all know, was accompanied by the greatest success.
— Voltaire, Dictionary of Theology
Why did God fill the world with his own children, knowing that he would have to destroy them? And why does this same God tell me how to raise my children when he had to drown his?
— Robert Ingersoll, Some Mistakes of Moses
Does The Bible Say That “Noahʼs Flood” Was Universal?
Or Was The Universality Of The Flood Merely A Literary Exaggeration Of Biblical Proportions?
The famine was over all the face of the earth…And all countries came unto Egypt to Joseph to buy corn; because the famine was so sore in all lands.
— Genesis 41:56,57
Donʼt the words, “over all the face of the earth, all countries, all lands” mean “over all the face of the earth, all countries, all lands?” If they mean what they say, then even folks in far off China and Japan and Australia and North and South America must have been “sorely famished” and had to go to “Egypt” to buy corn! Or else, “over all the face of the earth, all countries, all lands” is an exaggerated way of speaking, closer to a boastful lie than the truth.
[The Lord said to the Israelites when they were wandering in the desert] “This day will I begin to put the dread of thee and the fear of thee upon the nations that are under the whole heaven, who shall hear report of thee, and shall tremble, and be in anguish because of thee.”
— Deuteronomy 2:25
Donʼt the words, “the nations that are under the whole heaven” mean “the nations that are under the whole heaven?” If they mean what they say, then even the distant nations of China and Japan and the Native American nations — to name just a few of the many “nations that are under the whole heaven” — must have been trembling in their boots, having “heard report of Israel.” Or else, “the nations that are under the whole heaven” is an exaggerated way of speaking, closer to a boastful lie than the truth.
I have set my king upon the holy hill of Zion. Ask of me, and I shall give thee the heathen [as slaves] for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession. Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron.
— Psalm 2:6,8,9,12
The above psalm is believed to have been sung at the coronations of Hebrew kings. But giving a king, “.the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession” is an exaggerated promise to say the least. Though it must be admitted that this psalm later proved popular with both Catholic and Protestant kings who used it to justify their “breaking” of the “heathen,” driving them into slavery and stealing their land in alleged fulfillment of this exaggerated Biblical promise.
[Jesus said] “The Queen of the South [the Queen of Sheba] came from the uttermost parts of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon.”
— Matthew 12:42
The Queenʼs residence, being probably on the Arabian Gulf, could not have been more than twelve or fourteen hundred miles from Jerusalem. If that is the “uttermost parts of the earth” then it is a small world after all.
All the kings of the earth sought the presence of Solomon, to hear his wisdom.
— 2 Chronicles 9:23
Donʼt the words “all the kings of the earth” mean “all the kings of the earth?” If they mean what they say, then even Incan and Aztec kings in South America must have begun paddling their long boats toward Israel the instant they heard how wise king Solomon was. Or else, “all the kings of the earth” is an exaggerated way of speaking, closer to a boastful lie than the truth.
The devil took him [Jesus] up into an exceedingly high mountain, and showed him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them.
— Matthew 4:8
Shown “all the kingdoms of the world” from an “exceedingly high mountain?” I suppose so, if the mountain was “exceedingly high” and the earth was flat. Verses in the Bibleʼs book of Daniel presume a flat earth the same way that verses in Matthew do:
I saw a tree in the midst of the earth, and the height thereof was great. The tree grew, and the height thereof reached unto heaven, and the sight thereof to the end of all the earth.
— Daniel 4:10-11
Instead of an “exceedingly high” mountain from which “all the kingdoms of the earth” can be seen, Daniel pictures a tree “whose height was great,” growing from the “midst” or center of the earth and “seen” to “the ends of all the earth.”
Funny how such flagrantly flat-earth verses appear in both the Old and New Testaments. “Bible believers” will of course reply that such verses are only “apparently difficult” to explain, and not the “real truth” as they see it. But it is the “apparent difficulties” that remain in the Bible, as it was written, and will always remain there, regardless of all the ingenuity employed in explaining them away.
A decree went out from Caesar Augustus that a census be taken of all the inhabited earth.
— Luke 2:1
Donʼt the words, “all the inhabited earth” mean “all the inhabited earth?” If they mean what they say, then even the Chinese must have taken part in Augustusʼ census! Or else, “all the inhabited earth” is an exaggerated way of speaking, closer to a boastful lie than the truth.
And there were dwelling at Jerusalem Jews, devout men, out of every nation under heaven.
— Acts 2:5
“Out of every nation under heaven?” A Jew from the nation of the Sioux Indians in North America was there too? Or maybe Luke was not talking about a very wide “heaven?”
A great famine all over the world took place in the reign of Claudius.
— Acts 11:28
Donʼt the words, “all over the world” mean “all over the world?” If they mean what they say, then the Chinese, Japanese and Native Americans who lived in the world during the reign of Claudius must have suffered the effects of that great famine. Or else, “all over the world” is an exaggerated way of speaking, closer to a boastful lie than the truth.
Their voice (of first-century Christian preachers) has gone out into all the earth, and their words to the ends of the world. The mystery is now manifested and.has been made known to all the nations. The gospel, which has come to you, just as in all the world. The gospel which was proclaimed in all creation under heaven, and of which I, Paul was made a minister.
— Romans 10:18; 16:25-26; Colossians 1:5-6,23
Sorry Paul, but the Gospel in your day had only reached a handful of churches in the Roman Empire, not “all the earth,” not, “to the ends of the world,” not, “all nations,” and certainly not, “all creation under heaven.”
The early church father, Iraenaeus, maintained Paulʼs charade when he wrote, “Now the Church, spread throughout all the world even to the ends of the earth,” “…even though she has been spread over the entire world,” “Anyone who wishes to see the truth can observe the apostleʼs traditions made manifest in every church throughout the whole world.” (Iraenaeus, Against Heresies, 1.10.1, 1.10.2, 3.3.1-2) Not a very big “world,” mind you, leaving out most of Asia and Africa, not to mention the continents of Australia, North America and South America.
If an all-wise God had inspired the Bible He would have been able to give its human authors a few inspired geography lessons, just to show them how big the earth really is. Instead the Bible contains the same exaggerated speech, boastful lies and holy hyperbole common for its day and age, i.e., rather than evidence of special inspiration.
Furthermore, if the Bible is not speaking absolutely truthfully when it speaks of “all the earth,” “to the ends of the earth,” “from the uttermost parts of the earth,” “all the inhabited earth,” “in all creation under heaven,” “under all the heavens,” “every nation under heaven,” then how can anyone be expected to assume the truthfulness of the statement, “everywhere under the heavens,” when it is found in the tale of the Flood of Noah in Genesis 7:19? “The water prevailed and all the high mountains everywhere under the heavens were covered.” Could this be another instance of an exaggerated mythical way of speaking, closer to a boastful lie than the truth? Hmmm, do ya think?
Having run across so many instances of exaggerated speech in the Bible one even wonders what is to become of the central Christian boast, the exaggeration par excellence, that Jesus died “for the sins of the world?” Believers from every sacred tradition boast that their beliefs affect the “world” and must be taken seriously by the “world.” Must they indeed? I find that I cannot take seriously many instances in which Biblical authors exaggerate (boldly lie about) the extent of a famine, a flood, a census, the distance to a queenʼs residence, the extent to which a message has been spread, etc. Indeed, didnʼt “orthodox” doctrines and theology arise via exaggerating the importance of some interpretations of the alleged sayings and doings of Jesus above others?
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