The mystery of Noah’s Ark solved

Creation “scientists” (an oxymoron if ever there was one) have long pondered the problem of how Noah could fit all those species on the Ark.  One solution was that the Ark contained only a subset of species, the Biblical “kinds”—whatever those were—and that subsequent “microevolution” produced the 7+ million species on Earth today.  This suggestion gave rise the ludicrous “science” of baraminology, the futile attempt of creationists to determine what “kinds” comprised. Given the continuity of the evolutionary process, such divisions are of course completely arbitrary, which is why that field is so loony.

But now, in a spectacular and felicitous combination of science and faith, the problem of getting every extant species on the Ark has been solved. To save long-winded explanation, I’ll just put the answer in diagram form. To me it represents a spectacular success for accommodationism:

Dw1zzIM

If you think “baraminology” is a joke—and I’ve met some biologists who can’t believe the  discipline exists—have a look at the schedule for the first conference on baraminology, held at Liberty University (the religious school founded by Jerry “Matchbox” Falwell) in 1999.

72 Comments

  1. Posted January 1, 2014 at 3:54 am | Permalink

    The Raelians solved this whole problem by a massive reinterpretation of the Noah story. The Ark was actually a space ship, and from the species were taken DNA samples rather than the individual animals, for storage. And the flood was actually a nuclear explosion.

    • Jesper Both Pedersen
      Posted January 1, 2014 at 4:15 am | Permalink

      Tomato,potato.

      • Posted January 1, 2014 at 4:18 am | Permalink

        Indeed it is. Raelians have just replaced one unbelievable story for another. BTW happy new year.

        • Jesper Both Pedersen
          Posted January 1, 2014 at 4:22 am | Permalink

          Right back at you. 🙂

          • Bizarro7
            Posted January 2, 2014 at 5:51 am | Permalink

            No, it was a shrink ray. All the animals were miniaturized into lego proportions.

  2. Posted January 1, 2014 at 5:01 am | Permalink

    OK, but what about the food for all those animals after the flood was over? When all the insect eating birds start eating insects, there must be no insects left, because there where only two of each species of insect. And what did the vegetarian birds eat?

    • bonetired
      Posted January 1, 2014 at 5:34 am | Permalink

      Fresh Gallifreyan food stashed away in the Tardis …

      • Grania Spingies
        Posted January 1, 2014 at 7:21 am | Permalink

        And a whole swimming pool. For the polar bears and the penguins.

        • Lynn A. (Ottawa)
          Posted January 1, 2014 at 7:36 am | Permalink

          And kitchens, and the ability to go any where in time and space, so food, not so much of a problem.

          • Posted January 1, 2014 at 7:56 am | Permalink

            Like… 40 days ahead?

            /@

            • Posted January 1, 2014 at 10:57 am | Permalink

              No, no, no…. it was 40 days of RAIN that brought on the flood – the time for the ark on the water was 150 days and another 200 for the water to take to recede. (Where all this water could possibly recede TO is not disclosed) A food capacity for this total period is quite implausible…. which makes the Gilgamesh version of the flood (and Utanapishtim as the alternative to Noah) as much more realistic – given this flood was only 12 days long. Pity our creationist brethren do not stick to a more plausible myth rather that the plagiarized and less convincing alternative.

              • Posted January 1, 2014 at 11:24 am | Permalink

                Clearly a typo for ~400 days … :-/

                /@

              • Richard Olson
                Posted January 1, 2014 at 12:08 pm | Permalink

                A mine’s-bigger-than-yours story from a time when nobody could conceive of fact checking.

              • Posted January 1, 2014 at 3:10 pm | Permalink

                howiekornstein, the creationists solved this long ago. Before the Flood, the mountains weren’t as high, nor the oceans so deep. There was fierce tectonic activity after the Flood (which, incidentally, also led to the ice ages), and a spike in 14C production, making pre-Flood specimens appear more depleted, and therefore older, than they really are. See e.g. The Young earth by John Morris, son of the ingenious Henry. This may (my own contribution to creation science; perhaps I should submit it to their journal?) explain how the kangaroos got to Australia after the Flood; at that time, Australia was next door.

              • stuartcoyle
                Posted January 1, 2014 at 3:26 pm | Permalink

                The water receded into the center of the hollow earth, of course!

        • Diana MacPherson
          Posted January 1, 2014 at 7:59 am | Permalink

          That was my first thought too! They have a pool!

          • lamacher
            Posted January 1, 2014 at 10:02 am | Permalink

            Yes! And, if you come outside every half hour or so and pound the bejesus out of the side of the ark, it will keep half (or more) of the birds in the air all the time, helping to reduce weight and space problems. Good idea?

            • Posted January 1, 2014 at 1:12 pm | Permalink

              “Clearly a typo for ~400 days … ”

              No!…. 40

              My irrefutable evidence- lyrics of gospel song “Didn’t It Rain”

              “It rained 40 days, 40 nights without stopping,
              Noah was glad when the rain stopped dropping,
              Knock at the window, a knock at the door,
              Crying brother Noah can’t you take on more,
              Noah cried no, you’re full of sin,
              God got the key and you can’t get in”

        • gravelinspector-Aidan
          Posted January 1, 2014 at 1:59 pm | Permalink

          One swimming pool total, or one for the biele medvedev and one for the Pingus?
          Enquiring minds want to make baraminologists uncomfortable. Can I use my pliers and blow torch now?

      • Posted January 1, 2014 at 10:28 am | Permalink

        Maybe it was before the time war…

    • Posted January 1, 2014 at 12:24 pm | Permalink

      And other important questions like “How did the chickens cross the road, when presumably there were no roads on the ark?” still have yet to be answered with any degree of certainty.

  3. Posted January 1, 2014 at 5:07 am | Permalink

    “Bara min” is supposed to be Hebrew for “created kind”. I think we’re supposed to be impressed by the erudition.

    It is actually Hebrew for “he created a kind of”.

    • Prof.Pedant
      Posted January 1, 2014 at 1:46 pm | Permalink

      Details please? If “Baramin” means “created kind” or “he created a kind of” then a scientific Baraminologist could be a biologist who specializes in the study/creation of genetically engineered life. But before I attempt that sort of linguistic subversion I would like to be sure of the meaning….and Google Translate is giving me some completely different Hebrew words when I put in “created kind” or “made kind”.

      • Posted January 1, 2014 at 3:28 pm | Permalink

        Counter-pedantically, go the other way. Bet-resh-aleph is “create”; bara (the second word of Genesis in Hebrew) is the 3rd person singular perfective, Qal, meaning [he] created. Min, mem-yodh-nun, is either kind or kind-of (actually, the word only occurs in Genesis 1 in compounded forms, after-its/their-kind). If min were to occur directly after bara, it would have to mean either “a kind” or “a kind of”; there is no indefinite article and the possessive of this word is the same as the nominative.

        Does that help?

  4. Stephen P
    Posted January 1, 2014 at 5:19 am | Permalink

    If you think “baraminology” is a joke …

    Well, of course it is a joke – it’s just not intended to be one.

    In the unlikely event that anyone wants to know about subsequent conferences, the list is here. (The organisation perpetrating them has changed its name a few times, so it took me a while to track down.)

  5. Posted January 1, 2014 at 5:37 am | Permalink

    I couldn´t help but reminding a popular historian saying (about the chinese people): why don´t this people rather understand that the shoes are made for the feet and not the other way round-the feet made to fit in the shoes”.

    How could science exist only to corroborate someone´s fantasies rather than facts?

  6. Jim Knight
    Posted January 1, 2014 at 6:08 am | Permalink

    One of my largest pet peeves about certain “scientific writing” is when I find that a particular reference cited in the text,and which I would like to see, is not in the bibliography! This entire “symposium” is laughable in the extreme, and not just because they left out some references…

  7. Ed Venegas
    Posted January 1, 2014 at 6:39 am | Permalink

    Anyone else notice at the bottom of the picture, the lions eating the horses? Guess that explains why horses are extinct… oh wait

    • Grania Spingies
      Posted January 1, 2014 at 7:20 am | Permalink

      Perhaps that was the unicorn.

      • Dave
        Posted January 1, 2014 at 11:05 am | Permalink

        Nice.

  8. Lurker111
    Posted January 1, 2014 at 7:01 am | Permalink

    The last refuge of the apologist: the redefinition of words to mean something other than what they ordinarily mean, viz. here, “kind.”

    Of course, the simple solution to the Noah’s Ark problem is that the interior was 4-dimensional.

  9. NewEnglandBob
    Posted January 1, 2014 at 7:07 am | Permalink

    Oh, wait. This can’t be – the animals must have been wearing clothing so that Noah and his crew not be offended.

  10. francis
    Posted January 1, 2014 at 7:20 am | Permalink

    //

  11. Richard Olson
    Posted January 1, 2014 at 7:26 am | Permalink

    min sub

  12. Posted January 1, 2014 at 7:26 am | Permalink

    This is the phrenology of taxonomy. A very special kind of idiot *should* have no evolutionary relationship to others. Unfortunately, we must share the planet with Walter ReMine.

    • Stephen P
      Posted January 1, 2014 at 9:55 am | Permalink

      Oh, him. Yes, I remember him turning up time after time on talk.origins to complain bitterly that people were misrepresenting his views – but never once explaining what his views actually were.

      • Posted January 1, 2014 at 12:16 pm | Permalink

        He calls it “discontinuity systematics.” Of course, the only discontinuity appears to be neuronal.

  13. Sarah Connell
    Posted January 1, 2014 at 7:34 am | Permalink

    As a very very long time fan of Doctor Who and of course his TARDIS, I absolutely loved the picture. It was a perfect way of showing how idiotic is baraminology.

    • Lynn A. (Ottawa)
      Posted January 1, 2014 at 7:37 am | Permalink

      I agree, a rather good comment on magical thinking.

    • gbjames
      Posted January 1, 2014 at 7:41 am | Permalink

      +1

    • Amelia Schuler
      Posted January 1, 2014 at 9:59 am | Permalink

      Love the Doctor Who reference, too. It’s absolutely brilliant! Why bother with baraminology when you’ve got the TARDIS? Everyone ought to know it’s bigger on the inside.

  14. Diana MacPherson
    Posted January 1, 2014 at 8:01 am | Permalink

    I love this picture! I will save it for future LOLz!

  15. Posted January 1, 2014 at 8:34 am | Permalink

    I think we should be supportive of baraminology. The baraminologists have used phylogeny methods to reduce greatly the number of species needed on the Ark.

    So we should encourage them to keep studying the matter. Following the evidence would lead them to reduce the number further. Ultimately the Ark would depart with one species aboard.

    They have also accepted that rather large evolutionary changes occurred, at a very high rate. In their view, animals have changed much faster, post-Flood, than evolutionary biologists think. I must have missed the fierce controversy between non-baraminological old-earth creationists who think that animals can hardly change at all, and baraminologists, who think that they change at breathtaking speed. At least, post-Flood.

    • gbjames
      Posted January 1, 2014 at 8:44 am | Permalink

      Good luck with that. Both of them include the same process, they just insert it at different points in the story…

      “And then a miracle occurred.”

    • Steve
      Posted January 1, 2014 at 10:03 am | Permalink

      The time window for evidence-based support has lapsed. A search for journal citations using the keyword “baramin” suggests “baraminologists” publish their misapprehensions primarily in the “Journal of Creation.”

  16. Charles Jones
    Posted January 1, 2014 at 9:04 am | Permalink

    Where did this image come from? My daughter wants to get a copy for her room! Is a high-resolution version available?

    • Grania Spingies
      Posted January 1, 2014 at 9:22 am | Permalink

      This is the biggest I can find

      • Charles Jones
        Posted January 1, 2014 at 9:55 am | Permalink

        Thanks a lot! I tried several Google searches, so I’m very happy you found a large file.

  17. SLPage
    Posted January 1, 2014 at 9:18 am | Permalink

    Interesting names on the Baraminology ’99 schedule. D. Ashley Robinson in particular. It was around ’99 that I encountered Robinson on AOL, after I had read his Primate baraminology paper (where characters like type of dwelling, population density, and rate of monogamous pair bonding were used when DNA data did not give them what they wanted). His results were very different from mine (I had just finished my dissertation on primate phylogeny that year) and I IM’d him asking for his data (which his paper indicated was available upon request). At first, he pretended not to know what I was talking about. When I convinced him that I knew who he was (he had, after all, provided his AOL email address in his paper), he told me something astonishing – that he did not think the data was available any more.
    Such is YEC ‘science.’

    • gbjames
      Posted January 1, 2014 at 9:33 am | Permalink

      The data was, no doubt, carried away in the flood.

  18. ROO BOOKAROO
    Posted January 1, 2014 at 9:59 am | Permalink

    The lovely image is “NOAH’S ARK ON MOUNT ARARAT” by SIMON DE MYLE. Notice that the animals are disembarking from the boat, after the Flood, and the ark has stopped on Mount Ararat.
    This is a large painting, 44⅞ ” × 56 ” (114 × 142 cm).
    Privately sold by Sotheby’s in 2011 to a UK collector. The photo was produced by Sotheby’s.

    A good reproduction is at http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Noah's_Ark_on_Mount_Ararat_by_Simon_de_Myle.jpg

    It is signed “Simone de Myle inventor et fecit 1570” on the footbridge of the boat.
    According to the Sotheby’s expert, this is the only known painting signed by this painter. Nothing else is known of his work or his life. His obsessively detailed style betrays a Flemish origin. Exotic birds were painted after the descriptions from explorers available at the time.

    • Latverian Diplomat
      Posted January 2, 2014 at 7:29 am | Permalink

      I see in the foreground that predation has already started, is that supposed to be a unicorn being eaten right off the boat?

  19. Posted January 1, 2014 at 10:14 am | Permalink

    sub

  20. Bob Murray
    Posted January 1, 2014 at 11:13 am | Permalink

    Jerry “Matchbox” Falwell – Nice!

    • gravelinspector-Aidan
      Posted January 1, 2014 at 2:06 pm | Permalink

      Jerry “Matchbox” Falwell

      I was wondering what that referred to. from Wikipedia : “Hitchens made the comment that “If he had been given an enema, he could have been buried in a matchbox”.
      Would he have been good for the rhubarb?

  21. colnago80
    Posted January 1, 2014 at 11:36 am | Permalink

    Gee, where are the dinosaurs in the picture?

    • Suri
      Posted January 1, 2014 at 1:07 pm | Permalink

      There are a dragons though. (Top, left)

      • JohnnieCanuck
        Posted January 1, 2014 at 10:45 pm | Permalink

        Thought those were just some flying d_gs.

  22. Timothy Hughbanks
    Posted January 1, 2014 at 3:08 pm | Permalink

    Now all they have to do is work out how 40 days of rain – presumably flooding everything below the tree-line everywhere – could have been withstood by a measly wooden ark. It would have to rain, what, more than a meter an hour? …and the water came from where and it receded to where? The colossal stupidity of anyone who believes the in the Flood is breathtaking.

    That there are grown up people trying to rescue a fairy tale like the story of Noah’s ark from total obscurity is in and of itself evidence of the perniciousness of religion.

    • JohnnieCanuck
      Posted January 1, 2014 at 11:32 pm | Permalink

      It has been calculated how the potential energy of the heavenly water would have been converted into kinetic energy and then into heat.

      Noah’s pooch would have been poached, barring the ever necessary miracle.

      Kent Hovind once suggested it could have been an icy comet that delivered all the water. He didn’t notice that likewise, without a miracle his scenario would result in Steam Bath Earth.

      ref. talkorigins.org

  23. marcusa1971
    Posted January 1, 2014 at 11:18 pm | Permalink

    ‘Jerry “Matchbox’ Falwell.” Love it! I wonder if you can get the Hitchens quote on a T-shirt?

    • gbjames
      Posted January 2, 2014 at 5:23 am | Permalink

      You can get most anything on a Tee Shirt here by with your own design.

  24. Jim H
    Posted January 2, 2014 at 12:51 am | Permalink

    I must say, nobody seems to have pondered the fecal burden that would have accumulated over 40 days and 40 nights. The whole thing stunk to high heaven and probably was swamped around day 30. No one survived. The End.

    • infiniteimprobabilit
      Posted January 2, 2014 at 2:16 am | Permalink

      Nah, they just shoveled it overboard. Easy.

    • Diana MacPherson
      Posted January 2, 2014 at 12:02 pm | Permalink

      Love the phrase “fecal burden”.

      • Jim Knight
        Posted January 2, 2014 at 12:08 pm | Permalink

        Actually, Bill Cosby addressed this very issue in his classic “Noah” routine, when he asked God to look in the bottom of the Ark. “Who is going to clean up that mess down there?”

  25. johnnyb61820
    Posted January 2, 2014 at 8:59 am | Permalink

    Jerry –

    Baraminology is one of the few aspects of Creation Science to have been taken seriously at all by mainstream journals. And, honestly, if someone was a creation scientist, why wouldn’t you think that discovering the boundaries of the original created kinds was an important part of the task of creation science? It seems rather obvious to me.

    http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1420-9101.2010.02039.x/abstract

    http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1420-9101.2011.02349.x/abstract

    • Posted January 2, 2014 at 10:12 am | Permalink

      “Taken seriously” only in the sense that real scientists have shown in a real Journal that the poker-faced application of baraminology leads to results incompatible with creationism, baraminological or otherwise.

  26. Posted January 2, 2014 at 10:43 am | Permalink

    I just cannot understand how anyone above the age of 7 years can believe in this ridiculous story. I remember believing it at Sunday School but not long afterwards thinking it was ridiculous. The story is a legend handed down from the time the Mediterranean flooded into the Black Sea and Caspian area for the first time – probably about 2700 years ago. The flood was local to that area and not worldwide. Noah would have needed to take a specimen of every type of plant too – because they would also perish if
    covered with water for a year!!

  27. Chukar
    Posted January 2, 2014 at 5:54 pm | Permalink

    Wow! That is so obvious a solution I don’t know why anyone didn’t see it before.

    Not only did the Tardis* give Noah all the space he’d need to pack in the critters, it would also give him all the time needed to do the job. The Tardis is not only larger inside that outside, it lasts far longer.

    *Tardis = Time And Relative Dimensions In Space

    This leaves the question: Did Noah have his own Tardis, was The Doctor visiting him and let him borrow it, was Noah actually a Time Lord, OR (the plot thickens) was Noah in fact (gasp!) The Doctor himself?


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