The Instigator
Torvald
Pro (for)
Winning
7 Points
The Contender
dewboy21
Con (against)
Losing
0 Points

Noah's Ark, as described by the Bible, is preposterous

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 1 vote the winner is...
Torvald
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 6/23/2013 Category: Religion
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 3,994 times Debate No: 35015
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (11)
Votes (1)

 

Torvald

Pro

The story of Noah's Ark, as described by the Bible, is, in my position, a strong case against the reliability of the Bible. It is scientifically and logistically ludicrous.

Base assumptions for the debate:
1. The events of the story of Noah's Ark are described accurately by the Bible.
2. The Bible functions as a whole, therefore, if one component is unreliable, the whole is unreliable.

The Con's role in this debate will be to defend the story of Noah's Ark, and the reliability of the Bible in connection with it.
dewboy21

Con

The idea of a flood-like event occurring at some time in our early history is included in many religious texts. Unless the idea of a flood happening at some point in time is naturally ingrained in humanity something must have happened to make these civilizations put this down in their holy scriptures. These civiliztions are also spread out to many regions of the planet, implying that this was a world-wide event.

http://www.academia.edu...
Debate Round No. 1
Torvald

Pro

I'd like to thank the Con for accepting my challenge, and hope for a pleasant and enjoyable debate.

I will start by comparing your argument to what is given in your source. You state "These civiliztions are also spread out to many regions of the planet, implying that this was a world-wide event." In your source, in a very lengthy manner, it describes the events of a disastrous flood like the one in the story of Noah as having been recorded only in the mythology local to Asia, and almost entirely isolated to the Middle East. The source, a brief essay by a fairly unreviewed student, states
Many cultures have some form of flood myth as part of their religious beliefs,but some of the most ancient of these are those of Mesopotamia and other earlyMiddle Eastern civilizations, as well as certain Asian groups. It is possible thatthese myths have been passed down from their oldest form to the cultures of othergroups such as those of the Chinese Miao. It could also be that the flood myths ofeach culture are actually based on a real catastrophic event that occurred at somepoint far in the past history of the world and each culture has passed the tale of thisflood incident down through the generations. (1)
(You'll have to pardon the formatting; the local format from which I copy-pasted it was incompatible with that of DDO.) I see a suggestion, here, that it is remotely possible that these myths could have some root in truth, but no assertion so bold as yours that some kind of global catastrophe had to happen to cause these myths to spread.

Allow me to use an example that I think will dispel any doubt as to how two different cultures, such as Babylonia and Israel, might both have a flood myth. Are you familiar with a game called 'telephone'? It is a lot of fun at parties, when you need to occupy a large number of children (an impeccable analogy, that), for auto trips, and various other instances. In telephone, one person comes up with something, often either a very practical notion, or the opposite end of the spectrum, and utterly ridiculous notion, and then whispers it to the next in line, who whispers it to the next in line and so forth. The fun in the game is that by the end, the message is usually very humorously garbled, but still, a version of the message is instilled in each player. Now, imagine a bunch of small, relatively uneducated countries with poor channels of communication except through completely uneducated nomads, in a similar scenario. One country invents a myth of a great flood (I believe the earliest recording of such a myth was in one of the earliest known works of literature, the Epic of Gilgamesh), and through time and poor communications, the myth bleeds to other cultures nearby, which then transmit their own interpretation to others. What starts as a seven-day flood in Sumeria that forces King Gilgamesh to build an ark reaches Israel as a forty-day flood that, with a lot of help from Yahweh, forces Noah, the only righteous man in the world, to build an ark for himself and at least two of every animal that could not swim or fly. You may notice some subtle exaggeration. It is, however, remarkably like the game of telephone.

Now that I have analyzed your source and your argument, I will make a few ones of my own, dealing with the logistics and continuity of the myth. From my sources, I have learned that Noah's Ark was supposedly about 135 m by 22.5 m by 13.5 m (2). That's about half the size of the QE2, a luxury liner (3). Now, Noah's Ark was supposed to hold at least two of every single species present today, as well as approximately 70 species that are now extinct. Estimates put those numbers at over 3 million animal species, perhaps as many as 30 million (4). Because there would have been at least two of each, this would mean that in a 135 by 22.5 by 13.5 boat, Noah would have had to fit between 6 and 60 million animals. Even if most of those were small, larger animals alone would make that an inconvenience. Imagine the large wildlife from your continent alone, two of each, crammed into such a small boat, and then multiply the number of animals by about six. That's large animals only. It is highly implausible that Noah could have fit numbers like that, let alone food (one adult elephant alone may consume about 300 kilograms of food per day; for two elephants and forty days, that's 24000 kilograms of food just for elephants (5)). This also brings up the issue of water since, as this was a flood, supposedly incorporated with the oceans, all the water surrounding the ark would have been salt water, undrinkable by anything aboard the ark, meaning Noah would have had to have also packed his own water, since distillation hadn't been invented yet. Furthermore, freshwater fish would have all died, unable to survive in the salt water covering the planet. This notion would suggest that somehow freshwater fish evolved in the few thousand years since Noah's alleged flood, a notion I think most would reject.

Another gaping hole in the story of Noah's Ark is plants. The world was supposedly totally submerged. Unless Noah took seeds or cuttings of every single plant species currently in existence, there would be no plants whatsoever, since to my knowledge there are no terrestrial plants that can survive forty days submerged in water, salt or fresh. This would have eliminated the vast majority of oxygen production on Earth, wiping out all animal life except saltwater fish. Since there is obviously more life on Earth than saltwater fish, it is preposterous to suggest that this could have happened, yet it would had to have in order for the story to make sense.

One final logistics issue with Noah's Ark is the issue of the water for the flood. The story tells of a deluge from the heavens that covered the earth, including the highest peak. There is roughly 1,260,000,000,000,000,000,000 liters of water on Earth (6). Ignoring the approximately three percent in the atmosphere, most of this water is on the crust, mainly in the oceans. With only about 3% in the atmosphere, there would never be enough water on the planet to cause such a monumental flood. If all the water in the atmosphere were to be suddenly released onto the crust it would increase sea level by only a few meters. Noah would have been in a boat full of vicious predators, without even the dignity of actually being in a boat on water.

I will bring up one last point as of now, that of morality. If I understand the story correctly, God grew tired of his creation and decided he was going to kill everything on Earth. Noah persuaded him to spare some of Earth, so God killed every human except Noah and his family. Also, despite not having anything against the millions or billions of animals of Earth, God supposedly killed all but two of each of them as well. Somehow, through all of this, we still receive the picture of God as a paragon of morality. I cannot speak for all, but the concept that God could create the perfect human race by committing an act of genocide against those that did not match up to his standard of the 'ideal human' sounds exactly like Adolph Hitler. Perhaps morality is not an issue as to whether or not Noah's Ark occurred, but it does seem to cast more reasonable doubt on the Bible's character.

That somewhat-larger than intended spiel will likely constitute the majority of my arguments this debate. I await Con's response.

Sources
  1. http://academia.edu...
  2. http://www.creationtips.com...
  3. http://www.rmg.co.uk...
  4. http://animals.about.com...
  5. http://www.elephant.se...
  6. http://science.howstuffworks.com...
dewboy21

Con

dewboy21 forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 2
Torvald

Pro

You know, I don't really enjoy forfeiture. The win by default. See, now I'll never get to do something with that enormous thing I wrote. Well, while we're here I might as well provide something entertaining. Here are some other things I hate:

http://images.lazygamer.net...

http://www.lolbrary.com...

http://data.whicdn.com...

http://25.media.tumblr.com...

http://d24w6bsrhbeh9d.cloudfront.net...

http://26.media.tumblr.com...

http://cdn.lolhappens.com...
dewboy21

Con

dewboy21 forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3
Torvald

Pro

Since it would seem that this debate is over, I'll just say...well, something. This new version of the site bugs me. Not that it's not nice, but it's going to take ages of getting used-to. And I have like 500 notifications. I liked the site in its simplicity, before this change. Ah well, must make way for progress. Wonder if I should reinstate this debate, to see if I can get a legitimate one out of it.
dewboy21

Con

dewboy21 forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 4
Torvald

Pro

Would it be funny or frustrating if Dewboy were to return for the last round?
dewboy21

Con

dewboy21 forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 5
11 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by Torvald 3 years ago
Torvald
I would be willing to debate the topic with you, Muted. At this point, however, I'm not available, as my schedule is quite erratic.
Posted by Muted 3 years ago
Muted
I'd like to debate this topic after we do our Big Bang debate. It certainly has great potential, and I like the way Pro began the debate.
Posted by Torvald 3 years ago
Torvald
Yes, the problem with inexperienced users is that, in my experience, they accept difficult debates, and then forfeit when it hits them that they're going to fail.
Posted by THE_OPINIONATOR 3 years ago
THE_OPINIONATOR
*sees interesting debate to read* Oh this looks good! Oh wait one side has forfit crap ._.
Posted by Torvald 3 years ago
Torvald
God dammit, dewboy's gonna forfeit, isn't he.
Posted by Torvald 3 years ago
Torvald
So he is, and feeling rather like Captain America.
Posted by RyuuKyuzo 3 years ago
RyuuKyuzo
Torvald is back! Yeeeeeeeah =3
Posted by Torvald 3 years ago
Torvald
4711: You are sort of correct, and also sort of in line with my opinion, but that is of course not the topic of the debate. I am debating religion by attacking one single error in one single doctrine of one single religion. It would be very difficult to competently support and accusation that all religions are preposterous, especially within the constraints of this website.
Posted by Torvald 3 years ago
Torvald
Darth Pious: there is a substantial difference between you and a religious doctrine. As far as I know, you are not a compilation of ancient precursory law and local mythology that has been engineered to control large groups of people through covert, federalized totalitarian leadership. You do not dictate in an unfortunately legitimately authoritative fashion how people are to live. You do not, to my knowledge, stunt and truncate the potential of those who might have been great thinkers, artisans, explorers, statesmen, humanitarians, etc. by giving them the life goal of dying so as to get to a better 'life-after-life.' You are a much more intricate and flexible item than a book like the Bible. The Bible purports absolute relevance, absolute authority, absolute morality, absolute realism, and absolute nearly half of the English philosophical nouns that I know. In such a rigid object, if one component fails to live up to the standards that the very object establishes, all of it does. This is not unlike some great architectural structures: they seem grand, like towering triumphs, but if one small part fails, the entire structure collapses. (Your example is not so relevant even in your own logic, since if you lie about one thing, it can be presumed that you can lie about others, and you become... Le gar"on qui criait au loup... The boy who cried wolf, no?)
Posted by 4711 3 years ago
4711
You know what's preposterous? Religion. Religion is a false perception, it's a book that relys on "faith" for answers. There is no evidence leading to the existence of god, there never will be.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by Muted 3 years ago
Muted
Torvalddewboy21Tied
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
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Who had better conduct:Vote Checkmark--1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:Vote Checkmark--1 point
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Total points awarded:70 
Reasons for voting decision: The notifications on this site refuses to go away unless I delete them manually, which is frustrating. A disgracefully full forfeit by Con leads to all seven points being awarded to the great Gandalf.