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The Story of Noah's Ark Cannot Reasonably be Accepted as True

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 11/23/2012 Category: Religion
Updated: 5 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 3,135 times Debate No: 27452
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (22)
Votes (2)




According to a recent Gallop poll, some 46% of Americans believe in creationism.

This is a terrifying statistic, which if true, requires that 46% of Americans are also likely to believe that the story of Noah's Ark must be literally true. With a consumer base this large, a Kentucky theme park had been planned to consume some $40 million dollars in taxpayer money, with Noah's Ark as it's prime focus. [1] The makers of the Creationist park had hoped to lend credence to the biblical account of the flood, in part by constructing a full scale replica of the famous boat.

Hence this debate, which I will use as a means of examining creationism.

In this debate, I will attempt to describe good reasons why a reasonable, sane adult - upon first learning of the story of Noah's Ark - would not be likely to believe that it is a true and accurate account of historic events. Con will need to demonstrate how the Noah's Ark story does represent an accurate account of history.

I am normally quite relaxed about rules. I do ask that we not resort to semantics. I also ask that we reserve the final round for summaries of our best arguments. Any other rules can be negotiated in the comments section. I will, of course honor any agreements made there.



I'll accept this argument and attempt to put some sense in your closed minded brain.
Debate Round No. 1


Many thanks to my partner, for agreeing to this contest. I would hope, however, that my mind remains closed. Preventing an open mind is why I wear a motorcycle helmet.

I will begin by restating that my task will be to demonstrate that a reasonable, sane adult is unlikely to believe that Noah’s Ark is an accurate account of real historic events – as it is written in the creation story that appears in the bible. It will be the task of my partner to prove that it really happened.

I note that there are many suppositions (which I see no need to describe in detail right now), that there may have been a massive regional flood that might have occurred in about the same region from which the Old Testament was compiled. It may be reasoned that a memory of this cataclysm might have inspired the tales of a great flood – including the famous two that appear in the bible. This will not do. As an atheist, I regard the bible as very much ‘non-literal.’ Those who ‘believe’ in the truth of the bible do not have this luxury. Arguing that portions of the bible are ‘non-literal’ is tantamount to arguing that they are ‘not true.’ This is the very definition of atheism.

Here are a few elements of the story:

  1. Date: According Irish archbishop James Ussher, Flavius Josephus, and other biblical scholars, we can range the date in which the flood occurred from 2500 BC and 2300 BC. [1] The Egyptian Fourth Dynasty ended, and the Fifth Dynasty began, c. 2494.
  2. The flood killed all life on earth, excluding the Ark: (Gen. 6:13) “And God said unto Noah, The end of all flesh is come before me” (Gen. 6:17) “ I, do bring a flood of waters upon the earth, to destroy all flesh, wherein is the breath of life, from under heaven; and every thing that is in the earth shall die.(Gen 7:4) every living substance that I have made will I destroy from off the face of the earth. Gen 7:21 And all flesh died that moved upon the earth…. 7:23 And every living substance was destroyed which was upon the face of the ground, both man, and cattle, and the creeping things, and the fowl of the heaven; and they were destroyed from the earth: and Noah only remained alive..."
  3. All life on earth was stored inside the Ark along with all the food they would need: (Gen. 6:19) “And of every living thing of all flesh, two of every sort shalt thou bring into the ark, to keep them alive with thee; they shall be male and female. (Gen. 6:20) Of fowls after their kind, and of cattle after their kind, of every creeping thing of the earth after his kind, two of every sort shall come unto thee, to keep them alive.”
  4. The Size of the Ark: The biblical description reads, (Gen. 6:15) “The length of the ark shall be three hundred cubits, the breadth of it fifty cubits, and the height of it thirty cubits.” The book of Ezekiel describes a “cubit” as being about 10 ½’ long. This would make the Ark about 3150 feet long. The Ark was also made of “gopher wood,” and it had no metal nails, bolts or iron support beams. There is no shipbuilder alive who would launch such a vessel; it would fall apart instantly.
  5. Noah’s family made up the entirety of the human race following the flood: (Gen. 6:18) “But with thee will I establish my covenant; and thou shalt come into the ark, thou, and thy sons, and thy wife, and thy sons' wives with thee. 7:7 And Noah went in, and his sons, and his wife, and his sons' wives with him, into the ark…”
  6. Noah was 600 years old: 7:6 “And Noah was six hundred years old when the flood of waters was upon the earth.
  7. Sea Levels Rose to Cover the “High Hills” and Mountains: (Gen 7:19) And the waters prevailed exceedingly upon the earth; and all the high hills, that were under the whole heaven, were covered. 7:20 Fifteen cubits upward did the waters prevail; and the mountains were covered.
  8. The flood lasted 150 days: 7:24 And the waters prevailed upon the earth an hundred and fifty days.

These descriptions of the creation story raise many questions for Creationists. I will present a few of them here. To guard against accusations of “Gish Galloping,” I will only ask that six of them be answered in the next round. I have marked these six with an asterisk.

1. Incest questions: * Did Noah’s grandsons have incestuous relationships with his granddaughters? Was there a sufficient breeding population for humans and animals?

2. Incomplete Food Chain: * What did the predators eat after they left the Ark? Carnivorous predators require an uneven ratio of meat-eating to plant-eating animals: lions would need to eat faster than the two (or seven) gazelles could reproduce. What did they eat when they were returned to the wild? What about the other 250 species of land predators? How did the marine animals eat without a complete food chain? Why didn’t the Venus fly trap kill the only two flies that existed after the flood?

3. Marine Life and sea levels: * If the flood was freshwater, it would have killed all the oceanic life that depends on very delicate levels of saltwater salinity. If the flood water was salty, it would have killed all of the freshwater species. How did Noah catch, store and feed the two blue whales? How could he have fed them plankton – when only two of these tiny “life substances” existed? If sea levels rose to cover the “high hills” and mountains, then where did the water go after only 150 days?

4. Deep Sea/Surface Level Creatures: How did the rise in sea levels impact those sea creatures that depend on very specific depths and pressures for their habitat?

5. Male and Female?: * How did Noah bring animals into the Ark by male and female – when so many species are hermaphroditic (such as earthworms) or female only? [2]

6. Microscopic life: How did Noah protect bacteria and other microscopic organisms?

7. Did Noah exterminate the Animals that God had ordered to be saved?: * (Gen. 8:20) “And Noah builded an altar unto the LORD; and took of every clean beast, and of every clean fowl, and offered burnt offerings on the altar.” Why didn’t this cause the extinction of “every clean beast” and fowl?

8. Time Frame Logistics: How much time does the creation story say that Noah had to load and unload all the animals into and out of the Ark. Compared to how long it might take to load/unload passengers in air travel, does the bible give a reasonable amount of time to accomplish this?

9. Lack of Worldwide Records: * Why didn’t the Fifth Dynasty Egyptians (who left written records and histories) make note of the fact that they were all killed? If it is argued that the flood did not occur during this stage of Egyptian history, then why did no other civilization notice that their entire civilization was wiped out? If it is argued that the flood occurred during prehistory, then why is the bible wrong?

10. Inconsistencies: There are contradictory statements regarding the numbers of each type of animal brought into the Ark, how long the Ark was used, and when Noah loaded and entered the Ark. How can these variations be reconciled?

As I ask these questions, I am struck by how aggressive they seem - it feels almost disrespectful to present them. And yet, this is the actual, clear wording of the creation story that we are being told should be taught in American schools. Creationists would have us "teach the debate, and present both sides" in science classrooms. If this is a serious suggestion, then questions such as these will need to be answered eventually.

My argument in support of my statement that this legend should be considered a "non-literal," or fictional account is prima facie: reasonable, sane and rational adults do not believe these things - removed from the arena of religion. Included in religion, most adults will simply dismiss them as the atheists do - as "not literal."

[1] Dating:

[2] Female-Only spider mites:



Thank you for your timely argument to this debate, let's get started shall we?

1) I would like your permission to add a rule to this debate: For Grammar and Spelling to not be counted against you if done wrong scarcely for this is a debate of high intellect.

2) Now on the actual debate. I would like to counter you point about a cubit being 10.5 feet. I have a source saying that the cubit was actually 10 inches. That would make the ark about 3000 inches. []. That would make the ark 250 feet, not 3000 feet. A fairly simple ship to hold together.

3) Your question "Did Noah"s grandsons have incestuous relationships with his granddaughters? Was there a sufficient breeding population for humans and animals?" can only be partially answered. Whether or not if Noah's grandsons had incestuous relationships with his granddaughters cannot be answered, but even then, I fail to see the importance of this question. I can answer however the second part. Yes, there was a sufficient breeding population of humans and animals before the great flood.

4) Answering your second question, if people or animals try hard enough they can do anything. And yes, even eating gazelles right when they leave the ark. []. As for the reproduction, keep in mind that there are only 2-6 carnivorous species. Tigers and Lions being 2 of them. But for the rest? There are millions of other plant eaters that can reproduce. So answering your question, yes, the lions and the tigers will get enough food to eat.

5) Next, you say that "If the flood was freshwater, it would have killed all the oceanic life that depends on very delicate levels of saltwater salinity. If the flood water was salty, it would have killed all of the freshwater species. How did Noah catch, store and feed the two blue whales?" This is a question that require some thinking on my part, but it is not impossible to answer. In the "high hills" it is very possible that it split the fresh water from the salt water, therefore solving that problem. As for the plankton, you are looking to deep into the story. The story clearly states all "flesh" species will be saved, plankton do not have flesh. Also it is possible Noah carried some aboard. As of now you have no evidence saying that he did not do that.

6) As for your Male or Female question. You are looking to deep into the story. The answer to this question is on the surface. The whole point God asked Noah to put a male and a female of each species into the ark was so that they could reproduce later. If worms or other species only have one sex but they can asexually reproduce then that is the answer to your question.

7) Answering your alter point. God told Noah to put 1 pair of "UNCLEAN" animals on his ark. BUT he told Noah to bring SEVEN pair of "clean" animals. So sacrificing 1 clean animal would not cause extinction of that race. [].

8) You argued "Why didn"t the Fifth Dynasty Egyptians (who left written records and histories) make note of the fact that they were all killed? If it is argued that the flood did not occur during this stage of Egyptian history, then why did no other civilization notice that their entire civilization was wiped out? If it is argued that the flood occurred during prehistory, then why is the bible wrong?" The people would not write down that they were being killed because Noah was the only PERSON on that ark. All other people after the Great Flood are descendants of Noah. As for before the flood hit, no one would believe that God would send a Great Flood that would kill them. It came so suddenly that the people did not have a chance to write down records.
Debate Round No. 2


Many thanks to my partner, for the last presentation.

I do not see, nestled among all of the rebuttals, any compelling evidence that would support the claim that the story of Noah’s Ark is literal, actual historical fact. Without this evidence, I am left with little to rebut during this round, and may instead focus on expanding and defending my premise. (My premise: that a rational and sane adult, who has never heard the Noah’s Ark tale should be expected to think that it is a fantasy.) There is very little that has been presented that would require a Hindu, Sheik or atheist to admit the truth of Noah’s Ark, and much that would require disbelief.

In order to move quickly, I will make my argument by presenting questions that I think must come up as next generation students learn this “history” in science class.

Questions that Students in Creation Science Class Should Ask About the Flood:

Q: How deep was the flood? The bible clearly states that the flood covered the entire surface of the earth, and specifically states that the waters covered even the high mountains. The highest mountain is Mount Everest, which rises about 36,000 feet above sea level. Therefore, the bible states that the flood must have been at least 36,000 feet deep.

Q: Parasites There are hundreds of species of very dangerous parasites, many of which may kill their hosts. How were these animals brought into the Ark as god commanded (in pairs of two, or seven)? If Noah disobeyed god, please explain why he did so. Did Noah and his family have genital lice, scabies, tapeworms, lung flukes, Guinea worms, head lice, and dysentery?

Q: Colonizing Insects It is impossible to simply pick up two (or seven) ants, and set them on the ground hundreds of miles from their colonies – and expect them to survive. This is because these animals require “divisions of labor,” with some specializing in food gathering, burrowing, habitat defense, reproduction, care for larvae, etc. In order to bring in enough ants, bees, termites, and other colony-forming species, Noah must have violated god’s clear command to bring them into the Ark in male/female pairs, or in groups of seven.

Q: Symbiotic Partnerships Many flowering and fruiting plants cannot survive without a high level of dependence on healthy populations of certain animals. For example, many plants require animals for seed distribution, pollination, and pest control. How did these plants survive – with all of the animals that they depend on for survival on Mount Ararat? How did the Venus Fly Trap species find and share the two flies?

Q: Salt Water / Freshwater Animals As any owner of a saltwater aquarium will quickly tell you, saltwater fish require very precise levels of dissolved minerals in their water. If this salinity drops or rises even a small amount, the entire aquarium full of expensive fish will die almost instantly. The floodwater was said to cover the “high mountains” which means about 36,000 feet of additional water depth was added to the salty sea water. If this water was saltwater, how did it not kill all of the freshwater fish? If it was freshwater, how did it not kill all ocean life? Could Noah have fit two or seven 90 foot long blue whales into the Ark, fed them and disposed of all of their waste? Is it likely that they would have fit into a boat that was only 300 feet long? Sharks must keep swimming, or they will suffocate. This requires them to have massive tanks to maintain these animals in captivity. How did Noah keep the massive whale sharks alive on a boat that was only 300 feet long?

Q: Altitude Humans cannot survive at the summit of Mount Everest without modern equipment, such as respirators, winter wear, and medications. Neither can salamanders. The bible clearly claims that the flood covered even Mount Everest… how did coral reefs, which were now at crushing depths of water, survive? How did tropical tree frogs survive at the freezing altitudes of Mount Everest? How did all the creatures in the Ark breathe at 30,000 feet without respirators?

Q: Water The story tells of a planet earth that was essentially a water-world, with a small rocky core at its center. There was a watery surface about 36,000 feet deep. After about 150 days, or a year, all of this water had disappeared. Where did it go? The water level on earth would have been higher than most clouds, and cloud not have evaporated into them. The oceans were underneath about 30,000 feet of additional ocean, and so the water could not have “flowed into the sea.” It also could not have frozen, because the upper portions of the water would have extended into the freezing upper atmosphere – and formed a frozen “ground,” making evaporation impossible.

Q: Plant Life If Noah did not bring all ocean life into the Ark, the floodwaters would have crushed or poisoned them all to death. However, this is also true of all plant life. If Noah did not bring redwood trees into the Ark, they would have been destroyed by the crushing weight of 30,000 feet of floodwater, starved out by the black sea-bottom that California would have become. The same is true for Bermuda grass and sunflowers. How did the plants survive at the bottom of the 36,000 foot deep new ocean?

Q: Dinosaurs The bible is clear in its timeline from creation to the flood – and it is unreasonable to assume that it might be wrong by hundreds of millions of years and still be accurate. It stands to reason, therefore, that Noah might have included dinosaurs on the Ark. This is so silly that I cannot even bring myself to seriously raise the subject.

II Rebuttals and Criticisms Section

I feel that my new arguments have addressed almost all of the challenges raised in the last presentation. By way of criticism, I note the near total absence of any solid evidence that this story is true, and the many grammar and spelling errors.

With that, there are a number of topics that I wish to address:

Breeding/Eating It is clear that the story does not describe a situation where predatory animals, such as foxes, hawks, squid, anteaters, dogs and hyenas would have had a large enough hunting population to sustain them. It is also clear that a single family can breed within itself at a high enough rate to account for the millions of humans that we know to have existed during this time period.

Male/Female It may be the case that Noah had good reasons to violate god’s will, and bring varying numbers of hermaphroditic species and female-only species into the Ark. But, why would Noah disobey god?

Flesh Species Only? It is not relevant that Noah was not commanded to bring these “non flesh” creatures into the Ark – what is relevant is that they must have all been destroyed if the story is true. Like the giant squid, which cannot survive wide ranges of saline fluctuations in its habitat, or the sunflowers that cannot survive for a year with no sunlight at the bottom of the sea, there is no way that these creatures could have survived the flood.

Civilizational Records: I argue, facetiously, that the flood failed to “make headlines” in the world wide press at the time. We know that the civilizations of Ur and Sumaria, as well as Egypt all existed prior to the flood. That these civilizations left written records that do not mention widespread destruction, while requires that we recording mundane matters such as taxation and royal edicts, is sufficient to prove that the flood did not happen.

Therefore, my argument, as of this round remains:

There are obvious reasons why we atheists should not believe that the flood happened. Members of other religions, that do not include the Noah’s Ark story, are also reasonable in concluding that it did not happen as it was described in the bible. This tale may have sounded reasonable to an Iron Age nomadic tribe with no modern understanding of zoology, cosmology, meteorology, marine biology and other scientific concepts. But modern science has few compelling reasons to accept it as literally true any longer.



dlu2012 forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3


I extend and conclude.

In closing, I would like to relate a few personal details. I work as a Field Clerk for a pipeline construction project, an occupation that pays me very well. Despite the compensation, there are long stretches of time within which I am often forced to unceremoniously sleep in a cramped and cold trailer with a dozen other men - far out in some godforsaken Wyoming wasteland.

Rather than suffer this indignity, I have converted a Jeep SUV into a very comfortable RV/sleeper. This affords me the field luxury of privacy and mobility, but with the sacrifice of space. Much of this contest was written slowly on an iPhone (like now),emailed and then transferred to a laptop, and then finally to this site. This process has led to unforgivable formatting errors, and other inelegances that have combined - to convince me that this debate should be re-prosecuted.

I apologize to the judges who might have evaluated this contest, asking that these failures not be judged too unkindly. I will do the entire thing again, and soon.


i like pee pee and poo poo in my pants
Debate Round No. 4
22 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by DeFool 5 years ago
As my debate partner has impatiently noted, I managed to present my third round at nearly the last moment, with about ten hours to spare. This was unavoidable. Rest assured, I do want to come outside and play.

As for the fun commenting, this only requires a few seconds, and does not have to be done very well at all. Unlike the formal section, which requires proofing, formatting, and many other things besides. I had time for the one, but not the other. Now, I can do both once more. Of course, the comments were not the "reason" for my tardiness, I was late in presenting my second argument due to the hookers and drug use. I really must learn to better manage my time in this regard.

We will note the great improvement in formatting: I was able to correct the mistake I made in R2, by manually changing the font and font size - after using the insert tool. This should be remembered when posting from Word.
Posted by dlu2012 5 years ago
I think that DeFool should concentrate on the actual debate than the comments section. Right now I think he is spending more time on the comments than the debate. If he does not want to debate he can simply say so but don't not post a argument when you keep posting comments.

Posted by Muted 5 years ago
Well, he has a day more to post an argument. If the comment somehow gets "Drowned" by other comments, he wouldn't be able to reply.
Posted by dlu2012 5 years ago
Really DeFool? You have time to post a comment 1 hour ago but you can't put up an argument to round 2?
Posted by DeFool 5 years ago
I am enjoying Muted's comments as much as the debate itself, so don't feel unwelcome.

I am not sure if the incest argument will reappear. I don't think it will be useful to me; I worry that it is so insulting that I may offend some of our judges by pressing the matter too strongly. I had thought that it may help me set up an argument that would ask if it was reasonable to think that babies conceived under such circumstances would not suffer from serious birth defects. I deleted that section, due to space issues, so it was not obvious where I was going with the subject. It seems that the discussion will focus more on other issues now.
Posted by Muted 5 years ago
Question 5 was also bumbled bad. Let me answer. Species in the past were not as highly adapted as the present. It is like how some current island species would die out if we put them on the mainland. Species in the past, it is universally agreed, were much more capable of diversification.

Question 6: Con tries to argue from a weird point of view, he has part of the answer in his reply to the previous question. The correct answer should be that the mandate given to Noah does not include earthworms. Remember, it only includes those that "breath through nostrils" earthworms do not breath through nostrils.

Question 8: Con does not link to any revised chronology papers or whatever, which actually has quite a bit of support in academia. Under the revised chronology, V Dynasty does not occur until much later.

Question 4: Con does not seem to understand that a species is a "re-productively isolated population of organisms." He also does not make any point with baramin (also known as "kind") and current day species, which would have helped his case very much.

So I hope this will be food for thought for the debaters.

That DeFool has allowed Con to use these as possible answers is very generous of him.

I will note to Con that I have merely scrapped the surface here. If he wishes to use these, he must really do his research. I won't be doing it for him. Research in our day and age is no laborious task. It merely consists of typing a few key words into the internet search engines and getting an appropriate answer.

With this, I will stop shouting out from the crowd, figuratively. For now, at least. This will be great reading as I actually enjoy reading debates where the atheist outclasses the theist. It is entertaining, to say the least.
Posted by Muted 5 years ago
From a Christian worldview, lots of problems. If we do not take history into account, that is.
Posted by truthseeker613 5 years ago
I was thinking the same thing.

There cousins, whats the problem?
Posted by Muted 5 years ago
Yup, something can be done about the font. In the future arguments. Rich text.

DeFool, incest would not be wrong in that case, which would mean that there would be no object in asking that question any longer. Incest? So? Get what I mean?
Posted by truthseeker613 5 years ago
Can something be done about the font?
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Vote Placed by Muted 5 years ago
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