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The Noah's Ark story is a complete impossibility

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 11/26/2013 Category: Religion
Updated: 5 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 931 times Debate No: 41258
Debate Rounds (3)
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I assert that there is no way that the Biblical Noah's Ark story could have actually happened.

The Burden Proof for this debate will rest on me solely, and I will use the bible as a source for Ark dimensions. Genesis 6:15 says "This is how you are to build it: The ark is to be three hundred cubits long, fifty cubits wide and thirty cubits high." (1)
Where a cubit is defined as 1 cubit = 0.529 m(2)

First round is for acceptance.




So I will demonstrate that the Noah's Ark Story is not a matter of impossibility but at least a mater of historical possibility.
Cheers. This should be fun, while Pro has the burden of proof I will show to you that the Noah's Ark Story is at least possible.
Debate Round No. 1


Thanks to my opponent for accepting my challenge and I hope I can give you a good debate.

I think the first point to discuss is how much volume Noah's Ark actually was. According to Genesis the ark was 300 X 50 X 30 cubits = 450000 cubits^3. This translates to 158.7 X 26.45 X 15.87 = 66616.15 m^3 as 1 cubit = 0,529 m as I said in my opening statement. So I am sure my opponent will agree with me on this.

Next let us consider how many species of animals there are in the world, we have to consider all living animals as any animals that were not on the ark according to the story got destroyed. Lets assume that we only are taking land and air animals on to the Ark an also lets ignore fish at present. I don't want to ignore fish as salt water and fresh water fish are not going to survive in the mixture of fresh water that existed when the whole world was under water. However, I believe I can make the point regardless. So how many species of animals, if we just consider vertebrates and insects we get a total of 1,009,811. (1) But according to the story we need 2 of each kind of animal,so that brings the total to 2,019,622 animals total and then we have to add Noah's family, which brings us to 2,019,628.(2) By the way I am also ignoring the fact that for some animals we are meant to have seven pairs of clean animals, but I am not sure how we should define clean animals. However again, we don't need the extra numbers to show that this never happened.

So how much space did these animals have?
66616.15 m^3/2,019,628 = 0.03 m^3 or about 0.6 m by 0.6m by 0.6 m high.
So I guess you are thinking that's not so bad,which is true if you are a piglet. However, at this point this is pure space and we have not calculated the amount of space occupied by timber to construct the ark, air to breathe and food needed. Again lets forget about all the excrement removal and water needed.

Obviously these values are difficult to determine, but let me try. Let's assume we only need 5% of the space for timber, pitch and rope to construct the boat. That brings the space available to 63285.3m^3.

Next lets consider how much air each animal needs to breathe, again this is a difficult number to determine. However a human needs about 0.005 m^3 per breath of air.(3) So lets assume that of all the animals and insects need only 5 % of a humans lung capacity then the total air needed is 0.005m^3 X 0.05 X 2,019,628 = 504.9 m^3. This brings the available space to 62780.4 m^3.

Lastly lets consider the big problem of food. On average a human eats 1.6 kg of food per day.(4) So again lets assume all animals eat only 5% of what humans need and that its meat, as meat is dense and requires less space. (5) Then (1.6 kg X 0.05 X 2,019,628)/591.7 kg/m^3 = 273 m^3 of space per day. we also know the ark was afloat for 225 days (February 17th to October 1st plus a few more days which I wont count). So the space needed for food is 225 X 273 m^3 = 61425 m^3. Which brings the space available to the animals to 1359.4 m^3.

This means that each animal had 1359.4 m^3/2,019,628 = 0.00067 m3 space to move around in, or 0.087 m by 0.087 m by 0.087 m high.

Possible? I think not unless Noah was about one tenth as big as a rat.(6)

I eagerly await my opponents reply.



Possible:Capable of happening, existing, or being true without contradicting proven facts, laws, or circumstances.

Firstly before we delve into the circumstantial evidence I will show you why we cannot really trust anything.

Descartes' Doubt
Now lets take this to the highest level of skepticism, as found in Section IV of "A discourse on Method"-Rene Descartes.
Descartes proposes to us the following terrifying reduction:
1. Our perceptions of what is real depends on our senses and mind.
2. Our senses have the ability to be false and our mind has the ability of delusions.
3. If both one and two are true then there is no way for us to determine anything is true or false(let alone empirically evident), except for our own existence as for one to be able to think there must be something that is doing the thinking.
4. If three is true then our understandings of the universe and it's history could all be a fantasy, and since that possibility exists it is certainly logical that Noah's Ark is not only possible but an equally valid to any other historical claim.
If Con is to win he must show that there is reason to believe that there is objective truth and reality.

Circumstantial Evidence
Now as an indicator for if Noah's Ark actually happened there would need to be to be three things:
1.Evidence of flood/changes in sea level 7000 years ago.
2. The descendants of the survivors of this flood would have passed down stories of this great flood all over the world.
3. Evidence that human societies existed before 5000 BC.

All three of these requirements are satisfied.

1. We have recorded even after the passage of 7000 years recorded in excess of 600 great flood myths from Europe, Oceania, North America, Central America, Africa, Asia, and the Near East. You may read some here:
The fact of so many widespread flood traditions with no way of being in contact points to a historical great flood. Many include the gods smiting humanity, numerous even include the details of a select few number of people surviving via ship.

2. One the best known under water Archaeologists in the world, Robert Ballard, made a startling discovery of a great flood which took place some 7000 years ago in the black sea which he describes as follows:"At some magic moment, it broke through and flooded this place violently, and a lot of real estate, 150,000 square kilometers of land, went under."

At Yonagumi Japan, under a good of water, there lay a monument of stone with sharp, near 90 degree angles, which has survived the tides of the sea for numerous millenniums. Additionally Professor Masaaki Kimura, who has himself made, over 100 dives has discovered other locations in East China Sea which indicate the presence of an ancient culture dating back as far as 10,000 years. The structure itself has been underwater for some 6000+ years. This is a clue or at least points to the existence of man before the supposed flood and civilization lost under water.

These two examples should be sufficient to indicate the historicity of a Great Flood, however I will likely introduce more in later rounds. If Con finds evidence that humanity is not older then 7000 years, there is not indeed not a myriad of traditions around the world with great flood stories, nor is there any clue any other clue that a Great Flood has occurred in the past, then Con has eliminated the historical possibility of Noah's Ark.

I ask you remember that we are dealing with God whom caused a universal flood that covered the earth over.
While Genesis does specify he stores the food to later feed himself and "them." There is not a single passage that recounts Noah or his family ever feeding the animals. Here is why, how could 8 individuals feed all living creatures on such a massive ark? I do not reason it could be done. However I see no reason why God that created the heavens and the earth could not keep the animals in a sort of suspended animation which would not require food or oxygen. This is after all, the same God that sustained the Israelites on Manna alone. The many manners of food would have only needed to have been enough for Noah and his 7 co-passengers. If food and air are taken out of your equation there would certainly be enough room for Noah and the other survivors. This is especially true if the animals are of recent birth and are in there smallest possible form.

All of these conclusions and reasons, are really no more then Circumstantial given that the universe and history is purely subjective. However assuming an objective universe they are all the more reason to find Noah's Ark as possible.

I will now turn it back over to Con, thank you for making this debate, cheers!~Alex

Debate Round No. 2


Thanks to my opponent for an interesting debate. I would like to deal with facts first and then delve into the philosophy in my summing up comments.

I would like to point out that my opponent has not bothered to counter any of the evidence presented in my first argument. The only evidence presented is something along the line of God made it possible. I feel I can confidently say this as my opponent has pointed out that "There is not a single passage that recounts Noah or his family ever feeding the animals" as well as "I see no reason why God that created the heavens and the earth could not keep the animals in a sort of suspended animation which would not require food or oxygen". This is interesting as my opponent says the animals have to be in their smallest possible form after recent birth, however regardless that still means that the animals need only 0.03 m^3 space which is not the size of an adult Noah. Also how are these baby animals going to survive when they get released after the flood without parents to teach them how to hunt? Also how are the kangaroos going to get to Australia from Mount Ararat now that there are no more land bridges since this was 5000 years ago.(a)

Additionally, I am not sure why evidence of human civilization before the so called flood 7000 years ago is evidence that the flood happened, unless my opponent is referring to the Genesis creation story. If this is true and we are looking at the biblical account of Genesis then all I need to prove is that human civilization occurred before 8000 years ago to completely dismiss the Genesis creation story and thereby the Ark story. This is easy to do, as we know the Natufian culture existed between 12000 to 9500 BC and as such we know that the biblical account according to Genesis is wrong.(b, c) Additionally, I would like to point out that the talkorigins link you gave explicitly states that "I have included stories here if (1) they are stories; (2) they are folklore, not historical accounts or fiction by a known author; and (3) they involve a flood." So none of these should be taken as fact as there is no historical evidence for them. (d)

Regarding the two flood stories you gave. Firstly, I am not debating whether a localized flood happened in the Black Sea. In fact, I am completely willing to accept that happened. But we should remember that is the Black Sea and not a world wide Genesis flood. Secondly, Professor Masaaki Kimura work on Yonagumi has been shown to be highly controversial among many scientists saying he is misleading with his evidence. In fact Robert Schoch of Boston University believes it is a natural formation, as the structures are made from one massive piece of stone which is not how construction works.(e) Also it is interesting to note that neither the Japanese government's Agency for Cultural Affairs nor the government of Okinawa recognize the remains off Yonaguni as an important cultural property.(f) I mean if this was so important, why is it not recognized, unless it really is just natural.

I believe these facts sufficiently defeat Cons arguments. To the members reading this debate Con did mistakenly call me Con in the previous round so please don't get confused in the next section.

In closing I would like to address the statement by Con that states:"If Con is to win he must show that there is reason to believe that there is objective truth and reality." I would turn this around and say instead that if my opponent at this time still believes the Ark story then he needs to prove that the Biblical God exists to make any of his claims relevant. I gave scientific evidence for my claims, so if my opponent wants to show that god exists he needs scientific facts as well.

So it may seem like I am dodging the bullet, but let me explain why I say this. We are operating in the reality we exist in. Now, whether this is objective truth or reality is not important as we have to use whatever this reality is to determine whether the Ark story is true. If my opponent was not in the same reality as me we could not be having this debate, but we are.

Again thank you for a highly entertaining debate and over to you.



Greetings once more comrades.

Well I suppose that ends the debate.
My opponent at the very start assumed the Burden Of Proof. That being said he has failed to prove the objectivity of the universe. While he did state: " I would turn this around and say instead that if my opponent at this time still believes the Ark story then he needs to prove that the Biblical God exists to make any of his claims relevant. I gave scientific evidence for my claims, so if my opponent wants to show that god exists he needs scientific facts as well."
1. He has failed to prove the objectivity of the universe, thus all the empirical evidence(which was merely circumstantial) is irrelevant.
2. I have given reason to believe in the subjectivity of the universe and doubt all beyond my own existence.
3. I cannot prove anything outside myself, therefore I can certainly not prove, nor could he disprove the Biblical God.
4. However since all world views are equally valid, they are equally relevant.
5. Since they are equally relevant, my claims are equally factual as his.
6. Since my claims are equally factual, Noah's Ark cannot be an impossibility.

Note to voters:If a subjective universe makes debate irrelevant, then Pro who has the burden of proof has failed to mention it. Therefore it would not influence voting. I apologize for calling his Con, you may penalize me for this in the "conduct" section of your ballot. Farewell, that was fun. ~Alex

Debate Round No. 3
1 comment has been posted on this debate.
Posted by Sickle-Boy 5 years ago
Postmodernism ew
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