Dinosaur Ark

Over the weekend I had a detailed comment left on my post about the discovery of Aardonyx celestae, found here. Since the comment is a lengthy rebuttal, my answer begged to become a post of its own, so I present it here. The first remark I have to make is that my commenter wrongly suggested two problematic assumptions: I “don’t care” about correctly representing Creationist viewpoints and that I “ridicule Christians.” For those many students who have taken my classes over the past 17 years, it is always clear that I respect all religious viewpoints; in fact, empathy is generally cited as one of my main characteristics. I vehemently defend the rights of individuals to believe the religion they believe to be right – e.g., I do care. As for the ridiculing Christians concern, I ridicule no person. I will, however, point out viewpoints that are ridiculous, “Creation Science” being one of the most obvious. As is clear to anyone who takes the time to survey Christianity, the large majority of Christians in the world have no problems with evolution. A small but vocal sub-sect of the religion, mainly based in America, is the main Christian group that supports Creationism.

My theological assailant tells me that the Hebrew word for “kind” in the Noachian account is “min” (the root, marked as “dubious” in the standard lexicon, is myn) and that it is “much broader” than the word translated “species.” The problem here is that the ancient Semitic viewpoint has been left unaddressed. For the ancient Israelite dog was dog and wolf was wolf, and ne’er would the twain meet. Arguing that a limited evolution has taken place in order to make room on the ark is a fatal flaw to the position. Once it has been admitted that the Noah story is not literally each and every species known, it is the equivalent to the ark springing a leak mid-deluge. The commenter’s examples of animals breeding only “within their kinds” is also problematic. Such “kinds” are not recognized by “nature” and numerous examples of viable offspring crossing species have been recorded. Nature simply doesn’t abide by the neat and tidy categories that the ancient Israelites recognized. Suggesting that two sauropods were all that was needed on the ark to produce everything from Titanosaurus to Anchisaurus is a stretch for even “day-age” theorists since the genetic differences between them are as immense as their body size differentials. This slippery use of the word “kind” has all the imprecision of a god-of-the-gaps.

Did God say to take seven pair of each clean animal? My Bible reads “two of each kind” in Genesis 6.19. But wait, the story changes in Genesis 7.3. Could it be that we have two separate sources (or “kinds”) here? My commenter does not inform me where the fresh-water fish came from; after God blew the water out of the cosmic dome (Genesis 8.1) they must have had time to evolve while the salt leeched out of the low-lying basins left behind by the flood and its marvelous geography-forming power. Good thing Noah had plenty of fresh water on the ark!

“Take time to consider what scientists have already said on the issue,” my debate partner adjures me. That’s just the problem, however. I do read what the scientists say. And all of them who write without a Genesis bias tell me that the ark story is not scientifically feasible. More than that, being a life-long Bible reader, I came to that conclusion as well, based on the genre of the story (myth). I never claim to be the first to find contradictions that prove problematic for the Bible – I simply try to make my readers consider the implications of the fact that such contradictions indeed exist.

What I find so interesting about such criticism is that the author of the comment has not tested his/her hypothesis about what I actually believe. On principle I do not share my personal religious beliefs on my blog, just as I do not share them in the classroom. What I believe is immaterial to the issue of Creationism; in this issue the facts speak for themselves. The fact is “Creation Science” is science fiction.