Straw Men Against the Flood
As my latest book, Don’t Miss the Boat—a detailed but non-technical book about the Flood—is due to be published in about a month, I thought it would be a good idea to look at some accusations that people level against the historicity of the Flood. I came across this set of questions on a web forum:
- How did they all fit on the boat and who put them in there? Don’t forget that there were two of each specie(sic) (male & female)
- How did they make sure that the animals didn’t attack each other. How did they get the T-Rex not to eat some of the other animals when they were waiting in line to get on the boat.
- How did all the animals in the water (fish, whales, sharks etc) get on the boat.
- Didn’t Noah have to wait for many years to get the snail on-board.
- There are many microscopic species out there. How did they get on the boat.
There are many articles on this site and elsewhere that rehearse the historicity of the Flood. So in this short article, I simply want to examine the way that unbelievers like to construct straw men arguments, in order to justify their rejection of the Biblical account.
Question 1: How did they all fit on the boat and who put them in there? Don’t forget that there were two of each specie(sic) (male & female)
I have to assume that the “they” to whom the questioner refers is the animals. The questioner has referred to the word “species.” This word “species,” however, has developed over the years. Under the taxonomic system originally devised by Linnaeus and subsequently adapted, the word “species” refers to a particular level of classification, below “genus” (see diagram). However, Plato did not use the term in quite the same way. The unbeliever who quoted this question is asking about what is, undoubtedly, an ancient book. It defies logic to suppose that the biblical account would necessarily use the word “species” in the same way as it is used in Linnaean taxonomy.
The questioner makes a more serious error, however, by not actually reading the Bible. If he had read the account in Genesis, then he would have realized that the biblical account does not even refer to “species.” Instead, it refers to kind. The Hebrew word for kind is mîn. For this reason, creation biologists have started to use their own technical term for this grouping of creatures—baramin. The Hebrew bara means “created,” so baramin is a created kind.
The idea is that the baramin is the unit of living creature actually created by God, from which species have developed, in a process of speciation. Therefore, the term baramin must be higher on the taxonomic scale than species. But there is no reason to suppose that biblical classification is the same as evolutionary classification. For convenience, creation biologists suggest that the baramin is approximately the same as the neo-Linnaean “family.” However, this will not always be the case, and there are some exceptional examples where the baramin is equivalent to “order.”
Woodmorappe’s famous calculation suggests that there could have been about 16,000 baramins before the Flood. Early estimates from studies being undertaken by Answers in Genesis suggest a figure even lower. Since the average size of all these animals is that of a sheep, the Ark needed to hold the equivalent of about 32,000 sheep, which it would do very comfortably, on just one of the three decks.
One final point on this section about the use of the word “species”: Even evolutionists are no longer very clear about the boundaries of each species. So the term is a lot more fuzzy than this questioner would assume.
Question 2: How did they make sure that the animals didn’t attack each other. How did they get the T-Rex not to eat some of the other animals when they were waiting in line to get on the boat.
The answer to this is much shorter than above, and also demonstrates that the questioner has not read the biblical account. The Bible describes how Noah was to make rooms or nests. The animals were kept apart in pens. The Bible does not say how long the animals had to “wait in line” nor even if they did have to wait.
Question 3: How did all the animals in the water (fish, whales, sharks etc) get on the boat.
Noah took only land animals and flying animals into the Ark. (Genesis 6:19-20)
Question 4: Didn’t Noah have to wait for many years to get the snail on-board?
Noah did not take invertebrates onto the Ark, only animals with lungs (Genesis 7:15). Invertebrates can survive such conditions.
Question 5: There are many microscopic species out there. How did they get on the boat.
As with the previous question, Noah did not have to take such creatures, as he only had to take land vertebrates and flying vertebrates.
I receive many similar email questions every day. It seems very odd to me that unbelievers should want to oppose the truth of God’s word, without actually checking their facts against God’s word.
 Encyclopædia Britannica Online, s. v. “Plato”, accessed May 20, 2013,http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/464109/Plato/281704/Forms-as-genera-and-species.
 Woodmorappe, J. (1996), Noah’s Ark: A Feasibility Study, (Dallas, TX: ICR)
 Answers Research Journal, Volume 5, www.answersingenesis.org/arj