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Noah's Ark


We don't really need a daily fact to tell how preposterous the idea of one man and his family building a giant boat to accomodate 2 (7 of every 'clean' animal) of every single species; feed, nurture and clean them for over a month, whilst the entire Earth is flooded, then release the animals so that they repopulate the entire planet (with the marsupials (almost) all heading for Australia and the lemurs all heading for Madagascar) in just a few years. But, until modern geology showed the vast time scales needed to carve the landscape, acceptance of the Biblical account was the norm in most of the Christian world. Even today a huge number of people still accept the story as fact and are fed 'scientific proofs by 'Flood geologists' to show how they can reconcile modern science with the Biblical stories.

These 'Flood geologists' use seemingly reasonable scientific arguments that on the surface seem plausible - to anyone not willing to think too deeply. For instance: the fact that fossil shells and marine creatures are found on top of mountains is evidence for the flood covering those mountains; the geological layers clearly seen in places like the Grand Canyon were laid down as the flood waters receded, the canyon itself then being carved by the raging torrents of water over a few years; the fossil layering shows that sea creatures died first, then the large stupid dinosaurs, then the mammals and then the clever humans who climbed to the top of hills or on top of piles of rotting 'lesser' creatures. Because many cultures have similar flood stories in the mythology, this too is seen as cultural history of a real event.

Lots of made-up hypotheses are used to try and force together science and the Bible and answer the myriad questions that arise if someone does think too hard: the flood waters came either from below the ground and returned there afterward; they came from a canopy above the Earth; one Victorian scholar even proposed a series of Saturn like rings that fell onto the earth one-by-one, resulting in fossils being buried in a "succession of stupendous cataclysms". Once plate-tectonics had been accepted by proper geologists, flood-geologists surmised that the seafloor simply rose catastrophically and then fell again through some unknown mechanism. The lack of space on the boat can be explained because Noah took babies; the shit was cleaned by an ingenious rain funnelling mechanism; etc etc. Despite the failures of these many attempts to harmonise known, evidential science with mythological stories, the acceptance of the Biblical story as fact is still astonishingly widespread. In the UK it is likely as low as 10%, but in the US some studies show it as high as 40%. Most kids still learn the basis of the story through songs, children's-books and cultural osmosis, but few adults care to think too deeply about teaching children a story involving an all-powerful deity drowning untold millions of creatures and human beings - old, young, children, babies - wiping them all out simply because it could.

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