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Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Biblical Understanding for Nonbeliever Knuckleheads, episode 1

I was reading Debunking Atheists (probably my last time there) and saw Dan trying to rationalize the Noachian flood. For some unknown reason I erupted into a fit of mathematical dilettantism.

The Bible says that even the highest mountains were submerged and many people seem to agree that Mt. Everest is an acceptable measuring stick.

I got interested in how much water would actually be needed to submerge Mt. Everest. Several details such as the land mass above sea level, or the water from melting polar caps have been omitted in the following. This is as simple as it gets.

We will calculate the volume of the flood waters by calculating the volume of the Earth according to its mean radius (6731 km) and subtracting this value from the volume of a sphere whose radius equals the Earth's radius plus the height of Mr. Everest (6731 km + 8,848 km = 6379,848). The values have been rounded in this post, but were calculated to a greater accuracy.

Original volume of Earth: 1 083 206 916 845 km3

Volume with Mt. Everest covered in water: 1 087 726 237 887 km3

Volume difference: 4 519 321 042 km3

The volume of the Earth's oceans is approximately 1 300 000 000 km3 (source: wiki), hence the amount of water needed to achieve the end result of the flood is approx. 3,5 times that existing in the oceans today! Kewl!

Yes, this post is completely inconclusive, as per its inspiration.

Thank you for engaging this week's episode of 'BUNK'.


  1. Oh, that problem is easily solved ;-): Umberto Eco mentioned that somebody found the solution already in the 17th century. God just took the water from yesterday.

  2. He also claims with the Chinese goddess Nuwa (with the head of a woman and the tail of a snake who creates people and repairs heaven after some gods fight) is based on Noah.
    Dan makes outlandish claims and I really hope he's some kind of poe troll.

  3. I seem to remember an idiot on the Dawkin Forum trying to tell people that all the water came from underground and went back there afterwards. And don't forget, the Grand Canyon is proof of the Flood! (Happened in only five minutes, don'tcherknow?)

    These people get on my nerves >>

  4. I've heard them say that mountains were more like hills at that time! Now, you could add something further....how much rain/hour would this require for that much water to flood the earth in 40 days??? That ark must have had one hell of a bilge pump!!!

  5. Some yanks have claimed that the Grand Canyon is the result of the great flood too. They claim it was scoured out of the ground in minutes (ref: the bible). Only problem is the water would have had to travel at something like Mach 7 for that to be possible. I guess Goddidit.

    PS captcha is wines...very apt atm.

  6. You could always use the Verandoug/RTB explanation:

    Only Mesopotamia was flooded because that's where all the people were and thus it constituted their whole world.

    I kid you not.

  7. Along the same lines, I took on jrk83's big block of apologetic nonsense in response to contradictions in the bible.

    I am posting it here in case Ray does not allow it through.

    Jrk83, let me take a stab at your big block of apologetic twisting. You were good at twister weren't you? Okay all kidding aside now.

    Although several others have already pointed out that God is Himself light and therefore the sun is unnecessary, there are still at least two other problems with your statement. First, the sun does not separate night and day like you say but God does. Then God said, "Let there be light"; and there was light. And God saw that the light was good; and God separated the light from the darkness (Gen. 1:3-4). The Sun merely governs night and day, which was its purpose for creation. However, since night and day precede this (as pointed out by you already) clearly God does the separating. While on a Naturalistic view you may take issue with this, that is only based on your presuppositions that God does not exist. Surely, if God does not exist then He cannot separate night and day (therefore, it must be the Sun). However, if God does exist, then separating light and dark, night and day, is a simple task for Him. Since we are checking into the internal coherence of the biblical view (by examining supposed “contradictions”) it seems you must grant that if the God of the Bible exists, then He is capable of such separation without any help from a created star we call the Sun.

    So you concede that you have to start with God exists, and he is all powerful. So why even need the sun? Can't he just shine his light down on us. In the bible he didn't need the sun for a few days, so why have it all?

    The second problem with your statement is that you think it is incredible that God could be “light” without a source (i.e. the Sun), yet you do not find it amazing that God is creating ex nihilo. If God can create the entire universe, you really think He is bound by your paradigm? In fact, light does exist from several sources other than the Sun … other stars and light bulbs for example. God created “light” and then he made a source which would provide it. No contradiction here.

    Are you saying God is equal to a light bulb or other stars? Things where we can measure lux or lumen from. Things we have an understanding of how they work and things we know produce the light themselves. So yes this is a contradiction. If you can show me light without a light source then you have something.

    These will be dealt with in a group since you are making the same error with several of these examples (although not just one error!). A major reason for your finding “contradictions” is your failure to notice the shift in perspective from the account in Gen. 1 to Gen. 2.

    I will start you off with a little hint. The creation account in Genesis 2 is older than Genesis 1. Genesis 1 was to replace Genesis 2 and they were never meant to be side by side.

    First, trees were created on Day 3 and Man (and Woman) were created on Day 6. In Gen. 1:11-12 and 26-27 this is clearly seen. Your failure to notice that the account in Gen. 2 is “Man centered” causes you to read this account as another order of events. However, there is no such Day (i.e. 3 & 6) distinction made here and since we know that Man was created on Day 6 (learned from Gen 1:26-27) we can know that anywhere Man is spoken of must be Day 6 or later.

    Or they are two different stories....

    Since this is the case, we see that God is speaking about Day 6 in Gen 2:4-9. When this secondary (supplemental) account begins,

    Genesis 2 is older, look it up.

    it says that it is speaking of the “day” of creation (which many of you have misunderstood, but this “day” refers to the already determined “days of creation” from the context of chapter 1 … this is the point of Ray’s original post) and plainly states that no shrub or tree was yet created before God made them (Day 3). Simply because the text speaks of them before it speaks of Man does not entail creation order. They did not exist until the time of creation … the very time that this text is speaking of. What’s important to note is that God “planted” the garden where he placed Adam, which implies the plants were already in existence and then arranged in this specific place for Man.

    Hmmm using basic reading comprehension with this passage:

    "In the day that the Lord God made the earth and the heavens, when no plant of the field was yet in the earth and no herb of the field had yet sprung up—for the Lord God had not caused it to rain upon the earth, and there was no one to till the ground; but a stream would rise from the earth, and water the whole face of the ground— then the Lord God formed man from the dust of the ground,* and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and the man became a living being. And the Lord God planted a garden in Eden, in the east;" (Genesis 2:4-8 emphasis mine)

    It clearly states that there were no plants, it also implies another problem with the Noah story. As it claims that rain causes plants to grow and as we all "know" it didn't rain until the flood, right?

    Keep twisting.

    If plants were created on Day 3 (Gen 1:11-12) then God could take of these and plant them in the garden. In the original creation the plants sprouted forth from the ground and this is reiterated in Gen 2:9. God had caused all the trees to sprout forth from the ground, He then planted a garden on Day 6 with the same types of vegetation previously created and he caused the tree of knowledge of good and evil and the tree of life to sprout forth from the ground in the garden (since these were unique).

    Yet it says there are no plants on Earth when he created Adam, in Genesis 2.

    Yet clearly it says in Genesis 1, that plants are on the Earth when man and woman are created on day 6.

    "Then God said, ‘Let the earth put forth vegetation: plants yielding seed, and fruit trees of every kind on earth that bear fruit with the seed in it.’ And it was so. The earth brought forth vegetation: plants yielding seed of every kind, and trees of every kind bearing fruit with the seed in it." (Genesis 1:11-12)

    If this account is speaking of Day 6 (as I contend) then it is saying that God planted the garden on this Day after the creation of Man and then He placed the man He had made (past perfect) in it. This is certainly all possible on Day 6 and does not contradict Gen. 1.

    Likewise if these are two separate stories of creation not meant to be together and written by flawed humans, then there are contradictions. Which has been shown.

    Similarly, Gen. 2:19 does not state that Man was created before the birds and the animals of the ground, but is still consistent with Man created on Day 6, birds on Day 5, and beasts of the field (and creeping things) on Day 6 (prior to Man). Let’s see what 2:19 actually says:

    And out of the ground the LORD God formed every beast of the field and every bird of the sky, and brought them to the man to see what he would call them; and whatever the man called a living creature, that was its name.

    I bolded “formed” because it is clearly in the past tense. Perhaps you would have preferred past perfect? This translation is just as possible (“had formed;” see DBY, ESV, and NIV for this rendering) and points to a time prior to Man’s existence. In fact, the verse continues saying, “…and brought them to the man….” If God is with Adam and is forming all of the beasts out of the ground He would not need to bring them anywhere since they would already be there! However, if they were previously created and were out doing the things that animals do, then it would be necessary to “bring” them as the text says. God created them prior to man and brings them to him to see what he would name them after Man is created. No contradiction is here.

    Let's look at a better English translation the NRSV.

    "And God said, ‘Let the waters bring forth swarms of living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the dome of the sky.’ So God created the great sea monsters and every living creature that moves, of every kind, with which the waters swarm, and every winged bird of every kind. And God saw that it was good. God blessed them, saying, ‘Be fruitful and multiply and fill the waters in the seas, and let birds multiply on the earth.’ And there was evening and there was morning, the fifth day.

    And God said, ‘Let the earth bring forth living creatures of every kind: cattle and creeping things and wild animals of the earth of every kind.’ And it was so. God made the wild animals of the earth of every kind, and the cattle of every kind, and everything that creeps upon the ground of every kind. And God saw that it was good." (Genesis 1:20-25)

    "Then the Lord God said, ‘It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper as his partner.’ So out of the ground the Lord God formed every animal of the field and every bird of the air" (Genesis 2:18-19)

    So was man alone or not? If there were animals already on the planet then how was he alone? Two different stories.

    Finally, on the issue of Man and Woman: Gen 1:27 states that Man and Woman were created on the same Day, not at the same moment. God declares His intention to make a suitable “partner” for Adam and brings to him all the animals first so that Adam could see that these were not made for him but had their own male/female counterparts.

    I am trying to find the bold part in the Bible please help.

    "Then the Lord God said, ‘It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper as his partner.’ So out of the ground the Lord God formed every animal of the field and every bird of the air, and brought them to the man to see what he would call them; and whatever the man called each living creature, that was its name. The man gave names to all cattle, and to the birds of the air, and to every animal of the field; but for the man there was not found a helper as his partner. So the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and he slept; then he took one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh. And the rib that the Lord God had taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man." (Genesis 2:18-22)

    Yeah don't see that anywhere, as this was concerning a helper not a mate. Funny that Adam would require a helper after what a couple of hours being on his own? I think in paradise you could find other things to fill your time.

    So the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and he slept; then He took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh at that place. And the LORD God fashioned into a woman the rib which He had taken from the man, and brought her to the man. This took place (probably right near the end) on Day 6. Again, there is no contradiction here.

    Right a few hours in paradise and Adam is bored and needs a helper, like I said I think I could manage on my own for a few days. I guess God was too good to help Adam or talk to him?

    This requires the least explanation (at least, from a textual standpoint) since a very significant event occurs in Gen 3 that accounts for the change in God’s “pleasure” with Creation: The Fall. Prior to the Fall God was pleased, and after the Fall God was no longer pleased because When the LORD saw how great was man's wickedness on earth, and how no desire that his heart conceived was ever anything but evil, he regretted that he had made man on the earth, and his heart was grieved (Gen 6:5-6). The entrance of sin changed God’s disposition (note: God did not change, but His attitude changed towards Man since they became sinful … God is always angry towards sin, but prior to The Fall Man was not sinful).

    Again we are assuming an all powerful God, from your first statement. So he knew this would happen, if he truly is all powerful. So knowing this would happen he was pleased, otherwise he didn't know this was going to happen and he is not all powerful.

    Here you fail to understand the biblical definition of “death.” Since you have naturalistic presuppositions, you use “death” to mean the cessation of biological life. The Bible, however, speaks of both biological and spiritual death. The day Adam ate of the fruit, he did die spiritually … it took awhile before he died biologically. You may reject this outright based on your presuppositions that there is no such thing as spiritual life, but when examining a worldviews claims it is important to use their terms, not yours. If there are two deaths, spiritual and biological, then there exists no contradiction here either. (For examples of both types of death see 2 Cor. 4:12; 2 Timothy 1:10; Hebrews 9:27 [something clearly survives biological death]; James 1:15; 1 Pet 2:24; 1 John 3:14; Rev. 2:11, 14:13, 20:6, 21:4, 8).

    Your examples are all after the fact, you know when explanations are needed when things don't happen as you say. Let's look at scripture again.

    "The woman said to the serpent, ‘We may eat of the fruit of the trees in the garden; but God said, “You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the middle of the garden, nor shall you touch it, or you shall die.”" (Genesis 3:2-3)

    "Then the Lord God said, ‘See, the man has become like one of us, knowing good and evil; and now, he might reach out his hand and take also from the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever’" (Genesis 3:22)

    I read everything in between and there is no mention of "spiritual" death. As matter of fact the Hebrews did not have a clear life after death stance all through out the Old Testament. That idea started in the last Century of BCE. It even looks like God knew they would die anyway, as he doesn't want them eating from the tree of life.

    What would make this a contradiction would be the presence of the word “only” before the statement that two of each kind are/were to be taken. This is not present. Perhaps you would have preferred a wording like this: Two of each kind were taken and 6 additional pairs were taken of certain kinds? When the text says they entered “by twos” it does not prohibit that even the groups of 7 pairs did so. If there were seven pairs of a particular type of bird, there is no reason that they did not enter two by two until all 7 pairs were aboard. Again, there is no contradiction here.

    Again two different stories of Noah's Ark. The first is the story of two of every animal. This was written when animal sacrifice was not common. The second was written after animal sacrifice was prevalent in Israel. So Noah had to take more animals so he could make sacrifices. The second was to replace the first and not meant to be written side by side.

    You are also reading into the text again. Funny atheists are told they are wrong when they read into implied messages in the text, but Christians are right when they do the same. Sorry that is a bit of a sidetrack. Let us look at both stories of Noah's Ark, which is why Noah enters the ark twice.

    "But I will establish my covenant with you; and you shall come into the ark, you, your sons, your wife, and your sons’ wives with you. And of every living thing, of all flesh, you shall bring two of every kind into the ark, to keep them alive with you; they shall be male and female. Of the birds according to their kinds, and of the animals according to their kinds, of every creeping thing of the ground according to its kind, two of every kind shall come in to you, to keep them alive." (Genesis 6:18-20 emphasis mine)

    "Then the Lord said to Noah, ‘Go into the ark, you and all your household, for I have seen that you alone are righteous before me in this generation. Take with you seven pairs of all clean animals, the male and its mate; and a pair of the animals that are not clean, the male and its mate; and seven pairs of the birds of the air also, male and female, to keep their kind alive on the face of all the earth." (Genesis 7:1-3 emphasis mine)

    Right no contradiction here.

    Of course, this is not a contradiction … something along the lines “they entered” and “they did not enter” would meet that criteria. Here all you have is a stylistic complaint … you don’t like repetitiveness. The OT is full of repetitive statements in their narratives so I’m sorry the ancient Hebrews did not write up to your stylistic standards. However, since there is no substance to this point I shall continue on to your next point.

    Two different stories from two different writers. Like I said.

    You make a mistake in your first statement: Terah was 70 years old when his son Abram was born. Are you sure? The text you cite says this: Terah lived seventy years, and became the father of Abram, Nahor and Haran.

    This I agree with.

    This contradiction is a product of you not reading closely. I agree that there were many languages before the Tower of Babel, however, your claim that there was only one language is false. Gen 11:1 states: Now the whole earth used the same language and the same words. This does not say, as you claim, that they had only one language, but merely that they used one language and one vocabulary.

    This is some of the best apologetic twisting I have ever seen. Let's look at the NRSV, again the best English translation, as it is safe too assume neither of us speak or read ancient Hebrew.

    "Now the whole earth had one language and the same words." (Genesis 11:1)

    That doesn't sound like a common language to me, that sounds like one language.

    Yet the Bible says this also.

    "These are the descendants of Japheth in their lands, with their own language, by their families, in their nations." (Genesis 10:5)

    "These are the descendants of Ham, by their families, their languages, their lands, and their nations." (Genesis 10:20)

    "These are the descendants of Shem, by their families, their languages, their lands, and their nations." (Genesis 10:31)

    That is a clear case of multiple languages and not one language.

    That is multiple countries even. So your example of the US is not an accurate example.

    Then there is also this:

    "And the Lord said, ‘Look, they are one people, and they have all one language; and this is only the beginning of what they will do; nothing that they propose to do will now be impossible for them. Come, let us go down, and confuse their language there, so that they will not understand one another’s speech.’ So the Lord scattered them abroad from there over the face of all the earth, and they left off building the city. Therefore it was called Babel, because there the Lord confused* the language of all the earth; and from there the Lord scattered them abroad over the face of all the earth." (Genesis 11:6-9 emphasis mine)

    So were they scattered across the world before or after the tower of Babel also.

    The last two things I agree with you, as that can be inferred as you said.

  8. Mr. Mackey, Dan's neither a troll or a Poe. From the time I've spent reading his material, he seems to be totally sincere.


    Hannah wrote I seem to remember an idiot on the Dawkin Forum trying to tell people that all the water came from underground and went back there afterwards

    Yep. According to a branch of YEC, the continents currently float on a massive ocean.


    Beamstalk wrote much of which I am in awe of his patience for :)

  9. The one I hear often, is that all that water was up in the air in some kind of "vapor canopy." Then God knock it out of the air, to flood the whole earth. Then it all froze at the poles and that where the polar ice caps came from. They never mention that the ice caps are just not enough water to flood the whole earth.

  10. Good effort beams,

    Unfortunately, you're appealing to the logical fallacy: Intellectual Honesty - it'll never fly.

  11. WEM, I am not going to be pushed over by argumentum verbosium. :)

  12. Matt you made me laugh, buy a beer for yourself and say it was from me.

  13. That Dan prides himself on how he slips out from uder serious questions and he fancies himself some kind of philosophical genius, arguing fantastcal philosophies that have absolutely no foundation in logic.

    He is incapable of accepting facts if they contradict him in any manner and he is totally deluding himself.

  14. Matt,
    You said,
    "Unfortunately, you're appealing to the logical fallacy: Intellectual Honesty - it'll never fly."

    You just packed the whole essence of arguing with fundies into that one sentence. Simplicity and genius- sheer beauty!

  15. Nothing compares to to the warm, fuzzy feeling you get from making people laugh over the internet; my work here is done.

    To be fair, 'argumentum verbosium' is far more eloquent though...

  16. expattmatt: argumentum verbosium going to have to remember that one XD

  17. This comment has been removed by the author.

  18. Hannah King, it is an actual logical fallacy.

    Proof by verbosity is used to describe a logical fallacy (sometimes called "argumentum verbosium") that tries to persuade by overwhelming those considering an argument with such a volume of material that the argument sounds plausible, superficially appears to be well-researched, and that is so laborious to untangle and check supporting facts that the argument is allowed to slide by unchallenged. It is the fallacy epitomized by the familiar quote: "If you can't dazzle them with your brilliance, then baffle them with your bullshit."

    A good example is the Chewbacca Defense on the episode of South Park "Chef Aid".

    Please ignore the last person that posted it, they were not in their right mind ;)

  19. beamstalk - I've been trying to get around to this with jrk83, and I'm glad you took one for the team and responded to his essay!

    You're gonna find people disputing which bible you're using, I noticed it wasnt KJV and they'll no doubt jump on this.

    That said you can catch them on the uncertainty of knowing which bible is the "correct" one.

  20. New Revised Standard Version is the best English translation period. They can argue that all they want. I have never understood the hard on for the king james version anyway.

  21. I will take that back there is a new version of the NRSV the ESV. What kills me is these are all basically the updates for the KJV, yet they are wrong.....

  22. jrk83 claims to be able to read ancient hebrew, color me impressed if that is true. Now taking bets on how true it is....


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