No,I don’t want this in great debates. I’m not debating. In case I missed it before,there are a few questions I know you smart folks can tell me. Like,how many species of animals there are and are there too many to have fit in the ark,;also re:the galapagos islands.The unusual mammals there are native to there only. Is this proof of evolution,and why? I need some facts to tell my church friends,who will have none of this evolution stuff. Thank you.
No one knows how many species of animals there are.
I repeat for emphasis, no one knows.
New species are being discovered at a high rate; a mean rate of two or three per day, IIRC. (Granted, a lot of them are insects, and have extremely limited ranges. They’re still separate species, however).
There are SWAGs that the number of animal species is between 5 and 80 million (Extinction Rates, John Lawton and Sir Robert May, eds., Oxford University Press, 1995). Those SWAGs are based on arguments such as: “Well, we’ve found this many species in this area, so, given all of the areas that we haven’t looked at, the total number must be that many”. Such arguments cannot be dismissed out of hand, of course, but, when I was a young’un, similar arguments were used to “prove” that there were only about a million different species of animals (of course, it can be argued that, when I was young, only a million species had evolved ).
The basic answer to that question is, “No, there wouldn’t have been room on the Ark for all of those different species”. Since creationists generally don’t believe in species, however, but in “kinds”, that argument probably won’t carry much weight with them.
“Kings die, and leave their crowns to their sons. Shmuel HaKatan took all the treasures in the world, and went away.”
Ooh boy! I get first crack at this!
No one knows exactly how many species there are. I’ve seen estimates well over 1 million. Many of these are bugs which would take up very little room on an ark, and sea creatures, which supposedly would not be affected. But even the number of mammal species is over 4,000; birds, reptiles, amphibians add similar amounts. (I have a buddy at the Field Museum looking into it now; I may have an answer this afternoon.)
Of course, current species represent only about 1% of all species that ever lived. And then there are all the plants one assumes must have also been on the ark…
As for unique animals with restricted ranges (the Galapagos are most famous for birds and tortoises rather than mammals), this is evidence for evolution. Two groups of identical organisms migrate to different areas. Each evolves to adapt to local conditions.
But this is not proof. One of the hallmarks of science is that nothing can ever be definitively proven. We build our explanations (theories) based on observable evidence, but the rule is, if you observe evidence that doesn’t fit your explanation, you don’t discard it; you have to change your explanation so the new evidence fits.
Oddly enough, nothing can ever be proven in religion, either. Sacred texts are literally “taken on faith,” without external evidence. But I tread perilously close to trolling, so I will stop now.
I was a little too slow (making phone calls to the Museum), so I guess I was second to take a crack at it. But a good answer, Akatsukami.
As for all the wide-spread evidence in favor of evolution, creationists have those bases covered. They claim God faked all the evidence that supports evolution. My counter-claim to this would be that if God created evidence to prove evolution was true, then God must have wanted people to believe in evolution. Therefore anyone who refuses to believe in evolution is thwarting the will of God.
Number of Living Species of All Kinds of Organisms Currently Known: 1,413,000
- Insects 751,000
- Other Animals 281,000
- Viruses 1,000
- Monera (bacteria, etc.) 4,800
- Fungi 69,000
- Algae 26,900
- Higher Plants 248,400
- Protozoa 30,800
Source: The Diversity of Life; Edward O. Wilson, 1992, W.W. Norton & Co. pg. 134
I for one,would be happy if all the stinging insects were to disappear! (just had a protozoa for lunch!) What would happen if all insects disappeared? Would life end as we know it?(It’s life Jim,but not as we know it"!
If all insects were to disappear tomorrow, I think there would be a rapid collapse of the ecosystem:
(1) A very large number of plants depend on insects for pollination, so they could not reproduce, thus triggering a rapid contraction of the number of plant species. Animal species that depend on those plants for food and shelter would then die off.
(2) Most insectivorous animal species would also go (some individuals might survive on other food sources).
(3) Forest ecology would be disrupted greatly, since one of the primary decomposition pathways for dead trees (wood-eating bugs) would be eliminated.
Life would clearly go on, but it would be different.
I was once told by a Jehova’s Witness, in all seriousness, that he estimated the Ark to be approximately the size of the Queen Mary since it had to hold so many animals.
I suspect that his understanding of engineering principles, to say nuthin’ of carpentry, was somewhat deficient.
Lex Non Favet Delicatorum Votis
Oh, Please ask them about Noe and the pair of every kind of animal - male and female and then why ten seconds later Noe was told to take of the clean animals 7 pair and of the unclean 2 - only a male and females. See Genesis 6:19 through the next 8-10 verses.
And about the rules for clean and unclean animals - were does it say those rules, I think they were written along long time after Noe!
But even after two different sets of directions about the number of animals to bring, Noe goes his own way - and in 8:8, the old boy took 9 pairs. (Maybe math was different in those days. Just kidding, I know it was, no maybe about it. But if you took 7 pairs of clean and one male and female of unclean that would be 8 pairs. Of course, Noe was 600 odd years old and the math might have been a bit too much for him.)
But the creationists should be able to explain this and you could write back and tell…
Now, the giraffes on the ark – did they have stretched or un-stretched necks?
I found a couple of interestings websites with ark info. Keep in mind these are Christian sites and are trying to “prove” this feat was possible.
I find them specious at best.
The tendency of stupid ideas to seem smarter when they come at you rapidly.
Re: insects disappearing
For an examination of the complete and utter doom this would cause, check out Dust by Charles Pellegrino (out in paperback earlier this year, should still be available).
“Life would go on” is possibly too strong a statement…
How about Australia? Same kinds of things happened there as Galapagos but the animals aremore familiar to the average person than the Galapagos’ animals… Might be easier to “argue” but I can’t remember how long each of these islands were isolated, or which was isolated longer?
From what I remember,Noah had to take 7 of the clean animals,so when they all got onto dry land,he could kill the clean ones(for sacrifice,and supposedly food).
Where does the Bible teach/explain clean and unclean? Long after Noe, honestly. Probably long after Abraham, too.
This is an example of (there is a perfectly good word for this and I can’t remember it) the author putting a current day thing into olden times… Like saying G Washington flipped the switch for the dining room lights. Not bloody likely.
These first few books of the Old Testament were pulled together from at least three older traditions (When the kindgom was united?) And the Noe story has a pair of each animal from one strand and 7 pair of clean and 1 pair of unclean from another: two different traditions. You can see that the single pairs part came first and then a verse or so later the 7::1 strand.
To go through this kind of thing with a literalist you need to examine the details very carefully - and have them try to explain what you are seeing - did God say this twice because he just forgot?
Maybe every time you see 7 you can wonder if another version of strand from another version is around. For example, the seven days of creation is right next to another version of creation were no specific number of days is given.
There a dozens of these in those frist 4-5 books, it was the way they were written, really compiled is a better word.
Did Noe sacrifice animals? Remember Abraham was thinking if sacrificing his son when the lamb came along?
The compiling of the strands is great reading but I can’t remember who the best explainer was. Maybe Tom remembers. Reading something like this would be very helpful.
I believe “anachronism” is the word you are looking for.
Is Noe another way to spell Noah? Which is correct? Is neither correct?
Those who do not learn from the past are condemned to relive it. Georges Santayana
Once again, why are we trying to answer faith with science? If your friends believe Jesus could feed a crowd with five loaves and two fishes, why shouldn’t they believe the Ark was as big as it needed to be to hold what it needed to hold.
It’s NOAH. Not Noe, NOAH!!! Holy freaking crap! What grade are you in? I never, NEVER get on people for spelling, but GEEZ! Noe??!
We are the children of the Eighties. We are not the first “lost generation” nor today’s lost generation; in fact, we think we know just where we stand - or are discovering it as we speak.