27 New Species Have Been Found!

I don't usually comment on science or politics, but here's a specific story that speaks to the Biblical story of the Flood; see here. Did Noah take these species on the ark or not? If yes, then how did they get here and only here (some of whom are blind)? If no, then how did they survive the Flood?

20 comments:

Friend said...

You do realize, I hope, that no one knows whether these animals only exist in this cave, right? If these were just found, what else will be found next week? They little fellas could be found anywhere...we'll just have to wait and see. This article referred to, and your post, have nothing to do with Noah's story...you're trying a little too hard.

Chris said...

Are we straining the gnat to swallow the camel?

Jason said...

According to the story, some of the critters were well adapted to the room of the cave in which they were found. This confirms evolutionary theory and disconfirms the story of the global flood.

Dennis said...

This argument is flawed on two levels.

First. The fact that a new species appears or an existing species adapts to a niche environment doesn't prove that human evolved from pond scum. Had God not created life to adapt and change to their environments, much of it wouldn't have survived to today. That was a brilliant design.

Second. Even if this species did exist at the time of the flood and required a very specific environment, God could have easily provided for it. If God was able to bring every air breathing kind of animal aboard the ark while keeping them from killing each other off, I am certain he could have taken care of this fragile species. Any argument that says the story of Noah couldn't have taken place because of some natural restriction (ie lack of water, ark couldn't have survived storm) fail to understand that God's will supersedes any natural laws.

Bahnsen Burner said...

Yes, Dennis, you will always have the appeal to magic to fall back to. But that's an important point: the Christian position cannot survive without such appeals. It goes by imagination, not facts. As Van Til puts it, "God may at any time take one fact and set it into a new relation to created law." (DoF, 27) It's a cartoon universe after all.

Regards,
Dawson

Dennis said...

It goes by imagination, not facts.

Since you’re a man of facts and assuming you agree with John's position, please tell me what fact proves these species can't exist outside their current environment.

Bahnsen Burner said...

Dennis: "please tell me what fact proves these species can't exist outside their current environment."

I did not make the claim that these species cannot exist out their current environment. But I think it's pretty safe to say that there are environments that would be inhospitable to their survival needs. But consulting a book of myths and legends will not shed any light on the matter.

Regards,
Dawson

Dennis said...

But I think it's pretty safe to say that there are environments that would be inhospitable to their survival needs.

Please tell me why these species couldn't have survived on the ark if that is your view. If this is not your view, then please tell me why you think these new species present a problem for the flood story.

Jason said...

If God had to make special preparations for these invertibrates so that they could walk miles upon miles to get into the ark, then why didn't God just snap his fingers and transport them there immediately?

We must ask which hypothesis possesses the most explanatory power, consonance with other accepted theories about the world, and evidentiary confirmation. The story of Noah's ark, when scrutinized, has to import an awful lot of magic to remain a possibility.

The problem with importing magic, imagined or otherwise, to shore up obvious problems with an allegedly historical account is that it is ad hoc and non-falsifiable. If we permit apologists to use ad hoc appeals to magic then the apologists will soon find that they cannot demonstrate the superiority of their beliefs over other mutually exclusive magic-importing doctrines. The battle against the methodological naturalist is won, but at the cost of absurdity.

Dennis said...

If God had to make special preparations for these invertibrates so that they could walk miles upon miles to get into the ark, then why didn't God just snap his fingers and transport them there immediately?

I don't see anywhere in the book of Genesis that states animals walked miles and miles to the ark. God could have miraculously transported them and it wouldn't be a conflict with the Genesis account.

We must ask which hypothesis possesses the most explanatory power, consonance with other accepted theories about the world, and evidentiary confirmation. The story of Noah's ark, when scrutinized, has to import an awful lot of magic to remain a possibility.

Were talking about a past event. Just because one possibility is a more likely scenario than another possibility doesn't prove anything. Unlikely scenarios occur all the time.

The problem with importing magic, imagined or otherwise, to shore up obvious problems with an allegedly historical account is that it is ad hoc and non-falsifiable. If we permit apologists to use ad hoc appeals to magic then the apologists will soon find that they cannot demonstrate the superiority of their beliefs over other mutually exclusive magic-importing doctrines. The battle against the methodological naturalist is won, but at the cost of absurdity.

Please consider the absurdity of your argument from my side. If God does indeed exist, then he his not bound by natural laws yet you want to refute acts of God by claiming he can't violates these laws.

John W. Loftus said...

Dennis, then read this!

Dennis said...

Tell ya what, John. If it makes you happy, for this one time I will promise not to invoke the supernatural.

Now let's get back to the blog post you created. Explain to me why one of these new species presents a problem for the Genesis account of the flood. No more excuses.

Kim said...

To the ancient Hebrew living in Palestine, the Ark epoch would seem very plausible since it would not be very hard to cram all worlds “known” animals into the ark. The ancient Hebrew world was very small indeed. Let me elaborate:

When the ark epoch was originally penned, the known world (to the Hebrews living in Palestine) would generally be 1500 km in any direction, give or take a few km. Of the know world, most of it is desert and very inhospitable to most forms of life. The vast deserts of the Middle East do not make for a whole lot of biodiversity. On the whole, the ancient Hebrews would only be aware of only a very small percentage of the world’s plant and animal life. Furthermore, the ancient Hebrews did not travel much and as such did not get exposed to too many plant and animal species that are not native to Palestine. To a people who might travel no further than 50-100km in any direction, the scale of the animal kingdom is quite small indeed. To the author of the ark epoch it would seem very plausible that all the worlds know animals (which was not much) could fit on that small ark (and it is small!). The author of the ark epoch just did not realize the extent of the whopper he was writing.

Had the author of the Ark epoch know the staggering extent of the world’s animal and plant life, he would have realized that such a story is completely ridiculous. Knowing this, if the author wished to persist in his ark epoch, he would have had poor Noah construct an ark so massive that it would need to encompass half the West Bank to accommodate all the world’s animal life. To an ancient it would be utterly ridiculous to build something so massive. There are no stories in the Bible of prophets traveling on rocket ships to the moon. That type of story would be just too ridiculous and unbelievable to the ancients. So is the ark epoch given what we know of the world today. Those who persist in defending the ark epoch as the literal truth look as ridiculous as the story itself.

Dennis said...

Kim,

The ark wasn't small. Do your research and you will find that it was quite big. In fact, if it was built to only hold pairs of animals from the Palenstine region, then it was much bigger than necessary. I frequently hear the argument that the ark was too small to hold all of the world's air breathing animals. Usually this is just based on a guess as opposed to them actually projecting how much space would be needed or it is calculated from the number of species that exist which is flawed because speciation does and has occured since the flood.

I'm still waiting to see if anybody, including John, can defend his original post. How does the existance of these new species present a problem for the flood story?

Kim said...

Dennis,

Based on the ark's dimiensions reported in Genesis 6:15 the ark was approx. 135m long x 22.5m wide x 13.5m high, give or take a few meters. Let's contrast that to a Nimitz class aircraft carrier. A Nimitz class aircraft carrier is approx. 330m long x 70m wide by 40m high (to flight deck). Based on these dimensions, the ark is quite small compared to a modern aircraft. The size ark would certainly be nothing special in modern terms

Noah may be able to put all the species in Palestine on the ark, but certainly not all the species in the world.

Jason said...

Although Genesis doesn't say that the animals that joined Noah and his family on the ark walked to the boat, it does not mention any magical transportation either. The transportation itself would be a miracle of significant proportions (more so than the mere closing of the door of the ark, which was reported). The lack of supernatural aid in the transport of the creatures is therefore implied. You must invent the supernatural transportation as an ad hoc device to preserve the story's logical possibility (the use of ad hoc devices is not sound methodological practice - if you disagree we can discuss this point).

You claim that we are talking about a past event. This is incorrect. We are talking about a story that you are claiming is a past event. Your hypothesis is that the flood described in Genesis really happened. We can test this hypothesis using the criteria that I listed. Do you disagree? Do you think that the criteria for the test is unreasonable? Can you suggest superior criteria?

I have not claimed that God cannot violate "natural laws". I have only noted that if you want admit invented ad hoc magic stories to preserve the logical possibility of a story's truth then you will find yourself unable to demonstrate the superiority of your belief-set. Such devices are available to anyone at no cost. Reductio ad absurdum.

John W. Loftus said...

Dennis, there can be no conclusive proof here, if that's what you want from me. And since there is no conclusive proof here, there, or anywhere, there is always that chance that these new species do not present a problem for the Biblical myth. I asked a couple of questions here, is all I did. You have your answers. But they ring hollow to me. See here.

Dennis said...

Jason,

I will agree with your position against allowing me to invoke the supernatural whenever it benefits my position. Will you at least agree that there are situations where this argument is appropriate to make? I would like to propose that if I can demonstrate that a certain outcome was a part of God's will, then any argument that limits God because of some natural law is fallacious. For example, Genesis clearly states God caused the animals to come to the ark. I feel it is safe to say that God could have used any means he wanted to collect those animals into one location. Why isn't the exact method God used recorded? I don't know but I doubt Noah or whoever recorded the Genesis account even knew. I still fail to see how this "breaks" the story into something that was impossible.

John,

I think they should change the name of this blog from DebunkingChristianity to DodgingChristianity. That's all you have done, dodge my questions about the blog entry that implies you believe these new species presents a challenge for the flood story. Trying to divert my attention by pointing at old blog entries doesn't impress me.

To Christians who may be reading this,

Most Christians don't recognize the foreshadowing of Jesus' second coming that can be seen in the Genesis flood account. In Mathew 24 and Luke 17 Jesus only highlights the similarities between Noah and the second coming in that the whole world was taken by surprise. There are a lot of other similarities. Jesus' second coming will mark the beginning of the second time that God will pour out his wrath on the entire earth. Just as there was only one door to enter the ark to be saved from the flood, there will be only one door to escape God's wrath the second time around. In John 10:9, Jesus refers to himself as the door and that all who enter in will be saved. Just as the ark was a vessel that saved those aboard from God's wrath by taking them off the earth, out of harms way, and then returning them to establish a new earth, the Bible tells us that at Jesus' second coming, he will take believers with him so that they can out of harms way and will then be returned back to earth when God is done pouring out his wrath to establish his millennial kingdom. The Old Testament is full of accounts that retell us of an actual event yet tie into doctrinal truths. Just a few chapters after the flood account, we see the story of Abraham sacrificing his only son in a foreshadowing of how God would later sacrifice his son. Of course, all this must just be circumstantial or maybe the Old Testament was actually written after the New Testament.

Jason said...

Will you at least agree that there are situations where this argument is appropriate to make?

At this point I cannot see how any such argument can be rationally admissible. Please provide me with an example of an instance where such an argument would be appropriate.

I would like to propose that if I can demonstrate that a certain outcome was a part of God's will, then any argument that limits God because of some natural law is fallacious.

I would be willing to grant this. However, since the will of God is forever beyond our ken, we will never know when this fallacy has been committed. What the Bible claims to be the will of God may not be. It is possible that the Bible is wrong, even if the Bible says otherwise.

Why isn't the exact method God used recorded...I still fail to see how this "breaks" the story into something that was impossible.

No story is impossible if we are allowed to interpolate magic. However, some stories are impossible if we do not give it a magical helping hand. Noah's ark is one such story, says I. There is nothing strange or unaccounted for if it is fiction. We do not need to invent a magical device to make it fiction. Why might that be?

bookjunky said...

If God could magically transport the animals to the ark, magically ensure they had inadquate food, water, and air, magically dispose of their waste, etc. etc. etc., why did God go to all the trouble of having Noah build the ark and collect all the animals? Why not just magically keep all the animals safe in, say, a magic bubble for the duration of the flood?