A recent article in the New York Times' Science section presents a thorough discussion on the number of species which exists on Earth, not counting the far greater number of known extinct species. These numbers do not include microbiol life nor plant life. The title of the article is:
The article discloses credible estimates that there could have been up to 100 ‘million’ species at one time or another on Earth.
In light of recent interest in the Noah’s Ark story (obviously resulting from the recent box office production, NOAH, staring Russell Crow) just how many of those species got on the boat? How many were already extinct before the ark, and how many have become extinct since?
For argument’s sake let’s say there were at the time of Noah (which biblically-speaking, was about 6,000 years ago) a mere 5 million species of birds and animals alone (not counting the fish and assuming they got off the hook in God’s wrath); and assuming the average space needed to house a critter on the ark was a 3 feet by 3 feet floor space.
Then, let’s give a little room for a walk-way between critters of 2 feet (Noah and crew would have to slide down the isles sideways). That is now a needed space of 5 feet by 5 feet per ark-critter.
Granted, bugs are small, but then again, an elephant, giraffe, horse, rhino, ostrich, etc, takes up a lot of space. And, the isle-way needed for Noah and family to feed or check up on the critters – not to mention the elephant needs about 8 feet wide space to walk past the bug cages to get to his spot on the ark.
Sticking with the 5 feet by 5 feet space-per-critter assumption and doing a little math here to see if this whole Noah’s Ark story holds water. In essence, 5 million critters needed 5 feet of space each to survive (and remember we’re not even talking about space needed for food-storage—and that half of the creatures would need to eat other animals to even survive a week or two).
If the Ark was only 5’ wide single decked it would need to be 25,000,000 feet long (4,735 miles – about the width of the United States).
Now let’s say the Ark was 300 feet wide (the width of 3 football fields) – it would now be 60 critter-cages wide by 83,334 critter-cages long (80 miles long).
And if the Ark was 5 decks tall our floating zoo is now 3 football fields wide and 16 miles long.
Today’s largest ship, Prelude FLNG (presently under construction in South Korea; owned by Shell Oil) is approximately 1.5 football fields wide by 1,600 feet long. It is taking 4+ years to construct utilizing a ‘fleet’ of workers and machinery in contrast to Noah’s crew of, at best, 8 workers.
In summation and back to the math here: Noah’s theoretical ark is 104 times larger than the largest ship ever conceived in today’s space-aged technology! And again, not counting room on the ship for food, let alone the thoughts of how did 8 people manage the poo of 5 million critters!
Sound a little absurd? Yes, but 8 out of 10 people you might ask really believe such a story.
Today, two-thirds of the world’s people believe there really was a great world-wide flood. No scripture (the Bible, Koran, Torah nor the Upanishads) shines any make-sense light on the subject other than to perpetuate the apparent preposterous story.
Perhaps there really was a Noah and there really was a great flood – but the whole story got exaggerated over time? According to the Urantia Book, an exaggeration is exactly what did happen:
UB 78:7.4 The traditions of a time when water covered the whole of the earth’s surface are universal. Many races harbor the story of a world-wide flood some time during past ages. The Biblical story of Noah, the ark, and the flood is an invention of the Hebrew priesthood during the Babylonian captivity. There has never been a universal flood since life was established on Urantia (Earth). The only time the surface of the earth was completely covered by water was during those Archeozoic ages before the land had begun to appear.
UB 78:7.5 But Noah really lived; he was a wine maker of Aram, a river settlement near Erech. He kept a written record of the days of the river’s rise from year to year. He brought much ridicule upon himself by going up and down the river valley advocating that all houses be built of wood, boat fashion, and that the family animals be put on board each night as the flood season approached. He would go to the neighboring river settlements every year and warn them that in so many days the floods would come. Finally a year came in which the annual floods were greatly augmented by unusually heavy rainfall so that the sudden rise of the waters wiped out the entire village; only Noah and his immediate family were saved in their houseboat.
Also according to the Urantia Book, no kind loving God would or did ‘lose his temper’ and drown his erring children. That whole idea stemmed from a prevalent belief (still held by many today) that if one encounters a disaster it is because of one’s sins; and if there is bliss and prosperity it is evidence of God’s blessings.
Rumor and exaggeration is how myths get started and then perpetuated. Perhaps 1000 years from now, people will really believe there was a Santa Claus.