Is Noah’s Ark a Problem?

A quora question asks “How many animals did Noah take into the ark?”

One user answers, “Here is the Genesis and Genetics answer…Fundamentally, all of the species currently defined by modern science were on the Ark…Our study of the mouse was fascinating in that we found that there are more than one hundred mouse kinds/species, and they all remain distinct…Our conclusion would necessitate that on the order of 6000 amphibia, 10,000 bird, 6,000 mammals, and 8,000 reptile kinds/species were aboard the Ark.”

To the credit of that answer, it’s one of the few answers with hard numbers. The answer refers to this study, and my reading of that study is that it claims to be contrastive with evolution.

Against the credit of that answer:

  1. My extremely limited knowledge of the historical ark indicates that such a load of animals onboard is not tenable.
  2. Being contrastive with evolution seems both extraneous and not credibly tenable on both scientific and religious grounds.

So, I think the theistic evolutionist has it easier again! The mouse is only one kind of animal. The theistic evolutionist can embrace ordinary or limited common descent. In either case, the ark may have one or a few kinds of animals that become the common ancestor(s) to the various kinds of mice we find today. Evolution can take it from there, in an ordinary way or by a theistically-facilitated process. The historic ark is now much more plausible, requiring a much smaller load of cargo.

Finally, a note to the reader that is tempted to do away entirely with the design thesis: The many human-bred forms of animals (including mice, dogs, cats, and so on) make intelligent design a fact.

Imo the debate needs to progress from “evolution against design” to a recognition of the reality of both and a discussion more connected to share of explanation and specific mechanisms for each category.


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