TSoA: Chapter 8: All the Different Things

Will you listen to this creek, John?  I’ve never noticed what a beautiful melody a creek makes.  Never taken the damn time.  And look at these mountains and these trees.  Hell, look at these green trees.  Come here—I don’t even know the names—we’re going to learn the names of these green trees.

-Roy O’Bannon, Shanghai Noon

Talking about Noah’s ark makes Murphy think about “the incredible diversity of God’s creation—everything that Noah had saved from the Flood.”

Um, that’s nice, I guess, but then he sits by a pond and ruminates on the pretty flowers he sees, and I don’t think there’s anything in the Bible about Noah collecting two of every plant.

Just sayin’.

So, the first part of Chapter 8 is basically Michael Murphy listening to that great old Motown hit, “Look at All the Different…Things.”

After many minutes of reverie, Murphy is interrupted by the annoyance of his students.  Gah!

It was sometimes frustrating when he wanted to just sit and think, but he couldn’t complain if his students were interested enough in his subject to track him down with burning questions.  That was what being a teacher was all about.

Notice how Murphy says “his subject,” which is Noah’s ark, and not “the course,” because what Murphy wants to show his students has nothing to do with getting a degree in archeology.

The small group of students have a good question: How did all the animals in the world fit on the ark?

Murph JUST HAPPENS TO HAVE IN HIS BRIEFCASE a list of all animals ever, grouped like so:

Mammals: 3,700

Birds: 8.600

Reptiles: 6,300

Amphibians: 2,500

Fishes: 20,600

[etcetra, etcetera, and so forth]

Total: 1,072,305

Most of the other arnimals listed are “Worms, etc” and marine invertebrates and things like that, which Murphy correctly points out would be better off in the water than in the ark, although what about the fact that some animals live in salt water and some in fresh…I dunno.

Anyway, he goes on with this long formula comparing the ark to a bunch of train boxcars stacked on top of each other, which I can’t imagine is the best analogy in the world for a bunch of 21st-century kids.  But Murphy kinda has to use it, because it appears that this is the Standard Creationist Ark Math.  (Being Standard Creationist Ark Math is a lot like being Standard Harry Potter Physics.)

For more information, Google a few Standard Ark Math pages, which use EXACTLY the same analogy of train cars.

And most of the animals that did need to live on the ark were small, like mice, cats, birds, and sheep.  If you look at the larger animals like the elephants and giraffes and hippos, they are the exception.

Uh huh.  Murphy got all his biology info from pictures like this, didn’t he?

(Picture from Alcoholics Conspicuous)

“So, we need a duckie family and a froggie family and giraffes and lions and elephants and…that’s it, right?  That’s all the animals we need.”

Oh, but you are forgetting something very important, Professor Murphy:

WHAT ABOUT THE DINOSAURS???

That’s right, Murphy has forgotten that DINOSAURS needed to be housed on the ark, where they could swing their gigantic tails around and destroy everything, or devour Noah and his kids, unless provided with enough SEA TURTLES TO EAT.

I just…am I alone here, people?  They are talking about housing dinosaurs with human beings on a giant floating train and fishing for sea turtles to feed them.  And this is Murphy’s science.  This is what he is teaching his students instead of how to map out a dig site.

So then some student asks where they would get drinking water on the ark.

[Murphy answers]  “You’ve got to remember that most of the Flood consisted of rain water.  With water covering the highest mountains, the salt water of the oceans could have been diluted enough to drink.”

Noah:  Don’t worry about the millions of bodies floating in the water, son!  I’m sure it’s probably fine!”

“They could also have collected rainwater from the roof and stored it in cisterns on the ark.”

Okay, I really hope they went with Option 2.

But to hell with stupid fakey science!  The students also want to know more about Murphy’s mention of Jesus and Noah and Sodom!

Of course they do.

Murphy was glad he’d been given an opening to talk to them about spiritual things.

He was glad that he had tossed out huge sections of his own syllabus so that he could force a discussion of spiritual things.

“When Jesus said, As in the days of Noah, He was referring to the fact that when He comes again in judgment, it will be to a world that is filled with people who do not care about the things of God.  Just like the people didn’t care in Noah’s, or Lot’s days.”

Some of the students seemed a little stunned by what he was saying.

Jesus?  Who’s that???

Murphy smiled.

Ah-HA!  Soon I shall have several more conversion notches on my belt!  Also, talking about widespread death and destruction always makes me smile!

This leads to one of the first (though BY NO MEANS the last) times in the latter three novels of this series that Murphy starts in on one of the things he hates mostest in world: Tolerance.

A student says that most people today think we should accept viewpoints other than our own.

“…tolerance has been twisted today to mean that everyone must accept the other person’s viewpoints without question because truth is relative.”

Really?  I think Michael Murphy would LOVE this blog!!

“That was exactly what was happening in the days of Noah and in the days of Lot.  Everyone was doing what was right in their own eyes.”

Those BASTARDS!!!

“And it’s the same today.  Society preaches tolerance of every viewpoint and everyone—with one big exception: those people who have a strong religious faith.  That’s where their double-standard tolerance ends.  Incredibly, people of faith are persecuted precisely because they do believe in absolute truth, in absolute moral values.”

Oh yeah, Murph, Christians in the States are soooo persecuted.  I can see that you have it really rough, what with your churches on every corner and your getting God into the pledge and onto the money and YOUR ABILITY TO TOSS OUT YOUR SYLLABUS AND LECTURE TO YOUR STUDENTS ABOUT YOUR FAITH WHENEVER THE MOOD STRIKES YOU.

I’m sorry, were you talking about hypocrisy, you sanctimonious frakker?  Were you talking about double standards, Mr. Guy Who Thinks Everyone Who Doesn’t Think Just Like You Is Going To Be Tortured Forever???

Ugh.  What was I saying once about Murphy not being quite as bad as Paul Stepola?

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Posted on July 4, 2012, in Books, The Secret on Ararat. Bookmark the permalink. 45 Comments.

  1. Grammar Police

    Happy Independence Day!

    I guess Murphy decided to celebrate his independence by seceding from his own syllabus to think his Raputuorus Thoughts About the Wonders of God’s Creation while his students look at each other in discomfort, wondering if their teacher is in the middle of an abscence seizure.

    Murphy’s sudden decision to preach (yes, preach, there is nothing else to call it) about the feasibility of the Noah’s Ark story reminds me heavily of Kevin Roose’s book “The Unlikely Disciple.” Murphy is a “professor” that would fit in beautifully at Liberty University; the FSM alone knows how he ended up at this establishment.

    “Some of the students seemed a little stunned by what he was saying.” — Well, if my professor just spent several minutes staring off into space in the middle of class before jumping into a rant that’s a hymn short of an alter call when he was supposed to be lecturing on the science of archaeology . . . I’d be stunned too. And wanting very badly to get the hell out of there.

    • Oops, sorry–it’s not the middle of class. It’s after class, and Murphy’s students have cornered him by the pond. That’s where he was staring off into space.

      • Grammar Police

        So Murphy’s revereie is slightly more forgivable then . . . but he still brought up Jesus when the students were asking about Noah, and he’s still going at it like his ultimate goal is convert every student he can (oh wait, it is) instead of imparting real, factual knowledge about a real, actual science.

        Why would the students corner him by the pond? Why wouldn’t they just go in during his office hours? . . . oh, right. Murphy is too manly to sit in his ivory-tower of academia for an hour each day.

        • I lecture at a university (though I’m not a celeb professor of Jesus-studies archaeology or anything) and I have to say that students here *are* pretty terrible at turning up during office hours, but not particularly shy about grabbing you when you’re walking across campus, reading the paper in the common room, having lunch, whatever, to ask a question about the required reading or the topic of last week’s lecture. So YMMV.

        • …instead of imparting real, factual knowledge about a real, actual science.

          Silly — imparting Real, Factual Knowledge about a Real, Actual Science, in a college class, is persecution, didn’t know know that?

  2. Headless Unicorn Guy

    Shouldn’t this scene be the run-up to the Altar Call Ending?

    Including the fourth wall break inviting the reader to recite The Sinner’s Prayer?

    Then the book can end and we can all go back to our lives…

  3. Of course, the fact that if the water were dilute enough to drink, it would be dilute enough to KILL ALL OF THE SALTWATER ANIMALS never crosses Michael Murphy’s mind.

    Also, if Michael Murphy thinks it’s so unfair that society (allegedly) doesn’t tolerate people with “strong religious faith,” then he must be A-OK with people who force women into burqas or torture children to death in exorcism because of their strong religious faith. OH WAIT NON-RTC FAITH ISN’T REAL FAITH.

    • Headless Unicorn Guy

      Of course, the fact that if the water were dilute enough to drink, it would be dilute enough to KILL ALL OF THE SALTWATER ANIMALS never crosses Michael Murphy’s mind.

      Already anticipated you, Syera.

      “And then God worked a Miracle… And then God worked a Miracle… And then God worked a Miracle…”

      Just like “Where did all that water come from and where did it go afterwards?”

      And “How did plants grow when the sun wasn’t created until a day or two later?”

  4. Actually, most water animals would’ve been in trouble because of how diluted the water was. Salt-water animals simply cannot live in fresh water like that.

    What’s more, all the marine plants would die due to the salinity change and the fact that they’re now eight kilometres deeper than they were before (8km of water is enough to block out all light easily) leaving nothing for the herbivores to eat during, or post, flood and a massive drop in oxygen levels would not help. Nor would the dilution of what nutrients were there (by a huge amount, too, the amount of water needed to flood the Earth to the depth of Mt. Everest is many, many times the amount currently in the oceans).

    Plus, of course, Murphy’s list of animals is…amazingly incomplete. It’s believed that there are between 2 and 100 million unique, non-bacterial species, not one. If we use the measurements given in the Bible we get a volume of 43 000m^3, which is between 0.01075m^3 (a box 8.7 inches to a side) to 0.000213m^3 (box 2.3 inches to a side) per animal. Plus room for food. That’s with a perfectly-optimized ark, mind you, where no space is taken up by cage walls and animals are stacked on top of each other. If we assume walls just an inch thick then those numbers, of course, drop significantly. You also need food in there (if every animal only eats it’s body-volume in food per flood-time you’re still looking at half the area per animal) plus those animals that there are seven of (this math assumes only 2 of a kind). (Actually, these numbers seem really high, I’m wondering if I didn’t mess up the math somewhere)

    Besides, what of bacteria and such? Some could live in the animals, yeah, but what about ones that need very specific conditions to live?

    And what of parasites? What of things like wasp species that can only survive by laying their eggs inside the fig of one specific type of fig tree? How do you feed the carnivores? etc.

    You can’t do it. Every plant has to be saved as well, so does ever marine animal, and even if they didn’t you’re looking at an ark larger than any city to pull off even two of a kind (never mind that if you actually read the story you find that Noah took seven of many species), Plus food. Plus waste disposal.

    Then you have to ask where all the water went. I did the math once, and it’s not a trivial amount. It’s something like 8x the water currently in all of Earth’s oceans and lakes. Now, there’s a massive amount of water stored in the Earth’s crust, but one assumes it was there pre-flood as well, so it can’t have gone there. Even if it did, where did it come from? That’s an unimaginable amount of water. It had to originate somewhere.

    That, of course, is where the canopy theory comes in, with an 8km shell of water surrounding the atmosphere of the planet (thus explaining the “firmament” being mentioned) which is ludicrous on so many levels (know what happens to liquid water in space? It instantly boils. If it’s ice then it sublimates at a constant rate, No matter what form its in, 8km of water would block all sunlight and if you think that the greenhouse effect is bad now…) that it’s hard to know where to start.

    The whole thing is nothing but cargo cult science. It pretends to be serious by using math and big words, but is utter nonsense.

    • Headless Unicorn Guy

      You can’t do it. Every plant has to be saved as well, so does ever marine animal, and even if they didn’t you’re looking at an ark larger than any city to pull off even two of a kind (never mind that if you actually read the story you find that Noah took seven of many species), Plus food. Plus waste disposal.

      And you’re not even counting any dinosaurs…

      That, of course, is where the canopy theory comes in, with an 8km shell of water surrounding the atmosphere of the planet (thus explaining the “firmament” being mentioned)

      And someone calculated that in order to keep the “vapor canopy” in the “firmament”/atmosphere, surface conditions on the antediluvian Earth would have been very similar to present-day Venus. (Cue another Miracle…)

      And once all that 8km shell of water hit the surface, where would it drain away to? (Cue still another Miracle…)

      The whole thing is nothing but cargo cult science. It pretends to be serious by using math and big words, but is utter nonsense.

      Like most of the twelve-syllable words used in YEC Uber Alles, it reminds me of a Dungeonmaster whose players have caught him in a rules hole, frantically handwaving “It’s Magic! It’s Magic! It’s Magic!”

      • I suddenly wonder if that might be at least a minor element in YEC zeal. If it can be explained in a fashion that DOESN’T require constant divine intervention, then perhaps it compromises God’s omnipotence (i.e. there’s something that ISN’T under his absolute control–and so might act in a fashion not absolutely consonant to his will)? In other words, it NEEDS to be something that’s self-contradictory, otherwise it might not be a divine artefact (and/or proof of God’s power).

      • Right, I’d forgotten that they need to include all species ever, not just current ones, because they also deny evolution.

        So that’s a few, what, thousand times the number of animals? So each gets a box a few thousands of an inch to a side. Cosy. Especially for the whale sharks.

        I should note that one explanation I saw for all the water was that there were no mountains pre-flood, so it took very little to cover the entire planet. Tidal waves then dredged up all the current mountain ranges.

        Now, ignoring the fact that many current mountain ranges are still growing, that doesn’t work on a whole host of levels. It’s up there with the claim that the flood caused tectonic plate movements, which is how koalas and stuff were on the ark: Pre-flood it was Pangaea, after it’s what we have now. Now, how the koalas got to Australia after it split off I’ve no idea. Nor why there are wolves on multiple continents and so on.

        • Headless Unicorn Guy

          I should note that one explanation I saw for all the water was that there were no mountains pre-flood, so it took very little to cover the entire planet. Tidal waves then dredged up all the current mountain ranges.

          It’s up there with the claim that the flood caused tectonic plate movements

          Well, Flood Geology (i.e. the above) dates back to just after the American Civil War, where it was first proposed by the Seventh-Day Adventists. Source was a vision by Ellen White, the dominant personality in the SDAs of the time. (The same SDA which RTCs routinely denounce as a CULT CULT CULT, presumably from their highly-offbeat End Time Prophecy choreography.)

          A LOT of the Biblical(TM) stuff that have become Primary Articles of Faith to the RTCs actually date back no farther than Victorian times. As far as anyone can trace:

          * Flood Geology? Seventh-Day Adventists, circa 1865. (See above.) The SDAs were currently reorganizing after their End of the World dates had all crashed and burned.

          * Secret Rapture/End Time Checklist? Dispensationalism, John Nelson Darby’s attempt to reconcile every apparent discrepancy in the Bible by separating them into separate “Dispensations”, circa 1835. The Rapture specifically was said to originate in a young woman’s vision. (Which from the accounts I can’t distinguish from trance channeling, but I got turned into a pile of rocks when I once made the comparison…)

          * Altar Call/Sinner’s Prayer? Tent-revival Evangelism of roughly 100 years ago, to get a head count of converts. And get them up there to sign a Dry pledge after they say The Sinner’s Prayer (TM).

          All these pillars of RTC “Pure Original Christian Faith” date back to the Victorians, as does “Fluffy Cloud Heaven” in general belief. Yet the RTCs defend them as if pronounced from the mouth of Christ Himself, dating back to the Apostles. And claim the same (“DIE, HERETIC!!!!”) — just broach any of the above subjects to one of them…

  5. “…tolerance has been twisted today to mean that everyone must accept the other person’s viewpoints without question because truth is relevant.”

    So was that a slip-up in your transcription, or did Jenkins really write “relevant” when he was trying to say “relative”?

    • That was a slip-up on my part! I shall fix. 🙂

      (Still, I can see the Straw Tolerance making individual truth both relative AND relevant!) 😉

  6. And most of the animals that did need to live on the ark were small, like mice, cats, birds, and sheep. If you look at the larger animals like the elephants and giraffes and hippos, they are the exception.

    Wolverines and hippos! On the same boat? With chimpanzees? And grizzly bears? And tigers! Don’t forget the tigers!

    I’m afraid I’m not much of a biologist because those are the most violent species I can think of. But still, you want two of each of them on a boat smaller than an aircraft carrier. Nothing good can come of this.

    And at the risk of being a bit gross, one needs to deal with the sewage. The only way to handle that much crap is to dilute it, flush it into a sump and pump it overboard. Unfortunately, the Bible doesn’t mention Noah’s Yanmar L100Vs.

    And lastly, for those more familiar with the story, who recruits Ham into being gay?

    • At the risk of being a little gauche, I suppose Noah and his animal troupe could have, er, tinkled over the side of the boat. Doing a #2 that way would take considerable dexterity, though.

      Ham? As in Bible Ham? That dude? Gay? Holy crap I DID NOT KNOW THIS. (I’m not joking, usually the Bible has nothing to say about same-sex relations except to portray them as baaaaaaaaaad.)

      • Headless Unicorn Guy

        No Skubalon, Sherlock.

        After the Flood, Noah plants a vineyard, brews a batch, and gets hammered until he passes out. Then Ham comes in and in a classic Hebrew idiom “sees his father’s nakedness”, for which he is cursed.

        (The Curse of Ham from this story was later applied to non-whites and used to justify the Slave Trade.)

      • The Ham-is-gay thing is more of a wingnut’s wingnut fantasy, but it comes from when he wanders into Noah’s tent and sees him drunk* and passed out naked. The Bible doesn’t say what he does, but his brothers cover up the drunk old man, and then Noah curses Ham, who then goes off to Africa to become a black guy.

    • Polar bears. Just frickin’ polar bears. The one animal (Or So I’ve Been Told) that will actively hunt humans for food.

      This is just… it’s not even science. It’s what I used to do when I was writing as a teenager. (Some teenagers write bad angsty poetry. I wrote bad angsty poetry AND bad angsty space opera. *sunglasses*) It’s handwavium. It’s having Dr. Zharkov build the one doohicky needed to defeat Ming’s superweapon. It’s… it’s almost literally deus ex machina! It’s driving me up the wall.

      Look, if LeHaye really wants to, he can build his own blessed ark. He has enough money. He has the measurements from the Bible, we know what a cubit is. Or is he suggesting that the Bible isn’t exactly correct when it gives the measurements of Noah’s ark?

      • Never mind the polar bear eating Noah, how did he GET to Noah in the first place? You just need such a ridiculous stack of divine miracles to get this all to work the way Murphy claims it did, you wonder why God didn’t just create a new Earth, put Noah and the animal pairs on it and blew up the old one. It doesn’t require any less divine intervention.

        Actually, screw Noah, just put in a day’s work and recreate the first humans again. I mean, what did Noah’s decendants do after Mr. Omnipotence decided to save them and them only because they were the best of humanity? Endless rounds of murder, torture, rape, war, plunder and large numbers of them being obliterated by god again because they were unsalvagable, and we’re not even out of the Old Testament yet. Yeah, that flood worked out great, didn’t it? And what’s the score today? Oh look, LaHaye is still complaining about being one of the very few righteous godly people left and it’s high time god enacts another purge. When you’re already wiping out life by the metric ton, why really bother with saving the seven fallen, sinful and inherently evil humans when you could start from scratch. And this time keep that snake out of the garden already.

        • Except for the not-so-minor conceit that ALL of this–the serpent, the deluge, the crucifixion, the forty years in the desert, all the various human corruptions, ALL of it–is according to God’s plan. At least one RTC theologian has said that the Vicarious Atonement wasn’t a Plan B after the Plan A of Eden fell through with Eve’s temptation. The need for Jesus’s sacrifice was part of Plan A from the beginning! Somehow, God WANTED humanity to be inherently corrupt so he could perform the sacrifice with a (n allegedly) legitimate clause. I’m not sure if it was the same theologian, but there’s also the claim that God wanted a vector for his wrath so his totality would be known and glorified with nothing left out. His by-definition-inherent-to-perfection capability for wrath included. For that reason, evil WAS necessary, so there’d be something he could punish, and good was necessary so there’d be something he could exalt.

          The Shin Megami Tensei version of Yhwh is just BARELY worse.

          • Headless Unicorn Guy

            To RTCs, the Plain Meaning of the Bible is actually filtered through Dispensationalism, which dates from the 1830s. Chaplain Mike over at Internet Monk once wrote that the time period (early Victorian) was a peak of Industrial Revolution and Age of Reason memes which led people to think of everything in terms of Engineering. And that one of the results was the Old Stories of the Bible becoming an Engineering Manual of Fact, Fact, Fact.

            (Engineering — Do X, get Result Y. Say the Sinner’s Prayer, Get Saved.)

            And Dispensationalism (of which I’ve seen the extreme fringe — ever heard of a Dake’s Annotated Bible?) feels like it’s been filtered through OCD — an obsessive-compulsive attempt to reconcile EVERY discrepancy and remove any ambiguity in a Bible of literal Fact, Fact, Fact. No matter how convoluted or complicated the result.

            And after a couple generations, the fish don’t know they’re wet and Dispensationalism becomes the ONLY Obvious Meaning, directly from the lips of God. (“Everybody Knows That!”) With the side effects and aftereffects Ruby is seeing in TSoA.

        • Yeah, it’s the same theology problem of Left Behind. It’s hard to feel upset at the evil and pleased with the wrath when the evil is part of the plan. RTC theology makes God less like a loving father and more like a serial killer who needs to get his fix. He knows humanity will fall, and he lets it happen. When they get ‘too evil’ he drowns almost all of them, but leaves a few alive although he knows they will become ‘too evil’ too, and he’ll be killing them all again. Repeat until the big slaughter at the Tribulation, then let Satan out of his pit after 1000 years for no reason but to smack him down once again.

          • Headless Unicorn Guy

            Repeat until the big slaughter at the Tribulation, then let Satan out of his pit after 1000 years for no reason but to smack him down once again.

            I understand in classical Hebrew, parallelism (telling the same story over and over with different imagery) is a way to show emphasis. (i.e. “This Is Important”)

            Has anyone considered that the “let Satan out of his pit after 1000 years just to smack him down once again” at the end of Revelation might be a summarized recap of the book, repeated for emphasis? Just as the Seven Trumpets, Seven Vials, Seven Scrolls, etc might be the same seven plagues repeated with different imagery?

            They say that John Nelson Darby came up with his elaborate system of Dispensationalism (of which Rapture and Left Behind choreography is a part) after falling off his horse sometime in the 1830s. Which led Martha of Ireland to wonder “How hard did he hit his head?”

  7. So, we have a scene where Murphy is looking out on the pretty university pond, swiftly followed by Murphy smiling as he tells about the upcomming obliteration of the planet. Now what does that reminds me of…

    For a while they flew on, motionless against the starry sweep of the Galaxy, itself motionless against the infinite sweep of the Universe. And then they turned round.
    “It’ll have to go,” the men of Krikkit said as they headed back for home.
    On the way back they sang a number of tuneful and reflective songs on the subjects of peace, justice, morality, culture, sport, family life and the obliteration of all other life forms.

    I really hope we get an RTC on this board for more than a drive-by post. Because I really, really want to talk to one in person about this martyr complex. Are they just completely blind? Their ‘persecution’ consist of sometimes people talking back to them, not accepting their every word, and attempts to limit the power they wield over others. Do they just not notice that atheists, gays and muslims AREN’T heading every city council and every government body?

    • Headless Unicorn Guy

      So, we have a scene where Murphy is looking out on the pretty university pond, swiftly followed by Murphy smiling as he tells about the upcomming obliteration of the planet. Now what does that remind me of…

      It could remind you of Jesus looking out and weeping over Jerusalem… except Jesus did that as a tragic lament.

      Or of Rayford LaHaye Steele and Jerry Buck Jenkins grinning with triumph in Left Behind.

    • I guess their martyr complex is helped by delusions such as thinking that Murphy’s behavior here is acceptable for a university professor. As others pointed out, people pay for entrance to these classes, and Murphy uses them as witnessing tools. It’s like you ordered a cab, you get in, the driver starts the meter… and then doesn’t start the car but instead turns around and starts trying to convert you to Hinduism (I apologize for that stereotype, but I wanted to phrase it in a way that an RTC would understand). And gets indignant if you complain, demand he start driving or at least that turns the meter of. Because it’s persecution for you to not want to pay him while he spends his time converting you instead of the job you payed him for.

  8. inquisitiveraven

    “So, we need a duckie family and a froggie family and giraffes and lions and elephants and…that’s it, right? That’s all the animals we need.”

    And something like this is how you get baraminology! Seriously, creationists make a big deal out of biblical kinds, but then they want a rate of evolution that no biologist would ever buy.

    OTOH, I suppose that I should give Murphy credit for acknowledging the existence of over a million species as opposed to Canned Ham who wants there to be only a few hundred “created kinds.”

  9. Murphy shouldn’t be so dismissive of tolerance. It’s the only thing that keeps him from getting laughed out of every decent institution in the country.

    • Headless Unicorn Guy

      Vermic, have you heard the one about “Persecution to an RTC means RTCs are not allowed to persecute everyone else”?

  10. …when [Jesus] comes again in judgment, it will be to a world that is filled with people who do not care about the things of God.

    Like what, I wonder? Hmmm… what was it Jesus talked about… oh, I remember! Helping the poor. Caring for the widows and orphans. Bring healing to the sick. Providing justice to the oppressed. Freeing the enslaved. Punishing the uber-rich who got that way by exploiting the people who worked for them, and the corrupt politicians who catered to them.

    Maybe LaHaye and his ilk should be building that ark of theirs pretty soon….

    • Headless Unicorn Guy

      I would like to point out that you usually see Young Earth Creationism and Ye Ende Is Nighye/Have Fun In HELL linked together. Where you find one full-strength, you usually find the other, also full-strength.

  11. Although it’s kind of like drinking from a fire hose, here’s the most thorough take down of the literalist interpretation of Noah’s Ark:

    http://ncse.com/cej/4/1/impossible-voyage-noahs-ark

    They cover EVERYTHING, from issues with construction and maintenance to housing millions of animals to salt water tables, etc… It’s complete with references and I’ve got it bookmarked permanently for just such an emergency.

    Also, YouTube’s thunderfOOt has an excellent series “Why do people laugh at Creationists?” where he hilariously subjects creationist claims to actual scientific scrutiny. Ep 3-7 (plus a few others later on in the series) deal with the flood in particular and they are priceless!

    • Headless Unicorn Guy

      Unfortunately, the above takedown can be countered by claiming “God Sent a MIRACLE” on every point raised. The Dwarfs are for The Dwarfs, and Won’t Be Taken In.

      • True, but the more they have to fall back on “Goddidit” the less they can claim scientific validation.

  12. hidden_urchin

    I remember calculating the cargo capacity of the ark once for an online discussion. I used the biblical dimensions and the most generous formulae I could find. Even making a bunch of assumptions, such as “the animals were magically in stasis so no food/waste/space issues to deal with,” I still couldn’t fit two each of the top fifteen largest animal species on board. They were too heavy.

    We’re just going to have to call it early quantum state phenomena.

    • We all, sooner or later, just have to face the fact that the Bible’s broken.

      Doesn’t make sense.

      • The smarter Christians I know are prepared to say “yes, it was written by a bunch of different people, at different times, with their own politics to boost – but there’s still good stuff in there”. This of course makes them heretics to the RTCs.

        • Heh. I think that was Shepherd Book’s point. Actually, that might have been the point of that whole episode (Firefly: Jaynestown).

      • I was raised with the following facts about the Noah’s Ark stories, and most of the stories of the Bible:

        1) They’re stories. Some are parables, some are history (told from a certain point of view and with certain goals in mind), and some are just stories.

        2) Noah’s ark in particular may recount some kind of memory of a great flood that happened to people in one place, and it’s their fable of how they survived it. Or maybe it’s their fable to explain a bunch of animal skeletons they found all in one spot. Or maybe it’s their fable to explain the bones of extinct species they keep finding. There are a lot of explanations for a story like that, and they can all tell us something about humanity.

        Most Christians and Jews do not take the Bible literally. That doesn’t mean it’s “broken” — despite what RTCs say, it was never meant to be a science textbook.

        Also, I loved the Noah’s Ark story as a child. Kids don’t get upset about a lot of the things adults think they should get upset about, particularly when those things are in a book. Kids revel in weird and scary and strange stuff. Plus ooh look, pretty pictures of animals and a rainbow. I never believed the story actually happened, any more than I believed Alice in Wonderland actually happened, but I liked the animals and the rainbow.

        • The comment about the Bible being broken was a quote from a TV show. Here’s the scene being quoted:

          The point of the episode was that stories don’t have to be factually correct to be valuable or true. River later notices that her attempts to change the Bible results in it losing its meaning:

          The A plot also revolved around the idea of accurate vs. true stories with a petty thief being seen as a Robin Hood type folk hero. It’s really a great episode.

  13. “…tolerance has been twisted today to mean that everyone must accept the other person’s viewpoints without question because truth is relative.”

    Kind of funny that the same right-wing folks who invoke this trashing of situational ethics (a phrase they often use as a coded shout-out, as well) should then use the insistence that “you must tolerate my intolerance!” as a rhetorical judo move.

    So which is it? Absolute standards of conduct or flexible rules depending on who’s doing the interpretation?

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