Noah's Ark is a good example of this. I can see why people value it as a lesson, a warning, a proverb, whatever. But how can anyone keep believing it actually occurred, when it's so obviously impossible with even a cursory glance at reality? Just for a quick list: Where did the water come from to flood the entire earth? Where did the water go? How did fish survive with fresh and salt water mixing? How did animals from distant parts of the earth walk to the Middle East? How did they return to South America and Australia and every island in every ocean afterwards? How did the few thousand animals possibly on the ark multiply and evolve into the millions of species we see today in just a few thousand years? How did Noah carry all that food? Dispose of hundreds of tons of shit every day? How could a boat made entirely of wood be so much larger than any wooden ship could ever be without collapsing under its own weight?
That's just a handful of the factual details that make the Noah's Ark fable impossible, and yet people with modern university educations continue to try and prove that it could have actually happened. Unless you want to take the old fantasy world catch-all excuse of "a wizard did it" and just say, "God made it happen." the Noah's Ark argument is impossible. And yet people keep trying...
No one with any sense really believes that it rained for 40 days and nights. That there was enough water to cover the entire earth 6 miles deep, and then that water drained away (to where?) and the world was entirely repopulated in just a few years, by humans and animals entirely from one little boat that landed on a mountain in Turkey. Right? I just can't believe anyone believes that who has given it any logical thought.
If someone really wants to believe in the hand of god wiping away the sinners, that's their option. God, as popularly-described, is after all omniscient and omnipotent, so he could do anything, stop time, create the earth in a day with billions of years of fossils in it, etc. And through magic or miracles or whatever you want to call them, He (she? it?) could make it rain for 40 days/nights, flood the earth, kill everyone else, etc. Then afterwards God would have to teleport animals to every island and continent on earth, and also massively speed up breeding and evolution so that the few animals/humans in the ark could mutate to fill every ecological niche in just a few hundred years. He'd also have to do this so it didn't create a fossil record of mass extinctions, somehow keep all of the saltwater fish from dying due to all of the non-salty rain, make 30,000 feet of water evaporate away almost immediately, etc.
Which is logically absurd, but if you really want to believe in it, you can do so.
Which means that besides carrying the thousands of extra animals for the carnivores to eat, he had to have a bunch more extra to sacrifice once they landed and the water receded. Insert "end of the unicorns" joke here.
On the same topic, there's a listing of what the Dallas Zoo requires on a daily basis, to feed the animals. If you go by the literal definition of the ark's cargo there were millions of animals on it. Obviously that's because the people who invented the ark legend didn't know anything about the animal kingdom and the huge variety of creatures in it, so didn't realize how absurd the idea was. But reality aside, if you say there was just one representative pair of animals of each species, and that super fast reproduction and evolution/mutation enabled one type of beetle to turn into the hundreds of thousands of types we see today, you could say that there was a manageable number of animals on the ark. So less than the Dallas Zoo, but still thousands of creatures.
Here's what the Dallas zoo needs every single day.
- A ton of hay
- 35 pounds of fish
- 50 pounds of meat
- 100 stalks of celery
- five pounds of red onions
- 100 pounds of carrots
- 25 pounds of spinach
- 15 pounds of kale
- 10 pounds of mixed vegetables
- 150 pounds of sweet potatoes
- 10 heads of cabbage
- 48 heads of romaine
- 30 ears of corn
- four loaves of wheat bread
- 24 eggs
- a pound of yogurt
- 40 pounds of bananas
- eight pounds of blueberries
- 170 oranges
- 500 apples
- 36 cantaloupes
- four papayas
- 250 rodents (the variety pack)
- 6000 mealworms
- 600 wax worms
- 7500 crickets
Remember, it rained for 40 days/nights, and then they had to wait around for the water to drain away (again, where did it go?) for some more weeks. This list of food is what the Dallas Zoo needs every day. Multiply this by 50 or 60 days... Say that Noah only needed half a ton of hay a day. That's 30 tons of hay for the whole cruise. Exactly where did they keep this? How did they gather it all in advance of the rain? If you gathered 100 pounds of hay every day, it would take you 20 days per ton. So you'd have to do nothing but gather hay for 600 days to get 30 tons together.
The funny thing to me about Noah's Ark believers is that they not only want to believe in the whole happy little fairy tale, but that they keep trying to defend it scientifically!
So you've got grown men and women trying to work out scientific ways that Noah and his few assistants could build a wooden structure far too large to not collapse under its own weight, feed thousands or millions of animals every day, harvest and store the millions of tons of food that those animals require, remove the tons of waste when the vast majority of animals will be below deck and you can't just do it with gravity, explain how salt water and fresh water fish could all live in the same worldwide ocean, etc. A bright eight year old can bring up half a dozen things about the Ark myth that cannot be explained scientifically; and yet they keep trying.
They've even worked on problems like "how did Kangaroos get to Noah?" and tried to map out kangaroo migration paths from Australia to the middle east. I imagine the migration of three-toed sloths and other animals from South America would require even more imaginative science, given that they need to leave several hundred or thousand years early to make it all the way across the land bridge between Alaska and Siberia. I'd like to hear the explanation for how those tropical animals survived the arctic circle.
Watching adults trying to use science to support something so obviously mythical is cute, but a little disturbing. It's like a little kid who still believes in Santa Claus, but is old enough to have some rudimentary understanding of critical thinking and logic, so is therefore trying to work out a schedule by which Old Saint Nick could read every child's mind on earth, construct hundreds of millions of toys, pack them all into a sleigh that eight (or nine) flying reindeer can pull, move around the entire world in a single night, fit down and back up every chimney, eat all of those plates of cookies and glasses of milk, and even get into houses that don't have chimneys.
And yes, it's sort of cute when a little kid tries that, and you hate to burst their little bubble, but you know it's going to burst soon enough, no matter what white lies you tell them to perpetuate their adorable childish mental state. The only problem with this metaphor? The Noah's Ark'ers never outgrow it. People spend years and millions of dollars on this issue, while overlooking the thousands of physical impossibilities about the story. It really is the equivalent of an adult expedition to the North Pole to find Santa Clause.
Why don't the believers just drop all of the pathetic scientific explanations, and revert to magic? God did it. God teleported the animals in. God brought Noah the millions of tons of lumber he needed. God made a wooden structure that large hold together in defiance of the laws of physics and carpentry. God made the animals on board not need food, or else He made their food appear when needed and their poo and pee magical disappear. God made it rain for 40 days and nights. God made the salt water and fresh water fish able to co-exist in the same world-covering ocean. God made the water all drain away immediately and restored the millions of plant species that would otherwise have drowned and gone extinct during the flood.
Making the whole thing a divine miracle wouldn't be as satisfying, but at least then they could stop wasting scientific time on absurdities, and there'd be no more need for actual scientists and critical thinkers to spare this topic a moment of thought.
The pervasive nature of obviously false beliefs is one thing that always perplexes me. How can anyone continue to believe in something that's so obviously absurd? How can adults spend literally their whole lives trying to find ways to explain Noah's Ark, or Creationism, or other such things in scientific terms? Twisting around natural laws, ignoring things that don't work in their theories, etc? It seems like such a colossal waste of time.