I didn't so much feel like putting together an AtF post today. However, I did manage to read a rather long paper from the NCSE evaluating whether the Creationist accounts of the flood are even remotely possible and if the Ark could have actually survived with two of every animal and an extra dozen or so of all the clean animals.
Spoiler warning: no. Not it couldn't have.
The article is long, but it's fascinating, as it attempts to explain what the Earth would look like if it were suddenly ovewhelmed by flood waters, what it would look like afterwards, and what life on the Ark would be like (spoiler warning: pitch black, stinky, and potentially explosive).
If you don't feel like reading it, there are a couple of things I really liked.
1. It is pointed out that Noah covered the Ark with pitch. But in Creationism there couldn't have possibly been pitch, since it was the immense pressure of the waters of the flood that created oil and whatnot.
2. Even given rather generous specifications in terms of available space and numbers of animals, the Ark would have had 0.275 cubic feet of space for each animal. Consider the elephant. Or the rhinoceros. Or the horse. Or, hell, the tiny dogs Hollywood starlets are prone to carry around in purses. That space disappears quickly...
3. The article refers to people who engage in Noahic apologetics as "arkeologists."
4. This quote: But merely to pose such questions is to answer them, for the creationists already "know" what occurred and seek only to confirm it. As Henry Morris concludes, "But the main reason for insisting on the universal flood as a fact of history and as the primary vehicle for geological interpretation is that God's word plainly teaches it! No geologic difficulties, real or imagined, can be allowed to take precedence over the clear statements and necessary inference of Scripture" (1970, p. 33).
5. And also this quote: When even these nonsensical suggestions fail, the apologists have no qualms about resorting to the interpretive wastebasket: miracles.
6. Also, this quote: This includes so many pointless prodigies, so many inane interventions for no reason other than to save a literalistic Bible, that religion itself is cheapened in the process, not to mention the total abandonment of any semblance of science.
Ah, hell, just go read the damn thing. It's totally worthwhile.
This is actually one of those places where the old saying "god is in the details" can come in to rather ironic play. There are all of these massive impossibilites that just kind of slide past one after another. Then you hit a tiny little point where you stop and think, "Well, shit, I never thought of that before."
Scalzi had one of those moments in a post I linked to right before Christmas. The innkeeper points out that it's a little screwy that Joseph had just returned to his hometown but couldn't find anyone from his family to stay with. At that point all of the big arguments that there was no massive census called by Augustine and that no Roman administrator in his right mind would call for such a boneheaded, insanely difficult method of running a census collapse and the easy to point out question becomes, "If Joseph was home, why couldn't he stay with a family member?"