• The Water and the Flood

    OK, so most people of neutral, skeptical or commonsensical persuasion understand that the global flood claims of Genesis are nonsense. Yet the meme still persists amongst literalists and fundamentalists. I love GearHeadEd’s comment over on DC. It shows that that much water is truly a ridiculous concept. I wrote extensively once on why people believe such silly things. Here is Ed’s comment:

    Here’s a very detailed presentation of a theory as to how the Noachian Flood happened. First, there isn’t that much water available on Earth, so where did the water come from?

    A hypotheses has been put forward that the earth was struck by a number of comets which delivered the requisite water to earth, hence the flood. You gotta be fakkin’ kidding me! It pains me knowing that I live in a country where people can propagate this kind of thing (and worse, be believed!) so I started to work out a some calculations based upon fairly simple math (albeit with some very large numbers) and high school science. So how big would the S’Noah ball have to be?

    Ok then. The Bible claims that the entire earth was covered in water. So how much water is that? A simple approximation can be calculated .

    Assuming the world is only 6000 or so years old then it stands to reason that Mount Everest was pretty much as we find it today, give or take. To cover all the land on earth requires enough water to raise sea level another 8848 meters (height of Everest). Should we throw in 3 extra meters just to prevent anyone from standing on their tippy toes? You have to be sure everyone drowns don’t we? Naw, that variable will get swallowed in significant digit rounding errors anyway.

    Next, we need to calculate the volume of the earth at sea level. Now I will use the diameter at the poles not the equator. I know what you are thinking – that underestimates the volume a bit because the earth is bulged at the equator. Have no fear. I chose the smaller number because then I can discount the variable volume caused by topography and still have a conservative estimate.

    Diameter of the earth at the poles ~ 12,715.43 km so the radius ~ 6378 km.

    The volume of a sphere is 4/3 Pi*r^3 or in this case 1.33333…*3.14159…* (6378^3) or roughly 1,086,780,374,578 cubic km. This number will be subtracted from the volume of an earth-sized body covered by an additional 8.8 km of water to determine how much water has to be delivered by this comet(s).

    Add 8.8 to 6378 and we get ~ 6387 km for a volume of 1,091,387,539,146 cubic km.

    Eliminating the volume of the earth pre-flood, we end up with 4,607,164,568 cubic km of water required. DOOH! That seems like a lot of water. So let’s put it into some perspective. Dividing this number by 3/4Pi and then taking the cube root you end up with a blob of water roughly 2064 km in diameter or fairly close to the diameter of Pluto (2274 km). That IS a lot of water! All right – there are things that big out there in the Kuiper Belt and Oort Cloud so I guess one of them could strike the earth.

    But let’s see how much protection an ark would need to survive such a thing. Now I know you are saying “DUDE – the Bible says it rained 40 days and 40 nights so it all didn’t have to hit all at once”, but the amount of total energy delivered stays the same no matter how many individual packets are involved. To be generous let’s divide this blob into 80 parts; one for each night and day…

    That means that twice a day 57,589,557 cubic km of water struck the earth.

    But let’s just use the total to make some estimates. To this point the faithful can say that “yeah, that could have happened”. Maybe. But now we need to calculate what WOULD have been the result of such a collision(s).

    There’s this little problem with energy conservation that they seem to have ignored… We have to account for the energy transferred to the earth and its atmosphere by way of such a collision.


    Kinetic energy is determined by 1/2mv^2 where m=mass and v=velocity for a point object with no rotational energy. (Let’s keep it somewhat simple and ignore rotational forces for now…

    A cometary body striking the earth is usually given a velocity around 25 kps (kilometers per SECOND!)

    The mass of water is 1000 kg/cubic m. There are 1,000,000,000 cubic meters in a cubic km so we have 1,000,000,000,000 kg of water / cubic km. (see where we are going with this yet?) Multiply this by the amount of water we determined was
    needed and what do you get?

    4.61×10^21 kg of water.

    That results in 1.44×10^30 Joules of kinetic energy! That is roughly how much energy would be absorbed by the earth to stop a 2000+km diameter ball of ice. And it has to be to stop it or else the water doesn’t fall to earth.

    That seems like a lot of energy to get rid of – particularly when you consider that 3.34×10^31 J is how much the sun produces each day and 5.5×10^24 J is how much total solar energy strikes the earth each year! Another comparison is
    that it would be equivalent to 5.46 Trillion Hiroshima-size atomic bombs (a little more than 15,000 of them per square kilometer–that’ll leave a mark!). Or, if you prefer, the total energy delivered to the earth by the asteroid at the end of the Cretaceous period was at least 10 million times less… I don’t care how many cubits the ark was I doubt a wooden boat could weather that storm…

    That isn’t the end of our problems – how do you mop up all that extra water when you are sure everyone is dead?


    Tricked ya because all that energy would have flashed the water to steam and exploded out into space leaving a surface of molten rock! Oh, that might not bode well for poor old Noah and clan…

    Still think a Flood actually happened?

    (Hat Tip to Pliny the In-Between…)

    Such comet as causing flood theory has been detailed elsewhere. But it is wholly problematic, as you can see.

    Category: FeaturedScienceScience and religionSkepticism


    Article by: Jonathan MS Pearce

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    • I did video on this subject some time ago. I have slightly different results, but close enough as approximations allow, I think. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_mbP5KJf5n0

      • GearHedEd

        You should do another video including the implications of 3.1 billion additional km^3 of water hitting the planet over a period of 40 days and forty nights…
        I also note that my figure of 4.6 Gkm^3 differs from your figure of 4.4Gkm^3 by only about 4% which is barely more than significant digit roundoff (and I also note that you used the equation for an ellipsoid rather than a sphere, which is probably more accurate). In any case, the Flood is a ridiculous story on all levels that can be analyzed in any way.

    • GearHedEd

      I freely admit that I stole this from Pliny… Hope his blog page (which has been idle for over a year now) doesn’t all of a sudden light up with a load of angry Christians trying to refute his math…


    • guerillasurgeon

      Dear Ed, if you don’t want to say fuckin’ don’t fake it :-). Otherwise good stuff.

    • Joe G

      Umm according to the religious people Mount Everest did not exist as such during the flood. No mountains existed. Neither did the deep ocean basins.
      If you want to refute something first you have to learn about it

      • “according to the religious people”

        Er, WTF?

        If you want to ad hoc move around evidence and fact until reality is so far removed from … reality, then you do that. But don’t expect to engage with rational people on the same level. Because you start making claims like Everest did not exist 6,000 years ago (but special plead that Ararat did) then you have every right to be laughed out of town.

        • Joe G

          Read the Bible or wallow in your ignorance. Ararat was created during the flood year- all the mountains were.
          Rational people? YOU? Materialists aren’t rational people, Jon.

          • Are you serious?

            ” Then the flood [n]came upon the earth for forty days, and the water increased and lifted up the ark, so that it rose above the earth. 18 The water prevailed and increased greatly upon the earth, and the ark [o]floated on the [p]surface of the water. 19 The water prevailed more and more upon the earth, so that all the high mountains [q]everywhere under the heavens were covered. 20 The water prevailed fifteen [r]cubits higher, and the mountains were covered. 21 All flesh that [s]moved on the earth perished, birds and cattle and beasts and every swarming thing that swarms upon the earth, and all mankind; 22 of all that was on the dry land, all in whose nostrils was the breath of the spirit of life, died. 23 Thus He blotted out [t]every living thing that was upon the face of the land, from man to animals to creeping things and to birds of the [u]sky, and they were blotted out from the earth; and only Noah was left, together with those that were with him in the ark. 24 The water prevailed upon the earth one hundred and fifty days.”

            Um, nowhere here does it say the mountains were created in the time of the flood. In fact, it explicitly talks about how the water lifted to cover the (already extant) mountains.

            You really are scraping the barrel here. What terrible rationality. And then claiming some kind of Danth’s Law. Get over it. Read that Genesis passage.

            After the mountains were covered, the water prevailed. Not, the waters prevailed causing the mountains to appear.

            • Joe G

              What Bible are you using? And why do all Bible scholars disagree with you?

              “And the waters prevailed exceedingly upon the earth; and all the high hills that were under the whole heaven were covered. Fifteen cubits upward did the waters prevail; and the mountains were covered” (KJV).

              High hills,not mountains.

              See also- http://www.answersingenesis.org/articles/2009/07/06/did-noah-need-oxygen

            • 1) NASB, but most translations agree, and your use of the KJV still uses mountains there in the second part
              2) Whacko bible scholars – go on, hit me with their hilarious ad hoc rationalising
              3) Nowhere in any translation does it even remotely imply, let alone claim, that mountains were created during the flood. Your rationalising is hilarious. ly. bad,
              4) As stated, your own translation states the high hills were covered and the mountains. Both. No creation of mountains in between those sentences.

            • Look, if you want to denounce all science, including observable science today (yes, we can see how much mountains grow, and see the impact of plate tectonics) and claim that this happens back to the point of the Bible ok, and then ‘magic hapned’, deferring to the assertion that a couple of verse in a book of unknown provenance (which is actually predated by the Epic of Gilgamesh and Mesopotamian tablets on this very subject) can refute all of that science, then you are clearly delusional, and no rational argument will sway you.

              But you would also be unable to separate any other mental ad hoc claim from yours with anything other than special pleading.

              It is right that I mock you here, because you are making yourself look very, very silly.

            • That’s the funniest article I have read in ages. Thanks!

            • Void L. Walker

              I find it funny that he said that all biblical scholars disagree with you. Hmm. Maybe he needs to do some actual research, as I noted above. I mean, really. I’m sorry, john. Your head must hurt as much as mine right about now.

            • GearHedEd

              Oops. that was for JoeG…

            • Joe G

              And your tripe is the funniest stuff I have read in ages.

            • So I could pick any poem that talks about mountains rising to assume the poet is talking about actual mountains actually rising?


              “We were in China at the time
              and the mountains rose up

              beside the river like mountains
              in an ancient Chinese painting,

              all sharp angles and clouds
              and dots of bright colors like birds

              in a painting. The stream at their feet
              ran bright and swift toward the sea.”

              or maybe a bit of Chekhov:

              “The first impression in all was a feeling that they would never get out of that place again. On all sides wherever they looked, the mountains rose up and towered above them, and the shadows of evening were stealing rapidly, rapidly from the duhan and dark cypress, making the narrow winding valley of the Black River narrower and the mountains higher. They could hear the river murmuring and the unceasing chirrup of the grasshoppers.”


            • Joe G

              Is that in the Bible, Jon? Psalms is part of the Bible, duh.

            • er, what? I am pointing out the ridiculous claim in that piece you linked which claimed that the statement “the mountains rose…” literally meant they rose. Which it doesn’t. So I pointed out other examples of the use of that phrase, none of which physically mean that.

            • Joe G

              Jon, you just say that it is ridiculous because it refutes your ridiculous claims. And again no one should listen to what an atheist has to say about the Bible. Heck all of this was covered when I went to Church school/ Bible study, over 4 decades ago.

            • No one should listen to what a Christian has to say about the Qu’ran. So it’s untouchable., so it’s true.

              The logic of a teenager.

            • Void L. Walker

              You are really, really sad….I mean, really. I used to be about as deluded as you are, but thankfully removed my head from my ass. You honestly mean to tell me that you take the Genesis flood myth literally? Really? Wow. Okay, so explain the Grand canyon for me. The sediments that comprise it aren’t exactly malleable by nature, so why is it that the canyon snakes it’s way along, making sharp turns, if it was created by receding flood waters? Have you ever bothered to do any actual research, besides that which conforms to your archaic view of reality? If I climbed out of the pit of literalism, you can too. Maybe one day you’ll think for yourself.

            • GearHedEd

              AHHHHHH HAAHAAHHAHHHA! Answers in Genesis is the biggest load of false on Planet Earth.

              Quoting it as authoritative is doubly fallacious.

            • GearHedEd

              The staff of “Answers in Genesis” does not comprise “all biblical scholars”. And your diversions and obfuscations fail to answer the fact that 1/2mv^2 applied to the required mass to “cover the mountains 15 cubits deep” would still melt the surface of Planet Earth.

          • Void L. Walker

            You mention ignorance….oh my God. I just laughed to the point of tears. The ignorant one here is you, Joe. You are ignorant of science, basically of reality in general. You hold to this out-dated literalistic interpretation of the bible, and any evidence that conflicts with it is tossed out the window (along with your brain).

      • Wow that was extra-retarded.

        Just when I thought apologetics wouldn’t get any worse.

        • Void L. Walker

          Joe is a special case….. :)

      • GearHedEd

        “Religious People (definition): Those folks who must try to rearrange their own stories to conform to the reality of …reality. Because their stories don’t reflect…reality.

    • Void L. Walker

      GearHedEd, brilliant post. The religious mind is a truly warped, sad one; they can stretch out their imaginations to cover virtually everything….

      • GearHedEd

        Well, like I said earlier, I stole this from another guy I used to blog with, although I could have whipped up the math too, if I’d had a mind to.

    • Joe G

      Look, when it comes to the Bible atheistic materialsits on an agenda are the last people anyone should listen to. And here you are.
      And now that Stephen Hawking has admitted that yours is a position of sheer dumb luck, you really shouldn’t talk about science as your position has nothing to do with it.

      • Void L. Walker

        Joe….why didn’t you reply to everything we said? And please, please don’t tell me you actually think Stephen Hawking is a YEC of any kind. You know, at first you riled me up a bit, but now I sincerely pity you.

        • Joe G

          Void, You haven’t said anything worth responding to.

          Hawking reference: http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052748704206804575467921609024244

          • You don’t appear to be responding to any pertinent points here made.

            What is wrong with luck being part of it? So what? It certainly doesn’t need your pejorative “sheer dumb” affix!

            There’s only one seer dumb thing around here, and that’s (Young Earth / literalist) Creationism.

            • Joe G

              What pertinent points? Your strawmen are not pertinent, Jon. And luck isn’t a part of materialism, Jon. It is all of it.
              And yes a 6,000 year old earth is dumb and it isn’t part of the Bible.

          • Void L. Walker

            Joe, I read the article and fail to see, anywhere in it, where Hawking asserts that ‘blind luck’ is even remotely close to the view that we (and he, himself) hold. Really, it’s funny that you linked me to an actually scientific article to begin with (please make that a habit in the future). You see, I would rather glean the universe through a lens of common sense, logic and empiricism than assert magic as you do. You clearly insinuate that ours is a position born from faith, which is amusing to me.

            You claim to KNOW that a being you cannot even begin to prove exists crapped the universe out in a week, ex nihilo (even though He existed, meaning that the concept itself is self-defeating), whereas we claim that actually studying and observing nature, then coming to conclusions regarding it’s birth and evolution BASED UPON the observations and predictions, is the proper way to go about it. You see, you start with a baseless assertion of total certitude; beginning with Yahweh creating the universe. You then work OUTWARDS from a claim of certainty to reach your (already arrived at to begin with) “conclusion”. You call this a scientific position?

            In reality, I believe that you are scared, in much the same way that I was. You cling to any bits of actual evidence, warp and twist them around, then attempt to stuff a square bit into a circular hole, in a vain attempt to find vindication for your desired outcomes and beliefs.

            As John noted, you have failed to respond to any of our points of contention. Claiming that they are “not worth responding to” is a sign of fear on your part. Why are they not worth it? Answer that, and please do so without giving a link to an archaic, laughably biased creationist source. I lost my faith reading those, especially ICR articles. If you really wanna play the link game, I have a few gems I can throw your way.

            • We have had some history with JoeG. Andy, here, a molecular evolutionary biologist, took him to task over a $10,000 bet over nested hierarchies:


            • Void L. Walker

              Wow, amazing. I’m surprised I’m even making an attempt to engage him. It is clear that his mind is already made up, much like Ham conceding that nothing could change his beliefs in the Nye debate. I fear I’ve only wasted my time here….but I just want him to think for fucks sake!

            • I hear you, man, I hear you.

            • Joe G

              Strnge how Andy sed I was wrong and then set about agreeing with me. Also “nested hierarchy” is a technical term. And Andy did not understand that nested hierarchies have to exhibit summativity.
              So stuff it Jon.

            • Andy_Schueler

              Did you finally attend some anger management classes? Just curious because you´ve managed to write a couple of almost coherent comments without once saying “I´m right because fuck you asshole” or something along that line.
              Once you get a grip on your anger management issues, you might want to work on your reading comprehension skills.

            • Joe G

              Andy, did you fibally get an education? My reading comprehension skills are fine. Ya see it doesn’t matter if evolutionism doesn’t expect all of the organisms that had to have lived still be alive. The point is they have to be accounted for. And by doing so it would ruin any objective nested hierarchy that existed.
              But all of that is moot becuse you still haven’t referenced a valid definition of nested hierarchy, yet I have. And my references support my claims.

            • Andy_Schueler

              Has already been addressed countless times. Your reading comprehension is still as abysmal as it used to be.

            • Void L. Walker

              Why are we all even trying to engage this lying bigot? I just found a grey hair….

            • Joe G

              Andy- you have been addressed countless times. You still have no idea what a nested hierarchy is.
              You cannot ignore organisms just because they are no longer around. The classification scheme HAS to take them into account.

              Here is more for you to ignore:

              Regardless of what is eventually learned about the evolution of Clarkia/Heterogaura, the complex nature of evolutionary processes yields patterns that are more complex than can be represented by the simple hierarchical models of either monophyletic systematization or Linnaean classification. Eric Knox, “The use of hierarchies as organizational models in systematics”, Biological Journal of the Linnean Society (1998), 63: 1–49, page 34


            • Andy_Schueler

              Andy- you have been addressed countless times.

              No. You simply repeat the same BS ad nauseam without ever learning anything. Business as usual with you.

            • Joe G

              LoL! It is only BS to you because you are ignorant wrt nested hierarchies. Business as usual, indeed.

            • The way I remember, this, and I may be wrong here, is that you fail to grasp the Sorites paradox and the nominalism/realism debate. You seem to think nested hierarchies are somehow real ontological things as opposed to conceptual tools for classifying real things. By objective, you are smuggling in some kind of Platonic realism wrt to abstract conceptual labelling. This smacks of naivety.

            • Joe G

              So wrong when you are wrong, Jon. You have it backwards. I understand nested hierarchies are totally manmade constructs that help us organize things. It is Andy and other evos that think blind watchmaker evolution produces nested hierarchies.

            • It produces animals which are easily categorisable into nested hierarchies. What’s your beef? This would be predicted on evolution, and we have these3 hierarchies. Give me an example of where this is not the case. And don’t be such an almighty, confrontational douche about it. No wonder you get banned from… everywhere.

            • Andy_Schueler

              “Here is more for you to ignore”
              – As anything else you say, that also has been addressed. You literally could be neither more boring nor more repetitive.

            • Remind me of your contention of NH in evolution then. I presume you think your point disproves evolution, or unguided evolution, to the point that no evolutionary biologist has considered it?

            • Joe G

              Blind watchmaker evolution does not predict an objective nested hierarchy. No, I don’t think it disproves evolutionism.Heck blind watchmaker evolution can’t be tested anyway.

            • It doesn’t?

            • Joe G

              Void, Again you are atheists on an agenda. No one should listen to anything you have to say wrt the Bible.

              As for Hawking- “Many improbable occurrences conspired to create Earth’s human-friendly design, and they would indeed be puzzling if ours were the only solar system in the universe.”

              Sheer dumb luck, Void

              “The emergence of the complex structures capable of supporting intelligent observers seems to be very fragile. The laws of nature form a system that is extremely fine-tuned. What can we make of these coincidences? Luck in the precise form and nature of fundamental physical law is a different kind of luck from the luck we find in environmental factors. It raises the natural question of why it is that way.”
              Sheer dumb luck- and Hawking can’t even explain those laws- it is all luck, including them.
              BTW Void, I say an Intelligent Designer existed because of the evidence. And I am not beholding to the Bible, Void. I don’t vare if it is wrong. I just hate atheists who misrepresent it. And I will expose them every chance I get.

            • Void L. Walker

              You hate us, huh? My…how very Christlike of you. You are a picture of your faith, Joe; an ugly, hateful one at that.

              You claim that there is evidence of an intelligent designer, huh? Present it to me. Name one prediction that ID or any variant of creationism has made and show me the peer reviewed papers to support it.That’s called science. Heard of it? Until then, all you have is your own biased interpretations of the natural world (which hardly constitutes “evidence”, by the way). Hawking, and all other cosmologists are still having difficulty in explaining the structure and precise origins of the cosmos. So? That’s what science is about! That’s what makes it so amazing, I think. Think about what we didn’t know just 100 years ago. I’m sorry, but you are appealing to a God of the gaps here, and that is not scientific: that is highly ignorant.

              Making a claim that, because the universe SEEMS designed, it must therefore be (and by your God, no less! But one of thousands humans have created) is absurd. Take a look at a snowflake. Seems “Perfectly” designed, no? Well it isn’t. In fact, the apparent order and design that you see is the end result of a rather chaotic process. Look into snowflake formation for me, because you clearly haven’t a remote inkling of natures propensity to fool our poorly “designed” brains. We have a tendency to find order where there is none. Perhaps you should try doing some research into human cognition? That and basic, 5th grade earth science would be a nice start.

              Now then, are you going to answer our contentions, or dance around them and throw Jesus at our faces?

            • Joe G

              What faith do I have Void? I am not a christian. As for predictions, materialism doesn’t make any.
              And if something seems designed and nothing else can explain it, guess what? Science says it was designed, duh.
              And I only hate atheists who misrepresent the Bible.

            • Void L. Walker

              Hmm. So you aren’t a Christian yet you believe in a literal flood, and link us to creationist sites? Could you stop lying, please?

            • Joe G

              Nice pihy post, Void. No I don’t believe in a global flood but I am not going to categorically deny an act of God. As for linking to Creationists sites, again they know the Bible better than a bunch of loser atheists on an agenda.

            • Void L. Walker

              You really can’t comprehend anything you read, can you? Hell, look at what you just said! You don’t believe in a global flood but you can’t deny an act of God? What act, then? The global flood? Way to contradict yourself in the same paragraph. Also, capitalizing both God and the Bible is generally a clear indication of a fundamentalist. Us “loser atheists” (lmao) don’t have an agenda; rather a strong desire: opening the eyes of genuinely deluded people such as you. The agenda, my friend, is yours: stick your head in the ground, ignore common sense and evidence, and try to sway the opposition such that they join your pious little cause. (sigh)

            • Void L. Walker

              Also, ‘thou shalt not lie’ ring any bells? You know, as well as I, that you deeply care if the bible is wrong. Lying won’t get you far in debate, my friend.

            • Joe G

              Nope, I have no interest in the Bible other than it is a collection of old books.

            • I just hate atheists who misrepresent it. And I will expose them every chance I get.

              Along with this:

              I have no interest in the Bible other than it is a collection of old books.

              So you DO care about it? Because I don’t see you doing the same for alleged misrepresentations of any other book.

              And don’t try the raw prawn with me, this whole bullshit wool over eyes I’m not a Christian and don’t care about the Bible. Doesn’t wash. I know you kinda have to say that so you can keep asserting that ID isn’t some nutjob arm of Christian Creationism blah blah John Morris blah blah strictly non-Christian movement blah blah blah. Yawn.

            • Joe G

              Wow, you do have serious issues. What other books are being allegedly misrepresented?
              ID doesn’t have anything to do with christianity. And there isn’tt anything you can do nor say to change that fact.

            • My goodness, you do seem to have reading comprehension issues.

            • Void L. Walker

              ID saw it’s very roots in Christianity. Why don’t you do us all a huge favor and look into that? It’s really rather easy to do so. Google “The origins of the intelligent design movement”. Oh, wait…us Atheists on an Agenda ™ must be trying to fool you! Please….at this point you’re only making yourself look like a lying idiot.

            • Joe G

              Then why are you lying, Void? Why are you void of substance, Void?

            • Void L. Walker

              Oh my God, you’re making me laugh….at least you’re good for something Joe. You can deny it all you want, but you are a Bible believing Christian, and you want to be taken seriously (lol) so you vehemently deny it….the cognitive dissonance you must carry surely takes its toll on you on a daily basis. And you accuse ME of lying? About what, exactly? You cannot claim to be anything but a Christian at this point….I’ve been to you blog….why are you lying so much?

    • Joe G

      Talk to Walter Brown and associates:


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