To many, it will seem bizarre that, in this age of scientific advancement and sophisticated biblical criticism, it would be necessary to provide a point-by-point scientific refutation of the story of Noah's ark. Knowledgeable people are well aware that Genesis 1 through 11 is not scientific or historical but largely mythical, metaphorical, poetic, theological, and moral. All people are not knowledgeable, however. Recent Gallup surveys reveal that 50 percent of adult Americans believe that Adam and Eve existed, 44 percent believe the earth was created directly by God only ten thousand years ago, and 40 percent believe that the Bible is inerrant. No doubt an equally high percentage believe in Noah's ark.
This state of affairs has prompted some to advocate more public exposure to the higher criticism. But fundamentalists are generally opposed to the conclusions of the higher critics, and many other people don't seem interested in studying the Bible that closely. This means that another approach is often needed—one that deals directly with the "scientific creationist" arguments concerning the ark and the flood. Only after the creationist arguments have been scientifically answered will many people consider seriously the conclusions of modern biblical scholars.
This is why Robert Moore, in this issue of Creation/Evolution, has accepted the task of providing a direct and definitive response to the creationist Noah's ark arguments. In performing this task, Moore has found it necessary to take creationists at their word that the Bible must be read literally. He knows this position is untenable, and his article helps prove it. But proceeding in this way has allowed him to better focus on the creationists' scientific errors.
Though Moore uses the Bible as a constant reference point, he actually does not engage in biblical criticism. His critique is rather directed at the leading creationist books and experimental studies that seek to scientifically prove that the ark story can be treated as secular history. He knows how deadly serious creationists are about the historicity of the ark account. This seriousness is evidenced by the large expenditures creationists make on expeditions to Mt. Ararat, the meticulous and weighty tomes they write to answer every possible objection, and the efforts they take to encourage widespread public and private school use of books such as Streams of Civilization, their world history text that treats the ark story as an actual event.
So Moore must take the creationists almost as seriously as they take themselves. The result is detailed but, hopefully, entertaining and informative, with the excellent side benefits of providing fascinating information on shipbuilding, seafaring, zookeeping, zoology, botany, volcanism, and even refuse disposal.