My post earlier today dealt with the Tower of Babel and some of the problems introduced by a literal reading of this story. The story of Noah and the flood is another story where a literal reading requires some rather interesting contortions. Natural Historian had an interesting post on this topic last week: Invoking Super-Speed Evolution: How to Squeeze 10,000+ Bird Species onto Noah’s Ark.
There are about 10,000 species of birds alive today. Almost 200 additional species have gone extinct since the year 1500 and there are innumerable fossil species of birds in the geological column. One of the persistent challenges for modern young earth creationists is how to fit the diversity of life on the Noah’s ark. Answers in Genesis has published as series of articles by Jean Lightner of the past three years that have addressed the question: how many kinds were there on Noah’s ark? In the past decade creationists have developed a field of study they call baraminology which is the study of biblically defined “kinds” of living things. … In brief, creationists attempt to determine how living things were classified in the Bible as a means of estimating of the total number of animals on the ark given that two (usually) of each kind were taken onto the ark by Noah. For example most creationists now believe that all canines including more than 20 living and probably as many extinct species were represented by just a few individuals on Noah’s ark. Noah’s ark was the ultimate genetic bottlenecking event after which all species of foxes, the wolf, coyote, domestic dogs, African wild dog etc. evolved from those two ancestral individuals on the ark.
The whole article, found at the link above, is quite interesting.