What are the two main causes for extinction?
1: Loss of habitat
2: Lack of genetic variation
Of course there can be lots of different circumstances leading up to these two factors; i.e. pollution, deforestation, overhunting, etc., but when it comes time to become extinct, the dying species will typically experience conditions that fall under these two categories – and they don’t have to be at the same time, either.
Loss of habitat brings about loss of shelter, obviously, but also other types of problems, too, such as lack of food. Too much or too little sun can be detrimental depending on the species, same with too much or too little water. Different species thrive in different climates in various temperature ranges, of course, but this also means this is where their food sources thrive, too, be it herbivore or carnivore (or omnivore).
Without searching too hard, one can find all kinds of examples of species that form symbiotic relationships with each other, mutually benefiting each other as a one species plays food source while the other plays population control and they can even help by providing the ecosystem, as a whole, a way of carefully balancing the expenditure of resources for other species.
*My main purpose of this entry is not to write an in-depth paper on naturally-occurring symbiotic relationships in various natural environments and ecosystems, but here is a fantastic case study to explore this concept further and it has to do with the reintroduction of wolves into Yellowstone National Park and what it did to the ecosystem there – here is the link: http://www.yellowstonepark.com/wolf-reintroduction-changes-ecosystem/
It doesn’t require much research to find out that if a species’ gene pool shrinks significantly, it will more than likely go extinct – I’ve even read that if there are less than 20 remaining members, the species will go extinct. Why is that? Lack of genetic variation ultimately leads to genetic bottlenecking – inbreeding. When this occurs, there are major issues such as physical malformations and reduced cognitive abilities; in other words, offspring are either deformed or retarded, or sometimes even both.
We sometimes see examples of this with purebred animals that are a little too close, genetically speaking, to their parents. Without searching too hard, we can even find examples of what happens to humans who are inbred; a quick search would indicate that it is generally not a good idea for fathers to mate with their daughters, or brothers to mate with their sisters, or mothers to mate with their sons (as what should be obvious and terrible examples).
So, all of this brings us to the main point of this entry: Noah’s Ark.
In this story, we have examples of every species on planet earth being affected (supposedly) by loss of habitat coupled with lack of genetic variation.
Never mind the absurdity of the story itself; I mean, think about it – a man lives to 600+ years old and then builds a floating zoo of a ship that preserves two of every kind of animal on planet earth so god can wipe out everything else and start over because he was frustrated with how his creation, as a whole, was behaving after both cursing them with original sin and equipping them with freewill.
You know, if this story is true, it really would be the biggest case of genocide ever documented, considering the entire human population was reduced to Noah, his three sons, and their four wives for a grand total of eight very closely related humans. The most vicious psychopaths in history pale in comparison to the god of the bible’s body count. In fact, if one were to research the biblical body count of god versus satan, one would find that one of the two contestants has an astounding number of confirmed kills compared to the other.
*Hang in there – it gets worse.
So, here are some questions that I have compiled and even encouraged my daughters to ask when their mother makes them go to church with her:
Did Noah also invent the world’s first refrigerators?
When you consider the idea of the entire world being covered in a flood that made it over the tops of the highest mountains, this means that food supplies (such as vegetation for the herbivores and other animals for the carnivores), would have been flooded out and would be literally miles beneath the surface of the water. So, in an effort to preserve the foodstuffs required to sustain life aboard the ark, there must have been some sort of refrigeration system to keep the food from going bad (both vegetation and meat).
Furthermore, there are special-diet types of species, such as koala bears, that only eat eucalyptus leaves and pandas that eat primarily bamboo, so Noah would have to have stored up a bunch of food for the special-diet types of animals.
How did Noah keep the carnivores from eating the herbivores?
There must have been cages of some sorts, or barriers in place, I guess, sectioning off the bears from the deer, or the lions from the zebras. Think about zoos and all the measures put in place to keep the animals from eating each other (and the zookeepers), and then think about a 600+ year old man building something that can do all that plus float around the world during the great flood.
So, if carnivores couldn’t eat the herbivores, what did they eat?
Some animals won’t eat vegetation – I know my dog won’t actually eat lettuce, let alone a lion. I mean, I guess I don’t know this for a fact, but I’ve never heard of a lion eating something other than the flesh of a less fortunate animal.
Did Noah create aquariums aboard the ark?
There are species of water life that thrive in saltwater and some that thrive in fresh water. If you were to take one from one environment and put it in the other, it’ll more than likely die. I would compare this to humans breathing something other than oxygen – or breathing air that has less oxygen or even too much oxygen.
So, if the waters were all mixed up and diluted by a worldwide flood, I am curious about what happened to the waterborne living things – they had to have drowned by not having the right mixture of saltwater or freshwater, but then again, that was the intention! So, I’d be curious to know how the surviving freshwater and saltwater fish were preserved – aquariums are the only thing that could explain it.
Did Noah create the first weatherproof records-keeping safe or weatherproof office space aboard the ark?
The bible is rather specific regarding the timespan between Adam and Noah: 10 generations of whom begat who and such. How much time that equates to is a little sketchy, though, considering how many years those early humans supposedly lived, some reaching several hundred years or more. If adding up the years of the people who lived from the time of Adam to the time of Noah (and allowing a little wiggle room), one would find a span of time that was anywhere from approximately 1,500 to 2,500 years.
Floods typically damage everything, especially any sort of written records. So, either Adam and his sons had incredible memories and could remember every single detail of what happened in the bible from the time of Adam to the time of Noah, or there were written records of all that that they somehow preserved. I suppose all of the details in the bible from Adam to Noah could have been written in stone and therefore preserved during the worldwide flood, but somehow, I doubt it.
I’ve even gone as far as to ask people how far back in history they could remember, maybe just list their father’s father’s father’s name and birth year, as an example, and hardly anyone can even answer that, let alone remember the history of the world dating back 1,500 to 2,500 years, like Noah supposedly did.
Regardless of the biblical story’s preservation method, we’re expected to trust and rely on a 600+ year old ship building zoo keeper’s memory (and his three sons’ and their wives’ memory) for accurate recollections of the history of the beginning of world – including the creation accounts that most religious people cling to so tightly.
What about waste management aboard the ark?
If we skip over the necessity for foodstuffs and just have faith that god provided and everyone and everything aboard the ark had enough food to eat, we have to consider the problem associated with waste management. I suppose some animals could be trained to poop overboard, but we all know that some couldn’t, especially considering the barriers we would need to keep the two lions from eating the two zebras or the two gazelles and such.
Have you ever been to a zoo? Could you imagine 8 humans keeping up with the waste management of every animal in every part of the zoo except take all that and put it on a giant boat? If the animals had plenty of food to eat to sustain them during their time on the ark, that means they would have to have digested and eliminated it. In other words, Noah and his crew would have literally been shoveling shit 24/7 to keep up with the animals’ waste production.
I don’t know about you, but I have a dog and a cat at home, and sometimes I have a hard time keeping up with the amount of shit they produce, and they’re two rather small, domesticated animals. I’m pretty sure Noah didn’t train the two rhinos to hang their asses over the railing and let loose, and I’m pretty sure we could all agree that rhinos produce a lot more shit than your average house pet – the same with elephants and horses and other species of the land-beast variety.
Furthermore, I pretty much live in a retirement community because I’m planning for the future. One of my neighbors is at least 80 years old and he hobbles around the hood with his German shepherd. I (kind of) hate to say it, but I expect him to die any time now – he’s not in good shape. Now, I couldn’t imagine in a million years that guy living for another 520 years AND THEN BUILDING A SHIP.
I shouldn’t have to mention how this guy’s procreation window must be slammed shut by this time, but I will, and considering Noah and his sons were all hundreds of years old and then repopulated the earth … hahahahaha! Whoa! I suppose the lord does work in mysterious ways.
I suppose I could end there, but how about a few more questions, such as: what do animals breathe and what do plants breathe?
“What does this have to do with anything?” you might be thinking. Animals breathe oxygen in and breathe out carbon dioxide. Plants breathe in carbon dioxide and breathe out oxygen. So, we literally form a Symbian circle with each other.
So, what would happen if all of the vegetation in the world was wiped out all at once? The surviving animals would be expelling so much carbon dioxide that has nowhere to go except the atmosphere, which would become so carbon-heavy that it would heat up at an uncontrollably exponential rate and burn up all the living things. It would kind of be like hell on earth.
Did you know there are people who think that it never rained prior to the time of Noah?
Apparently, they think the rainbow was first sent by god as a sign of his promise to never flood the earth again, which kinda sounds like an explanation the Waterboy’s momma would have given, but that could be just me. If there were never any rainbows prior to Noah, then there must not have been any rain. These people also think that water just welled up out of the ground prior to Noah, or misted out, like morning dew, so the introduction of rain to the planet was a rather new concept at the time of Noah.
Meanwhile, without trying too hard, we can now scientifically explain a rainbow, how it’s really just white light refracted and reflected off the backside of raindrops and viewable at 42 degrees in the opposite direction of the sun and how it’s not really a bow, it’s a complete circle that normally gets interrupted by the ground, but I suppose Noah couldn’t have known any of that without a spectroscope.