One of the comments on How did all the animals fit into Noah's ark? asked "How does one propose to produce the various species/sub-species simply from 'some sort of cat', after the fact?" This was in response to how Noah brought a 'kind' of cat into the ark and now we have pumas, jaguars, cheetahs, leopards, etc. I was curious myself and another person suggested asking this as a new question.

Basically, the argument would go along the lines of..."How does a single breeding pair turn into both Chihuahuas and Great Danes in under 5000 years? If Noah’s ark had only 1 pair of each kind, the speed of evolution required to get some of the variation that exists needs to be much faster than reality." (This was taken from http://anadder.com/noahs-ark-and-evolution which has a few other points for this argument)

How do Young Earth Creationists answer this?

  • Are you at all interested in answers from denominations that allow for somewhat less literal readings of the OT? Or at least less literal readings of the genealogy? I.e., it's possible that the OT presents a very "condensed" genealogy? Or that the magnitude of the flood is hyperbolized? Or are you only interested in "challenging" OT "super-literalists"?
    – svidgen
    Commented Jan 16, 2013 at 20:58
  • Yes, I would be interested in those as well.
    – Chandrew
    Commented Jan 16, 2013 at 21:02
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    One thing you have to do with Noah's ark when you come up with arguments against it(and this applies to almost anything) is actually read the story. Many arguments against it don't even represt what the account said, such as "It couldn't have rained enough in 40 days to cover the earth" when in reality the story doesn't actually claim the rain caused the flood, it says the fountains of the deep broke open AND it rained for 40 days. Noah didn't take 2 of every kind, there was alot of things he didn't have to take. See answersingenesis.org/get-answers#/topic/noahs-ark for lots of info
    – 2tim424
    Commented Jan 16, 2013 at 23:23
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    The literalist response to this is: The problem of genetic diversity from the various kinds of animals on Noah's ark is much less daunting than the question "If we all evolved from some single-celled organism that spontaneously developed from some 'primordial soup', where did we get the genetic material for all forms of life on earth today?" Clearly that initial organism must have contained all the genetic diversity if this line of thinking is true. Other than the absence of the magic ingredient of millions of years, the problem is much greater for the pure evolutionist. Commented Jan 17, 2013 at 0:11
  • @David just for info, it has been pointed out that I may have (when reading it, and via a previous comment - now deleted) mentally put quote marks in different places to what you had in mind. Sorry 'bout that. Commented Jan 17, 2013 at 22:56

2 Answers 2


Scientifically speaking, evolution is not required for variations within a species. The only requirement is that all of the genetic information seen in the species today was present in the first generation. From then on, species experience the isolation of genes through geographic and other factors.

The breeding of new species of dogs does not produce new genetic information--it merely isolates particular genetic information that is already present in the species. This is a key point--selective breeding does not result in any new information, but actually the loss of information, as only the chosen genes are kept.

In cattle, selective breeding often results in weaknesses within a certain breed. Hereford cattle are quite susceptible to Pink Eye, but if you have Hereford Angus cross, the weakness in the Hereford Breed, that resulted in a loss of genetic resistance to Pink Eye, is merged back with the lost genetic information that is still present in the Angus breed, yielding a herd with higher genetic resilience.

Different breeds of dogs can still interbreed with each other, as can different breeds of cattle, so there is no new species and no evolution. Evolution is the creation of new species--variation within a kind is not evolution.

Dogs have, indeed, shown a higher variability than other species, but they are all still dogs. Another key point, though, is that this doesn't happen in nature, but with a great deal of intervention and unnatural forces brought to bear upon the process (by humans).

The word used in Genesis is probably best translated "kind". Noah didn't bring Chihuahuas, Poodles, Great Danes, Labrador Retrievers, Beagles, and every other kind of dog. He brought two mutts, which is basically what you get if you take all the breeds and interbreed them together to undo the genetic isolation.

Furthermore, Noah didn't bring a Chinese, a Korean, a Vietnamese, a Russian, an Arab, a European, a Jew, an African, and a Hawaiian. There were only eight people, but those eight people contained all the genetic information necessary to produce the variations we see today that have been caused by genetic isolation through geographic and other factors.

There are a lot of resources online about this. Here's just one.

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    Also keep in mind that this was a miraculous event, where the animals in questions were not rounded up at random, but rather presented themselves to Noah... therefore the God has the easy opportunity to make sure that the necessary genetic material was present in each of the specimens. Commented Jan 16, 2013 at 18:39
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    These comments aren't really the optimal way to have an extended discussion. I think that if the answer were phrased as "this is what people believe" and not "this is the Truth" then it would not be such a debate magnet. It is OK, and even helpful, to own up to the fact that this area is highly contested and that not everyone believes the view described.
    – James T
    Commented Jan 17, 2013 at 0:11
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    <Unconstructive comments removed.> I like James T's suggestion. And yes, please no discussions in comments. Commented Jan 17, 2013 at 3:52
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    "Evolution is the creation of new species--variation within a kind is not evolution." The definition of evolution in this answer is not a conventional one, as understood by biologists. Commented Jul 5, 2014 at 1:17
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    The question and site policy has significantly changed. You might want to edit your answer. Reference: meta.christianity.stackexchange.com/a/3480/3961
    – user3961
    Commented Jul 5, 2014 at 17:11

Basically there are three ways that genetic diversity happens:

Mutation: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Evolution#Mutation

Sexual combination: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Evolution#Sex_and_recombination

Gene Flow: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Evolution#Gene_flow

All of these processes do in fact have the potential of generating new genetic information. Different factors will increase or decrease the rate of variation, but the fact is that the successive combination, recombination, duplication, and mutation of genes will produce new genes. Throw in horizontal transfers, especially inter-species transfers, and you've got quite a lot going on. Now add natural (or artificial, in the case of animal husbandry) selection and voila, evolution.

So, was there enough time between Noah and now?


Most breeds of dogs are at most a few hundred years old, having been artificially selected for particular morphologies and behaviors by people for specific functional roles. Through this selective breeding, the dog has developed into hundreds of varied breeds, and shows more behavioral and morphological variation than any other land mammal.

I suppose so - at least for dog breeds.

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    The question and site policy has significantly changed. You might want to edit your answer. Reference: meta.christianity.stackexchange.com/a/3480/3961
    – user3961
    Commented Jul 5, 2014 at 17:11
  • The rate of change that is produced by intentional selective breeding is far higher than the rate of change caused by natural selection, and even the significant changes found in different dog breeds aren't significant enough for them to lose the genetic ability to cross breed with wolves (though there are breeds that would have physical limitations due to size)
    – Kevin
    Commented Oct 19, 2020 at 18:41

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