The righteousness of Noah is the subject of much discussion among rabbis.  The description of Noah as "righteous in his generation" implied to some that his perfection was only relative: In his generation of wicked people, he could be considered righteous, but in the generation of a tzadik like Abraham , he would not be considered so righteous. They point out that Noah did not pray to God on behalf of those about to be destroyed, as Abraham prayed for the wicked of Sodom and Gomorrah . In fact, Noah is never seen to speak; he simply listens to God and acts on his orders. This led such commentators to offer the figure of Noah as "the man in a fur coat," who ensured his own comfort while ignoring his neighbour.  Others, such as the medieval commentator Rashi , held on the contrary that the building of the Ark was stretched over 120 years, deliberately in order to give sinners time to repent. Rashi interprets his father's statement of the naming of Noah (in Hebrew נֹחַ) "This one will comfort us (in Hebrew– yeNaHamainu יְנַחֲמֵנו) in our work and in the toil of our hands, which come from the ground that the Lord had cursed",  by saying Noah heralded a new era of prosperity, when there was easing (in Hebrew – nahah – נחה) from the curse from the time of Adam when the Earth produced thorns and thistles even where men sowed wheat and that Noah then introduced the plow. 
Browne, among the first to question the notion of spontaneous generation , was a medical doctor and amateur scientist making this observation in passing. However, biblical scholars of the time, such as Justus Lipsius (1547–1606) and Athanasius Kircher (–80), had also begun to subject the Ark story to rigorous scrutiny as they attempted to harmonize the biblical account with the growing body of natural historical knowledge. The resulting hypotheses provided an important impetus to the study of the geographical distribution of plants and animals, and indirectly spurred the emergence of biogeography in the 18th century. Natural historians began to draw connections between climates and the animals and plants adapted to them. One influential theory held that the biblical Ararat was striped with varying climatic zones, and as climate changed, the associated animals moved as well, eventually spreading to repopulate the globe.