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One man who managed to stir some doubt was Niels Stensen (or Nicolaus Steno).A religious man, Steno wasn't out to disprove the Bible; he used it as the basis for his work in piecing together old landscapes.
Then Adam and Eve started a family and left plenty of descendents.Rather than simply relying on miracles, scholars and savants (there were few actual scientists just yet) adopted the view that God played by His own rules, so understanding nature could contribute to understanding God.And if God played by the rules, then a worldwide flood that covered the highest mountain peaks with water (and left seashells behind) would require the sudden creation and subsequent cleanup of a tremendous amount of liquid. Leonardo da Vinci himself poured scorn on such "just so" stories.Only later came Noah's Flood, which was held responsible for depositing all those weird remains, like shells, in rocks on top of mountains.If that actually happened, human remains should have appeared in the oldest rocks at the bottom of the heap, but they didn't. The oldest layers of rocks held different creatures, and the further down in the heap one looked, the weirder the creatures got.