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A Series Of Logistical Feasibility Studies Of Noah's Ark


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A SERIES OF LOGISTICAL FEASIBILITY STUDIES OF NOAH'S ARK

 

BY MAJOR ROBERT T. PERMAR, USAR (INACTIVE)

 

( A FORMER US ARMY AVIATION LOGISTICS OFFICER)

 

GENERAL DISCUSSION: The storyline for the Noah's ark story is found in Genesis 5:32 - 9:29. In essence, God decides to flood the world as a judgment for man's wickedness. He instructs Noah, a 500 plus year old man, the planet's only "righteous man", to construct a huge "barge" of gopher wood cemented together and shellacked with "pitch", which presumably refers to tree resin. The dimensions of the ark were 300 cubits in length by 50 cubits in width by 30 cubits in height. Although a cubit can vary in length from 17" to 21.88", 18" is considered to be the standard Biblical length and is what is used in determining the dimensions of the ark in modern measurement terms. After completion of the ark, a male and female pair of every species of every land based creature allegedly migrated to it and occupied it. Noah allegedly stocked the ark with sufficient food for all the animals and his family. In the six hundredth year of his life, according to the Bible, Noah, his wife, his three sons, and their wives, enterered the ark, and survived this global flood. In order for the Noah's food story to be verified as being plausible, it must be determined how many animals could realistically be logistically supported in this boat for 150 days, the period of time the Bible indicates it was adrift.

 

 

 

I. FEASIBILTY STUDY #1. Could eight humans have built the ark in 100 years, the actual time that the Bible seems to allocate to Noah to build the Ark?

 

ASSUMPTIONS:

 

1. That a human could live that long without becoming infirm.

2. That the necessary amount of wood was readily accessible.

3. That hand tools designed for carpentry and milling timber were readily available.

4. That the wood would not rot.

5. That Noah conceived of a way to lift lumber to heights not attainable without a mechanical apparatus. His concept could not be a powered device.

6. That thousands of gallons of "pitch"(tree tar) were readily accessible and available, and had enough of an adhesive and viscous quality to securely bond the wooden members of the ark in place with sufficient efficiency that the ark would maintain structural integrity while afloat.

 

DISCUSSION: It is a common belief amongst Christians that Noah was given 120 years to build the ark, based on Genesis 6: 3. This is false. In Genesis 5:32, it states "And Noah was five hundred years old, and Noah begot Shem, Ham, and Japheth". Moving on to Genesis 6:7, it states that God has decided to flood the Earth. Moving on to Genesis 6:10, it repeats Genesis 5:32, but omits his age. However, if Genesis 5:32 is accurate about Noah's age, it implies that Noah was at least 500 years old when God made the decision to flood the Earth. Moving on to Genesis 6:14, God instructs Noah to build the ark. These instructions had to come after he was five hundred. Moving on to Genesis 7:11, it states that in the six hundredth year of Noah's life, the fountains of the deep opened up, and in Genesis 6:13, it states that Noah and his family entered the ark that very same day. Noah had to be at least 500 years old when he received the instructions to build the ark, and was 600 years old when he entered it. Therefore, he only had, at best, 100 years to build it. (Presuming the story were true, that is)

 

The outer surface area of the ark was 114,750 square feet. My basis for this figure is as follows: The port and starboard sides of the vessel were 450 feet by 45 feet (20, 250 square feet each) The roof and bottom of the vessel were 450 feet by 75 feet (33,750 square feet each) The fore and aft sections of the vessel were 75 feet by 45 feet (3, 375 squre feet each) To give you a general idea of how much wood this is, a wooden plank 12 inches wide, 114, 750 feet long would be 21.7 miles in length.

 

If we assume three decks internally, as recorded on the Bible, plus the floor covering the water (See feasibilty study below) , that would add another 135,000 square feet.(if calculated two dimensionally)

 

Factors impossible to calculate would be the amount of wood necessary for transverse or longitudinal beams, the keel, stockpens, support beams, storage areas, and bulkheads, as these specifics are not discussed in the Bible.

 

114,750 plus 135, 000 equals 249, 750 total square feet.

 

If Noah and his family had 100 years to build the ark, they would have had to complete an average of 2,497.5 square feet of the ark per year, essentially the floor space of a modest 4 bedroom home. Even if all the additional unknown variables previously mentioned added another 144, 000 square feet of space, that would only increase the average annual completion rate by 1,200 feet, or a total of 3, 697.5 square feet.

 

CONCLUSIONS: If Noah's family were skilled in milling timber, and the "pitch" acted as a moisture-resistant shellac or sealant, and all the afore-mentioned assumptions were true, especially the part about having 100 years, or 120 years, to complete the project, I believe that the Noah's ark project was feasible, or "doable", as far as building a huge wooden building. However, it could probably be argued that eight people could build the Empire State Building with erector sets and lincoln logs if given ten million years to do the job. Many naval architectural engineers have concluded, though, that a wooden ship built with no metal structural supports and only pitch "gluing" it together could be no longer than 300 feet and still maintain structural integrity on the high seas. Did Noah find a way around this limitation?

 

 

 

II. FEASIBILITY STUDY #2: How many animals could realistically be supported on the ark for 150 days without resupply?

 

A. DISCUSSION:

 

1. In the craft of military logistics, whether Naval, Army, Marines, Air Force or otherwise, certain formulae for determining logistical needs are uniform across the board. If I were told that a ship with finite space were going to be filled with 15,000 animals and eight humans, and was going to be adrift for 150 days without resupply, it would be totally unrealistic for me to be tasked to "make it work". It would be more realistic to ask me "CAN it work?". Based on the amount of food , water and living space requirements in cubic feet for these humans and animals to survive for 150 days, I can determine whether or not there is enough space on this vessel to meet their needs.

 

2. Conversely, if I were tasked to determine how many animals could be logistically supported on a vessel that was going to be adrift for 150 days, I would have to make an educated guess at how much food in pounds will each animal on average require a day, how much drinking water in gallons each day on average, and how much living space was required on average per animal. All these requirements can be converted into cubic feet. Based on that, I can determine how much cubic feet of space is required for an animal to survive for 150 days and then divide the amount of cubic feet available on the vessel by the cubic feet of space required for each animal and the resultant factor would be the total number of animals that could be supported.

 

3. Consider the following figures:

 

a. Elephants eat 100-150 lbs of food per day, and drink about 50 gallons of water per day.

 

b. Rhinoceri eat about 27-37 pounds of food per day, and drink about 31 gallons of water.

 

c. Hippopotami eat about 120 pounds of food per day, and like pigs, require water to wallow in to cool off.

 

d. Giraffes, which can grow to 18.6 feet tall, require about 65 pounds of food per day, but can subsist on as little as 15 lbs, and can subsist on 12 gallons of water every three days.

 

4. In calculating the estimated number of animals that can realistically be supported on the ark, I will intentionally "low-end" or minimize the food, water, and space requirements, allowing for as many animals as possible to fit on the ark. I will make the following allocations:

 

a. Each animal will receive, on average, 3 pounds of food per day.

b. Each animal will receive, on average, 1 gallon of water per day.

c. Each animal will receive, on average, an 8' by 8' by 7' living space.

d. Each human will receive 2 pounds of food per day.

e. Each human will receive 1 gallon of water per day.

f. Each human will receive a 10' by 10' x 7' living space.

 

5. It would be impossible to calculate precisely the exact weight of a cubic foot of the food fed to animals on the ark, as the density of foods vary considerably. The Bible only instructs Noah to take food that will be eaten by both the humans and animals. Since fruits, vegetables, and greens cannot keep for 150 days without refrigeration or freezing, the only conceivable food sources would be non-perishables, such as grains, nuts, legumes, crackers, and possibly "sacrificial" animals, such as sheep, for the predators.(Lions and tigers don't "graze", and I refuse to entertain the "hibernation" scenario). Salted preserved meat would have been a possibility, but the Bible seems to suggest that humans did not eat animal meat until after the flood. Seems implausible to me, but I'll live with it. How animals requiring a specific diet, such as fresh plants, bamboo chutes, insects, tree leaves, etc, are going to fare is anyone's guess.

 

a. As a general figure, I will use 52 pounds per cubic foot of food.

b. There are 7.48 gallons of water in a cubic foot, and water weighs 8.5 pounds per gallon.

 

6. There were eight humans aboard the ark. Each human would require 300 pounds of food for the journey, which would be 5.76 cubic feet. Each human would require 1/2 gallon of water per day for drinking, and 1/2 gallon for bathing, necessitating 150 gallons of water per human for the journey, which equates to 20.05 cubic feet of water per human. Each human is allocated a 10' by 10' by 7' living space, which equates to 700 cubic feet. Calculations for total cubic foot requirements for the humans is as follows:

 

a. 5.76 cubic feet of food multiplied by eight equals 46.08 cubic feet.

b. 20.05 cubic feet of water multiplied by eight equals 160.04 cubic feet.

c. 700 cubic feet of living space multiplied by eight equals 5600 cubic feet.

 

1) 46.08 plus 160.04 plus 5600 equals 5806.12 total cubic feet of space on the ark required for the humans.

2) The dimensions of the ark were 450' LOA(length overall) by 75' breadth(or "beam") by 45' in height, or "depth". This equates to 1, 518, 750 available cubic feet of space inside the ark.

3) Subtracting 5,806.12 from 1,518, 750 leaves 1, 512, 943.88 cubic feet of space remaining for animals.

 

7. Calculations for the animals are as follows:

 

a. If each animal is allocated 3 pounds of food per day, it would require 900 pounds of food total for the journey, which equates to 17.30 total cubic feet of space for food per animal.

 

b. If each animal is allocated 1 gallon of water per day, it would require 150 gallons total, which equates to 20.05 cubic feet of space for water per animal.

 

c. If each animal is allocated 8' by 8' by 7' of living space, it would equate to 448 cubic feet of space for living space per animal.

 

1) 17.30 plus 20.05 plus 448 equals 485.35 total cubic feet of space necessary per animal.

2) 1, 512, 943.88 available cubic feet of space divided by 485.35 required cubic feet of space per animal equals 3, 117.22, rounded down to 3, 116 total number of animals that could conceivably, at best, be logistically supported on the ark.

 

8. THE "WASTED SPACE" FACTOR:

 

Not taken into account here is the "wasted space" factor. The Bible records that there were three decks. If the floor of the ship is not considered a deck, then three decks would be above it. One deck would have to have at least a 20 foot head clearance to accomodate the giraffes and elephants, leaving 25 feet remaining. Water storage for the animals, as will be demonstrated will require about 2 feet in depth the length and breadth of the ship, leaving 23 feet available. Divided equally between three, each remaining deck would have a little over 7 1/2 feet in head clearance. Although I allocated 7 feet in head clearance, obviously, a rabbit, dog, or raccoon will not need it. But, since animals animals cannot be stacked one on top of the other, and passageway space would have to be allocated to access each animal and the food and water, this unused space would significantly reduce the number of animals supportable.

 

9. WATER STORAGE:

 

The total water requirement for the animals would require 62, 495 cubic feet of space. This water would weigh a whopping 3, 973, 432 lbs, or 1, 986 tons, roughly the combined weight of 27.6 M1A2 US Army Main Battle Tanks. The only conceivable storage location for this amount of water on a solely wooden vessel would be the "hold" or the lowest point of the hull, where the outside water pressure would prevent the hull from bursting, and even then, the hull skin would have to quite thick. The water level would be about 1.8 feet. Although I do not have the expertise to calculate it precisely, it stands to reason that a wooden tank with no metal structural bracing would require bulkheads several feet thick for this amount of water if the tank were located on the upper decks. "Listing" and even capsizing of the vessel would also be a concern if the water were stored a significant height above the waterline. Also, Noah could not possibly have pumped this much water into the ark prior to the flood beginning. It almost certainly had to come from "rain collectors" on the ark. Water requirements for the humans would equate to 160.4 cubic feet, 10, 198 lbs, or a little over 5 tons. Conceivably (and desirably) this could be stored separately from the animal water in barrels. If 55 gallon drums had existed back then, it would only require 22.

 

10. HUMAN WORK LOAD:

 

Could 8 humans feed, water, and clean up after 3, 116 animals? Consider the following:

 

The daily total food requirement, on average for the animals will be 9, 348 lbs. If each human on board is tasked to feed the animals, this will equate to 1, 168.5 pounds per person. Granted, each animal will have a different requirement. Birds will eat like, well, birds, and obviously mice won't have the intake of an elephant. But once again, this is an average figure. If each person can carry 50 pounds of food per trip, it would require 23 trips. Keep in mind that this boat is 450 feet long, essentially one and and half football fields. Keep in mind that the thing isn't ventilated, and filled with smelly wild animals urinating and defecating. Keep in mind that heat build-up and sweating will be a key factor in work efficiency. Keep in mind that they have to keep this up for at least 150 days. If each trip took only 15 minutes on average from the time of filling the container, taking it to the animals, disbursing the food, then returning, they would need 5.75 hours to complete their allocation.

 

The daily water requirement for the animals would be 3,116 gallons, which equates to 26, 486 pounds. This equates to 3, 311 pounds of water per person. If each person carries 50 pounds of water, it would require 66 trips. If it took only ten minutes per trip, they would require 11 hours to complete their daily allocation. Just to be sporting, I'll allocate one hour for "pooper-scooping". This would necessitate a 17.75 hour work day per person, not counting breaks, sleep, or meals. Obviously, it can't be done.

 

Considering how labor intensive and downright brutal this task is, I don't think it's unrealistic to restrict the human crew of the ark to an 8 hour work day. Beyond that, you risk total complete exhaustion. If you divide 8 by 17.75, the resultant factor is .45. If you multiply 3,117 by .45, the resultant factor would be 1, 402 animals, not counting arachnids and insects.

 

Ultimately, with a variance of about plus or minus 20%, this is about the number of animals that could conceivably be cared for by eight humans on the ark, taking into consideration all factors on the ark, assuming that these humans are extremely strong (I wouldn't want to take on Noah's wife and his son's wives in a bar fight, I'll tell ya!), healthy, well-fed, drink plenty of water, bathe, don't get sick, and get quality sleep.

 

CONCLUSIONS: I can only conclude that the story of Noah's ark is mythological and apocryphal. Currently, there are hundreds of thousands of air-breathing land animals, insect, and arachnid species on this planet. If only 1, 402 air-breathing land animals could be cared for on the ark, that accounts for only 701 species (Noah was directed to take a male and female of each species, so divide 1, 402 by 2). Even if the 3, 116 could be cared for, that only accounts for 1, 558 species. There are over 4,000 species of mammals alone on this planet, not to mention reptiles, birds, amphibians, insects, and arachnids. There are 3,000-4,000 species of spiders in Africa alone,(And I won't entertain the "hybrid" argument. You're not going to get a gazelle from a cow, no matter how hard you try.) Obviously, the "dinosaurs on the ark"scenario is out the window too. Ultimately, the Evangelical/Fundamentalist response to this will probably be the "Goddidit" or what I call "The Sorcery Argument". The only way God "coulda done it" is to turn the ark into a TARDIS, or Dr Who's police box time machine, where space is greater inside than outside.(I probably should have kept that to myself. Undoubtedly, there will be fundamentalists who will actually consider that a viable answer and run with it!)

 

III. FEASIBILTY STUDY #3, A HYPOTHETICAL SCENARIO: If only humans were on Noah's ark, how many could it realistically carry and provide food and water for 150 days, the time the ark was alleged to be adrift?

 

The dimensions of the ark were 450 ft in length (LOA) by 75 ft in width (breadth or beam) by 45 feet in height(depth). Given this, we can calculate that the internal cubic feet of space available was 1, 518, 750 cu. ft.

 

Humans, on the average, require two pounds of food a day and 1/2 gallon of drinking water to remain healthy. However, an additional one-half gallon should be added for bathing and an unforeseen need for additional intake depending on the temperature conditions within the ark.

 

It is not realistic to suggest that "standing room only" a la Hurricane Katrina victims in the stadium should be the order of the day for the human occupants of the ark. They were on this thing for 150 days, remember? Also, unlike Naval sailors, they would not have a job to keep them occupied, so the boredom factor has to taken into account. I allocated each occupant of the ark a cabin, the dimensions of which were 10' by 10' by 7'. Essentially, a small bedroom. This would consume 700 cubic feet of living space. Passageway space should be allocated at 10 ft in length by 2 1/2 ft in width by 7 ft in height. This would consume another 175 cubic feet.

 

If each human occupant on the ark were allocated 1 gallon of water per day, they would require 150 gallons for the entire trip. There are 7.48 gallons in a cubic foot of water. Based on this, each human occupant of the ark would require 20.05 cubic feet of potable water for the duration of the trip. I acknowledge that rain water could have been used, but it would still require a central collection reservoir or tank, the capacity of which would remain constant.

 

Food is an "X" factor, or variable, in this equation. The weight of a cubic foot of food would vary considerably depending on the type of food. However, several conclusions can be drawn. It would not have been possible to have fresh fruits, vegetables, greens or meat stored on the ark for 150 days without refrigeration. Preserved salted meat would have been a possibilty, but the Bible seems to suggest that people were not permitted by God to eat meat until after the flood. Obviously, some form of non-perishable food had to be stored and consumed, such as grains, crackers, nuts, or legumes. A cubic foot of water would weigh 63.58 pounds. I would not think it unrealistic to suggest that a cubic foot of food on the ark would weigh about 52 pounds. You may balk at this, but a decrease or even increase of a few pounds will not cause that much of a difference in the final determination of how many people can comfortably travel on the ark. Based on these figures, each occupant of the ark would require 300 pounds of food for the trip, or 5.76 cubic feet of food.

 

Final calculations: 700 cubic feet of living space plus 175 cubic feet of passageway space plus 20.05 cubic feet of drinking water plus 5.76 cubic foot of food equals 800.81 cubic feet of space required for each human occupant of the ark to survive for 150 days without resupply.

 

Dividing 1, 518, 750 cubic feet of space available within the ark by 800.81 cubic feet required for each occupant equals 1, 896 total maximum number of logistially supportable human occupants on the ark, presuming no animals.

 

Factors not taken into consideration are the passageway and access space to get to the food and water, and amount of space consumed by the thickness of the decking and bulkheads, which would diminish the number of allowable occupants.

 

Based on this final number, it can be concluded that 38, 014 cubic feet of space would have been required for potable water. This amount of water would weigh 1,208 US tons, or the combined weight of about 17 1/2 M1A2 Abrams Main Battle Tanks. Where this water would have to be stored is discussed in detail in Study #2.

 

The reason why I did the "humans only" study is because I recall a preacher say that if all pre-deluvian humanity had repented as Noah had warned them to, God would have allowed them all on the Ark with Noah, his family, and the animals (of course, if they all repented, what's the need for the flood at that point? Heaven's union rules?) . Keep in mind that the final figure I arrived at presumes no animals on the ark. Although I will concede that there could be a degree of variance in actual number of occupants, it's plainly obvious that the ark could not possibly have been a potential "life raft" for all humanity.

 

 

Copyright©Robert T. Permar, November 25, 2006

 

IF YOU WISH TO COPY AND REDISTRIBUTE THIS ARTICLE, PLEASE ASK ME FOR PERMISSION FIRST. IT IS PROPRIETARY INFORMATION, AND SUBJECT TO COPYRIGHT LAWS.

 

www.permscape.blogspot.com

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All that discussion is for naught. All the believer need reply is; "God helped," and they'll go on believing as they wish.

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Your view of Christians is too low, Dave... You seem to think there are no intellectuals among us! ;)

 

I am not a scientist or scientific (at least where the 'hard' sciences are concerned...I'm more the linguistic / philosophical type), but I'm a member of the God & Science Forum, and I asked them to take a look at the 'Logistical Feasibility Study' here.

 

An attentive reader (Fortigurn) has already written a rather extensive critique.

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Your view of Christians is too low, Dave... You seem to think there are no intellectuals among us! ;)
Was I not right though? The story is pure fiction. Any one with any intellectual capacity can see that.
I am not a scientist or scientific (at least where the 'hard' sciences are concerned...I'm more the linguistic / philosophical type), but I'm a member of the God & Science Forum, and I asked them to take a look at the 'Logistical Feasibility Study' here.

 

An attentive reader (Fortigurn) has already written a rather extensive critique.

Why critique a myth? There was no flood. There was no ark. There was no Noah. Why bother? That's what I don't understand. Are you also going to go into such detail on the rock that Sisyphus had to roll up the hill? Or do a medical study on Tityos having his liver being ripped out by vultures for eternity?

 

The believers can make up anything they want to support the myth. The ark could have held all of humanity that was being saved by having them walk up the ramp and they got smaller as they approached the ark then went into suspended animation for the duration of the trip. God held the boat together.

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On what basis do you judge that 'anyone with intellectual capacity' can see the story of Noah is a myth? Apparently you reached that conclusion based on your own intellectual capacity. Do I think I should adjust my view of the Flood now? :scratch::lmao:

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On what basis do you judge that 'anyone with intellectual capacity' can see the story of Noah is a myth?
Because it is a myth. Duh!
Apparently you reached that conclusion based on your own intellectual capacity. Do I think I should adjust my view of the Flood now? :scratch::lmao:
I don't care what you adjust.
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Anybody who truly believes that pairs of EVERY animal on the planet could be rounded up by a couple of people from one location and herded into a boat, no matter how big, are surely capable of believing ANYTHING.

 

Talking bushes, dragons, angles, devils, prophets, harpies, satyres, talking snakes, trees of knowledge, trumpets bringing down walls, people walking on water, people coming back to life, leprosy being cured, blind seeing again......................THEY ARE ALL MYTHS. Things that we WISH could happen.

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I hate this stupid flood myth. I took a look at "response" on the other site and it's quite nice all things considered.

 

In my opinion here's the first thing to consider. The timeline. It couldn't have happened in the timeline of the bible without a lot of active cultures noticing. Since the Egyptians (for one) were puttering around, writing and building all during the time of the alleged flood and no one notice this means IT NEVER HAPPENED!

 

That aside, let's look at some of the problems that were found from the other site:

* The nearest proximate palaeographical data we have for the cubit of Genesis 6 is the 9th century Siloam inscription, which uses a 17 inch cubit

 

* This results in an Ark of about 420 feet long

9th century. We're talking 1000+ years after the time of the flood. So what?

 

* He is assuming a solid wooden roof for the Ark, which is nowhere described in the text (in fact the 'covering' for the Ark uses a word which is always used of a tent like covering made from linen or skins)

Even worse. Skins would fail in the amount of rain that had to fall. Egyptians were among the best textile workers of the day and they couldn't make any fabrics that could hold up under hurricane forces (so even imagining skins they had to be stitched together and that's your weak link).

 

* He also strangely supposes that only eight humans were involved in building the Ark (I have no idea why)

Because the text doesn't say that Noah had any help beyond his family and it's dishonest to give him a workforce that isn't mentioned (in fact, even his family is a stretch). Taken as a whole, the bible mentions that Noah built the ark while the world basically partied and mocked him until he went into the ark and the flood started. This doesn't sound like a workforce that helped Noah at his folly.

 

Now let's look at the "best defense" paragraph:

The Greek historian Memnon describes a timber warship built in the 3rd century BC which was around 100 metres long (about 300 feet). The Roman historian Plutarch describes a timber warship built for Ptolemy IV (around 200 BC), which was 128 metres long (about 390 feet). The largest of the Chinese baochuan ('treasure ships'), of the 15th century reached 125-160 metres in length (400-480 feet), and were made of wood.

I see 3rd century BC. I see 200 BC (better). I see 15th century (presumably AD). Now, which of these designs are from 23rd century BCE? Which of these designs are for deep water with absolutely zero control? Just to be tossed about like a cork on the roughest oceans ever seen? Even if the boat survives what are the odds the cargo is dashed to bits on the interior? Zero? Good guess and very accurate. All the ships mentioned where designed to be controlled. All the ships mentioned would sink in rough waters. Why not just mention a modern carrier or something as long as you're comparing apples to oranges (which would also sink in the conditions of the biblical flood). Just because they're made of wood doesn't mean they're the same. I'm also sure that you're aware of the modern wooden ship that was built that leaked like crazy and had to be crossed braced with metal just to be structurally sound.

 

Find a 23rd century BCE (or older) barge of this size designed for use on the high seas and get back to us.

 

mwc

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I hate this stupid flood myth. I took a look at "response" on the other site and it's quite nice all things considered.

 

In my opinion here's the first thing to consider. The timeline. It couldn't have happened in the timeline of the bible without a lot of active cultures noticing. Since the Egyptians (for one) were puttering around, writing and building all during the time of the alleged flood and no one notice this means IT NEVER HAPPENED!

 

That aside, let's look at some of the problems that were found from the other site:

* The nearest proximate palaeographical data we have for the cubit of Genesis 6 is the 9th century Siloam inscription, which uses a 17 inch cubit

 

* This results in an Ark of about 420 feet long

9th century. We're talking 1000+ years after the time of the flood. So what?

 

* He is assuming a solid wooden roof for the Ark, which is nowhere described in the text (in fact the 'covering' for the Ark uses a word which is always used of a tent like covering made from linen or skins)

Even worse. Skins would fail in the amount of rain that had to fall. Egyptians were among the best textile workers of the day and they couldn't make any fabrics that could hold up under hurricane forces (so even imagining skins they had to be stitched together and that's your weak link).

 

* He also strangely supposes that only eight humans were involved in building the Ark (I have no idea why)

Because the text doesn't say that Noah had any help beyond his family and it's dishonest to give him a workforce that isn't mentioned (in fact, even his family is a stretch). Taken as a whole, the bible mentions that Noah built the ark while the world basically partied and mocked him until he went into the ark and the flood started. This doesn't sound like a workforce that helped Noah at his folly.

 

Now let's look at the "best defense" paragraph:

The Greek historian Memnon describes a timber warship built in the 3rd century BC which was around 100 metres long (about 300 feet). The Roman historian Plutarch describes a timber warship built for Ptolemy IV (around 200 BC), which was 128 metres long (about 390 feet). The largest of the Chinese baochuan ('treasure ships'), of the 15th century reached 125-160 metres in length (400-480 feet), and were made of wood.

I see 3rd century BC. I see 200 BC (better). I see 15th century (presumably AD). Now, which of these designs are from 23rd century BCE? Which of these designs are for deep water with absolutely zero control? Just to be tossed about like a cork on the roughest oceans ever seen? Even if the boat survives what are the odds the cargo is dashed to bits on the interior? Zero? Good guess and very accurate. All the ships mentioned where designed to be controlled. All the ships mentioned would sink in rough waters. Why not just mention a modern carrier or something as long as you're comparing apples to oranges (which would also sink in the conditions of the biblical flood). Just because they're made of wood doesn't mean they're the same. I'm also sure that you're aware of the modern wooden ship that was built that leaked like crazy and had to be crossed braced with metal just to be structurally sound.

 

Find a 23rd century BCE (or older) barge of this size designed for use on the high seas and get back to us.

 

mwc

 

 

Hi, mwc.

 

Can you tell me where this other site is that has this "response"? Your replies to the sampling from it are very-well thought out and logical. If the points you responded to are representative of the rest from this apologist, this is going to be like shooting fish in a barrel!

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Can you tell me where this other site is that has this "response"? Your replies to the sampling from it are very-well thought out and logical. If the points you responded to are representative of the rest from this apologist, this is going to be like shooting fish in a barrel!

Thanks for the compliment. As I said, I really hate the deluge thing. There's no geologic evidence. The time line doesn't work. It's a non-starter to even get to a ship. Once you do there's no design that can work without falling apart (I'm certainly no engineer but I've read enough to see the problems). After that, even if you take a moderate size mountain (not Everest by far), you'd have to have an entirely hollow earth to hold all the water in addition to the water we have today. As you've said they'd be stranded on some island with no food until the planet somehow dried. Then plants somehow replanted into messed up soil and grew at an unheard of speed. And on and on. The story fails at each and every possible point you can think of. You might as well just wave the magic wand and accept "goddidit" or write it off altogether (guess which I chose? ;) ).

 

People can come up with some, admittedly, brilliant explanations for each little piece of the puzzle but when asked to put it all together into a coherent whole they simply cannot. It's a bunch of brilliant pieces and one huge mess.

 

Anyhow, check out Turgonian's post #3. He embeds the links to the other site in his message (here it is again all written out: http://discussions.godandscience.org/viewtopic.php?t=2811).

 

mwc

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