Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Was the Ark big enough?

Continuing the mini-series on the myth of the flood . . . 

There was news earlier this year that a Dutch man, Johann Huibers, had arranged for a full-sized replica of the ark to be built.  He wanted to put it on a barge and moor it on the River Thames in London close to the sites that will be used for the Olympic games in 2012.  Apparently the dimensions that he took represented the largest of the several interpretations of the size of the cubit, as nobody is quite sure how big a cubit really was.

The first thing that comes to mind is that if his replica can't float on its own (as it is built on a pontoon) then it is possible that such a vessel would be considered a bit risky as the repository of all the future life on earth.  If the new ark can't make it to London on its own then it hardly deserves the space that might yet be allocated to it.

How big would it need to be anyway?

Quoting again from some tweets from @RosaRubicondior:

Noah's Ark would have needed space and food for 9-10,000 mammals ranging from elephants to pygmy shrews.

Noah's Ark would have needed space and food for 1 million beetles, most of which are predators.

Noah's Ark would have needed space and food for 18-20,000 birds ranging from ostriches to humming birds.

I wonder whether Rosa had made a serious study of the pseudo-science of baraminology before using these numbers.  (More on that in a few days time.)  Whether or not these numbers are actually true and however large the vessel, it seems inconceivable that Noah and his family would be able to:
  • find all these animals and catch them
  • collect the specialised food for the creatures (some of which would naturally eat each other)
  • feed them and clean out their stalls for 10 months
  • release them in the right order so that they did not eat each other (and anyway what did the carnivores eat immediately after the flood)
On top of that, it is now well known - and apparently not revealed by god at the time of Noah - that a single pair of any species is not enough to preserve a species.  Much more genetic diversity is required to overcome problems of in-breeding in a small population.

Let's face it.  Taking this story as the literal truth is a non-starter if you actually think about it rationally.  It is even quite difficult to see the place of this story if you take it figuratively.


FitzGerald Family said...
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FitzGerald Family said...

It's disappointing that these kind of "Village Atheist" arguments are still being used. All of these objections have been answered time and time again. You won't listen because 1. you don't want to listen 2. you won't ever believe that there is a God. And really, that is what it comes down to. Is there or isn't there a creator God who has revealed himself through the Bible? If there is no Creator such as this, then of course the story of Noah's ark found in the book of Genesis is, at best, a trumped up legend. However, if you are wrong, and there does happen to be a God who has revealed himself through the Bible: well, that changes everything. In other words, until you answer the question: "Where did the universe ultimately come from?" You are just floundering around making an ass of yourself.
Science is indefinite, at best, on the subjects of the origin of the Universe and the emergence of life on this planet-- sure, they have plenty of guesses all of which take enormous leaps of faith. (No one has ever seen a living thing come from non-living compounds. You can believe that all you want but that is faith on your part; not observable,testable science. I could go on and on. The "multi-verse" has never been observed or tested; it is a guess fraught with problems.) So, considering the only tenable position that you can honestly hold is that of an agnostic. (assuming, of course, you reject the myriad of arguments for the existence of God.)An agnostic is one who does not know. I can respect an agnostic's honesty, at least. If you are an agnostic and you are skeptical of what is written in the Bible, well, hey, I can respect that. But maybe, just maybe, considering you really don't know whether or not there is, or isn't, a God who has revealed himself through the Bible, maybe you should tread just a little lighter when talking about things you are agnostic about. If you consider yourself to be an "atheist"-- an untenable position; which Bertrand Russel showed-- then you can keep spouting these moldy worn out arguments; railing against God and the Bible-- hating with a vengeance a thing which, you say, absolutely does not exist. In which case, why do you care? You've got just a few more years, if you are lucky, before the chemical accident which is you rectifies itself and ceases to exist; I'd think you'd want to do something more with those fleeting minutes than spend time arguing about something that doesn't exist-- yet still eats away at your soul. Well, if you actually had a soul, but we "know" that "you" are just chemical and electrical firings in your brain making you thinking you actually exist as a "soul".