Lies, Damn Lies, and Noah’s Ark

You're telling me he got Blue Whales on the Ark?

Today I had the pleasure of watching a documentary on modern-day searches for Noah’s Ark. A long imagined destination has been Mount Ararat in Turkey, the final resting place of the ark according to scripture. The far left and right photos feature geological ‘anomalies’ in the Ararat region, which followers of Biblical inerrancy (the literal word of the Bible) have touted as potential sites of the Ark.

There has been some recent news on this story, as researchers from the University of Richmond have created a 3-dimensional model of the main ‘Mr Ararat Anomaly’. The Ararat site itself is very inhospitable, and until recently was under restricted access by the Turkish government. This gives believers in literal interpretation the ammunition they need to keep their hopes alive from afar.

But, let’s look at the facts, courtesy of my favourite thing on the planet, Wikipedia:

The many associated questions include whether eight humans could have cared for the animals while also sailing the Ark, how the special dietary needs of some of the more exotic animals could have been catered for, how the creatures could have been prevented from preying on each other, questions of lighting, ventilation, and temperature control, hibernation, the survival and germination of seeds, the position of freshwater and saltwater fish, the question of what the animals would have eaten immediately after leaving the Ark, how they traveled (or were gathered) from all over the world to board the Ark and how they could have returned to their far-flung habitats across the Earth’s bare, flood-devastated terrain, and how two or a few members of a species could have provided enough genetic variety to avoid inbreeding and reconstitute a healthy population.

Sounds pretty convincing, no? But here’s my question: the ark was supposed to be 300 cubits in length, roughly 450 feet. The longest wooden boat in recorded history was the schooner Wyoming (launched 1909), which was about 330 feet in length, and required extensive iron bracing in its construction to counteract extreme warping of the hull. How the hell could one dude have constructed a boat to lengths 36% longer than modern shipbuilders ever achieved at the extremes of their craft?

He was supposed to have collected two of every species on the plant, which in made-up creationist terms, must also have included the largest animal of all time, the Blue Whale. Even though it might make sense NOT to take marine species in a flood, the scripture talks about two of EVERY animal! OK, a) how did he capture a Blue Whale, b) how could he fit two of them in his boat (Blue Whales can grow to 110 feet, meaning two of them would have used over half the area of his ark), and c) how could they have survived 150 days laying motionless without a specialized diet? Not possible.

Sometimes, it makes a lot more sense to interpret the stories of the Bible as just that, stories. It’s a tale of morality, perseverance, loyalty, and servitude and should be appreciated on its moral merits, rather than its scientific ones. With the last word, is Penn and Teller’s take on the tale of Noah’s Ark.

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One Response to “Lies, Damn Lies, and Noah’s Ark”

  1. TomB Says:

    Well said.

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