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Monday, September 8, 2008

A thank-you note to Ray Comfort:

I just wanted to take this opportunity to thank our good friend Ray for doing his part to advance the cause of rational thought (by giving his cause - fundie creationist nonsense - yet another bullet in the foot).

In his post, "Ark Dimentions", Ray attempts to lay out the case (via a letter from Richard Gunther) that Noah's Ark was designed perfectly for its purpose, being the perfect length (its length matching the distance between two average ocean wave crests), and being large enough (having a volume of approximately 1,396,000 cubic feet) to comfortably house the "two of every creature" stipulated in the Bible (as well as supplies for all present).

Unfortunately, this argument holds no water (pun intended), as many commenters were quick to point out:

"There's no evidence of a global flood, though, so the idea is allegory at best.
And even with a craft that large, it still would have been unable to store 2 of every species, let alone the food and environment to sustain those beasts."

- Whateverman

"Even if we assume Noah only took two million species (the total amount of species cataloged and named), and gathered them at a rate of one pair per minute, it would take nearly 1,400 years just to collect them all.

Let's forget the fact that Noah would need a round-the-clock staff of thousands upon thousands to take care of the animals already captured. "

- Kaitlyn

"The volume of the ark doesn't take into account the structural elements needed to keep the ship from snapping like a twig, so you can easily subtract 20% from the ammount of space. More actually, because that's the number used for normal-sized wooden ships, it doesn't include the upscaling.

And that's ignoring the fact that Noah would still need access to the animals, so that's another (conservative) 10% gone on walkways.

And in the square foot left, you don't only have to keep the animal, you also have to put food and water for a little under a year of travel time.

Not to mention the problem that some animals only eat fresh foods, such as koalas."

- Alcari

"Noah's Ark as described in Genesis is, on the one hand, too small for the task described. Assuming that biblical "kinds" correspond roughly to modern genera, the total weight of the animals placed aboard, plus fodder for them all for a year, would have exceeded the Ark's displacement, meaning that Noah would have constructed the world's first, and last, gopher-wood submarine.

On the other hand, it is too large for a craft constructed of wood (no metal is described as part of the construction). There's a reason that ships of that size were not built prior to the 19th century: before metal construction, ships of that would require most of their internal space to be taken up with bracing, assuming you didn't want them to simply bend, leak, and break up shortly after launching. The shape may be good; the construction materials are not adequate to a ship that size.

Of course, there are additional problems: if we accept that all terrestrial tetrapods alive today are descendants of animals on the Ark, we have a problem accounting for the genetic variety in many species (especially if one wishes to argue that, e.g. lions, tigers, pumas, house cats etc. are descendants of a single pair of ur-felids aboard the Ark): chimpanzees, for example, have vastly more genetic variety within their species than H. sapiens does. Every land vertebrate species on Earth should show signs of having gone through a very narrow genetic bottleneck some 5000 years ago, if the Noah's Ark account is true, yet scarcely any of them do."

- Steven J.

It should be clear at this point that the Ark fable that Richard Gunther originally attempted to portray as reasonable has several glaring problems. To us, this comes as no big surprise...but what I thought was worth mentioning was the reactions of some of the fundies to these arguments:

"There's no evidence because a group of people with a vested interest in the Bible not being 100% true say there's no evidence."

- Jinx McHue

" With God's protection against extinction during the Deluge, survival would have been assured."

"It has been said that in nearly all groups of animals there is at least an indication of a latent ability to hibernate or aestivate. Perhaps these abilities were supernaturally intensified during this period. With their bodily functions reduced to a minimum, the burden of their care would have been greatly lightened."

- Trkent

So there you have it...rational objections to what is obviously a fairy tale are met with equal parts denial and even more magical thinking. I won't even get into the retarded "kinds vs. species" argument that invariably rises from this particular debate.

And fundies wonder why they're not taken seriously...


  1. Here's an ironic reaction from one of the fundies:

    Jinx McHue said...

    You can really tell how frustrated the atheists are getting because of all the logical answers they're receiving. Their "rebuttals" tend to degenerate into one- or two-line wisecracks lacking intelligence and substance.

  2. Here's a one- or two- line wisecrack:

    None of us "crazies" pointed out the dinosaurs. What dimensions do you think the muzzle had to have been to keep Noah from getting eaten?

  3. Disco,

    Of course, fundies will smugly reply that the dinosaurs weren't on the Ark, and that's why their remains are to be found in sediment layers (ostensibly built up in a matter of years by flood waters), and also, that's why they aren't around today.

    Ignoring for just a moment the staggering amount of evidence that contradicts the Flood theory of fossil creation, there's also evidence contradicting this theory right in their magic book. From Genesis 6:19-20 (emphasis mine):

    You are to bring into the ark two of all living creatures, male and female, to keep them alive with you.

    Two of every kind of bird, of every kind of animal and of every kind of creature that moves along the ground will come to you to be kept alive.

    Note how it doesn't say "two of every creature...except for those really big lizards". Why were the dinosaurs excluded?

  4. AiG and some other sources says the dinosaurs were onboard, but Noah brought on babies, alleviating any concerns about space. LOL.

    When Kaitlyn gives a figure of 2 million species, is that extant species or ever species ever? I'd imagine if you include extinct tetrapods, it would be way, way more than 2 million. I can't imagine all those species living on the Earth at the same time, let alone the ark.

    Interestingly enough, the captcha text for this comment is "wbzootx".

  5. Don't forget, some species of animal were represented n sevens.

    @ trip:
    My aunt and Uncle believe that the dinosaurs were on the ark.

    I still have the book they gave me. I wonder if I can find it...

    Any way, it goes like this. There had been no rain on the earth before the flood. So, there's a huge blanket of water vapor coating the atmosphere, and making the entire earth a tropical climate. Dinosaurs are on the ark, and after the flood all that water vapor is gone and the climates drastically change faster than the dinosaurs can adapt, which is why they all went extinct.

  6. Jason,
    I got the two million figure from the number of species currently alive and cataloged. Most species are not cataloged, and the total number of species alive today is anywhere between 5-500 million.

    When you include extinct species, the number of animals needed to be taken aboard rises logarithmically backwards in time (using evolutionary theory) to the point where Noah would need to take care of billions of organisms.

  7. Anybody else notice that originally Richard's letter siad to look in Genesis 5?

    I responded showing the error, but the post was censored, and the post magically changed to read Genesis 6.

    I have written other posts, but they have been likewise censored.

    Screw it - I'm not going to waste any more time posting at ray's site anymore.

    He's just a cheap carnival fraud soaking the rubes for jesus. He can go to hell & if anyone does, it should be him.

  8. they'll have to throw out basic physics after they feel they've removed enough evolution from schools. children aren't supposed to know that wooden ships of a certain size will snap. fundies will gladly invoke another miracle ad infinitum to explain any number of other miracles, just as long as it shields them from dealing with facts.


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