Creation vs. Evolution II
Why the Ark Won't Float
by Jeremy E., Creation vs. Evolution II Team Member
"Make yourself an ark of gopherwood, put various compartments in it, and cover it inside and outside with pitch. This is how you shall build it: the length of the ark shall be three hundred cubits, its width fifty cubits, and its height thirty cubits. Make an opening for daylight in the ark, and finish the ark a cubit above it. Put an entrance in the side of the ark, which you shall make with bottom, second and third decks. I, on my part, am about to bring the flood [waters] on the earth, to destroy everywhere all creatures in which there is the breath of life; everything on earth shall perish. But with you I will establish my covenant; you and your sons, your wife and your sons' wives, shall go into the ark. 0f all other living creatures you shall bring two into the ark, one male and one female, that you may keep them alive with you. 0f all kinds of birds, of all kinds of beasts, and of all kinds of creeping things, two of each shall come into the ark with you, to stay alive. Moreover, you are to provide yourself with all the food that is to be eaten, and store it away that it may serve as provisions for you and for them." Genesis 6: 14-21 - New American Bible, St. Joseph edition.
This is the first account of the Flood, and the version kindest to creationists. The other version (Genesis 7:1-4) contains several inconsistencies, like the fact that clean animals weren't defined until Moses received the laws from God. Also, the second account requires seven or fourteen (the phrasing is ambiguous) clean animals (ruminants), more than the first account.
The Ark as described in the above quote from Genesis 6 is a huge boat made of wood, which is not exactly prime shipbuilding material. Considering that the largest known wooden boats are 300 feet long, have to be reinforced with iron straps, and require constant pumping, and that neither pumps nor iron were available to Noah, the Ark wouldn't be very seaworthy.
First of all we must define what exactly Noah has to catch and put on the Ark. "Birds" are obviously birds. Or are they? One part of the Bible defines the bat as a bird, which it isn't. "Birds" are apparently anything that flies and isn't an insect. That would mean that "beasts" are all reptiles, land mammals (except bats and humans), amphibians and land dinosaurs, which are now extinct but would not have been in Noah's time (at least not according to creationists). Noah would also have to bring plants and marine animals, which would never survive a global flood. He would also have to bring microbes. Some might survive, but most would perish, because microbes often occupy very specific environments, like legume roots or cow guts.
Noah must now catch one male and one female of every species. Scientists have estimated 5 million distinct species of beetles alone. Some animals are asexual, parthenogenic (have only females), or hermaphrodic (both sexes on the same animal). Some animals can change their sexes. Some animals live in hard to reach places. Some animals are poisonous or otherwise dangerous. Some animals would not survive the trip to the ark. And some animals are not easy to carry.
Let's start with dinosaurs. Specifically, sauropods, huge herbivores like Brachiosaurus and Seismosaurus. Noah had to take around 240 sauropods (two of each species, 120 known species). The average sauropod would be about 10 tons, 10 feet wide, 10 feet tall at the shoulder, and 40 feet long, head to tip of tail. Could they all fit? Ignore food, exercise, and waste, and imagine each sauropod as a big inert brick. Also assume that the ark was all empty space.The ark was 11 bricks in length, 7 bricks in width, and had three floors big enough for one brick in height. So: 11 * 7 * 3 = 231 bricks. There are still nine outside, and Noah hasn't even started on the rest of the animals.
And that's assuming that all organisms are bricks. Now add in the food, exercise, habitat, and other care required for this mother of all zoos. The equipment alone would take up several arks. Some animals require very special food. For example, my brother had a snake that only ate earthworms. The animals would have to move around or their muscles would atrophy and they would be too weak to repopulate the planet. Habitats would have to be constructed for many animals. And all these animals would be producing tons of waste which would have to be collected and disposed of.
How did Noah keep his animals from getting at each other? There is no way that a tiger is not going to eat a tasty sheep if it can. Keeping the animals away from the food is also a problem. Mice, rats, insects - all these are on the Ark.
The story of Noah's Ark is just that: a story. It obviously shouldn't be taken literally.
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