I was more than a little surprised to find that AIG has published "Part 1" of a two part rebuttal to my previous post, More Lies from Ken Ham as the lead article of June 7th by Tim Lovett on the AIG site.
In Part 1, Mr. Lovett:
1-Criticises my use of "complicated" words
2-Tells me that I cannot have morals and ethics
3-Quibbles over plank dimensions on the Ark and makes extraordinary claims as to the provenance of the wood used to build the mythical Ark.
4-Defends the non-existent autonomy of AIG contributors
5-Argues that Ken Ham is not the leader of a Christian fundamentalist sect.
Mr Lovett seems to be unable to merely address the issues and starts out by criticizing me for using "complicated words." I find that simplification is often enhanced by using more descriptive words, but I'll try not to use any big words here so he doesn't have to consult the dictionary as often. Then:
"Furthermore, an atheist who has “founding rules of life” and morality, which produce guilt and reasons to oppose immorality, doesn't sound like a consistent atheist where rules and morality are optional"
The last time I checked, there were no bands of "consistent atheists" roaming the land doing dastardly deeds prescribed by their optional morality. Sadly for him, Mr. Lovett does not get to choose what I consider moral or even how I came to the conclusion of what is, or is not moral. The fact is that empathy is the bedrock of morals and ethics. Honest and helpful people become accepted and trusted by their peers resulting in being accepted and productive within the community. We have evolved empathy over eons of human cooperation, which turns out to be a highly successful survival skill. Of course it is a trait of most all crackpots to claim some sort of absolute truth, and Ken Ham and his hapless minions are no exception.
In the article I said, "....I always refer to anything from the AIG as being from Ken Ham because all of the contributors on his site have signed an agreement with the Hamster to publish only material that he has personally endorsed."
Mr Lovett replies:
"This is incorrect. Furthermore, Mr. Ham does not have time to personally endorse the many pieces of content Answers in Genesis produces. Everyone, including Mr. Ham, is subject to the Statement of Faith that was created by a board of directors, and all of the content should be consistent with this document."
Oh, see how he spins. So Mr Ham does not personally endorse every word of content, but as the founder of AIG he appointed a board of directors who created a "Statement of Faith" document against Mr Ham's interpretation of scripture? Of course not. That would be absurd.
The board of directors didn't get appointed in a vacuum. They were chosen due to their consistent agreement with Ken Ham. Let's keep it real, here. Ham had already formulated his interpretation of Genesis long before that board was appointed.
I then wrote that, "Ken Ham is the leader of this sect of fundamentalist, bible literalist Christianity," and Lovett spins away:
"Not so—each Christian working at Answers in Genesis (or working with us) is actually subject to his own church denomination and ultimately to Christ. We have Baptists, Lutherans, Presbyterians, etc., and this ministry affirms the great confessions of faith held by the church for 2,000 years. We aren’t teaching anything new but those things Christians have adhered to for centuries. Ken is the president and CEO of just one parachurch organization (Answers in Genesis) within the larger realm of biblical Christianity.
I think I had said that Ken Ham is the leader of this fundamentalist sect- meaning AIG.
There are a vast number of Christians who do not buy in to Ham's fundamentalist philosophy.
It matters not what 'denomination' AIG contributors represent, they must sign Ham's Statement that they not publish anything that contradicts his interpretation of scripture. That fact alone proves that whatever Ham is doing, it is not science. Ham does, indeed, tacitly approve everything written on his site. Why try to worm out of that?
Next, Lovett wants to quibble over the dimensions of the wood used in the Ark, and so I shall go with his speculated dimension of 24" wide planks that still result in 19,800 feet of longitudinal cracks between the planks. And those cracks were supposedly sealed with pitch and all succumbing to the effects of bending moments and torsion. Not gonna happen. Lovett refers to these planks as 'keelsons" yet there is no evidence that the Ark had a keel at all, and so the longitudinal planks would be referred to as side planks, not Keelsons. (I admit that I did not use exact proper terms, as he points out, since I was merely trying to explain this to a couple friends, and my degree in Mech Eng was awarded in 1972, and I spent the balance of my career in business management.) By the way, Mr Lovett argues that the planks could have been much longer than my example of twenty feet, but sorry to say, the longer the plank, he more deflection, and attendant leaks, there will be.
Then Lovett goes on to make a couple very odd statements:
"Or perhaps you mean that twenty feet was the best Noah could find in the Middle East [he is here referring to my hypothetical length of the planks.] The Ark landed there, but this was completely unrelated to where it was built because “the ark moved about” (Genesis 7:18). “Gopher wood” doesn’t have to be a desert acacia or even a cedar of Lebanon. It could just as well have been Douglas fir, yellow pine, or even teak."
So the Ark landed in the mid east but may not have been built in the mid east?
Is he saying that the Ark was built in north western or southern USA where Douglas Fir and Yellow pine grow respectively? Or in Burma where Teak grows? I don't know what he's alluding to, but I'm sure he can make something up if pressed to do so.
My original post was merely to show the concept of why wooden ships the size of the Ark were never feasible or seaworthy and how all the efforts of nineteenth century shipbuilders at the height of their skills could not make an all-wooden ship the size of the Ark that would float for any extended length of time. Historically, wooden ships (smaller that the Ark) could not be made seaworthy even though they were true keel ships that used iron and steel reinforcement..
It will be interesting to get to the meat of this exercise and see what Mr. Lovett has to say in the promised "Part 2" of his rebuttal, but it is safe to bet that he will make the claim that since Noah was not far removed from Adam that he was smarter than the nineteenth century shipbuilders and devised some type of elaborate plan for keeping the Ark afloat, and he always has the option of claiming divine intervention, which is what anti-science fundamentalists do when they run out of natural explanations.
And finally, but a bit off topic, for AIG followers who are considering donations to the Ark Park, note that the park will be a for-profit enterprise, so by donating money for the construction you will be putting profit in Ken Ham's and his cronies' pockets. I doubt if anyone would donate money to General Electric or any other for-profit company, and this is no different. They will also be using tax breaks from Kentucky to enhance those profits. It certainly seems odd that a for-profit enterprise is actively soliciting for "donations." I am quite sure I could predict the reaction from someone who received a solicitation for a donation from Walmart so they could build a new store.
Since the pre-eminent wooden shipbuilders of their day failed to build a seaworthy wooden ship it will be interesting to see how Mr Lovett supports his insinuated claim that a wooden ship that large would be seaworthy, especially since it had to be at sea for an entire year without docking for repairs as all the other wooden ships of history did.
So, "Tim" promises to come back next week "for my response to whether wooden ships are reliable...."
And I promise that I'll be waiting, and hoping I do not perish of curiosity in the interim.