Ardent defenders of the First Amendment and the Separation of Church and State


Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Part 3 | Sinking the Ark


While being featured in the lead article on the AIG site on three occasions is not quite like being on the cover of Rolling Stone, it seems this would be my 15 minutes of fame in regards to the Culture War!  After all, I'm merely an anonymous blogger who wrote up one of my views on problems with the story of Noah's Ark.  Apparently, I touched a nerve.  
I don't think any Bible story garners any more attention than the Ark from Bible literalists to atheists.  Every year the literalists try to confer more and more 19th and 20th century CE technology on to 23rd century BCE Noah!  Of course, that is just the tip of the proverbial iceberg.  It seems to get sillier all the time as they reject physics, archaeology, astronomy, biology, and any other segment of valid science that opposes their views.  Of course, as Ken Ham often states, kids are leaving the church in droves.  He attributes this to the lack of conditioning of the kids by parents, and that is partly true, as parents and kids alike now have the internet, the world's library, at their fingertips to explore and learn on their own
The literalists/ fundamentalists are a dying breed and these antiquated views are going by the wayside, one funeral at a time.  The internet is to fundamentalist religion what the printing press was to the demise of the draconian Catholic church.  The fundamentalists watch in horror as their world view goes up in the smoke of reason.

So here we have the last installment of the public tête-à-têtes between Tim Lovett an me.  His last response, as you will see, is merely a rehash of what he has already written, trying to make the case that Noah was privy to modern technology when it is easy to see there is no evidence supporting the claim. 


[My remarks are in red and green- Tim's in black:]

Plans for Ham's ark remain a tightly guarded secret

Seems like lots of public information published on the AiG website remains a secret to you. Pictures have been on the website for over two years.

Whoaaaaaaa!!!  I wasn't talking about some artists 'rendition' or a comic book picture like the ones on those sites, especially the ones with all the smiling dinosaurs peeking out of the top of the Ark, that you use to grab the attention of the kids before you go on to destroy their ability to think logically.  But that's OK.  It's been going on for 20 centuries!
Oh, sorry, the subject, was…..let me see………[invoking old curmudgeon clause..while memory catches up] oh yeah, about those 'plans.'  What I was referring to was engineered drawings for the construction of the Ark.  Since it will be sitting, there upon the robust foundation that you alluded to, will it have any steel reinforcement or steel fasteners? Just thought I'd ask. 

but there is no doubt that it will be built upon a robust foundation. Northern Kentucky experiences freeze/ thaw cycles in the winter months and that heaving alone would soon negatively affect the integrity of the structure.

Noah probably built the Ark in a high place on a robust launching platform to minimize the chance of dashing against nearby obstacles. So, yes, Noah would have needed a robust foundation, and so will the (much lighter) AiG structure. But the Ark Encounter is not a ship-proving test either; it is an immersive experience with a structure based on reasoned design.

Immersive…..Pun intended?  So, she's an Ark lite!

"…….., it was naval architects at the world-class ship research center KRISO (renamed MOERI in 2005) in Korea who studied Noah’s Ark in 1992 and declared the biblical specifications sound (see this summary for more information). The head of the study (Dr. S. W. Hong, an evolutionist) went on to run the place.

Sorry, lil buddy, Not at all.  S.W. Hong never made any statement regarding the seaworthiness of the supposed Ark.  He and his team merely stated that, coincidentally, the dimensions of he Ark were optimal for a large vessel.  He did not specify what type of materials the ship would need to be made from.  If you look at the beam of a modern tanker you will see the  dimensions of the Ark only hold true for certain types of vessels.  You use S.W. Hong as a defendant of the Ark myth, but he was not even close.  Nice quote mining though. Then you use him as a starting point in your "summary," then proceeding with your speculative extravaganza.

  • Diagonal planking (cold molded): This is the definitive way to build a strong wooden hull. This technique was used in minesweepers for the U.S. Navy (1990s). Modern adhesives and a fiberglass skin helped of course, but the British did the same in 1855 (Schomberg). Also, as already mentioned, diagonal planking appeared in World War I wooden steamers. In 1998, another old ship, the USS Constellation, was switched from carvel to diagonal planking to avoid using clumsy steel beams in order to repair hogging strains.

Looking over the tops of my reading glasses:
You are talking about vessels built four thousand years after the supposed Ark.
Technology was quite advanced from the 23rd century BCE, in case you hadn't noticed.

  • Mortise and tenon planking: Greeks and Romans used this spectacular (almost unbelievable) solution to shearing between planks. The method goes back well before the fourteenth century before Christ, but then it disappeared for centuries until rediscovered conclusively by modern underwater archaeology. This lends credence to the records of Ark-sized wooden ships of antiquity. For example, Athenaeus discussed a large warship that was 427 feet (130 m) long! It was built by Ptolemy Philopater around 250–200 BC.3 It proved quite capable in war, no less. Then there was the Leontifera—based on the specification of eight tiers of oarsmen, it is estimated at about 393 feet (120 m) long.4

The 'tales' of those three ships is highly suspect and spurious, and the Ark preceded them by more than a millennium.

  • Multiple layers of planking: This method was clearly used in Chinese ships, which includes the treasure ships of Zheng He (1400s) with a reported length of 444 chi (137 m or 450 feet).5 Also seen in Greek and Roman ships (c. 80–90 BC).6 More recently (1800s) multiple layers were employed for impact with floating ice.7 Each successive layer of overlapping planking dramatically increases the shear resistance of the planking system. Even a double layer is “vastly superior to single carvel.”

Again, those vessels came three thousand years after the supposed Ark.

  • Edge bolting: Vertical pins (drift bolts) connected horizontal members (strakes) together. This technique was used in late American ships to fasten ceiling strakes and keelsons together.
Another problem for these “oversized” carvel ships was weak frames. To make the curved frame profiles, many short segments were bolted together, resulting in lateral flexibility (i.e., they could go out of shape). This could have been addressed by installing lateral shear walls at regular intervals (transverse bulkheads). The Chinese were doing that at least fourteen centuries earlier, which is twelve centuries before Benjamin Franklin “invented” it.
So maybe Noah used ancient bulkheads and ancient planking.

Hmmmmmm, edge bolting is it?  Maybe he did, but it is merely a wild guess.  There is not a single clue that the technology of the 23rd century BCE would allow a ship of that size to be built.

In summary, 300 feet (91 m) may well be the practical limit for single layer carvel hull construction, but more appropriate construction methods would extend that boundary by at least 50 percent.
With regards,

That has already been discussed, and established that even with iron/steel reinforcement NO wooden ship over ~three hundred feet has been successful.  End of story.

So, there you have it.  Thanks to all for taking time to read through this.

While it was fun while it lasted, this old retired guy has far more important and fun things to do, especially this time of year, other than tying to reason with someone who has reached their opinion without the use of reason.

Respectfully submitted,





zilch said...

That was a pleasure to read, froggie. Unfortunately, debating creationists is like playing Whack-A-Mole: knock one silly argument down and another equally silly one pops up. When your arguments don't have to be constrained by the real world, there's no end to them.

lehman scott said...

Well done, Froggie! I hereby declare you the winner of the third and final round of this debate!

Too bad no one from the other side had the cojones to spar with you, Sir. Ahh well, at least you might have persuaded a fence-sitting visitor or two from Fundieland, eh?

Once again, well-done with this series, Sir!