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


Sunday, June 30, 2013

Ham Asking for Donations to Profit Himself and his Unnamed Cronies | Ark to be a For-Profit Entity

Ken Ham was shrieking about an article in Christianity Today where they claim funding for the Ark has slowed down.
Ken Ham responds:
...... had they contacted us directly about Ark donations, CT would have learned that funding is steadily coming in for the Ark Encounter. Instead, CT used old figures.

Well then I shall use up-to-the-moment figures directly from the AIG site updated today.  Funding for the Ark by month:

Funding for Ham's Ark through 1 July 13

Considering that AIG was planning to break ground in 2013, it looks to me that the funding has, indeed, ground to a crawl.  At the rate of donations over the last six months, it will take many years to reach the goal of $24 million US.

It could be that Ham's supporters aren't willing to part with their hard earned money once they learned that the Ark Park would be a for-profit entity.  I'm sure none of us would donate money to Wal-Mart so they could open a new store, and this is no different.  Let the people who will take the profit invest the money.  And on top of that, the state of Kentucky has promised tax breaks and thus enhanced profits for Ham and his cronies.  It would be stupid to donate good money so Ham can enrich himself and his undisclosed investors.

Or, better yet, Ham should convert the donations into investments and share the profits with those who donate.  Another option would be for people who want to donate to the Ark Park to contact AIG and ask about details concerning investing money to share the profits rather than donating so someone else can make the profits.

It takes a lot of brass to solicit donations for a for-profit business.


Wednesday, June 26, 2013

The Warped, Vile, Flawed, and Fractured logic of Ken Ham

Noah's Ark is merely a harmless myth perpetuated by the fundamentalist science deniers in the USA because where science conflicts with the bible myths they have no choice but to lie about and obfuscate valid science.  But one of their more nefarious activities is shown in the exchange below which I picked off the AIG Facebook page (which is heavily censored.)  They were talking about climate change, with Ken Ham denying it, of course. So then a fellow Christian tries to defend taking care of the planet as a mere 'good thing' to do, but Ken Ham is having none of that.
What is worse though is that Ken Ham is making his normal case that if you're not his brand of Christian, you have no basis for morality or for doing good of any kind.  He is essentially demonizing anyone who opposes his myopic views.

Neil Smith Obviously as a Christian I would like to see people come to Christ, but my point is that this has nothing to do with religion. I see too many people slamming the efforts of those, who aren't Christian, for trying to make our planet better and cleaner.

Ken Ham Neil--why? On what basis? Without a biblical basis you have no foundation for your statements--they are just your opinion. For instance in an evolutionary world why shouldn't man be allowed to do whatever he wants to do after all, he is just another selection pressure and maybe lots of pollution etc will actually help the next stage of evolution! It's only a Christian on the basis of a true understanding of history concerning a perfect world marred by sin and God giving man dominion and what that means in a falle world we can even begin to talk about this. Bottom line--what you stated is your opinion..why should people accept your opinion--they may have different opinions--it's why we all need an absolute authority to whom we are accountable or anything goes.

Open Letter to Ken Ham

Ken Ham,

I am convinced that you know better than what you are saying.  I am also convinced that one time back in the day that you bought into the inerrancy of the bible due to the cultural conditioning by your parents that you have spoken of in the past.  And I don't doubt that when you started your ministry that you were still convinced of, and emotionally bound to your views.  But now, after all the evidence and present day examples available to you, you are merely trying to hang on to the dwindling number of minions from whose pockets you pick on a regular basis.  Yes, power is addictive.  There was a time in your life where you went from a "believer" to a self appointed member of the "Priestcraft," or those who find being a religious leader provides you with a good many credulous minions who end up financing your bankrupt ideas.  But even more important to the Priestcraft is that once you come to the realization that your ideas are, in fact, worthless, your followers stay faithful as long as you keep up appearances.  Some of the Priestcraft have moved on to more fertile ground in the realization that bible inerrancy is a dying and failed philosophy, such as Joel Osteen, Rod Parsley, Joyce Myers, Rick Warren, et al, while you circle the wagons, go into your bunker mentality and lash out against everybody including fellow Christians.  And yes, I am sure that you are filling a niche market that others are abandoning. Actually, that is to your advantage, financially, since you don't have to share your diminishing number of minions with as many fellow members of the Priestcraft.

In this case you state that,
 "On what basis? Without a biblical basis you have no foundation for your statements--they are just your opinion. For instance in an evolutionary world why shouldn't man be allowed to do whatever he wants to do ..." 

That line of thinking is just as worn out and irrational as the idea that he universe is only six thousand years old.  Have a look at Japan where there are virtually no Christians. They have laws and their crime rate is less than here in the USA.  They plan for the future and have moral and ethical standards just like every other tribe/culture.  Hammurabi codified moral laws laws in the 17th century BCE, ~400 years before the supposed Moses.  The development of modern morality and ethics is a process of sociocultural evolution.

Cooperation between humans turned out to be a effective survival skill.  Empathy evolved along with all the aspects of human nature including the drive to reproduce and be a productive member of the tribe.  Empathy is the bedrock of ethics and morals.  The law of reciprocity (don't hurt me, I won't hurt you) has been around far longer than your bible stories.  Recent finding show unequivocally that we all have mirror neurons in our brains which show that when others hurt, we hurt. When others are happy, we share that happiness almost as if it is our own.

Those are moral concepts that have been universal for eons.  The additional religious laws like honoring a supernatural being or not working on Sunday are merely control devices invented by your fellow members of the Priestcraft back in the day.  This is evidenced by the fact that the laws are of the USA are quite universal in nature.  They are not founded on the Ten Commandments since only three of the ten commandments are ensconced as laws in the USA and they are universal laws common to most human cultures.

There are non-theists the world over that do hold the cause for the common goodwill, the preservation of the earth, and the well being of their descendants while finding no evidence whatsoever for any supernatural beings or an afterlife.

Respectfully submitted,



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,




Saturday, June 22, 2013

AIG Response, Part 3


Oh my....I can't quit laughing.  Looks like Tim has put the icing on the cake of proof that no wooden ship the size of the Ark has ever sailed, even with steel reinforcement.

I don't know about you, but the hipocrisy is weapons grade.  We see science with mltiple lines of evidence for events of thousand of years ago; AIG scoffs, totally discounts that evidence and asks if they were there to observe it, which of course is absurd.  But then they take a singular verse out of the bible, that I will quote, and end up with cold molded, Triple hull, v-bottomed ship with anaerobic digesters, and Millipedes so named because hundreds of them ran on treadmills to power the Ark, while using wind power to pump out the copious water that will surely be collecting in the bilges- all this- in the twenty third century, BCE,(!) …….without one. single. shred. of. evidence and not one historical precedent to back it up.  All of it imagined through the crystal ball of AIG.

They get this all from this from three sentences:

"Genesis: 14 So make yourself an ark of cypress [The Hebrew word here is uncertain] wood; make rooms in it and coat it with pitch inside and out. 15 This is how you are to build it: The ark is to be three hundred cubits long, fifty cubits wide and thirty cubits high. 16 Make a roof for it, leaving below the roof an opening one cubit [About 18 inches] high all around. [The Hebrew meaning for this clause is uncertain] Put a door in the side of the ark and make lower, middle and upper decks."

They can spit, sputter, hew and haw, wave their hands and do fancy pirouettes, but that description is a box.
And it would be by far the longest wooden ship ever built, four thousand years before boat builders came anywhere near that length, and only with steel reinforcement.

 Like the crazy inspector that spots an indentation in the dirt and proclaims that its provenance is a  "5-9 male with dark brown hair, green eyes, high school education that suffers from gout and kidney stones. He lives with his mother and……."  You get the picture.

It is important to note that archaeological evidence shows that the Egyptians assembled planks into simple hulls as early as 3,000 BCE. The earliest boats found were about 75 feet long and "sewn together with reeds."  The reeds were also used as a caulking.
No where in the historical record or archaeology is there is any ancient evidence for the fantastical ship designs proposed by Mr. Lovett.

Having said all that, my sister-in-law is here with the kids this week and Uncle Froggie is herding his intrepid crew to rock climbing, swimming and other assorted summer activities, but I will have my response to part 3 up by Tuesday.

It's all fun!


Thursday, June 20, 2013

Response to 'Part Two' of AIG Response to my Post, "More Lies from Ken Ham"

So, just for the record, I am merely a person who got a degree in mechanical eng back in 1970,  but only worked a few years in that field, and a person who built two wooden Row boats, one flat bottomed and one deep "V."  Thus I am no authority on wooden ships except for a lot of study back in the day when I built my own.  And next, I didn't ask for this discussion, I was merely responding to the questions from a couple of my friends.  But since it is, in fact a public blog, I have no animosity to the response from AIG,  In fact, I am rather honored. I must have hit a nerve for them to waste their time on some anonymous blogger.
 Even more importantly, the response was the impetus for looking into this matter once again, and more comprehensively.  The ultimate answer is conclusive.  The maximum length of wooden ships was reached at about 350 feet- wood, no matter how you cut it, has definite, defined, limitations, 100 feet short of the supposed Ark.
I have visited the Creation museum ( I can prove this with plenty of evidence) and their authentic depiction of a scaled down cross section of the Ark, which has no metal in it.  It is flat bottom and braced with timbers of the post and beam design.  The sides are of Carvel design.  It is well understood that the limitations of wood and ancient style of architecture limit the length of a wooden boat to some length under 350 feet that were achieved with 19th and 20th century technology. 
Part two will show this to be consistent with the historical evidence.

Red = my original post
Black= Tim Lovett's response
Green= My rebuttal

I said (Frog)Anyone who has ever built a wooden boat of any length knows very well that they are impossible to seal 100%.

He wrote (Tim)That’s a sweeping statement. Planked wooden boats are prone to leakage if they flex with slip, but a rigid vessel (e.g., cold molded) can be sealed and made watertight. The Bible specifies that Noah used pitch, just like wooden ships from ancient times to the 1900s. In addition, Noah was instructed to use pitch inside as well as out, which may have been to stabilize the wood over a long construction period.

(Frog)Preposterous. Pitch is pliable, and nothing like materials that are used for cold molding, such as fiber glass or laminations which require modern epoxies.  Racking and deflection would open the pitch joints in short order. 
There is nothing in scripture or in reality that suggest the Ark was cold molded or rigid.
The wood will also expand and contract, further opening the thousands of seams/ joints.

Wood expands when wet and contracts when dry. If a pitched joint allowed water to seep into the wood, the resulting expansion of the planks acts to seal the faulty joint tight.

Just a moment ago you were trying to make a case for a rigid 'cold molded' vessel.  Cold molding would not allow water to penetrate into the wood.  Which way is it?
Also, why is it that no wooden ships over 350 feet were never built?  It's because even at 350 feet iron and steel reinforcement was needed.  The practical length of wooden ships had been reached.

 The expansion of moist wood counteracts the opening of seams and joints, and the wood will not contract again until the Ark is sitting on dry ground, after it’s all over.

Deflection of the timbers from longitudinal torque would soon wear the pitch from the seams as they "twisted and buckled" as happened on the Wyoming.
Its not a matter of if she'll leak, its just a matter of how much.  That scheme worked fairly well in small vessels only due to less deflection.

"…. the ancient Greeks seemed quite capable of taking their triremes in and out of the water—drawing them up onto the beach to prevent water logging and keep them lightweight."

Indeed, and when they were out of water they were undergoing repairs of all kinds. They were tiny in relation to the size of the supposed Ark and within the limits of reliable wooden construction.

The Ark started out on dry land. With enough water pouring in from “somewhere,” to cover the earth in 40 days indicates ridiculously large waves/ currents/ swells further complicating the idea of a large wooden vessel. After all, creationists claim that all the billions of metric tons of sediment in the geologic column were laid down by the flood, which would take extraordinary flows of water.

That “somewhere” water is ocean water where much originated in the springs of the great deep. AiG favors the tectonic plate Flood model as a flood mechanism, as you can read yourself on the AiG website !
According to Dr. John Baumgardner—a world expert in computer modeling of the earth’s mantle and leading proponent of the tectonic mechanism for the global Flood—the initial inundation would be very severe, subsiding somewhat by the time the waters reached a higher altitude Ark launch site. This would explain why all other ships were destroyed, since they started at sea level.

So, you are saying that the continents all ripped across the open ocean and the entire geologic column was laid down by the time the water got up to the level at which the Ark was built?  And just where do you find this in scripture?  Again, you are asking the bible to do something it was never intended to do and you proceed with wild speculation.  And Baumgarardner's make believe stories have been debunked with concrete evidence and valid science over and over again.  Shoehorning more myths into bible myths is absurd.

Once afloat, the average depth of water of almost two miles (three km)3 would have shielded the Ark from tectonic activity. Deep water is safe in a tsunami. The Ark had to survive the ocean surface, not the massive sediment flows at and near the seabed.

So, the ocean was calm on top with trillions of tons of stuff moving around on the sea floor?
What would be driving those flows?  And, it is wind that produces high seas and neither one of us is going to find out from the bible if there was wind or what the windspeed was.  There is no evidence for all of this crackpottery.

[Paragraph omitted by invoking Gish Gallop with nothing pertaining to the subject at hand]

Comparing the Ark to Other Ships

(Frog)The largest “wooden” ship ever built, that actually sailed was the Pretoria at 103 m long (338 ft.) and 13.4 m wide (44 ft.) and 23 feet high. She was a barge built for use on the Great Lakes.

(Tim)A Great Lakes barge? So you conveniently cherry-picked a barge that lasted 5 years while a 1909 wooden schooner of similar length (Wyoming) lasted 15 years, and paid for itself many times over.

(Frog)Actually, I didn't cherry pick anything.  I merely grabbed a couple examples, and as you will go on to prove, none of them were seaworthy enough to last a year on the ocean without major and constant repairs, constant pumping, and iron/steel reinforcement.
The Wyoming is a perfect example. 
"Because of her length and wood construction, Wyoming flexed in heavy seas, which would cause the long planks to twist and buckle, thereby allowing sea water to intrude into the hold.
Wyoming had to use pumps to keep her hold relatively free of water. In March 1924, she foundered in heavy seas and sank with the loss of all hands."
 And again, the Wyoming was much smaller than the supposed Ark.

 Another ship of Pretorian length was the 1853 clipper Great Republic, which survived a fire and lasted another nineteen years.

The Great Republic was, of course, like all the others, much smaller than the Ark.  She was reinforced with 336 1/2 tons of iron and 56 tons of copper. She was Launched on October 4, 1853- And burned on On December 27, 1853. She was salvaged and rebuilt as a much smaller iron reinforced vessel.  Both Great Republics were much smaller than the supposed Ark.

 (Tim)These ships were commercial workhorses built as quickly as possible and with an expected working life of only 12–15 years or as little as ten. Yes, they leaked excessively as the hull worked loose because the stiffness of the hull depended almost entirely on the tightness of caulking. Even placing two pins in each plank gave little improvement.

(Frog)Isn't most anything built as fast as possible?  They were still built to the architects specifications.  And, the "stiffness of the hull depended on the tightness of the caulking"??  The Ark had only pitch, which is a very poor caulking.  Also, caulking does nothing to increase stiffness, it only plugs the cracks.  You are getting way out there, lil buddy.
I am very surprised that an "expert" would claim that "the stiffness of the hull depended almost entirely on the caulking."   That is not true at all. 

(Frog) She had a wooden frame but it was reinforced with Keelson Plates, chords, arches and was diagonally strapped with steel. It leaked so badly that it took 2 dedicated engines to keep the water pumped out of the interior. She leaked like a sieve.

(Tim) Steel (well, iron actually) is not the only way to brace a wooden ship. House framing needs bracing, too, and this can be done either by steel straps or plywood sheathing.

Yes, and Noah had neither.

Now let’s look at the carvel planking technique that dominated wooden shipbuilding in the last few centuries.  The method was simple and quick, but prone to racking because the parallel planks were “nailed” to parallel frames.  The only bracing was the caulking itself, so a new ship didn’t stay a “tight ship” for very long.

I don't know what you're on, lil buddy, but you're on it out in left field.  Caulking has nothing to do with bracing. 
Caulking  on wooden vessels uses fibers of cotton and hemp fiber soaked in pine tar to seal the cracks. Caulking was driven into the seams between planks. Caulking addd no structural strength.

 Larger ships were subject to higher forces, which sped up the loosening of the caulked planks, leading to reinforcement by means of iron straps. These diagonal straps certainly helped improve a bad design and gave the single layer of carvel planking some much-needed shear resistance. But the steel straps were pinned (bolted) to softer wooden frames, a considerable stress concentration especially at the ends of the straps.
This led to the next patch-up: steel plates at the top and bottom to secure the diagonal bracing. Okay, that kept the hull sides intact, but now the problem was transmitted to the top deck.

Yes, but what is your point?  Noah had no iron bracing.

Later, during World War I, steel was scarce and wooden supply ships were being built in a hurry.11 Naval architects revisiting the carvel hull bending problem made big increases to keelson depth and upper deck reinforcement (using clamp and shelf strakes). One design aimed to “produce a boat which will have strength equivalent to that of a steel hull without using excessive amounts of timber.” It had a double layer of diagonal planking under the standard planks. That’s not a carvel hull, that’s cold molded, just like the wooden minesweepers built in the 1990s.

The  Avenger-class wooden minesweepers that you are referring to  was commissioned in 1994. The 224-foot hull was framed in wood and planked with diagonal layers of fir, then covered with fiberglass.
Noah did not have fiber glass, nor did he have the technology to make thin strips of underlayment and no glue to make them stiff.  As far as I know the longest composite/ fiber glass boat ever built was the Mirabella V at 247 ft.  You're still over a hundred feet from what you need to float the Ark.

So the short-comings of a carvel hull are not easily corrected. The better way is to use a planking method with inherent shear strength, akin to a house frame braced with plywood instead of clapboards (also called lap siding or weatherboards).

The Pretoria was built by James Davidson, the preeminent marine engineer of his day. She was launched in July of 1900 and sank in rough weather on lake Michigan in September of 1905, partly due to the Pony Engines failing and the ship filled with water.
Only steel reinforcement allowed the Pretoria to sail, but in 1869 Britain built the largest true wooden ship, the HMS Orlando. She was 335 feet long. She suffered from the strain of her length creating massive leaks and was scrapped in 1871 after a few short voyages.

Sorry, there’s an HMS Orlando (1858-1871) made of wood with iron bracing or a later HMSOrlando (1886-1905) with an iron hull. Read the PBS website.16 So I am helping you with your argument, even the 1858 Orlando had iron bracing (although you did try to cut its lifespan down from 13 years to 2).

Yes, indeed you are helping prove the point that no wooden ship the size of the ark has ever sailed because even smaller ships could not be made seaworthy or reliable.
the construction and use histories of these ships  (at only 335 feet) show that they were already pushing or had exceeded the practical limits for that size of wooden ships.

It is easy to cherry-pick poor performersPretoria and Orlando—because these ships were based on carvel hull anyway, built like a “bundle of reeds.” There are much better ways to build a wooden ship.

Whaaaa?????  carvel planking is a method of boat building where planks are fastened edge to edge, gaining support from the frame and forming a smooth surface.  I see no similarity at all  between that and a 'bundle of reeds.'  And there is no reason to believe that the Ark did not use Carvel planking, or perhaps a Lapstrake, where the edges of hull planks overlap.

Another consideration is that the modern wooden ships were far more stable in moderate to high seas due to the fact that they were Keel ships by construction and they were powered, and ‘V’ shaped, which enabled them to “cut through” the waves.

Since you mention “Keel ships” and “V” shapes, you might be referring to deadrise—a “V” shaped bottom—something that has been around since antiquity. Most modern ships have a flat bottom (no deadrise) amidships, which is stable too and increases carrying capacity.
Or perhaps by “V” shaped you mean a pointed bow in conjunction with a prominent keel, improving directional stability when the vessel is making way. Indeed, that can be read on the AiG website too.

There is no point in discussing modern ships.  By a keel I mean a deadrise which slops up from a keel which increases the strength of the hull, by triangulation, and for which there is no evidence in scripture that the ark was built upon a laid keel. I explained this in my next paragraph.

The Ark, being a straight sided box would have been at the mercy of even moderate or light seas with waves and wind smashing against the straight sides.
Keel ships, with their attendant ribs are intrinsically stronger and triangulated frame rather than a box ship with corners that would increase longitudinal torque.

A straight-sided box with corners? Anyone claiming to “peruse” the AiG website on a weekly basis would quickly find a ship-like Ark with three keels (see Feedback: Ark Design and Thinking Outside the Box for example).

That is pure guesswork.  There is no evidence that the Ark was built in that manner. Sometimes one can think so far out side the box that no box remains, and it is easy use "think outside the box"  as a euphemism for wild guessing. 

It is also interesting to note that Noah had no engines to pump out water from the interior of the ark and with eight people aboard, it is absurd to think that they bailed it by hand.

Yes, I agree that your idea of hand-bailing is absurd. Power for winching or pumping can come from other sources, like wave motion, wind, or animal draft power.

So now, in addition to the on-board wastewater treatment system with wooden anaerobic sludge digestion tanks and bamboo piping, (mentioned in a recent AIG article) we're going to have bronze-age pumps powered by windmills and having the resident animals pacing on treadmills or around a post (btw, aren't all the animals supposed to be infants or in hibernation or something?)? you are doing an extraordinary job showing the absurdity of this all on your own. It's becoming a farcical cross between The Flintstones and Gilligan's Island at every succeeding step that you take.You are trying to make the bible something that it was never meant to be.

Finally, Johan Huibers from the Netherlands has built a 1/2 scale ark.

No, he also built a full-scale Ark. Initially he built a half-scale Ark (in 2007)—you can read about it on the AiG website. In 2012, Johan completed his second Ark, this time at full-scale. You can read about it on the AiG website News to Note, December 15, 2012 and Noah’s Ark in the Netherlands!

Yeah and he planned to sail it around the world, but it too was unseaworthy!  :)  So it was installed on barges and towed via canals to the port of Rotterdam where it is on display. 

(Tim) Come back next week for my response to the claim that Noah’s Ark was unseaworthy as I finish my analysis of this critique of our article.
With regards,


Thanks for trying, Tim.

Are wooden ships reliable?  Yes, to a degree.  Yet as wooden ships approached the length of 350 feet the point was reached where they were not reliable even with 19th century technology
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 and twentieth 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.

I will also maintain that if anyone ever really thought they could build an Ark sized wooden vessel and go out on the ocean for one year with 8 people and all those animals, they would have done it by now.
And if you really have any balls, then go ahead and build one and prove your commitment.

All of the history of ship building shows perfectly well that once the length of 350 feet was approached, the integrity of the vessel vanishes.  That became clear once ships of 350 feet were attempted.  Even with iron and steel bracing those ships leaked terribly and needed constant pumping out of water and maintenance.
History and experience also shows very well that no wooden ship of 450 feet in length hass ever even been attempted due to the failures of much smaller vessels, and it is clear that the materials and technology of the 23rd century BCE could not have supported such a vessel.

The only conclusion that can be arrived at is that the bible story of Noah's Ark is merely a story from someone's imagination in an attempt to make the story bigger than life.  It shows that the ancients had no clue as to the limits of building an all wooden ship.

Is there a moral to the story?  Sure, as there are to many bible stories, told as we would expect from ancient men with no understanding of sociology and the other sciences.

But to be sure, the Ark story probably had a seed of truth about some local flood in ancient times, but the idea that a 450 all wooden ship sailed the oceans for an entire year is preposterous beyond description.

Respectfully submitted,


Friday, June 14, 2013

Response to 'Part Two' of AIG Rebuttal to "More Lies from Ken Ham"


I had only a moment to scan through Mr. Lovett's 'Part 2," and it looks like a lot of red meat to chew on!  In fact, provisionally speaking, it looks like he has essentially proven the point I made in my original post!  It is important to learn how to push aside the 'clutter' that is interspersed throughout these types of articles, and I shall do just that.

Monday, June 10, 2013

AIG Responds to My Previous Post, "More Lies from Ken Ham" Part 1

Good Day All,

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.