Sunday, March 05, 2006

Discussing Creationism Part IV

Before we leave the question of the size of the ark and how many animals could realistically fit into it, there are a couple of points I would like to make.

In Talk Reason, an Evolutionist web site, the weight of the ark with the occupants inside was addressed.

"Ignoring the weight of the ark itself, it could be loaded, barely escaping sinking, with the weight of no more than about five hundred million Newton. (Newton is the standard unit of weight used in science. Roughly, one pound is close to 4.45 Newton; on the earth surface, a mass of one kilogram weighs about 9.8 Newton). The animals gathered in the ark would have weights varying in a wide range, from a fraction of a Newton for some insects, to hundreds of thousands of Newtons for such giants as elephants and hippopotami. Just for a rough estimate, accept the average weight of an animal to be close to that of, say, a horse, which is about ten thousand Newton. Five hundred million divided by about 10,000 is close to 50,000. This is a very rough estimate of the maximum number of tightly packed animal bodies the ark could accommodate barely escaping sinking, even ignoring the weight of the ark itself and of the vast amount food to be stored in it. Accounting for food and the vessel's own weight, the maximum number of tightly packed animals bodies the ark would handle barely avoiding sinking must be estimated closer to 20,000. That is no more than about 10,000 species, if each species were represented by only one male and one female. Since animals and people needed some free volume around them to survive, a realistic estimate of the number of species the ark could support must be between several hundred and at the most a couple of thousand."

They used the weight of a horse but I will revert back to the sheep used in previous discussions.

An average sheep weighs about 175 lbs. Converting this to Newton, a measurement of force used by Talk Force in the quote above, knowing that 1 pound is about 4.45 Newton, makes one sheep about 780 Newton.
Since, in my calculation last week, I concluded that about 30,000 sheep that could fit on the ark, this makes their total "weight" about 23,400,000 Newton. This is much less than the overflowing capacity given in Talk Reason of 500,000,000 Newton. Their argument loses its' impact when a closer and more realistic estimation of animals is used.

It was also remarked in our discussion, that "if the Ark was as large as tanker and made out of wood (as the Bible says), it would not float because it would be prone to leaks."

Noah was directed by God in Genesis 6:14 to "make thee an ark of gopherwood; rooms shalt though pitch it within and without with pitch."
These specific instructions weren't without reason. Although I found "gopherwood" listed in various sites such as Tree Trail, this is an American yellowood that is brittle in storms. It would have not been suitable for shipbuilding.
The tree found mentioned in the Bible would have to be sturdy and buoyant. The original tree was possibly a type of cypress as the word "gopher" itself is translated as cypress by some Hebrew scholars.
Cypress is a resinous type of wood that was used in shipbuilding in antiquity. As the wood was specified as gopherwood by God; it can be reasonably deduced that this would have been the most suitable for the ark.
The ark was to be covered in pitch, which would have provided waterproofing. This pitch would have been derived from trees, probably pine. This product has been found by archeologists on ancient ships.

Discussing Creationism Part I
Part II
Part III


Dave said...

Carol - I am at a loss to know where you are trying to go with this 'Ark' thing. Rational arguement is not worthwhile as the reasons why the ark story is just that a story are manyfold and as I have said before even a cursory glance at the idea shows it to be palpably ridiculous. You don't have to go any further than the finding and collecting of the world's species. It would be an impossible task even today with planes, helicoptors and 21st century knowledge in general.

Carol said...

I wish you would give the logical reasons for your discounting Noah and the ark as being possible. I am still focussing on the size and the number of animals that could be feasibly held.

We will be discussing the other areas of interest that were suggested like the flood as a myth and the gathering of the animals.

Thanks for reading and contributing.

Dave said...

I thought that I had given reasons many times but here goes again:-

It would be an impossible task even today to find and collect the world's species with planes, helicoptors and 21st century knowledge in general.

In 'Noah's' time much of the world was undiscovered and therefore most of the species.

How do you 'catch' major predators?

How do you stop them eating the other animals?

Today there are millions of species How did they all develop from 16,000 species coming off a boat, less than 6,000 years ago?

You stated in part One :-
As well, before the flood, the world was one continent so Noah would not have to walk as far as proposed. The earth was divided afterwards and is mentioned incidently in Gen 10:25.
Also, before the flood, man and animals were not carnivores. Gen 9:2-3 Dinosaurs are a amazing mystery to me. The flesh eatings forms would have evolved after the flood. So there would have been no danger of animals eating one another.

So the world was one continent 6-10000 years ago? Therefore the continents have been racing apart in the region of half a mile per year? It's ridiculous isn't it!

Flesh eating dinosaurs were evolving 6-10000 years ago! Not even worth a comment.

I'm sorry Carol but as I said before - where are you going with this nonsense?

Carol said...

Dear Dave,
Not that I don't appreciate your comments, but you are running ahead of the discussion.

Dave said...

My apologies, it's just that I get exasperated about this topic and the 'size' of something that didn't and couldn't have happened doesn't seem very important.
By the way 'Jimbo' is my son! He thought he was being very clever giving the game away.

Carol said...

Thanks Dave for your comment. I understand that you are frustrated but one step at a time.

Thanks for letting me know who 'Jimbo' is, too.

creeper said...


[Pardon me for duplicating this post in part from Discussing Creationism Part III, but it appears relevant here, and I don't know who still reads either post.]

The size of the Ark and how many animals can fit in it are somewhat irrelevant if we don't also consider how many animals would have had to fit into it to plausibly explain the variety of life we see around us today.

So an important question in this is: How many species are there today, at what rates can they evolve, and so how many "kinds" would there have needed to be to accomplish today's variety within approx. 4,500 years? Also, what were those kinds? It's all well enough for us to say that the average size would have been that of a sheep or a horse, but that's a complete guess, as are the numbers that have been bandied about.

Marine animals can also not be simply written off because they "knew how to swim"; marine animals rely on a certain level of salinity in the water (saltwater, freshwater etc.), and will die if the salinity changes drastically, as it would for a vast number of them in the case of a global flood. This has been touched on on Radar's blog and will apparently be coming up again soon.

Dave, just a couple of corrections regarding your understanding of what the creationists actually are claiming:

Noah would not have had to travel around the world to collect all the animals, as they were travelling to him, as commanded by God. The landmass was still one at the time, because it supposedly was split into continents during the flood.

FWIW, that's what the claim is.

Carol said...

Hi Creeper,
I am repeating what I wrote from Part III as well.

I appreciate your input.

Regarding the estimation of animals that could have fit in the ark, one has to start somewhere.

Thanks for the good points you put forward. I will consider them in future discussions.

#2 was addressed in
Discussing Creationism Part VI