On the Preservation of SpeciesJune 11, 2007
One of the biggest objections that people have to the unreality of the Bible is that there is no way that Noah could have fit two of every species on the Ark, especially considering the massive dinosaurs, and all the extinct species. I have long imagined a sign staked outside of the Ark that read “No Dinosaurs Allowed!” because I could not imagine how Noah could have possibly fit even a couple dinosaurs on the little boat portrayed in Sunday schools. Like Eve, I am often tempted to think that God didn’t actually know what he was talking about in the absence of evidence. Isn’t it interesting that the first sin was the selective editing of what God said and yet that is exactly what is encouraged in churches today. Even though dinosaurs grew to extreme sizes they all started off being similar in size to an ostrich egg, so a juvenile dinosaur pair could easily be smaller than sheep. That almost seems feasible, but what about the space?
If one is to really take an honest look at the apparent infeasibility of Noah’s Ark the first logical step is to actually read the portion of the Bible that describes the Ark. This is not something that occurred to me, so I was very surprised to find out that, based on an 18 inch cubit the dimension of the Ark were: 450 feet long, 75 feet wide, and 45 feet high, with 3 stories. That gives you an area of 101,250 square feet with 15 foot ceilings. This turns out to have a striking similarity to modern ships. So given the amazing amount of floor space, combined with the reduced number of necessary “species”, and the small size of even the great dinosaurs. Perhaps we should be asking the opposite question, one proposed in the Answers Book: “What did Noah do with all that extra floor space? Perhaps a couple games of shuffleboard.” Further Reading: Noah’s Ark: A Feasibility Study.
Further Comments: The Discovery Channel has taken a liking to pointing out that, while the Ark “just happens to be” good dimensions for something like a freight hauler, it couldn’t possibly have enough structural integrity because it was made out of wood, not metal. I’d just like to point out the Ark was made out of “gopher wood“, whatever that is. NIV translates it as cypress and then footnotes it as “meaning uncertain”. The species of tree this came from could be totally extinct or unknown, so we have no way of knowing the tensile strength of the material. Similarly, ‘pitch’ doesn’t necessarily refer to a petroleum product. At some point you just have to say “I don’t know, I wasn’t there, neither were you”. It’s another good example of people trying to claim a non-existence or an impossibility. There’s a certain amount of intellectual hypocrisy that goes on to selectively criticize the Bible down the the point of needing structural integrity tests while calling the Epic of Gilgamesh the “older, more pure account”, and failing to note that the Epic of Gilgamesh describes a cube. Boats aren’t shaped like cubes for a reason.