User:PeterL/Essay:Could the Ark Float?
It is commonly asserted by anti-creationists that Noah's Ark simply could not have floated, or at very least would not have been seaworthy in the conditions that the Global Flood would have demanded . On the other hand, some creationists have gone so far as to counter-claim that the Ark "struck the perfect balance between stability and comfort."
This can be treated as an entirely different issue to those surrounding the animals on the Ark - although considerations of their comfort and weight need to be taken into account. Baraminology can go fuck itself for the purposes of this essay, you hear?
Now, assertions based on gut instinct and preconceived ideas are all very well, but what is the actual evidence either way? Could the Ark have actually floated?
 Details given in the biblical account
The relevant passage reads as follows:
Make thee an ark of gopher wood; rooms shalt thou make in the ark, and shalt pitch it within and without with pitch.
And this is the fashion which thou shalt make it of: The length of the ark shall be three hundred cubits, the breadth of it fifty cubits, and the height of it thirty cubits.
A window shalt thou make to the ark, and in a cubit shalt thou finish it above; and the door of the ark shalt thou set in the side thereof; with lower, second, and third stories shalt thou make it.
There are some problems with this. For one, there is no such thing as 'gopher wood.' However, it is not unreasonable to allow it to be cedar or some other wood instead, as it may be a mistranslation. More problematic is the ambiguity surrounding the term 'cubit' - various values were used for its length in different times and places. Consider also that elsewhere in the Bible - 1 Kings 7:23 for example, where a pool 10 cubits across was said to be 30 cubits around - there are rounding errors that would suggest that here, too, we could give the Ark a little leeway. A cubit would be in the order of 20" (~500 mm), giving the length of the boat as 150 meters, ±25 meters we'll say.
 What we can tell from this information
The dimensions of the Ark would have been around 150x25x15m, though there is again plenty of potential leeway on this figure. It had a 'window' of some sort (which is unlikely to be important here), had a door 'in the side', it had three floors, and it was covered with pitch on all surfaces.
 What we cannot tell from this information
Basically everything else, including the thickness of the hull, the shape of the hull, the profile of the boat, the features on the deck, the layout of the living spaces, the weight distribution, whether it had any kind of propulsion (eg sails) or other system of fighting the currents (eg a rudder), the internal support structure, the existence of pumping facilities... You name it, we don't know about it. These factors vary in importance, with the shape of the hull likely being foremost, but all are factors that need to be considered.
 The case of the Wyoming
The Wyoming was the largest wooden schooner ever built. She measured in the order of 110 metres long, and was launched in 1909. In rough seas she would flex, allowing seawater to enter the hold - this had to be drained with pumps. She foundered in a storm in 1924, at the loss of all hands.
The question is, how could the Ark have escaped the same fate? It was the same kind of length, although it was slightly wider and deeper. Other ships of similar length to the Wyoming - see wp:HMS Mersey (1858) and wp:HMS Orlando (1858) - are noted to have been pushing the limits of what could be done with wooden ships, and required iron strappings etc for support. Without the technology of the 19th century, what made Noah's boat more seaworthy than these?
- ↑ Of which I am one, I should clarify.
- ↑ Brian Thomas, Noah's Ark Game Misses the Boat. Posted on icr.org 9 Jan 2012, accessed 10 Jan.
- ↑ Technically there is, but as far as I am aware, nobody is claiming it to be the wood in question. For more information see wp:Gopher wood.
- ↑ Wikipedia gives:
- 450 ft (140 m) overall
- 350 ft (110 m) on deck
- 329.5 ft (100.4 m) between perpendiculars
- ↑ Big Schooner is Launched - contemporary news account.
- ↑ Hunting New England Shipwrecks: Wyoming
- ↑ Asia's Undersea Archeology