Monday, April 12, 2010

Termites on the Ark



  1. LOL! i like it. But why would he need a box? Surely he only needed two termites, as there were only two of every animal?

  2. Just don't store them next to the thousands of different species of frogs and toads or the anteaters I guess..

  3. Your comment piqued my interest KJ... according to this link:

    there is possibly somewhere around 10million land dwelling species (at a rough guess). Now if we are assuming that the 'great flood' happened around 5000 years ago, obviously the number would have been fairly similar then. God wouldn't have created a bunch of new animals since then, and in evolutionary terms, few distinct species could have evolved in that time frame.

    So, the concept of 2 of each species - not even taking into account microscopic stuff - would suggest that there would have been around 20 million animals on the ark. If we were to bend on that number, and assume that even half of the estimated land dwelling animals didn't need to hitch a ride on the ark, and could somehow survive for around a year with basically no land, we would still arrive at around 10 millions animals on the ark.

    In my searching for an average land dwelling animal size, I found that the creationists had considered this already! How convenient of them! Their estimate is that an average size for most of these animals was around the size of a sheep. I can live with that.

    Now that we have an average animal, lets assume some average numbers... a sheep would be on average around a metre long, a metre high, and say 50cm's in width. So that would place your average animal size as half a cubic metre.

    Using even our conservative estimate of 10 million total animals on the ark, they would then occupy about 5 million cubic metres of space. So how big was the ark then?

    Thankfully I can call on a bastion of religious information again to help me out... - hooray!

    According to their maths based on the accepted size of the ark as given in cubits, the total volume of the ark would have been 462,686.4 cubic metres. Slightly under half a million. So this might just indicate that its a bit short of the 5 million cubic metres that we required. The ark would have had to have been around 10 times the size as recorded in the biblical record - somewhat outside the obvious margin of error associated with a 'cubit'.

    It also entertains me that the article clearly underestimates the requirements of the ark by arbitrarily choosing 50000 animals as a 'generous' number of animals. Generous in whose mind exactly? I think they are ignorant about how many species actually exist, or are they assuming only one representative version came aboard for each type of animal (one pair of a type of horse for instance), which then became the diverse species by modern times? This of course is a slippery slope for the fundamentalist, who denies that evolution can cause change in species.

    I must of course note that this was all very much 'back of the napkin' calculations, and doesn't represent much more than 30mins of thinking and surfing the net. So of course its not going to be entirely accurate. But even if you were to assume a 50% inaccuracy, the required volume would still be drastically above the available space.

    I'm happy to hear opposing points of view of course :D

  4. My favourite moment in the Christian Answers article is how they neatly sidestep the responsibility of not only feeding, but maintaining even their conservative number of animals (50000) for over a year. Quote follows:

    "a number of scientists have suggested that the animals may have gone into a type of dormancy. It has been said that in nearly all groups of animals there is at least an indication of a latent ability to hibernate or aestivate. Perhaps these abilities were supernaturally intensified during this period. With their bodily functions reduced to a minimum, the burden of their care would have been greatly lightened."

    How convenient. 50000 animals all climb on board and then curl up and have a year long nap. Creationism wins again!

    But the conclusion nails it for me:

    "It is evident, when all the facts are examined that there is no scientific evidence that the biblical account of Noah's ark is a myth or fable. The facts support the view that Noah's ark was large enough to carry the number of animals required to repopulate the earth after the flood and that Noah and his family were capable of caring for the animals during their time on the Ark."

    No scientific evidence you say... of course there is no 'evidence' that it is a fable. Oh wait, except that there is ZERO evidence that it is true. How convenient that they would require scientific evidence to prove them wrong, yet require none to assume they are right.

    Arbitrary numbers multiplied by other arbitrary numbers means exactly what you will make it to mean. You make up the numbers to fit the already known variables, and of course it will work. The facts are a lot less forgiving, and often will not care that they disagree with you ;)

  5. Not taking into account all the different types of specialized habitat that reputable zoos have to maintain . . . to keep their "stock" alive. Such as refrigerated enclosures for Polar Bears, Empire Penguins, etc.

    We'll have to give Noah "Tardis Technology" to fit that many animals (and their support requirements) inside the Ark's limited volume - robots to keep them alive - and a nuclear reactor to power everything. Cannot use Solar Power with dark skies!!

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