Noah's Ark . . . . . All Aboard The FAIL Boat!!!

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Noah's Ark . . . . . All Aboard The FAIL Boat!!!

Post by Big Fat Heretic on Mon Mar 17, 2014 5:15 am

The time has come, the walrus said, to talk of many things,
of ships and sails and sealing wax, and cabbages and kings!


Well . . . actually . . . . . I won't be discussing cabbages and kings.

But, I will be talking about ships, and I will mention some famous ships with sails, however, this topic is mainly  about Noah's ark, which of course didn't have any sails, at least, none was mentioned in the Biblical account of Noah's ark.

Anyway . . . I shall endeavor to show, how it was NOT possible to build a boat the size of Noah's ark out of wood, because of it's size and weight, and because wood is too fragile, and a boat of such dimensions, as mentioned in the Genesis account, would have been structurally unstable.

I came across this rather interesting article from . . . . .
http://skeptoid.com/episode.php?id=4279#bottom

NOTE: In the following article, the dimensions given are in meters. So, I will convert them to feet instead.

First of all, in the Biblical account, the measurement was in cubits.

That is, 300 cubits the length thereof, 50 cubits the breadth (width) thereof, and 30 cubits the height thereof. That's how it's described in the Bible.

A cubit is the length of one's forearm, from the elbow to the tip of the middle finger, about 18 inches. Of course, some people have longer or shorter forearms, but 18 inches is the standard. Anyway, that would translate as being 450 feet long, 75 feet wide, and 45 feet high.

In metric units, that is 137.16 meters long, 22.86 meters wide, and 13.716 meters high.

And now . . . . . on to the following article.





Noah's Ark: Sea Trials
Could a wooden vessel like Noah's Ark
actually have been made seaworthy?


Skeptoid #279
October 11, 2011


Today we're going to have a bit of fun and shine the light of science on an ancient story. It is said that a gigantic wooden ship once carried a family and two of every kind of animal to safety, when the entire world was flooded. Noah's Ark sailed for five months, then rested aground, sheltering its multitudinous crew for more than a year.


Noah's Ark by Edward Hicks (detail)
(Public domain)


The elephant in the room here is that it's virtually impossible to do an episode on this subject without having it sound like an attack on Christianity. I argue that it's not at all; the majority of Christians, when you combine the numerous denominations, don't insist that the Noah story is a literal true account. And, as has been pointed out many times, the Bible is hardly the only place where various versions of the Noah story are found. The most famous parallel, of course, is the Epic of Gilgamesh, wherein one of the many Babylonian gods charged the man Utnapishtim to build an ark, in a story that parallels Noah's in all the major details and most of the minor ones. It is perfectly plausible that all such stories stem from an actual event, the details of which are lost to history, but that might well account for the stories we have today of a boat and a flood. But regardless, in this episode I'm not going to address any issues of faith, but only of science. We want to look at the engineering plausibility of Noah's great ship.

Noah's Ark was a great rectangular box of gopherwood, or perhaps some combination of other woods colloquially referred to as gopherwood. Its dimensions are given as 137 meters long (449.475 feet), 23 meters wide (75.4593 feet), and 14 meters high (45.9318 feet). This is very, very big; it would have been the longest wooden ship ever built. These dimensions rank it as one of history's greatest engineering achievements; but they also mark the start of our sea trials, our test of whether or not it's possible for this ship to have ever sailed, or indeed, been built at all.

Would it have been possible to find enough material to build Noah's Ark? When another early super-ship was built, the Great Michael (completed in Scotland in 1511) it was said to have consumed "all the woods of Fife". Fife was a county in Scotland famous for its shipbuilding. The Great Michael's timber had to be purchased and imported not only from other parts of Scotland, but also from France, the Baltic Sea, and from a large number of cargo ships from Norway. Yet at 73 meters (239.501 feet), she was only about half the length of Noah's Ark. Clearly a ship twice the length of the Great Michael, and larger in all other dimensions, would have required many times as much timber. It's never been clearly stated exactly where Noah's Ark is said to have been built, but it would have been somewhere in Mesopotamia, probably along either the Tigris or Euphrates rivers. This area is now Iraq, which has never been known for its abundance of shipbuilding timber.

In 2003, a doctoral candidate at the Georgia Institute of Technology, Jose Solis, created a proposal to build the Ark for Noah based on sound naval architecture. He proposed a dead weight — the weight of the wooden structure alone minus cargo and ballast — as 3,676 tons. Fully loaded, it would have displaced 13,000 tons, as compared to the Great Michael's 1,000 that consumed "all the wood of Fife". Where would all that wood have come from? In his proposal, Solis simply skipped this detail, and assumed the wood was commercially available at a cost of $16,472,040 in 2003 dollars. Tens of thousands of massive timber-quality trees would have to have been imported into the middle of what's now Iraq. Did Noah have the resources to import from France, Norway, or anywhere else?

But if the Ark did get built, it would be necessary to overcome its extraordinary fragility. If you pick up a toy Hot Wheels car, you can squeeze it as hard as you want but you can't break it. However, if you were a giant and reached down to pick up a normal passenger car, your fingers would crush it before creating sufficient friction to lift it. If you even lifted it by one corner, you would warp its structure noticeably. When we extend this to even larger vessels, their fragility is magnified. Recall that when the Titanic sank, that massive steel structure tore completely in half simply because one end was heavier than the other. Just that difference in weight was sufficient to tear open many decks of reinforced steel that had been engineered to the day's toughest standards. Were Titanic a wooden box instead of rigid steel, you (as a giant) could destroy it just by swishing your finger in the water next to it.

Allow me to explain. What's known as the square-cube law is pretty familiar: increase an object's dimensions, and its surface area increases by the square of the multiplier, and its weight increases by the cube of the multiplier. But one extension of this law is less familiar. When we scale up an object — take a wooden structural beam as an example — the strength of the beam does not increase as fast as its weight. Applied mechanics and material sciences give us all the tools we need to compute this. In summary, the tensile strength of a beam is a function of its moment and its section modulus. No need to go into the complicated details here — you can look up beam theory on beam theory on Wikipedia if you want to learn the equations. Scale up a simple wooden beam large enough, the weight will exceed its strength, and it will break from its own weight alone. Scaled up to the immense size of Noah's Ark, a stout wooden box would be unspeakably fragile.

If there was even the gentlest of currents, sufficient pressure would be put on the hull to open its seams. Currents are not a complete, perfectly even flow. They consist of eddies and slow-moving turbulence. This puts uneven pressure on the hull, and Noah's Ark would bend with those eddies like a snake. Even if the water itself was perfectly still, wind would expose the flat-sided Ark's tremendous windage, exerting a shearing force that might well crumple it.

Whether a wooden ship the size of Noah's Ark could be made seaworthy is in grave doubt. At 137 meters (450 feet), Noah's Ark would be the largest wooden vessel ever confirmed to have been built. In recorded history, some dozen or so wooden ships have been constructed over 90 meters (295.276 feet); few have been successful. Even so, these wooden ships had a great advantage over Noah's Ark: their curved hull shapes. Stress loads are distributed much more efficiently over three dimensionally curved surfaces than they are over flat surfaces. But even with this advantage, real-world large wooden ships have had severe problems. The sailing ships the 100 meter (328.084 feet) Wyoming (sunk in 1924) and 99 meter (324.803 feet) Santiago (sunk in 1918) were so large that they flexed in the water, opening up seams in the hull and leaking. The 102 (334.646 feet) meter British warships HMS Orlando and HMS Mersey had such bad structural problems that they were scrapped in 1871 and 1875 after only a few years in service. Most of the largest wooden ships were, like Noah's Ark, unpowered barges. Yet even those built in modern times, such as the 103 meter (337.927 feet) Pretoria in 1901, required substantial amounts of steel reinforcement; and even then needed steam-powered pumps to fight the constant flex-induced leaking.

Even in the world of legend, only two other ships are said to have approached the size claimed for Noah's Ark. One was the Greek trireme Tessarakonteres at 127 meters (416.667 feet), the length and existence of which is known only by the accounts of Plutarch and Athenaeus. Plutarch said of her:

But this ship was merely for show; and since she differed little from a stationary edifice on land, being meant for exhibition and not for use, she was moved only with difficulty and danger.

The other example is the largest of the Chinese treasure ships built by the admiral Zheng He in the 15th century, matching Noah's 137 meters (449.475 feet), but only in the highest estimates. Many believe the biggest ships Zheng took with him on his seven voyages were no bigger than half that size, and moreover, that they remained behind in rivers and were not suitably seaworthy for ocean travels.

The long and the short of it — no pun intended — is that there's no precedent for a wooden ship the size of Noah's Ark being seaworthy, and plenty of naval engineering experience telling us that it wouldn't be expected to work. Even if pumps had been installed and all hands worked round the clock pumping, the Ark certainly would have leaked catastrophically, filled with water, and capsized.

There's another elephant in the room, too, that is necessary to address. Many of the problems with the Noah story are often answered, by those who regard it as a literal true account, with a special pleading. A special pleading is when any question is answered with "It was done by a higher power that you and I are not qualified to understand or question." Obviously, every point that science might raise regarding the Noah story can be fully answered with a special pleading. Superman, Underdog, and The Jetsons can shown to be literal true accounts if we allow special pleadings to be admissible. If the special pleading of divine intervention did indeed come into play during the Great Flood, then it was the most flagrant Rube Goldberg solution I've ever heard of. If divine intervention was needed to give Noah knowledge of how to build the Ark, or to provide the wood for its construction; then why not just provide an already-completed ark? Why bring the animals on board to be fed for a year or more, when divine intervention could have provided them an island? For that matter, why have the entire flood at all, when divine intervention could have simply struck down the evil humans with a plague? Why construct this most elaborate of all disaster and survival scenarios, some part of which was dependent on divine intervention; when divine intervention could have easily made the entire ordeal unnecessary? Special pleadings dismiss the true sciences that have allowed us to build real ships and conquer the world. Looking at the reality of what's possible and how things are done is always more interesting than imagining what's possible when anything is possible.

OK, we really don't know exactly what Noah's ark actually looked like. There are many paintings, drawings, some scale models, and even some life-sized replicas depicting the ark. But, it's all speculation at best.

Oh! Did I say . . . replica?

There is no such thing as a "replica" of Noah's ark because it never actually existed, and you can't build a "replica" of something that didn't exist. So, a life-sized "representation" or life-sized "model" would be a better choice of words.

Since we really don't know what the ark was supposed to look like, there has been many different kinds of representations of Noah's ark. Not even the Bible says what it looked like. The Bible only give the dimensions in cubits, describing it as a rectangular solid.

Sometimes the ark is depicted as basically, a long box-like structure with flat sides, like a rectangular solid, and sometimes it's depicted as more boat-like with a more rounded bow and a rounded stern, and also, the lower half of the hull being curved.

Here is a scale model of the box-like depiction of Noah's ark.



Well . . . I admit, it looks really neat and all that, but . . . . .

Notice the heavy wooden beams running the full length of the ark. Well . . . that's possible in a scaled down model, but I doubt you can have wooden beams that long running the full length in a life-sized model. I seriously doubt if Noah could have have cut wooden beams 450 feet long, the length of the entire ark, as depicted in the model above.

The world's tallest tree known is the Coast Redwood (Sequoia sempervirens) about 115.72 meters (379.65 feet), at Hyperion, Redwood National Park, California. And there were no trees that size in the area where Noah supposedly lived. The longest beams that he could have cut would be 100 feet or less from trees existing in that region. Also, redwood is too soft. Yes, it cuts easily enough, but it also breaks easily, unlike pine or oak.

Anyway . . . . . here is another model of the box-like version.



Yeah, it's cool, and kind of neat looking.

Now, here is a more boat-like version with a more rounded bow and stern, and the curved hull.



Yeah, this looks more boat-like instead of box-like.

Of course, the boat-like version would be little bit more sturdy because of it's rounded bow and stern and curved lower haul. But I would like to challenge anyone who builds a life-sized representation of Noah's ark to actually having it floating in deep water instead of on dry land, or just having it sit in a shallow pond.

But the more boat-like version of the ark with its rounded bow and stern and curved lower hull would have a lower volume that the rectangular version, and therefore less space for all the animals.  

It's obvious that really large wooden structures can be built on dry land, or placed in a shallow pond, as long as it doesn't have to actually go anywhere. But, it's still not sea worthy.

But as mentioned before, in reference to other large wooden ships as in the above article . . . . .

. . . . . these wooden ships had a great advantage over Noah's Ark: their curved hull shapes. Stress loads are distributed much more efficiently over three dimensionally curved surfaces than they are over flat surfaces. But even with this advantage, real-world large wooden ships have had severe problems.


And here's a link to a YouTube video talking about the ark and other wooden ships in more detail.

Fantastic New Video Maker!!! ArguingFromIgnorance



OK, I'm only going to quote a few lines from the video.

Ship building is not a new science, we've been doing it for quite a while, and in that time we've really explored the process quite extensively. A wooden ship the size of the ark has never existed, because it doesn't work.

The largest sea worthy wooden ship ever built, the Wyoming, twisted and buckled, leaked and sank, because there are physical limits to using wood as a construction material. Modern engineers try to surpass those limits by cross-bracing the wood with iron to try to keep the hull stable.

Is it reasonable that a farmer and his three sons could build a super massive wooden ship then, knowing that the best ship builders in the world haven't been able to replicate it in all this time since?

And here is some more from a later segment of the video.

The Wyoming's wooden hull twisted and buckled in heavy seas, despite the addition of 90 diagonal iron cross-bracings on each side, and it could only be kept afloat with pumps. It sank shortly after it was built, killing the entire crew. And this was the very pinnacle of wooden hull technology before it was abandoned for more sensible materials, like steel.


Yeah! Even with cross-bracing the wooden hull with iron beams, the Wyoming still broke up and sank. I doubt if Noah had the technology to make long enough iron beams for diagonal beams to cross-brace the wooden hull. That was back in the bronze age before iron was used extensively.

Also, the Wyoming could only be kept afloat by constantly using pumps. Again, I seriously doubt if Noah knew how to make pumps to keep the ark from filling with water. The old wooden ships used steam pumps. Hand pumps only work for small boats. Even if Noah could figure out how to make hand pumps out of bronze, Noah and his family would have to be constantly working the pumps. But the ark would have twisted, and buckled, and leaked, and sank anyway, despite their best efforts.

And also, as I have mentioned earlier . . . the more rounded-out version of the ark would have had a lesser total volume than the more box-like version, therefore, somewhat less room for cargo, and therein lies another really big problem.

I seriously doubt that Noah's ark could have held all the known species (two of each kind) of animal, plus enough food to feed them all.



Yeah, like I'm really suppose to believe that Noah's ark could provide more room for livestock and provisions than the Titanic! FORGET IT!!!

And then of course, the problem of the structural strength of a wooden ship verses a ship built of re-enforced steel. But even then, the mighty Titanic broke in half when it sank, and a large wooden ship like Noah's ark would have broken up if it had encountered 10 foot high waves. The wooden haul would have been flexing and bending, causing it to leak, and the ark would have broken up during a storm. There is a limit to how large a wooden ship can be built. Any larger than that, would require re-enforced steel.



I also have another problem with the who Genesis account of Noah's ark and the flood.

There is simply not enough water on this planet to completely flood the earth to the highest mountain tops. Even if the polar caps were to completely melt away, and all the snow caps on all the mountain tops, and all the glaciers, and every God damn ice cube in all the fridges in all the world were to melt, and even if we were to pump all the water from all the underground aquifers, and dump it all into the oceans, there would still only be enough water to raise the sea levels up about 300 feet. Certainly not enough to cover all the mountains.

NO! Please don't say something retarded, like, well . . . . . maybe back then, in the days of Noah, the mountains were not as tall as they are now. Sorry! But there has always been high mountains on the earth. There was a lot of extensive volcanic activity on the earth, from the very beginning, about 4.5 BILLION years ago, and NOT 6,000 years ago! Got it???

And I don't want to hear any stupid shit about an ice canopy sitting on top of the earth's atmosphere that melted and came down on the earth, and I don't want to hear about that stupid hydro-plate theory which says that the earth's rocky crust was on top of the waters below, before the "fountains of the deep" broke up.

Listen up ya morons!

Ice can not float on top of the air, and rock can not float on top of water!

And so . . . . . the ark is a physical impossibility, and the Geneses flood never happened. There is no scientific geological evidence of there ever having been a world wide flood. It was just a fairy tale.



And another thing, you stupid right-wing Republican Funny-mentalist Christards . . . . .

Stop fucking with education in our public schools! Stop turning our public schools into pipelines to prison!

Yeah! A kid can get Tazered by the cops and get hulled off to jail for "disrupting class" because he/she refuses to believe in unicorns, or that Noah had dinosaurs aboard the ark, or for coughing or sneezing, or wearing the wrong color socks, or not having his/her shirt tucked in!



Well, thankfully, President Obama wants to put an end to the ZERO TOLERANCE policy in our public schools.

And in this 2014 midterm election year, we have to vote all of these Tea Party retards out of office.

And I hope Hillery runs for President in the 2016 election year.
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Re: Noah's Ark . . . . . All Aboard The FAIL Boat!!!

Post by The Imperialist on Sun Aug 10, 2014 2:32 pm

There is always the Biblical ways of saying that Noah's Ark in itself is a miracle due to the reasons you have mentioned because God (or whatever it is that is mentioned in the Bible, lets just forget that it was merely one of the Gods in the pantheon found at the time, and Yahweh is technically a specific God for a specific tribe that turned into a militaristic cult etc. etc. etc)
Essentially, miraculous God glue or whatever kept the ship together or something.

(Another is, I would hate to think our great Battleship Yamato/Musashi would be considered inferior to this wooden casket of nonsense)
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Re: Noah's Ark . . . . . All Aboard The FAIL Boat!!!

Post by Big Fat Heretic on Fri Aug 29, 2014 8:12 am

The Imperialist wrote:There is always the Biblical ways of saying that Noah's Ark in itself is a miracle due to the reasons you have mentioned because God (or whatever it is that is mentioned in the Bible, lets just forget that it was merely one of the Gods in the pantheon found at the time, and Yahweh is technically a specific God for a specific tribe that turned into a militaristic cult etc. etc. etc)
Essentially, miraculous God glue or whatever kept the ship together or something.

(Another is, I would hate to think our great Battleship Yamato/Musashi would be considered inferior to this wooden casket of nonsense)

WOW! You're the only one to have responded to my topic!

Thanks!

This board has not been seeing much activity.

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Re: Noah's Ark . . . . . All Aboard The FAIL Boat!!!

Post by The Imperialist on Sun Sep 07, 2014 3:23 pm

Not like the good old days, unfortunately. I think it would help the cause if we have an actual website, instead of resorting to forumotion as it doesn't appear on google unless you are specific; after all, the first thing people see is the old site. (I have no idea how to operate websites, so the more IT literate people can do it I suppose- actually, I might raise a topic and see if that is a go with some of the members here)
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