ICR: Noah’s Ark Was Seaworthy

The creation scientists at the Institute for Creation Research (ICR) have another article about Noah’s Ark. This one is The Survival of Noah’s Ark.

Like their last post about the Ark, about which we wrote ICR: Noah’s Ark Was Easy To Build, this one is by John D. Morris, Ph.D., noted Ark hunter. He and ICR are described in the Cast of Characters section of our Intro page. We’ll give you some excerpts from his latest article, with bold font added by us and ICR’s scripture links omitted:

Skeptics raise a serious objection to the Flood account given in Scripture: How could Noah’s Ark and its precious cargo survive the turmoil of the Flood? Wouldn’t it have sunk beneath the waves, sending its cargo to a watery grave?

That seems like a fair question. What’s ICR’s answer? Hang on, it’s coming:

Without a doubt, the Flood involved unimaginable forces and processes. Simultaneously, “the fountains of the great deep” broke open, and the resulting volcanic eruptions, earthquakes, asteroid impacts, colliding tsunamis, and underwater gravity slides all contributed a great tectonic convulsion that permanently altered the planet.

Some of the waves would have been hundreds of feet high and moved at near jet speed. Yet the Ark rode through this cataclysm safe and sound. How could it do so? Wouldn’t it have capsized? If it had, it would have spelled doom for all land-dwelling animals and the image of God in man. Satan would have won the war.

Remember those waves that “would have been hundreds of feet high” moving at near jet speed. We’ll come back to them later. Let’s read on:

So how could the Ark have survived? One important thing to remember is that the Ark was not designed to go anywhere. In fact, once the whole earth was flooded, there was nowhere to go. It only had to float and keep the occupants alive.

Nevertheless, it had to survive those huge, super-fast waves. ICR continues:

Obviously, the whole Flood account involves supernatural oversight. God was in full control. When we investigate how He exercised that control, we stand amazed.

That would certainly make a difference. But then, why bother to think about the Ark’s seaworthiness at all? With divine assistance, Noah, his family, and their raucous cargo could have survived on a big Persian rug. Here’s more:

Note the ratio of length to width of the Ark’s design: 300 cubits to 50 cubits, or approximately 450 feet long to 75 feet wide. This ratio of 6 to 1 is well known in naval design for optimum stability. Many modern naval engineers, when designing cargo ships to battleships, utilize this same basic design ratio.

We don’t know about such things, but let’s assume that the ratio was okay. Nevertheless, how about that length of 450 feet? Wouldja believe it — Wikipedia has this article: List of world’s largest wooden ships. According to that, the biggest wooden ships ever built were the Pretoria, 338 feet long, the Rochambeau, 337 feet long, and Caligula’s Giant Ship, 341 feet long. There’s also a poorly documented and highly disputed Chinese treasure ship said to be 416 feet long. The Ark, however, was bigger than all of them. Let’s continue with AIG’s article:

Several engineering studies of Ark models have compared the design, as given in Scripture, to several other potential design ratios and plans. The most elaborate and extensive comparison was carried out by the Korea Institute of Ship and Ocean Engineering. As in each of the studies, the Ark’s design was shown to be optimum for its task and circumstances.

ICR doesn’t provide a footnote or a link, so we looked around for that Korean study. There’s no organization by that name, at least not now, but ICR may be clumsily referring to the Korean Ocean Research and Development Institute. Their website is here, and by Googling around with their name and “Noah’s Ark” we found a reference to such a study, but no link to it. However, all is not lost. At Ken Ham’s Answers in Genesis, they have what purports to be the text of that article: Safety Investigation of Noah’s Ark in a Seaway.

The Korean author makes a lot of assumptions, as he must because the scriptural details are so scanty. Here’s his conclusion:

In conclusion, the Ark as a drifting ship, is thus believed to have had a reasonable-beam-draft ratio for the safety of the hull, crew and cargo in the high winds and waves imposed on it by the Genesis Flood. The voyage limit of the Ark, estimated from modern passenger ships” criteria reveals that it could have navigated sea conditions with waves higher than 30 metres.

Note that reference to “waves higher than 30 metres.” That’s almost 100 feet high. Yet ICR, at the start of their article, says: “Some of the waves would have been hundreds of feet high and moved at near jet speed.” Somehow, we don’t think the Korean study is very helpful to ICR’s claim that the Ark could have survived. Well, there’s always the possibility of divine intervention.

We noted something else in the Korean study. The author says:

At that time, trees might have grown taller than 10 metres, and their diameters may have been larger than 1 metre as a result of the presumed more favourable natural environment. A tree could have weighed about 5 tonnes. About 800 trees might thus have been required to build the Ark, if the wood weight of the Ark were about 4,000 tonnes.

But in our earlier article to which we linked above (ICR: Noah’s Ark Was Easy To Build), using ICR’s own calculations about the volume of wood comprising the Ark, we computed:

Noah would have needed at least 3,000 big trees, or maybe 6,000 or 7,000 average trees.

So we have a few discrepancies. No matter. Here’s how ICR ends their little essay:

Scientific research confirms what the Bible says. The whole Flood account in Scripture has “the ring of truth” to it. Its Author evidently intended us to believe it.

Perhaps so. Who are we to argue with the prestigious Institute for Creation Research?

Copyright © 2013. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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16 responses to “ICR: Noah’s Ark Was Seaworthy

  1. ICR is treading on AiG turf here, in daring to describe the ark. Further, they describe it differently – for one thing, they claim it was about 450 feet long, while AiG states it was 510 feet long. http://www.answersingenesis.org/articles/2011/01/21/feedback-ark-shape
    The image on the ICR article depicts an arc that looks quite different from the AiG design.

    I look forward to a reaction by AiG to the ICR ark design, and also their claim of extremely high and fast waves, asteroid impacts (where did that idea come from?), and “underwater gravity slides”, which are apparently a new geological phenomenon. None of these events are described in the bible, of course.

  2. Alex Shuffell

    “Underwater gravity slides”

    I like the sound of that, I wished they gave more details. I’ve never heard of this and I can’t find anything on Google.

  3. Charley Horse

    Ah ha…more elaborate design plans and instructions discovered.

  4. Ceteris Paribus

    ICR claims:

    “Some of the [ocean] waves would have been hundreds of feet high and moved at near jet speed.”

    There is some serious BS (Buffonery Statistics) going on here. What does the ICR suppose a watery ocean wave has do to with a flying aircraft?

    Oh, wait… yes… crocodiles swim in water, and ducks fly in the air. So if the paleontologists will never find a fossil of a Crocoduck, then we should also never expect to find the remains of the ICR’s Boeingark on the side of some mountain in Turkey.

  5. Tsunamis do move at jet speed; however, in the open ocean the wave amplitude (height) is only about one or two meters, while the wavelength is measured in kilometers. They only rise to great heights as the front of the wave is slowed by shallow water, and the rest of the wave catches up with it, piling up to a higher and higher crest.

    So yes, the Ark could have survived tsunamis — if there had been an ark.
    and as for the claim that if the Ark had capsized, “Satan would have won” — well, uh, who was it that supposedly flooded the earth in the first place?

    In other words, ICR is more full of it than the bilge of the Ark.

  6. ICR demonstrates its lack of engineering knowledge matching its lack of scientific knowledge. What a bunch of liars!

    They try to build up this great boat story, but it’s as flimsy as a paper boat in a bathtub only to pull in the sky fairy at the last second to “oversee” the whole thing.

    These are very stupid people and to think they wanted to offer Masters degrees in science education in Texas and nearly did!

  7. As an engineer who has studied ship stability – they are of course talking total BS – as usual. Ships with no rudders or power go nowhere and will easily roll when they get sideways to the wind. There is of course NO WAY that at that time Noah could understand ship stability or what shape the hull had to be. Hammy knows nothing of that either.

  8. Chris R, you’ve given me an idea. It’s a proposal to Ken Ham of AiG or John D. Morris, Ph.D., PDQ, LS/MFT of ICR.

    Build an Ark to what you believe to be biblical design and proportions, load it up with animals of all sorts, and show your faith by setting out to sea with yourself and your family aboard. Of course, if your family isn’t the size of Noah’s, you may also take along a few devoted followers as crew.

    Now, to be realistic, you will need to have your Ark towed to a place where the ocean circles the world, a place where the prevailing winds will not carry you to landfall. One place comes to mind — the Southern Ocean. If you are truly sincere in your mission, this should pose no problem.

  9. Cutting to the chase, all of these guys – Tooters, Hamsters, creation “researchers” – know the score. They all know it’s just a con. What is sad is that these sociopaths have no other way to earn a coin than to be parasites on the weak-minded and religiously deluded. Come on, ICR knows all this Ark stuff is an ark-load, but they get a little brass from the faithful, their flock of simple-minded sheep and laugh all the way to the bank. Do you think Kent Hovind actually believed all that Dino Land stuff as he was laundering money and evading the tax man? Not likely!

    If it weren’t for the Tooters messing with science education we could let them play their Joe Joe the Dog-Faced Boy act and ignore it. And Hamster trying to suck public funds. And the Institute of Cretins attempting to defraud Texas. And Bobby “Demons are Real” Jindal shoveling taxpayer money to his creationist cronies.

    It could be a nice world, if only.

  10. @docbill: Yep — they’re all just modern day Elmer Gantrys. The scary part is how seriously some of them take themselves; for instance, Ken Ham, Jack Chick, Mike Pence. He’s going to prove to be much worse than Jindal — you heard it here first.

  11. Charles Deetz ;)

    I hate to be doing research and all on this subject, but here is a fascinating video of How Ships behave in 15.4m waves. Starts from a small boat, up to an oil tanker. I think the small ferry is the best equivalent to an ark, the large ferry would be 700 feet or so.

  12. - Alex Shufell: ‘ “Underwater gravity slides” I like the sound of that, I wished they gave more details.’

    They’re probably talking about turbidity flows, which are underwater sediment slides. They most frequently occur on the continental slope, resulting in sediment deposits at the base of the slope. With burial and lithification, the resulting rocks are called turbidites.

  13. James St. John says: “They’re probably talking about turbidity flows, which are underwater sediment slides.”

    Those are “underwater gravity slides”? Bah! How mundane! I’d be impressed if the Flood brought on anti-gravity slides.

  14. I’m very grateful for the Ark story, as the day it was told in Sunday school is my first memory of realizing that the bible was full of total nonsense, and that there were some people who took it literally.

  15. What I want to know is what would happen if a big animal- such as the multiple dinosaur species that would doubtlessly have been aboard- got seasick while aboard the ship and fell over, puncturing a hole in the hull? Even ruling out seasickness, how did Noah make sure that the ark as perfectly balanced so it wouldn’t list to one side during the jet-powered-typhoon-anti-gravity-hyperhurricane-whatevers that apparently roared across the face of the Earth, what with all the huge lumbering animals taking refuge inside?

    On a side note, “Underwater Gravity Slide” would be a good name for a band.