ICR: Noah’s Ark Was Easy To Build

The creation scientists at the Institute for Creation Research (ICR) continue to make amazing progress. Consider their latest article about Noah’s Ark: An ‘Impossible’ Task?

It’s 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, with bold font added by us and ICR’s scripture links omitted:

By any estimation, the building of Noah’s Ark was a monumental task. Assuming an 18″ cubit, the Ark was 450 feet long, 75 feet wide, and 45 feet high. Could Noah and his sons have accomplished it? By making reasonable assumptions, we can perhaps determine whether the task was too great.

A few modern replicas have been built or are in the planning stage. You know about Ken Ham’s multi-million dollar project, which hasn’t yet been started. See also Hey, Ken Ham: A Dutchman Builds Noah’s Ark. But now we’ll consider whether Noah and his boys could have built the original. ICR continues:

First, the prophecy of coming judgment was given 120 years in advance of the Flood. Let’s assume that Noah had the full 120 years warning.

They zip through that 120-year warning rather casually so we won’t spend any time on it, but it’s pretty funny. Let’s read on:

Next, consider that in the immediate post-Flood time, man probably had remarkable intelligence, because early civilizations built monumental structures like the pyramids. Tantalizing clues suggest humans explored and even mapped the entire globe back then [BWAHAHAHAHAHA!], indicating they may have had shipbuilding skills from even earlier years. Perhaps Noah was a shipbuilder by trade.

They not only had 120 years to do the job, they also had amazing skills! ICR continues:

Consider the workforce. Noah’s three sons began to be born 100 years before the Flood and were able to help. There may have been other helpers, for Noah’s father, Lamech, and grandfather, Methuselah, were alive during almost the entire project. It may also have been that Noah hired construction workers, but again we have no knowledge of these details.

With an old-folks home of drooling codgers like that, the work would have been easy! Here’s more:

Let’s assume the worst-case scenario, that only Noah and his three sons were available to build the ship. In Scripture, we are only told the gross dimensions and that the vessel was to have three decks and an 18-inch “window” on top. Thus, the overall volume of the Ark was:

450′ x 75′ x 45′ = 1.52 x 106 ft.3 total volume

We haven’t checked the math. Then they assume that most of the Ark was open space and only 20% of all that volume was actual lumber, so they come up with a figure for the amount of lumber actually required. That figure is .304 x 106 ft.3 You can click over there for the details. Moving along:

Remember, the Ark didn’t have to win any beauty contests or speed races, it just had to be strong and float. It probably more resembled a rough barn in workmanship. … It hardly matters if the family was initially experienced in construction technique, for within a year or so they would have been true professionals.

Then ICR gives us an estimate for how much work those old guys could actually get done:

An experienced crew of four could have installed, we assume, an average of 15 cubic feet of wood per day. If anything, this estimate seems low, but this is the worst case!

15 ft. x 6 days x 52 wks. = 4,680 ft.3/year lumber installed

A few geezers could assemble almost 5,000 cubic feet of lumber a year? We have no idea. They’re not talking about linear feet, but cubic feet. That’s a lot of lumber. Maybe a building contractor is among our readers to realistically evaluate ICR’s estimate.

Then, using their earlier estimate for the total amount of lumber actually required for the Ark, they end up computing that Noah and his family could have done the job in a mere 65 years. Here’s ICR’s final paragraph:

Sixty-five years under this worst-case scenario! A big job, yes, but Noah was a faithful man and accomplished the task. As we see, the Bible makes sense, and simple calculations can enhance our faith in God’s Word.

By our rough calculations, 65 years of assembling about 5,000 cubic feet of lumber per year is roughly 325,000 cubic feet of assembled lumber. ICR’s figure is 304,000 cubic feet, so we’ll go with theirs. ICR doesn’t consider to ask, but we will: How many trees had to be cut down to provide the Ark’s lumber?

That depends on the height and diameter of the tree trunks, and the skill of the people running the saw mill. We Googled around and learned that a cord of wood is 128 cubic feet (not necessarily cut into neat boards), and a big tree can yield that much, but it would probably take two average trees to produce a cord. So if our information is accurate, Noah would have needed at least 3,000 big trees, or maybe 6,000 or 7,000 average trees. He needed to chop down an entire forest, and then mill the wood. But hey — no problem! He probably assigned those tasks to the women.

Copyright © 2012. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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20 responses to “ICR: Noah’s Ark Was Easy To Build

  1. Problems with using volume aside, you can screw around with Morris’ chosen numbers to get any conclusion you wished.

    And yes, the 120 year warning thing is hilarious.

  2. eyeonicr says: “And yes, the 120 year warning thing is hilarious.”

    I didn’t bother to mention that neat 18-inch window. It must have been a methane vent.

  3. I can’t believe I’ve never thought about where all the lumber for noah’s ark came from. It seems like such an obvious question now.

  4. ICR said: “It may also have been that Noah hired construction workers, but again we have no knowledge of these details.”
    Yes! I can see the ad now…

    Help wanted for large wooden construction project. Those with carpentry and tree logging skills especially needed. (Tree huggers need not apply.) Will provide pay til end of project, at which time all workers that are not part of the family will be doomed to a soggy death.

    Further, the part about “Thus, the overall volume of the Ark was: 450′ x 75′ x 45′ = 1.52 x 106 [cubic] ft. total volume”. Uh, that’s if it’s in the shape of a big rectangular box. But with the bow and and the aft decks being tapered, I doubt you would have had that much volume.
    Finally, if they’re saying that 120 or 100 year old people were building anything, well, “incredible claims” and all that.

  5. Charles Deetz ;)

    Hausdorff, you say that like you work at the ICR. Is Morris having an ‘oh crap’ moment, or will he follow up with how the bible explains how Gopher wood is somehow bigger and easier to mill than regular wood? Maybe gophers did all the work?

  6. haha nope, I don’t work there. I just found it amazing that given the number of times I’ve thought about Noah’s ark, as a child and as an adult, that it never occurred to me to ask where they got the lumber from. I’m sure it’s because other problems always grabbed my attention first, but you would figure it should have occurred to me at some point.

  7. If one starts early building an arch shouldn’t be much of a problem during a lifetime of nearly 1000 years.

  8. It seems the ICR is psychic – the have posted a followup about some of the other problems: http://www.icr.org/article/7158/

  9. Sheesh, you guys are missing the boat Ark about where the trees came from.

    Sure, the Middle East is mostly pretty arid desert now but doubtless was heavily forested before Noah and his lads undertook their century of lumberjacking. C’mon, guys, what’s the beef here?

    And it seems probable to me that Shem, Ham, and Japheth could have solicited donations of timber from neighbouring villages — though I allow that they may have confused a few folks when they turned up aksing, “Got wood?”

  10. Megalonyx says: “Sure, the Middle East is mostly pretty arid desert now but doubtless was heavily forested before Noah”

    I donno. The bible often mentions people building with stone and living in tents, but there are no log cabins. I don’t see much evidence of trees. Or forests. Well, there was one with some forbidden fruit … but you can’t build an ark with that.

  11. Well, there’s always the cedars of Lebanon and such.

    What struck me most was the statement that the pyramids were built BEFORE the Flood. I’d never heard that. I mean, seriously, you think the Grand Canyon was made by floodwaters, but a bunch of stones stacked up survived? Wow.

  12. retiredsciguy

    Pyramids made before The Flood? Wouldn’t the mummies therein gotten kinda soggy?

  13. Charley Horse

    Morris knows the whole story of the Flood is impossible.
    But he, like all other creationist entrepreneurs, always have
    the perfect, indisputable fallback when the millions of problems
    with the story have no natural, reasonable solution.

    As stated by Morris the Phd….”Obviously, the whole Flood account involves supernatural oversight. God was in full control.”

    Their attempts at offering explanations are as childish and
    unbelievable as fairy tales. But children are their intended
    indoctrination target. And it works….too well.

  14. I’m surprised that I* didn’t think of this before. But does anyone know if ICR is helping AiG fund the “Ark Park”?

    * I’m not surprised that I haven’t yet heard it from anyone else. For some inexplicable reason, most fellow “Darwinists” get “amnesia” about other anti-evolution strategies when focusing on one particular “kind.”

  15. Frank, I presume by “kind,” you are, in fact, meaning, “baramin.” Accuracy counts.

  16. Hausdorff: “…it never occurred to me to ask where they got the lumber from.”

    Haven’t you seen Evan Almighty? It clearly shows that the lumber was provided as-is, already cut, milled, and neatly stacked. This should be regarded as a historical document, every bit as believable as the Bible itself.

  17. Poolio: “Haven’t you seen Evan Almighty?”

    Nope, I haven’t had the pleasure to see that particular documentary yet 🙂

  18. The ICR is a wonderful source of entertainment. Oh, more calculations, please!

    I like how the article describes earth shattering events but don’t worry, God is in control!

    So, the ICR “scientists” run around with their slide rules and backs of envelopes doing their fancy calculations (in cubits, no less!) to prove that science supports the Bible and when science fails the job, don’t worry, be happy, God is in control!

    Now remember, ICR is located in a strip mall, no, CM, not a strip JOINT, in west Dallas right across the street from a junk yard where they get all of their “scientific” ideas – cheap.

  19. I know we’re trying to help them out but the old ICR-ers have many more problems than how long it would have taken to float their boat.

    Sawmills weren’t invented until around 400 AD. The only tools Noah had would have been brass pull saws, wedges, wooden mallets and various knives, choppers and draw blades. According to Wiki, “gopher” wood probably derived from the word meaning “squared” or “planed,” in other words, shaped rather than logs.

    It would have taken far more work to cut the trees and shape the lumber than it would to hammer it in place. However, boat building in that era consisted of tying planks together and stuffing the cracks with hemp.

    Hemp? Oh, well, now it all makes sense!

  20. And, finally, in my treatise on shipbuilding, ICR is further hampered by the fact that Genesis was written around 400 BC and would have described boats common to that era, not in the time of Noah.

    ICR also neglected to address the problem of trying to build a box as big as the ark and how structurally unsound that would be. It would have capsized in calm waters! Ballast? A keel? Ribs and cross-members? ICR ignores all this. An 8th grader with Wikipedia could do a better job of designing an ark than ICR with all their “PhD’s” – and I put that in quotes!

    But, you know, for $13,000 they’ll give you a Masters of Creation Science, a bargain at half the price!