At last, months after we posted Hey, Hambo — Noah’s Ark Was Round!, we have a response from the creation scientists at Answers in Genesis, the on-line ministry of Ken Ham (ol’ Hambo), the ayatollah of Appalachia.
AIG’s amazing article is Was Noah’s Ark Round? We don’t see any author’s name attached to it, so we’ll graciously attribute the thing to Hambo himself. Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us. He begins with a small quote from what he claims to be:
a recent Associated Press article about the discovery of a reportedly 4,000-year-old clay tablet from ancient Mesopotamia. This tablet pre-dates the famous Epic of Gilgamesh and goes on to describe the Ark as a round boat and two-thirds the size of a modern soccer field — something akin to a coracle, a primitive vessel that plied rivers in ancient Iraq.
We’re surprised that we had to wait so long for AIG to get around to this topic, because it presents stupendous problems for them. Maybe it’s taken them this long to recover from the shock. As we said in this post:
The Babylonian text describes the ark as a round 220-ft diameter coracle with walls 20-ft high. Besides being the “wrong” shape, the tablet is a chronological disaster, because as [AIG] says in this article: Timeline for the Flood, based on the Ussher chronology, the Flood began in the year 2,348 BC.
If the Babylonian tablet is 3,700 years old, it was written around 1,686 BC, a mere 662 years after the Flood, and around 700 years before Genesis was written. The tablet is far too old. Also, it doesn’t mention Noah. The ark-builder in the tablet was a Sumerian king named Atram-Hasis. That’s a strange detail to get wrong in an account written so soon after the Flood.
Let’s see how AIG handles this geometric and chronological disaster:
Coracles were well known in ancient Mesopotamia, and it’s easy to see how the author of the clay tablet would latch onto such a vessel to describe a real event passed down to him from earlier times. A coracle, however, was a flimsy ship made of interwoven sticks and animal skins, and covered in tar;2 hardly something that would survive the raging waters of the global Flood.
Why would the tablet’s author “latch onto” the idea of a coracle, when the actual event would have still been fresh in everyone’s memory? The tablet was written only 662 years after Hambo’s date for the flood. That many years before our own time would be the year 1,352. Wikipedia has a nice list of events that happened in 1352. People don’t forget things that quickly — certainly not important things.
Will AIG deal with this problem? The next item in their article is an illustration of the ark they’re planning to build, and it has this strange caption:
Nobody knows the true shape of Noah’s Ark. Genesis 6:15, however, does give us the Ark’s proportions: “”The length of the ark shall be three hundred cubits, its width fifty cubits, and its height thirty cubits.”” These figures certainly show that it was not the round shape described in the Epic of Gilgamesh.
Hey, Hambo — we already know that your concept of the ark isn’t anything like the one described in that ancient tablet. The question before us is: Was it circular? The earliest account says that it was. So why do you say that “Nobody knows the true shape of Noah’s Ark”? We continue:
The book of Genesis records the same global Flood event, but the ship that saved Noah and his family was a massive structure, expertly engineered to ride out the pounding waves of the earth-changing, worldwide Flood that destroyed all mankind and millions of animals except for those on the Ark.
Ah, it was “expertly engineered.” How do you know, Hambo? Were you there?
Then AIG asks:
Which of the two Noah’s Arks sounds most plausible?
BWAHAHAHAHAHA! Hey, Hambo — why are you asking our opinion? You’re supposed to the the expert on this stuff. If you want to rely on Genesis, which was written 700 years after the tablet that describes the thing as a coracle, that’s up to you. But don’t preach to us that your far later text is the “most plausible” one. It was written after thousands of oral retellings by illiterate nomads who somehow heard about the earlier tale recorded on that tablet.
Just before a plea for funds to build AIG’s “full-scale Noah’s Ark,” the article ends with this:
The Flood was a real event etched into the memories of our ancestors. Over 270 cultures retain some version of the account, but only the Bible preserves an accurate telling of it.
Yes, Hambo. Lots of cultures have flood stories. And stories about tempests, droughts, and other disasters. But they’re not all about the same flood, or tempest, or drought. How come only your story, possibly the most recent one, remembers the name of Noah? Ah well, like they say in Burger King, where the most successful of your followers are employed: Have it your way.
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