Ken Ham: The Water Supply on Noah’s Ark

We know that Noah’s Ark is always on your mind, dear reader, so we strive to satisfy your craving for solid facts. There is no better source than the world’s greatest expert on that topic — Ken Ham (ol’ Hambo). He’s the Australian entrepreneur who has become the ayatollah of Appalachia, famed for his creationist ministry, Answers in Genesis (AIG) and for the mind-boggling Creation Museum.

Ol’ Hambo just posted this on his blog: How Much Water Was On Board the Ark? Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us:

We know there was plenty of water outside the Ark during Noah’s Flood. But have you ever thought about how much water Noah and his family would have needed on board and how they would obtain it?

You never thought about that, did you? You’ve been focused on things like Waste Disposal on Noah’s Ark, and How Horrible Was Life Aboard Noah’s Ark?, but Hambo is thinking about fresh water. He says:

Of course, they would need drinking water for themselves and all the animals. Water would also have been required for bathing and for washing clothes and dishes. Noah’s family could have used it to clean out some of the animal stalls, and some of the amphibians would have occasionally needed their water to be switched out.

Bathing and washing clothes? Why? We need to bathe, but that’s because we’re sinners. Noah and his family were holy people. They wouldn’t need to bother with things like that. Anyway, they and the animals needed water to drink, so let’s read on:

At the Ark Encounter, now under construction in northern Kentucky (see associated photo above), we have calculated approximately how much water would have been required for all of these activities.

Wow — we’re impressed! The creation scientists at AIG have been working on that problem. Hambo continues:

The Ark had more than enough space to comfortably house cisterns large enough for one-fourth of the required water, which is equivalent to roughly a three-month supply. Actually, there is enough space for even larger cisterns, but to keep the water from becoming stagnant it is better to continually replenish a smaller amount.

BWAHAHAHAHAHA! Besides room for Noah, his family, and thousands of animals — including dinosaurs! — there was “more than enough space” for large cisterns. That’s amazing! On with the article:

So where did all this fresh water come from? Noah could have used the Ark’s roof to collect and funnel rain to large cisterns. From there, the water could be piped to locations throughout the Ark.

BWAHAHAHAHAHA! At a time when there was no such thing as plumbing, Noah had a system of pipes running all over the ark! Another excerpt:

Undoubtedly, there was enough rain during the initial phase of the Flood to keep the cisterns full, but would there be sufficient rainfall during the rest of the time they were on the Ark?

Good question! Hambo has the answer:

Our calculations show that just one inch of rain per week would have kept the cisterns stocked. This is about the same amount as the average precipitation in Kentucky. The evaporation of warm floodwaters would have likely caused more than enough rain to fall during the remainder of Noah’s time on the Ark, ensuring they had plenty of water.

Brilliant — absolutely brilliant! It’s what we’ve come to expect from ol’ Hambo. The rest of his post is a promotion for his Ark Encounter project, so this is where we’ll quit. You have more than enough to think about.

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45 responses to “Ken Ham: The Water Supply on Noah’s Ark

  1. So it rained magically for 40 days and 40 nights, and then it kept raining, but naturally this time. OK, sounds good.

  2. Are those scientists high on weed? I suggest they change their supplier, they have been played.

  3. michaelfugate

    Given all the magic surrounding this story, why would any believer look for a natural instead of a supernatural answer to any problem encountered by the ark?

  4. Wow. Simply, wow. Explaining how a supernaturally, er, precipitated event was handled by humans through resort to primitive engineering. Why didn’t Noah & Sons, Inc., simply install a reverse osmosis purification system (with a little help and guidance from their supernatural champion)?

    Better yet, why didn’t Ol’ Grandy just magically strike down all his enemies, and only his enemies, without all of that unnecessary flooding and ancillary destructive stuff?

  5. Ham is preparing his followers for the inevitable questions by going through his blueprints and adding modern infrastructure to Noah’s mythical barge.

    First, it was a washing machine, now it’s plumbing and water storage, next it’ll be Japheth building an escalator, Ham running a burger joint, and Shem offering free Wi-Fi.

  6. @Mark Germano: But where does that leave Larry, Moe and Curly? Not to mention Groucho, Harpo and Chico?

  7. Charles Deetz ;)

    Another question answered for the ten year-olds who visit the AE that isn’t going to satisfy the ten year-olds.

    You can look around in this day and age still, and find cultures whose women carry water around because they lack pipes. Why wouldn’t the women on the ark have to do the same thing?

  8. If so much rain had fallen that the planet was under several miles of water, the contents of the pre-existing seas would have been diluted many times over. In other words, the salinity of the waters surrounding the Ark would have been such that all the Noah family needed to do to obtain fresh water was stick a bucket over the side.

    But don’t tell Ken Ham that.

  9. Charles Deetz ;)

    The folks over at CMI are much more precise on this important detail: “Drinking water would only have taken up 9.4% of the volume. This volume would be reduced further if rainwater was collected and piped into troughs.” I’m guessing CMI knows how much water the largest animals, the dinosaurs, would drink in order to get a precise number like that.

  10. @realthog: But what about the fountains of the deep? Salty or not? And the comet, what about the watery creationist comet? Oh, and let’s not forget the waters above the firmament. I hope to hell they hadn’t leached out stuff from the insulation on the back of the sky. That could really screw up the delicately balanced genetics of incest that were about to follow.

    No wonder those fellas at AIG need PhDs, this is some complicated science!

  11. Cisterns in the ark, plumbing. Astonishing attention to detail. Noah’s carpentry skills must have been beyond those of his time, and his knowledge of zoology must have been encyclopedic. Funny how all that was lost after the flood. And, I wonder, will the ark encounter have continuous rain, with guests wearing raincoats? Creationists clearly have too much time on their hands. I’d have showered and washed my clothes in the rain.

  12. With such fertile imaginations, surely there are ways of building interpretations of Genesis which are consistent with our being physically related with the rest of life, or with other events in the history of Earth for which there is evidence. Things for there is more reason to consider than just that someone can imagine it. Things which are consistent with science or other objective standards, for example.

  13. Derek Freyberg

    @Charles Deetz 😉
    I just looked at that page, and it’s even crazier than Ken Ham, which is saying a lot.

  14. The sad and depressing thing about this is how many drooling followers Hambo has who really believe his nonsense.

  15. An alternative theory for Hambo is that Wile E. Coyote was one of the animals on the ark and he had all the powers that the Acme catalog would entail. One of those items would be the portable hole, more than ideal for getting into Bugs’ rabbit hole, but really it is fine silk of the dimension spider that allows the user to create extra-dimensional space. The extra dimensional space can be created multiple times, the user need only move the portable hole to another location. This space could hold as many cisterns, extra animals (animals in a portable hole would experience subjuctive space/time at a much lower rate!), and food stores as necessary.
    Please note this is just as plausible and Biblical as Hambo’s theory. Plus it’ll turn on the kiddies!

  16. “Our calculations show that just one inch of rain per week would have kept the cisterns stocked. “

    And mycalculations show that to submerge the whole world to a depth of five miles (to cover Mount Everest) in “forty days and forty nights” would take an average rainfall of 1/8 mile per day. That’s 660 feet, or 7,920 inches. It’s also seven-eighths of a mile per week, a far cry from one inch. Any way you figure it, rainfall that intense would smash the ship and anything aboard.

    Of course, creationists might say that much of the water came not from rain but from the vaguely-sourced “waters under the earth,” but there’s no known underground source which would supply nearly enough. And if there were, its upwelling would swamp the Ark.

  17. The whole truth

    Ol’ hambo drooled:

    “…some of the amphibians would have occasionally needed their water to be switched out.”

    So the imaginary character noah kept a whole bunch of amphibians in separate aquariums and some of the amphibians were kept in aquariums that held water. LOL

    But wait, weren’t there allegedly only two amphibians on the imaginary ark? Two representatives of the amphibian ‘kind’?

  18. In order for it to rain, water must first evaporate from the ocean. This lowers the ocean level by the same amount the rainfall would raise it — a net wash.

    If a comet delivered the water, it would have been a mighty big comet. And the water would still be here. It would not have had time to evaporate into space in the short time that Ham proposes between Noah and now.

    “Fountains of the deep”? Even if the water originated somehow from inside the earth, where did it go? Back inside? Where? It would still be there today, and it’s not.

    Ham’s got bigger questions to ponder than where Noah stored fresh water.

    Ok, Ken Ham — we know you’re reading this. How about giving us those answers? All your PhD types on staff should be able to help you out.

  19. Dave Godfrey

    Realthog – I don’t think the bucket idea works. Feel free to criticize my reasoning, but:

    Assume each individual animal requires 1/2 a bucket of water each day, and that it takes an average (minimum) 5 minutes for the round trip from sea-to-animal and back to sea. That gives us 576 animals watered per day working round the clock, and it would take more than 12 days to water all 7000 (by AiG experts) estimated individual animals.

    Of course, I’m speculating and assuming a lot, but as Ham and his minions can do so, then so can I.

  20. Realthog, I think creationists use the flood to explain salt mines, like the one in Pakistan that has millions of tons of salt. I haven’t done the math but imagine that the flood water would be plenty salty.

  21. What is not generally known, because it has been edited out of the bible, is that Noah was actually a time-lord, and the ark was a large version of the Tardis. It was bigger on the inside, and once the animals were in and the door shut, it time-travelled one year into the future. The animals simply turned around and walked out. All problems solved.

    In future centuries the story would be told that it was a flood of historic proportions that wiped out life on the surface of the earth. The Daleks left no traces of their work.

  22. According to chapter 7 of Genesis, Noah was 600 years old when he had his arc encounter. So he apparently had 600 years to master carpentry, plumbing, marine engineering, navigation, nautical animal husbandry, and other skills that would have come in handy. Imagine how much you could learn in 600 years!

  23. @Dave Godfrey

    I was being figurative in my expression “stick a bucket over the side”; clearly I was assuming some more efficient water-transport system than that. (Depends on the size of the bucket, sort of thing.) I was also assuming the imported water went into a cistern rather than each bucketload being individually lugged to the animal and emptied thereinto before being brought back to the side.

  24. @surprisesaplenty

    In keeping with creationist tradition, I haven’t done the math either, but my guess would be a something like 10x dilution. Again guessing, that’d make the water still a bit brackish yet potable.

  25. As the water evaporated from the ocean to make rain, the remaining water in the sea became saltier.

  26. One has to be careful not to drag up one of the trillions of corpses floating in the water. I’m not going to do the math, either.

  27. @retiredsciguy

    I think we’ve already established that the rain couldn’t have come from evaporated ocean water — otherwise the water level would have remained the same rather than risen by >5 miles. Stick to the science! It must have originated through some other known natural process, such as divine origin.

  28. @realthog
    One could follow what the Bible says was the source of the rainwater: the windows in the firmament were opened, allowing the waters that were separated by the the firmament to fall to Earth.

  29. realthog: “It must have originated through some other known natural process, such as divine origin.”

    (Chuckle!) And then receded by divine disappearance.

  30. TomS: “One has to be careful not to drag up one of the trillions of corpses floating in the water.”

    They would be a handy food supply for all the scavengers on board.

  31. TomS: “the windows in the firmament were opened”

    ‘Xactly: known natural processes.

  32. Ken Ham reminds me of Carlos of the Carlos Caper and I half expect him to turn up to reveal he has just doing the idiocy to reveal the stupidity of sections of the public.

  33. @retiredsciguy – re food supply. Got me thinking, too bad God didn’t just bring on a zombie apocalypse instead of a flood. He could have given Noah the plans for a gopher wood shotgun.

  34. @Realthog – You wrote ” Bible says was the source of the rainwater [was] the windows in the firmament…” Wow! And I thought Windows 95 was old. But Noah must have been using a version of Windows that pre-dated even Windows 3.1 (which was pretty klunky). Lemme see— Windows 4000 BC, perhaps 🙂 ?

  35. @Hideo Gump

    Windows 4000 BC, perhaps

    Introduced after God had warned people off the Apple OS.

  36. Gawd said, “if you touch those Apples, then your eyes shall be opened. I command that you use Windows instead, and remain without knowledge.”

  37. Holding The Line In Florida

    Oh lads, you make me laugh! The main reason to follow the Almighty SC! The joy of reading the comments allow me to gird my armour for another day of mindless 7th Graders! There are sentient beings in the world! Especially now since we enter our State Mandated Pearson Testing of our students. Oh Joy!

  38. That’s what it’s all about, Holding The Line In Florida. If we don’t laugh at this stuff, we’ll go mad.

  39. For years I’ve been looking for a “creation science” website where a licensed engineer was hired to calculate the percentage of Noah’s Ark interior volume which must have been required for load-bearing and structural support. Considering that “gopher wood”, not structural steel beams, was specified in the text, one would think that at least half of all interior space would be occupied by such supports. (As the structure gets larger, the loads become enormous, obviously.)

    Of course, if they invoke another miracle (as well as “The laws of physics were different back then!”), why waste money hiring a structural engineer? But I can’t recall a YEC seriously calculating the “net interior space’ of the ark once the necessary supports were factored in. Surely someone did the work (or pretended to.)

    Finding a serious calculation attempt is on my “search list” for YEC mysteries and has persisted for years now—but I haven’t spent a lot of time searching. Has anyone seen the engineer’s report?

  40. @Prof. Tertius: To calculate the interior volume needed for structural support, we would first need to know the physical properties of gopher wood. Has anyone determined what, exactly, “gopher wood” is? Is it strong for its size like oak, or is it a lightweight wood like balsa?

    But then, we’ll let the creationists figure it out. The rest of us realize the entire story is myth, so what’s the point?

  41. Mike Elzinga

    Some time back, I did the calculations for the minimum energy deposition of water; which is from the “canopy” (all other scenarios involve far more energy). It’s a calculation that high school physics students can do.

    The bottom line is that, to cover Mt. Everest in 40 days, the rate of energy deposition amounts to about 40 kilograms of TNT going off every second over each square meter of the Earth’s surface for 40 days and nights. That raises the temperature of the Earth’s atmosphere to about 10,500 degrees Fahrenheit, and the atmospheric pressure to about 850 atmospheres.

    A little more involved calculation requires the solving of a non-linear differential equation to show that the temperature rise will be achieved in less than a week; about 5 days.

    The structural issues with the ark are puny in comparison.

  42. @Mike Elzinga
    That problem, as well as some others, can be mitigated by assuming that the tallest mountain at the time of the Flood was much lower than Everest.
    The really high mountains were raised after the Flood. For an example for a pre-Flood mountain, Sand Mountain, in the Florida Ridge Hills, is about 76 meters (250 feet) above sea level. The Bible says that the mountains were covered with 15 cubits of water, but let’s be generous and say that meant only 80 meters in 40 days, or only 2 meters of rain per day. That is not physically impossible, considering that in a 24-hour period between 7 and 8 January 1966, Cilaos at the centre of Réunion received 1,869.9 millimetres (73.62 in) of rainfall.

  43. Mike Elzinga

    @ TomS:

    As I mentioned, the “canopy theory” is the least energetic of all the scenarios YEC’s have produced.

    Scenarios that move all that rock to pile up the continents and mountains and gouge out the ocean basins require far more energy. And then the water has to be stored down at the level of the Earth’s mantle where it comes in contact with temperatures well over a thousand degrees. There is lots of steam and churning of water in those scenarios; the ark wouldn’t stand a chance, and all its occupants would be steam broiled.

  44. Again, more evidence that The Flood of Noah is myth, at least if the idea is an all-encompassing global flood.

    As Prof. Tertius has pointed out, the Hebrew word eretz, or earth, has several meanings, including lands or regions. So if there is actually a core of actual history at the root of the global flood myth, it would be a regional flood.

  45. It begins with a story that seems hard to believe. And as the literalist-inerrantists add on details drawn from their own imaginations, trying to made it possible, they only succeed in drawing attention to the difficulties in the story as presented in the Bible.
    They didn’t have to make the story about all of the world that we know about today, rather than just being a very devastating once-in-a -few-centuries flood in the world that was known about in the Ancient Near East. They didn’t have to make up the carving of the Grand Canyon. They didn’t have to make up “baramins” and super-fast-speciation after the Flood.