Noah’s Ark Was Perfectly Feasible

Once again, the creation scientists at Answers in Genesis (AIG) — the ministry of Ken Ham (ol’ Hambo) — are touting the “reality” of Noah’s Ark. The myth has been debunked thousands of times — see, e.g., Top Ten Reasons Noah’s Flood is Mythology — but creationists keep cranking out articles to show how believable the tale is.

AIG’s latest attempt is Fantastic Voyage: How Could Noah Care for the Animals? It’s a reprint of something they posted last July, but we ignored it then. It was written by Michael Belknap. We found a reference to him at Linkedin, which describes him as “Zoo Keeper at Answers in Genesis.” Before that he was “Veterinary Technician at McClendon Veterinary Services,” and he attended East Texas Baptist University. At the end of today’s article they say he is now “assistant content writer for the attractions division of Answers in Genesis.”

Michael’s long article discusses the usual issues, so we’ll ignore most of it and discuss only the parts that are either new or ridiculously absurd. Here we go, with bold font added by us for emphasis:

It’s difficult to think of Julius Caesar and other famous historical figures as real people, especially since we never lived in ancient Rome or ate blood pudding and Julian stew at the emperor’s table. We know they were real folks, but we never experienced the things they saw and touched every day. This is no less true of Bible characters like Noah.

Right. Julius Caesar is just as unbelievable as Noah, but both were real! Then he says:

You think you face challenges? Noah had to engineer the biggest wooden ship ever built. But that was just the beginning. He had to care for every kind of air-breathing land animal that God had made. Imagine. Modern zookeepers often find it challenging to keep a single wild species healthy, even after years of study. Noah, in contrast, had to meet the peculiar needs of every kind of wild creature. That includes not only the ancestors of modern bears and anteaters but tyrannosaurs and pterosaurs. Modern skeptics scoff at the possibility that a single family could coordinate such a huge undertaking. Just think about some of the difficulties:

• How could you store enough food for several thousand animals over a year?

• How could you feed so many animals every day?

• Where would you put all their waste?

• How could you replenish their clean water?

Michael provides us with perfectly reasonable explanations:

We can’t go back to Noah’s actual home to know exactly how he solved these problems. But we know enough from the history of animal care — and modern husbandry — to imagine the most likely solutions that a reasonable man with a good knowledge of animal behavior could implement in any era of history. For example, providing animals with spacious accommodations may seem ideal. But in reality, animals under stress often feel much safer in tighter quarters, and they even seek out little “nests.” So providing small, fairly dark spaces, such as cages, would help them feel more secure.

Brilliant! After that he tells us:

Wood is adequate building material for most cages, but what about the cages for those animals that gnaw wood? Smaller cage bars could be made of bamboo because it is a very hard material and resists chewing. An added benefit of bamboo is that it grows quickly. Perhaps Noah could grow fresh batches every spring while he was building the Ark.

The only problem is that bamboo doesn’t grow naturally anywhere in Europe or the Middle East. Then Michael discusses food:

Over the course of a year, these several thousand animals will consume a few hundred tons of it. Now that’s a lot of kibble! Many of today’s animals have very specialized diets because they’ve adapted to nearly every niche on the planet. The animals that God sent Noah, in contrast, likely weren’t the most specialized species within a created kind. In fact, most animals can eat almost anything nutritious (rather than starve) if they don’t have a choice.

So Noah had to identify the food types that would meet each animal’s basic survival needs, at least short-term. He could then divide up the animals into zones on the Ark near their primary food sources. Koalas and emus would be next to the dried fruits; pigs and kangaroos next to the grain. This would make the process of feeding more efficient.


Dried vegetation is sufficient for the vast majority of herbivores, but if fresh vegetation was needed, whether for food or medical purposes, Noah had to find or cultivate varieties that grew well in low-light conditions. As much as possible, he needed to provide varied food types because animals with more balanced diets are usually healthier

Most animals consume plants, but what about ones that may have switched entirely to meat — as have modern snakes and cats? Would Noah want to store live animals on board as food? It certainly could be done. For instance, seafarers in the 1600s and 1700s frequently brought giant tortoises on their ships as a fresh meat source. Tortoises are hardy and can sometimes stay alive for over a year without food. Alternatively, meat can be preserved through drying, pickling, salting, or smoking.

Food was no problem! Then he discusses waste removal, but he doesn’t offer anyhing as ingenious as our own solution — see Waste Disposal on Noah’s Ark — Solved! Hey, here’s a problem we never thought about:

How will you provide fresh water for the Ark’s population? Cisterns or other sealed vessels could house several million gallons of water — enough to last a year. However, this solution raises unique difficulties. First, water use is hard to predict. How much will the animals consume in these stressful conditions, and how much waste is likely? How much of the sitting water might get infested with harmful organisms?

A solution is periodic cleanings of the cisterns or the use of water-filtering organisms, such as mussels. But you’d have the laborious task of shifting water between cisterns. Also, there is a risk of the system becoming clogged with the filterers.


Perhaps the best solution is a combination of storage and rainwater collection. Bamboo pipes [bamboo again!] and simple valves could help disperse the water from the cisterns, while Noah could have placed vacuum-fed water containers in most enclosures that would require refilling only from time to time, not daily. Any rainwater collected would possibly still need treatments, such as settling, filtering, and chemical cleansing, but on a more practical scale.

Fresh water? No problem! Our last excerpt comes from near the end:

This just scratches the surface of the challenges Noah had to consider. Indeed, the task must have been overwhelming. A skeptic may see the difficulties and dismiss the account as a myth describing a deathtrap that would become a tomb rather than a lifeboat. But on what does success of a project ultimately hinge? It wasn’t God’s ability to pick a man who was great at planning. It was simply God’s favor to Noah; then Noah feared God and obeyed His commands.

That’s it, dear reader. Now you have no reason to reject the ark as mythology. Noah could have done it all.

Copyright © 2017. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

add to del.icio.usAdd to Blinkslistadd to furlDigg itadd to ma.gnoliaStumble It!add to simpyseed the vineTailRankpost to facebook

. AddThis Social Bookmark Button . Permalink for this article

29 responses to “Noah’s Ark Was Perfectly Feasible

  1. Michael Fugate

    Ham is a fool for even attempting this – why wouldn’t he just say it was magic and be done with it. It is not like his followers care one way or the other.

  2. That’s an ark load, all right!

  3. The problem with Ham’s account is that he simply hasn’t done the numbers.

    Just to take one example: how could seven people handle “thousands of animals” for the length of time the Genesis account indicates? Ham apparently imagines they’d all do just fine stuffed into small cages, which certainly isn’t true in modern zoos.

    Then, too, given the stated dimensions of the Ark, how could enough food be carried for all the various “kinds” on board, since, contrary to Ham’s claim, “most animals” can’t eat “just about anything nutritious”? Koalas, for example, have a severely restricted diet, limited almost exclusively to eucalyptus leaves. And not all carnivores can eat dried, pickled, salted or smoked meat, no matter how hungry they are; they have to have live prey.

    And his assertion that “vacuum-fed” water containers could supply all those animals, not to mention the humans aboard, is ridiculous. First, what sort of water would be feeding into them? Salt water, most likely. And the technology involved would be beyond the capabilities of a Bronze Age culture in any case.

    Ham is asking his suckers, er, audience to believe that Noah worked miracles of engineering which couldn’t be achieved by modern experts (or, in my opinion, by anyone) and that this required only divine guidance, not suspension of the laws of nature. Essentially he’s saying “We know it happened because it says so in the Bible, so let’s work backward to try to figure out how.” Modern scientists who must explain some puzzling discovery at least admit their ideas are subject to disproof, but Ham and his ilk take Genesis for granted and so resort to all sorts of gyrations to avoid admitting that any of it is impossible.

  4. The guy who spent a lot of money on building a replica of the Ark in Kentucky shows just how infeasable Noah’s Ark was.
    Even with modern technology, he knew that he shouldn’t attempt to make something which (1) foats on water (2) houses a lot of animals (3) is all-wooden and pitch. Not any one of those, let alone all olf them.
    It’s easy to talk, but the builder knew enough not to try to build one.

  5. Holding The Line In Florida

    Michael Fugate beat me to the punch. Why say Noah and his clan had to care for the animals when you can just as easily say God just placed them all in suspended animation. Easier, no problems with food, waste, water etc. Heck for that matter why go through the whole thing at all? After all the Big Guy can do anything right?

  6. Noah (to delivery crew): We have to backtrack to Australia.
    Crew: Oh,no. Why?
    Noah (blushing): I forgot the koalas. And the platypus.
    Crew; mumbling.

  7. The bigger question is how could Noah & Family build the ark in the first place? Ham says his ark in Kentucky is the same size as Noah’s. The beams Noah would have needed for the ship’s ribs, not to mention the keel, would have been huge, weighing thousands of pounds each. How could he possibly have maneuvered them into position and held them in place long enough to fasten them all together? Even with modern machinery it would be quite a task, and that’s if you could find big enough timbers for the job and transport them to the construction site. Ham used steel and concrete with wooden cladding for his ark — material not available for Noah.

    It would take magic — God snapping His fingers and voila! There’s the ark. But — the Bible says specifically that the ark was constructed by Noah, so Ken Ham can’t use the “God did it by magic” cop-out. Ham’s got some ‘splainin’ to do.

  8. Eric says “Modern scientists who must explain some puzzling discovery at least admit their ideas are subject to disproof, but Ham and his ilk take Genesis for granted and so resort to all sorts of gyrations to avoid admitting that any of it is impossible.” But thats what makes them so much ahem, “fun”. ! Ever see a dyed in the wool creationist pass a paleontology course?
    Yeah, me neither. Come to think of it, I just barely squeezed by. Oh dear.

  9. Ships are self-propelled transport vessels. The ark was not a ship. If these people can’t even be bothered to get basic categories right…

  10. This is what always gets me about these loons. Why on earth are they bothering with this?

    These explanations are arrantly impossible. The collection of species from all over the earth is impossible, as is their redistribution. Feeding all the specialised species is impossible. Water supply is a couple of orders of magnitude beyond bronze age technology. Wooden ships the size of the Ark are impossible. Keeping it afloat in the seas of a world-wide ocean for a year is impossible. The Flood itself is impossible under two or three different heads, including contravening the laws of thermodynamics. The whole requires several overlapping layers of miracles – impossible events, beyond or contrary to the order of nature.

    But so what? If you’re happy to believe in miracles on this scale, and you’re also prepared to ignore the fact that there’s no trace of evidence that they ever happened, then go for it. God can do anything; God did this. Forget the naturalistic explanations – that’s just playing on the materialists’ turf. The story is true, and the miracles happened. God did it, and God did it without leaving any evidence. Anything and everything required for it to happen, God did. Whatever. Ayyymen!

    If they went with that, there’s no argument. There’s incredulity, but that’s only saying that you don’t believe, and we knew that already, you poor lost soul. There’s distrust of faith, but faith is required and if you don’t got it, it’s hell for you. There’s appeal to evidence, and the benefits of trusting evidence, but that’s what you’d expect from a godless skeptic. Just have faith, believe and be saved.

    There’s no penetrating that. It’s impervious. So why are they fooling about with naturalistic explanations that don’t explain, and only diddle around the edges of the problems anyway?

    I can only think of one reason: they know pure faith and omphalos won’t cut it any more. These bone-headed attempts to find natural explanations for the impossible are really an admission of defeat. Somewhere under the bluster, they know they can’t go with “just believe”. Even the people they’re pitching to look at them funny.

    So they go with this: “It is so naturally explicable!” But that leaves the door open. Now it’s about what is naturally explicable – and that’s the Enlightenment’s territory. Go there, and the Enlightenment wins. Maybe it’ll take a while, but it’ll happen. Just have faith.

  11. “If you’re happy to believe in miracles on this scale, and you’re also prepared to ignore the fact that there’s no trace of evidence that they ever happened, then go for it.”

    I think there’s a very real problem for inerrantists who take the Bible seriously, though. There is no suggestion in the text that any of those things were miracles. It describes specifically one action taken by God: destroying the earth with rain. The author seems to think that the rest of the story is perfectly plausible on its own.

  12. Assuming that 7 people cared for only 1000 animals (a seriously low estimate), that is still over 140 animals per person, per day. Working nonstop, 14 hours every day, that is 6 minutes to feed every animal once a day. Anyone with a modicum of experience with animals should recognize the absurdity of this schedule. And everyone vaguely familiar with manual labor should see the insustainability of such a schedule for the people.
    As Dave Luckett says, save us all the silly naturalist explanations and just declare magic, oogity boogity, and/or goddidit.

  13. Before I read the “suspended animation” quip I was thinking, “why were cages necessary at all?”. After all it the animals were docile enough to come to the ark of their own volition they certainly would stay in their designated spaces.
    Of all the absurd stories in the Bible (talking donkeys, dragons, and unicorns), the Ark does seem a bit more plausible, but that isn’t saying much. In short order the tower of babel is built to explain why humans have different languages. But we know how languages evolve, and it is faster than biological evolution. (And new ones are being created in recorded history). Why the ark is less laugh-worthy than the tower of babel is beyond me.

  14. Sometimes being a non-native English speaker leads to funny misunderstandings.

    “we know enough from the history of animal care — and modern husbandry”
    To my non-English ears this sounds like Michael is married to an animal.

  15. “seafarers in the 1600s and 1700s frequently”
    suffered from scurvy.
    But why care?! I mean, if YHWH can let it rain so hard that the entire globe is drowned – and plants and vegetables survive it – and at the other hand Jesus magically can multiply bread and fish (Marcus 6:30-44) then certainly his father would have provided Noah and his crew with enough food exactly the same way. Michael is not a true christian; he lacks faith! Even our dear SC gets it wrong. It doesn’t matter if Noah could have done it all. What matters is that YHWH could.

  16. EricL, being an evilutionist darwinist athiest nazi communist of course doesn’t get it either: “Koalas, for example, have a severely restricted diet.”
    See MichaelF. For the duration of the flood YHWH generously allowed koalas to eat other nutritious stuff. Or koalas weren’t on the ark – they are the result of hyperaccelerated evolution after the Great Flood. They lost the ability to digest everything but their diet. Loss of information! Degeneration! Once again creationism is proven!

  17. In case DavidL asks a serous question and not a rhetorical one: “Why on earth are they bothering with this?”
    Because even those loons have figured out that science has been quite successful last 200 years and they want to ride that bandwagon.

  18. Noah feared God and obeyed His commands

    So if I get this right God creates the mess, i.e. the flood that kill everything because he is pissed at mankind and then forces Noah and his small family to literally bail him out.
    You know dude couldn’t you just unleash a simple selective plague on humanity to do the trick? Why take out all of the animals? It’s like using a shotgun to do surgery. You got to love that wacky old testament god attitude and logic.

  19. What amazes me is that somebody builds a theme park celebrating such a disaster. Have the kids petting some of the cute animals who were slated to be drowned.

  20. Skeptical Servant

    Ken Ham is nothing but a fraud plain and simple he knows absolutely nothing how science works whatsoever.

    Here’s some links disproving Noah’s Ark.

  21. He knows enough not to attempt to build a wooden, floating, refuge for animals.

  22. Though we have fun with creationists/IDers, the disturbing part is their success at contributing to the rising tide of science denial in political circles. They have succeeded in getting laws passed to permit teaching of bogus science, and despite some setbacks, they continue to chip away science and scientific methodology as SC nicely documents for us. In the broader context, increasingly, in legislatures and Congress, data, facts, don’t matter.

  23. You Darwinist fools!

    If Noah and his family possessed sufficient technology to build the Ark–and we can’t doubt that he did, for the infallible word of scripture tells us so–then they surely had the technology to freeze-dry all the animals on board, thereby saving space and eliminating the need to feed them or clean up any excretia.

    And, once safely berthed atop Mt Ararat, it was a simple matter to rehydrate all the critters and turn them loose to embark on their own programme of hyper-accelerated micro-evolution into all the species we see today.

    Why didn’t any of you clever folks think of that? Jeez….

  24. Michael Fugate

    Is that the same as the deep sleep Adam entered into when the rib was removed?

  25. Did anyone ever address the problem of the first meal of a carnivorous kind feeding on one member of a single pair, thereby causing extinction of that kind?
    For example, consider the seven pairs of each of the two families (and thus presumably two “kinds”) of owls – how many kinds of kinds of small animals went extict soon after the landing?

  26. Mega – one step further; after gathering the animals, he collected their DNA, froze all the samples and simply cloned them upon landing on the Mount.

  27. Derek Freyberg

    @mnbo (2:01):
    The satirist Tom Lehrer made use of that in one of his songs, in which the introduction has a character “majoring in animal husbandry, until they caught him at it”. I can’t remember which song, though.

  28. “Smaller cage bars could be made of bamboo because it is a very hard material and resists chewing.”

    Bwa ha ha ha (/curmudgeon laugh)

    Last night I watched a Red Panda (on Curiosity Stream) quite efficiently chew through and harvest bamboo stocks…..

    For people who take the bible so literally, they certainly have done their fair share of “making up”, er uh, “adding to” the scripture.

  29. “For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book:
    “And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.”
    Revelation 22:18-19