It’s A Kids Game, Brian

The ‘science’ article for Monday was Noah’s Ark Game Misses the Boat. Puns for the whole family!

What’s Mr Thomas’ problem?

Crop of Noah's Ark, by Edward Hicks, 1846 (not the image used on the box)

Noah’s Ark has been a popular story for children, with its parade of colorful animals living in a floating zoo. But the small and cute boat often pictured in stories, toys, and games is so unlike the gigantic seaworthy vessel described in the Bible that it leaves a misleading impression. How could such a craft possibly have preserved animals and people through a real, historical global flood?

One example of this parody of the biblical Ark is a game for preschoolers produced by Rubik’s Cube toy maker Ideal. The Noah’s Ark Game looks innocuous enough, with a picture of colorful animals crowding the roof and deck of a boat barely large enough to hold them. But it misrepresents the Ark to such a degree that it undermines the feasibility of Scripture’s account of the Flood.

Oh no! It’s a tragedy – all these kids, growing up to think that the glorious Ark was only about twenty metres long; that it only contained African safari-type animals; and… what are those monkey’s doing on the roof? And it says “no assembly or reading required”! No scripture quotes? Are they mad? *weeps*

Ahem. To return to the article:

Unbelievers often use their personal interpretations of the Noah’s Ark account to try to demonstrate that the Bible is false, asserting that it would have been impossible to squeeze two of each animal species onto such a small vessel. But in reality, the Ark was longer than a football field and had more capacity than 500 railroad boxcars. And as engineer Tim Lovett illustrated, its dimensions struck the perfect balance between stability and comfort.

Interesting. I hadn’t heard of Tim Lovett’s stuff.

What he’s got is a snazzy Flash graphic which allows you to manipulate the dimensions of the Ark to maximise its strength, stability or comfort. The initial position in dead centre is that of the Ark as given in scripture. The data is apparently taken from a study that systematically modified the dimensions of the Ark and tested models for those characteristics.

There are a number of flaws in the study. First, the length of the cubit that they use – 17.5 inches – to translate the biblical length into a real measurement is a little shorter than usual. Secondly, as the bible only gives the dimensions of the Ark, and not its shape, the study has decided to determine it from the various Ark find claims that exist. However, if they’re all bullshit…

As for the flash animation, it includes a side- and front-view model of the Ark as it would appear given the inputs you give. However, the shape of it does not appear to be any thing like an ancient boat, but more on a ‘personal interpretation’, shall we say. I’ll add here that the study does not seem to address hull leakage, which always seemed to me to be the most important aspect.

Also, we have the values themselves. Strength, comfort, and stability are each scored, and the higher number the better. At the starting position – again, dead centre – these values are all ’32’. Yet, somehow, it is possible to move the pointer to places where all the numbers are higher than that, and while keeping the two s’s at 32 you can more comfort up to at least 36. And there is quite a way you can go before you run into warning signs. And how did they decide the ranges that the Ark would be in the middle of anyway? In other words, I call bullshit.

The rest of that page, btw, seems (appropriately, given the topic of Thomas’ article) childish. Lovett notes that the study was done by a “Dr S W Hong” of “a world class ship research center (KRISO)” (it was commissioned, but not done, by a Korean creationist group), and then finds a quote from elsewhere from the man, which includes the quote “Sea is the origin of life…”, “telltale evolutionary language” according to Lovett. He then concludes that the study must therefore be “an admission by antagonistic witnesses that Noah’s Ark is up to the task.” Aha…

Back to Thomas:

And not all “species” came aboard the Ark. Two of every “kind” of animal would have fit perfectly, and then the later generations that they produced after the floodwaters abated would have diversified into today’s species over the last four millennia. Geologist John Woodmorappe estimated that about one third of the Ark was needed to house all the animals, even ones that have since become extinct like dinosaurs.

Considering that the box of the game, pictured above his article, includes the note “Includes 48 animals!” I fail to see how this is at all relevant. Baraminology has its own problems, anyway.

To skip a paragraph:

So, the Ark described in the Word of God was sufficient to preserve specimens from all the land and air-dwelling animal groups, as well as Noah and his family. Cute Ark images similar to the one on the game box have appeared in various children’s books and other toys and decorations. But they misrepresent the biblical account. And if parents never teach their children that this icon is false, then students are left with the wrong impression of the true nature of biblical history.

I’ll be sure to bring this up the next time Mr Thomas misrepresents evolution.

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