A small flood of scepticism

With their feet firmly on dry land, creationists in Kentucky are hoping to coin it.

In 2010, a team of Christian fundamentalists exploring Mount Ararat in Armenia found seven large wooden structures beneath snow and volcanic debris near its summit. They claimed that wood taken from the site, more than 13,000 feet above sea level, dated to 2,800 BCE and must have come from Noah’s Ark.

Now, a full-size replica of the ark has been built in Kentucky by Answers in Genesis, a creationist organisation. The Ark Encounter project followed proportions specified in the bible. It is 510 feet long, 85 feet wide, and 51 feet high, and has a concrete base that, if it were to set sail, would turn it into a modern-day Titanic.

According to Answers in Genesis, the world is only 6,000 years old, refuting the claims of scientists who propose 4.5 billion years as the likely age of the planet. Creationists also believe that Noah took on board all the ancestors of the animals we know today, so the model animals on Ark Encounter approximate what they might have looked like – not quite camels designed by committee but similar. The work of Alfred Russel Wallace and Charles Darwin is discounted along with the rumour that dinosaurs died out 60 million years before human beings evolved.

A report in The Guardian (“Creators of the lost ark: replica of Noah’s vessel unveiled in Kentucky”, 6 July 2016) notes:

“There’s a cat-type mammal that has a head like a lion but is about the size of a big house cat. There’s something that looks like a rhino but without the horn. And, given Answers in Genesis believes that dinosaurs walked the earth at the same time as man, there are also dinosaurs. Lots of them. There’s one which is akin to a brachiosaurus, with a long neck and tail. There’s one that looks like a stegosaurus, with spines on its back. There’s some sort of dwarf-T Rex, and a depressed-looking leathery-thing that might be related to a pterodactyl.”

We know this is not right because Mark Twain told us so in “Adam’s Soliloquy” (1905), which should be on the reading list of every creationist. Apparently Noah left ashore:

“… a good many creatures which might possibly have had value in the course of time. Mainly these were vast saurians a hundred feet long, and monstrous mammals, such as the megatherium and that sort, and there was really some excuse for leaving them behind, for two reasons: (i) it was manifest that some time or other they would be needed as fossils for museums and (ii) there had been a miscalculation, the Ark was smaller than it should have been, and so there wasn’t room for those creatures.”

Along with this antediluvian razzmatazz, Answers in Genesis claims there are limestone layers beneath the ark full of marine fossils: clams, corals, and shallow water marine invertebrates. In an area 1,000 feet above sea-level and 500 miles from the ocean, this proves there must have been a global flood.

Unlike the first time, there’s no chance of anyone missing this boat. Noah’s Ark Mk II isn’t going anywhere – even if global warming and climate change were to conspire to deliver a deluge to Kentucky. And for its first forty days and forty nights, Ark Encounter even offers extended hours (9:00 a.m. to midnight) for those seeking answers to such archaic questions as:

Q: Where did Noah keep his bees?
A: In the ark hives.

Q: What kind of lights did Noah have on the ark?
A: Flood lights

Q: Why couldn’t they play cards on the ark?
A: Noah was sitting on the deck.

Q:Which animal on the ark had the highest level of intelligence?
A: The giraffe.



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