Noah’s Ark can only be a good thing

There have been occasional attempts for creationism to invest in a noah’s ark-themed zoo of some sort, terrifyingly in the UK as well, complete with typically poor and superficially interesting arguments that seem to be some sort of mantra for creationism these days.

Most recently however, rather than just make a Noah’s-ark themed zoo, or some sort of exhibit explaining how it could have all happened, the much-lauded Creation Museum in Kentucky is actually making a reconstruction of Noah’s Ark.

What an opportunity for rational discussion! One has to applaud the Creation Museum to reveal its broadside so readily. By making a reconstruction they have willingly placed themselves in the firing line for cold, hard facts. Of course creationism in general has been exposed to cold hard facts but their muddy water approach has left these traditional avenues not as accessible to your average citizen. But how do they expect to defend themselves against the obvious?

Noah’s Ark simply is too small to contain one male and female of every animal, let alone appropriate feeding requirements, space requirements etc. Translated estimates put the Ark at 150 metres long, 25 metres wide and 15 meters high (with three stories in-between) and a big roof on top of it. I’m not a nautical engineering expert, but I could say that for a vessel to even consider to have enough strength in its wooden structure (which it was explicitly stated to consist of) the stories would have to at most be about 3 meters high each to have enough wood for structural integrity. The elephant’s wouldn’t have anywhere to stand! How you going to feed something like and elephant for 40 days considering it consumes about 300kgs of plant matter in just one? Where are the rest of the approximately 100 million separate species of life going to reside? Where you going to stack that Diplodocus?

These sort of questions are questions that the Creation Museum has taken up the mantle for. There can be no suggestion of apocryphal writing, or not taken the Biblical stories seriously, or suggesting the books as metaphor. There will be cold, unanswerable questions if anyone would care to ask them, and it would take at the absolute least a cave-in towards suggesting some sort of highly specialized microevolution at work to make Noah’s Ark a potential media for the grand sum of all species on earth.


~ by freeze43 on December 18, 2010.

11 Responses to “Noah’s Ark can only be a good thing”

  1. They don’t have to defend anything. Human beings “construct” their own reality. That is what culture is! The lies and bullshit we agree to pretend is the truth… and teach our children.
    It involves the human neurological ability to “dissociate”. To construct mental filters to catch any and all incoming information that runs contrary to our constructed reality. It is what DEFINES us as human… the rule rather than the exception. Without it a sentient being would most likely go mad. It “was” an evolutionary advantage. Overpopulation has changed that.

    I would suggest you read: “The Corruption of Reality” A Unified Theory of Religion, Hypnosis, and Psychopathology…

    • While I share a degree of your enthusiasm for culture being an extraordinarily potent force in many situations and lives, I disagree that the people constituting the overarching society of most of the world are completely incapable of logical thought.

      Religion is a powerful force, for some it probably does attain a niche of potency as you suggest. However it is a far more moderate, and more numerous group that would glean benefit and inquiry from Noah’s Ark. The Creation Museum may not give in, but they will be left.

      However I believe there is no inherent reason that culture has some sort of world-shifting power for the vast majority of its constituents in that they remain completely removed from rational function. A series of discussions I have with a friend at least shows rationality capable of a free market. Evolutionarily it would not make a great deal of sense- warping world views in an inherent realistic world would cause a very dangerous disassociation I would think.

  2. Thank you. You write… “However I believe there is no inherent reason that culture has some sort of world-shifting power for the vast majority of its constituents in that they remain completely removed from rational function. “..

    Never “completely” removed. If I may be so bold, read “The Denial of Death” by Ernest Becker.

    They gave him a Pulitzer Prize for a REAL good reason.

    Evolution, in providing humans with the ability to dissociate, enabled us to survive without going mad. That’s what Becker’s book is about. DON’T believe me! Nobody ever gave me a Pulitzer Prize, after all.

    Be Well
    Mrs. N

    • Ernest Becker’s book is interesting, but unfortunately unproven. It’s thought provoking and suggestive but it has no great explanatory power that a more scientific idea might be capable of. If you would like something that suggests an alternative but equally valid hypothesis, then you may want to read Julian Jaynes’ The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind.

      Disassociation is important in extreme instances or extreme individuals, however it is a testament to our endeavours in science and its subsequent legacy on civilization that disassociation does not happen on a grand scale. Even the suggested reasons for this disassociation- the fear of death for instance, seems to be at least understood sufficiently to not require so-called hero-needs such as religion.

      In what way do you feel that disassociation is/was evolutionarily beneficial?

  3. I have read it freeze. I think we are at cross purposes here. I don’t see Becker as having anything to do with dissociation. He deals with culture, not dissociation. Perhaps I was unclear.

    For dissociation…“The Corruption of Reality”: A Unified Theory of Religion, Hypnosis, and Psychopathology…

    you ask: “In what way do you feel that disassociation is/was evolutionarily beneficial?”

    It prevents madness. It is no coincidence that all successful religions offer their followers a “life after death”. To believe the unbelievable one must “dissociate” or “filter out” information to the contrary.
    Look up a list of techniques used by hypnotists to dissociate their patient/victim/client. Write them down. Then, watch John Hagee, old tapes of Jerry Falwell or any other successful TV evangelist. (I would say, learn German and watch old Hitler tapes… but that is a bit much) What you will see is that they employ EVERY ONE OF THEM with the skill of a master. Now, consider what happened to the Catholic Church in America when they gave up the “Old” mass for a new one and flushed the most powerful dissociative technique known to Western Civilization down the toilet?
    OK, look at it this way. What if religious belief provides an observable chemical reward? What if the larger the lump of bullshit a person has to swallow is directly relational to the larger the chemical reward he/she gets? Evidence for this can be found in the reading I suggested.

    So, what if (and there is evidence for this) we are giving theists a free shot of their neurological “drug of choice” by arguing with them about their farcical beliefs? What if, as John Schumaker suggests with his research, there is such a thing as “The Paranormal Imperative” married, if you will, to any consciousness that crosses the neurological Rubicon and enters the uncharted land of sentience? How THEN do we begin to chart a course to save humanity from Bronze Age mythology armed with nuclear weapons?

    Have you ever looked in to the “specific” forms of mental illness found ONLY in “specific” religious groups?

    All the best
    Mrs. N

    • Filtering information to only absorb agreeable data is a well established psychological function. However true dissociation only occurs, again, in extreme circumstances and manifests as a mental disorder (such as dissociative amnesia).

      I do not think dissociation prevents madness in typical persons. Wholesale dissociation is also unlikely, even if caused by religion. If we consider that civilization cropped up perhaps 10,000 years ago, and that dominant monotheisms only 3,000 years ago I think we can say with confidence it is a too short of a time for any psychological evolution to take place. Other explanations I feel are better, such as suggested by Richard Dawkins when he talks about children unable to filter poor or good information. Alternative theories like this may still account for evidential increases in serotonin etc. when a person is privvy to religious stimuli.

      As I previously stated, I do not think any amount of reason will convert diehard religious zealots. However, Noah’s Ark offers better illustration into their folly for the vast majority of people who are not zealots.

      I have looked at specific forms of illness in religious groups, however there are also specific forms of illness for cultural groups as well (kuru and Korean fan-phobia spring to mind). Culture *is* very important however I do not consider it to typically cause dissociation. In one way, atheists are living proof that fear of death (or any other intangibles) does not require dissociation and hopefully we’re not all mad 🙂

  4. Here we must disagree: ..”However true dissociation only occurs, again, in extreme circumstances and manifests as a mental disorder (such as dissociative amnesia).”..

    It is ubiquitous, to one degree or another. Monotheism has nothing to do with it. Humans construct a reality, through dissociation, and inhabit it. We call it culture and religion… but a rose by any name…

    …”As I previously stated, I do not think any amount of reason will convert diehard religious zealots.”…

    It provides them with their “drug of choice”.

    Happy Solstice
    (Full Lunar Eclipse tonight)
    I remain
    Mrs. Neutron

  5. Unfortunately I missed the eclipse- southern hemisphere and all that perhaps?

    The discussion about dissociation is an interesting one. It could go by several other names according to the definitions you have suggested, most of them less of a pejorative; for instance if I started talking about memes or “God’s Signature” I could be talking about the same things. Do you feel your beliefs regarding this issue start knocking on the door of nihilism?

    I would argue that about half of religious zealots do indeed need the drug, the other half get paid by the prior.

  6. I never knock on the door of nihilism. There is nobody home.

    I am convinced that Religion, Hypnosis, and Psychopathology are ALL the same thing. The workings of a neurological mechanism that evolved to prevent earths first experiment in sentience from the insanity of an absurd universe.
    The most confirmed atheist in the world can be observed, after putting a $500 chip on 32 RED, to “through body language” attempt to influence the spinning of the wheel and the landing of the ball. The Paranormal Imperative is, I think, part of being human… from lucky socks, to what side of the bed we “like” to sleep on.
    I saw the eclipse. Sky a bit hazy, but I was up to take a pee anyway.

    • Hear hear re: nihilism.

      I agree that we have faulty rationality, as Hitchens would put it, some parts of our brains too big and others too small. This is not an insurmountable obstacle however, science and rationality are important, shining beacons in this world.
      I don’t think religion, hypnosis etc. fall under the same banner, even under a neurological definition, but the similarities between them do warrant consideration.
      I heard the moon was supposed to turn red or something.

  7. The moon looked like a big copper penny.

    [you post] ..”I don’t think religion, hypnosis etc. fall under the same banner, even under a neurological definition, but the similarities between them do warrant consideration.”

    Check out the book I recommended. It is full of great research! If you are really interested in “how” religion works… it will rock your world.

    I live in Central Virginia “Fundi-Land”. I always wanted to open up “Noah’s Ark Trailer Park”. There is a business here that manufacturers huge concrete animals. Thought I could use them as street markers and assign people to streets and areas where “i” think they fit. “Hippo Highway” for the really fat ones… Rhino Run for the folks with big noses… Giraffe Gardens for people with long necks… you get the idea.

    I would run the Quick-E Mart. I would make a killing selling only beer, rolling papers, lottery tickets, chewing tobacco, cigarettes and prophylactics!

    One day
    Mrs. N

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