Undated post, migrated from old site.

In a recent ‘debate,’ and I use the word loosely, as it implies a rationality that certainly wasn’t present on the creationist front, which partly concerned Noah’s flood, on the Blessed Atheist’s comment boards I made a bit of a howler of a mistake in geometry. (Fortunately, no-one seemed to notice at the time.) I used the following calculation to show the amount of water needed (at a minimum) to cover the Earth:

510,072,000 km^{2}

× 8.84 km (height of Everest: see Genesis 7:19-20)

= 4,509,036,480 km^{3} of water.

*OOPS!* As anyone who took maths at a high-school level will notice, that calculation assumes a flat Earth. Big oops indeed! While there *are* a very few idiots out there who think the Earth’s flat, even yer average creationist would balk at the idea. Unless Ken Ham told `'`

em it was…

Anyway, the formula I used was basically length × breadth × height (although I substituted a googled-for area for the first two), which even Mr Ham might recognise as that for the volume of a cuboid. What I was actually looking for was the volume of the solid part of a hollow sphere; a much different proposition. The formula I need is, obviously, different, too.

The formula we need is that for the volume of a sphere, which is (^{4}⁄_{3})πr^{3}.

Now we need the radius of the Earth, which is 6,400,000 metres. That’s an approximate figure, as the Earth isn’t quite a perfect sphere, but it’s good enough for our purposes. Adding the height of Everest to that, we get 6,408,840 metres.

Now we can work out the volumes of the two spheres.

Earth + ‘floodosphere’:

1102622619076046291528 m^{3}

Earth to sea level:

1098066219443523678271 m^{3}

Now to get the volume of the floodosphere, in other words the volume of water needed to cover all the mountains—that being the way Genesis puts it, and the way biblical-literalists, like Ken Ham and our friend the creationist on the Blessed Atheist boards, would have us believe it—we just need to take the difference between the two results. That leaves us with a volume of floodwater of:

4556399632522613257 m^{3}

In cubic metres that’s a bit daunting, so divide by 1,000,000,000, and we get:

4,556,399,633 km^{3}

I’ll put that in writing, as it has more feel that way. **Four billion, five hundred and fifty-six million, three hundred and ninety-nine thousand, six hundred and thirty-three cubic kilometres!** In the old British system, now departed but it’s what I grew up with,—and the American billion still feels too small to me at a gut level—that’s **four thousand five hundred and fifty-six million, three hundred and ninety-nine thousand, six hundred and thirty-three cubic kilometres.** That’s one helluva lot of water, make no mistake!

Where did it come from? Well, according to our friend, it never rained from the day of creation until the Flood; somewhere between 1,700 and 7,700 years, depending on which brand of Young Earth Cretinist Creationist you’re dealing with. What kept the rivers flowing, the crops growing and so forth wasn’t explained. Or indeed, why every single air-breathing organism on the planet didn’t die from pulmonary edema, what with all that water-vapour hanging around in the atmosphere.

Where did it go? Apparently it went to make up all the water now in circulation, including groundwater, rivers, seas, oceans, polar ice and atmospheric. Now, bearing in mind that my calculations were from sea-level up, and so didn’t include the 1,386,000,000 km^{3} already sitting in the oceans, and…Well I’m pretty sure I don’t need to belabour that absurdity.

Here’s another one for you though; the cubit.

Answers In Genesis quotes Genesis 6:15:

“The length of the ark shall be three hundred cubits, its width fifty cubits, and its height thirty cubits.”

It then goes on to say that:

“The dimensions of the Ark are convincing for two reasons: the proportions are like that of a modern cargo ship, *and it is about as large as a wooden ship can be built.* The cubit gives us a good indication of size. With the cubit’s measurement, we know that the Ark must have been at least 450 feet (137 m) long, 75 feet (23 m) wide, and 45 feet (14 m) high.” (My italics)

Using their own figures, we divide 137 by 300 to get 0.4566 metres to the cubit. They’re using approximate dimensions for the ark, so we can make life easy for ourselves by rounding that off, and say that there are two cubits to the metre, as calculated by assuming a size for the ark that they admit is as big as it could possibly have been built, given the materials then available. I’m using the word ‘available’ a little liberally here, mind. Quite where residents of a semi-desert region would find enough wood to build a vessel ^{2}⁄_{3} to ^{3}⁄_{4} the size of the Titanic, let alone the labour to construct such a thing, I really wouldn’t venture to guess.

Now let’s look at Genesis 7:20, where the depth of the flood is described.

“Fifteen cubits upward did the waters prevail; and the mountains were covered.”

We already know the height the waters had to rise to cover the mountains; 8.84 km, or 8,840 metres. Divide that by 15, and we get a cubit equal to a gnat’s tadger under 590 metres.

Sorry, but both of the above just can’t be true!

Somehow, one gets the impression that Ken Ham *et al* really haven’t thought this one through very well. Well actually I suspect Ken’s thought it through very thoroughly; he just doesn’t let the suckers paying through the nose to enter his Creation ‘Museum’ see anything that might make them wonder if keeping him in the style to which he’s become accustomed might not be such a grand idea. Or maybe I’m just a cynical old git. Or maybe both of the above.

I’ve a feeling I might return to this subject. The pickings are easy, and it’s actually quite good fun. For now, though, toodle-pip `'`

n`'`

all that.

*—Daz*

on Monday, January 7, 2013 at 22:45MikeI could have helped you with the math and the volume formula instead of googling it 🙂

Well said my friend

on Monday, January 7, 2013 at 22:49DazThank you.

Twasn’t the formula I googled, just the figures needed to plug into it. My mistake was the initial simplistic use of area × height. Mind you, it did give a ball-park impression, so I’ll let myself off a bit. Ahem.