I’ve often wondered how many visitors to the Ark Encounter are frustrated by the lack of mention of countless basic engineering and operational feasibility problems with Ken Ham’s version of Noah’s Ark. I doubt that many Biologos forum participants need for me to list the most obvious obstacles to an all timber-structure (which Ham’s Ark most certainly is not) of such a design sustaining a significant number and diversity of animals for more than a year. So why doesn’t Ken Ham simply admit that only by God’s miraculous intervention on a day-by-day (or moment-by-moment) basis would his ark version be possible?
Instead, Ham simply ignores most of the problems while solving a few of them with an almost Flintstone-esque set of Noahic inventions. According to Ham, that Noah guy was apparently quite a semi-ingenuous fellow, although it is not that difficult to notice that most of the bizarre contraptions wouldn’t actually work at all well. For example, around-the-clock urine and feces contamination of the wood floors and “gravity ramps” would cause a disease epidemic within hours, no matter how well the overworked crew would scrape and wash [re-moisten!] the wooden surfaces. Rotting hoofs would soon turn into gangrenous limbs. All manner of molds, mange, slimy-biofilms, and even shelf-mushrooms would soon decorate every surface. The animals wouldn’t live for long but all sorts of microorganisms, nasty worms, and insects would experience a population boom. [And does anybody really expect food-stores to be exempt? Ham thinks the “cat-kind” pair(s) would take care of any unauthorized (i.e., lacking a boarding pass) vermin, but “kennel cough” would soon result in hundreds of burials at sea. Of course, most animals trapped in such crowded confinement would go into traumatic shock and refuse to eat. So I suppose that in itself would solve the manure problems after all of the bowels had emptied for the last time. It would also reduce the need for storing more than a year’s supply of food! Dying animals usually don’t eat much.]
Ham’s sermons constantly contrast “sinful man’s fallible ways” with “God’s perfect designs” and “divine sovereignty over all things”----so why does the Ark Encounter seem to depend on man’s ingenuity (those animal-driven, Flintstone-like inventions) instead of God’s power?
Even the average farmer with livestock experience knows that domesticated farm animals (not to mention wild animals) would have a very difficult time surviving for long in the boat-shaped tourist attraction—despite the assistance of electricity-powered modern marvels like HVAC ventilation and artificial lighting. I remember when AIG’s first floorplans for the Ark Encounter showed the petting zoo inside of the boat-shaped building instead of on a hill some distance away. Ham quickly discovered that even with the assistance of today’s technology, even seemingly ideal domesticated species like miniature goats and docile rabbits couldn’t help illustrate and animate his “living exhibit” of typical long-term ark inhabitants. Ark Encounter staff blame the absence of animals inside the ark-shaped building on “overly burdensome government regulations”, while not mentioning that those animal welfare codes exist _precisely because of the fact that neither the animals nor the human visitors can be kept healthy under such conditions. Even zoos with virtually ideal conditions and very generous space allotments require enormous staffs of veterinarians, zoologists, and 24/7 shifts of attendants to sustain even the “easiest” species in long-term captivity.
So why not just admit what Ken Ham often says in other contexts: “With man these things are impossible. But with God, all things are possible.”?
I would think that virtually all of AIG’s enthusiastic fan base and most of those who actually visit the Ark Encounter would be entirely satisfied with that simple solution. And it would provide an easy answer for many of the kinds of questions visitors ask on a daily basis when they notice that the ark exhibits barely touch upon most of those enormous problems.