Friday, December 6, 2013

Bad Animal Husbandry is All They Know

I recently covered efforts by Answers in Genesis, the group of young-earth creationists that operates the Kentucky Creation Museum, to secure funding for their proposed "Ark Encounter" theme park. The park will be centered around a full-sized replica of Noah's ark, complete with live animals held in enclosures. Wired has an article up today that takes a closer look at the plans for the ark, and concludes that the conditions would have been downright hazardous to both animals and humans on board. The image above is an artist's rendering of the ark's interior from the proposed plans themselves.

If I saw something like that in my neighbor’s garage, I’d call animal welfare. The wooden poop diversion system shown in this photo will not hold up under a constant bombardment of feces, uric acid, and ammonia.

I’ve helped manage and care for a wide assortment of wild and domestic animals, big and small, over the course of my career. There is a HUGE amount of paperwork, documentation, and inspections involved in having captive animals. It is, frankly, a gigantic pain in the ass, and the animals are healthier and receive better care because of all the annoying, complex rules. That’s why the Ark project set off all sorts of alarm bells in my head.

Keeping animals in captivity is really, really difficult. By gathering animals together in an artificial environment you concentrate all the poop and pee, and just make it easier for diseases to rapidly spread. (Got a kid in daycare? You know exactly what I’m talking about.)

The fact that the ark couldn't successfully hold all the animals it was supposed to for any period of time is one more nail in the creationist coffin, and that's even ignoring the similarities between the story of Noah and a portion of the Epic of Gilgamesh and the fact that the bible story was written down more than a thousand years after it supposedly took place. The article notes that the latest plan is to include only a few live animals as part of the ark exhibit, but if that's really necessary in order to make the enclosures workable, how likely is it that the story of Noah bears any resemblance to real history?

Technorati Digg This Stumble Stumble


Unknown said...

We all know that God can do anything, dude! The ark was probably like the Tardis from Dr. Who. Bigger on the inside than on the outside!

And after all, if God can part the Red Sea or raise Jesus from the dead, he can certainly cause poop cleanage.

Get real, man!

Donald Michael Kraig said...

Scott, a story about a flood that destroyed the world, examples of all the world's animals making their way from around the globe to one site, having enough food and fresh water to support all of the animals without them attacking each other, and you think it's just the sewage system that's is "one more nail in the creationist coffin?"

Scott Stenwick said...

@Vigilius: Yeah, that's about the only way it could have worked - if the ark was bigger on the inside.

@Donald: "One more" as in there are many, many others, including those you cite. What amazes me most is that there are a few people out there who apparently still believe in it.