Dutch Millionaire Builds a Replica of Noah’s Ark

One day, the Dutch construction millionaire Johan Huibers had a dream. In his dream his beloved Holland was flooded again.

Again?

Yes, again. Because Huibers is a Creationist, and thus his dream flood would be the second time the Netherlands was entirely underwater, the first being the Biblical flood.

A normal person would wake up from such a dream, grumble about yesterday’s chili giving them a tough night, and move on.

You’ve probably gathered by now that Mr. Huibers is not a normal person. Instead, he became inspired to build his own ark, and it is now open to the public in the Netherlands:

Ark built by Creationist millionaire Johan Huibers sits on the Merwede River in Dordrecht. (Anoek de Groot – AFP/Getty Images)

The boat tries to stay true to the measurements depicted in Genesis: 300 cubits long, 50 cubits wide, and 30 cubits high, with one cubit being the length of a forearm. The boat is a total of 450 feet (around 140 meters) in length:

The boat was constructed by welding the metal hulls of several old barges together and then using Scandinavian pine for the skin.

The Bible says Noah used ‘gopher wood’ when he built the original, but scholars disagree on what that is, so Mr Huibers used ‘creative licence’, both with the material and the design.

I’m going to hazard a guess that desert dwelling old men in the Iron Age had rather limited access to welding material, so I’d agree with Mr. Huibers that some creative licence was indeed taken. He has filled his ark with inanimate model animals, though of course if he actually tried two of every animal he’d encounter a few problems.

Oh no! The lions are both male. God is going to be soooo mad! (via Sky.com)

It looks like the ark is able to attract insanity even beyond that of Biblical literalism:

Mrs Huibers says they are being contacted by dozens of people worried about the Mayan prophecy of the end of the world in December this year.

“They are concerned, and they ask: ‘Is there a flood coming again? Is the world going to be destroyed again? Can we stay here and board, and can we book a room?’”

Of course Mrs. Huibers kindly told them they have nothing to worry about, that this was simply a silly conspiracy theory and that the world would not be ending, right?

“But of course we tell them, the real safety is not here. This is not a rescue boat. It’s a museum.”

This post is interrupted while the author finds ice for her forehead. And a new desk.

About Claudia

I'm a lifelong atheist and a molecular biologist with a passion for science and a passionate opposition to its enemies.

  • http://dogmabytes.com/ C Peterson

    I missed the picture in my children’s illustrated Noah’s Ark storybook where Noah was welding together the hull, wearing his protective helmet (presumably also made of gopher wood).

    Seriously, I read this kind of stuff and I can’t help but think that global warming is a good thing. Heat up, flood the world, kill all the humans, and start over. Maybe intellectually evolved rats or cockroaches can do a better job next time around.

    • trj

      Global warming won’t cause a global flood, nor will it kill off the human race.

      • http://dogmabytes.com/ C Peterson

        I know that. But I can dream, can’t I?

        (It could destroy our civilization, however, and kill off a good percentage of humans. Don’t know if that would be enough to give the rats and cockroaches a shot for supremacy, though.)

        • The Other Weirdo

           What kind of a freak wishes for an extinction-level event?

          • http://dogmabytes.com/ C Peterson

            I think you need to tune up your sarcasm detector a little.

  • GodVlogger

    I hope they display two-by-two of *EVERY* species… Good luck having enough space for that!

    PS: in addition to the elephants, giraffes, etc., don’t forget malaria, salmonella, tuberculosis, etc!

    • trj

      Also don’t forget all the pathogens that can’t survive outside the human body: gonorrhea, syphilis, chlamydia, smallpox, tuberculosis, pneumonia, meningitis, etc.

      Noah and his family must have acted as carriers for all manner of venerial and/or lethal diseases.

      • Tim

        And what about the woodworm?  Where was that kept.

    • rhodent

      Ah, but remember the Bible doesn’t specify two of every species; it says two of every kind (or fourteen for some kinds of animals, but we’ll let that slide for now).  Creationist use the word “kind” to create a lot of wriggle room, by sometimes saying that different species from the same genus (or even different subspecies from the same species) are different “kinds”, while at other times compressing an entire genus, family, or order into a single “kind”.  I’m sure even that isn’t enough to make it possible for everything to fit onto an ark of that size, but it would help.

      Also, he didn’t have to collect salmonella or malaria.  The Bible only mentions having Noah collect animals…apparently the writers of the Bible thought plants can swim.

      • I_Claudia

        I find the “kind” rationalization hilarious actually. They believe that there were two of each kind of animal (good luck getting them to define what a “kind” is) and all of our biodiversity stems from these kinds. That essentially means that these creationists believe in an evolution on super-sterioids. If all the ancestors of the present species on the planet fit on a moderately large boat several thousand years ago, they must have undergone a fantastically fast evolution. In fact, it would be impossibly fast.

        So there you go. Creationists actually believe in evolution of a scale and speed actual scientists would never subscribe to.

        • http://dogmabytes.com/ C Peterson

          If all the ancestors of the present species on the planet fit on a
          moderately large boat several thousand years ago, they must have
          undergone a fantastically fast evolution. In fact, it would be
          impossibly fast.

          When you believe in magic, nothing is impossible.

    • http://twitter.com/enuma enuma

      Assuming you could find room for the animals themselves, you still need magic to keep them alive because there would not be enough room for food supplies needed to keep those animals fed.  For example, you’d need between 150-300 of those giant round bales of hay to feed two adult elephants for a year.

      • Glasofruix

        Not to mention the excrements those animals would produce.

  • http://www.theaunicornist.com Mike D

    Well, I wasn’t convinced about Biblical literalism before, but who can deny the truthiness of these scientician-designed factualish replicas? 

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=628665833 Bill Santagata

    Even if the Bible were literally true…God promised he would never again destroy the world by flood (albeit leaving open any number of other harrowing possibilities). So why would this Creationist be hoping for another flood? And why would these Bible thumpers be afraid of another flood so that they’d want to book space on this ark?

  • Cincinatheist

    I’m sure a lot of you have seen this, but just in case some haven’t, it is worth linking to here. Because for my money it is simply the best exposition on Noah and The Flood on the web (and don’t forget to watch part two.)  ;-)

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j_BzWUuZN5w 

  • rufus_t

    In fairness, quite a lot of the Netherlands is actually below, or not far above sea level (40% is less than 1m above the current mean sea level, with a current tidal range of about 3m), with the sea being held back by an impressive array of sea walls and dykes.

    So although a global flood is clearly idiocy, a flood of the North and West of the Netherlands isn’t as insane as it first seems. Not sure if I’d want to be on his cut-and-shut barge if it ever did though.

  • Tainda

    I wonder if he would adopt me if I told him I was a prophet that spoke directly to god :D IDEA!  I need some disposable income.

  • LesterBallard

    Ken Ham is fucking dying of jealousy.

  • http://www.facebook.com/chrisalgoo Chris Algoo

    This seems sort of nice, actually. It does look cool, and it’s probably a fun place to take the kids for a Saturday (after you tell them all the inconstancies of the actual flood story).  Plus it was made of several bigger boats, like Homer’s chili spoon. 

  • Drew84

    I guess living in a country that is sex positive (the use of birth control, most types of porn being legal, prostitution being legal, teen pregnancy rate being the lowest in the world, lowest rate of STDs and HIV thanks to the sex education there and so on) is really annoying the Creationist moron that built this replica ark to hope ‘another’ great flood happens. He could have used the millions for good causes but instead uses it to build a replica of a mythical vessel for his batshit crazy beliefs.

    • Pwardlaw65

      I feel sorry for you sir.

    • Wild_awake

      Okay well go tell every millionaire how to spend his own money.  And by the way do you have an extra $50 or so for a good cause?

  • Michael

    Regarding the Mayan prophecy, didn’t I see somewhere that the Mayan calendar has actually already run out?

    • jdm8

       I understand that is true.  Not that Mayan cosmology holds any water.

    • Stev84

      No, it hasn’t. It just turned over (like from 999 to 000), which is a huge event culturally, but hardly the end of the calendar

  • http://www.laughinginpurgatory.com/ Andrew Hall

    You know what would be a neat trick for a billionaire? Buidling a replica of the X-mansion complete with Danger Room.

    • Coyotenose

       And the Cerebro chamber from the movie. It certainly was a big, round room.

      With working Cerebro of course. Won’t do much without a telepath, but we can hook it up to Google Maps or something.

    • The Other Weirdo

       You know what would be an even better trick? Using the money he spent on this monstrosity to actually help people.

    • Natalia

      How do you know he is not already giving millions to charity and this was just a small project he wanted to build. By the looks of it it doesn’t look too expensive like a cruise liner. It looks pretty cheap just big.

  • Tim

    I love it that the Lions are queer.  – Perhaps thay are from a GAY PRIDE?

    (I’ll get my coat)

    • http://twitter.com/NaKAhi70 G_hun

      I take my hat off to you sir. 

    • Jinx1142

      And they adopted a fawn…how sweet!  lol

  • jdm8

    Noah’s Ark is in the order of magnitude in size as the Great Eastern, an iron ship built in the 1850s.  A wooden ship that size has no chance against an apocalyptic flood.

    • Glasofruix

      It would have sunk the moment it got on water anyway.

  • Volunteer

    Let’s play a game called “Will it Float!”. There is a reason that sea bearing wooden vessels never reached certain lengths…

  • Tyrrlin Flamestrike

    Y’know, I do wonder where the original Noah got the wood to even *make* the first Ark, considering he lived in an arid region.  That’s a LOT of wood.  

  • http://www.zychowski.ca/ Mr. Zychowski

    The stupidity of this is fantastic.    

  • http://twitter.com/_mikeweber Mike Weber

    ‘creative licence?’ Don’t you mean ‘creationist licence?’ (see what I did there?)

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001627228091 Alexander Ryan

    At this rate, you’re going to need a new ice pack too….

  • B E Daniels

    Whilst museums are a great educational resource, I find this kind to be a waste.  Wouldn’t it have been more ethical to spend the money on actually making a difference in the world addressing real world problems.

  • http://friendlyatheist.com Richard Wade

    The Bible says Noah used ‘gopher wood’ when he built the original, but scholars disagree on what that is…

    Noah kept running out of wood so he kept telling his sons, “Go for wood! Go for wood!” Badda-boom! Pshhh.

    Can we stay here and board, and can we book a room?

    All the economy cabins in steerage/insectivora are already booked. We still have a couple of First Class suites on the Lido deck. Are you annoyed by myna birds?

  • cipher

    The only creationist in Holland – and naturally, he’s a millionaire. Unbelievable.

  • Edmond

    I hope they left room in their ark for the quagga, the thylacine, the dodo, the aurochs, the tarpan, the Tasmanian emu and the great auk.

  • TGAP Dad

    Point of terminology here: This is not a replica, as you say in the headline, since cannot replicate what has never existed. I feel it’s important to keep hammering this point wherever I notice it, as even an atheist refers to it as a “replica,” thus implying its historical fact.

    Anyone else who sees this, feel free to take up this banner as well. Also, please everybody, challenge the characterization of the ten commandments as a “historical document.” If we don’t have an original, or witness accounts of an original, or any evidence of an original, let’s call it legendary, fantastic, or some other suitable adjective that speaks to its fictional nature. If we can change the language, maybe we can change the perception.

  • Alan Williamson

    During the flood, what happened to the other people who had boats?

  • rich h

    Looks like a great target barge.  Unless someone else has something useful they can do with it.

  • Sharon Hypatia

    Oh, dear.  Too many windows.  The Ark had one window, in the top, and one door. I should think the build-up of gasses would be fatal to all on board.
    And pitch – where did the pitch come from? It’s a petroleum product, supposedly made by the flood along with gas and oil.
    And clean and unclean animals? They weren’t specifically designated until the Mosaic Laws, generations later.

  • dantresomi

    man those animals look might clean… so i guess they never pooped…? thank GOD! 

  • Jhoppy4

    Why do atheist worry about people doing things that have no meaning to them. If an atheist wonts to reject GOD that is their choise,but until you can find any evidense of and old earth GOD is the only choise.

    • Ewgenij Belzmann

       Well there is more than enough evidence if you care to actually look for it. But if  you shut your eyes, put your hands over your ears and shout LALALALA, no wonder you don’t see any.

      And by the way, saying that god is the only choice is a false dichotomy. No, it isn’t. It could be aliens. Or lizard people. Or Atlantians. (I’m not really serious.)

      And also, even if we concede that “god” is the only other choice, which god exactly? Odin? Baal? Ra? Zeus? The other hundreds of deities that humanity has made up in the past thousands of years? Going from “all evidence points to a divine creation” to “it was all made by the god of the christian bible in my precise, overly literal interpretation” is a non sequitur. I’m not even starting on the absence of evidence for any of the aforementioned deities…

  • Ewgenij Belzmann

    I was a little stumbled when I read this article. I live in Germany and on a recent visit to Cologne I saw such an ark anchored in the city. After some research I found out that the ark described in this article (it is the first one and actually just half the size of the bible measurments; Johan Huibers has since built another one, closer to the biblical description) was sold to the Dutch TV-puppeteer Aard Peters (this is not found on the English Wikipedia, but it is on the Dutch one), who filled it with puppets and some live animals. He turned it into a museum with recreation of bible stories (not just Noah’s Ark, but also Adam and Eve etc.) and tours Europe with it. I guess the bible humpers are coming after the children again. I just hope that most kids won’t be persuaded by the (admittedly impressive looking) ark and will instead choose to go to the chocolate museum that is just across it.

  • Chiefsfan

    I feel sorry for you Claudia
     

  • Natalia

    I can’t believe how many atheists there are! And most of them always make fun of creationists.. Making fun & mocking other people’s beliefs does not make your beliefs more plausible & in fact it shows you do not respect other people’s intelligence. Much of the worlds population believe in God & in the spirit world. Just because you haven’t seen something doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. It just means YOU haven’t seen it or experienced it. Don’t be so narrow minded.

    • Edmond

      The people who DO claim to have “seen” or “experienced” many of these things can barely answer the simplest questions about them, usually limiting themselves to such descriptions as “mysterious” or “beyond our understanding”, yet they feel that they are perfectly qualified to tell us ALL about them.  Such “facts” are usually supplied by their imaginations, or their “feelings”, or their “guts”, or their “hearts”, all poor sources of actual facts.  It remains to be proven if THEY’VE even actually seen or experienced anything, or if their brains are simply fooling them into thinking they have.  A little research on the brain shows that this is usually more possible than you might think.

      Here’s what we do believe: information should be CONFIRMED before being added to one’s “beliefs”.  EVIDENCE counts.  “Faith” is nothing but speculation and hope.  These are good traits to have once in a while, certainly, but nothing to build a worldview on.  REAL evidence should be testable, measurable, repeatable, demonstratable, and falsifiable when necessary.  It’s important to be SURE when you want to call something “knowledge”.  You shouldn’t just RUN with whatever fun idea grabs your fancy.

      Everyone should be free to hold whatever “spiritual” beliefs they want, but when it comes to enacting legislation, pursuing medical and scientific knowledge, or applying real world solutions to real world problems, then critical thought and logical analysis will ALWAYS serve us better than magic and monsters.

      There’s only so much nonsense that can be endured before mockery is going to happen.  Should ANY and EVERY idea be respected?  Most of the world’s population used to believe that the Earth was the center of the solar system, and that the sun revolved around us.  That didn’t make it true.

      And some of us are very aware that anyone who used to oppose that majority view were not treated very well.  It can be DANGEROUS for people to run around believing that they know what the gods want, or that they SPEAK for the gods, dangerous for those of us who DISAGREE.  Mockery helps to keep those in their place who do not have evidence to support their crazy claims.

      It’s hard to have respect for someone’s intelligence, when they apply it so poorly, and with such weak standards of proof and confirmation.  Maybe if we didn’t live in a world where “witches” were still executed, where gay people are treated like criminals, where legal decisions of life and death weren’t based on the human interpretations of the “will” of supernatural beings, then MAYBE we could treat some of these ideas with equal respect.

      But we don’t live in that world.  Many people still suffer because of “scriptural” doctrines.  These ideas are NOT equal.  They are NOT respectable.  They are based on stories and fantasies and impossibilites, and THEY are not respectful of REALITY.

      And the irony is that you lay this at the feet of atheists, the one group who has always suffered the mockery and disrespect of the religious majority.  We’re FINALLY getting a voice in society, and we’re not even allowed to express ourselves on a website.  We’re supposed to gather and, do what?  Show respect to leprechauns and gremlins and mermaids?  When and where CAN we laugh at adults who believe in magic?

      Shooo, sorry for so much!  It’s Friday.


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