If anything, these replies show that biology education is not the only victim of pseudoscience and snake oil salesmen. The shadows of Eric von Daniken, Graham Hancock, Velikovsky and others hang over the teaching of History and related disciplines.
However I believe Chuck's point is that you can't use the fact that some think men in Noah's day didn't have the technological know-how to build the boat he built with the dimensions and requirements he had to adhere to to rule out its existence, since the pyramids show the use, thousands of years ago, of technology and geological understanding which is likely beyond that of modern man.
There are other cases of colossally huge stones perfectly fitted together centuries ago which still exist and surpass the technical know-how of modern man (in South America).
Asking for evidence of these claims will lead you to a lot of websites with very little depth and very few verifiable claims -- and a lot of outright fiction.
This is the sort of thing I would expect to see parroted on that abysmal History Channel show ancient aliens
... Oh wait, they do say that sort of thing, all the time. Only instead of making this (baseless) claim to sure up a fundamentalist Christian worldview, they do it to attempt to prove that aliens have been meddling in our affairs since the dawn of the species. Interestingly, they attempt to make themselves sound more academic by referring to their little cabal as "ancient astronaut theorists". Sorry for the minor drift, but it's not just Creationism that threatens education and the intellectual well being of the population at large, but pseudoscience in general.
Did mankind have exceptionally well developed stone masonry and some surprising (only surprising if you underestimate your ancestors) examples of monolithic construction? Yes, absolutely! It's amazing what you can do with well developed guilds of craftsmen, battalions of forced labor, and in some cases generations
to complete your construction project.
Have you ever been to the Hoover Dam? Look at that and tell me we cannot exceed (dramatically) the construction techniques of our ancestors. Not only in terms of tight tolerances but materiel and, of course, our increased understanding of the physical sciences has allowed us to reach skyward in a way they could never imagine, as demonstrated in Dr Adequate's post above. Find me an example of a modern reinforced foundation in the ancient world using steel and alloys to bring a man made structure more than three hundred meters in the air, designed to flex with the wind or the movement of the earth below, and you could prove they might *match* our abilities. Instead, you are more likely to find heavy, hand cut stone blocks, carefully shaped by hand to fit together marvelously, and brought into place by ramps, sledges, ropes and a lot of unhappy slaves (not tractor beams as the History Channel might assert).
And in terms of this discussion, the assertion that the fact that folks could build large stone structures somehow relates to their maritime capabilities is baffling to me. If you wanted to show the potential for shipbuilding, at least point to some ancient ships, for crying out loud.
The Nemi ships, a rather indulgent project from Caligula's time. The Italians recovered them from the bottom of lake Nemi (yes, they were basically just huge lake locked pleasure barges) and most of what was recovered was tragically lost during the Second World War. These marvels measured about 70 meters long and were complete with plumbing. Now, these ships are from, what, twenty five or so centuries before the supposed Ark and the reduction of the human population to a single family? So maybe (if we go backwards using creationist logic) if they had the ability to build ships like this in the first century CE, they must have had much more advanced ship building techniques more than two thousand years earlier! Hell, Noah's Ark was probably a giant nuclear powered submersible. You see what I did there? I made a completely unfounded conclusion based on virtually thin air. Hmmm...
Of course, for your purposes, you might do better to research references to the giant Obelisk transports the Egyptians used to ferry, well, obelisks. Those older barges might be more relevant to the Ark.
The thing about history, or anything really, is that you actually have to do research. Read a whole bunch of monographs arguing an assortment of competing theses and check their sources
. Go to what primary source material you can. Develop an understand of an issue based on more than pop history and low budget TV shows interviewing washed up authors of half-baked, conspiracy laden books. If someone makes an extraordinary claim, demand extraordinary evidence
. Vague correlations and arguments from gaps in our understanding of events are not evidence.
Sorry, this little tidbit about ancient construction techniques sort of ticked me off. I'm done now.
Edited by Wollysaurus, : words escape me.