Friday, December 1, 2017

Jaraedite Barges – Their Construction – Part II

Continuing from the previous post regarding Clark Goble’s commentary on the Jaredites and his numerous erroneous statements and our responses:
4. Continuing with the barges, Golble states: “Everyone remembers from seminary that they were “tight like unto a dish” but few ask how this was done. While it’s possible this was done with boards it’s far more likely these were solid logs carved out. The key phrase in verse 17 is ‘the length thereof was the length of a tree.’ We don’t know the size of the trees they used, but it suggests again a hollowed out log. That would explain why it was tight – because there were no seams.
The length of a tree depends on how large and tall the tree is, obviously suggesting that these barges were of different sizes and different lengths

Two things are important here. First, “the length of a tree.” While Goble is right in that we don’t know how long the trees were that the Brother of Jared had to choose from, the important point he misses is that we are talking about a tree—the length is not as important as is the fact that it was a tree. Not to make a log out of, but the length of the entire tree, i.e., an entire tree was used.
    The second point is, again misses by Goble, is that the barges were “tight like unto a dish” on the bottom, the sides, the ends, and the top, so that when the door was shut, the entire vessel was tight like unto the dish.
    Obviously, then, the tree itself was hollowed out, forming an entire encompassing vessel, and being gutted or hollowed out completely (not half a log like a canoe), it would be “light upon the water,” i.e., it would float, and when submerged by waves and driven into the depths of the sea, it would rise back to the surface again like any log.
Hollowed out log canoe. There is no “tight like unto a dish” for the upper half of the canoe

On ther other hand, no hollowed out log, or canoe, would bob back to the surface if completely submerged since it would fill with water. (For a better and complete explanation of this hollowed out tree as the Jaredite barges, including diagrams, see the book Who Really Settled Mesoamerica).
5. Goble also states: “When the Brother of Jared repents from staying on the shore for several years they build barges “after the manner of the barges which [they] have hitherto build.” (Ether 2:16) Right off we see that the boats they sail the sea with are similar to boats they sailed to the beach with. We’re explicitly told they “were small and they were light upon the water.”
    To clarify this, we need to understand two words or phrases. First, the term “after the manner,” which means “A way of doing something” or “the way in which a thing is done,” or “in the same way,” “same method,” “same custom,” “in a manner done already.” Stated differently, it would mean in this case, “the same manner of building, the same manner of construction, the same manner of use, or purpose, or result.”
    On the other hand, the term “similar,” which is the phrase Goble used, means, “resembling,” “a like form,” “same appearance,” “exactly alike,” “having a general likeness.”
    These are two entirely different meanings. That is, one means to build something in the same manner, i.e., build this using the same method as before, such as following instructions, using timber, trees, etc., building something that will float on water, carry people, animals, supplies, etc. It does not mean to build the exact same or similar vessels, as Goble and so many erroneous theorists and critics try to imply.
    Since after the manner and the word Goble uses “similar” do not mean the same thing, we need to exclude the idea he promotes, as do many other theorists, that these two barge constructions were the same. If they were, then the Lord’s language to the Brother of Jared would have to have been “Go to work and build the same type of barges which ye have hitherto built,” or “Go to work and build more barges like the earlier ones ye have hitherto built,” or even “Go to work and build new barges like the ones which ye have hitherto built.”
    The only reason to say, “after the manner,” is to state to the Brother of Jared, that he is to follow the same procedure as he did earlier, i.e., get the men together, gather the supplies, tools, products needed, and follow the Lord’s step-by-step directions.” And those directions were for him to build more barges, but not identical or similar ones, but ones that were different. And in this case, as he completed certain steps, he became aware that certain things were needed not required in the building of the first barges, and that was the need for light, and the need for air in the enclosed vessels. If they were simply open canoes, even with a central enclosed area, the Brother of Jared's first concern would not be for air, since that would not immediately become apparent. Secondly, for a central section to be "tight like unto a dish, it would have to be extremely large to encompass not only the people per barge, but also the animals and food stuff, supplies, etc., each barge would have had to contain. And third, his concern would not be for light, since the majority size of the barge containing two or more open canoe-type sides that Goble suggests, would not appear at first to need any light.
    Thus we can see that the second barges built were not the same as, nor even similar to, the first barges built—simply built in the same manner. In addition, we need to keep in mind, unlike Goble’s suggested comment, both barges were not “were small and they were light upon the water,” only the second barges are so identified. We do not know much about the first barges, other than that they were used to “cross many waters” (Ether 2:6); however, there is no indication they were “tight like unto a dish,” “light upon the water,” “small,” or had to withstand submersion, or even any type of waves or severe weather.
6. In addition Goble speculates on another aspect: “Another assumption people bring is that there were no sails or oars [on the Jaredite barges]. It’s true that Ether 6:5 talks of “furious winds” that blew towards their destination. While it’s possible to assume the ships were moved passively in a miraculous fashion, the emphasis on the winds more suggests the use of sails. Even if oars aren’t mentioned it’s quite possible they were used. Often writers take for granted aspects of a description that are assumed to be part of shared knowledge and just emphasize what’s different from the usual. If so, then oars and sails likely were used.”
    First, Goble's suggestion that wind was he predominant factor in moving the vessels, that is not what the scriptural record states. However, as any mariner knows, winds blow, or move the ocean currents, and since the Lord told the Brother of Jared, "Behold I prepare you against these things; for ye cannot cross this great deep save I prepare you against the waves of the sea" (Ether 2:25), which tells him that it is the waves that are the concern, the main factor involved. That the Lord will send winds is merely to move the waves in the direction needed. Waves or ocean currents do not require sails or any other additional factor to move what floats "even like the lightness of a fowl upon the water," meaning that the barges would float on top like a duck floats on water.
 Secondly, again as any experienced sailor knows, during the furious winds of a storm, sails are generally furled, that is, the moment heavy weather begins to threaten, the correct action is to reef or drop the sails. In fact, as soon as the wind begins or is anticipated to increase, it's time to reef the sails. The old saying is that if you are wondering whether you should reef, then it's already past time to do so. You don't want a lot of sail up when a strong gust hits, potentially leading to capsizing—it's much easier to reef the mainsail or furl the jib while the wind is still manageable and wait out the storm. It is called ‘lying ahul,” that is, dropping the sails and letter the boat fare for itself, unless it is a serious storm—in such cases after dropping sails, it is important to keep the bow into the breaking waves since the vessel is less likely to capsize or roll when facing the large waves. The point is, you don’t want a lot of sail up during a storm.
    If sails were up during a storm, it would likely broach the ship (roll on its side) because the forces acting on a ship in a storm are tremendous. In fact, very high winds would rip a sail to shreds, which is why ships eventually carried storm sails that were very strong and could withstand more pressure, but unfortunately could take a full day to put up or take down and were seldom helpful or useful in sudden storms.
    In addition, running directly before the wind under sail during a severe storm brought the danger that waves would break over the stern or rear of the ship, causing damage from the weight of water, and even crushing the ship’s structure, or dumping so much water aboard that the vessel would sink under the water’s weight.
    What non-sailors seldom understand is that sailing during stormy weather, especially the type of giant waves indicated in the Jaredite account, is a challenge of endurance, and test of seamanship and steering, which is why ships put their best steerer on the helm, if for no other reason than sailing on a reach across tall breaking waves can roll the boat over, and avoid sailing on a run or broad reach in big waves because that can broach and bring the boat beam-to a breaker. After all, a cubic foot of water weighs 64 pounds, so a wave can bring many hundreds of pounds of water across the deck.
    The point is, there is no suggestion that the Jaredites knew anything about sailing, and likely would not have had such experienced mariners to pilot such vessels as would have been needed for a craft with sails during such storms.
(See the next post, “Jaraedite Barges – Their Construction and Animals – Part III,” for more information and further examples of Goble’s comments and our responses about the Jaredite barges)

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