Nature, God and the sinking


Dave Scott

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Feb 22, 2018
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Hi,

I joined this forum to share my view on the meaning of Titanic's sinking and to hopefully hear you challenge that view or share your view. Really enjoyed an old thread started by Parks, where he asked what the sinking might say about man's relationship with God.

I agree with many that the sinking reflects the hubris and complacency of man. But what really went wrong? Who really was wrong? We know the ocean was "flat as a table top", flatter than some career sailors had ever seen it. And that an iceberg is much harder to spot at night without the sound of waves crashing on it. To me, this is where you can find some understanding of this tragic event. Captain Smith, his officers and Ismay weren't able to understand a seemingly meaningless difference that night. A calm ocean.

My view is that you can't point a finger at the speed of the ship, the number of lookouts, the moonless night, the wireless operators, the number of lifeboats, the distance at which Fleet spotted the berg or the crew's actions after the berg was spotted. I think Titanic sank because like other tragedies that happen while mankind is traveling through new worlds without much experience, the leaders of the expedition weren't able to anticipate the effect of a new condition (like a calm ocean).

Ismay, Smith and the other officers could have done more to challenge the environment that night. They could have had more respect for Murphy's Law. This is what Titanic's sinking means to me. That we could always be missing something when it comes to our understanding of and power over Nature. Not a new view of the sinking, but I do think that blame for the crash gets spread out too thin. To me it's interesting that it was a calm ocean that was ignored. A calm ocean that gave the illusion of safety.

Best,
Dave
 

Stephen Carey

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Apr 28, 2016
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Philippines
Quite possibly, but none of us really know how we would have reacted that night as the ship's crew. I would take issue with "...without much experience..." though, as all the ship's officers had vast experience of the sea both in sail and steam, though the fact that the ship was bigger than anything else around could possibly have brought about a certain amount of complacency before the event. Flat calm seas are by no means an unusual event at sea, even though many said that the night in question was unusually calm for the time of year. I have been in dreadful weather crossing the North Atlantic in winter, and on other occasions in April, crew were sunbathing in the lee of the wind with calm seas and icebergs about!
 

Dave Scott

Member
Feb 22, 2018
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I couldn't say that I or some other crew would have been able to keep the ship above water. Like you say, this was an experienced crew. The officers had a lot of experience relative to other ship crews. By "without much experience" I really mean ocean travel in general, and with a large vessel. Compared to the rate at which the environment changes on earth, a captain with 100 years of experience could still easily miss something. I think the crew did about as well as they could have done.

That's interesting about flat seas not being a highly unusual event. Something to consider. Still, there has to be a reason that the crew wasn't able to connect those two dots. Calm ocean and visibility of a berg. That it will be much harder to see bergs that evening.
 

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