Computer-modelling scientists say that there may be a factual basis for the passage in the Bible where God parts the Red Sea in order to allow through Moses and the Israelites and then allows the waters back again to drown the pursuing forces of Pharaoh. According to top boffins based at the US National Centre for Atmospheric …
This old saw?
I think I first heard this particular proposal in the late 1960s or early '70s ... Regardless, it ranks right up there with proposing likely "real life" scenarios for Jack's beanstalk & Alice's rabbit hole.
Why this method?
If God wanted them across, he could have done ANYTHING to get them across. Surely the most efficient manner would be to just have them find themselves on the other side. No walking required. Maybe include some free risen bread as a thoughtful bonus. Maybe a fish too. Esp as making extra bread and fish was a speciality of the Lord.
Why waste time with 12h+ of winds and then keeping an eye on them for their crossing and then taking out the opposition in such a haphazard manner when, if magic and divine power were in play, it could all happen in an instant and the Lord could be on to his next good work in time for a divine breakfast!
If YOU were God, you would get this little job done a whole lot faster!
So who really believes this is the best a "real" God could do...
Roll on the argument of the mysterious ways from Religious Apologetics 1:0:1.
And then, if you think He spent this time on protection from the Egyptians. Where was He in 1939-45!?
That REALLY is mysterious. Must prove He exists. Lol.
What of the theory that it was a tsunami, the receding waters allowing the Israelites through then the big wave bit swooshing away the Pharaoh baddies?
This seems quite likely, it had probably happened before. Moses had seen it happen and so when the wind got up he decided to leave, knowing what would happen.
"in fact the Israelites were not the favoured of God - just really, really lucky with the weather."
Miraculously so, perhaps?
"for those disinclined to believe in divine aid but inclined to take the Old Testament as an accurate record,"
Just how big a cross-section of people are we talking about here??
...science proves that the Bible is true?
Next week: Jesus ponies.
Just because something can be calculated to possibly happen, doesn't mean it has. But there again if it did, at just the time it was needed, then wouldn't triggering natural phenomena be just the way a deity might chose to get the job done ?
Speaking as a christian...
... surely the biggest miracle in this scenario is that several hundred thousand people would be able to walk across a mud-flat in "only" 65 mph winds given that they're "only" the same wind-speeds you'd find in a category 1 hurricane.
Windbreakers of doom.
I suspect that they would have had some brightly coloured (amazing technicoloured per chance..) windbreaks with them if they we're at the coast. This may explain how they survived the hurricane like condidtions for the walk
Am I the only one who read this as:
"Shit, science is agreeing with us, quick, say something contradictory!"
Speaking as a Christain
Nope sorry - that's a very stiff breeze. You don't even make it to Hurricane Force 1 untill you get wind speeds of 75-95 mph.
My thoughts exactly.
OK, let's play this game. Let's assume that the action played out as laid down in Exodus and wasn't actually an allegory written up many hundreds of years later with prior knowledge of a similar, witnessed, meteorological event. Or just plain made up "Dad? Why is the sky blue?" "Erm.. God made it that way." "Oh, teacher told me it was due to the nitrogen and oxygen in the atmosphere." "Er... Shut up and colour in your picture of Jesus."
Let's assume Moses and the Israelites actually did walk across a temporary land bridge (possibly caused by the same effect modelled in this article, or maybe the divine creator of the entire universe fancied showing off to a few humans).
Dude, they're being chased by Pharaoh's frickin' Host, probably with frickin' laser beams on their heads! Pharaoh has not sent all his elite troops after Moses and his chums on the lam to have tea and biscuits with them. 65 MPH winds and a shonky mud flat are the least of their troubles at this point. People go out gathering shellfish in worse for a few quid. these guys were legging it from a sharp and pointy death, if they were lucky! I know which I'd take my chances with.
65mph is not hurricane strength. And is no prob to walk in - esp if your life depended on it. Unless you are 2-dimensional. And some would content that this may be the case.
But as a Christian (fellow bible consumer- and separately also intriguingly in the mistaken about figures camp), why are you undermining an argument that lends credence...
Surely this explanation is as close to a gift from God that has been seen in about 2010years (or 6000, 4.5Bn, or 13.75Bn - whatever we are currenly going with as the time frame since temporary divine manipulation of physics).
It is interesting though cos usually religion moves to fit w science* not the other way around.
*Whenever the game is up on another myth.
I am not sure that the explanation is reasonable. As if this penomenon happened every time there was a strong east wind for half a day, in the space of a few thousand years, others would have seen it whilst they were not being chased by 600 chariots and without them waiving their hands causing them to say something along the lines of: Hold on! The wind just blew the water away!
And 6 feet of water is not going to kill every man and every horse of an entire army - even if it came back like a 'tidal bore', or a tsunami. 600 chariots would not be all stacked on top of each other at the same point in space, and if they were, and able to balance that well, then a lot of them would be high and dry anyway.
Horses can swim fine and most could keep their nose above the surface of water 6 feet deep.
Has anyone done any metal detecting in the area? There would surely be some bits of 600 chariots, weapons, armour, jewellery, tack etc etc left at the location stuck in the mud. The Egyptians loved a bit of gold. Some must still be around. I heard it sinks due to being denser than water - whatever that witchcraft means. Things like swords would sink immediately even in a powerful current. Even if the blades later corroded, parts of the hilts, scabbards etc would survive.
I wonder what Galileo would make of all this. I imagine he would be pleased to see the progress science has made. Perhaps equally pleased to see the progress religion has made. Tic.
To the wiki!
Roger, though I'm sure relying in wikipedia is seen in the same vein as having a faith around here, I did check before I posted. 65 mph is within the range of a category 1 hurricane for the north atlantic according to the wiki page on the subject. Now maybe they got the table wrong but, nevertheless, "only" 65mph (or 63 - me make typo) is more than a "stiff breeze". It's the sort of wind that pulls trees out of the ground. You'd have trouble walking down the road in it, never mind across a recently exposed mudpit in a river delta, carrying all your wordly posessions while egyptians on chariots chase you.
And @ac: no, don't be silly. If science could prove a biblical account christians the world over would rejoice in it and call it a new era of understanding as two factions finally find common ground.
Actually science and faith don't have to be opposed to each other. All the greatest scientists of the past were deists at the very least, an usually quite prominent in their particular faith and it's only the whole evolution thing that has really created a problem - but that's due to a historical fluke, of certain people in the generation prior to Darwin time seeing what was then the nascent theory of evolution as a means to abolish all sorts of established social mores, not just limited to faith. Darwin, a christian himself when he began writing the Origin of the Species, was shocked at the ferocity of the rejection of his ideas by the church and gave up his faith, but that rejection came because the church couldn't see past the actions of other, earlier proto-evolutionists who had used the idea of evolution as a weapon to attack the church; christians believed he was going to do the same thing and rejected him outright. Without that, christianity could easily have come to an accommodation with evolutionary theory because, at the base of things, it doesn't actually rule out the existence of God but merely changes and expands our understanding of how stuff happened.
Hardly a miracle mate
Walking is easy, we used to go skating whenever the stoms brewed up when we were nippers.
Great craic altogether.
Actually, there has been research showing Chariot wheels
There was a fascinating video made by the Discovery Channel some years back by an archeologist who, without permission, dived on what he felt was the site of the Exodus crossing in the Red Sea. What he found was really quite stunning, though the Egyptian government would not allow any artifacts to be moved. Here's one part of that show: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wLLhB-LLMGA
Just a point of note...
has nobody noticed that regardless of how strong the wind was blowing, it was traveling in the same direction that they were traveling so they would not be fighting against it or trying to keep upright. It would be at their backs pushing them forward.
On the point that science and faith dont have to be opposed to each other then it just depends upon which arguments faith is going to conceed.
Faith says flood - science says no flood
Faith says world 6000yrs old - science says 4billion yrs
Faith says world flat - science says spherical
Faith says sun goes round the earth - science says earth goes round the sun
Faith says man is created - science says man evolved
Science can proove all that it contends however the tricky thing about faith, and its very deffinition is that it is something that is believed with the absence of or dispite of any form of evidence.
All the greatest scientists were not deists by any definition. Quite a lot of them were by todays standards fundimantialists of their particular religion. Edward Jenner, the guy who came up with genetics was a christian monk to give just one example and Newton - the guy with the apple was most definately what we would call a fundimentalist christian.
The areas that these great scientists are famous for are often quite specific. Take Newton as the example. The major works that he is remembered for were in optics and gravity however the majority of his publications and writings are about the occult and the bible and other batshit insane crap that nobody really wants to remeber him for because it was all twaddle and completely wrong.
As for evolution, Darwin did NOT come up with evolution. not by a very long stretch of the imagination. The idea had been around since the ancient greeks and it was very popular long before Darwin ever set foot on the Beagle. What Darwin did was come up with the key. The one thing that allowed evolution to happen without divine intervention and that was natural selection.
It is for this reason that we refer to his theory as Darwinian evolution or evolution by means of natural selection.
The reaction was quite muted and unassumed when darwin first published his theory. It was only when he published Origins that the shit hit the fan because it was more widely available to read and it was probably the first tme that people not familiar with science had heard of the concept of evolution and so he is eroniously credited with it especially when they didnt read the book but were told what was in it by someone else as is so often the case.
Christianity can not reconcile withe evolution especially fundimental christianity. If man was not created in the garden of eden and Adam did not sin by eating the apple there is nothing for Jesus to be crucified for as a means of paying the price for that original sin and so his death was meaningless and not a sacrifice, doubly so if jesus already knew that he would rise from the dead a couple of days later his wounds healed but most of all alive.
Its like giving someone your last rolo, making them feel guilty about it, but knowing full well that its not really your last rolo because you have another packet that they dont know about
Cat 1? Piece of cake!
Really, here in Key West we go out in Cat 1 hurricanes all the time; it's not significantly worse than a tropical storm and the tourists are off to the mainland.
It takes time for wind to push water out of the way. We lived on a bay that was blown dry by Hurricane Georges and if you've seen it happen, it's no big trick to figure it will happen again.
If you're a slave and your leader says, "We leave for freedom, tomorrow!", a little wind won't stop you. It would also explain the hurry that justifies Matzoh, the bread they could not let take time to rise.
Christianity doesn't have any problem with Evolution
Some crackpots who call themselves Christians (while rejecting many of the values that made Christ appealing) reject Evolution, but as far as I'm aware, neither the Catholic Church or the Anglican Churches have any problem with evolution.
The wind died when they passed. No wind, no problem to pass. It takes a while for the water to come back, right in time to flush the pursuing army.
I still don't think that this actually happened, but it is a nice theory non the less.
Well if your guy dived in the Red Sea and found the site (and I'm not going to watch anything on YT as evidence), then not only does it directly contradict this new theory that says the crossing must have happened somewhere else; but it begs the Q how come these monkeys did not know about it or just go and pick up some chariot wheels themselves.
The first guy prob just made up a pile of BS to get attention and then so did the next lot.
I believe they (nutters) also find Noah's Ark every other year dont they?
And a brief flood thousands of meters deep is entirely plausible!
Even though there is not enough water on earth...
Maybe Mar's water got intelligent, flew to earth, caused a flood deep enough to land a boatload of all the animals that had not been discovered yet on top of a freakin mountain, and then buggered off again!
wind was theoretically at their backs
With the wind at your back like in this scenario, a 65MPH gale would help rather than hinder.
Still don't believe it happened;-P
"Darwin....earlier proto-evolutionists ... had used the idea of evolution as a weapon to attack the church; christians believed he was going to do the same thing and rejected him outright. Without that, christianity could easily have come to an accommodation with evolutionary theory..."
Accommodating the truth?
That would be generous!
But, when a business model is founded on shall we say myth, truth cannot suit that model.
It will be resisted.
Religion has persistently resisted science and other advances in human knowledge and expression including art and music. The Catholics even fought against polyphony!
Obviously denying Galileo and Darwin etc was much more serious, but consider how your MP3 collection might sound...
And then there was interference in art and the counter-reformation.
It`s all a bit much. Hard to see them changing now. They must believe this is the only effective strategy or they wouldn`t have stuck to it for so many centuries.
They are now painted into a corner. They cannot just say - OK it mostly just stories - now.
Esp when so many people have died. Often good people. Often in horrible circs.
Might be hard to retain tax-exempt status if it transpired that it was just a business like any other. Well, maybe with higher aspirations or more aggressive marketing.
I am sure other comps - from M$ to Facebook intend to change the world too though!
They have not burned anyone yet. Well, not literally anyway! Lol.
And you do not have to go through any rituals to join facebook. Other than the ritual rejection of privacy and common sense.
first Stephen Hawking and now this
it's a big one-two attack from Science. first Stephen Hawkin kicks God off the Big Bang credits list and now God's pushed back on the ropes as it turns out he wasn't necessary for one of the big action show pieces of the old testament.
any truth in the rumours that the fight's a fix and God is going to go down in the forth round?
It is a fix!
These are just a couple of no balls being bowled by God to help out some Far Eastern chums. He will come back and win the series don't you worry!
Oh that's just super-rigorous innit
Amazing how strict the scientific community can be when pressing for proof of God but so lax with their own debunking. Either the Old Testament story is a crock, or it was a divine event - what it was NOT was " rather a lucky break". Claiming that the waters may have been parted by a freak wind event is so mental I don't know where to start. Did Moses have advanced weather forecasting skills and realise such a freak wind event was in the offing and think "That's handy, being as we're being pursued by enemy forces and all - we'll just whip across the river bed and hope the wind dies down only once we are across but the enemy is still crossing?" That level of prescience would be pretty crazy on its own, and his willingness to risk his life and the lives of his people is rather a bold move? Finally, even if it was a "lucky break", just how lucky we talking? Surely we are looking at an event that ranks in the order of millions-to-1 odds? But that's scientific enough to be considered an acceptably rigorous explanation is it? Every time I look round it seems science is becoming more and more like a cult, with Richard Dawkins as the high priest. By all means have faith, but don't masquerade as science while you do.
What the hell are you on about?
Some scientists put forth a mechanism which could explain, requiring some luck, how a legendary event took place. Do you have a problem when some scientists suggest that fire-breathing dragon legends could be explained by burping animals with flint in their stomachs to aid digestion?
I don't think anyone has said "right, that's it, we now know how it the parting happened, end of story." -- people are just doing some research to see what could have happened, or not. If more and more evidence were to come to light suggesting that this happened it may become an accepted scientific theory, right until someone finds something to disprove it.
That's the thing with science, things are not accepted until lots of evidence has mounted up and even then, as with man-made climate change, they may not be accepted by all and opinion may swing another way.
Oh, and: science!=atheism
At risk of repeating myself
>>That level of prescience would be pretty crazy on its own, and his willingness to risk his life and the lives of his people is rather a bold move? <<
His life and the lives of his people were forfeit anyway (assuming we consider the story as true).
A 65mph easterly is not such a freak occurrence that nobody would have seen it before, or have at least heard of the phenomena.
Also you seem to have utterly and wilfully misunderstood the reason for this computer model. It's not been done to bash religionists or even to make any claim whatsoever for the truthfulness or otherwise of the Bible. It is simply an exercise in weather modelling to see if it is possible to create the effect described in Exodus with natural phenomena. The maths says it is. Good. Nothing has been debunked by this.
So with science "things are not accepted until lots of evidence has mounted up.."?
Yet science = atheism?
But my understanding is that atheism is a belief that there is NO God.
Which unless you have scientific proof that God DOESN'T exist seems to itself be a statement of faith?
Did you mean science=agnosticism?
Apologies, I was using the symbol for not equal to.
I really have a problem with being classed as an atheist, i.e. someone w/o theism. Well in my world theism has no significance (other than the fact that they keep trying to influence my world w. it) and in my world I consider myself a rational person (Rationalist?) so I could, in theory, class all religious types as " irrational ". They can try to rationalize their beliefs with whatever strategies but the facts still remain the same
I would state science!=rational
and the logical consequence of that is:
Can't there be a law to prevent theists from indoctrinating and brainwashing the children of this world, Mike later on down this list) has a point with his comment:
" Other deities may (or may not) exist. Your belief structure may be incompatible with the known structure of reality. Please do not attempt to install faith in small children. Your faith is a personal matter and should not be imposed on others. Belief in God 2.0 or any other competing product is not essential in order to be a decent human being. "
We should be stigmatizing religion and forcing it to the privacy of their own home in exactly the same way that theists stigmatize sex and force their moral values on the rest of the world.
In this day and age the human race should be getting over this historical "Male only Club", stop supporting this fallacy and moving on to live their one and only life in peace with each other, free from religious dogmas and fear of damnation.
Speaking as a non-idiot...
Which is more likely - that events in a several thousand year-old book of transcribed oral tales from the middle east occurred as described due to a combination of factors each incredibly unlikely - or - that events in Exodus, like most folk stories passed down by people throughout history, didn't actually happen? Even in a world where facts can be confirmed or denied by a Google search, people regularly fabricate and spread lies and urban legends. How could this be less prevalent then?
Most myth has a grain of truth in it somewhere.
The epic of Gilgamesh may not be true, but the flood story was inspired by massive flooding on a scale that is extremely rare, but that has been shown to have happened from geographical and archeological evidence. There are even those who suggest that the Noah story was founded on the same floods, perhaps even as a corruption of the same story as Gilgamesh.
Therefore finding the mechanism described in the Bible -- a wind that parts the waters across a hidden land-bridge -- does not say that Moses crossed the landbridge. It merely says that someone may have at one time witnessed the phenomenon, and it may have later become incorporated into myth (a theory which could be corroborated by finding Egyptian, Palestinian or Jordanian folk tales incorporating a similar parting-of-the-waters scenario).
Finding a natural mechanism in the physical world that can do what the Bible does not prove that the Exodus (which is a recognised historical event) happened as described in the Bible. And neither does it prove that if it did happen, [g|G]od was not involved. Because as others have said, to be that lucky would be downright miraculous.
But even though it proves nothing, it's still a valid piece of research.
re: speaking as a non-idots
surely a bridge, which was biblical set alight/destroyed by some sneaky ne'er do wells is an awful lot more probable, Chinese whispers could have warped this story beyond any reasonable explanation. Or, there is the possibility "Tales of The Sky Fairy (and Friends)" is a work of pure fiction, with a rabid fanbase who believe it to be the truth and speak to them (much like Twilight and it's fans...)
I think you spoke too soon
You assume the world is the way you think it is before examing the problem, rather than examining the problem from both your view and the opposing view.
If there is no God then you are correct - it's just a bunch of fairy tales.
If there IS a God then keeping a bunch of scribes from making up bits as they went along should be well within his abilities?
Which begs the question..
Why didn't he bother while they were writing the bible???
Or did god really decide to go from smiting, eye-for-an-eye, pillars of fire stuff and get in touch with his feminine side over a few thousand years?
I get the bit where science might try to explain how this might happen.
Lets just not lose sight of the fact that the Bible is a work of fiction and no different in proveable truth than either The Lord of the Rings or the Arabian knights.
"the fact that the Bible is a work of fiction"?
Is that a "fact" like Adam and Eve in the garden of Eden is a "fact"? And do you mean that all 66 books of the Bible written at different times by different people with different world-views and different intentions, some of them explicitly claiming to be historical truth are fiction, or just some bits? I know people argue that Jonah, or Job for example, are historical fiction but would you claim that the bits attested to by archaeology (like Pontius Pilate, to pick a random example) are fiction? And what do you mean by "fiction", anyway? If a story demonstrates a true principle or moral, but isn't actually a historical record is it fact or fiction?
Red sea ...
Not that anyone cares, but "Red sea" was a bad translation/spelling mistake of "reed sea", many years ago, which is a lot flatter and basically full of reeds ...
look on a map and you'll find it as well.
In fact modern Bibles use the "reed sea" translation after it's discovery in the original untranslated scripts.
I hope I am just slow to get the joke.
But, I am pretty sure that no divine assistance would be required to part reeds. Unless you are calling the Isrealites stupid.
Do you hope to kick of the 'How many Isreallites does it take to cross a reed bed?' jokes or something. Well do ya punk?
I am equally sure that if peasants can do it, then a following army can do it too.
I have not heard many instances of other armies being to a man - neigh - to a horse (pun intended) wiped out by reeds.
I will personally fight any army that is vulnerable to complete annihilation in one afternoon by tall grass.
And if you had ever seen a reed, you would know it is a plant and that they have roots. Wind will not get them out of your way.
But, a hand, knife, stick or fire will.
The reed theory would be an even more fantastic explanation that either the bible version as is, or this odd new psuedo scientific intentionally controversial attempt to rekindle waning interest.
Anyway, have a good laugh at getting me to bite.
"In fact modern Bibles use the "reed sea" translation after it's discovery in the original untranslated scripts."
I don't think so. The "original untranslated scripts" are called the Torah, and have been copied, exactly, for hundreds of generations by scribes, who have been very careful not to change even a single character as the book itself is Holy. Here's how a Jewish Bible translates Exodus, 13:18:
But God led the people about, by the way of the wilderness by the Red Sea; and the children of Israel went up armed out of the land of Egypt.
"And the LORD said unto Moses, Stretch out thine hand over the sea, that the waters may come again upon the Egyptians, upon their chariots, and upon their horsemen ..."
is incitement to mass murder. Can we start a class action?
Slightly more seriously though:
Why did our lord god make moses a murderer?
Why was our lord god such a wimp that he couldn't do it himself?
What moral conflicts arise in the hearts of those with faith when such actions contradict accepted doctrine?
And why do "aggressive secularists" seek to undermine the rock solid and infallible source of our faith with all this science mumbojumbo?
"And the LORD said unto Moses, Stretch out thine hand over the sea, that the waters may come again upon the Egyptians, upon their chariots, and upon their horsemen ..."
is incitement to mass murder. Can we start a class action?
Only in certain jurisdictions. Jehovah 1.0 (previously sold as YHWH widely marketed under the Old Testament brand) was replaced with the all-new God 2.0 after market research demonstrated reluctance to adhere to the 113 conditions of sale (afterwards known as the Commandments) of the original.
God 2.0 is available in most of Western Europe, Africa, South America and especially in the United States. Users of God 2.0 should pay particular attention to the New Covenant clause invalidating controversial user functionality (including 'smiting', 'plague' and 'brimstone) found in Jehovah 1.0. The books of Exodus, Leviticus and Deuteronomy have been superseded by a simplified 'don't be a fuckwit' obligation and should be disposed of in an appropriate manner.
Other deities may (or may not) exist. Your belief structure may be incompatible with the known structure of reality. Please do not attempt to install faith in small children. Your faith is a personal matter and should not be imposed on others. Belief in God 2.0 or any other competing product is not essential in order to be a decent human being.
Best post ever
I vote this for 2010 Post of the Year on El Reg.
They capture a market, get the consumer hooked on the product and then change the T&C's.
btw nice post Mike.
Beans Beans Heinz
I think my explanation that Moses had a few beans for tea the night before is much better. Bit of waftage from his dressing gown could have done wonders to the parting of the seas.
Miracles == very, very lucky
One of the gotchas that seasoned god-botherers always trot out is that believing in god is of necessity an act of faith, and any "proof" will erode faith (c.f. the babel fish argument) and therefore any miracle /must/ be able to be explained as a natural occurence, for who is it that makes natural occurences occur, at the right time, so that you know that you are beloved of the heavenly host, none other than Jehovah, Yahweh or any other name you wish to give to which ever mythical entity gives you the ability to get through this vale of tears.
Of course, when I speak to my invisible friend (and he answers) - I get prescribed diphenhydramine, and have all sharp objects taken off me. TANJ.
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