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Parting the Red Sea


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#1 Fortigurn

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Posted 22 September 2010 - 03:25 AM

The biblical account of the parting of the Red Sea has inspired and mystified people for millennia. A new computer modeling study by researchers at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) and the University of Colorado at Boulder (CU) shows how the movement of wind as described in the book of Exodus could have parted the waters.

The computer simulations show that a strong east wind, blowing overnight, could have pushed water back at a bend where an ancient river is believed to have merged with a coastal lagoon along the Mediterranean Sea. With the water pushed back into both waterways, a land bridge would have opened at the bend, enabling people to walk across exposed mud flats to safety. As soon as the wind died down, the waters would have rushed back in.

The study is intended to present a possible scenario of events that are said to have taken place more than 3,000 years ago, although experts are uncertain whether they actually occurred. The research was based on a reconstruction of the likely locations and depths of Nile delta waterways, which have shifted considerably over time.

The simulations match fairly closely with the account in Exodus,” says Carl Drews of NCAR, the lead author. “The parting of the waters can be understood through fluid dynamics. The wind moves the water in a way that’s in accordance with physical laws, creating a safe passage with water on two sides and then abruptly allowing the water to rush back in.”


“People have always been fascinated by this Exodus story, wondering if it comes from historical facts,” Drews says. “What this study shows is that the description of the waters parting indeed has a basis in physical laws."


Link, courtesy of Kay. :asleep:
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‘John Wesley once received a note which said, “The Lord has told me to tell you that He doesn’t need your book-learning, your Greek, and your Hebrew.”

Wesley answered “Thank you, sir. Your letter was superfluous, however, as I already knew the Lord has no need for my ‘book-learning,’ as you put it. However—although the Lord has not directed me to say so—on my own responsibility I would like to say to you that the Lord does not need your ignorance, either.”

Osborne & Woodward, ‘Handbook for Bible study’, pp. 13-14 (1979)

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#2 Fortigurn

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Posted 22 September 2010 - 04:35 AM

Thanks Kay (and Fort) for the link. The concept of God working through natural phenomena to effect His will is one that I find appealing. Whether this is the method God employed is of course impossible to determine with certainty, but is is certainly plausible. I'll need to chat with a relative of mine who is a mechanical engineer with a particular interest in fluid dynamics, and run this one by him as my fluid mechanics is decidedly rusty. This idea certainly looks promising.

(The paper by the way is here - open access too.)


Thanks for the paper Ken. I was pleased to see them make reference to Hoffmeier's work (I own the book they cite), together with Moshier and Bietak, as well as various historical primary source descriptions of the Delta region during different eras (Herodotus, Ptolemy, Rennell), which demonstrates a multi-disciplinary approach. I was also pleased to see that they are aware of the value of Hoffmeier's work.

Hoffmeier and Moshier's geography [9] represents the best combination of archaeological and geological field work; our overall approach simply adds a coastal sandbar separating the Lake of Tanis from the open sea [11].


A multi-disciplinary approach from a disinterested third party is the best kind of study for this subject. Results favourable to the credibility of the Biblical account can hardly be dismissed as the result of bias.
Miserere mei Deus,
Secundum magnam misericordiam tuam.
Et secundum multitudinem miserationum tuarum
dele iniquitatem meam.

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target="_blank">I am a Christadelphian. Click here to see my confession of faith.
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‘John Wesley once received a note which said, “The Lord has told me to tell you that He doesn’t need your book-learning, your Greek, and your Hebrew.”

Wesley answered “Thank you, sir. Your letter was superfluous, however, as I already knew the Lord has no need for my ‘book-learning,’ as you put it. However—although the Lord has not directed me to say so—on my own responsibility I would like to say to you that the Lord does not need your ignorance, either.”

Osborne & Woodward, ‘Handbook for Bible study’, pp. 13-14 (1979)

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#3 Jeremy

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Posted 22 September 2010 - 07:17 AM

There's a BBC News article covering the same ground here. It includes an animated computer simulation, although I know these things are sometimes viewable only in the UK.
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#4 Fortigurn

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Posted 22 September 2010 - 02:25 PM

Well, colour me unsurprised. A certain science blogger is unimpressed with the paper. I was wondering when he'd wade in to offer his professional opinion. :asleep:


I was wondering if it would find its way out there. Of course he can't touch the actual science involved, 'It's competently executed within its narrow scope, as near as I can tell', and that's really why he's complaining. Predictably, he carefully avoided reference to the fact that several other scientific papers published in peer reviewed literature have also discussed the same question.

Of course we get the typical post-hoc atheist rationalization.

If you read the paper, you'll learn that under certain very specific conditions involving making up a bit of Middle Eastern topography, a strong wind can push shallow bodies of water sufficiently to temporarily exposed the floor. Woo hoo, I say, unenthusiastically. This is an utterly trivial result, and the paper doesn't seem to have anything of general use to say.


Leaving aside the fact that no Middle Eastern topography was made up (the paper was very careful in its attention to detail when reconstructing the topography from reliable sources, including scientific surveys), the typical atheist position has always been 'Parting the Red Sea, a pile of water on either side, by means of a wind? Impossible! Someone doesn't know their physics!', yet as soon as someone proves that this is scientifically plausible the tune changes to 'Well duh, everyone knows that'.

What he's really angry about is the fact that a Christian did exactly what he says Christians are supposed to do with their claims, and that is present a scientific hypothesis for them and have that hypothesis tested in the field of professional peer review. That's what happened here, and predictably Meyers is infuriated. He doesn't want intelligent Christians, he wants stupid Christians. He doesn't want Christians doing what he says they should do, he wants them to keep doing what he doesn't like them doing, or he will have no justification for ranting. He needs the fundamentalists, and they need him. It's a symbiotic relationship.

Edited by Fortigurn, 22 September 2010 - 02:27 PM.

Miserere mei Deus,
Secundum magnam misericordiam tuam.
Et secundum multitudinem miserationum tuarum
dele iniquitatem meam.

______________________________________________________________________
target="_blank">I am a Christadelphian. Click here to see my confession of faith.
______________________________________________________________________
‘John Wesley once received a note which said, “The Lord has told me to tell you that He doesn’t need your book-learning, your Greek, and your Hebrew.”

Wesley answered “Thank you, sir. Your letter was superfluous, however, as I already knew the Lord has no need for my ‘book-learning,’ as you put it. However—although the Lord has not directed me to say so—on my own responsibility I would like to say to you that the Lord does not need your ignorance, either.”

Osborne & Woodward, ‘Handbook for Bible study’, pp. 13-14 (1979)

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#5 nsr

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Posted 22 September 2010 - 03:37 PM

Well, colour me unsurprised. A certain science blogger is unimpressed with the paper. I was wondering when he'd wade in to offer his professional opinion. :asleep:


Ken, why do you read that stuff? :wave:
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#6 Jeppo

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Posted 23 September 2010 - 05:51 AM

This was on the BBC news last night, one of the 'curious' end pieces. I quite like this kind of stuff, but I do wonder if it actually serves any benefit for christianity. Are all Christadelphians pleased that miraculous events are being reduced to accidents of nature? Is it even necessary that miracles should have some sort of scientific hypothesis?

I look forward to his next paper about how a human body can be propelled into the sky by freak winds...

#7 Mark Taunton

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Posted 23 September 2010 - 06:20 AM

This was on the BBC news last night, one of the 'curious' end pieces. I quite like this kind of stuff, but I do wonder if it actually serves any benefit for christianity. Are all Christadelphians pleased that miraculous events are being reduced to accidents of nature? Is it even necessary that miracles should have some sort of scientific hypothesis?

I look forward to his next paper about how a human body can be propelled into the sky by freak winds...

Quite. Though some find it appealing, I am not pleased by this at all. And there are some basic problems with the claims made. For one thing, the supposed location of the "Red Sea" which was crossed, a branch of the river Nile bending as it turned into a coastal lagoon, simply does not match the body of water that scripture speaks of by that name. The Red Sea is clearly identified in e.g. 1 Kings 9:26.

Edited by Mark Taunton, 23 September 2010 - 06:25 AM.


#8 Evangelion

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Posted 23 September 2010 - 06:31 AM

This was on the BBC news last night, one of the 'curious' end pieces. I quite like this kind of stuff, but I do wonder if it actually serves any benefit for christianity. Are all Christadelphians pleased that miraculous events are being reduced to accidents of nature?


I don't care if people reduce miracles to "accidents of nature." The benefit here is that the Biblical account of the miracle has been given a scientific stamp of approval. As Fortigurn pointed out, atheists have traditionally claimed that the Red Sea could not have been parted down the middle by a gust of wind. Now we know they were wrong, and at least one of them is very upset about this.

Is it even necessary that miracles should have some sort of scientific hypothesis?


No, but it helps when science confirms that a miraculous event could occur in the manner described by the Bible.

I look forward to his next paper about how a human body can be propelled into the sky by freak winds...


Has there ever been any doubt that a human body can be propelled into the sky by freak winds?

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#9 Mark Taunton

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Posted 23 September 2010 - 06:38 AM

Is it even necessary that miracles should have some sort of scientific hypothesis?


No, but it helps when science confirms that a miraculous event could occur in the manner described by the Bible.

Ev, what does the word "miraculous" mean, in your understanding? In mine, it means being outside the bounds of what science (which deals in purely naturalistic analysis) can explain!

Edited by Mark Taunton, 23 September 2010 - 06:38 AM.


#10 Fortigurn

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Posted 23 September 2010 - 07:16 AM

This was on the BBC news last night, one of the 'curious' end pieces. I quite like this kind of stuff, but I do wonder if it actually serves any benefit for christianity. Are all Christadelphians pleased that miraculous events are being reduced to accidents of nature? Is it even necessary that miracles should have some sort of scientific hypothesis?


Don't make the same mistake PZ did. There's a difference between saying 'This study shows that a strong wind could have done what the Bible says a strong wind did', and saying 'This study shows that the crossing of the Red Sea did not involve a miracle'. The author's case is the former, not the latter.

Any time God uses a natural force, such as the wind or rain, it is possible to argue that the origin of the natural force was natural rather than divine, and the timing was just very convenient. But this is typically not the atheist's first response. The atheist's first response is to deny that natural forces can even produce such an effect; there's not enough water in the atmosphere to flood the Mesopotamian basin for Noah's flood, wind doesn't make water split into two halves so that land is exposed. This response is intended to deny that even if God had caused the rain to fall or the wind to blow, it wouldn't have, couldn't have, done what the record says it did, and that some kind of magic was required in addition to the natural force. And of course, if God is just going to use magic then what on earth is He bothering with forces of nature for?

From the believer's point of view, it is important to demonstrate that when God says He used natural forces He actually used natural forces, not 'magic', and that when God says He performed the act through miracle X, it doesn't mean that we have to explain the event through additional miracles Y and Z which God said absolutely nothing about.

The idea of a global flood is a case in point. The Biblical record says that God used natural forces to flood the earth. The global flood view says God something with natural forces which made it look like they were contributing significantly to the flood, but in reality God did the actual real work of flooding using undetectable magic rather than natural forces. This is the 'God who pretends', the God of magic, indiscernable from the gods of the Egyptans and Canaanites.

If God says that He used a natural force, then the miracle immediately falls within the magisterium of science and can be investigated, at least insofar as certain practicalities relating to its credibility are concerned (if not the actual verification of the event). That's important for both believer and non-believer.
Miserere mei Deus,
Secundum magnam misericordiam tuam.
Et secundum multitudinem miserationum tuarum
dele iniquitatem meam.

______________________________________________________________________
target="_blank">I am a Christadelphian. Click here to see my confession of faith.
______________________________________________________________________
‘John Wesley once received a note which said, “The Lord has told me to tell you that He doesn’t need your book-learning, your Greek, and your Hebrew.”

Wesley answered “Thank you, sir. Your letter was superfluous, however, as I already knew the Lord has no need for my ‘book-learning,’ as you put it. However—although the Lord has not directed me to say so—on my own responsibility I would like to say to you that the Lord does not need your ignorance, either.”

Osborne & Woodward, ‘Handbook for Bible study’, pp. 13-14 (1979)

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#11 Evangelion

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Posted 23 September 2010 - 07:18 AM

Ev, what does the word "miraculous" mean, in your understanding? In mine, it means being outside the bounds of what science (which deals in purely naturalistic analysis) can explain!


Sure, I agree with that. Please read my post again. I am not saying that a miracle did not occur. I am saying that a miracle did occur, and science has now confirmed that it could have occurred in the way that the Bible describes.
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#12 Mark Taunton

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Posted 23 September 2010 - 07:30 AM

From the believer's point of view, it is important to demonstrate that when God says He used natural forces He actually used natural forces, not 'magic', and that when God says He performed the act through miracle X, it doesn't mean that we have to explain the event through additional miracles Y and Z which God said absolutely nothing about.

Fort, I take it from this that you understand the parting of the Red Sea to have been by a miracle ("X"). Yet if that event is now being explained in terms that don't actually need God to have done anything special (since the effect discussed is observed to occur in nature anyway), in what sense was it a "miracle" at all? What does the word "miracle" mean, in your understanding?

#13 Fortigurn

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Posted 23 September 2010 - 07:35 AM

Quite. Though some find it appealing, I am not pleased by this at all. And there are some basic problems with the claims made. For one thing, the supposed location of the "Red Sea" which was crossed, a branch of the river Nile bending as it turned into a coastal lagoon, simply does not match the body of water that scripture speaks of by that name. The Red Sea is clearly identified in e.g. 1 Kings 9:26.


There's nothing in 1 Kings 9:26 which contradicts the identification of the Red Sea in 1 Kings 9:26. Leaving aside the fact that the Red Sea isn't simply a tiny patch of water off the southern coast of Edom (it reaches right around the Sinai peninsula and up into the Nile Delta), you're assuming only one meaning for yam suf. You will also have difficulty explaining exactly what a strong east wind would have done for a crossing at the base of Edom, and how it would have produced the effect described in the Bible.
Miserere mei Deus,
Secundum magnam misericordiam tuam.
Et secundum multitudinem miserationum tuarum
dele iniquitatem meam.

______________________________________________________________________
target="_blank">I am a Christadelphian. Click here to see my confession of faith.
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‘John Wesley once received a note which said, “The Lord has told me to tell you that He doesn’t need your book-learning, your Greek, and your Hebrew.”

Wesley answered “Thank you, sir. Your letter was superfluous, however, as I already knew the Lord has no need for my ‘book-learning,’ as you put it. However—although the Lord has not directed me to say so—on my own responsibility I would like to say to you that the Lord does not need your ignorance, either.”

Osborne & Woodward, ‘Handbook for Bible study’, pp. 13-14 (1979)

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#14 Fortigurn

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Posted 23 September 2010 - 07:48 AM

Fort, I take it from this that you understand the parting of the Red Sea to have been by a miracle ("X"). Yet if that event is now being explained in terms that don't actually need God to have done anything special (since the effect discussed is observed to occur in nature anyway), in what sense was it a "miracle" at all? What does the word "miracle" mean, in your understanding?


Yes I do understand the parting of the Red Sea to have been by a miracle. We have had this kind of discussion before. Read my post again please, it's all in there (Exodus 9:25-26, 1 Samuel 12:18, 1 Kings 18:44 may also help),and if you're still in doubt see here. Would you like to address the other points I made?
Miserere mei Deus,
Secundum magnam misericordiam tuam.
Et secundum multitudinem miserationum tuarum
dele iniquitatem meam.

______________________________________________________________________
target="_blank">I am a Christadelphian. Click here to see my confession of faith.
______________________________________________________________________
‘John Wesley once received a note which said, “The Lord has told me to tell you that He doesn’t need your book-learning, your Greek, and your Hebrew.”

Wesley answered “Thank you, sir. Your letter was superfluous, however, as I already knew the Lord has no need for my ‘book-learning,’ as you put it. However—although the Lord has not directed me to say so—on my own responsibility I would like to say to you that the Lord does not need your ignorance, either.”

Osborne & Woodward, ‘Handbook for Bible study’, pp. 13-14 (1979)

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#15 Jeremy

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Posted 23 September 2010 - 07:53 AM

This was on the BBC news last night, one of the 'curious' end pieces. I quite like this kind of stuff, but I do wonder if it actually serves any benefit for christianity. Are all Christadelphians pleased that miraculous events are being reduced to accidents of nature? Is it even necessary that miracles should have some sort of scientific hypothesis?

I look forward to his next paper about how a human body can be propelled into the sky by freak winds...

Yes, there is an obvious danger of it being explained away (not that I'm suggesting anyone is doing so in this thread :asleep:).

Edited by Jeremy, 23 September 2010 - 07:53 AM.

And, behold, I am with thee, and will keep thee in all places whither thou goest, and will bring thee again into this land; for I will not leave thee, until I have done that which I have spoken to thee of.

#16 Jon D

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Posted 23 September 2010 - 08:56 AM

Appreciate the points being made, and it (the paper) looks interesting but there will always be miracles that can't be explained by the normal laws of nature - resurrection for example.

Even so, come, Lord Jesus


#17 Flappie

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Posted 23 September 2010 - 09:01 AM

I can't really understand the objections. Exodus states that God used a strong east wind during the night to make a bit of sea dry. Now someone, using the scientific method, has confirmed that a strong east wind during the night can make a bit of sea dry land.

Why is that bad?
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#18 Jeppo

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Posted 23 September 2010 - 04:04 PM

I look forward to his next paper about how a human body can be propelled into the sky by freak winds...


Has there ever been any doubt that a human body can be propelled into the sky by freak winds?

:asleep:


Ok, that's the ascension taken care of then.

#19 Evangelion

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Posted 23 September 2010 - 09:23 PM

:asleep:
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#20 Fortigurn

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Posted 24 September 2010 - 03:58 PM

Ok, that's the ascension taken care of then.


It might have been if the Bible had said Jesus was taken to heaven by a wind.

Edited by Fortigurn, 24 September 2010 - 03:58 PM.

Miserere mei Deus,
Secundum magnam misericordiam tuam.
Et secundum multitudinem miserationum tuarum
dele iniquitatem meam.

______________________________________________________________________
target="_blank">I am a Christadelphian. Click here to see my confession of faith.
______________________________________________________________________
‘John Wesley once received a note which said, “The Lord has told me to tell you that He doesn’t need your book-learning, your Greek, and your Hebrew.”

Wesley answered “Thank you, sir. Your letter was superfluous, however, as I already knew the Lord has no need for my ‘book-learning,’ as you put it. However—although the Lord has not directed me to say so—on my own responsibility I would like to say to you that the Lord does not need your ignorance, either.”

Osborne & Woodward, ‘Handbook for Bible study’, pp. 13-14 (1979)

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#21 Mark Taunton

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Posted 12 October 2010 - 08:51 AM

Just a thought. Has anyone here ever tried walking into a 63-mile-per-hour headwind? Has anyone tried leading a herd of cattle or flock of sheep into such a wind?

#22 Fortigurn

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Posted 12 October 2010 - 10:25 AM


Just a thought. Has anyone here ever tried walking into a 63-mile-per-hour headwind? Has anyone tried leading a herd of cattle or flock of sheep into such a wind?

What is your point?


This?

The ROMS hydrodynamic model demonstrates that a gap opens in the waters where the Pelusiac branch of the Nile flowed into the Lake of Tanis. The resulting land bridge extends about 3–4 km eastward to the archaeological site later known as Tell Kedua. The passage is 5 km wide, and it remains open for 4 hours under 28 m/s wind forcing. The crossing remains open for 7.4 hours under 33 m/s winds, but 1 these stronger winds may render walking too difficult for a mixed group of people. The Kedua Gap and its environs present an interesting hydrodynamic phenomenon for those interested in the history and geography of the eastern Nile delta.


Miserere mei Deus,
Secundum magnam misericordiam tuam.
Et secundum multitudinem miserationum tuarum
dele iniquitatem meam.

______________________________________________________________________
target="_blank">I am a Christadelphian. Click here to see my confession of faith.
______________________________________________________________________
‘John Wesley once received a note which said, “The Lord has told me to tell you that He doesn’t need your book-learning, your Greek, and your Hebrew.”

Wesley answered “Thank you, sir. Your letter was superfluous, however, as I already knew the Lord has no need for my ‘book-learning,’ as you put it. However—although the Lord has not directed me to say so—on my own responsibility I would like to say to you that the Lord does not need your ignorance, either.”

Osborne & Woodward, ‘Handbook for Bible study’, pp. 13-14 (1979)

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target="_blank">Apologetics

#23 Mark Taunton

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Posted 12 October 2010 - 01:40 PM

The comment in the paper, with reference to winds of 28 m/s or 33 m/s, is: "these stronger winds may render walking too difficult for a mixed group".

That is something of an understatement. Here are some extracts from the modern Beaufort Scale of wind speed:

Force 7 is "moderate gale force"; 31-38 mph, 13.9-17.1 m/s. "Effort needed to walk against the wind."
Force 8 is "gale force"; 39-46 mph, 17.2-20.7 m/s. "Progress on foot is seriously impeded."
Force 9 is "strong gale force"; 47-54 mph, 20.8-24.4 m/s.
Force 10 is "storm force"; 55-63 mph, 24.5-28.4 m/s.
Force 11 is "violent storm"; 64-73 mph, 28.5-33.6 m/s
Force 12: "hurricane force", >= 73 mph, >= 32.7 m/s.

(Source)

Note that from "strong gale force" and higher, the descriptions cease to mention anything about the difficulty of walking against that strength of wind. The reasons are pretty obvious. If at around 19 m/s, "progress on foot is seriously impeded", what must it be like at 28 m/s (when the proposed land-bridge would be open for only 4 hours)? The effort to walk at a given speed rises as the square of the headwind speed. So in a 28 m/s wind, it would be twice as hard to move forward at the same rate, as it is against a wind that "seriously impedes progress". Against the 33 m/s hurricane-force winds needed to hold the crossing open for 7.4 hours, it would be three times as hard - effectively impossible.

And remember that the measure of difficulty of walking is just for a person out in the wind (a sailor on the deck of a navy ship, in the Beaufort scale's original context). But this was no afternoon stroll for the Israelites. They were all loaded up with their own goods, plus the silver, gold and garments the Egyptians gave them; and they were taking a great number of animals with them.

Yet they all must somehow have been able to push on, old and young, men and women, children and babes-in-arms, with sheep and cattle too, over 5km width of muddy river-bed, in the teeth of a wind as strong as at least a violent storm, if not a full-blown hurricane?

I don't think so.

And what scripture actually tells us gives us no reason to think it was anything like that, either.

Edited by Mark Taunton, 12 October 2010 - 01:52 PM.


#24 Fortigurn

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Posted 12 October 2010 - 02:35 PM

And what scripture actually tells us gives us no reason to think it was anything like that, either.


Mark you do not realise what you are doing. The Scriptures say that the water was moved back by a strong east wind sent by God. You are trying to argue that a wind sufficiently strong enough to push the waters back, would have been impossible to walk through. You are effectively arguing against the record, arguing that it is not possible that a strong east wind could have pushed back the waters, because a wind sufficiently strong to do so would have been too strong to walk through. You need to start with the facts established by Scripture, and that means acknowledging God used a strong east wind to move the waters back. Once you've accepted that you can move on to a more detailed examination of the facts, but not before.
Miserere mei Deus,
Secundum magnam misericordiam tuam.
Et secundum multitudinem miserationum tuarum
dele iniquitatem meam.

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target="_blank">I am a Christadelphian. Click here to see my confession of faith.
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‘John Wesley once received a note which said, “The Lord has told me to tell you that He doesn’t need your book-learning, your Greek, and your Hebrew.”

Wesley answered “Thank you, sir. Your letter was superfluous, however, as I already knew the Lord has no need for my ‘book-learning,’ as you put it. However—although the Lord has not directed me to say so—on my own responsibility I would like to say to you that the Lord does not need your ignorance, either.”

Osborne & Woodward, ‘Handbook for Bible study’, pp. 13-14 (1979)

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#25 Mark Taunton

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Posted 12 October 2010 - 03:16 PM

I accept entirely that God used a strong east wind to move the waters back; scripture tells us exactly that.

But the "wind set-down" theory requires that wind continued to blow, strongly, whilst Israel were crossing, in order to hold the waters at bay for long enough. It also needs the wind to blow harder, to hold them back for a longer period.

Scripture doesn't say that. It says that the waters formed a wall on the right hand and on the left hand of the children of Israel; it also says that the depths of the sea were congealed or solidified, and that the fluid stood upright. That is clearly a quite different thing from a wind set-down event, where the water is merely displaced temporarily, by the force of the wind.

And another problem is that to allow enough time for circa 2 million people, plus baggage and livestock, to cross a 4km-long stretch of muddy river-bed, 5km wide, would need hugely powerful winds, such that they could not have moved forward at all. The theory just doesn't work.

Edited by Mark Taunton, 12 October 2010 - 03:24 PM.


#26 Fortigurn

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Posted 12 October 2010 - 03:25 PM

I accept entirely that God used a strong east wind to move the waters back; scripture tells us exactly that.

But the "wind set-down" theory requires that wind continued to blow, strongly, whilst Israel were crossing, in order to hold the waters at bay for long enough. It also needs the wind to blow harder, to hold them back for a longer period.

Scripture doesn't say that. It says that the waters formed a wall on the right hand and on the left hand of the children of Israel; it also says that the depths of the sea were congealed or solidified, and that the fluid "stood". That is clearly a quite different thing from a wind set-down event, where the water is merely displaced temporarily, by the force of the wind.

And another problem is that to allow enough time for circa 2 million people, plus baggage and livestock, to cross a 4km-long stretch of muddy river-bed, 5km wide, would need hugely powerful winds, such that they could not have moved forward at all. The theory just doesn't work.


The real problem is the number of assumptions you're making:

* The idea that the water literally 'congealed or solidified'
* The idea that there were 2 million people
Miserere mei Deus,
Secundum magnam misericordiam tuam.
Et secundum multitudinem miserationum tuarum
dele iniquitatem meam.

______________________________________________________________________
target="_blank">I am a Christadelphian. Click here to see my confession of faith.
______________________________________________________________________
‘John Wesley once received a note which said, “The Lord has told me to tell you that He doesn’t need your book-learning, your Greek, and your Hebrew.”

Wesley answered “Thank you, sir. Your letter was superfluous, however, as I already knew the Lord has no need for my ‘book-learning,’ as you put it. However—although the Lord has not directed me to say so—on my own responsibility I would like to say to you that the Lord does not need your ignorance, either.”

Osborne & Woodward, ‘Handbook for Bible study’, pp. 13-14 (1979)

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#27 Mark Taunton

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Posted 12 October 2010 - 05:13 PM

Firstly, may I take it (since you raise no objection) that you acknowledge the point that if a wind set-down effect explains the parting of the Red Sea as proposed in the paper, the wind would be far too strong for them to cross? If you do, then that's good.

The real problem is the number of assumptions you're making:

* The idea that the water literally 'congealed or solidified'

That's what we are told happened (Exo 15:8). The word translated "congealed" is elsewhere rendered "curdled", in the making of cheese from milk (Job 10:10). When milk "curdles", it turns from liquid to solid. How else could water form a wall, or stay standing upright?

* The idea that there were 2 million people

There were 600,000 Israelite men, plus their families, plus the mixed multitude that went up with them (Exo 12:37-38), 2 million is actually a very conservative estimate of the total number. Besides people, there were a great number of cattle in the flocks and herds; they would also take up space during the crossing.

Edited by Mark Taunton, 12 October 2010 - 05:15 PM.


#28 Flappie

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Posted 12 October 2010 - 09:28 PM

I have split the discussion about the number of the people here.

Please keep this thread on the topic of the parting of the Red Sea, and confine remarks about the large number to the new thread.

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#29 Fortigurn

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Posted 12 October 2010 - 10:20 PM

Firstly, may I take it (since you raise no objection) that you acknowledge the point that if a wind set-down effect explains the parting of the Red Sea as proposed in the paper, the wind would be far too strong for them to cross?


No, not at all.

That's what we are told happened (Exo 15:8). The word translated "congealed" is elsewhere rendered "curdled", in the making of cheese from milk (Job 10:10). When milk "curdles", it turns from liquid to solid. How else could water form a wall, or stay standing upright?


It looks like we're being treated to another example of Mark Taunton's version of Hebrew. When milk curdles, it isn't very solid. The number of people you cited is clearly wrong, which we know from other passages of Scripture as well as reality. That discussion can continue in the new thread.
Miserere mei Deus,
Secundum magnam misericordiam tuam.
Et secundum multitudinem miserationum tuarum
dele iniquitatem meam.

______________________________________________________________________
target="_blank">I am a Christadelphian. Click here to see my confession of faith.
______________________________________________________________________
‘John Wesley once received a note which said, “The Lord has told me to tell you that He doesn’t need your book-learning, your Greek, and your Hebrew.”

Wesley answered “Thank you, sir. Your letter was superfluous, however, as I already knew the Lord has no need for my ‘book-learning,’ as you put it. However—although the Lord has not directed me to say so—on my own responsibility I would like to say to you that the Lord does not need your ignorance, either.”

Osborne & Woodward, ‘Handbook for Bible study’, pp. 13-14 (1979)

______________________________________________________________________
target="_blank">Apologetics

#30 Mark Taunton

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Posted 13 October 2010 - 05:59 AM

Yes, when milk curdles, it's not very solid. However, the end result of the process is cheese, as Job mentions, which can range from soft and gooey to very hard.

What you're doing, at the level of word analysis, is quite wrong. You'd tell me off for doing the same. You're looking at Job 10, and trying to load a specific property of the intermediate material (milk as it is being made into cheese) onto a different word, the verb 'qapha', and then transfer that property through the verb into a separate context of use of 'qapha', in Exodus, to attach it to the material there.

But that's quite unjustified. The verb 'qapha' means "solidify". And the material in Exodus 14/15 is not milk, it is water. And unlike milk, when water solidifies, it turns directly to something very hard and strong - ice. Solidified water can indeed "stand upright", very easily. A suitably thick wall of it could hold back the pressure of a sea quite long enough for the nation of Israel to cross through.

Edited by Mark Taunton, 13 October 2010 - 06:21 AM.





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