This Is How Moses Actually Parted the Waters

Did you hear about the one with the long-bearded Charlton Heston-lookalike who chats with flaming bushes and uses his big honking stick to part the waters of entire seas? Well, scientists have found how the water-parting may actually have happened.

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Using new computer fluid dynamics simulations, scientists at the US National Centre for Atmospheric Research have demonstrated that, indeed, the parting of the waters was possible under a specific set of conditions.

First, the team lead by NCAR's Carl Drews says that Moses and the children of Israel couldn't have been camped by the Red Sea, but in a lake next to the Mediterranean sea called the Lake of Tanis. The Red Sea is too big and deep to be parted by any known force of nature except, maybe, Steve Jobs. The lake of Tanis was created by a now-gone branch of the Nile River called the Pelusiac Nile.

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Following the oceanographic data, the NCAR team created a model of the lake's basin and applied fluid dynamics to simulate the effects of strong winds. When a wind is strong enough and blows for a long enough time in the right direction, water inevitably recedes from the upwind shore, "exposing terrain formed underwater." This is known by scientists, and now you, as the wind setdown effect.

Using the computer simulation, they calculated that:

• a 63mph easterly wind
• blowing for 12 hours straight
• could have exposed a 2 to 2.5-mile long and 3.1-mile wide land passageway.

Of course, this is a little far from Exodus' epic description:

And Moses stretched out his hand over the sea; and the Lord caused the sea to go by a strong east wind all that night, and made the sea dry, and the waters were divided.

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Obviously, that's exaggerated unless they really meant that Moses stretched out his hand for 12 hours straight, getting cramps for the next two weeks and thundering bad mood.

Or maybe—maybe the scientists are wrong and the Lord actually cracked the sea open when Moses high-fived Him, so the children of Israel, the dinosaurs, and Raquel Welch could escape from Yul Brynner and his cronies.

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You can choose whatever theory you want. I'm keeping Raquel Welch. [PloSOne via The Register]

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DISCUSSION

To me, the most obnoxious people are the ones who cannot handle a story that is remotely related to religion without freaking out in the comments over it. I don't care what side they fall on, or for what religion they have strong feelings regarding. Give it a rest.

The article was not an attack on any particular religion, nor was it a thinly veiled excuse to promote any religion. It was just a summary of a scientific inquiry about a story in the old testament. They're not trying to add to, or take away from, the religious aspect of it. They just want to see if science could add anything to the topic.

The presence of science does not negate God's influence in any way. If you believe everything that ever was and ever will be was created by God, which would include the laws of physics and other scientific matters, then why would it not be possible for all miracles to be measurable and explainable phenomenon? Why wouldn't God play by the rules he created when he made everything?

And if you're not a religious person, what difference does it make that other people get good things from religion?

It doesn't really matter to me where your personal feelings are on the matter, its just stupid to fight with people over it on the internet, or get angry over the presence of religion or science (or the times when they mix a little.)