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Author Topic: A cold, hard explanation for walking on water
snopes
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It was a stormy night on the Sea of Galilee and the disciples were out in a boat, battling a contrary wind, when they saw Jesus approaching, as if a spirit. "And he went up to them into the ship; and the wind ceased," it is written in Mark 6:51. "And they were sore amazed in themselves beyond measure, and wondered."

Doron Nof also wondered, in a measured, scientific way. A professor of oceanography at Florida State University, he conducted an inquiry and found what might be a natural explanation: ice.

http://www.azcentral.com/offbeat/articles/0403sci-walkwater03-ON.html

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snapdragonfly
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...edited cause I didn't click through the link...

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"Wolves, dragons and vampires, man. Draw the nut-bars like big ol' nut-bar magnets." ~evilrabbit

(snurched because one of my nutbar family members is all about wolves and another one is all about dragons...)(with apologies to surfcitydogdad)

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candycane from strangers
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Is that seriously something that hadn't been considered before? My friends and I joked we were walking on water when we slid across frozen puddles in grade school, I assume we weren't the only people to think of that until now.

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pob14
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What is wrong with people?

Okay, I'll be a little more specific.

What is with these people who keep looking for scientific explanations of biblical miracles? The Star of David was a comet, or a confluence of plantets, or a meteor shower. Jesus was resurrected because he was just knocked unconscious by the crucifixion. Moses parted the Red Sea because it was the Reed Sea and only four inches deep and there was a high wind and low tide and he built a bridge and rode on a camel and ENOUGH ALREADY!

Look, it's a book of MIRACLES. Talking asses, guys living through fire, walls coming tumbling down, all that. If you believe that, fine. If you don't, fine also. But this special pleading wishy-washy "it all happened but it has a natural explanation" BS drives me nuts.

The bible: It's a floor wax AND a dessert topping! (5 pts for easy reference)

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Lainie
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Saturday Night Live!

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Canuckistan
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quote:
Originally posted by pob14:
What is with these people who keep looking for scientific explanations of biblical miracles? The Star of David was a comet, or a confluence of plantets, or a meteor shower. Jesus was resurrected because he was just knocked unconscious by the crucifixion. Moses parted the Red Sea because it was the Reed Sea and only four inches deep and there was a high wind and low tide and he built a bridge and rode on a camel and ENOUGH ALREADY!

Look, it's a book of MIRACLES. Talking asses, guys living through fire, walls coming tumbling down, all that. If you believe that, fine. If you don't, fine also. But this special pleading wishy-washy "it all happened but it has a natural explanation" BS drives me nuts.

I might agree with you except for the fact that some people insist we all should live our lives according to this book because it is the inerrant Word of God. In my mind, at least, it's important to show that there are natural explanations for what happened, if they happened at all. That's the biggest challenge to the pCm-types out there.

That, and I would just like to know if any of these stories are even remotely possible. Curiosity, I guess.

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hoitoider
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quote:
Originally posted by Canuckistan:
...I would just like to know if any of these stories are even remotely possible. Curiosity, I guess.

No, there's absolutely no chance any of those stories happened in a way a non-believer can comprehend. Fish & bread can't automatically increase in volume, water can't change to wine, a dead person can't come back to life. BTW some people insist we all should live our lives w/out any religion. There will always be people insisting other people do or don't do something.

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Silas Sparkhammer
I Saw V-Chips Come Sailing In


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quote:
Originally posted by pob14:
What is with these people who keep looking for scientific explanations of biblical miracles? The Star of David was a comet, or a confluence of plantets, or a meteor shower. Jesus was resurrected because he was just knocked unconscious by the crucifixion. Moses parted the Red Sea because it was the Reed Sea and only four inches deep and there was a high wind and low tide and he built a bridge and rode on a camel and ENOUGH ALREADY!

I agree with you...with the exception of the Star of Bethlehem. The story, as a whole, involving the Magi from the East, strongly suggests as astrological interpretation, and thus an examination of the historical sky for comets or conjunctions is actually a valid approach.

Otherwise, I agree: the rationalization of miracles -- especially Jesus' miracles, such as loaves & fishes, and *most* especially the resurrection -- is pointless and silly.

Silas

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abbubmah
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So, the ice formed only occasionally, like every 30-60 years, and happened to be there for Jesus' walk-on-water. Still a miracle of extreme coincidence, if true, and a path iced to a boat that is struggling with a storm? Amazing!

four inch red sea? What, the Egyptian army laid face down in it and drowned? Amazing!

The Star of Bethlehem is indeed considered to be a real astronomical event. The magi supposedly had a whole library of stuff to watch out for, and this was one of them. The trip to Bethlehem (2 years after Christ's birth) was most likely simply a formality to cover their bases with what they perceived to be the birth of a Jewish king. It also explains why they went to the palace first. As for the star stopping over the house... maybe it was directly overhead the night they finally went.

ham "me tongue is in me cheek" bubba

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jimmy101
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Gee, I guess the disciples weren't the brightest bunch around.

How long does it have to stay below freezing for the surface of a lake to freeze thick enough to support an adult? The disciples hadn't noticed that the lake had frozen areas in it for the last couple of weeks?

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Dancing Dragon
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According to a program about the reign of Pharoah Ramsese and the Exodus that I saw on the History Channel, the part of the text that was translated in the King James Bible (and consequently, most English copies since) as "Red Sea" actually says "Sea of Reeds" in the original Hebrew.

According to a rabbi on the program, the term "sea of reeds" probably refers to a swampy region that, according to tradition, is located near the desert that the Jews spent all those years wandering in. An examination of Ramses' firstborn son's corpse revealed that he died well into manhood of a blow to the skull, not a mysterious plague. According to the experts on the program, the "waves" falling on Ramses' army probably referred to an ambush set by the fleeing Jews. I'll try to find the name of the program.

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eif
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quote:
Originally posted by hoitoider:
Fish & bread can't automatically increase in volume,

I always viewed that "miracle" as the boy was the only one who offered his foods, all that he had to share with everyone. The other people had food (would you go out to the countryside for the day without packing a lunch?). Seeing the boy's generosity, shamed the rest of them and more likely, they put food into the basket rather than taking food out, although some people probably did. Those people would be praising the "miracle", the others would keep quite because they would not want it be known that they had food, but first keep it to themselves.

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Where I come from we believe all sorts of things that aren't true. We call it History.

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Squishy0405
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What and Jesus never slipped?

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Nonny Mouse, on Santa's laptop
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quote:
Originally posted by eif:
quote:
Originally posted by hoitoider:
Fish & bread can't automatically increase in volume,

I always viewed that "miracle" as the boy was the only one who offered his foods, all that he had to share with everyone. The other people had food (would you go out to the countryside for the day without packing a lunch?). Seeing the boy's generosity, shamed the rest of them and more likely, they put food into the basket rather than taking food out, although some people probably did. Those people would be praising the "miracle", the others would keep quite because they would not want it be known that they had food, but first keep it to themselves.
In other words, it's really the story of the first church potluck!

Nonny "bringing stone soup" Mouse

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When there isn't anything else worth analyzing, we examine our collective navel. I found thirty-six cents in change in mine the other day. Let no one say that there is no profit in philosophy. -- Silas Sparkhammer

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Midgard_Dragon
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quote:
Originally posted by hoitoider:
quote:
Originally posted by Canuckistan:
...I would just like to know if any of these stories are even remotely possible. Curiosity, I guess.

No, there's absolutely no chance any of those stories happened in a way a non-believer can comprehend. Fish & bread can't automatically increase in volume, water can't change to wine, a dead person can't come back to life. BTW some people insist we all should live our lives w/out any religion. There will always be people insisting other people do or don't do something.
I agree. HOWEVER, some of those groups have gained a hold on political affairs, and are attempting to change how some of us live our day to day lives. When a religious group starts to become a government group, IMO, things are going badly.

BUT, I don't agree that there's any reason to attempt to disprove or scientifically explain any of the miracles of the Bible. Unless it's just because some people want to do so. If they have the time and money and that's how they want to spend it, more power to 'em. I don't care if there's a scientific explanation or not because I don't believe the Bible should be interpreted literally, but rather as a book that is half historical account, half legend/fable/myth/whatever.

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DemonWolf
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So let me get this straight - A boat load of fishermen did not know what ice was but the son of a carpenter knew that he could walk on it?

Demonwolf 3:16 say this guy's full of it.

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DemonWolf
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quote:
Originally posted by Midgard_Dragon:

BUT, I don't agree that there's any reason to attempt to disprove or scientifically explain any of the miracles of the Bible. Unless it's just because some people want to do so. If they have the time and money and that's how they want to spend it, more power to 'em. I don't care if there's a scientific explanation or not because I don't believe the Bible should be interpreted literally, but rather as a book that is half historical account, half legend/fable/myth/whatever.

also, it is written for dramatic effect. Taking it literally would be like using The Star Spangled Banner as a historically accurate account of the attack on Fort McHenry.

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Ganzfeld
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Maybe it was an in-group gag that they would tell at parties. "Remember that time He walked on water!" *wink wink nudge nudge*
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abbubmah
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Given the scenario, ice, unsuspecting fishermen, everything coincidentally in the right place at the right time, it's more plausible to belive he actually DID walk on water.

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Fundamentally Unfundie since 1975

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BlueStar
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A more sensible explaination would be a combination of embellishment, legend, word of mouth and outright lies written years after the supposed event by people who wanted everyone to think Jesus was the best thing since sliced daily bread.
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hoitoider
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quote:
Originally posted by eif:
quote:
Originally posted by hoitoider:
Fish & bread can't automatically increase in volume,

I always viewed that "miracle" as the boy was the only one who offered his foods, all that he had to share with everyone. The other people had food (would you go out to the countryside for the day without packing a lunch?). Seeing the boy's generosity, shamed the rest of them and more likely, they put food into the basket rather than taking food out, although some people probably did. Those people would be praising the "miracle", the others would keep quite because they would not want it be known that they had food, but first keep it to themselves.
That's the thing with the miracles: anything is possible for an explanation. One thing about this particular one is the history of it, b/c Elisha did the same thing on a smaller scale in the Old Testament with the Feeding of a Hundred. There's the same detail in both cases where they 'have some left over'. In the Gospel - 'They all ate and were satisfied, and the disciples picked up twelve basketfuls of broken pieces that were left over.' Of course both miracles are referencing the manna in the desert during the exodus.

I think anyone who was at the gathering of 5,000 probably looked back on it the way people look back on Woodstock. There was an atmosphere of peace & love that was probably unlike anything they had ever experienced. Of course there are people who think Woodstock was complete hippy b.s. and I would think there would be the same type of reaction to that event back then.

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No man has a right in America to treat any other man "tolerantly" for tolerance is the assumption of superiority. -Wendell L. Willkie

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Gibbie
Angels Wii Have Heard on High


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eif writes:
quote:
I always viewed that "miracle" as the boy was the only one who offered his foods, all that he had to share with everyone.
Or, perhaps the bread and fish is a metaphor for the word of God. And the miracle is that a mere morsel of it from Jesus (which is what you'd get if you split that little food among that many people) was enough to make people full (spiritually) and satisfied.

But that requires that people view the Bible as deeper than the mere words, that it may have meaning beyond the obvious, something that curiously I find that Fundamentalists and Atheists alike have difficulty with (apologies to both who are present in this thread).

Dancing Dragon I saw the same special last year. It was a two hour presentation on the Exodus. Fascinating information. The theory they passed at the end was perhaps the last plague, the killing of the first born was actually an attack in the middle of the night by the Hebrews and what allowed them to escape into the desert. It also talked about the probablity that the Pharoh's first born was an adult and that Moses was actually his contemporary. Remembering that Moses was brought up in the Pharoh's court as one of his son's that would have made him a brother to the first born. A fascinating way to look at it.

I think the Rabbi interviewed was Rabbi David Wolpe. He appears on a lot of these shows and I like him a lot. He's very interesting and rather attractive as well.

I actually like the "alternate" explanations for the Bible. It gives a deeper meaning and understanding to the book. There's so much beyond the simplistic "miracle" explanations, that I feel that you miss a lot of the message by not going further. Even if you don't buy into the naturalistic explanations, it always gives you a lot to think about.

Gibbie

As an aside my husband and I watch so many of these specials on History channel and others that we keep threatening to create a drinking game for it. I was wataching Deep Sea Detectives last night and Dr. Zahi Hawass turned up and I yelled into the other room "Drink!" [Big Grin]

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If you're not part of the solution, you're part of the precipitate.

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Silas Sparkhammer
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quote:
Originally posted by Gibbie:
I actually like the "alternate" explanations for the Bible. It gives a deeper meaning and understanding to the book. There's so much beyond the simplistic "miracle" explanations, that I feel that you miss a lot of the message by not going further. Even if you don't buy into the naturalistic explanations, it always gives you a lot to think about.

I do too...but I want them to be *worth* thinking about. For instance, I read Freud's "Moses and Monotheism" in high school, and was very taken with it. A lot of it was mere speculation (Freud granted that from the beginning) but at least it was a reasonably intriguing idea.

The idea that Jesus walked on ice? That's just childishly simplistic. Worse, as noted above, it doesn't hold up. Why didn't the others in the boat take note of all the other large chunks of ice floating around? If there was that much pack ice, how did the boat make way at all? etc. etc.

(Still, it isn't as bad as Velikovsky!)

Silas

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Communication Attempt
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When I hear about the fish and bread I imagine Jesus calling his fishermen and baker buddies to take some of their goods,go on a rooftop and start dropping food to the masses below,and thus it "rains" bread and fish

As for walking on water,I"m guessing he walked on a beach but did not go too far away

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Ganzfeld
Let There Be PCs on Earth


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quote:
Originally posted by BlueStar:
A more sensible explaination would be a combination of embellishment, legend, word of mouth and outright lies written years after the supposed event by people who wanted everyone to think Jesus was the best thing since sliced daily bread.

I thought legends and lies are only spread by the Internet.
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Dive_Cecil
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Walking on water is not that big a deal, we do it all the time. Here's a picture of my friend doing it.

 -

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pob14
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quote:
Originally posted by Silas Sparkhammer:
quote:
Originally posted by pob14:
What is with these people who keep looking for scientific explanations of biblical miracles? The Star of David was a comet, or a confluence of plantets, or a meteor shower. [snip]

I agree with you...with the exception of the Star of Bethlehem. The story, as a whole, involving the Magi from the East, strongly suggests as astrological interpretation, and thus an examination of the historical sky for comets or conjunctions is actually a valid approach.
I think we agree completely. I wasn't really referring to the part where Eastern astrologers take some event in the sky to be a portent and go ask Herod about it; I was referring to the "star sitting directly over a single stable in Bethlehem causing terrified shepherds to show up" part.

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Patrick

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Silas Sparkhammer
I Saw V-Chips Come Sailing In


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quote:
Originally posted by pob14:
I think we agree completely. I wasn't really referring to the part where Eastern astrologers take some event in the sky to be a portent and go ask Herod about it; I was referring to the "star sitting directly over a single stable in Bethlehem causing terrified shepherds to show up" part.

Good point. That would be really tricky to measure. In fact, I once heard a radio preacher (a Biblical literalist) give a very sensible analysis of the star from that point of view: it couldn't be very high in the sky, otherwise you couldn't tell what part of Judea it was "directly over." To get within an area of one inn (with courtyard) the star couldn't be much more than 500 feet in the air.

(Of course, that was exactly what this guy was claiming! The "star" was actually a "glowing miracle sign" that moved, and the magi literally followed it. Oh, well: the guy also believes in a literal Noah's Ark...)

I take this sort of analysis as a "render unto Caesar/God" sort of thing: some miracles are worth looking into...and some are best left as unexplained.

Silas ("The unexamined life is fine with us")

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FireSpook
The First USA Noel


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Wasn't this 'walking on water' at night? Many drivers know of the 'black ice' you can't really see it. And anyone who's ever put 'clear' ice underwater can tell you that it's very hard to see.

quote:
Such floating ice in the unfrozen waters of the lake would be hard to spot, especially if rain had smoothed its surface.
And techical speaking, the bible just says that Jesus just walked out to them, but it leaves the question; If you where in the boat and you saw your 'savour' on water, wouldn't you row the boat over to him?

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abbubmah
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quote:
Originally posted by Gibbie:
I was wataching Deep Sea Detectives last night and Dr. Zahi Hawass turned up and I yelled into the other room "Drink!" [Big Grin]

FYI, that web site doesn't seem to be current.

Try this one.

ham "hawass juss passing thru" bubba

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Fundamentally Unfundie since 1975

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eif
Jingle Bell Hock


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quote:
Originally posted by Nonny Mouse Has Two Tales:
In other words, it's really the story of the first church potluck!

Nonny "bringing stone soup" Mouse

[Smile] I'm OK with that!

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Where I come from we believe all sorts of things that aren't true. We call it History.

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eif
Jingle Bell Hock


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quote:
Originally posted by Gibbie:
Or, perhaps the bread and fish is a metaphor for the word of God. And the miracle is that a mere morsel of it from Jesus (which is what you'd get if you split that little food among that many people) was enough to make people full (spiritually) and satisfied.

Perhaps but if I recall the story, it's told as part of the "historical" life of Jesus. Jesus told many parables which this story could very well be, but it wasn't set up like that.

I recall an Isaac Asimov essay about translating the Bible and the problem he said is it is translated literally. And that loses some of the meaning that was clearly understood at the time it was written. The example he cited was The Good Samaritian. Most have this idealized view of the Samaritian but if we were to set the story in American, it could be called The Good Black. If I recall the essay correctly, I think Asimov suggested the title, The Good N(n-word), to clearly make his point.

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Where I come from we believe all sorts of things that aren't true. We call it History.

Posts: 506 | From: Massachusetts | Registered: Oct 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
   

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