Scientific Explanation For Supernatural Events

plague-catMost people look back on history, and see supernatural explanation attached to events that we can now explain scientifically. The sun setting and rising, the weather, crops growing and dieing, lightning, tides, etc. One of the things that still amazes me though is how so many religious people cling to a literal interpretation of the Bible. Thus clinging to a belief that the supernatural explanations in the Bible really are supernatural events; even though there are scientific explanations for most.

Most of us (skeptics, non-believers, etc) know there is no historical, archeological, or other scientific evidence for the Israelites residing in and exodus from Egypt. But if we suspend our skepticism for a moment, could there be some scientific explanation for some of the supernatural events?

Ten plagues. Ten scientific explanations.
In 1400 B.C., a group of nervous Egyptians saw the Nile turn red. But what they thought was blood was actually an algae bloom which killed the fish, which prior to that had been living off the eggs of frogs. Those uneaten eggs turned into record numbers of baby frogs who subsequently fled to the land and died. Their little rotting frog bodies attracted lice and flies. The lice carried the bluetongue virus, which killed 70% of Egypt's livestock. The flies carried glanders, a bacterial infection which in humans causes boils. Soon afterwards, the Nile River Valley was hit with a three-day sandstorm otherwise known as the plague of darkness. During the sandstorm, intense heat can combine with an approaching cold front to create not only hail, but also electrical storms which would have looked to the ancient Egyptians like fire from the sky. The subsequent wind would have blown the Ethiopian locust population off course and right into downtown Cairo. Hail is wet, locusts leave droppings, spread both on your grain, and you have got mycrotoxins. Dinnertime in ancient Egypt meant the first-born child got the biggest portion which in this case meant he ate the most toxins, so he died. Ten plagues. Ten scientific explanations.
For a more dramatic delivery, here's the audio version:

This is an excerpt from The Reaping starring Hilary Swank. Although Hollywood is giving us a dramatic delivery, and simplifying it, they are just spouting pseudoscience.

Okay you can resume your skepticism again. There is still no historical, archeological, or other scientific evidence for the plagues, but at least there is a plausible scientific explanation for supernatural events.


  1. I don't think this would have persuaded me as a believer, but I see it now :)

    It never occurred to me to question other ways the miracle claims might have come about. If you believe in an all-powerful God, the paltry tricks of the Bible aren't that big a deal, especially the plagues. (Once you've created a universe and flooded a planet, a couple locusts and frogs aren't such a big to-do.)

    No, it was the ridiculous stories that got me to realize why literalism was retarded thinking. Jonah in the whale. (The best part is, if you tell a Christian that story is ridiculous they'll correct you, "It was a great fish, not a whale.") Talking snake, talking donkey, living in a fish belly. Those are more ludicrous somehow than bodily resurrection. They aren't central to the faith, the way creationism might be and the resurrection definitely is.

  2. Angie- I totally agree with you.

    If you can believe in a bodily resurrection, you can believe in everything else that's in the bible. I actually think that bodily resurrection is just as ludicrous as an invisible omnipotent deity creating the universe in seven days, creating man and then punishing all humanity for his mistake with painful childbirth and being an omnivore.

    I think Johnny nailed it when he said that there's no extrabiblical evidence of those plagues but even if they occurred there's no reason to attribute supernatural cause to them.

    It's really retarded to say, "talking snake? Sure, but evolution? Lies!!!"

  3. Well said, Steve. I agree with the last bit especially. It really is insane to think Jesus walked on water and the universe was created in 7 days, but evolution is "lies". WTF? Can they even hear how crazy they sound?

  4. When I was a christian (granted I was a kid) it never occurred to me to doubt that god created the world and sent jesus to die for me. Of course I was completely indoctrinated at the time. But when I started doubting the religion, the stories seemed crazy to me.
    Now of course, I can't imagine believing them. But beliefs are funny things.

  5. I've heard a lot of stories from some of my favorite atheists and how they were able to recognize at a very early age the silliness of the stories in the bible and I really wish I'd been that smart as a kid. It took me until I was almost done with High School to start down that atheist path and another ten years to be able to say, "yeah, I'm an atheist."

    I do remember being about seven or eight in Sunday school and hearing about Lot's wife. Scared the crap out of me, I mean, god turned a person into a pillar of salt that all the cattle would then lick and make slobbery stickiness and Ewwww. Creeped me out.

    (We had just visited a farm, and the salt licks everywhere squeed me a bit)

  6. Don't feel bad, Steve. Indoctrination is a powerful weapon used to brainwash children. Look how many people never break free of its insidious hold.

    And while I broke free of the church bit at 12, it took me a long time to become an agnostic, and into my late 20's to finally realize I am an atheist.

    It then took even longer to become a skeptic and question more than just religion and god. I've only come to full critical thinking in the last few years.

    So don't feel bad. It's a process for all of us. And thinking Lot's wife was a salt lick for slobbery cows would make me feel pretty squeamish too! LOL

  7. "then punishing all humanity for his mistake with painful childbirth and being an omnivore" Well said :)

    Since I saw a lot of births as a kid, I think I learned early that God was kind of a douche.

  8. I know how you feel. I believed in a talking snake two years ago.