Red Algae Theories of the Plagues -- By: Brad Sparks

Journal: Bible and Spade (Second Run)
Volume: BSPADE 17:3 (Summer 2004)
Article: Red Algae Theories of the Plagues
Author: Brad Sparks


Red Algae Theories of the Plagues

Part 3 of 3

Brad Sparks

[Greta Hort proposed that a particular type of red algae carried by Nile floodwaters triggered the Biblical Plagues. Her theory has been widely accepted by Biblical scholars. Brad Sparks demonstrates that the theory is fatally flawed and has no scientific evidence to support it.]

Hort’s Fourteen Fatal Scientific Errors

(1) No Photos of a Red Nile

Hort and her followers could have easily clinched their case simply and dramatically by pointing to or reprinting color photographs of a “naturally” occurring Red Nile taken by any of the millions of visiting tourists at any time since the first color photographs of Egypt in the late 19th century, as well as photographs taken by numerous resident and visiting scientists and Egyptian citizens and government officials. Such photos would be impressive and startling proof that a Red Nile can occur by natural causes, and would be reprinted endlessly in numerous guidebooks and tourist handbooks as inducements to travel to see with one’s own eyes the Biblical Plague of Blood reenacted. One can imagine hyped ads claiming one can see a “miracle” by traveling to see a Blood-Red Nile. Bible commentaries, handbooks and picture books would be plastered with such photographic proof that the Plague of Blood miracle was a physical possibility. Since Hort and followers contend that every year the Nile washes down roterde “red earth,” why not show us the photographs to prove the red color? Of course no such photographs of a Red Nile exist since no such Red Nile ever occurs naturally.

(2) Nile Color Wrong—Brown not Red

Although Hort constantly asserts the color of the Nile at flood stage is “red,” modern scientific evidence is to the contrary.1 Egyptologist Carl DeVries of the Oriental Institute flatly denies it, stating, “the color of the Nile during flood is brown rather than red and can hardly be described as like blood in appearance” (1975:1349, emphasis added). Walter Fairservis, of the American Research Center in Egypt (ARCE), writes: “The Nile in Egypt is usually a brown color that knows no term” (1962:39, emphasis added). The leading scientists of the Nile, in their “synthesis of 175 years of intensive work” (Kassas and Ghabbour 1980: v) call it “brown,” “chocolate brown,” or “brownish-greyish” at flood time as is easily seen in photographs (Rzóska 1976:76, 263, 269, 339), not red, bright red, or blood red. Nile hydrobiologist Julian Rzóska says, “at flood time the brown colour of the ‘Blue’ Nile is

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