Someone on TFSG brought up the question of whether the ancient Egyptian government could have conspired in such a way to destroy the evidence of a large Hebrew slave population and Exodus, thus explaining the apparent lack of corroborating evidence for the story as it is recorded in the Torah.
This is how I responded:
"While conspiracy theories are fun, if they have nothing behind them but speculation then there's no reason to give them credence unless you're already convinced otherwise.
If the Torah's account is taken as literal, it would, first of all, conflict with the estimated population figures that Egyptologists give for the New Kingdom which is 3-4 million - total. If the Hebrews then made up ~3 million of that number then the entire social situation would have been wacky and Egyptian history - as it is currently understood - would be mostly nonsense from that period.
Furthermore, after a series of events which lead to the death of a good portion of the Egyptian population - at least one firstborn from every household - not to mention the rest of the plagues - and the exodus of 75% of the population as it existed before Moses came back - there would have been a tiny fraction of the pauperized population still living in Egypt. That massive depopulation would have required massive societal restructuring (as virtually the entire working/servant class had escaped) as well as a huge shrinking in economic output and military prowess. Egypt would have been a shadow of its once powerful self.
None of this occurs in any historical record, nor is there any archeological evidence even remotely suggesting it.
I cannot conceive of a realistic method by which the leaders of Egypt could simultaneously destroy the evidence of millions of people living over hundreds of years, leave no record (historical or archeological) of a depopulation and subsequent societal restructuring - all the while staving off foreign interest in conquering their land with a much reduced military might.
The whole idea is simply absurd.
Mix all of that in with the up front claims of miracles and other supernatural wonders and it becomes obvious that we are not dealing with a realistic portrayal of historical events.
Now, that said, I do believe that _something_ happened and that the story is predicated on real events. The exact nature of those events I am not sure about but I suspect they hold a similar relationship to the Torah's record as the Trojan War has with the Iliad.
As I said earlier, myths were common in every civilization. Why should we presume that Israel was an exception?