Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Jewish Philosopher’s Quick Roundup



Atheism is basically synonymous with hedonism, narcissism and moral relativism. Atheists are usually moral degenerates.

Atheism is based on selfishness. Orthodox Judaism is based on reason.

On the average Orthodox Jews are much nicer than atheists.

On the average Orthodox Jews are much happier than atheists.



Some popular excuses for atheism:

The idea of a transcendent, non-physical being is unbelievable. [It is only if you refuse to believe it for some emotional reason.]

There is no rational reason to believe in God. [False. See the argument from design.]

God is no more likely to exist than Thor or Zeus. [False. Judaism is entirely different.]

God would not allow suffering. [Sure He would.]

People are naturally good and moral. Religion corrupts people and makes them hateful and violent. [History's greatest murderers were atheists.]

People only believe in religion because they were taught it as little children. [Most things people know they were taught as children, including speech, literacy, arithmetic, etc.]

Religion makes people unhappy. It deprives people of joy in life. [Proven false by psychological studies.]

Religion is based on an ignorance of nature. Science will destroy religion. [That may be true of primitive paganism, but not Judaism. Pagans may attribute every natural event to the whim of a god. Jews accept the laws of nature, but believe that God created them.]

According to the principle of Occam’s razor, any natural explanation for something, no matter how unlikely, is preferable to a supernatural explanation. [A simpler theory is not better if the simpler theory is much more improbable. Therefore, actually, Intelligent Design Theory is better than the Infinite Monkey Theorem.]

Man is not special. Man is merely one of many species of animals inhabiting one of many planets circling one of billions of stars. [Man is special; he is the most complex object in the known universe.]

Evolution is a fact. It is obvious that all life is descended from bacteria just as much as it is obvious that the world is round. [Events that allegedly happened millions of years before recorded history and which contradict common sense and the fossil record are hardly as obvious as the shape of the earth.]

The United States, in spite of being more religious than Europe, has far more crime than western and northern European countries. This proves that religion does not make people moral and perhaps proves the opposite. [The US has far more residents of black African and Latin American heritage than European countries. These are people whose original homelands are very violent. They are the source of most of the crime. On the other hand, Utah has a very high level of church attendance, few blacks and a crime rate comparable to western Europe.]

156 comments:

natschuster said...

I might add that the skeptics do have amraked tendency to cahnge the subject. You start talking about evolution, they bring up pedophilia. You talk about morality, they bring up evolution. I find that so annoying.

natschuster said...

I read recently that the crime rate in European cities is going way up. in some places, it is as bad as New York City was 20 years ago.

jewish philosopher said...

I think it depends on which crime. I believe in murder, per capita, America still leads the way.

MorseCode said...

I don't feel like mocking or ridiculing. As an atheist, I merely have a question:

Why should I believe what you believe? What is the evidence you have to back up your beliefs? Are there any positive things about your beliefs that I can't have or do without your beliefs?

If you have good answers, I'll listen.

MorseCode said...

Oops! I should have said, I have questions, in the plural. Sorry about that.

jewish philosopher said...

Glad you asked. Click here.

MorseCode said...

Wow. Forgive me, but those seem like horrible arguments.

The watchmaker argument fails in the initial premise. Because as you walk on the beach and see a watch, you can tell it was designed. How can you tell that? Because you are comparing it to the beach, the rocks and the ocean...things that are very obviously not designed.

Even when dealing with living organisms, to say that they are designed because they appear designed isn't proof of anything. For example, it appears that the sun is circling the earth. It isn't true, but it certainly appears that way.

The anti-conspiracy theory fails because it proves Christianity, Islam and almost every other religion just as much as it would prove Judaism.

I don't think most of those people who claim to have experienced god are lying. I just think they are wrong and/or mistaken.

Your last piece of evidence, that these are not extraordinary claims as long as a god exists, is true. Unfortunately you have not successfully proven god in 1 and 2.

Assuming you want me, or others, to believe as you believe, I humbly request better answers.

If you don't care what I believe, that's fine.

jewish philosopher said...

I have to respectfully suggest that you read my post again a little more slowly and carefully.

“Even when dealing with living organisms, to say that they are designed because they appear designed isn't proof of anything.”

I didn’t say that. I wrote “We never witness a complex mechanism with many parts all working efficiently for a certain purpose form spontaneously. There is always a designer… Therefore life, in which every organelle in every cell is a complex machine, must have been created by God.”

“The anti-conspiracy theory fails because it proves Christianity, Islam and almost every other religion just as much as it would prove Judaism.”

I wrote “It is impossible to organize a large group to all tell the same lie and not have at least a significant minority eventually reveal the truth.”

To “lie” means “to make an untrue statement with intent to deceive”.

I don’t believe that the Pope is lying, nor is Osama bin Laden. They are mistaken, however they believe that they are being truthful. However, on the contrary, atheists must claim that at some point in the past all Jews lied and this is how our tradition began.

MorseCode said...

“We never witness a complex mechanism with many parts all working efficiently for a certain purpose form spontaneously. There is always a designer… Therefore life, in which every organelle in every cell is a complex machine, must have been created by God.”

That begins correct, but ends wrong. There is a process, of which you are probably familiar, known as evolution. It does not cause things to form spontaneously. It operates under natural selection, which serves the purpose of a designer without really being one.

"However, on the contrary, atheists must claim that at some point in the past all Jews lied and this is how our tradition began."

Wrong. For example, I have a friend who used to be a Mormon. Now an atheist, he has a theory that Joseph Smith, LDS prophet, was actually an epileptic who suffered fits and believed the things he said. Something very similar could easily be responsible for the beginnings of any religion, including Judaism.

There is also the formation of legends. The books in the Hebrew texts weren't, as far as we can tell, written when they happened. They were written afterward, and thus subject to mistranslations, hyperbole and the formation of legends through repeated re-tellings.

jewish philosopher said...

Evolution explains the origin of species, not the origin of life. How is that explained without a designer? I don't find the Infinite Monkey Theorem plausible.

"Something very similar could easily be responsible for the beginnings of any religion, including Judaism."

In my post I present and reject several possible scenarios. If you have something else to add, I'd be happy to hear it.

MorseCode said...

It's called abiogenesis. You should look up the Miller-Urey experiments, which showed that the building blocks of life could form from non-life.

Another scenario?

None of the specifics of exodus actually occurred. Some of the outline was there, but nothing supernatural. Then, a scribe with a mental disorder believed he was receiving the word of god, and so wrote down the story as it is written now. Then he convinced other people.

No lying necessary.

jewish philosopher said...

Abiogenesis has still not been explained from a materialistic point of view. In fact, no one has ever witnessed any machine form spontaneously, let alone something as complex as a bacterium.

"a scribe with a mental disorder believed he was receiving the word of god, and so wrote down the story as it is written now. Then he convinced other people."

He convinced other people of what? That they had witnessed the exodus from Egypt? How did he do that?

MorseCode said...

"In fact, no one has ever witnessed any machine form spontaneously, let alone something as complex as a bacterium."

You're not comparing like to like. Abiogenesis has been shown to create the building blocks of life. Once life exists, evolution takes over to make complexity. Do we know every detail? No, and I would never claim we do. But given the alternative, which I have heard called crudely "mud and magic", this makes more sense and follows the evidence.

"He convinced other people of what? That they had witnessed the exodus from Egypt? How did he do that?"

That he witnessed it or that god showed it to him. How? The same way any religious leader convinces others, through emotion, fear, logic that seems to make sense but really doesn't. At least that's how it seems to me.

jewish philosopher said...

Regarding abiogenesis, I personally feel that the existence of an eternal supreme being is far more plausible than the occurrence of a random chance event so unlikely as to be virtually impossible.

Regarding Exodus, what exactly could be the scenario which would not involve a mass conspiracy? The false prophet claims that a few centuries earlier God took their ancestors out of Egypt with miracles, etc. And everyone just agrees. What if a prophet today would claim that our ancestors came out of England to America with miracles, ten plagues, the sea splitting, etc. Would anyone believe it?

And by the way, who was this false prophet? Why has history forgotten him? Would the Mormons forget Joseph Smith?

Cameron said...

JP: Atheism and agnosticism are simply synonymous with hedonism, narcissism and moral relativism. They are not based on proof.

CH: Classic straw-man argument.

- Atheism is not the pursuit of pleasure over all else, not the love of one-self over all else and not a defense of moral relativism. It is simply the denial of any belief in supernatural beings. You can be a Christian Hedonist, a Jewish narcissist, and be a religious moral relativist. The paragraph above is proof you have literally no idea what you are talking about and seek instead to slur those you disagree with.

JP: Atheism is based on selfishness. Orthodox Judaism is based on reason.

CH: Ok, that was funny. Faith is belief without reason (by definition), ergo, if you have faith you don't have reason. You might clue in that these are OPPOSITES.

JP: On the average Orthodox Jews are much nicer than atheists.

CH: Even if this were true (and it isn't) - it is not a proof of Judaism. Last I checked the Czech Republic (operationally atheist) hadn't gone to war with anyone. Ditto Sweden, and last time atheist Japan attacked anyone was more than 50 years ago.

JP: On the average Orthodox Jews are much happier than atheists.

CH: Totally unprovable.

JP: Some atheistic clichés, many going back to the French Enlightenment:

There is no rational reason to believe in God. [Watchmaker Analogy?]

CH: We've repeatedly flogged your watchmaker analogy to death. It isn't proof of anything and you know it. It isn't even a good analogy.

JP: God is no more likely to exist than Thor or Zeus. [Sinai revelation?]

CH: ALL religions claim special revelation. The one at Sinai is no more impressive than any those claimed by the Oracle of Delphi.

JP: God would not allow suffering. [Why not?]

CH: God would not allow suffering if God were Good. The fact that we suffer is proof that God either wishes us to suffer (making God Evil), that God is powerless to stop it (God is not really all powerful) or that there really is no God.

JP: People are naturally good and moral.

CH: Not sure why you think this is an atheist claim. I would think since you are trafficking in atheist cliche's you would have accused us of seeing humanity as essentially animal in nature.

JP: Religion corrupts people and makes them hateful and violent. [Which religion were Mao and Stalin?]

CH: Again, this is not a claim I as an atheist would ever make. I actually agree with you that for some individuals religion can act as a brake on their actions. However, it also can equally clearly be a motivation ala those religion infected individuals behind 9-11.

JP: People only believe in religion because they were taught it as little children. [Actually, most things people know and believe they were taught as children, including literacy, arithmetic, etc.]

CH: I actually think this is mostly true. All religions insist on teaching children before they are capable of any intellectual defense. The Catholic church even insists that if you want to get married in their church you first vow to raise your children as Catholics. The reason is obvious - corrupt them when they are young and you have most of them for life.

JP: Religion makes people unhappy. It deprives people of joy in life. [Proven false by psychological studies of conservative Christians.]

CH: A. This is not a claim that atheists make as far as I am aware, and B. even if it were valid it's an argument to be a conservative Christian NOT an Orthodox Jew. Or have you converted to conservative Christianity?

JP: Religion is based on an ignorance of nature. Science will destroy religion. [That may be true of paganism, but not monotheism. Pagans may attribute every natural event to the whim of a god. Monotheists accept the laws of nature, but believe that God created them.]

CH: Absolutely religion features an ignorance of nature. Consider that your origin story contains a talking snake - would you consider that to be a scientific fact? Hardly.

Further, if you really believe that God created the laws of nature, then why do you have a problem with evolution? Evolution is clearly the natural order of things, yet you insist on a contrary ignorant religious posture against all evidence!

Will science 'destroy' religion? No. Science is interested in claims that are falsifiable. Religion thrives on claims that are not falsifiable and retreats from any that are.

JP: According to the principle of Occam’s razor, any natural explanation for something, no matter how unlikely, is preferable to a supernatural explanation. [A simpler theory is not better if the simpler theory is much more improbable. Therefore, actually, Intelligent Design Theory is better than the Infinite Monkey Theorem.]

CH: Sigh. There is no 'infinite monkey theorem', nor is the choice between one or the other. Nor is evidence against one proof of the other.

Further, there is nothing more probable about supernatural explanations than natural ones - by definition! ANY natural explanation is more probable than a supernatural one. Natural explanations can be improbable. Even highly improbable. Supernatural explanations are actually IMPOSSIBLE.

For example;

Is it more likely that the sun 'stopped in the sky' because of a miracle?

"So the sun stood still, and the moon stopped, till the nation avenged itself on its enemies, as it is written in the Book of Jashar. The sun stopped in the middle of the sky and delayed going down about a full day. There has never been a day like it before or since…” Joshua 10:13-14

Or is it more probable that a natural explanation like; the author is mistaken, taking literary liberties, confused about some other natural phenomenae like an eclipse, etc. is taking place?

(This doesn't even take into account the geo-centrism implicit in the Joshua account. Aristarchus would have wept.)

JP: Man is not special. Man is merely one of many species of animals inhabiting one of many planets circling one of billions of stars. [Man is the most complex object in the known universe.]

CH: Simply false. Man is not 'the most complex' anything. Other creatures far lowlier than us have much larger and more 'complicated' genomes.

Do atheists believe man is special? Absolutely - but not for intellectually vague reasons like 'complexity'. We are 'special' because of our capacities for reason and reflective action.

And maybe I am missing something but are suggesting we are somehow not 'one of many species of animals inhabiting one of many planets circling one of billions of stars.'? Are you in denial of even these brute facts? Have you paid any attention at all to the advancements of science over the last 500 years?

JP: Evolution is a fact. It is obvious that all life is descended from bacteria just as much as it is obvious that the world is round. [Events that allegedly happened millions of years before recorded history and which contradict common sense and the fossil record are hardly as obvious as the shape of the earth.]

CH: Evolution is NOT an atheist theory. It's a brute scientific fact. It is well tested, constantly under scrutiny, and perhaps most obviously, completely confirmed by the rise of the entire branch of science called 'genetics'. You may have heard of it.

JP: The United States, in spite of being more religious than Europe, has far more crime than western and northern European countries. This proves that religion does not make people moral and perhaps proves the opposite. [The US has far more Negroes than European countries. They are the source of most of the crime. Utah has a very high level of church attendance, few Negroes and little crime.]

CH: Wow. Stupid AND racist. That's quite the combination. Consider this then, why is it that blacks (your supposedly criminal element) are more statistically much more religious than their non-white counterparts? How is it that crime in the South is higher when it is the South that is more religious? How does that work?

JP: Generally, the atheists who comment on this blog are not interested in any serious discussion and have no doubt that they are right. To them, the idea of God and Torah is as ridiculous as the tooth fairy.

CH: I should point out that The tooth fairy leaves better evidence.

JP: There are merely commenting because they are bored and they wish to ridicule, mock and throw out some cliché’s which they've read in Dawkins or some similar books.

CH: I'm definitely not bored, and I typically confine myself to ridiculing the ridiculous. Mocking you is just a bonus. As for the other atheists who comment here, I wouldn't presume to speak for their states of mind or intentions. How curious that you would.

MorseCode said...

"the occurrence of a random chance event so unlikely as to be virtually impossible."

How do you know how likely or unlikely it is? If there is no god, it happened, which would make it likely enough to take place. You just think it's unlikely, but really can't make an accurate statement. Maybe it was very likely, perhaps not. Either way, it seems that billions of years were long enough for the likely to take place.

As to the second part, you asked for an alternative idea. I'm just giving an example of how else it could have happened, since you seem a little focused on wanting me to claim that all the early Hebrews were liars.

Given the fact that there is no good archaeological evidence for exodus, I tend to think it didn't happen. Do I know how the story formed? No. Could it have been some liars? Maybe. Could it have been a mentally ill person? Maybe. Was it a huge conspiracy? Almost certainly not.

Now, you'll want to turn that statement to mean "if it wasn't a conspiracy, it must be true". But that's a fallacy. The fact that these people believed it does not make it true.

jewish philosopher said...

"ALL religions claim special revelation. The one at Sinai is no more impressive than any those claimed by the Oracle of Delphi."

It is because Sinai was a public revelation, which obviously is far more difficult to fake than a private one.

"Why is it that blacks (your supposedly criminal element) are more statistically much more religious than their non-white counterparts?"

I doubt that's true. And I doubt that the churchgoing blacks the same ones going to prison.

"How is it that crime in the South is higher when it is the South that is more religious? How does that work?"

The South is more heavily black.

jewish philosopher said...

Morsecode, in this post I explain why abiogensis is impossibly unlikely.

Regarding the lack of archaeological evidence connected to Exodus, in this post, I point out that absence of evidence is surely not evidence of absence.

MorseCode said...

"Morsecode, in this post I explain why abiogensis is impossibly unlikely."

Well, it's a shame that the Miller-Urey experiments prove you wrong then.

And from the wikipedia article you yourself link to: "There is a consensus that Egypt, being far away from areas of significant seismic activity, would not be significantly affected by an earthquake in the Aegean."

Absence of evidence may not be evidence of absence. But it also is not evidence for it existing. There is no supporting evidence for the exodus story. Until there is, that is all it is, a story.

badrabbi said...

Cameron,

Magnificent as usual. I hardly ever thought of myself as a fan of anyone, but you have turned me into a genuine fan. Your logic is devestating.


JP,

You are daily suprising me on how low you can get. In this blog, you have essentially admitted to being a racist. But just to confirm, I wish to ask you a direct question. JP, do you believe that the Back race is inferior to the Caucasian race?

jewish philosopher said...

Morsecode,

"the Miller-Urey experiments prove you wrong then"

Miller-Urey proved very little, and they surely did not prove that abiogenesis is very likely.

Wikipedia does not provide any source for that "consensus" that Egypt would not be effected by Thera. We know that the far smaller Krakatoa eruption in 1883 had major global effects which lasted for years.

Bad, in this blog I am just being honest. About the black race, I don't really believe in races. It could be a cultural thing.

MorseCode said...

"Miller-Urey proved very little, and they surely did not prove that abiogenesis is very likely."

Sure they did. They didn't prove exactly how it happened on earth. So? They proved that biological life could come from non-life, given the right circumstances. It obvious can happen, and so becomes likely to happen. Not in the exact same way, but along the same lines.

"Wikipedia does not provide any source for that "consensus" that Egypt would not be effected by Thera. We know that the far smaller Krakatoa eruption in 1883 had major global effects which lasted for years."

And did Krakatoa wipe out the records of a country hundreds of miles away for hundreds of years? Because that, really, is what you're claiming.

jewish philosopher said...

If abiogenesis obviously can happen spontaneously, then why has no scientist yet been able to do it artificially?

I am claiming that the Egyptian records from three thousands years ago are almost non-existent, as is clear from the lack of any reference to a catastrophe which we know from other sources happened nearby at that time.

MorseCode said...

"If abiogenesis obviously can happen spontaneously, then why has no scientist yet been able to do it artificially?"

What have we been talking about? That is what the Miller-Urey experiment did.

"which we know from other sources happened nearby at that time."

Since when is the other side of the Aegean considered "nearby"?

jewish philosopher said...

The Miller-Urey experiment did not create life. It created amino acids. That's like creating a little piece of copper wire compared to creating an entire computer.

For an 800 megaton explosion, 450 miles is closer than you want to be.

MorseCode said...

It created biological substances from non-biological substances. By doing so, they gave evidence that it is possible for such a thing to take place. Just because they didn't pop out a rabbit doesn't make it any less impressive.

jewish philosopher said...

No machine was created spontaneously, therefore the Watchmaker Analogy was never disproved.

natschuster said...

Morsecode:

the Miller-Urey Experiment produced amino acids. Amino acids aren't life. Life requires cells. The simplest cell consists of soem 2000 proteins. Proteins consist of long chains of hundreds amino acids that have to be arrainged in a specific sequence. One misplaced
amino acid can prove fatal. Each protein also have to fold into a very specific shape. Cells also consist of Nucleic acids carbohydrates, lipids, other chemical such as ATP, electrolytes, etc. Everything has to be arrainged in a precise configuration. Everything has to be maintained in a precise balance. If any one ingredient is missing, it doesn't work, its not life. To the best of my knowledge, scientists have yet to come up with a plausible explanation for amino acids spontaniously assembling into a cell. The only answer I've heard is "we'll have an answer for you someday."

By the way, according to a recent article in Scientific American by Robert Shapiro, scientists nowadays have pretty much given up on descibing how large, functioning proteins can form spontaniously from amino acids. RNA as the first replicator is not a good candidat either. So they are rally in the dark.

The real reason that a watch is not agood analogy for life is because a watch is way too simple. A better analogy would be a computer factory. That might approach a simple cell in complexity.

Rebeljew said...

JP: Atheism and agnosticism are simply synonymous with hedonism, narcissism and moral relativism. They are not based on proof.

RJ: And your proof for that is ... ?

JP: Atheism is based on selfishness. Orthodox Judaism is based on reason.

RJ: I thought it was based on concepts of spirituality, holiness and some select superstition.

JP: On the average Orthodox Jews are much nicer than atheists.

RJ: Where are the studies behind this? I wouldn't ask, but since OJ is based on reason and all ...

JP: On the average Orthodox Jews are much happier than atheists.

RJ: Huh???

Some atheistic clichés, many going back to the French Enlightenment:

There is no rational reason to believe in God. [Watchmaker Analogy?]

RJ: This shows that you have no interest in actual debate. The Paley Watchmaker analogy has been destroyed (as a proof for G-d) by several commenters, myself included. One commenter even does so very succintly in this very thread.

JP: God is no more likely to exist than Thor or Zeus. [Sinai revelation?]

RJ: Er, JP. What about the constant appearances of Zeus on Mount Olympus and all of his offspring? What about the very real presence of thunder? You can't use myth to prove myth. (Watch JP attack this based on his complete lack of knowledge of what myth is.)

JP: God would not allow suffering. [Why not?]

RJ: Er, JP, if I could prevent children from suffering, I would. Am I kinder than G-d? If I could heal dying fathers of 8 who learn Torah and do mitzvos, I would. Am I kinder and frummer than der Ribono Shel Oilam? I'll even let you know why I do things, not just say, well I am mysterious.

JP: People are naturally good and moral. Religion corrupts people and makes them hateful and violent. [Which religion were Mao and Stalin?]

RJ: OK, I agree. Even a stopped watchmaker is right twice a day.

JP: People only believe in religion because they were taught it as little children. [Actually, most things people know and believe they were taught as children, including literacy, arithmetic, etc.]

RJ: Tautology

JP: Religion makes people unhappy. It deprives people of joy in life. [Proven false by psychological studies of conservative Christians.]

RJ: Studies by whom, with what controls, with what criteria

JP: Religion is based on an ignorance of nature. Science will destroy religion. [That may be true of paganism, but not monotheism. Pagans may attribute every natural event to the whim of a god. Monotheists accept the laws of nature, but believe that God created them.]

RJ: I do not see the difference scientifically speaking.

JP: According to the principle of Occam’s razor, any natural explanation for something, no matter how unlikely, is preferable to a supernatural explanation. [A simpler theory is not better if the simpler theory is much more improbable. Therefore, actually, Intelligent Design Theory is better than the Infinite Monkey Theorem.]

RJ: And evolution is better than either.

JP: Man is not special. Man is merely one of many species of animals inhabiting one of many planets circling one of billions of stars. [Man is the most complex object in the known universe.]

RJ: Known by man? Why is complexity good?

JP: Evolution is a fact. It is obvious that all life is descended from bacteria just as much as it is obvious that the world is round. [Events that allegedly happened millions of years before recorded history and which contradict common sense and the fossil record are hardly as obvious as the shape of the earth.]

RJ: Further denial that you have been destroyed on this issue. Do you use modern medicine, based on genetics and tests on rats and rhesus monkeys?

JP: The United States, in spite of being more religious than Europe, has far more crime than western and northern European countries. This proves that religion does not make people moral and perhaps proves the opposite. [The US has far more Negroes than European countries. They are the source of most of the crime. Utah has a very high level of church attendance, few Negroes and little crime.]

RJ: So its those pesky negroooos causing crime? Why don't we just send the Negros to church? What a sicko you are.

JP: Generally, the atheists who comment on this blog are not interested in any serious discussion and have no doubt that they are right. To them, the idea of God and Torah is as ridiculous as the tooth fairy. They are merely commenting because they are bored and they wish to ridicule, mock and throw out some cliché’s which they've read in Dawkins or some similar books.

RJ: So they are all just drones but you have really well thought out positions? JP, I've got to hand it to you. I was beginning to think you might come up with a thought of some sort. Sadly, you are just a moron who has read a couple of things and thinks he has mastered the library of Congress. I rarely call people morons, but you have earned it fully. Ditto, for sicko.

badrabbi said...

"Man is merely one of many species of animals inhabiting one of many planets circling one of billions of stars."

What exactly is wrong with this appraisal?

Is Judaism disputing that there are many planets circling many stars?

badrabbi said...

Just curious JP, do you discuss your opinions amongst the orthodox Jews living with you as neighbors? DO their opinions mirror yours? Tell us.

DrJ said...

JP said,
"No machine was created spontaneously, therefore the Watchmaker Analogy was never disproved."

Herein lies the main weakness of your objection to the Inifinite Monkey Theorem, the same as the fallacy of the Bible Codes.

If you predefine a known target, such as life as we know it now, or a machine that we know as man made, then indeed the likelihood of random spontaneous generation is exceedingly low. But if you see our current form of life as one of many (actually infinite!) possible outcomes of time, elements, random events, etc, then the likelihoods change entirely. The Bible codes "proof" has been descredited in a similar fashion. The chance of any one apriori stated particular outcome is ridiculously low, but the chance of ANY outcome occuring is high.

By analogy:

If I throw a penny 20 times, but before hand I stipulate, I want to see HTTHHTTHHTTTHTHHTTHH, then the chance is extremely low (I won't state the formula here). But if I simply throw it 20 times, I will definitely get SOME outcome. If afterwards I then ask, "what was the chance of that happening?", the correct question has to be restated as: What is the chance that ANY ONE of the million possible outcomes occuring will occur? The chance is 100%!!
Its really a classic case of serendipity. What is the chance that I'll run into a friend at the mall? Well, if beforehand I specify a specific friend, at a specific time, and place, then very low. But if I ask the same question, without specifying, in the context of all possible events that occur to me over a period of time, than its not so improbable. We all experience this phenomenon.

With regards to the collective legend idea as proof of its truth, and that nobody "blew the whistle", my answer is: None of the surrounding peoples, nations, historians reported such an event. They are the whistle blowers. That is exactly analogous to an individual reporting a miracle that nobody else can confirm. The whistle blowers can't say with certainty that IT DIDN"T HAPPEN, they can simply state we know of no such thing. Maybe we just didn't see it or hear it, or we were far away, or whatever. Also, we know that legends usually coalesce much later than the events they claim to report, so there is no "proof" one way or another. People simply choose to accept and believe. How do you explain your belief JP? You have no personal tradition or testimony, you simply chose to accept the narratives of the Jewish people as truth. This is how it happened for thousands of years.

So this is really a very weak argument.

Sorry for the long post.

DrJ said...

One more thing about the watchmaker analogy.

Why ask the question about a watch? How about a rock? At a micro level it is also infinitely complex, with crystals, molecules, atoms and subatomic particles. They are all interacting through chemical, electrical and quantum reactions, and all miraculously working together to hold the rock together as a solid object with tempurature and all of its other properties. I think that you would agree that it is extremely complex if not infinitely. So how much more complex is a machine? Or life? Does that difference in complexity require a creator for one but not the other?

The only conclusion that one can make from the analogy is that life appears more complex than non-life.

Cameron said...

Nat Schuster, your the Jonathon Wells fan, you might be interested in knowing he is a total fraud;

http://darwinianconservatism.blogspot.com/2007/12/icon-of-id-jonathan-wells-and-peppered.html

badrabbi said...

Nat;

Regarding abiogenesis, it is clear that scientists have considerable work to do in order to explain how a living organism came to be from its organic progenitors. It is fair to say that even the simplest organism is very complex and its formation by mere accident is very unlikely indeed.

However, I wish for you to consider these possibilities:

1. It is true that the simplest organism today is very complex. However, it is possible for earlier organisms to have been simpler. We do not know what the earliest living organisms looked like but it is a safe bet to assume that they were simpler that the simplest bacteria today. An interesting line of investigation would be to attempt to calculate the minimal number of structures needed to achieve a functional living organism. For example, one could calculate how many proteins are necessary to allow a small strip of RNA to replicate.

2. Consider how unlikely it is for you and I to exist. Consider that each time a man ejaculates during sex, he is secreting over 500 million unique sperm cells. Consider also that every woman, at ovulation, excretes one of 200,000 eggs. Let us say that on average our parents had sex about a hundred times before she became pregnant with us. Thus, our chance of being born (ignoring the complexities of pregnancy and birth defects) is 500,000,000 X 200,000 X 100 = 10,000,000,000,000,000 = 10^16. The chance that you and I would exist together so that I could write you is 10^32! The chance that all people who live today should be living today is 10^16 to the power of 6X10^9, and I honestly do not know how to calculate astronomically low probabilities such as that.

Yet, Nat, we are here writing to one another. How is that? Has a supernatural miracle taken place?

You see, Nat, stuff happens. If you were to calculate the odds of any particular event to happen after the fact, you would calculate astronomically low probabilities.

If you took a bunch of amino acids and waited a billion years to see what would happen, the odds of something happening to them is very high. I bet you that the amino acids that you leave lying about for a billion years would change in one way or another. The probability that a given quantity of amino acids transforming into something over a period of 1 billion years is high. The probability of your predicting just what would happen to them is astronomically low, though. Now that you have life, which would constitute one of myriad possibilities, it would not be logical to object to the low probability of life's formation.

I am sorry to be long winded but these are not easy concepts. I do hope that you understand what I was trying to convey.

badrabbi said...

DrJ;

Shit, we were thinking along the same lines at the same time. We produced similar concepts in different words. Imagine the odds of that!

DrJ said...

Bad,

Yes, we are two analytical, left brain thinkers. There is no chance that JP will adopt these views, however. Hey JP, I think that you would actually sound more rational by actually admitting that that your position is not a logical, evidence-based one but rather a rational/emotional view that you adopt, in that, given your emotional/family/personality makeup, your choice to adopt ultra-orthodox Judaism as a value system fits. You are rational in that this choice gives you something positive and satisfying--personally, family-wise, and emotionally. There's nothing wrong with that, any more than anybody adopting any belief system. Just call it what it is, and we can all move on!!!

natschuster said...

Badrabbi

First of all, getting amino acids to bond is not an easy task. Cells can do it because they expend energy. They fact that it is a dehydration process means that the laws of diffusion are wokring agsint you. Finally the chances of agetting a simple chain of 100 amino acids is 20^100 power, whic h is eqaul to about 10^130. Approximately 10^20 seconds have passed since the big bang. That measn that if an attempt was made to make one porteins every second, you would need seven universal lifetimes to have good odds. The numbers are against you.

badrabbi said...

LOL, Nat, did you read my post at all?

natschuster said...

BadRabbi:

Yes, I read it. The chances of amino acids left alone in a vat forming a polymer at all is quite small for the reasons I sited, entropy and diffusion are working against you. Proteins ahve to be very specific in their configuration or they don't work at all, so the chances of getting a biologically useful protein are vanishingly small. Moreover, the most basic function of life is self-replication. Proteins cn;t make good sefl-replciators because the power of a protein comes from the shape they fodl into. If a protein is twisted into a complex shape, it might find it very hard to copy itself. DNA's makes agood replicator because it's basic form is linear.

I don't think that conception of a human is a good analogy. Tis true that the cances of any specific individual being conceived is quite small. However, the chances of somene being conceived are good. If it wasn't me, it would be someone else. If I roll one die, the chances of getting a six are 1:6. The chances of getting any number from one to six are 1:1.
We are talikng about the cahnces of life forming on earth versus the chances of the earth remainig barren. In other words what are the chances that thousands of simple molecules can come together and form a cell versus the chances that they won't form a cell.

natschuster said...

Cameron:

I'm not a fann of Wells. A question was asked, "Why aren't we seeing more intelligent design research coming out of universities?" I suggested the answer that academicians are worried about the effects on their careers. Wells provides the supporting documention.

natschuster said...

Cameron:

I don't see proof of fraud on the part of Wells in the blog you sited. He may be just be mistaken. I have seen Haeckel's fraudulent drawings in the textbooks I teach from. Now that's outright fraud on the part of evolutionists.

natschuster said...

Badrabbi:

The earliest evidence of life found in rocks alomost four billion years old are cells very similar to modern bacteria. No life functions happen outside of cells. Viruses have to invade cells to function. It looks like you can't make life simpler than the simplest cell, which is extemely complex.

jewish philosopher said...

First of all, I want to apologize for not having the time to comment on everyone else’s comments at the moment. The fact is, I think that I have covered, in detail, usually several times, all of these points. This post was intended as a quick summary of earlier posts. I will TRY to add a lot of links today to the post and I hope this will be helpful.

About the Negro issue: I really know very little about the culture and genetics of people of sub-Saharan African heritage. I will leave that to specialists in those fields. However, I am just a little sick of occasionally hearing an atheist comment “We know that religion does not promote morality and in fact perhaps the opposite is true. Just compare the statistics for violent crime and for church attendance in Bible Belt South Carolina and in ultra-secular Sweden!” Well, there is an obvious reason for that, even though no one is allowed to say so in public. Sections of the United States that have very few Negroes have crime rates comparable to Europe, which has very few Negroes.

DrJ, I am not arguing that the appearance of any particular machine by blind chance is impossibly improbable. I am not trying to say for example that the existence of a magnificently intelligent, tall, blue eyed, handsome, athletic, amazingly humble Jewish philosopher named Jacob Stein is incredibly unlikely, although it is; yet it happened. What I am trying to say is that the appearance of ANY machine by blind chance is impossibly improbable. Proof: we have never witnessed such an event.

About the Sinai revelation: Here’s a challenge for skeptics. Find one other incident in history where an entire nation has believed that their ancestors experienced a national revelation, as we all know has been the case with the Jews. If you cannot, then please stop saying, “Exodus is no different than any other myth.”

One thing I have noticed, and I am thinking in particular of Cameron although it is probably true of others, is that after all is said and done, after all the arguments and counter arguments, all the proofs and questions and answers, after all the Watchmakers and Jewish history and so on are all hashed out, the atheists will still claim “But it cannot be! Say whatever you like, talk until you are blue in the face. However a transcendent, non-physical being cannot exist. A ‘being’ must exist within time and space and be composed of matter and energy. Anything else is impossible.” This is simply a logical fallacy known as an argument from personal incredulity. It is not persuasive.

Cameron said...

natschuster: I'm not a fann of Wells. A question was asked, "Why aren't we seeing more intelligent design research coming out of universities?" I suggested the answer that academicians are worried about the effects on their careers. Wells provides the supporting documention.

CH: So the reason we don't see design research is because an easily discredited, partisan shill says so? Wells is a liar, and even you are not 'a fann', yet you are comfortable citing his lies to support you when convenient?

The reason there is no ID research is because there is nothing in ID to research. There are no claims ID makes that can be falsified, no tests we can subject it to, and ultimately, 'there is no there there'. It's an empty thesis.

Consider as well, that even JP doesn't use ID theory as an alternative to evolution - he uses his design arguments explicitly as the only proof of the existence of his God.

Cameron said...

JP: About the Negro issue: I really know very little about the culture and genetics of people of sub-Saharan African heritage.

CH: Another point of agreement discovered!

JP: However, I am just a little sick of occasionally hearing an atheist comment “We know that religion does not promote morality and in fact perhaps the opposite is true. Just compare the statistics for violent crime and for church attendance in Bible Belt South Carolina and in ultra-secular Sweden!” Well, there is an obvious reason for that, even though no one is allowed to say so in public. Sections of the United States that have very few Negroes have crime rates comparable to Europe, which has very few Negroes.

CH: So are you actually saying criminal behaviour in fact has nothing to do with religion with secular Swedes being less criminal than religious blacks?

Did it ever occur to you that the relevant component to criminal behaviour may be something else entirely - like economics? That the more low income people you have the more they are likely to steal?

No, instead you went right for the most racist argument available. Revealing I think that you claim to be pro-slavery too.

JP: What I am trying to say is that the appearance of ANY machine by blind chance is impossibly improbable. Proof: we have never witnessed such an event.

CH: Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence. If the only argument you have against abiogenesis is that we weren't around to see the original event, that's a poor argument even for you.

JP: About the Sinai revelation: Here’s a challenge for skeptics. Find one other incident in history where an entire nation has believed that their ancestors experienced a national revelation, as we all know has been the case with the Jews.

CH: The Oracle at Delphi influenced military, political and economic decisions in an empire for decades. Further, it was more than a single revelation, and the affects on every facet of Greek civilization were affected by their prophecies.

JP: If you cannot, then please stop saying, “Exodus is no different than any other myth.”

CH: Exodus is no different from any other myth. And your claim of revelation is no different from any other religious claim of revelation. It's all the same crap. If you think yours is so much better, feel free to prove it using evidence rather than some spurious claim to special witnesses.

JP: One thing I have noticed, and I am thinking in particular of Cameron

CH: Wow, you noticed something!

JP:...although it is probably true of others, is that after all is said and done, after all the arguments and counter arguments, all the proofs and questions and answers, after all the Watchmakers and Jewish history and so on are all hashed out, the atheists will still claim “But it cannot be! Say whatever you like, talk until you are blue in the face. However a transcendent, non-physical being cannot exist. A ‘being’ must exist within time and space and be composed of matter and energy.

CH: finally we are getting somewhere. Consider what the very word 'being' means - to exist by having physical form.

JP: This is simply a logical fallacy known as an argument from personal incredulity. It is not persuasive.

CH: Your a piece of work. The 'argument from incredulity' is one YOU make all the time 'I cannot believe that something so complex as life came about by chance'. I make no claim that we should not believe in God because I can't imagine what that would be like. I make the claim that we should not believe in God because what you describe him as is confused incoherent nonsense.

jewish philosopher said...

I have never said I "cannot believe" that something so complex as life came about by chance. I have said that we know that the chance of it happening is impossibly small.

The Oracle of Delphi was a woman in a trance. It was not a national revelation, as you imply.


You are an absolutely blatant, shameless liar who is attempting to dupe himself and others.

And this goes on and on, post after post, month after month. I would not believe this if I didn't read it myself. Now I know where crazy ideologies come from. Someone just lies and lies and lies and some fools believe it.

I would love to know who you actually are. I'm sure it would be fascinating. Can you hold a job? Have you ever maintained a long term relationship? Do you have a criminal record? What about your credit history?

Cameron said...

JP: I have never said I "cannot believe" that something so complex as life came about by chance. I have said that we know that the chance of it happening is impossibly small.

CH: Obviously the chance is not 'impossibly' small, as it has happened.

JP: The Oracle of Delphi was a woman in a trance. It was not a national revelation, as you imply.

CH: She acts as a living conduit for the God Apollo and delivers his word to the people! Hundreds of thousands followed her revelations., and nations went to war (and made peace) based on her prophecy. So the evidence of the Oracle is far more convincing than your 'a whole bunch of people say the revelation at Mt Sinai' argument.

JP: You are an absolutely blatant, shameless liar who is attempting to dupe himself and others.

CH: No matter how nice you talk to me, I'm not going to put that in my mouth.

JP: And this goes on and on, post after post, month after month.

CH: This is what Freudians call 'projection'.

JP: Now I know where crazy ideologies come from. Someone just lies and lies and lies and some fools believe it.

CH: Sounds like the revelation at Mt Sinai.

JP: I would love to know who you actually are.

CH: I keep my link to my blogs in my profile. Figuring out who I am is not only not difficult, it would be easy for anyone of even average intelligence.

JP: I'm sure it would be fascinating. Can you hold a job?

CH: 17 years in the same industry (entertainment distribution) until this last November where I pursued a career change.

JP: Have you ever maintained a long term relationship?

CH: Of course. I'm married (just once - unlike some people I've corresponded with. I guess marriage forever doesn't mean the same thing to a religious person as it does for an atheist. I actually meant my vows), and I have an 8 month old son.

JP: Do you have a criminal record?

CH: No, but I do have a BAs in Political Science and Philosophy. It's how I stumbled across your site. I googled 'philosophy + blog' one day and yours was on the list.

I wasn't even all that dissapointed to find out that you weren't an actual philosopher but just a cranky old guy mouthing off about atheists after I read your highly entertaining 'Dinosaurs and Porn' post. My friends and I still get a giggle out of it.

JP: What about your credit history?

CH: Listen, I'm not going to have sex with you, and I certainly am not going to pay for it so stop asking.

jewish philosopher said...

Comments are welcome, as the title says. However if someone constantly lies, I am going to point that out.

A woman in trance is not a "national revelation" and you know that.

If someone wins a major state lottery twice in row the government will automatically withhold payment and investigate him for fraud. That is not due to mere incredulity. It is because he is almost certainly a fraud. However if I say that I cannot believe that I am adopted and therefore it cannot be true, that is an argument from incredulity.

So go ahead, Cam. Tell some more lies. That's how you always cope with losing arguments.

natschuster said...

Cameron:

I believe Wells because he provides the documentation. You still believe the evolutionists even though I can demonstrate that they are commiting fraud when they put Heackel's admittedly falsified drawings in textbooks.

natschuster said...

Cameron:

There is plenty of ID reseach going on according to Behe, Dembski, etc. The question was why aren't we seeing more of it coming out of Universities? The answer is that people are afraid for their carreers.

All intellignet design theory says is that some features of life are better explain by intelligent design than by evolution.

jewish philosopher said...

For Cam, fraud is not a problem. Just make stuff up, so long as it makes you happy.

Cameron said...

JP: A woman in trance is not a "national revelation" and you know that.

CH: The 'woman in a trance' was speaking for the God Apollo. It doesn't matter whether I believe it to be true (I don't as an atheist I don't believe in Apollo the god), what matters is that the Oracle of Delphi and her connection to the Gods of Olympus was considered to be very very real by at least three Empires (the Greek, the Delphinians and the Spartan). Her prophecies were considered to be revelations of the divine Apollo and entire nations trembled at the result.

On the positive side, when Solon consulted the Oracle she said to him;

'Seat yourself now amidships, for you are the pilot of Athens.

Grasp the helm fast in your hands; you have many allies in your city.'

Solon would heed this advice, abandon tyranny and establish the first democracy.

Now THAT is a 'national revelation'!

JP: So go ahead, Cam. Tell some more lies.

CH: uh...ok, how about you are good looking, smart and people like and respect your opinion? Oh and you have a handsome beard. That's all I got for now, all out of lies.

JP: That's how you always cope with losing arguments.

CH: Speaking of 'losing arguments', let's review shall we?

- 'Watchmaker analogy as proof of god' totally debunked (and by others better than I, especially Spike who drove a stake right through that zombie heart)

- 'No good decent atheist leaders', debunked. Sam Harris, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, and others make a mockery of your claim.

- 'Religious people are less criminal than atheists', debunked. And what's worse, you claim the reason it is debunked is because blacks are more criminal than others despite being religious.

- 'The revelation at Mt Sinai was special', debunked, it's no different than revelations experienced by a variety of other religions and considerably less influential than those of the Oracle of Delphi - after all, you live in a Democracy not under a Jewish King.

So is that all you got Jacob? A bunch of tired arguments, and the 'your a liar' response to critics?

Kind of sad don't you think?

jewish philosopher said...

"'Watchmaker analogy as proof of god' totally debunked". Not true. Every watch has a maker.

"'No good decent atheist leaders', debunked." Not true. You have yet to produce the name of person who was a prominent leader of the atheist community about whom there is reliable, detailed documentation attesting to his good character.

"'Religious people are less criminal than atheists', debunked."
I never said that. Osama bin Laden is very religious and if you have been following my blog, you will notice I am not a fan.

"'The revelation at Mt Sinai was special', debunked" In your dreams. "National revelation" means a god revealing himself to an entire nation.

Keep going Cam. Open that sewer full throttle. Get it all out.

Cameron said...

natschuster: There is plenty of ID reseach going on according to Behe, Dembski, etc.

CH: By all means point out a single published peer reviewed piece of research from any of them on ID theory experiments in the last year.

natschuster: The question was why aren't we seeing more of it coming out of Universities? The answer is that people are afraid for their carreers.

CH: Actually no, the answer is that there is nothing they have come up with in terms of projects that would produce any evidence of design. Nor can they convince anybody of even moderate intelligence at a university bureaucracy to fund the search for design in organisms when there are entire departments of Genetics that exist as proof such concepts are vacuous at best.

Even Behe's 'irreducible complexity' of the bacterial flagellum idea fell flat on its face (see: Kitzmiller Dover trial).

All those creation scientists so eggregiously punished for their ridiculous beliefs can get in line behind the Astrologers unfairly purged from the Astro-physics departments, and the Alchemists discriminated against by that conspiracy of unbelieving so-called 'Chemists'.

natschuster: All intellignet design theory says is that some features of life are better explain by intelligent design than by evolution.

CH: And yet none of you Disco Institute junkies can name even one feature for which this is the case. Go figure.

Cameron said...

JP: "'Watchmaker analogy as proof of god' totally debunked". Not true. Every watch has a maker.

JP: Except as any fool should know, living organisms are not watches, and don't have makers - they have parents (or in the case of parthenogenesis, parent). Your sex life must be terrible if you think children are 'designed'.

JP: "'No good decent atheist leaders', debunked." Not true. You have yet to produce the name of person who was a prominent leader of the atheist community about whom there is reliable, detailed documentation attesting to his good character.

CH: Ayaan Ali Hirsi. No drug abuse issues, no divorce, political leader, rationalist and opponent of radical Islam. Sam Harris, author, prominent critic of religion and atheist leader with no divorce, history of drug abuse or other moral issues. You. Are. Busted.

JP: "'Religious people are less criminal than atheists', debunked."
I never said that. Osama bin Laden is very religious and if you have been following my blog, you will notice I am not a fan.

CH: So we are agreed then, religious people are no more or less inclined to criminality than anyone else?

JP: "'The revelation at Mt Sinai was special', debunked" In your dreams. "National revelation" means a god revealing himself to an entire nation.

CH: I pointed out earlier that the miracle of Joshua (the sun stopping in the sky) would have to have been witnessed by all of the people's of the earth - yet we consider it to be false. So if all the people of the earth are not enough to validate a miracle, why would 'a nation' composed of a single tribe of Jews be sufficient?

Further, and returning to the Oracle for a moment, the Delphic prophecies were considered key not to just Delphic society, but also the Spartan and Greeks. The Delphic revelations of the words of Apollo affected an entire continent (further if you consider that the Persian empire was frequently a target of wars and the Delphic Oracle was often being asked if war was prudent or not). And yet you insist that your Mt Sinai revelation is somehow more reliable than the words of a prophet who moved hundreds of thousands to take her word as that of Apollo, and millions to take up arms for or against her.

So like I said, Exodus is a myth, just like all the others. As is your God.

Cameron said...

natscuhster: You still believe the evolutionists even though I can demonstrate that they are commiting fraud when they put Heackel's admittedly falsified drawings in textbooks

CH: First it would depend on the context Heackel's drawings appear. If they are being uncritically used as 'proof' of evolution than I would side with you that the textbook needs to be corrected and the drawings removed. If they are being used as part of explaining some of the history behind the science of evolution and the drawings are placed into their proper context, then no, I don't have a problem with them.

How curious though that you consider Haeckel to be such a smackdown of an argument when the person who raised it as an issue was Stephen Jay Gould - an 'evolutionist'.

jewish philosopher said...

Cam, machines that reproduce are still machines. And they need a designer.

There are no bios available of Harris or Miss Ali Hirsi. A couple of magazine articles are not a enough.

Saying "Is religion good?" is like saying "Is dieting good?". It all depends which one.

What's the problem with the sun and Joshua? So the earth stopped turning for a few hours.

flyswatter said...

natschuster,

Since these ID and Anthropic Principle guys are doing research, they are obviously testing a hypothesis through experiments. If their own experiments show that their hypothesis is proven to be incorrect, that there is no intelligent designer and that there is no Anthropic Principle, would you accept their findings?

Cameron said...

JP: Cam, machines that reproduce are still machines. And they need a designer.

CH: All machines are made by man, whereas all living things reproduce on their own without help from man. Evolution explains how environment influences organisms, and genetics is the proof for how that process takes place. So you are (again) simply wrong - living things do not need a designer.

JP: There are no bios available of Harris or Miss Ali Hirsi. A couple of magazine articles are not a enough.

CH: If you can't find any evidence to support a criticism of them, that is not my problem. I'm content that both as prominent atheists (along with others we haven't recently mentioned like Harry Harrison and Terry Pratchett) debunk your claim.

JP: Saying "Is religion good?" is like saying "Is dieting good?". It all depends which one.

CH: Curiously, it turns out all dieting is bad, as are all religions.

JP: What's the problem with the sun and Joshua? So the earth stopped turning for a few hours.

CH: Crazy is as crazy talks.

jewish philosopher said...

"All machines are made by man," False. Living things are machines and are not made by man.

"If you can't find any evidence to support a criticism of them, that is not my problem." It is. Because I asked "Can anyone find an example of a single prominent atheistic leader who was kind, honest, and sober and had a stable family life?" and you can't prove the existence of one.

"all dieting is bad"

You probably need a diet. Put down those chips and that beer.

flyswatter said...

>"Can anyone find an example of a single prominent atheistic leader who was kind, honest, and sober and had a stable family life?"

Jawaharlal Nehru

jewish philosopher said...

I'm not so sure:

"The book shows Nehru to be a duplicitous charlatan who hid behind the guise of his pompous upbringing and education, and was more concerned with the sexual conquest of the wives of powerful men than with the concerns of his countrymen."

natschuster said...

Cameron:

All the textbooks I have access to in my school , with one exception, use the drawings as proof of evolution.

flyswatter said...

You are basing it on a review from a Amazon reader. The alleged affair with Lady Mountbatten was a rumor that was never substantiated. Other historians totally disagree.

Today, Kashmir is divided between the two countries, and both claim the other's share. Ongoing turmoil in the state on the Indian side has always kept the dispute alive, and both sides accuse the other of reneging on its promises. One particular insiduous charge often made by Pakistanis, recently reiterated by Professor Akbar Ahmed, who is making a film on Mohammad Ali Jinnah, was that Edwina's 'affair' with Nehru influenced Mountbatten to favour India.

Campbell-Johnson is clearly upset at the innuendo. "What has Lady Mountbatten having an affair with Nehru got to do with Kashmir? I am certain that her relation with Nehru, in the sense that they were lovers, is an absolute myth. They admired each other. As John Kenneth Galbraith, the American ambassador to India once said, 'Can't people realise that men and women can be friends?'"
src

natschuster said...

Flyswatter:

If ID is debunked, it at most proves that a creator isn't necessary. I'll accept that much.

Cameron said...

JP: "All machines are made by man," False. Living things are machines and are not made by man.

CH: Now you are just being deliberately obtuse (not that this is a surprise). All living things reproduce without the assistance or interference of a designer. Perhaps never having never successfully reproduced yourself you are unfamiliar with the process, but if you type 'sex' into your search engine inevitably you will discover how it is done.

People have children without a designer, and so do all other living organisms past and present. Sex (and in some cases other methods like cloning and parthenogenesis) are how they reproduce.

Watches on the other hand, don't reproduce. Ever. These are objects made by a human designer. So there is no analogy between living things and watches despite your increasingly feeble attempts to draw one.

JP: "If you can't find any evidence to support a criticism of them, that is not my problem." It is. Because I asked "Can anyone find an example of a single prominent atheistic leader who was kind, honest, and sober and had a stable family life?" and you can't prove the existence of one.

CH: So you admit they are both prominent atheist leaders who are kind, honest, sober and have stable family lives (unlike yours obviously), but because you can't find a biography of them you figure they don't count?

CH: "all dieting is bad"

JP: You probably need a diet. Put down those chips and that beer.

CH: Given I neither drink beer nor eat chips, and from the obvious girth under that vest in your picture I'd say this is another case of your Freudian projections getting the better of you.

jewish philosopher said...

Cam, I would hate to do it, but if you keep wasting my time, I’m going to have to start deleting you. Try to be a little normal.

Earlier today, you were lying without stop. Now you’re going off on some irrelevant tangent just so you can sound like you have an answer.

Yes, living things reproduce. And, as you already mentioned in a comment posted on Thursday, December 20, 2007 4:42:00 PM, you do not know how the first life could have originated without having had parents. So you cannot refute the Watchmaker Analogy.

You also cannot direct me to any convincing, thorough documentation attesting to the existence, ever, of a a single prominent atheistic leader who was kind, honest, and sober and had a stable family life.

But you just keep ranting and ranting and ranting. On second thought, maybe you need some more beer.

My waist is 32”. Not too bad when you’re 6’1”.

badrabbi said...

Orthoprax points to an interesting national revelation (http://orthoprax.blogspot.com/2007_07_01_archive.html).

It turns out that the Aztecs came to a given location and heard their God speak. Othoprax quotes them as writing: "They brought along the image of their god,
The idol that they worshipped.
The Aztecs heard him speak and they answered him;
They did not see how it was he spoke to them…"

So much for the uniquely Jewish claim of mass revelation.

jewish philosopher said...

Actually, very little is clearly known about what Aztecs believed.

There is no evidence of another, non-Jewish, nation believing that their ancestors had received a national revelation.

badrabbi said...

I just quoted you one, man. Your retort is that there is very little known about Aztecs?

Go to orthoprax's site, (I supplied the URL) and read it for yourself.

Cameron said...

JP: Earlier today, you were lying without stop.

CH: Jacob, if you can demonstrate I am lying about anything please feel free.

JP: Now you’re going off on some irrelevant tangent just so you can sound like you have an answer.

CH: What tangent would that be? I typically respond to all your arguments, so keeping track of which ones you think are 'irrelevant tangents' gets difficult.

JP: Yes, living things reproduce.

CH: Now we are getting somewhere. This is of course different from machines - which don't reproduce and are instead designed.

Note that these are two mutually exclusive categories, something is either a machine - in which case it was designed, or, it reproduces on its own - in which case it meets one of the criteria for being alive.

You frequently make the mistake of claiming that 'living things are machines'. This is of course a confusion. Living things share some qualities with machines, but they are different in that they reproduce without a designer, without tools and without human intervention.

JP: And, as you already mentioned in a comment posted on Thursday, December 20, 2007 4:42:00 PM, you do not know how the first life could have originated without having had parents. So you cannot refute the Watchmaker Analogy.

CH: Quote me please. I have admitted I know of no direct evidence of what the earliest life looks like (though my google search brings up 'phospolipid sheets' as a possible precursor), but I made no comment about 'parents' as I am well aware that sexual reproduction as a specific strategy came sometime after the first life not with its origin.

Further, you misunderstand what the Watchmaker analogy is.

It is not a 'proof' of anything (but don't trust me, look it up. Please. While you do that, look up 'Proof'. I can wait).

It is only the suggestion that there may be a commonality of relationship between living things and created machines and this suggestion is based on a surface resemblance between machines designed for a purpose and how creatures have evolved to fit into their environments.

Genetics though leads us beneath the surface to the truth - the organisms are not designed, they are adapted. The proof that the Watchmaker analogy is false is in DNA.

Nor does the Watchmaker analogy relate in any way to the origins of life.

But to be kind to you given the hard day you are clearly having, let's assume for the moment that some intangible force from the beginning of time reached across the eons to a small little world in a non-descript galaxy at the edge of an undistinguished spiral arm and did create the first spark of life from inanimate matter billions of years ago in the primordial ooze.

That would still mean that evolution is the process from which that life evolved forward. It would still mean that we are descended from ape-like ancestors and not angels. It would still mean that cats lost the ability to taste sweet things in an ancient ancestor, it would still mean that life began very very very small, and evolved from there to produce all the living things of the world.

It would mean there were no talking snakes seducing naked women to eat an apple - as rich a metaphor as that is.

Further, it would still be up to you to prove that this intangible being from beyond the ultraverse was responsible, and not some more natural explanation.

Be my guest.

JP: You also cannot direct me to any convincing, thorough documentation attesting to the existence, ever, of a a single prominent atheistic leader who was kind, honest, and sober and had a stable family life.

CH: If you can't find dirt on prominent people like Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Sam Harris, Penn Jillette, then I think the proper response is for you to admit defeat, not whine about how I haven't handed you their biographies on a platter. If you seek their birth-dates, a list of their marriages, proof they are atheists, a precis of their accomplishments, etc. they are not difficult to find.

Few people are more famous for being atheist than Sam Harris, and yet you can find nothing morally questionable about him.

Or Ayaan Hirsi Ali who was a publicly elected politician in her home country and was no doubt subjected to careful scrutiny of her character as part of the electoral process (consider the primaries taking place now and the pressures on character they create) - and yet you find nothing objectionable.

Unlike you, I actually expect people to have failed relationships, experimentation with illicit substances, the occasional drunken rant, accidents, a random act of boorish behaviour, or even a marriage or two that didn't work out. Personally, I don't consider these moral failures (and if we should, what does that make you?).

I think of them as being part and parcel of being human.

However, you set up the challenge, you wanted atheist leaders without these stains of character, and yet when they are presented to you you react with charges that I am somehow to blame for your inability to find fault with them. Typical.

Recall as well that Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar was an atheist who met your challenge, AND for whom there is a readily available biography.

Did he express sentiments of regret that the universe didn't have an ultimate purpose? Certainly. So? Finding that life has no 'ultimate meaning', he nevertheless remained an atheist, prominent, a leader, and ultimately, a total defeat of your challenge - including that newly discovered criteria of having a biography you could pick through with your moral comb.

How convenient of you to 'forget'.

So it is you who are the liar Jacob. Your challenge was accepted, met and defeated (repeatedly). But rather than admit this defeat gracefully, you call me a liar.

JP: But you just keep ranting and ranting and ranting. On second thought, maybe you need some more beer.

CH: Communicating with you often leaves me feeling the need for medication.

jewish philosopher said...

You were being deliberately deceptive when you suggested that the Oracle of Delphi was an example of a national revelation when in fact it was merely a woman in a trance.

You cannot show an example of a machine which originated without the involvement of a designer, therefore you cannot refute the Watchmaker Analogy. Therefore I logically assume that my heart (a pump), my brain (a computer), my eyes (cameras) must have been created with the involvement of God. Even though I personally was created by my parents and even if you claim (ridiculously) that all people are descended from bacteria, and even if those bacteria fell from a comet to earth, etc. etc. ultimately there must have been a non-physical, transcendent designer who started it all.

I have never stated that has never been an atheist who was not involved in a major public scandal. I have merely asked my readers to provide me with the name of a promiment atheist leader who was of impecable good character. I'm still waiting.

Regarding Chandra, I received his biography last Friday and I intend to blog about it. However, he was never considered to be a promiment atheist leader any more than for example Professor Kenneth Miller, the Catholic biologist, is considered to be a "promiment Catholic leader". He is a scientist who in his private life happens to be Catholic.

Bad, I read Orthoprax on a regular basis. I don't think there is an basis for the idea that the Aztecs believed their ancestors to have received a national revelation. That is some later, garbled version of their mythology.

badrabbi said...

The following is the legend of the founding of Mexico and Mexicans by the Aztec tribe. Shades of Exodus, public revelation, and promised land are every where. I know that many orthodox Jews claim that a public revelation is unique to Jews and Judaism. The following, the link (http://www.angelfire.com/ca/Indian/RoadtoAnahuac.html) provided by Orthoprax, is another such public revelation:

"One day, the legends say, a strange bird told the Aztecs to leave their country. It flew over the White Land crying 'ti-hui, t-hui,' which are the Aztec words for 'we must go'.
What can this mean? cried the puzzled people. They quickly gathered together. "The bird is calling us, said the priests. "He wants us to follow him."
The bird flew off towards the south. The tribes chose one of their number, Tecpaltzin, to lead them. "We shall go," declared Tecpaltzin. "A new homeland awaits us."
And so it was decided. The men set to and built boats, and soon the Aztec people were able to cross the water.
The Aztec tribes decided to make a statue of their sun and war god Huitzilopochtli. Then the war god spoke to them through the statue:
"I shall lead you. I shall fly with you in the shape of a white eagle, with a serpent in my beak. Follow me wherever I go. Where I settle, build a temple to me, with a bed for me to rest on. Build your houses round the temple, and destroy the villages you find there. Worship the eagle and the tiger, and be a brave and warlike people. That is my command."
So spoke the god Huitzilopochtli. He had given the Aztecs a great task: to be noble, fight for the truth, and keep order in the world. His words were symbolic. But the Aztecs misunderstood, and they thought they were to enslave other people, occupy their countries, destroy their homes and behave like tyrants. And that is what they did.
The Aztecs praised their god, and swore to obey him. They set off on the great journey with the Nahua tribes. Three priests and a priestess bore the god's statue on their shoulders on a bed of reeds. On they went until they reached a suitable place to set up camp.
It was getting on towards evening. The Aztecs built a mound of earth and set their god on it. But before they could eat they heard cries coming from the tree. Alarmed they look up at the top of the tree, and at that moment, it split in two. They were terrified, for they knew this must be a sign from their god. They fell to their knees, weeping. Suddenly the god began to speak: "Wait, my Aztecs. you must part from the Nahua tribes. Call them here and tell them they must make their way alone." Tecpaltzin summonded the Nahua chief. "Our god has spoken" he announced.
"We are listening," replied the chiefs.
"He has ordered us to wait. The time has come to say goodbye."
The Nahuas were very sad. "But what about us?" they asked.
"You must go on without us," Tecpaltzin told them.
"Can't we stay with you?" asked the Nahuas asked sadly.
But Huitzilopochtli had forbidden it, for he did not wish his people to share the promised land with the Nahuas. So the Nahuas parted from the Aztecs and went on their way alone.

It was at this spot, too, that Huitzilopochtli gave them another important order: "It is my will that from now on you call yourselves not Aztecs, but Mexicans." And his people obeyed him.
Some of the Mexicans continued straight on towards Anåhuac, the central plateau valley of the great country we now call Mexico. But the others were to continue their wanderings for years to come. They reached the place "Where the Huaxtecs wept", and then, eventually, they came to Coatlicamac, and their sacred rite of kindling the New Fire was celebrated on the mountain of the nake Coatepec. Then, for some years, they lived at Tollan, which people now call Tula. Up and down over Mexico, hither and thither they wandered. Not until the year 1216, after a migration that had lasted for nearly 60 years, did they come upon Anåhuac, the high plateau valley.

They stopped dumbstruck. Far below stretched the high plateau, dotted with lakes and bordered by mountains. It was, the ancient legends tell, a "Field of Dazzling Whiteness". Everything seemed to be brilliant white: the trees, the reeds, the meadows, the water - even the fish and the frogs. Were they really all so white, or was it simply that the new Mexicans were blinded by the beauty unfolding before their eyes?
The people fell to their knees and prayed. The chiefs and the priests wept with joy.
"At last we have come to our sacred land," they told the Mexicans. "It is Anåhuac, the Land by the Waer. Our wishes have been granted. Rejoice, everyone. Rejoice, for our god has led us to the promised land." But could their wanderings really be over? Anxiously they awaited a sign from their god.
And suddenly the voice of Huitzilopochtli thundered forth.
"Stay, Mexicans! With all your strength and all your wisdom, make this country your own. Though you sweat blood and tears, you shall win what you have been seeking. Gold and silver, precious stones and splendid finery shall be your reward. You shall harvest cocoa, and cotton, and many fruits. Beautiful gardens will delight your eyes. This is your country!"
The Mexicans praised their god and vowed again to obey him."


This is earily similar to the Jewish exodus, isn't it?

jewish philosopher said...

That's very interesting, but who wrote that story? Maybe the guy who maintains that webpage? I hate to sound like a skeptic, but I guess it's rubbing off on me.

natschuster said...

Badrabbi:

The only source for an Aztec national revelation was the Chronical Mexacolatl (I think that's the name) which was written almost a hundred years after the conquest, (it seems that the exact date of authorship isn't known)and was discovered twoo hundred years later in an Italian library. There is no evidence that the majority of Aztecs ever saw it or heard about it, let alone accepted it as part of their history. There are other versions of Aztec history that do not contain a clear national revelation, just something like a eagle eating a snake, which is a prefectly natural event, which the priests interpereted to be a sign.

Cameron:

According to Jellette's biograpy in Wikipedia, in an interview on radio, he admitted to being polyamorous, which means he believes in being unfaithful. I think that that is a failing.

badrabbi said...

The only source for an Aztec national revelation was the Chronical Mexacolatl (I think that's the name) which was written almost a hundred years after the conquest, (it seems that the exact date of authorship isn't known)and was discovered twoo hundred years later in an Italian library. There is no evidence that the majority of Aztecs ever saw it or heard about it, let alone accepted it as part of their history. There are other versions of Aztec history that do not contain a clear national revelation, just something like a eagle eating a snake, which is a prefectly natural event, which the priests interpereted to be a sign.

Wow, that almost exactly mirrors the Jewish chronicles:
1. The only source for the Jewish national revelation is the Torah
2. The exact authorship date of the Torah is unknown.
3. The Torah itself was 'discovered' by Ezra when he brought it out to read it to the Jewish people. There is no evidence that the mojority of Jews ever saw it or read it.
4. Regarding the eagle eating a snake etc., that is not entirely true. Read the passage I included in the above comments. Clearly their God is talking to the Aztecs via the Idol, telling them to do things and promising them goodies. Also, talking snakes and snakes eating other snakes is not exactly a strange concept in Judaism (ala Genesis, and Exodus 4:3)

jewish philosopher said...

"The Torah itself was 'discovered' by Ezra when he brought it out to read it to the Jewish people."

Wrong.

In any case, we have no reason to believe that the Aztecs ever believed this story in anything like the form you've presented it here.

DrJ said...

DrJ in a nutshell:

Jews are a nation and Judaism is the Jew's religion.

Judaism like all religions consist of man-made laws, ethics, and books, notwithstanding religions' claims.

Jewish faith like all faith persists not because of its truth or evidence but because people simply want to believe and it does something for them (comfort, community life, etc)or they were raised with it and that's all they know.

Jewish law, and orthodoxy in particular, propogates a great historic hoax: That Jewish laws, norms, and morality don't change because they are god given, and even admittedly man made laws are God's will. For this reason, many ultra-orthodox Jews who dress like 17th century Polish noblemen think that they are doing god's will. The truth that the orthodox don't admit is that Judaism has constantly changed in response to society at large and represents human effort to preserve the Jewish people, particularly in the diaspora reality. But we pretend that the rabbis' words represent god's will and halacha is immutable.

The rebirth of Israel reshuffled the deck, in that it potentially enabled the identity and survival of the Jewish nation, but without the Jewish faith. Since long-dormant Jewish laws suddenly became relavant again, the challenge to faith was even greater, like shmita, relations to non-jews, sabbath and war. Thus the resistance of the orthodox to Zionism. The jury still out on this one...

I have no objection to religion as long as it isn't used to harm people.

Hamaven Yavin

jewish philosopher said...

"Judaism like all religions consist of man-made laws, ethics, and books, notwithstanding religions' claims."

"Jewish law, and orthodoxy in particular, propogates a great historic hoax"

I don't know what sort of doctor you are, however what if I state in a nutshell:

"Using cocaine is entirely harmless, notwithstanding any medical claims."

"The war on drugs propogates a great historic hoax"

Check it out.

Perhaps these ideas should remain in the nutshell.

DrJ said...

Study the history of halacha, and you will understand. (history of halacha is not usually studied in yeshivas and smicha program for a reason-- it would lead the students not to believe, for they would understand that its based on a bunch of well meaning, sometimes wise, but invented baloney). Present Jewish faith and practice bears little resemblance to biblical Hebrew or Judaen life, just as life in general bears no resemblance. If Judaism didn't change it would have died with the exile. So the talmudic rabbis were the first Reform Jews.

I explain your faith no differently than the billion Muslims or Christians in the world (even some intelligent ones), who for many reasons choose to believe in the illogical or unproven tenets of their faith, and are willing to die (and make others die) for it.

Cameron said...

natschuster: According to Jellette's biograpy in Wikipedia, in an interview on radio, he admitted to being polyamorous, which means he believes in being unfaithful. I think that that is a failing.

CH: You should look up the meaning of polyamory before you look even more foolish. Having several lovers (like a threesome, or when you are 'playing the field' and honest with your partners that you are not exclusive) does not make you 'unfaithful' as no bond of faith is being broken.

Now perhaps you could explain why honestly communicating his intentions, and having open and honest relationships should be considered a failing?

jewish philosopher said...

DrJ, True, Moses did not wear a chassidic fur hat on the Sabbath. He wore whatever was considered to be nice clothing in his time and place. That does not shatter my faith. And we all know that today the synagogue has temporarily replaced our destroyed Temple in Jerusalem. So?

If the revelation at Mt. Sinai proves nothing, then what would convince you?

DrJ said...

What revelation? You mean the one that's mentioned in the book that we tell each other about? Was anybody you know there or have a family tradition of having witnessed it?

What would convince me? That the supernatural stories mentioned in the bible would repeat themselves. Like a re-revelation, or the sea parting, or whatever. Honestly. That would convince me. No "prophets" mind you, claiming to have talked to god. Just good, old-fashioned, natural-law defying miracles. If that happened, I would have to admit that I was wrong.

The temple "temporarily" being replaced? How about the fact that for most of Jewish history (before the temple and after) it didn't exist.

I choose the clothing issue as only an example. There are thousands of examples. How many biblical or first temple era Jews put on tefillin? What about laws of purity then and now? Laws of women and marriage? What about learning talmud? What about the Hebrew language itself, written and oral? Succot, passover sacrifice, eruv, sanhedrin, the list is endless. Its not just technology. Its true CHANGE, REFORM, EVOLUTION. To deny this is burying your head in the sand.

Cameron said...

JP: You were being deliberately deceptive when you suggested that the Oracle of Delphi was an example of a national revelation when in fact it was merely a woman in a trance.

CH: Who are you to say that she is merely a woman in a trance? The people of her time believed her, and her prophecies were widely disseminated (no stone tablets required) and affected the course of human history! Leaders from Solon (the first democracy) to Alexander the Great consulted her!

So she IS an example of national revelation, and I am definitely not lying or being deceptive (though I notice that you always resort to throwing out insults when you have lost an argument, I now simply take it as a sign of victory. When you call me a liar I know I am winning).

Moreover, as I read through Spike's devastating commentary I notice that you have a contradictory account of the revelation at Mt Sinai. In one set of passages it is 'the nation' who hears God, and in the other it is Moses who comes and goes. Which is it? And why the discrepancy? Could it be that perhaps there was a revision made to the original account to make it sound more impressive? Wouldn't that be more reasonable to expect a supernatural explanation?

JP: You cannot show an example of a machine which originated without the involvement of a designer, therefore you cannot refute the Watchmaker Analogy.

CH: If you actually read what I have written you might notice that I'm the one claiming ALL machines have a designer, and that NO living things do. So to refute the analogy all I have to do is point out that living things reproduce without a designer, and that machines don't. It is you who wish to confuse living things that reproduce without a designer with machines that can only be produced with one. So again Jacob, it is you who are being deceptive and lying.

JP: Therefore I logically assume that my heart (a pump), my brain (a computer), my eyes (cameras) must have been created with the involvement of God.

CH: Except that you know they weren't. You were grown from what was originally a mere fertilized cell, and these cells multiplied and differentiated to produce the fetus that became the infant that grew into the child, and so on. This growth was driven by and based on the DNA blueprint created by the two haves provided by your parents - and the fact that those particular haves met is (one egg out of less than 50 meeting with one sperm out of the billions your father produced) exceedingly random.

The fact is nobody sat down and designed a computer, a camera and a pump and decided to put it all together to create Jacob Stein.

JP: Even though I personally was created by my parents

CH: So you do understand the concept of sexual reproduction - maybe we are getting somewhere.

JP: and even if you claim (ridiculously) that all people are descended from bacteria,

CH: I'm sure the alchemist must find the science of chemistry ridiculous, and the Astrologer boggles at the work of the Astrophysicist, so to shall those who believe we were 'poofed' into existence have difficulty with the truth of evolution.

JP:....and even if those bacteria fell from a comet to earth, etc. etc. ultimately there must have been a non-physical, transcendent designer who started it all.

CH: Why? Why MUST there be a transcendent designer? There is no logical force that insists this be the case, that impels us to consider it true. Certainly not in the face of the fact that you are inventing a force to explain something for which a perfectly reasonable explanation is available.

It could simply be be an accident. It could be that life with our universe so filled with Hydrogen, Oxygen and Carbon (3 of the 4 most common elements, with Helium being inert), that life based on hydrocarbon molecules is inevitable to happen somewhere, and it just so happened to occur on Earth 3.7 billion years ago when the conditions were right. Why assume we MUST have a transcendent intelligence to put it all together?

JP: I have never stated that has never been an atheist who was not involved in a major public scandal. I have merely asked my readers to provide me with the name of a promiment atheist leader who was of impecable good character. I'm still waiting.

Regarding Chandra, I received his biography last Friday and I intend to blog about it. However, he was never considered to be a promiment atheist leader any more than for example Professor Kenneth Miller, the Catholic biologist, is considered to be a "promiment Catholic leader". He is a scientist who in his private life happens to be Catholic.

CH: Oh I see, you wish to disqualify him on a technicality. I guess Nobel prize winners are no longer 'prominent' enough for you. Just keep moving the bar Jacob.

jewish philosopher said...

If the Jewish tradition is false, how did it begin? I can't find a plausible scenario. Can you?

If miracles would happen often, what would make them a miracle? It would then be considered natural, wouldn't it? If scientists could not explain it, so what? It would be one more scientific mystery.

I would assume that King David for example basically did everything I do, except he went to the Temple and I go to a synagogue.

Cameron said...

JP: If the Jewish tradition is false, how did it begin? I can't find a plausible scenario. Can you?

CH: Sure - Moses claims to talk to God as part of his rule over the early Isralites, and in order to solidify his claims to rule he gives them a series of rules to follow to keep them healthy and morally upright. The rules aren't particularly new, but he places obedience to the Jewish God at the top as a way of ensuring that the people do not waver from their obedience to the rules he has given down. Eventually, his role in the giving of the rules is mythologized, later writers explaining the event exaggerate the role of God speaking to 'the nation' - and here we are.

JP: If miracles would happen often, what would make them a miracle?

CH: A miracle is a violation of the laws of nature - it is the impossible happening because a god wills it to.

JP: It would then be considered natural, wouldn't it?

CH: Not at all. It's not the frequency of the miracle that is the issue, it's the degree to which it violates the laws of nature. Turning water into wine and making the sun stop in the sky are considerably more difficult to explain using natural explanations than say a drought temporarily opening a pathway in the Red Sea.

So the parting of the Sea is something we might consider to have some historic value as a real event, while the account in Joshua of the sun stopping in the sky is something we should rightly consider to be utterly fictitious.

natschuster said...

Badrabbi:

The only version of the Aztec history that has the gods tlaking to the nation is the chronica mexacotl which was written a hundred years aftet the conquest and dsicovered two hundred years later. There is no evidence thsat it was ever accepted by the Aztecs as their history. As far back as theri is any documentation the revelation at Sinai was accepted by all Jews as a historical event. Other versions of Aztec history that where written closer to the time of the conquest do not have a national revelation.

DrJ said...

I don't know exactly how it started, but I imagine not too differently than other legends, myths and tradition: Stories/histories within families, that may have some grains of truth, that get transmitted, altered, embellished and added to over time. I'm not asserting everything in jewish tradition is false, I am asserting that just because its tradition it doesn't make it true, especially the illogical things.

Miracles: I assume that I would know a miracle when I see one: like a sotah exploding after drinking priestly water, or a heavenly finger magically writing down commandments on a tablet. Or the sun stops moving as in Joshua, meaning of course that the earth stops revolving around the sun, without us flying off into infinite space. How about a bat kol? Or a talking donkey? Or a Moses figure coming along and saying to Ahmadinajad, "leave the israelis alone, or the earth will swallow all of you up." and then it happens. I guess that these would qualify. I'm sure that you can think of some of your own without too much effort, if you just read the bible or talmud.

jewish philosopher said...

Cam, a “national revelation” means a revelation experience by an entire nation not a revelation believed by an entire nation. Has anyone suggested you work on reading comprehension?

The truth is, your belief, that all life on earth sprouted from one microscopic seed planted somehow 3 billion years ago is far more fantastic than any of my stories about Adam and Eve. According to you that one first bacterium eventually morphed into dinosaurs, giant redwood trees, rose bushes, blue whales and even humans – all by itself, naturally. What convinces me that this miraculous seed, which was perhaps a micron long, must have had a designer? I’m glad you asked.

“Eventually, his role in the giving of the rules is mythologized, later writers explaining the event exaggerate the role of God speaking to 'the nation' - and here we are.”

And the entire Jewish people unanimously agree to lie and tell their children that these myths are true although they knew they are false. Sorry, that’s implausible. I don’t believe in conspiracy theories.

About miracles, well here’s one: the rate of expansion of the universe is accelerating. There is no known natural cause. So there have a proof of God.

jewish philosopher said...

"Stories/histories within families, that may have some grains of truth, that get transmitted, altered, embellished"

In that case there should have been many Torahs. Where are they?

"Or a Moses figure coming along and saying to Ahmadinajad, "leave the israelis alone, or the earth will swallow all of you up." and then it happens. I guess that these would qualify."

How about the Holocaust?

natschuster said...

Cameron:

I understood from the context of the Wikipedia article that Jellette was saying that he believes in being sexually prommiscuous even after marraige. That is a) adultery (which I, for one, have a problem with) b) a good way to catch a number of nasty diseases.

DrJ said...

Miracle doesn't mean that "there's no known natural cause". There are many things in nature that we don't understand yet but they're not miracles (like consciousness or certain diseases).
Perhaps you are defining a miracle as just serendipity in nature. I can't argue with that, except that the meaning of the bible and talmud clearly understood "nes" as supernatural, meaning clear defiance of known laws of nature.

There are also paradoxes in nature but I don't count them as miracles either (like the discrepencies between relativity and quantum mechanics).

DrJ said...

Saying that the holocaust is a miracle is sick, JP, and its not supernatural, rather quite man made. I know all of the ridicululous theories of why a god would allow such a thing to happen, but its pure speculation at best, until god comes down to us and tells us (if He exists)

"In that case there should have been many Torahs. Where are they?"

You're right, see the documentary hypothesis, the torah is full of different contradictions, anachronisms and versions of stories, which were eventually reconciled into s single text much later. (Again you can choose to believe the rabbis excuses if you wish) Also note the talmudic disputes-- what do those come from? They simply "forgot" the right answer, like how to make tefillin? Furthermore, as far as the oral law, as you know there were different sects, they just disappeared are remained small minorities like the karaites, Ethiopians etc.

"And the entire Jewish people unanimously agree to lie and tell their children that these myths are true although they knew they are false. Sorry, that’s implausible. I don’t believe in conspiracy theories."

What about Islam and Christianity? Is it a conspiracy theory to say that those religions are false? No, that's just how traditions/faiths work.

DrJ said...

Tell me what you think is a miracle.

jewish philosopher said...

The problem with miracles is that for an atheist, nothing is really a miracle. Anything that happens or is experienced can be dismissed as an hallucination, an illusion, a coincidence or something natural which is not is yet understood but will someday will be. For myself, everything is miracle. It is all God's will.

Has any copy of those "documents" from the documentary hypothesis ever been discovered in any library or been referred to in any ancient literature? So there had to have been at some point a nationwide conspiracy to accept one version of scripture and forget completely all others.

In stead of trying to cook up an improbable scenario, I prefer to just say the Torah is authentic.

badrabbi said...

Dr J;

You ask some great questions.You ask:

1. How many biblical or first temple era Jews put on tefillin?

For me, this is a very interesting question. Do you know the answer? Is there any evidence as to when Jews first began putting on phylacteries?

2. You ask about the laws of Passover and Succoth as well as other holidays. This to me is fascinating.

The laws of Succoth have been written in the 5 books of Moses. Presumably, since the books were written by Moses, then the subsequent generation of Jews must have been following the rules of Succoth. Thus, it comes as a great surprise to read in Nehemiah, Chapter 8 that:

17 [All] the congregation of [Jews] that were come back out of the captivity made booths, and dwelt in the booths; for since the days of Joshua the son of Nun unto that day had not the children of Israel done so.

So the obvious question is: If the Torah was given to the Jews by Moses, why did it take until Ezra for them to celebrate Succoth?

jewish philosopher said...

Simple, Bad. According to Jewish law, people who are traveling to perform a mitzvah are exempt from dwelling in the sukkah. From the time of Joshua until Ezra, the Jews had traveled to the Temple or tabernacle to celebrate sukkos and therefore were exempt from sukkah. In the time of Ezra, apparently Jews decided to surpass the letter of the law and make sukkas in any case.

DrJ said...

I guess that you havn't read too much about modern biblical scholarship. I might recommend James Kugel's book "How to read the Bible" to get some answers to your questions. After reading something like that, which includes the cumulative findings of archeology, ancient near eastern literature and so forth, let's see if you still think its so inprobable.

"So there had to have been at some point a nationwide conspiracy to accept one version of scripture and forget completely all others."

Faith does not require a conspiracy. Again, Christianity and Islam. Over time a tradition because the dominant one and is accepted, especially when most people are illiterate and doen't have access to actual texts, as in biblical times. You might say that the rabbis or scribes were 'conspirators' -- but they were among the few who had access to the texts. No printing presses or microsoft word.

I don't consider contemporary orthodoxy a conspiracy either, as its adherents truly believe (most of them, anyway) the basic tenets. But they repress the inconvenient facts.

badrabbi said...

LOL, that is the most absurd explanation I have ever heard. First, JP, recall that between the time of Joshua and Ezra, there was a series of Kingdoms to include David and Solomon. Who was travelling?

Second, where do you get this absurditiy that the letter of the law was being violated with Ezra?

Simple?

jewish philosopher said...

"Faith does not require a conspiracy."

Of course it doesn't. And that's why Jesus and Mohammed's followers never claimed that the founder validated his legitimacy with a mass revelation. It cannot be faked without a mass conspiracy which is impossible.

Bad, people had to travel from their homes to Jerusalem or Shiloh following the period of Joshua. And during the time of Ezra, the legal requirements apparently were exceeded not violated.

LOL LOL ROTFL ROFLMHO!!!!

Cameron said...

natschuster: Cameron, I understood from the context of the Wikipedia article that Jellette was saying that he believes in being sexually prommiscuous even after marraige. That is a) adultery (which I, for one, have a problem with) b) a good way to catch a number of nasty diseases.

CH: It's not 'adultery' if A: She approves and/or participates, and B: he isn't lying about it.

As for the disease angle, that risk would be substantially reduced by regular testing and routine condom usage.

For perspective; I have friends back in Vancouver who are in the 'lifestyle'. He has a wife and a wife-approved girlfriend (who became involved with him after being part of a threesome with the wife) - and she (who is bi) has a husband approved girlfriend of her own.

Everything is above board, 'play dates' are arranged with respect and honesty, etc. and all participants are to be 'SSC' - safe (i.e. condoms and birth control), sane and consensual.

They are both in the only long term relationship either have ever had - or wanted, and they are the virtual definition of polyamory. So I ask you, where is the moral harm?

Cameron said...

JP: The problem with miracles is that for an atheist, nothing is really a miracle. Anything that happens or is experienced can be dismissed as an hallucination, an illusion, a coincidence or something natural which is not is yet understood but will someday will be.

CH: How is that a problem? The only quibble I have with the above is instead of 'dismissed' I would have said 'tested, proved to be, more likely to be, or more reasonably expected to be'.

The reason why we atheists prefer natural explanations to supernatural, is that it turns out natural explanations simply always do exist, and as a result, science works to bring us new discoveries.

In contrast, religion, which insists on supernatural agency until the scientist proves him wrong, never advances knowledge at all.

So this only turns out to be a 'problem' for the religious.

badrabbi said...

"people had to travel from their homes to Jerusalem or Shiloh following the period of Joshua"

What about who lived in Jerusalem?

DrJ said...

Hi Bad,

Regarding tefillin, it is highly likely that the mitzvah was not prevelant among the population until post talmudic times. Read Akiva Sternberg's book "tmorot bsdeh halacha". He quotes I think that Smag that quite clearly refers to tefillin as a mitzah that was not widely practiced and he encourages people to use them, and implying that they are more important for people who don't learn torah. Also the dispute between Rashi and Rabbeinu Tam regarding the proper order of the scrolls in the tefillin housing raises serious questions. If this was an uninterrupted tradition from Sinai, how, in as late as the 12th century could such a basic thing be forgotten? And if it was forgetten, who can we know any opinion is authentic?

The most reasonable explanation is that it was not universally practiced among most Jews, the rules were developed in talmudic times but not clearly defined, and Rashi and R Tam came along and finished the job of delineating the mitzvah.

Certainly it would be hard to imagine Jews wondering through the desert, or even in later biblical times when few people were literate and most people were poor, that they would be able to hire skilled "sofrim" as we know it today to make tefillin for the whole male population.

The section in Nehemia is telling. I don't know where JP got his explanation, but the plain meaning of the text is clear. It would also be ludicrous to claim that a mitzvah of Succot that we now consider so central would be ignored for 600+ years because they were "exempt".
BTW, note what it says about the species, too, it seems that they were used for making the succah, not a lulav, and the species are different, too.

JP said:
"And that's why Jesus and Mohammed's followers never claimed that the founder validated his legitimacy with a mass revelation. It cannot be faked without a mass conspiracy which is impossible."

So you are able to see how people can be deluded into believing somebody was a prophet, and spreading the word without letting out the secret "hey, this guy is a fraud", yet you can't see how a people could be convinced that a law giver, Moses, gave us these commandments that we have here now, and that yes, there were witnesses,too! There doesn't have to be a "mass conspiracy" as you call it, especially if you don't believe that there were millions of Jews wondering through the desert at the time.
The only ingredients required are unverifiable claims from the past, and that only certain people have access to "the evidence". (in our case priests, scribes or rabbis)

Nowadays its much harder to start new religions, but it happens anyway...

badrabbi said...

Anyway, in the Torah is is explicitly mentioned that animal sacrifices have to be done in the Temple at Jerusalem. Modern Jews use this as an excuse not to perform animal sacrifices. One day I will write about that cop out.

But the Torah never mentions that the booths have to be set up in Jerusalem. Soccoth can be set up anywhere. We set up booths in our backyards in New York. What is this about travelling?

jewish philosopher said...

"CH: How is that a problem?"

It's a little problem because it means that your beliefs cannot be falsified. You are a dogmatist basing yourself on faith.

Bad "What about who lived in Jerusalem?"

They made sukkas. The traveling thing is in the Talmud - oral law from Sinai. Along with an explanation of what the booths are in the first place.

DrJ, when you convince an entire nation that God revealed Himself to them and commanded them to listen to you, give me a call. We'll start some businesses together.

badrabbi said...

Regarding this mass revelation, I had in previous posts, and in my blog, commented that there is really no evidence for a mass revelation, even by Torah's own admission.

Of the supposed 3 million people who heard God talking on a mountain, only the children survived. God killed the rest of them in the desert because some spies report unfavorably.

The only adults who could have seen the 'mass revelation' and lived to tell about it are Jashua the son of Nun, and Caleb, a zealot.

So, the mass revelation really boils down to two witnesses, neither one of whom have given a testimonial.

At its face value (ie., assuming everything in the Torah is the literal truth) the mass revelation has only 2 legal witnesses.

Cameron said...

JP: Cam, a “national revelation” means a revelation experience by an entire nation not a revelation believed by an entire nation.

CH: Except that as Spike pointed out the Mt Sinai 'revelation' was in fact not God speaking to all the people, but to Moses - who then spoke to all the people.

So far from being a group gestalt moment where all Jews everywhere suddenly spoke with God, it was merely one guy speaking on his behalf. Totally unconvincing.

Compare this to the Oracle at Delphi - who had not one, not two, but hundreds of prophecies over decades that were broadcast and interpreted by hundreds of thousands of people over three nations. She inspired both the origin of Democracy, and arguably the greatest conqueror of human history (Alexander the Great).

Your Moses delivered 10 questionable rules in a single event with contradictory descriptions.

CH: Has anyone suggested you work on reading comprehension?

CH: Nope. You see, I actually know what words like; 'atheist', 'proof', 'analogy', 'genetics', and 'sexual reproduction' mean. Given your commentary it is clear that you do not or have substituted your own.

JP: The truth is, your belief, that all life on earth sprouted from one microscopic seed planted somehow 3 billion years ago is far more fantastic than any of my stories about Adam and Eve.

CH: And just a few posts back you accused me of making arguments from incredulity!

But let's be fair, is the story of evolution more fantastic than a TALKING SNAKE?

Than knowledge and sex being a sin?

Then reproduction via human rib?

Then consider that we actually have this stuff called EVIDENCE for human evolution - including; the discovery of how it works through genetics, and explanations for why we appear to be so similar to apes (we share an ancestor).

I'd say the story that is more fantastic is the one involving your invisible beings, fallen angels, and mysterious women from the land of Nod.

JP: According to you that one first bacterium eventually morphed into dinosaurs, giant redwood trees, rose bushes, blue whales and even humans – all by itself, naturally.

CH: Evolved is the better word, but yes, that is exactly correct. And again, the evidence is in the fact that the instructions for every living thing (every LIVING thing - NOT machines!) is written in the same basic code of four letters!

Whats more through genetics we can read this code and trace relationships of genes and their aquisition through time.

I've mentioned previously that all the different species of the cat family share a common defect - they have a mangled gene for tasting sugar. Evolution explains this by noting that cats all share a common ancestor where this defect would have arisen. Your garden and talking snake story explains this by ' a series of special creations', where it just so happens that each time god creates a cat species he does so with the same error.

How interesting, one might say 'fantastic' even.

JP: What convinces me that this miraculous seed, which was perhaps a micron long, must have had a designer?

CH: The fact that you are pre-committed to believing your text to be the revealed truth irrespective of any evidence to the contrary.

JP: I’m glad you asked.“Eventually, his role in the giving of the rules is mythologized, later writers explaining the event exaggerate the role of God speaking to 'the nation' - and here we are.”

And the entire Jewish people unanimously agree to lie and tell their children that these myths are true although they knew they are false.

CH: Who says they know the scribes are 'lying'? The Christian tradition is to consider the scribes to inspired by God (to the point of having paintings showing a ghostly hand assisting in the creation of the texts).

Add to that when you have an oral tradition collide with a written one which do you think will survive the generations? The written. And with a culture largely illiterate those who can read and interpret the texts become a very powerful priest class.

JP: Sorry, that’s implausible. I don’t believe in conspiracy theories.

CH: Again, you lie. You believe that atheists have conspired to deny religious explanations for evolution and have said so previously. But if you wish to deny this, then by all means explain why universities don't teach 'creationism' in their science classes and instead continue to offer all manner of courses on evolution?

JP: About miracles, well here’s one: the rate of expansion of the universe is accelerating. There is no known natural cause. So there have a proof of God.

CH: A god of the gaps argument - here is something yet to be explained - so it must be God! And when the expansion is eventually explained - say by String Theory will you then become a denier of ST too?

How inconvenient it must be to be believe in invisible transcendental explanations.

badrabbi said...

JP said: Bad "What about who lived in Jerusalem?"

They made sukkas


But, JP, the Torah that you zealotly embrace says: "...for since the days of Joshua the son of Nun unto that day had not the children of Israel done so."

They did not make sukkas!

Cameron said...

"CH: How is that (dismissing miracles as likely having natural explanations or being false) a problem?"

JP: It's a little problem because it means that your beliefs cannot be falsified. You are a dogmatist basing yourself on faith.

CH: On the contrary, if I suggest that a more likely explanation for the parting of the Red Sea is that a drought occurred - then we can actually look at the historical records, geological records, etc. to see if there is evidence for or against such a suggestion.

On the other hand, how do we test to see if Moses was empowered by God?

So again - you are mistaken (or lying), my beliefs are in point of fact based on the criteria that they should be testable, and it's yours that insist on beings that cannot be seen, felt, interviewed, or even comprehended.

DrJ said...

"DrJ, when you convince an entire nation that God revealed Himself to them and commanded them to listen to you, give me a call. We'll start some businesses together."

You were convinced, weren't you? What convinced you? The existence of a book, and a people who claimed that this was their story. You believe them. This is how it happenned in the past as well. No conspiracy needed.

How does a religion start from one person? Who is the first? this is an interesting question, and I think that the answer is a little different for each religion. But at some point, when the "myth" spreads, there is some process of deception which is then embelished and changed over time. In modern politics-- look at how the Palestinians can be deceived or self-deceived into an entirely distorted narrative of their conflict with us. The lie just grows all by itself--no conspiracy needed. The actual history is available for all to see, but this does not stop them from adopting their beliefs, which they truly beleive in their heart of hearts.

JP, just read some books about ancient Near East, you'll see how its all very plausable, much more so than an angry, jealous, anthropomorphized god who works magic.

BTW, if by your definition, nature itself is a miracle, what was the meaning of Moses or Gad doing "miracles" for the people in the Bible? Clearly the bible is referring to something extraordinary and supernatural.

Also, BTW, I see nature as miraculous, too, in the sense of the wonder and magic of life, but I don't believe in the biblical stories of supernatural events.

jewish philosopher said...

Cameron:

"Mt Sinai 'revelation' was in fact not God speaking to all the people, but to Moses"

Wrong. See Deut. 4:12.

"a few posts back you accused me of making arguments from incredulity"

You do. You'll believe in anything but not God.

"But let's be fair, is the story of evolution more fantastic than a TALKING SNAKE?"

Yes.

"we appear to be so similar to apes"

I'm sure you do.

"the evidence is in the fact that the instructions for every living thing (every LIVING thing - NOT machines!) is written in the same basic code of four letters!"

All English books are written with the same letters. I guess they all evolved from one book.

"all the different species of the cat family share a common defect"

Does it bother them?

"Who says they know the scribes are 'lying'?"

Scribes which exist only in the imagination of a man who looks like an ape.

"You believe that atheists have conspired to deny religious explanations for evolution"

I think the Catholic church has conspired to suppress Judaism for 2,000 years. So what?

What I wrote is "If a large group of people, for example 10,000 or more, unanimously claim to have had a certain experience, they must be telling the truth."

"On the other hand, how do we test to see if Moses was empowered by God?"

I think the Torah containing clear factual errors would convince me. But nothing would convince you of God. I am free thinker and skeptic. You are a close minded fundamentalist.

DrJ
"You were convinced, weren't you? What convinced you?"

What convinced you that George Washington was really America's first president? Maybe someone made up a story and it spread.

Bad:

It means they didn't all make sukkas.

DrJ said...

JP,
"What convinced you that George Washington was really America's first president? Maybe someone made up a story and it spread."


very bad analogy. That George Washington was the first president is repeated by independent multiple sources and documents, friend and foe, including historians from NON AMERICANS as recorded in their history, and by CONTEMPORANEOUS documents from the period in which he lived.

For some biblical stories there is some independent verification, for others not. Certainly we have no outside verification of the miraculous events claimed in the bible like revelation or the exodus.Its quite easy to see how a story like this could be told and beleived as a way of unifying and strengthening a group's identity.

jewish philosopher said...

We know about the Washington presidency because of written documents and oral traditions, however what if a large number of people made the whole thing up and no one ever exposed the conspiracy?

There are many people who deny the Apollo moon landings and who deny the holocaust. And if conspiracies of liars who will not reveal the secret are so easily organized, then why not?

jewish philosopher said...

Had Ezra, for example, fabricated Judaism, it surely would have caused and uproar which would could not have been entirely covered up and forgotten. That's absurd.

Cameron said...

CH: "Mt Sinai 'revelation' was in fact not God speaking to all the people, but to Moses"

JP: Wrong. See Deut. 4:12.

CH: Sure thing;

"And the LORD spake unto you out of the midst of the fire: ye heard the voice of the words, but saw no similitude; only ye heard a voice."

Now maybe it's just my translation but I don't see 'nation of Jews' anywhere in that passage, nor do I see any reference to more than Moses.

CH: "a few posts back you accused me of making arguments from incredulity"

JP: You do.

CH: Prove it.

JP: You'll believe in anything but not God.

CH: Another lie.

Here is a list of things I don't believe in aside from your invisible God;

Leprechauns, Santa Claus, honest politicians, Constitutional Originalism, that Socrates was innocent of the charges, that you ever know what you are talking about, taxation without representation, manifest destiny, the existence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, the Alberta Human Rights Commission, and playing the Lottery. This list is not exhaustive, but it is long enough to demonstrate you are simply a liar.

CH: "But let's be fair, is the story of evolution more fantastic than a TALKING SNAKE?"

JP: Yes.

CH: I can just picture you dropping large amounts of acid and visiting the local Herpatarium. "See! Talking snakes! Can't you hear them?!"

CH: "we appear to be so similar to apes"

JP: I'm sure you do.

CH: And so do you. BTW, we have lots of our ape-like ancestor fossils to draw comparisons to - why do you think it is we have never found evidence of an angel in the fossil record?

CH: "the evidence is in the fact that the instructions for every living thing (every LIVING thing - NOT machines!) is written in the same basic code of four letters!"

JP: All English books are written with the same letters. I guess they all evolved from one book.

CH: And you might be correct if books propagated by sexual reproduction. This comes up so often, I really wonder whether you know what sexual reproduction looks like.

CH: "all the different species of the cat family share a common defect"

JP: Does it bother them?

CH: Is this where you tell me you speak to cats as well as snakes? Seriously, WTF response is that?

CH: "You believe that atheists have conspired to deny religious explanations for evolution"

JP: I think the Catholic church has conspired to suppress Judaism for 2,000 years. So what?

CH: So it's yet more evidence you lie with every breath. You've claimed repeatedly that you don't believe in conspiracy theories. Now you agree that you believe there is a conspiracy by science against creationist accounts AND a conspiracy to suppress Judaism.

Ironically, you claim an 'anti-conspiracy principle' as justification for accepting the MT Sinai revelations - when you yourself have just admitted you believe all sorts of conspiracies exist!!

JP: What I wrote is "If a large group of people, for example 10,000 or more, unanimously claim to have had a certain experience, they must be telling the truth."

CH: I am unaware of 10,000 individual accounts existing of any purportedly miraculous event. However, I am aware of hundreds of thousands of people over three empires who accepted the revelations the Delphic Oracle as being the words of Apollo.

CH: "On the other hand, how do we test to see if Moses was empowered by God?"

JP: I think the Torah containing clear factual errors would convince me.

CH: And round the circular reasoning goes...

JP: But nothing would convince you of God.

CH: I guess that depends on which God you think is doing the convincing.

JP: I am free thinker and skeptic.

CH: You don't even know what the words mean. You believe without reason (faith) making you the opposite of a sceptic, and 'free-thinker' is a synonym for atheist.

JP: You are a close minded fundamentalist.

CH: A fundamentalist is someone who hews to a fundamental and literal interpretation of his holy text. I believe that is a description of you, not me. As for being closed minded, I have always believed in having an open mind, but not so open my brains fell out and I started to believe in invisible sky-Gods or talking snakes.

Rebeljew said...

nat

If polyamorousness (neat word, huh) disqualfies a person from goodness, in your opinion, how do you justify Avraham (2 wives), Yaakov (4), David (6), Shlomo (gazillions)? Maybe JP can blame that on the negros too.

jewish philosopher said...

What color are you Rebel?

natschuster said...

Jewsih Rebel:

All the cases you cited are within the context of marraige. Its a little different than being promicuous. The Novi and Chazal do condemn Shlomo for having so many wives, so while he might not have been a bad person, he did a bad thing.

badrabbi said...

Did Abraham marry Hagar? If he did, he sure acted nicely to her by putting her baby boy upon her shoulder, gave a ration of bread, and forced her into the desert.

These days, if you push your wife and baby boy into the desert to die, they send you to jail to rot. You praise a biblical figure like Abraham and yet an otherwise upstanding citizen who likes consensual sex is somehow below the board.

badrabbi said...

And what about Judah mistaking Tamar for a common prostitute, having sex with her. Every religious book I have read praises both Tamar and has never criticized Judah.

What's up with that?

badrabbi said...

And what about King David, who, upon his death bed, because he was cold, was brought young virgins to 'warm' him.

A very upstanding man David must have been!

DrJ said...

Let's hone in a little.

JPs positions don't really discredit orthodoxy per say, just ultra orthodoxy.

The logical outcome of ultra-orthodoxy in Israel, is that the ultra-orthodox have become the parasites of Israeli society. They can't do this in the US or elsewhere because otherwise they would starve because no sane country would allow them to do it. In Israel a majority of them don't work, don't get a higher education, and don't serve in either the army or national service. Yet their community discipline and high birthrate has helped them concentrate political power in the knesset, to pass laws that suit them and make working taxpayers like me support "avreichim" and kollel men studying talmudic pilpul all day and impregnating their wives to make more kids that become wards of the state. Their activities are a completely unproductive in the economy, except as "teachers" in their own schools. Their rate of poverty and unemployment is similar to that of Israeli Arabs. They come around to my house every day to schnoor. The Chabadniks are perhaps the only exception. Near my neighborhood in Rehovot there is a community of kretchnevers, it is like they are on another f--ing planet. They have a completely seperate school system, exempt from the minimal requirements of the Education Ministry--no sciences, no English, and of course no "goyish" studies like civics or history. In summary, they contribute nothing to Israel and only suck our resources to help perpetuate their absurd lifestyle.

Modern orthodoxy, on the other hand, believes in integration and participation in Israeli society at large, accepts the validity of science, understands that halacha in fact changes (remember the big lie of ultra-orthodoxy), and thus contribute productively to society. They understand that the Bible is the nucleus of our religion but that it is not to be taken literally, and that judaism is always what jews made of it in their period of history. Unlike Reform, the MO believe in the halachic system as a way of running personal and community life, but not national life.

I hold no personal grudge against any particular charedi, and there obviously are exceptions, but as a stream in Israeli Jewish society they are a very negative force.

Even the sefardim, who have a rich and colorful Jewish history of moderacy, have fallen into the bandwagon of Lithuanian ashkenazi ultra-orthodoxy, and competing with them about who can be blacker and frumer.

jewish philosopher said...

The ultra-Orthodox Jews were actually living in Israel peacefully together with the Arabs for centuries, studying in their rabbinical seminaries. Then the secular Jews arrived in the 1920s and started a war which they cannot win and which has caused to the entire Jewish people to hated as war criminals.

Thank you DrJ and fellow secularists. You are the best.

DrJ said...

I'm glad that you are nastalgic for the good old times, when impoverished Palestinian Jews lived among swamps, malaria, Ottoman rule and marauding muslim armies. These were also great times for European Jews, suffering waves of pogroms and slaughter, leading up to the Nazis.
Of course all this is the fault of the secularists, too, who are responsible for all that befalls the Jewish people.
JP, your responses only re-enforce my statement about you shaming ultra-orthodoxy.

jewish philosopher said...

Everyone was poorer in the 19th century than they are today. My ancestors in Finland and Ireland were starving as well in those times. I don't think Zionists saved us.

Your claim against the ultra-Orthodox is that we prefer to solicit charity and study the Talmud rather than work. So? This type of practice exists in many cultures, including Catholicism and Buddhism.

On the other hand, the Israeli secularist community is hardly as pristine as the newly fallen snow. The modern Orthodox community is particularly vicious, having, among other things, assassinated an Israeli prime minister.

natschuster said...

Badrabbi:

The Torah says that G-d told Avrohom to send Hagar and Yishmoel away. He did it reluctantly, becuase G-d told him to.

The fact that Tamar didn't reveal what Yehuda did means that it was, in fact embarrasing. Ti was embarrasing because it was wrong. Later, according to Rashi he expected his father to chastise hin for it, so it was wrong.

To the best of my knowledge, the Novi doesn't say that Dovid had sex with Avishag, just that she served him. Correct me if I'm mistaken.

badrabbi said...

The Torah says that G-d told Avrohom to send Hagar and Yishmoel away. He did it reluctantly, becuase G-d told him to.

Ok, so God tells him to send Hagar away. Did he have to do it in such a callous way? To give her a loaf of bread, put the child on her bosom, and say f off?

Could he not simply have put her in town somewhere? Maybe a generous stipend or something? He was rich enough.

Only a prime A hole would do what Avraham did.

jewish philosopher said...

Bad, it’s something called “obedience”, a word you probably don’t understand. God told Abraham to do something so he did, end of story.

badrabbi said...

The fact that Tamar didn't reveal what Yehuda did means that it was, in fact embarrasing. Ti was embarrasing because it was wrong. Later, according to Rashi he expected his father to chastise hin for it, so it was wrong.

In fact Tamar is touted as a righteous woman in all of Jewish literature.

Please do not misunderstand. I have no problems with consensual sex or even prostitution. I am just saying that you can not criticize people for this or that behaviour when practically every prophet or ‘righteous’ person in the bible commits these same acts that you call questionable.

jewish philosopher said...

Yehudah lived before the Torah was given so it was OK. Marrying two sisters is also prohibited by Torah, but Yehudah's father Jacob did it.

Incidentally, I personally have only criticized the selfishness, lack of self control and dishonesty of atheists which seems to be amazingly consistent. I haven't critiqued an atheist for having a girlfriend.

badrabbi said...

Bad, it’s something called “obedience”,

Once again, JP, you miss the point (I really am curious Jacob, do you really miss the point on purpose or just fail to grasp the issue?):

Let's say that Avraham obeyed God and sent his wife away. Right now, I am not questioning this abhorrent request. I am saying the following (pay attention): Suppose your god asks you to send away your wife and child. Do you really have to do it so brutally? Do you, say, drive them to the wilderness in Arizona, give them a jug of water and say “f--- off”, or do you do it compassionately. Do you put them up in a town somewhere, get them an apartment, give them a stipend so they do not starve?

Which would a righteous man do?

jewish philosopher said...

Just read the verses in Genesis 21:

Sarah says "Cast out this bondwoman and her son"

God says "in all that Sarah saith unto thee, hearken unto her voice"

Abraham arose up early in the morning, and took bread and a bottle of water, and gave it unto Hagar, putting it on her shoulder, and the child, and sent her away

He did exactly what he was told to do. Why didn't he reserve a hotel room for them, call a cab, I don't know. Things may have been a little different then.

badrabbi said...

Jacob, even you whose marals are questionable at best would not stoop to what Avraham did.

For a righteous man, the father of monotheism, he was one crappy guy.

And you guys make fun of the likes of Penn?

natschuster said...

Badrabbi:

The problem I have with Penn Jellette is that he seems to be advocating for promiscuity, even for married people. The personalities mentioned from the Bible weren't doing that.

Tamar did the right thing because Yehuda was suppose to have given her his son as Yibum. He didn't, so she sought him out to honor his obligation. Yehuda didn't know it was Tamar, so it seems that what he did was wrong, because he had the wrong intentions.

jewish philosopher said...

Why don't you start your own religion Bad, if you're so hot?

badrabbi said...

Cameron is right. Everytime you feel defensive you begin to make ad hominem attacks. When did I ever claim to be 'so hot'?

Cameron said...

natschuster: The problem I have with Penn Jellette is that he seems to be advocating for promiscuity, even for married people.

CH: Nobody has explained yet what moral harm occurs when adults practice safe sex in an open relationship.

Adultery is bad because it involves the lying about the most intimate acts to the one person you have sworn never to do so with. It is a deep betrayal.

But that is not what Penn practices or advocates.

Promiscuity is harmful when it leads to the spread of disease, when it is coerced, when the people involved don't take precautions against pregnancy, or responsiblity for pregnancies when they occur.

But again, that is not what Penn is advocating.

Nobody is being lied to, nobody is being coerced, nobody is spreading disease, and certainly he is not advocating that it be engaged in recklessly.

So I ask again, how is his behaviour (which would be considered laudable bachelor heroics if he were single) a moral failing?

I suspect the problem you with is something deeper. Jealousy.

jewish philosopher said...

What is your point Bad? That Jews sin? I agree. That Orthodox Jews are as bad as atheists? Wrong.

natschuster said...

Cameron:

Sexual promiscuity does spred disease even when people practice "safe sex." This is sex ed 101. If for no other reason, I for one, have a problem with promicuity. I have other problems with it as well.

As far as being jealous, i suppose at some level I am. But I've never made any attempt to live that sort of lifestyle. However, I've had opportunities. I've passed them up because I felt that it was wrong, not because I wouldn't be successful. So I don't think thst jeaslousy is a major factor.

natschuster said...

One point I forgot to make in my previous post. Adults, whether they like it or not, are role models for teenagers. Polyamoruous adults set just that example for young people. I see the consequences every day as I come to work. i see girls who should be focusing on their educations bringing their babies into our on site day care center. The fathers are nowhere to be found. They are off pursuing their latest polyamoruous conquest.

Cameron said...

natschuster: Sexual promiscuity does spred disease even when people practice "safe sex." This is sex ed 101. If for no other reason, I for one, have a problem with promicuity. I have other problems with it as well.

CH: I can understand you having a 'problem' with an elevated risk in desease, but that is simply not the same thing as a moral failing.

It may be risky to have a lot of sexual partners - but it isn't immoral. Nobody accuses bachelors who play the field of being immoral.

The immoral behaviour in adultery is the lying, cheating, betrayal part - not the having lots of sex part. Penn is polyamorous, and found a life partner who is presumably that way as well (or at the very least endorsing of his polyamory). So no lying, cheating or betrayal is taking place.

Where exactly then is the harm or moral failing?

natschuster said...

Cameron:

I consider bachelors who play the field to be immoral, if for no other reason thatn that they are spreading diseases and setting a bad example for young people.

Cameron said...

natschuster: I see the consequences every day as I come to work. i see girls who should be focusing on their educations bringing their babies into our on site day care center. The fathers are nowhere to be found. They are off pursuing their latest polyamoruous conquest.

CH: There is a difference between indiscriminate promiscuity and polyamory. Teenage boys and girls are the former - and are certainly not following Penn based on a having searched out the one radio interview he did where he mentioned it, they are doing it because they are horny teenagers without the maturity or guidance necessary to make responsible decisions.

Polyamory is a lifestyle choice - not a moral failing. Whereas promiscuity IS a moral failing for all the reasons you suggest. If teenagers were practicing the poly lifestyle they would be ruthlessly honest, practicing safe-sex, and engaging in respectful reciprocal sexual conduct.

We should be so lucky.

Cameron said...

natschuster: I consider bachelors who play the field to be immoral, if for no other reason thatn that they are spreading diseases and setting a bad example for young people.

CH: I guess I shouldn't be surprised. But I think you abuse the word 'immoral' in describing their activities. They might be unsafe, but they are not acting immorally.

Consider that the risk of being killed in a car accident in the US is far greater than that of acquiring a sexually transmitted disease if you are regularly using condoms. Would you then say that anyone who drives is being immoral?

natschuster said...

The problem with teenagers is that they think they are smart when they really aren't. They see adults behaving a certain way, and think that they can immitate it without consequences. They think that they can be sexually active and not deal with consequence. But they are not ready. If we send a message that polyamory is okay, well, they will hear what they want to hear, and not think about the results.

Its true that driving is dangerous, but we have to weigh the costs versus the benefits. Riding a horse is also dangerous. Waht benefit does being polyamoruous have, beside some immediate pleasure? I'm not convinced that it is worth the risk.

Cameron said...

natschuster; "save the children" (paraphrasing).

CH: First you would have to establish that kids are behaving promiscuously because they see adults behaving polyamorously.

That's a hypothesis I think is highly dubious.

Teens pursue sex not because of any 'message' they get from adults, TV, music or culture, but because THEY ARE TEENAGERS! Rather than try to hold back the tide, give them a rowboat. Educate them on safe sex, and help them make adult decisions. The joke at my school was that it was always the preacher's kid who got knocked up.

natschuster: Its true that driving is dangerous, but we have to weigh the costs versus the benefits.
Riding a horse is also dangerous.
Waht benefit does being polyamoruous have, beside some immediate pleasure? I'm not convinced that it is worth the risk.

CH: That might be because you've never had a threesome. All sex carries a risk - just like driving a car. If you manage the risks of driving by keeping a safe speed, wearing a seatbelt, using your lights, etc. you are far less likely to be in an accident. Same goes for sex. If you routinely use contraception and condoms, you reduce the risk below that of driving.

Keep in mind that promiscuity and polyamory are not equivalent. My firends in Vcr practice polyamory - but that just means that they have expanded their sexual partners to include two others, and in each case it's not a 'one-time' relationship but instead is an ongoing sexual relationship taking place outside the marriage.

What they practice is neither adultery (where someone is being lied to and cheated on), nor promiscuity (where there are a number of indiscriminate partners).

To conclude, there are no laws being broken, nor am I aware of any commandments, or mores that are being violated by polyamory. If anything it strikes me as a version of biblically endorsed polygamy - only without the marriage part.

natschuster said...

I work with teenagers on a daily basis. We discuss these issues at great length frequently. I think I an on pretty safe ground when I say that, based on my experience interacting with teenagers, they are very stongly influenced by the society around them.

Rebeljew said...

JP - Rebel what color are you?

RJ - Don't worry JP, I am a member of the master race just like you. I do not think I have Latin American or sub-Saharan inferior chromosomes rushing around my veins.

jewish philosopher said...

I am like SO relieved.

jewish philosopher said...

Rebel, you might by the way be interested to read what Darwin wrote on this topic. I am relatively a moderate.

Rebeljew said...

JP

I am aware of Darwin and even Lincoln's views on the subject of racial superiority. You are right in league with people from the 1850s.

jewish philosopher said...

I am glad you agree that Darwin was a crackpot.

And your thoughts about crime in America are what, if I may ask.

Rebeljew said...

Darwin was not a crackpot, nor was Lincoln. They were a product of a time when it was a societal norm to hold such values. One would think that a Jew of any intellect would have learned the dangers of racial theory from a piece of history that they did not have, Nazi Germany.

I do not deny that people of Latin or black African racial origin are over represented in prison. I take issue with the implication (which you make in the post) that this is because of their race. I feel that this is more likely due to their inability to integrate fully into American society, largely due to antiquated racial ideas such as yours. Most have never even seen Africa or the violent societies that you point out, nor associate with it. Many of these violent societies are the direct products of European colonization policies, and the entrusting of these countries to dictators, communists and gangster potentates.

jewish philosopher said...

Whatever. The point is that church is not the cause.