Sunday, January 06, 2008

Judaism and Pedophilia


[cover from Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov]

Some people claim that Orthodox Judaism permits adult men to have sex with little girls. Actually, this is true. In fact, the Shulchan Aruch Even Ha’ezer section 37 is entitled “All the Laws of Betrothing a Little Girl”. However, certain stringent conditions must be met before this union is condoned by Talmudic law.

First of all, the couple must be married. There must be a legally binding, publicly committed, long term relationship between the man and the girl. Offering her candy and driving away with her is not allowed.

Second of all, her father must consent to the union and participate in the betrothal ceremony.

Thirdly, a man is not allowed to have sex with his wife without her consent, as is mentioned in the Shulchan Aruch Orach Chaim section 240:3.

Considering this, how frequent are sexual relations between adult Orthodox Jewish men and little girls, with the blessings of the rabbis? Not very. I know of no Jewish bride in modern times who was under 17. In ancient times, my impression is that typically brides were 12 while the grooms were 18. In fact, the Talmud Tractate Kiddushin 41a states “It is prohibited for a father to betroth his daughter in marriage until she matures and declares that she wishes to marry the groom.” Tosafos however does qualify that by saying that in a situation of extreme poverty and economic uncertainty, as was the case for Jews in medieval France, a man may marry off his small daughter if he is afraid that later he will not have the financial means to do so and she will therefore remain a lifelong spinster.

In conclusion, based upon the available documentation, a sexual relationship between an adult man and a little girl, with the consent of the rabbis, seems to have been a rarity which was permitted in some unusual, emergency situations in medieval Europe. Today it is unimaginable.

115 comments:

DrJ said...

JP,

A good scholarly rebuttal, although I am ambivalent about even responding to claims that Judaism advocates pedophilia. I think that some of the comments to your blog were criticizing "unprocessed" biblical ethics, and everyone knows that nowadays alot of ancient practices simply don't apply.

jewish philosopher said...

Some critics make mention of the law in Exodus 21:7 that a man may sell his daughter as a slave. According to the Talmud, this has not been permitted since the time of the exile of the Ten Tribes, about 500 BCE, and may have rarely occurred even then. It has no relevance to modern Judaism.

Rich Perkins said...

If the torah is eternal, why does it contain things that were once considered the norm (and moral for that time), but are now frowned upon? Seems like that dates the usefulness of its contents to some degree.

I am bringing this up now, but i guess my question could be applied in other places in the torah as well.

הצעיר שלמה בן רפאל לבית שריקי ס"ט said...

ברשות בעל הבלוג

ok, I'm not f---ing speaking for no one, but off hand I would say to someone like rich perkins that the Torah cannot be given a bilion times; that would take away free will to some extent. But by fully understanding the culture and surroundings in which 'yisrael' lived during the time in which G-d shone His holy splendor to them, and what G-d commanded them in that time, we can have a fully honest understanding of what G-d would similarly want from us in todays world.Instead of a watered down understanding of what someone might feed us, more relevant to us, but based on their own understanding.

מכיר אני שאין זה מקומי לדבר, אבל הדברים פשוטים, ואינם צריכים כ"כ לביאור

jewish philosopher said...

Certain Torah laws seem to have conformed to ancient morality, for example the permission to own slaves. On the other hand, certain Torah laws were totally contrary to ancient morality, for example the prohibition to worship idols. Torah morality seems to be unique and does not really fit in with the third century BCE Middle East, tenth century CE Europe or twenty first century America.

Rich Perkins said...

hatzair shlomo - you mentioned free will . . . can you tell me where that idea comes from.

I have heard it a million times growing up in the yeshiva system, but never questioned the source for it.

clearly, from an orthodox viewpoint, we DO NOT have the free will to choose whether we want to follow the torah or not. Also, saying that I could decide not to, for example, eat kosher, but then tell me i am punished for doing so is not really free will.

jewish philosopher said...

I think that we have free will to some degree. The laws of nature for example limit us. I cannot choose to jump up in the air and fly to the moon. Also, we are influenced by our surroundings. My decision to go to work this morning was influenced by the fact that my wife will be upset if I stop working.

הצעיר שלמה בן רפאל לבית שריקי ס"ט said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
הצעיר שלמה בן רפאל לבית שריקי ס"ט said...

הלא כבר אמר לנו הא"ל בספרו המתוק והקדוש אשר מסר לנובני האדם "רְאֵה נָתַתִּי לְפָנֶיךָ הַיּוֹם, אֶת-הַחַיִּים וְאֶת-הַטּוֹב, וְאֶת-הַמָּוֶת, וְאֶת-הָרָע...הַעִדֹתִי בָכֶם הַיּוֹם, אֶת-הַשָּׁמַיִם וְאֶת-הָאָרֶץ--הַחַיִּים וְהַמָּוֶת נָתַתִּי לְפָנֶיךָ, הַבְּרָכָה וְהַקְּלָלָה; וּבָחַרְתָּ, בַּחַיִּים--לְמַעַן תִּחְיֶה, אַתָּה וְזַרְעֶךָ".

Deuteronomy 30.15.

The Rambam also discusses these ideas at length, I'm not sure where (fill me in).

Rich Perkins said...

JP - yeah, we all know that we can't jump over buildings. So if I told you that you have free will and can decide if you want to jump or not, then it is meaningless. Similarly, to tell me I can choose to do the mitvot or not, but then tell me I am doomed if I don't is not really a choice.

That is why I feel like we do not have free will.

If you look at the mabul, I think you see that God also does not believe in free will. If so, why was he so pissed at the people? They just chose to use the free will God gave them. I think it is ridiculous to say we have free will, but then punish people for not choosing the path you want.

Hatzair - is that really saying we have free will or is that there to give us some life advice on how to act? Although, i really have to take some time to look at the whole context of that pasuk.

jewish philosopher said...

I'm sorry Rich, I don't really follow you. Let's say you shoot somebody. You are arrested, tried and convicted. At the sentencing, you explain to the judge that you really have no free will because the government puts killers to death. Therefore you should not be punished. Does that make sense?

badrabbi said...

If we have free will, what then is Beshert?

הצעיר שלמה בן רפאל לבית שריקי ס"ט said...

[The Rambam basically says there's no such thing as 'bashert' (...did I just use that word?...)]

Re pasuk; G-d wouldn't have told us that if there was no concept of free will.

I obviously side with 'JP' on this whole issue. Did anybody here ever hear of the law? Tell the police officer "well officer, I had free will to speed, so..", tell your wife "she's hotter than you, and we both have free will, so..".

badrabbi said...

Me no capish:

1. Is there free will? (Yes or No)

2. If yes to question 1, is there such as thing as 'beshert'? (yes or No)

3. if yes to 2, then how do you reconcile 1 with 2?

הצעיר שלמה בן רפאל לבית שריקי ס"ט said...

maaan bad a-- rabbi, there would be no f---ing purpose to the universe existing if there wasn't free will. And again, the Ramba"m says there is no f---ing "bashert"; 'reward' and 'punishment' are necesary phenomena in light of free will. there are no 'freebies' (each person has a different test though)...know what I'm saying?

Again, I'm just an intruder here, my opinions obviously don't represent those of the Jewish philosopher, he's a lot older and more learned than me, so..

badrabbi said...

So the Hebrew guy says:

1. There is f---ing free will
2. There is NO f---inf Beshert

So, bad a-- rabbi has another question:

Where did 'beshert' creep in the consciousness of religious Jews?

Can you give me a f---ing answer?

jewish philosopher said...

I think "bashert" means "destined". There are certain events which will happen inevitably, regardless of our prayer, repentance or lack there of.

I don't see how that's connected to free will.

הצעיר שלמה בן רפאל לבית שריקי ס"ט said...

goyim

(..I mean, that's my answer...)

הצעיר שלמה בן רפאל לבית שריקי ס"ט said...

This is a good discussion (weird time though..). I once dated a girl who told me something I'll never forget "you suck man!"...hold on, that wasn't it! No, it was that "the torah doesn't have any philosophy". I thought about it, and came to the comclusuion it was a verrry important statement. All our discussions are just speculations of what the Torah is all about. The Torah doesn't say anything about 'olam haba', and it doesn't say anything about mazal (both are discussed only in the Talmud (not to suggest that they're not legitimate ideas), it does say in the Talmud, by the way, that "Jews have no destiny" i.e. those rules of what eastern european jews call 'bashert' are not applicable to jews).

So it's very difficult (this is a broad idea by the way, to attribute any *definitive* philosophy to the Torah. ...-difinitive...

badrabbi said...

If I have a choice between marrying woman A and woman B, and I choose, B, then how can I say that my choice was beshert?

badrabbi said...

Hebrew guy,

By the way, your answer 'goyim' was so profound that I am still thinking it through! Wow with one word you answered it all - thanks!

natschuster said...

My understanding is that G-d picks out one's beshert. However, you have free will to reject said bashert. If you does so, and marry someone else, then you will not be as happy. LoMoshel Lord Burleigh picked out a lot of suiters for Elizabeth I. She rejected them all. I read an interesting story once. A man, still single in his forties, approached the Chazon Ish Z"L with the complaint "I still haven't found my Bashert" The Chazon Ish replied "You found her twenty years ago, but you rejected her because her nose was too big."

Rich Perkins said...

JP - you can't compare the "choice" to kill or not to the choice of keeping the torah. 99.9999% of the world does not keep the torah nor are the obligated to keep the torah.

So to tell me that only way to live is by choosing to keep the torah makes no sense. on the other hand, if we had a society where we could choose to kill w/o judicial punishment then society wuld run amok.

So I guess my point is that just like the Jews in the midbar decided to accept the torah, then I should have that same option.

If God really wants everyone to keep the torah, wouldn't it make more sense for him to obligate everyone and allow everyone to reap the benefits he touts?

jewish philosopher said...

It would seem that sometimes the opportunity to do something is fated, however not the event itself. This is still called "bashert".

jewish philosopher said...

Rich, the Jewish people are God's slaves, which they accepted voluntarily at Mount Sinai. The child of a female slave is also a slave, he has no choice. If he rebels against his master he will be punished. Likewise the child of a Jewish woman is also God's slave. Gentiles don't have this automatic master\slave relationship with God.

jewish philosopher said...

Free will doesn't mean being free to do anything conceivable, being free to fly like a bird or live forever, or being free to do anything with no consequences.

Free will means that you do have some choices and are justly held responsible for those choices.

Cameron said...

JP: In conclusion, based upon the available documentation, a sexual relationship between an adult man and a little girl, with the consent of the rabbis, seems to have been a rarity which was permitted in some unusual, emergency situations in medieval Europe. Today it is unimaginable.

CH: So when the priest class signs off on your pedophilia because as an economic arrangement it beats the girl starving to death pedophilia is ok? Nice.

Also worth pointing out that you have made my point for me - the morality of the past endorsed by your texts is not the morality of the present. It has changed.

You recognize this, yet you won't treat your texts in the same way when it comes to science. The people who wrote it couldn't know about genetics so you insist that evolution is false, yet you give them a pass for getting it wrong on child marriage and slavery.

What hypocrisy. Of course, what else should we expect from you?

DrJ said...

Cameron's sarcasm aside, JP I await your response to the real problem that Cameron poses: that the Bible and Talmud is admittedly "fallible" or changeable in some respects (like shifting morality, medicine, economics, etc) but then claiming it is not in other realms (ritual laws, creation story, etc)

Personally, the only way I see out of this contradiction is admitting that the Torah/bible is of human origin (perhaps with divine inspiration, whatever that means), and what defines Judaism is the evolving halachic process, as experienced through the rabbis and the community.

הצעיר שלמה בן רפאל לבית שריקי ס"ט said...

whah, whoah, you got some prtty tough readerhip mr. philosopher guy! these guys want to rip you to peices! like, all the time!

But to be honest, I don't know why you have to stick to the anti-evlution ideology; there are many orthodox rabbis who say evolution is a reasonable posibility as to how the 'Orgional-Cause' but things on earth into being. So the way I see it, weather or not evolutioned happened how we think it happened or not has no bearing on Judaism.

Also, I don't understand these guys, what in the hell is wrong with the idea that how the teachings of G-d are manifest in the world changes with time? (G-d Himself changes his mind about eating meat in Genesis, and the Rambam basicaly says "the whole idea of animal sacrifice was to have a religious observance more like what people were used to, but it could be there are some problems with killing animals for religious reasons". And much more. You see something wrong with that?

Listen, I'll be honest with you mr. philosophy guy; I wouldn't trust a man who wears a skull head and cape when it's not even halloween! *shiver*, watch out!

עבד לא"ל

הצעיר שלמה בן רפאל לבית שריקי ס"ט said...

And Jeff; I don't see why this- "what defines Judaism is the evolving halachic process, as experienced through the rabbis and the community" = this "the only way I see out of this contradiction is admitting that the Torah/bible is of human origin"?

DrJ said...

Hebrew guy,

Your concept of God is kind of fuzzy, its OK with me, but certainly not the classic God of the bible and Judaism.

What I meant by my statement is that since Judaism changes, essentially make parts of the Torah obsolete (something that the Torah never anticipated in the text), together with all of the anthropomorphisms, anachronism and contradictions, in my mind clinches the idea that it was written by man, compiled over a long time.

In my rational mind that is the only way I can make sense of the whole thing.

jewish philosopher said...

Of course I have tough readers on this blog. That’s the spice of my life – slugging it out with the meanest, ugliest, most God damned infidels on the Net and watching them run away crying. I would feel sorry for Cam, but I am a sadist.

Anyway, different circumstances require different behavior. For example, driving a car on Friday is permissible. Driving a car on Saturday morning, the Jewish Sabbath, would be a very serious sin. The Torah didn’t change between Friday and Saturday. The circumstances changed. By the same token a marriage that might have been perfectly reasonable in 13th century France might be insane in 21st century New York. The genius of the Torah is that it provides Jews with practical and wise guidance in all circumstances, whether first century Rome, 12th century Spain or 21st century Australia.

Just by the way, I don’t know exactly what the ages were in those marriages involving child brides. It may well have been that the groom was 13 and the bride was 9 for example, which would technically not be pedophilic.

On the other hand, if the Torah relates that each type of plant and animal was created from inanimate matter then one must either say that’s true or one must say that’s false and therefore the Torah is a fallible man made document, which I am perfectly willing to do if anyone can prove evolution. Proof would be minutely detailed fossil records demonstrating that at least in many cases evolution happened.

הצעיר שלמה בן רפאל לבית שריקי ס"ט said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
natschuster said...

My understanding of the "evolution" of the Torah is based on the concept that humans are changing. We are not evolving, however. It is more of a devolutionary process. When G-d gave the Torah to the Bnei Yisroel, the Halachas were enough for the soceity to function as a Torah Nation. G-d foresaw the the decline of the people. So he gave the Sages the power to make institute laws as they became necessary. For example, according to the Torah, a man can divorce his wife without her consent. He could be trusted not to abuse that privilege. With the passage of time and the decline in spirituality, that no longer held true. It became necessary to remove a husband's right to avoid abuse.

הצעיר שלמה בן רפאל לבית שריקי ס"ט said...

There is a lot that could be said obviously, but all I would tell off handis; it would seem to an objectivly logical mind that the opinion of the theists is more likely than that of atheists for a number of different logical reasons outside of the actual text of the torah (that I can't get into now). Once that premise is established, and the idea that there must be some ducument that G-d gave us to teach us, and supposing it was 'the torah', then the necessary cunclusion is that the 'burden of proof' is on us to try to 'legitimize' the torah's texts, and not visa-versa.

Listen, if you got lot's of time I would recomend lawrence kelemans books "permission to beleive" and "permission to receive", as well as the 'hashkafa' articles at www.bmv.org.il.

badrabbi said...

"Of course I have tough readers on this blog. That’s the spice of my life – slugging it out with the meanest, ugliest, most God damned infidels on the Net and watching them run away crying. I would feel sorry for Cam, but I am a sadist."

Oh yes, we cry all the time!
Regarding Cameron, my only regret is that he does not comment enough.

jewish philosopher said...

As I have already mentioned, if Cameron did not exist, we would have to invent him.

DrJ said...

Nat said
"We are not evolving, however. It is more of a devolutionary process. When G-d gave the Torah to the Bnei Yisroel, the Halachas were enough for the soceity to function as a Torah Nation. G-d foresaw the the decline of the people. So he gave the Sages the power to make institute laws as they became necessary."

Oh I get it. Getting rid of polygamy, slavery and animal/human sacrifice is "devolution". My rebbes also used to say ,"the doros are getting weaker" but its really a crock of s--t. Do you really yearn for the good old days of old, when we could rape and pillage our enemies, prohibit Jews from one tribe marrying into another, and offer to sell off our young daughters in marriage?

The truth, Nat, is that the rabbis had to change things because of moral PROGRESS, not regression. They were FORCED to deal with developing humanity's ideas of equality, freedom, and scientific progress. Rabbeinu Gershom's ban on polygamy was because of social progress, and to say it was because of man's weakness is an outlandish and outrageous lie. (As though with primitive man, harems were a higher form or morality..)

natschuster said...

drj:

When did the Torah ever permit indiscriminant raping and pillaging? My understanding is that the laws of the Yafas Toar was to prevent rape.

In a lot of the areas you mentioned, the Rabbis where way ahead of the rest of humanity. The U.S.A. did away with slvery less than 200 years ago. To the best of my knowledge, marital rape ios still legal in America. The Rabbis didn't make changes to keep up with humanities progress because we where already way ahead.

Cameron said...

guy with the incomprehensible Hebrew name: So the way I see it, whether or not evolution happened how we think it happened or not has no bearing on Judaism.

CH: Bingo. However, JP is unfortunately professed to be wed to the following positions;

- JP feels the best argument for God's existence is the Watchmaker principle. So much so he makes few other serious arguments for God's existence (and when he does bother to it's the old 'only God can explain where the universe/life/morality come from. Stuff so old it had moss on it when the ancient Greeks debunked it).

- JP has also declared that for his beloved design argument to be valid, evolution must be false.

- He also suggests that (and this should be the loud bell going off that something is seriously wrong if you start to make these kinds of arguments) that modern science is an 'atheist conspiracy'.

As such, he (and now natschuster) assume that if they in their limited understandings (get them to explain what they think a species is - just for kicks) find any problems or gray areas in evolution (no matter how distorted) it somehow validates their design position.

Personally, I suspect he's been visiting the Disco Institutes's website too much for his own good, but ultimately all of this crap comes from the fact they want the design argument to be right more than they respect science.

And how ironic is that? A Jewish philosopher poisoned by the bad arguments of a few demented Protestants?

Hysterically funny if it weren't so sad. Actually, no, you know what, it's still hysterically funny.

JP: "Of course I have tough readers on this blog. That’s the spice of my life – slugging it out with the meanest, ugliest, most God damned infidels on the Net and watching them run away crying. I would feel sorry for Cam, but I am a sadist."

CH: I'll admit to being God-damned (such as that goes), and I am certainly the definition of an infidel, but 'mean'? Hardly.

Ugly? I suspect that my picture may not be doing me justice, but even with the horns and that cigarrette dangling from my eye-socket I guarantee I get more trim than puff-chesty-white-beard-guy-with-yamalke.

My favourite though is 'Run away crying'!

'Oh no! The big bad theologian and his watchmaker principle has made me cry, boo hoo!'

Puh-leaze

badrabbi said...

Actually, I agree with JP that Evolution Theory is incompatible with the Torah.

The Torah claims that creation occurred in 6 days; that all plants were created in one day, and all animals were created another day; that humans were created in one day; that the world is less than 6000 years old; that rabbits are ruminants; that insects have 4 limbs; and that all languages came to be instantly.

All of the above is counter to our understanding of Biology and Evolution theory. Since the Torah is purported to be divine, it must therefore be inerrant. So, if Evolution theory is correct, the Torah is invalid, and vice versa.

This is the reason JP and his ilk are so vehemently opposed to all things biological and evolutionary.

badrabbi said...

Is pedophilia allowed in Judaism?

The answer is NO. There are instances in the Torah where a prophet marries an underage girl, but this does not constitute pedophilia. In the ancient times, people married very early, and it was not uncommon to marry as young teenagers. The Torah takes things a bit too far as for example, with Isaac marrying a 4 year old. But, the understanding is that the intention is a stable relationship and not sexual assault.

To this day, certain cultures, Muslim societies in particular, still condone underage marriages. We are weirded by these practices but no harm is meant and by those who do this.

What is more important, I think, is that we recognize that just as priests are found to be molesting young children, it is possible for rabbis to be doing the same things. In these cases, we should have no mercy and prosecute these bastards.

הצעיר שלמה בן רפאל לבית שריקי ס"ט said...

man f--k it bad rabbi man, again; the torah was 'given' to a very specific set of individuals. Rabbi Avigdor Miller writes (and who is more orthodox than him? I once heard him say "it's mitzva to love ALL Jews.....exept modern orthodox"! תז"ב) that G-d did not give mankind His teachings, to teach them scientific priciples. And secondly; anyway, if G-d told them the truth they automatically would have dismissed it. What kind of "noodle-noggin" (whoah, did I just say that?!) thinks the earth goes around the sun?! We SEE the opposite, etc.

http://www.sacred-texts.com/ane/enuma.htm

הצעיר שלמה בן רפאל לבית שריקי ס"ט said...

oh, by the way, mr. bad rabbi guy, I left you a comment on your hair covering post a while ago, and suspect you didn't see it..

And mr. skull head guy;"Ugly? I suspect that my picture may not be doing me justice, but even with the horns and that cigarrette dangling from my eye-socket I guarantee I get more trim than puff-chesty-white-beard-guy-with-yamalke."- Yeah, but you gotta admit he been wokin' out. you seen those pictures?

And mr. philosophy guy, I think this "That’s the spice of my life – slugging it out with the meanest, ugliest, most God damned infidels on the Net and watching them run away crying. I would feel sorry for Cam, but I am a sadist." is such a good line it should like, be your blog title or something...

מינאי זעירא

jewish philosopher said...

Cam, I never suggested that science is an atheistic conspiracy, however since you bring that up, what about religion? Is the fact that the majority of humans believe in God a theistic conspiracy? I think that most, although not all, scientists are atheists or agnostics and their understanding of the world is biased by that. Seriously religious people, and there are many of us, tend to spend more time studying religion instead of nature.

Also, by the way, for the Watchmaker Analogy to be false, the Infinite Monkey Theorem must be true. I am not irrational and testosterone crazed enough to believe that.

Bad, I've got a post about hares.

natschuster said...

Just a few quick thoughts. Rabbits and hares do practice coprophagy. this means that they eat their feces. This serves the same purpose as ruminating in cattle. It allows the bacteria time to ferment the ruffage. The Shafan in the Posuk, which is usually translated as hyrax, may very well be the pika. the pika is a lagomorph and it practices coprophagy, like its rabbit cousins. The Pika looks like and is about the same size as the hyrax, and occupies the same econiche. The english term coney is applied to both.

natschuster said...

Why does it always happen? We start talking about evolution and wind up discussing pedophilia. We talk about evolution and then the subject becomes pedophilia.

While the Torah permits child marriage, I'm not sure that the Torah permits a man to have sex with his child bride becaue he is wasting his semen. I do believe that there is a Gemorah to this effect. I'm not sure what the actual halacha is. Maybe someone can enlighten me.

jewish philosopher said...

I would assume that sex is OK, just as it is when ones wife is pregnant.

Cameron said...

JP: Cam, I never suggested that science is an atheistic conspiracy,

CH: Oh really? Then why is that no reputable university or scientific insitution has published a single article on intelligent design, or 'proof' that evolution is false?

JP: however since you bring that up, what about religion?

CH: Superstitious nonsense wrapped in history and tradition.

JP: Is the fact that the majority of humans believe in God a theistic conspiracy?

CH: Interstingly you lump yourself as an Orthodox Jew in with hardcore Protestants, Zorastrians, animists, and Pantehists. Lots of people believe in lots of different - and mutually incompatible - Gods, and another group (about 15%) don't believe in any. The gods those other people believe in aren't yours - so why would you think the fact they have a mistaken belief system should somehow be considered as an argument that supports your own?

JP: I think that most, although not all, scientists are atheists or agnostics and their understanding of the world is biased by that.

CH: Like I said, the 'conspiracy of atheist scientists'. What pray tell, do you have to say to Francis Collins who manages to believe in a God (albeit not your God) and also be the lead guy on the Human Genome project, and defender of evolution?

JP: Seriously religious people, and there are many of us, tend to spend more time studying religion instead of nature.

CH: Which is why it's always the seriously religious people who end up on top of watchtowers in their underwear working bolt action rifles.

JP: Also, by the way, for the Watchmaker Analogy to be false, the Infinite Monkey Theorem must be true.

CH: Simply false. Proving a false hypothesis wrong does not make your own false hypothesis true. The fact all things are not white does not mean all things are therefore black. Though I can understand how a seriously religious person would have a problem with complex logic like that. There are more than two options to consider, and your infinite monkey hypothesis isn't one of them.

Cameron said...

Badrabbi (my man!) said: The Torah claims that creation occurred in 6 days; that all plants were created in one day, and all animals were created another day; that humans were created in one day; that the world is less than 6000 years old; that rabbits are ruminants; that insects have 4 limbs; and that all languages came to be instantly.

All of the above is counter to our understanding of Biology and Evolution theory. Since the Torah is purported to be divine, it must therefore be inerrant. So, if Evolution theory is correct, the Torah is invalid, and vice versa.

CH: What you describe is proof that the Torah is not always literally true and that some of its claims are contradicted by science. All of which I completely agree with. But the theologians job (as I see it) is to provide some sort of reasoning for continuing to believe despite these contraventions of fact - and it's debating and debunking those mental gymnastics that I enjoy most.

I guess expecting any kind of serious apologetics from JP other than 'it's all secular science lies' was a bit too hopeful.

badrabbi: Is pedophilia allowed in Judaism?

The answer is NO. There are instances in the Torah where a prophet marries an underage girl, but this does not constitute pedophilia. In the ancient times, people married very early, and it was not uncommon to marry as young teenagers. The Torah takes things a bit too far as for example, with Isaac marrying a 4 year old. But, the understanding is that the intention is a stable relationship and not sexual assault.

CH: I'm having real trouble distinguishing a marriage involving a four year old as not being pedophilic in nature.

Sure the intent may be promoting a stable relationship, but from our modern perspective we know children cannot reasonably consent to these relationships - and worse - we also know that they lead to the worst kind of mental damage.

Further, I am not so much interested in demonstrating that the Torah is pro-pedophilia, as I am in demonstrating that the moral codes espoused by the Torah and Bible are insufficient - and in some cases - utterly contrary to our modern moral perspectives. Demonstrating that, I am then curious to determine whether JP will defend these moral atrocities as written (is he really pro-child marriage? Pro-slavery?), or whether he will admit that moral codes have moved on and progressed from those in his books.

Lastly, if morality has progressed and he is willing to acknowledge that, why can't he accept that science has done so as well?

jewish philosopher said...

Cameron, I am happy to see that some of your feistiness is returning. You bring some ray of excitement into my boring day at the office. However it’s a shame that there are not also some brains in that wicked little skull of yours.

For example, you seem to believe that anyone with a different opinion is a “conspiracy theorist” and of course we all know how silly they are. In fact, “conspiracy” means people who know that they are lying and do so anyway. Atheists and agnostics believe that they are being honest. The Catholic Church for example is not a conspiracy to promote Jesus.

Also, it’s interesting that there are so many other good explanations for the origin of life on earth other than blind chance or a divine creator. I wonder why Richard Dawkins didn’t realize that when he wrote Chapter 6 of The Blind Watchmaker.

natschuster said...

Cameron:

I have a book at home called "The Politically Incorrect Guide to Darwinism and Intelligent Design" by Jonathan Wells. The author documents, with sources cited, a number of cases where an academician was denied tenure or even fired for saying things where critical of the Darwinian Orthodoxy. Professers are scared to say anyhting critical of evolution because they are afraid of losing thier jobs.

Cameron said...

JP: For example, you seem to believe that anyone with a different opinion is a “conspiracy theorist” and of course we all know how silly they are.

CH: Exactly. There is no conspiracy by scientists to discredit religion by promoting evolutionary theory. Scientists promote evolution because it falsifies claims of religious perfection. This is why people like Francis Collins and others can be good scientists and still be religious. What they can't and don't do, is attempt to hold beliefs that are in conflict with the facts - so they don't claim the earth is only 6000 years old, they don't claim we have our origins in a garden with talking snakes, etc.

As for Jonathon Wells, Nat, you really need to broaden your reading to include scientists. Wells is a lawyer - and not a very good one at that.

As for people denied tenure, would you grant tenure to someone in physics who denies the reality of gravity? No. And no reputable university would give tenure to a professor of biology who has denied evolution.

natschuster said...

Cameron:

According to the book jacket Wells has a PhD. in chemistry.

Scientists don't have to deny evolution to be punished, They mrely have to say something critical of the Darwinian Orthodoxy, or talk about the Anthropic Principle.

Spike said...

"it’s interesting that there are so many other good explanations for the origin of lifeorigin of life on earth"

The on earth is a bit of a cop out, but lets hear your alternate theories for the first life arising somewhere in the visible universe.

Mark said...

“The Torah claims that creation occurred in 6 days; that all plants were created in one day, and all animals were created another day; that humans were created in one day; that the world is less than 6000 years old; that rabbits are ruminants; that insects have 4 limbs; and that all languages came to be instantly.”

It is interesting that of the above statements, only the fact that rabbits are not ruminants was contested. The apologists stated the following:

Nat Said: Since rabbits eat their own crap, then rabbits can be considered ruminants.

JP pointed to a blog of his regarding this which essentially summarizes to:
1. The use of the phrase “the whole world” really refers to the Middle East
2. The rabbit “appears” to chew its cud. The Torah did not want to confuse the issue so it gave in and said that rabbits chew their cud!

The Hebrew Guy said: Holy f---ing s--t, bad --- rabbi, what you say?

To Nat I say that if you believe that a rabbit’s eating its doo doo makes it a ruminant, it is not hard to understand why you deny the evidence of evolution. I was watching a you-tube video of a monkey eating its crap in a zoo in front of an admiring audience. I wonder whether you are going to classify a monkey as a ruminant as well!


To JP I say first of all that if you want to take the stance that the world is effectively the Middle East, well then come out and say so. The Hashem that you worship is the God only of the Middle East. Second, the last time I checked, even in Middle East Asia, Hares do not chew their cud.

And to the Hebrew Guy I say, bad a—f—ing s—t, f—ing A!

badrabbi said...
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badrabbi said...

“CH: What you describe is proof that the Torah is not always literally true and that some of its claims are contradicted by science. All of which I completely agree with. But the theologians job (as I see it) is to provide some sort of reasoning for continuing to believe despite these contraventions of fact - and it's debating and debunking those mental gymnastics that I enjoy most.”

Cameron, I think you are being too polite when you say that the Torah is not ‘literally true’. If I were to take an algebra test, and I were asked to sum x + x, and I answered that x + x = 25x, then it is fair to say that my answer is incorrect. I think it would be a misrepresentation to characterize my answer as ‘not the literal truth’. Right is right and wrong is wrong.

I agree that the theologian (poor man) will attempt to rescue the failed idea, but woe is to him who tries to desperately cling to a false idea or system of belief. I think that we, as seekers of truth, are being too accommodating in asserting that science and religion are not incompatible. The fact is that they really are. If religion talks of supernatural entities for which the only evidence appears to be a decidedly errant book, then it is fair to conclude that religion should die an ignominious death.

That said, I too enjoy observing the clumsy mental gymnastics that theologians display when attempting to reconcile religious dogma with facts. Debunking religious thinking is not unlike the tank plinking Iraqis were subjected to by our Wart Hog planes on the ‘highway of death’ in the first gulf war.

badrabbi said...

Nat we talked about pedophilia because it was the subject of the current blog. JP mentioned that underage marriages are allowed under certain circumstances.

Now, Nat, you who speaks of everlasting morality of the Torah, how do you explain away the challenge that Cameron has raised to the morality of marrying a 4 year old who could not possibly be in a position to consent to a relationship?

Would you ever consent to having your 4 year old married off? if not, why not?

Would you ever consent to having your or your fellow man's daughter sold off to slavery? if not, why not?

If the Torah allows these things, then what power is in us that makes us abhore these ideas from the depths of our souls (metaphorically)?

natschuster said...

Mark:

The Torah uses the term "Maaleh Gera" for chewing the cud, which means to bring up that which was swallowed. This is exactly what a loagomoroh does when it eats its feces. It serves the exact same purpose physiologically as chewing the cud, so its not that much of a stretch.

The Torah describes uses the term "walks on four legs when describing the locust. The locust does in fact use four legs for walking. the last pair is used primarily for jumping.

As far as the age of the Earth, there si plenty of basis wihtin the Torah canon for an Earth that is more than 6000 years old.

Linguist say that all Indo-European languages can be traced to a proto-langauge that was spoken in Anatolia around 7000 years ago. Anatolia is righ tnext to Bovel. Coincidence? I don't know. As far as the dates are concerned the confounding of langauges after the tower of babel accelerated the process of linguistic change so that would throw the dates off.

natschuster said...

Badrabbi:

I don't like the idea of child marraige, but that is a purely subjective feeling. I can't prove its wrong. If the alternative is starvation, thne maybe it is the lessr of two evils.

I think that the very open atitude towards sexuallity in our society is horrific. I see the consequences every day. In the school where I teach, we have large day care center for the children of our students. We can't realistically entertain the hope that these babies will gow up to be anything other the thugs or welfare recipients, just like the mothers/students. We see the occasional success story, but the numbers are discouraging. This is what comes of all the internet porn, sex in movies, etc. But that is just my opinion.

הצעיר שלמה בן רפאל לבית שריקי ס"ט said...
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הצעיר שלמה בן רפאל לבית שריקי ס"ט said...

I don't know guys, your discussions about science and ethics vs. religion seem like those Christians have. I think the scull-head guy is right on this one; Jews and Southern Baptist Protestants don't have that much in common.

Problems discussed;

1. Torah's creation epic contradicts theory of evolution.

2. It also says things like 'rabbits 'chew their cud'', all languages came to be in one day and that insects have four legs.

3. It also discusses things like 'marrying a minor'.

OK, let's not discuss the fact that it also discusses things like “G-d’s nose”, and that -obviously-, according to the most elementary reading of the rest of 'the five books' it is not supposed to mean that G-d actually has a physical form.

Ok, I said this before, but I didn't get too much feedback, so I'll say it again; 'Torah' is not a book. 'Torah' is G-d’s will upon us at any given time or place. There was a 'Torah' given to the Hebrews over 3000 years ago; from that Torah, seeing what G-d told people then, we can understand what G-d might want from us now.

Now again, the point of the Torah is not to discuss micro-biology, the point of the torah is to give mankind some kind of ethical framework, because we cannot know ethics alone. This is the great debate between us ("Jewish Theologians") and Fredrich Neiche. But to a large extent he was disproved (a least by our understanding) by the events that took place in Europe between 1939 and 1945, namely; there cannot be an objective morality made by man. We all see things differently. I think it's ethical to save the world from the open enemies of every society (Jews), and you say "well, someone has to run Hollywood. ...and who would take care of all the money?", who is 'objectively right? Is it right that the Satan (America) is robbing every ounce of purity and idealism from 'the lands of Islam' on their own land, and somehow make the Muslims look like the bad guy?

Uh....I'm digressing.. Point is; G-d’s message to Man is for real 'objective' ethics, and not to teach science. The Torah was given in 'the framework of the times'. It has a creation story like other near eastern cultures. Hell, it shares a billion things with ancient near eastern cultures. But there is a big difference between ancient 'monotheist' ideology, and ancient 'pagan' ideology. And there is a big difference between modern 'monotheism', and modern secularism/atheism/agnosticism (I'm not putting down 'Deism', ..for all you deist fans out there!), and that difference is the difference between having a student nursery and not; about leading ethical lives. Not about how many damn f---ing legs f---ing insects got, OK?

And again, the way things are seen in my humbled eyes; the Torah says "that go on four" because that was the popular way to say insect (and animal) back then (as opposed to 'on two'. Hey, I mean, penguins walk on two legs. ..G-d bless those penguins!)

Oh, and uh- marrying a minor; it was all accepted back then, period. Not to mention the guy was also young, and girls grow up really fast in those societies.

OK, I know, I've spewed enough unintelligible crap for one day. ..I guess you'll just have to wait till tomorrow!

הכותב לכבוד הא"ל
ולכבוד התורה

jewish philosopher said...

Regarding the six days of creation question, I’ve got a post on that.

As far as academic prejudice goes, I think atheism today is where Christianity was in universities 300 years ago. This is just the latest nutty belief system. It too shall pass.

natschuster said...

Shlomo Ben Rephoel:

I basically agree with you. However, it does say in Pirkei Avos, "Know waht to answer the Apikores." Telling them that the Troah was meant as a guide for life, and not a science text will not go over very well with this crowd, so I have to give a different answer.

הצעיר שלמה בן רפאל לבית שריקי ס"ט said...

nat; what the hell does that mean? Just the opposite, isn't it the biggest chillul hashem for people to think the Torah is wrong because they think it was ever meant to be scientifically plausible?

badrabbi said...

Ok, so let's say as Shlomo Ben Rafael asserts, that the Torah is not a science book but rather a moral framework. Forget about the fact that the Torah does venture into science and to the extent that it does, it is proven over and over to be wrong. Ok, let's forget that for a moment.

Let us examine the claim that the Torah is a moral framework by which ethical conduct is derived. The assertion is that the fundamental moral constructs are derived from the Torah. Now, again, I, Cameron, Spike, DrJ and others have pointed to the unethical dictates of the Torah such as its tolerance of slavery, underage marriages, etc. But, I guess we want to talk about overarching moral precepts. So let’s forget the ethical shortcomings of the Torah also for the moment.

What are the fundamental moral teachings of the Torah? Orthodox Jews and Christians point to the 10 commandments as the foundation of morality. Let’s look at them for a minute. These are the 10 commandments (to my amazement, it turns out that the Torah has at least 2 different versions of the 10 Commandments, and Christians have ‘modified’ them further, so I am choosing the first version as it appears in the Torah):
1. Do not worship any other god
2. Do not make idols
3. Do not use God’s name in Vain
4. Keep the Sabbath
5. Honor your parents
6. Do not murder
7. Do not commit adultery
8. Do not steal
9. Do not lie
10. Do not covet

The first 3 of 10 commandments concern themselves with exclusive worship rights of Hashem. They state that Hashem has a monopoly on being worshiped. One might ask if there is only one God, why it would be necessary to ask that no other God be worshipped, but this is a subject for another day. Nevertheless, it is clear that the first 3 commandments are hardly related to morality. Similarly, it may be nice to rest on Saturdays but this too is hardly a moral statement.

Thus, it is not until the fifth commandment that we come to moral issues. Now, the question is: are these concepts, namely commandments 5-10 new ideas? When we as Jews were in front of Sinai, did these revelations come as a surprise to us? Were we, for example, clueless that murder was wrong?

It is plain that we had ideas about the morality of the above even before the 10 commandments were given. Fir example, in the Torah, in Genesis, we are told that Cain murdered Able. God comes to Cain and asks what has been done. Cain is evasive and tries to hide the fact that he has murdered. God punishes him for his murder. Clearly Cain knew that murder was wrong as demonstrated by the fact of his hiding is act. Clearly Hashem took Cain to account for what he did and punished him. Now the question is if we learned that murder is wrong by the 6th commandment, how come the morality of murder was so clear even to Cain? Cain lived thousands of years prior to the Sinai revelation. How did he come to know that murder is wrong?

Similar stories can be found in the Torah regarding stealing (as for example, Jacob’s theft of the inheritance of Esau), about honoring one’s parents (as for example with Noah’s children), about adultery (as with Jacob’s son sleeping with his father’s wife), etc.

The point is that the moral precepts that were given with the Ten Commandments were not new at all. They were long known by people even by the Torah’s own admission.

So the question is: What moral lessons did the Torah teach?

הצעיר שלמה בן רפאל לבית שריקי ס"ט said...
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הצעיר שלמה בן רפאל לבית שריקי ס"ט said...

Anti-pagainsm. Pagan religions of the time, although they had some sort of moral teaching, were primarily against the teachings of monotheism. And there were sparks of ethical-monotheism outside of the abrhamic world (in the near east) as well. The Bible itself says that malki-zedek was a priest to the 'most high G-d'. Hummurabi perhaps. Did Heideger know that ridding the world of those who lower it's principles (the Jews) is also considered murder? We're talking about Germany, in a way the 'America' of the day. Rather G-ds morals are known from Greece to New Guinea, but that is the cosmic battle (kind of like the one JP mentioned he has with Cameron) between ethics and chaos. G-d and, well, not Satan, but 'unG-dliness', monotheism and paganism, religion and secularism; and that was and will be the constant struggle of humanity.

Oh, and uh, by the way; I think Christians stress the ten commandments over the rest of the Pentateuch much more than Jews do..

Well, uh, that’s what I got to say for now…anybody else?

עבד

Cameron said...

JP: As far as academic prejudice goes, I think atheism today is where Christianity was in universities 300 years ago. This is just the latest nutty belief system. It too shall pass.

CH: Repeat after me, 'atheism is not a belief system, it is a philosophical position with regards to the existence of supernatural beings'.

Zen Buddhists, Soviet communists, Jainists, Nietzschean nihilists, and secular humanists are all atheists but do not share any 'beleif system'.

As for being a nutty belief that shall pass - it's been around longer than Judaism and will be around long after.

jewish philosopher said...

Bad "What moral lessons did the Torah teach?"

Kindness.

Cam, atheism as I define it is the denial of the existence of a universal, eternal judge. Modern western atheism originated about 1770.

Cameron said...

JP: Cam, atheism as I define it is the denial of the existence of a universal, eternal judge. Modern western atheism originated about 1770.

CH: How nice of you to step in and define a word which needed no definition; 'A' (for 'no') 'theism' (for 'Gods)

natschuster said...

Shlomo Ben Repheol:

I think that if the alternative is people rejecting the Torah altogether, it is better to address these questions.

BadRabbi:

Why are you limiting the Torah to the Ten Commandments. Everybody know that the has 613 mitzvas, that include leaving part of the crop for the poor, not muzzeling an ox that is grinding grain, heloing your enemies donkey if it stumbles, loving your neighbor as yourself, etc.

badrabbi said...

Bad "What moral lessons did the Torah teach?"

Kindness.

Again (as usual) you are missing a fundemental principle. Kindness is a good thing. Clearly. Nat gives examples of kindness and charity in the above comment. I am not denying that there are kind (as well as cruel) teachings in the Torah.

What I am taking issue with is what moral principle ORIGINATED with the Torah. Clearly kindess did not start with teachings of the Torah. For example, Rachel comes to give Isaac and his camels water from the well. She acted kindly. Yet she did this, thousands of years prior to the Sinai revelation. So, again, the Torah could not have originated the concept of kindness.

Again, I ask, what moral priciple was founded by the emergence of the Torah?

flyswatter said...

->Bad "What moral lessons did the Torah teach?"

->Kindness.

Ha, ha, ha !!!

jewish philosopher said...

I believe that the commandments to love ones neighbor and to love the stranger are original with the Torah.

Nothing was truly original with the giving of the Torah at Mount Sinai since there were prophets prior to Moses who also received divine inspiration and revelation and therefore had some knowledge of the Torah as well.

natschuster said...

I do believe that the idea of taking kindness and codifying it into concrete laws started with the Torah. Before then, (and to a great extent today) kindness was nice but vague and abstract concept. The Torah tunred it into real aplicable laws.

badrabbi said...

I do believe that the idea of taking kindness and codifying it into concrete laws started with the Torah.

Nat, this is a very good observation on your part. I agree that the Torah is significant for codification of what people sensed in the first place rather than the origination of ideas. People had a sense of what is and what is not moral and they began to write it down. This codification is the source of progress in human civilization. While one may quible and say that the Hammurabi's Code actually preceded the Torah, the fact remains that the Torah is an advance in civilization in that it codified what morality. The crucial point, though, one that I was trying to make earlier is that the Torah did not GIVE RISE to morality, but rather its authors attempted to formalize some moral concepts.

Flyswatter, you comment was very funny! It exposes JP for the kind of guy that he is.

badrabbi said...

"Nothing was truly original with the giving of the Torah at Mount Sinai ..."

You see, since as you admit that there is nothing original with the giving of the Torah, you can hardly use the mass revelation argument to argue for your Judaism. It is as if you are saying that millions of people witnessed nothing in particular, so beleive in my religion!

Spike said...

Do you have any alternate theories for the first life arising somewhere in the visible universe, or was that a throw-away line that you can, like most of your argument, substantiate in any way?

jewish philosopher said...

Bad, there was nothing invented by God on the spur of the moment at Mount Sinai, however God's revelation at Mount Sinai was unique.

And I've never been shy about what kind of guy I am.

flyswatter said...

>According to the book jacket Wells has a PhD. in chemistry

Then it's wrong. He states himself that his degree is in Molecular and Cell Biology.

Nat and JP, here's a quote from your idol (and Moonie) Jonathon Wells on why he got his PhD in Biology:
"Father's [Sun Myung Moon's] words, my studies, and my prayers convinced me that I should devote my life to destroying Darwinism, just as many of my fellow Unificationists had already devoted their lives to destroying Marxism. When Father chose me (along with about a dozen other seminary graduates) to enter a Ph.D. program in 1978, I welcomed the opportunity to prepare myself for battle." --Jonathan Wells, Darwinism: Why I Went for a Second Ph.D.

Now, if you had a Rabbi who publicly states that the reason that he got semicha was so that he can learn about Judaism to destroy it, would you trust his claims about Judaism?

Talk about conspiracy theories. This guy openly tells you he is biased and you keep quoting him. Oh. My. God.

jewish philosopher said...

How would you feel about a biologist who explains that as a teenager he was an atheist and he studied science with the express purpose of defeating Intelligent Design Theory?

Would you trust him? Oh. My. God.

Anyway, atheistic scientists are of course unbiased, unlike theistic scientists who are. Right.

flyswatter said...

Who is this biologist?

flyswatter said...

BTW, just to make sure I answer your question - absolutely I would not trust that biologist.

And are you telling me that all evolutionary biologists/paleontologists and other scientists are atheists?

jewish philosopher said...

I just meant theoretically.

I think most scientists are atheists or agnostics and the few who are not are smart enough to shut up, except for a few who are foolish enough to support Intelligent Design Theory and get fired.

flyswatter said...

OK, so I gave you a real name and you are making shit up. Very convincing.

And your last paragraph is all conjecture too.

natschuster said...

Flyswatter:

It seems that I was mistaken about the details of Wells's biography. However, he doers provide the sources and the documentation for all the cases of perseecution of academcinas for questioning Darwinian Orhtodoxy. Though he may be biased (who isn't) I don't think he is lying.

flyswatter said...

>Though he may be biased (who isn't) I don't think he is lying.

Jesus Christ, natschuster, don't you see the difference between someone who is biased and someone who says explicitly that the reason why he got involved in science (by being a shaliach of Father Moon!, btw) was to destroy Darwinism. Are you honestly telling me that is the same thing???

And guys like Wells always have a persecution complex. What about guys like Norm Finkelstein? Do you feel he was wronged by getting kicked out of DePaul for saying that Israel is oppressing the Palestinians and the Jews built an industry around the Holocaust?

natschuster said...

Flyswatter:

I only mentioned Wells to demonstrate the fact that academics can be persecuted for questioning Darwinian orthodoxy. I believe him because he documents everything. some of the cases he sites don't involve denying Darwinism, they just questioned Darwinism scientifically. One of the case involved an astonomer discussing the Anthopic Priciple. It actually had nothing to do with Darwinism, but he was forced to stop teaching it.

If Norm Finklestein could have pored his assertions on any way, then what he sadi might have been leigitimate scholarship. Without any backup it was just raving. The cases sited by Wells involve scientists examining the evidence in their classes.

The question that I am addressing is why aren't there any acamedics who question evolution. the answer is that they are afraid of loossing their jobs. I understand you to be saying that they should loose their jobs. So you are basically agreeing with me that a academic can get fired for doubting evolution.

flyswatter said...

Finkelstein has a PhD in Political Science from Princeton and has an extensive teaching history. Have you read his works? Have you checked his sources? Are you confident that he can't prove his assertions in any way and his scholarship is not legitimate? You just disagree with his political position and so you try to delegitimize him.

What about the guys that got fired for stating that Mossad and the US government blew up the WTC. Their claims aren't that outrageous. They have scientists and engineers that have done studies that show that a plane could not have done the damage to those buildings?

My point is that any time there is a status quo, there is a tendency for people to protect their turf. However, if the truth is compelling, it eventually gets out there. The Church banned heliocentric models of the solar system under threat of torture and death, but it still got out there. I can provide many other theories, including evolution, that started out being disdained and oppressed by everyone in the establishment.

The problem is that most of the anti-darwin people aren't interested in pursuing any Intelligent Design science. They are funded by conservative religious organizations and their aim is to discredit or in many cases destroy darwinism because it is contrary to their religious beliefs (Look at who is backing and funding the Discovery Institute) and that is not good science. Why don't they take that money and istead of attacking Darwin spend it on showing some research.

jewish philosopher said...

"However, if the truth is compelling, it eventually gets out there."

Absolutely.

natschuster said...

I have a collection of books at home written by scientists who are proponents of intelligent design who are doing research. Some of them do belive in evlotuion as weel. They just feel that a naturalistc explanation isn't enough. Wells is a research scientist. his specialty is fetal development.

flyswatter said...

So what's the problem then? If they are doing research then they are not all unemployed and persecuted by the cabal of evolutionists? And if they are publishing books then their ideas are getting heard!

natschuster said...

So why are you saying that there are no sciemtists who question evolution?

I guess that there are some universities that are a little more tolerant.

flyswatter said...

>So why are you saying that there are no sciemtists who question evolution?

Where did I say that?

natschuster said...

Flyswatter:

Someboy mentioned it before. Thats why i mentioned Well's book. I apologize for the mix up

flyswatter said...

OK. So getting back to my question - what exactly is your problem? People are working at universities doing research and publishing their work in a way that is accessible to anyone who wants to read it.

There are always politics and non-idealistic behavior in every profession, so you haven't shown me that what is going on in the are of science is any worse than anywhere else.

And what I've shown you is that Wells is self-admittedly bent on "destroying Darwinism". You have no idea what the situations were that caused the firing of the people he documents in his book, do you? Perhaps there were other factors that had nothing to do with it. Why would you trust a guy who is SO biased on this issue?

natschuster said...

One of the cases Wells sites is of an Astronmer who wanted to teach the Anthropic Principle, nothing to do with Darwinism. A group of professors organized specifiaclly for the purpose of stopping what hey said was a form of creationism.
There are similar, well documneted stories in his book. (Maybe you should read it.)

I read about another case in the New York Times science section a few months ago. A PhD candidate who happened to be a young ERarth creationist did his thesis on the Cretacious Mosasaurs. Some of his mentors sadi he shouldn't be given his PhD., even though he earned it, because of his beliefs.

flyswatter said...

And you still haven't answered my question or addressed my points from my previous comment.

flyswatter said...

BTW, here's a little excerpt from Wikipedia on the Anthropic principle.

'Leonard Susskind has argued that the existence of a large number of vacua puts the anthropic reasoning on firm ground; only universes with the remarkable properties sufficient to allow observers to exist are beheld while a possibly much larger set of universes without such properties go utterly unnoted. Steven Weinberg refers to the Anthropic Principle as a "turning point" in modern science since, applied to the string landscape, it "may explain how the constants of nature that we observe can take values suitable for life without being fine-tuned by a benevolent creator."'

So here are two high level prominent physicists who believe that there may be merit to the Anthropic Principle. As far as I know they have not been fired or persecuted.

natschuster said...

All I know is that this particular scientist was persecuted becaue he was talking about the anthropic principle, and it was considered theistic. Are you trying yo say that universities never persecute scientsts because of thier beliefs? It doesn't have to happen all the time to be intinmidating.
Are you saying that everything Wells writes should eb disregarded because he is biased? HE provides all the sources and documentation.

flyswatter said...

Name the person - perhaps I can read about this on the web. I can't speak about this specific case abstractly.

And please stick to the topic and answer my question from above. I asked you if there are people doing research and publishing their work, then how can they be intimidated. Why were Susskind and Weinberg, prominent physicists, able to promote the Anthropic Principle and not be intimidated?

>Are you saying that everything Wells writes should eb disregarded because he is biased?

No, I am saying that if you really wanted to find out the truth, you would not make him your primary source since he admits that he is not just biased, his intention is to DESTROY Darwinism. Are there any other non-biased accounts of what he is writing?

natschuster said...

I guess the creationist scientists are doing research in universities that are more tolerant, and publishing their works in atypical venues. Or maybe they have the courage of their convictions, and are taking chances.

Maybe Weinberg and Susskind are so prominent that they don't have to fear persecution.

I don't ahve the book in front of me, but i do believe that the astronomers last name was Gonzalez.

flyswatter said...

OK, so here is another side to the story about Guillermo Gonzales. I wonder if Mr Wells mentions these facts.

1) Gonzales is a Senior Fellow at the Discovery Institute.

2) The Discovery Institute is the same one which issued the Wedge Manifesto as its mission statement, which states as one of its goals ""To replace materialistic explanations with the theistic understanding that nature and human beings are created by God"

You can see why the faculty of ISU may have strong reason to believe that Gonzales may slip a little theology into his science.

Now combine this with this quote from Wikipedia:
"The Chronicle of Higher Education said of Gonzalez and the Discovery Institute's claims of discrimination "At first glance, it seems like a clear-cut case of discrimination ... But a closer look at Mr. Gonzalez's case raises some questions about his recent scholarship and whether he has lived up to his early promise." The Chronicle observed that Gonzalez had no major grants during his seven years at ISU, had published no significant research during that time and had only one graduate student finish a dissertation."

The Chronicle is certainly not specific to Darwinism or Physicists. Would you say that there may have been some other grounds for denial of tenure?

natschuster said...

According to the book, the movement against Gonzalex was led by anothe professor who charged him with teching creationism. The petition signed by anumber of faculty members against Gonzalez also focused on teaching intellignet design.

Moorever, according to the book, was an assistant professor. I don't know a whole lot about what goes on on college campuses, but are such high demands made on assistant professors? Maybe the other charges are trumped up.

flyswatter said...

natschuster,

Do you know what tenure means? What the heck do you mean by high demands? Doesn't sound like you do. He didn't publish anything significant. Have you never heard the term 'Publish or Perish'? But you assume that whatever it is, something was trumped up against him, because a guy who says himself he is biased tells you so in his book. You didn't bother reading the other side of the story, did you? Read the wikipedia article on Guillermo Gonzales and there are a whole bunch of sources towards the bottom.

On a related note: Do you not admit that the Discovery Institute's goal is to promote religion? Look at their mission statement again. Please answer this question.

natschuster said...

I sadi that I don't know what goes on on college campuses. What I would like to know is whether other professors with similar backgroundsa and accomplishments where denied tenure. I don't know. Gonzalez did write a book, so he did publish.

The Gonzalez story does invovle the signing of a petition by hundreds of professors denouncing intelligent design. I think that that should eb proof enough that professors are intimidated into not teaching intelligent design.
The petition came out right after the Smithsonian screened Gonzalez's film.

Wells sites a number of cases not just Gonzalez. I know he is biased. But he documents everything.

Discover Institute promotes belief in G-d. I don't know if they promote religion.

flyswatter said...

What I would like to know is whether other professors with similar backgroundsa and accomplishments where denied tenure. I don't know. Gonzalez did write a book, so he did publish.

That is what the Chronicle investigated and their findings were referenced in the wikipedia article, which I quoted directly. Why would you assume that they were biased in their investigation?

Publishing means publishing research in peer reviewed journals.

You are absolutely correct in stating that this petition against teaching ID would be intimidating. However, you admit that the Discovery Institute is essentially a lobby group, and you are being dishonest if you won't admit that they are essentially a front group for a bunch of conservative religious organizations. Have you ever checked where their money and support comes from. The Discovery Institute is the main instigator of this, and their motto is to promote controversy and to take thing to court.

Where have you ever seen this before? Why would you think they care so much about this particular issue? There are many other non mainstream scientific ideas that get discriminated against by the mainstream science. They never seem to get top billing in the national court system! Is it really that important to anyone's daily lives of whether some paleontologists believe that transitional fossils exist or not? No, it all is because the real issue is that the Discovery institute wants to introduce God and therefore religion into the classrooms. Admit it!

natschuster said...

I'm not sure whether the Discovery institute wants to introduce G-d into the classroom. They are promoting belief in G-d, which is not necessarily synonimous with religion. They aren't promoting a flat Earth, or the Geocentric theory because there is no scientific basis. It looks like there are good scientific reasons for questioning evolution, or for concluding that the univerase was designed. Thats what the Gonzalez controversy was all about.

Cameron said...

flyswatter: "The Chronicle observed that Gonzalez had no major grants during his seven years at ISU, had published no significant research during that time and had only one graduate student finish a dissertation."

CH: Game, set, match. Gonzalez isn't guilty of being discriminated against, he's simply not worthy of being granted tenure.

flyswatter said...

Thanks Cameron for the summary.

I tried, but ultimately I failed. You cannot convince a conspiracy theorist like natschuster that there is no conspiracy. I didn't even try to convince him that Darwinism is correct or that ID is wrong. I just tried to get him to see that his only source for his whole theory is self admittedly biased. And that there seem to be plenty of explanations for these actions other than persecution, but he refuses to admit that there is even a possibility that they may be true and his source is wrong. And that if it weren't for the fact that as a religious Jew he has a vested interest in the Anthropic Principle and Creationism and ID, he wouldn't give two shits about these guys.

I am going back to hitting my head against the wall - it is probably more productive. natschuster, don't bother responding to me, I am no longer going to check this thread. Thanks for keeping it civil.

natschuster said...

Flyswatter:

I reject Darwinism because the evidence for it is spotty, and the problems it isn't addressing are huge. I rejected Darwinism before I ever heard of Wells.

I sited Wells to address a minor question that was asked, "why isn't there more ID research coming from Universities?" I suggested that there is career pressure placed on scientists not to. Wells sites documentation supporting this. There was an anti-ID petition signed by 400 faculty members at ISU. That's pressure. That's all.

Lost Soul said...

>>Certain Torah laws seem to have conformed to ancient morality, for example the permission to own slaves.

Most people confuse the idea of slavery as found in the old south pre-Civil War, which is NOT AT ALL what the Torah means by slaves. Slaves of the Torah were indentured servants who could not pay debts and needed to sell themselves into servitude to repay them. That was one type of servitude in the Torah the other is foreigners who sought to be in the domain of Torah and for certain reasons could not achieve spriritual awareness on their own and could only do so by being in the domain of a righteous and Torah observant person. This idea is still a Torah belief and has not changed. What has changed is Jewish autonomy and a court system to carry out these practices. Jewish law states that if a master has only one pillow in his home that he should give it to the servant/slave. This is obviously a different idea than slavery in other nations throughout history. Either way it is almost impossible for us today to understand or relate to these matters because due to the society that we live in, no matter how insulary, is far removed from these things.

Lost Soul said...

>>Seriously religious people, and there are many of us, tend to spend more time studying religion instead of nature.

Where'd you hear this? There are many many Orthodox Jews in the sciences and Torah cannot contradict science. (maybe some scientific theories but that is very very rare.) As an orthodox Jew that has learned in big mainstream yeshivos I believe strongly in evolution and a 15 billion year old universe.

LS