Friday, March 13, 2009

God - the great explanatory principle



[Occam’s Razor – the simplest answer is the best]

So many facts about the world around us are unexplainable without a belief in God.

How did the universe begin? We know that every physical process is caused by some other earlier process, so how did it all begin?

Why do the laws of nature appear to be fine-tuned to make it possible for life to exist?

We know that a machine always has a designer, so which designer created life?

What natural process causes human consciousness and free will?

What natural process can account for near death experiences?

Why do people have a need for religion and spirituality? Atheists are often unhappy and suffer from dangerous addictions. Atheistic societies are always failures with declining populations if not full blown genocides.

What natural process could have convinced the Jewish people that their ancestors saw the miracles of the Exodus and heard God speak from Mount Sinai?

Why is the Torah so different from other ancient literature? The Iliad for example is a pointless book preoccupied with brutality, greed, lust and “gods” who are roughly equivalent to modern cartoon superheroes. The Torah, in contrast, teaches the oneness of God, the love of God and the love of neighbors.

The simplest answer is: God did it.

40 comments:

alex said...

I might as well beat your *real* opponents to this, so here goes...

"The Iliad for example is a pointless book preoccupied with brutality, greed, lust and “gods”

The Bible has all that, too.
But of course, it's not pointless.

jewish philosopher said...

The Torah condemns, rather condones, all those things. That's the difference.

Anonymous said...

Not so. The Torah is pointless too.
What point is there in obsessing over foolish prohibitions like carrying your house keys from a private to public domain on shabbat?
Its as screwey as worshipping cows in or rats India.

jewish philosopher said...

The Torah is the first book to promote monotheism, altruism and a weekly day of rest. The Torah is also the first book written with an alphabet. All of this has been copied by most of humanity. How many books have you written which have influenced most of mankind, my little screwy anonymous friend?

Anonymous said...

Just because the Torah is the first book to promote monotheism, altruism and a weekly day of rest, and is also the first book written with an alphabet, does not make it any less foolish for prohibiting carrying your house keys from a private to public domain on shabbat.
That you cannot understand this makes you as screwey as the cow and rat worshippers in India.

jewish philosopher said...

I guess when God wrote the Torah He should have first asked for your approval. Maybe He couldn't find your fax number.

Anonymous said...

God never prohibited us from carrying house keys into a public area on shabbat. Our chumrah obssessed-sages fabricated halacha to fit with their need to impose suffering and hardship on Jews.
That you feel this need confuse misery with virtue puts you in a class with the rat and cow worshippers of India.

jewish philosopher said...

I actually enjoy the Sabbath.

http://jewishphilosopher.blogspot.com/2008/03/genius-of-judaism-sabbath.html

That you feel this need confuse a lack of discipline with virtue puts you in a class with the rat and cow worshippers of India.

Anonymous said...

I enjoy the Sabbath too.
However, yours is a sophistic discipline that craves misery and discomfort which defines your bloated and irrational faith. I suppose you really can't help yourself. Your obssession can best be described as a masturbatory fantasia, loaded with dopey chumras and reflexive self-abnegation.
And like pornography addict, you just can't get enough.

jewish philosopher said...

OK, so on one hand you don't want to be Orthodox because doing so is so painful ("misery and discomfort"). On the other hand, I am Orthodox because doing so is enjoyable that it's addictive ("you just can't get enough").

You know, I think there are doctors who can help you. Don't give up.

alex said...

"The Torah condemns, rather condones, all those things. That's the difference."

Well, I had the commandments against Midianite women and children in mind. I'm just saying that you're setting yourself up for a slamming from your real opponents when you forget to take this episode into account.

Anonymous writes: "The Torah is pointless too."

Projection personified.

jewish philosopher said...

I just posted about that.

http://jewishphilosopher.blogspot.com/2009/02/massacre-of-midianites.html

Anonymous said...

>OK, so on one hand you don't want to be Orthodox because doing so is so painful ("misery and discomfort").<
Wrong!
I do some things even though they involve misery and discomfort. Thus I go to the dentist because I don't want my gums to decay and teeth to fall out.
Orthodoxy offers no such palliatives, other than the irrational contention that it is God's will that you renounce logic and reason in favor of idiotic prohibitions.

jewish philosopher said...

So your philosophy is that you will not obey any orders unless you understand why they are beneficial.

If you do that at a job, you will be fired. If you do that in an army, you will go to prison.

Anonymous said...

Your God is not my boss. I would never work for such an authoritarian.
As for the army, you could be executed for following all orders. Think Neurenberg trials.

jewish philosopher said...

What if you were drafted into an army and told to march somewhere and you protested to your officers "First of all, you are not my boss. I would never work for such an authoritarian. Secondly, I will not renounce logic and reason in favor of idiotic orders." You could end up in front of a firing squad.

Essentially, you're claiming that you don't have the necessary self discipline to be a Jew. Too bad. You'll get what you deserve.

Izgad said...

Iliad is a very meaningful book. There is a lot there about friendship and loyality. Have you actually bothered to sit down and read the Iliad or have you just been content with some kiddy version?

jewish philosopher said...

Hector seems to have been a decent and honest man http://www.hector.com/listingview.php?listingID=22

Beyond that, I'm not sure what you mean specifically.

Anonymous said...

>What if you were drafted into an army and told to march somewhere and you protested to your officers "First of all, you are not my boss. I would never work for such an authoritarian. Secondly, I will not renounce logic and reason in favor of idiotic orders." You could end up in front of a firing squad.<

What if you were in the German army and were ordered to line up 100 Jews against a wall and join a firing squad? Would you still remain in such an authoritarian army and risk being hung at Neurenberg for war crimes? Sometimes you have to pursue logic and reason, not dogma, religious or otherwise.
Don't you realize that your comparisons are a product of fallacious and rancid logic. You have no idea how ridiculous it makes you look when you make these farcial pronouncements.

Izgad said...

The fact that the gods are capricious means that the humans in the story have to step up and move beyond their petty wants and desires. The story of Achilles can be seen as him growing morally and becoming ennobled. In the beginning he abandons his comrades out of a petty feud. He comes back in the end to avenge Patroclus, who was killed by Hector. He has therefore moved beyond himself. Achilles gains a greater level of nobility when he shows mercy to King Priam of Troy, his enemy, and gives him back the body of Hector.

jewish philosopher said...

Not every character in the Iliad is purely evil, however the Iliad did not teach the world anything useful or original.

So Anon, observing the Jewish Sabbath is in your opinion a crime, similar to murdering dozens of innocent people? That's certainly an original argument against Orthodox Judaism.

As a matter of fact, I have been Jewish for over 30 years and I have never been asked by a rabbi to do anything illegal or dangerous.

Basically, what it boils down to is this. You apparently have no self discipline. However, in order to excuse yourself, you make up some nonsense about not being willing to blindly follow orders (as every soldier or employee must) because you are afraid of committing an atrocity.

Is that what you'll tell your next employer? "You have to explain to me the reasons for everything because otherwise I cannot remain in such an authoritarian place and risk being hung at Neurenberg for war crimes."

Have you ever had a job? Or do you still live with Mom?

Larry Tanner said...

The principle of Occam's razor is not "the simplest answer is the best." The principle stresses basing conclusions only on necessary assumptions; that is, the best answer tends to be simpler in that it has a fewer number of necessary assumptions. Bear in mind, however, that this is a tendency and not a certainty.

Is is not necessary to assume the existence of any deity in explaining the beginning of the universe, why the laws of nature *appear* to be fine-tuned for life, human sentience, or anything else.

Therefore, according to Occam's razor the better explanation excludes the idea of a deity.

jewish philosopher said...

We know that the universe exists, the universe is fine tuned to make life possible, life exists, the Jews had a tradition that God appeared to them and authored the Torah, the Torah is the most influential book in history, people feel conscious of themselves and intuitively feel that they have free will, people who have temporarily heart failure often have an out of body experience.

In my humble opinion, the simplest explanation for all this is that there is a God, He created man with an eternal soul and He wrote the Torah.

Larry Tanner said...

"In my humble opinion, the simplest explanation for all this is that there is a God, He created man with an eternal soul and He wrote the Torah."

Whatever floats your boat, but then perhaps your need to re-define "simple" and "simplest."

jewish philosopher said...

If someone else has a better idea, I'm all ears.

Larry Tanner said...

As I've said, the better idea is to explain the beginning of the universe, the apparent fine-tuning of the universe, human consciousness, and other measurable phenomena of the universe without assuming divine participation.

jewish philosopher said...

In other words, somehow attribute to nature all the abilities previously attributed to God. I don't really see how that's plausible.

Larry Tanner said...

Which abilities are you referring to, specifically?

jewish philosopher said...

Everything in this post.

Larry Tanner said...

To think that these "abilities," as you define them, can occur as a course of nature is surely more plausible than to ascribe them to a supernatural being.

jewish philosopher said...

Why not say that my computer occurred as a course of nature rather than ascribing it to a computer factory?

Larry Tanner said...

Make your point straight up, if you have one.

I think if you try to match up your analogy, you'll see quickly that it doesn't apply.

jewish philosopher said...

This post is my point.

Larry Tanner said...

I 'spose so, but I think your point in this case is quite dull.

So many facts about the world are quite explainable without a belief in a deity. In fact, belief is often precisely what makes occludes the otherwise explicable.

Does this make belief bad or evil? No, not necessarily. But I think it means that a person must be careful not to allow belief to overtake one's power to reason, question, investigate, and even revise one's assumptions about things - such as the existence and nature of a deity.

jewish philosopher said...

My beliefs are based on reason.

Larry Tanner said...

I didn't suggest they weren't.

John said...

Wow. What is it about religion that makes people so agressive?

I 'supose it's because it's a very fundamental block on which your perceptions of your existance is built on... and to question that that step throws into question everything else.

You wouldn't pull out the bottom block of a Jenga tower, and expect it all to fall neatly into place.

Fortunatly, due to the abilty of the mind to adapt, and the insignificance of our perceptions to begin with - if you loose faith or gain it - life will still go on.

So bickering is just a waste of time imho.

You only have a few years left. Go get drunk and multiply your genes. That's all that we're built for :/

jewish philosopher said...

What about eternal damnation?

http://jewishphilosopher.blogspot.com/2009/06/jewish-heretics.html

John said...

Are you suggesting that i was built for eternal damnation?

Perhaps i was built to have free thought? To choose my own destiny.. and in doing so, change my destiny..?

I'm sorry, but i've seen all sorts of different people grow up under the same crappy circumstances, and they all come out the same. Alcoholics. Addicts. Sadists. Scholars.

You don't have the ability to change your 'destiny'. You are nothing more than the product of your parts.
There is no divine element to your being. Just input, function, output - only semi-conplicated part is that the input also determines the function.

Given the right inputs, the function can be whatever you want it to be.

It might sound depressing, but once you've accepted there is no point to life other than to live and keep living, you will be a much more logical and reasoned person.

As for what to do whilst your busy staying alive... well... i havn't got an answer to that, else i'd be doing it.

Perhaps the answer is religion. Something to keep your hands busy...

jewish philosopher said...

"There is no divine element to your being."

Sure there is - the soul and free will.

Genesis 2:7 And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.