Friday, October 30, 2009

Got Milk – The Miraculous Mammary Glands



Every female mammal has organs which produce milk – a fluid perfectly suited for the nourishment of that particular species’ offspring for several months after birth. The newborn mammal is given a huge boost to his growth and to his immune system through milk.

It would seem that milk feeding increases the likelihood of survival of each offspring, making it possible for mammals to have fewer offspring while still remaining a viable, continuing species. The vast majority of mammal species seem to produce one or two babies per year. This in turn makes it possible for the mother to invest more time training and teaching her offspring. Mammals are of higher intelligence than other species and therefore this nurturing and educating is of greater importance. Mammal parents may spend a year or so mentoring their young. Humans spend about a decade doing so, as is appropriate to our higher intelligence. The human period of child rearing is apparently the longest found in nature.

In summary, the mammary glands make family life possible, something vital for highly intelligent species.When we pick up a glass of milk, we are seeing the foundation of parenting, motherhood and tradition.

More amazing is how the milk of each species is precisely formulated for the benefit of that species. The healthiest milk for human infants is human milk. Even the most high quality infant formulas made artificially are inferior to breast milk. Science cannot yet create a substitute, let alone a superior replacement, for this miraculous liquid. In fact, when a woman gives birth permaturely, her breast milk is specially formulated for a premature baby. How amazing is that?

Poetically, nursing reminds us of the total trust we have in someone else, a trust which we can later have in God “For Thou art He that took me out of the womb; Thou madest me trust when I was upon my mother's breasts. Upon Thee I have been cast from my birth; Thou art my God from my mother's womb.” Psalms 22:10-11

76 comments:

bankman said...

Look at this miraculous banana!!!

the perfect shape, fits right in your mouth - so easy to open, biodegradable.

LOL

thanks for the most recent post. I needed a good chuckle.

also, please give us an update on your current situation, i am sure many are curious to hear about your rabbi and employer in light of what happened earlier this week.

jewish philosopher said...

Bananas are good bankman.

About my job, nothing has changed. God provided for me yesterday as He does today.

20 Many are the ills of the righteous, but the LORD delivereth him out of them all.
21 He keepeth all his bones; not one of them is broken.
22 Evil shall kill the wicked; and they that hate the righteous shall be held guilty.
Psalms 34

http://www.mechon-mamre.org/e/et/et2634.htm#20

Ben Ari said...

It would seem that milk feeding increases the likelihood of survival of each offspring, making it possible for mammals to have fewer offspring while still remaining a viable, continuing species.

There are plenty of mammals that have large litters of newborns, and plenty of cold blooded egg layers that lay only one of two eggs. Compare dogs to penguins.

Mammals are of higher intelligence than other species and therefore this nurturing and educating is of greater importance.

While *some* mammals have long maturations, there are many mammals whose offspring have to fend for themselves long before, for example, the offspring of raptors like eagles and hawks.

Ben Avuyeh said...

20 Many are the ills of the righteous, but the LORD delivereth him out of them all.
21 He keepeth all his bones; not one of them is broken.
22 Evil shall kill the wicked; and they that hate the righteous shall be held guilty.
Psalms 34


But who among us can say about ourselves that we are righteous? Can one humbly walk in the path of HaShem while regarding oneself as righteous?

Alex said...

D'ya think if -I- take some grass and water, I can produce milk?

Also, how many baby animals had to die before they discovered how to suckle? And why should those who DID know to suckle automatically be assumed to have produced babies that ALSO knew to (and how to) suckle?

jewish philosopher said...

Ben Ari, I believe that generally mammals have fewer young per year than birds and fish and devote more attetion to them. Correct me if I'm wrong.

Anonymous said...

Ben Ari:

Raptors are birds, not mammals. Anmd they get lots of parental attention before they are left to fend for themselves.

And penguins don't produce milk, but they do produce a liquid in their stomachs that they regurgitate and feed to their chicks. Its analagous to milk.

Alex said...

"Can one humbly walk in the path of HaShem while regarding oneself as righteous?"
Generally not, but I believe there are exceptions. See Psalm 18.

Anon1 said...

Don't forget that boobs are also good for selling beer in commercials and for selling womens' lingerie.

A very important evolutionary purpose.

I whole industry would be out of business without boobs.

jewish philosopher said...

Anon1, it seems to me that you have a unique, one might say singled minded, point of view about the wonders of nature. I have feeling that a beer commercial is as close as you get to mammary glands.

Abe said...

>>>Every female mammal has organs which produce milk...

Men also have similar characteristics, but the organ is vestigial. Male nipples have no function. Another example of how evolutionary pathways implant useless body parts. Why would god create useless body parts? Hmmmm... maybe there is no god and if there were, maybe he's not so smart?

jewish philosopher said...

And why would God, who is infinitely wise, only do things which make sense to every wanker?

You might recall that all the vestigial organs have since been found to be useful.

http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2009/07/090730-spleen-vestigial-organs.html

Alex said...

JP: Actually National Geographic, in 2004, claims that male nipples (as opposed to the spleen and appendix mentioned in the link you gave) are proof of evolution. (I guess they hold that males evolved from a race entirely comprised of breasted-female humans. Smirk.)

Since the embryo human isn't really male or female until after some time, it seems like a very efficient method to give it the code for nipples at the outset. Differentiation comes later.(Actually, it's hard to say nipples have no function for a man. They can add to eroticism.)

Larry Tanner said...

"Every female mammal has organs which produce milk – a fluid perfectly suited for the nourishment of that particular species’ offspring for several months after birth."

Amazing, yes. Nature and the universe are endless sources of fascination. Why hijack them into a religious fantasy?

Look at nature, study nature, discover how it works and what it does. None of this requires any mention of a god or a religion. Any connection to god and/or religion is pure fabrication.

jewish philosopher said...

Larry, aren't cell phones amazing? Why hijack them into a corporate fantasy?

Look at cell phones, study cell phones, discover how they work and what they do. None of this requires any mention of a factory or a corporation. Any connection to an engineer and/or factory is pure fabrication.

Larry Tanner said...

Does a cell phone give birth to another cell phone? No. Then why compare a cell phone to a mammal?

Does a cell phone grow and become physically mature? No. Then why compare a cell phone to a mammal?

Does a cell phone repair itself if it gets a scratch? No. Then why compare a cell phone to a mammal?

Does a cell phone move by itself? Does it feed and sleep? No. Then why compare a cell phone to a mammal?

JP, I know you have had too much of the OJ kool-aid to be reached, but your readers will certainly be amused at your inability to grasp the basic level at which the organism-mechanism analogy fails.

Thanks for providing the comedy, as usual.

jewish philosopher said...

If Apple would tomorrow produce an iPhone which reproduces itself, repairs itself and recharges it's own battery automatically from sunlight, would that prove that no engineer created it and just some dirt blowing around for a while created it?

I don't really think so.

An iPhone like that would be not merely a machine, it would be a super machine and therefore clearly designed by a super engineer (maybe even greater than Steve Jobs, if that's possible).

I would say thanks for the comedy, however you are so deeply in denial it's frightening.

Veronica said...

Larry, JP's right.

Larry Tanner said...

If Apple would tomorrow produce an iPhone which reproduces itself, repairs itself and recharges it's own battery automatically from sunlight, would that prove that no engineer created it?"

Let's boil your question down to the important points:

"If...would...would...?"

This is all you have: guesses, speculation, wishful thinking. I'm talking about reality, you're desperately seeking a reason to believe in fairy tales, and yet you prject your own descriptor "denial" onto me.

Here, I'll throw you a bone. I've thoroughly shredded your watchmaker analogy, and your retreat to "if" and to the subjunctive tells me youre baffled as to what to do about it.

So here's an idea. Why don't you explain to me the specific, empirical, observable physical traits that unambiguously say "God (perhaps the one I believe in, perhaps not) made - i.e., 'created' me."

Using your Apple example, we might suggest that if the organically replicating and 'living' iPhones retained the Apple logo, we could trace them back to human designers, assuming we had enough historical data available to connect the logo to its proper context.

Now, if I were you, I know what argument I would make. But just for kicks and grins, let's hear what your case is.

Larry Tanner said...

By the way, in your evasion you never said exactly what the basis is for comparing a living organism and a machine. Have you thought about this? I've suggested 4-5 major ways in which they differ, but perhaps you have something upon which a useful comparison could be made? I just hope it's more substandtial than they're essentially made up of protrons, neutrons, and electrons.

jewish philosopher said...

The Watchmaker Analogy is rock solid.

A watch has many moving parts, is complex and efficiently performs a certain function. Therefore, it clearly had an intelligent designer.

Your heart has many moving parts, is complex and efficiently performs a certain function. Therefore, it clearly had an intelligent designer.

Larry Tanner said...

Well, it's said that natural selection is smarter than we are. Blind, but smarter.

JP, you're really opening my eyes. Tell me, though. Can you name a few things that clearly do not have an intelligent designer?

jewish philosopher said...

Natural selection simply means that the laws of nature encourage the survival of certain organisms and discourage the survival of others. The organisms themselves however are supposedly created by mindless chance acting gradually over a long time. This is contradicted not only by common sense but also by the sudden changes in complete ecosystems in the fossils, rather than endless trial and error and gradual change.

Anyway, it's a little hard to say something definitely is not the work of intelligence. Take some modern art

http://www.andyhahnstudio.com/portfolio.html

It was made by an artist, but I might not have guessed that.

Even things not obviously intelligently designed were still made by God.

Veronica said...

Larry wrote: "Well, it's said that natural selection is smarter than we are. Blind, but smarter."

You get on JP's case for saying "if," but you resort to passive voice, "it's said." Alrighty.


Oh, here's a site you'll both like. 18 natural formations that look designed:

http://worldmysteries9.blogspot.com/2009/07/18-natural-formations-that-look-man.html

http://worldmysteries9.blogspot.com/
2009/07/18-natural-formations-that-look-man.html

Enjoy arguing over them.

Larry Tanner said...

Veronica,

You are clearly in need of an education.

The problem with "if" is that it's conditional. "If Apple came out with an ABC" means that Apple has not, in fact come out with an ABC. We use "if" to establish a hypothetical situation. My disagreement with JP hinges on dealing with the actual and the factual, not the hypothetical.

The problem with "would" is similar to "if." When our example is "If Apple makes ABC, would you say XYZ," then the speculation of what "would" be done is not only hypothetical but built upon a previous hypothetical situation.

My argument against the organic-mechanistic comparison was based on observable data; JP's rebuttal was based on hypotheticals.

Now, "It's said" means that someone made Statement S, but I don't know that person's name. I can find the name and attribute the statement, but is it really necessary? The saying is fairly well known.

veronica said...

Fairly well known <> correct.

Anon1 said...

"Even things not obviously intelligently designed were still made by God."

This statement exposes the flaw in your reasoning.

This means that logically you leave no room for anything existing without having been created by a creator. Even an atom's nucleus is one of your "complex machines".

So your argument about the machinery of life is disingenuous; by your reasoning, nothing is ever simple enough to not have a creator. There is no distinction between simple, complex, organic or inorganic.

Your real claim is that ANYTHING's existence implies an intelligent creator. Philosophically, this is not a claim that can dismissed offhandedly, but the watchmaker analogy adds nothing to the claim.

But if "simple" machines such as an atom don't need an intelligent designer, neither does life.

Hence, if one believes that the laws of physics are logically immutable and are true (even if we haven't discovered them entirely), without the need for a creator, then the existence of matter in all of its forms, living or otherwise, don't require a creator either.

jewish philosopher said...

I put it like this:

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

Larry Tanner said...

Veronica,

"Fairly well known <> correct."

Agreed, but I never presented it as an argument, only as a relevent point.

Do you have any other rabbit trails you wish to pursue?

Anonymous said...

Y'know, the appearance of more complexity by a random process does sort of violate the second law of thermodynamics. And saying that adding energy gets us out of the problem doesn't work because adding energy to the system increases entropy. Unless, or course the energy flow is controlled. That's what machines do. They control the flow of energy through the system. But every machine I know of was designed clever people.

Veronica said...

Anonymous, I agree with you, but you might as well try to get Jello to stick on the wall.

Alex said...

JP, you wrote, "We never witness a complex mechanism with many parts all working efficiently for a certain purpose form spontaneously."

I think you meant a different word instead of 'spontaneously'. Your critics will pounce on that.

Anonymous said...

"I put it like this:

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

Have we ever witnessed the spontaneous formation of an atom or electron? If witnessing spontaneous formation is your requirement for a creator-free existence, then by your reasoning nothing can form spontaneously.

jewish philosopher said...

That's actually another proof of God, something cannot come from nothing, therefore there must be a God. For some reason I find the watchmaker proof more convincing.

Anon1 said...

Setting aside something from nothing for a moment, we still have the "self assembly" problem of an atom. From an electron's point of view, and atom is complex. From an atom's perspective, a protein molecule is complex, etc, etc.

But it is a HUGE jump in logic, when looking at the origin of these "complex" things, to infer an intelligent creator. You are using the very same inductive reasoning that you accuse evolutionists of using, except that your jump is much bigger. Because we know that supposedly complex things do sometimes spontaneously assemble. Things like crystals, certain compounds, etc. So you purport to be able to identify those things that cannot self assemble, based on that "we haven't witnessed it". But we don't witness a god, either.

So you argument is internally contradictory.

jewish philosopher said...

Here's my argument:

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

Potential falsification: Present one example of a machine which we have witnessed come into existence spontaneously, without any intelligent designer.

Alex said...

JP, don't say "spontaneously." Say "undirectedly." It need not take place in a microsecond.

I googled on "pop in and out of existence" and found this:

http://wiki.answers.com/Q/Do_particles_pop_in_and_out_of_existence


This is only wiki, but you'll find more hits, with the answer always being yes.

Larry Tanner said...

"That's actually another proof of God, something cannot come from nothing, therefore there must be a God. For some reason I find the watchmaker proof more convincing."

This seems not to be true. Go to http://larrytanner.blogspot.com/2009/10/how-everything-came-from-nothing-no-god.html.

Skip to about 33 minutes in and you will hear about how the laws of physics allow a universe to begin from nothing, no deity needed.

jewish philosopher said...

People who see things coming from nothing are generally not well. But anyway, I prefer to focus on watchmaker.

Larry Tanner said...

"But anyway, I prefer to focus on watchmaker."

Translation: I have my fingers in my ears and I'm yelling LA-LA-LA-LA-LA. I can't hear you.

jewish philosopher said...

Actually, that sounds like you. I presented watchmaker, it has not been refuted, hence we know there is God .

Larry Tanner said...

Analogies aren't data. They aren't evidence.

I've already taken down the watchmaker analogy. The relationship between watches and watchmakers is wholly unlike the (supposed) relationship bewteen humans/the universe and God.

But, again, the ability to contruct an analogy that seems on its face to be plausible is in no way evidence that a thing actually exists.

Is this how desperate you are to have a daddy in the sky?

Anonymous said...

"Potential falsification: Present one example of a machine which we have witnessed come into existence spontaneously, without any intelligent designer."

Because you have a priori negated the possibility of ANY existing item in this world coming into existence without a designer, including the most simple of particles, you leave no potential falsification. Any naturally occuring object whose formation is "unwitnessed" has been created by god. That leaves your watchmaker theory neither falsifiable nor provable. It thus remains an illusion in your own mind.

jewish philosopher said...

Analogies are constantly used in science, law and life in general.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Analogy

Watches and living things are very similar in many fundamental ways. The main difference is that life is so much more complex because God made it (duh).

Bionics (also known as biomimetics, bio-inspiration, biognosis, biomimicry, or bionical creativity engineering) is the application of biological methods and systems found in nature to the study and design of engineering systems and modern technology.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bionics

Larry Tanner said...

"Analogies are constantly used in science, law and life in general."

You are correct, of course. Useful as they are, analogies are not in themselves data or evidence.

"Watches and living things are very similar in many fundamental ways."

I disagree, as I've outlined before. You know where I see the fundamental dissimilarities. Where exactly are you seeing similarities?

"The main difference is that life is so much more complex because God made it (duh)."

Or because life developed over milions of years. A "blind watchmaker analogy" works better than a "watchmaker" analogy. And it's probably more accurate. And it's more verifiable.

"Bionics (also known as biomimetics, bio-inspiration, biognosis, biomimicry, or bionical creativity engineering) is the application of biological methods and systems found in nature to the study and design of engineering systems and modern technology."

Yes. So what? As I've said before a machine is more like a heart than a heart is like a machine. The machine came second, not first.

jewish philosopher said...

"analogies are not in themselves data or evidence"

The are an essential means for understanding anything.

"Or because life developed over milions of years."

Developed how - by blind chance and natural selection? First of all, it wouldn't work, second of all the fossils prove it didn't happen.

http://jewishphilosopher.blogspot.com/2008/03/evolution-science-hijacked-by-atheism.html

"blind watchmaker analogy"

A blind watchmaker would not be so bad. Blind people can be trained to do a lot of things, probably even make watches. What atheists believe in is a MINDLESS watchmaker. This is of course ridiculous, which is probably why Dawkins used the deceptive term "blind watchmaker".

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Blind_Watchmaker

"a machine is more like a heart than a heart is like a machine"

The heart is a machine; it's a pump.

Larry Tanner said...

"The[y] are an essential means for understanding anything."

Yes, I agree. But they can also be misleading or incorrect. For example:

(1) Employees are like nails. Just as nails must be hit in the head in order to make them work, so must employees.
(2) Government is like business, so just as business must be sensitive primarily to the bottom line, so also must government. [But the objectives of government and business are completely different, so probably they will have to meet different criteria.]

So, as I said: analogies are not data and not evidence.

"[Life] Developed how - by blind chance and natural selection? First of all, it wouldn't work, second of all the fossils prove it didn't happen."

I carefully omitted saying how life developed over millions of years. All I am stipulating is that it did develop over millions of years. Please tell me that you are claiming that life did NOT and does NOT develop. Please tell me this is what you actually believe.

You apparently stipulate the existence of fossils. Of what, pray tell, are fossils evidence of, in your view?

"A blind watchmaker would not be so bad. Blind people can be trained to do a lot of things, probably even make watches. What atheists believe in is a MINDLESS watchmaker. This is of course ridiculous, which is probably why Dawkins used the deceptive term 'blind watchmaker.'"

There you go again, as Reagan quipped. You're into your would and probably schtick, as you are wont to do when you don't really know what you are talking about. I especially love it when a theist somehow thinks he knows what atheists "believe." Classic.

"The heart is a machine; it's a pump."

You do realize that by putting the heart, an organic and therefore god-given creation, into a man-made category that you are subordinating your god to man. You do see that by placing the works of your lord into our paltry classifications that you diminish his glory, right? You do get that by using the work of our hands to define the creator-of-all's wonders you have elevated man and diminished the dive.

This is what I mean when I say that atheists make the best Jews. Here you are blaspheming and soiling your god while the atheist gives him/her proper respect.

veronica said...

"Is this how desperate you are to have a daddy in the sky?"

Larry, is it inconceivable to you that some people are even more desperate /not/ to have a daddy in the sky?

jewish philosopher said...

"That leaves your watchmaker theory neither falsifiable nor provable. It thus remains an illusion in your own mind."

Not really. Let's say tornadoes hitting junkyards would routinely create Boeing 747s. Or shaking up pieces of junk in a bag would routinely produce watches. Or monkeys on typewriters would routinely produce great novels. In that case I would say evolution is good - no God need to create life.


Larry, I don't have a problem with the fossils.

http://jewishphilosopher.blogspot.com/2008/09/how-i-understand-genesis.html

Larry Tanner said...

Veronica,

"Larry, is it inconceivable to you that some people are even more desperate /not/ to have a daddy in the sky?"

No.

My only interest in responding to you is to see how long you will go before you actually make a point.

veronica said...

Fine, I think you are such a desperate person, but will deny it, along with tossing in some insults.

jewish philosopher said...

Will people like Larry ever admit that God gave the Torah?

I think it's like asking: Will people like Mahmoud Ahmadinejad ever admit that the Germans killed six millions Jews?

Any and all evidence is irrelevant. It's just not going to make a difference.

Larry Tanner said...

Truth be told, whether a god or gods exist is nearly irrelevant to me. Even if - if - a god created the universe, including all of us, that being would have no claims on me or on anyone else.

"Will people like Larry ever admit that God gave the Torah?"

Interesting choice of words. You seem to think I am really a theist who is actively engaged in suppressing the "truth" - e.g., that God gave the Torah.

I wonder if you'll ever admit that I actually have no such struggle, that I'm perfectly happy and fine in my natural atheism (and we are all born atheists, after all).

As for me, I think the story of Sinai is a fabrication and a myth, and I have never heard compelling evidence to suggest otherwise.

Abe said...

>>>Any and all evidence is irrelevant. It's just not going to make a difference.

Of course there would be a difference, and your presentation would be relevant and trustworty, IF there were incontovertible evidence. However what you present as evidence are only casuistic inferences, hardly evidence of anything, except for the capacity of fundamentalists to continue deluding themselves.
True evidence would be something like god blowing up the moon tommorrow and reassembling it, or perhaps parting the Pacific Ocean with no harm to mankind therefrom. (Please let me know as soon as he informs you of either of those two events. I want a front row seat for the grand spectacle.)
Until you can get your god demonstrate his existence with a contemporay demonstration of his omnipotence, your polemics are no better than Hari Krishna drivel and equally senseless.

jewish philosopher said...

Larry, believing that God gave the Torah would involve immense personal sacrifice for you, therefore you just don't. People often deny unpleasant realities.

Check this out, for example.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nSNkA0kjmS0

"we are all born atheists, after all"

Wrong.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/religion/3512686/Children-are-born-believers-in-God-academic-claims.html

jewish philosopher said...

"IF there were incontovertible evidence."

Which I'm sure is what Ahmadinejad says about the Holocaust.

"blowing up the moon tommorrow and reassembling it"

And if that would happen, you would simply say that there is surely a naturally explanation, which will someday be discovered, no God needed.

Larry Tanner said...

"Larry, believing that God gave the Torah would involve immense personal sacrifice for you, therefore you just don't."

No, believing that God gave the Torah would involve no personal sacrifice for me. I do realize that as a result of this belief, some people do apply different forms of discipline, as in observing Shabbos properly and so forth.

But discipline is applied in many areas of life. The immense personal sacrifices I have made to pursue post-graduate degrees and to build a company involve a kind of discipline and toughness that can only be understood by those who have attempted it. I've run a couple of marathons: that involves another sort of self-discipline and toughness. So I am not impressed with discipline put in the service or religion.

But you'll see I've distinguished between the belief and what happens once one believes. Were I to believe that there was a God and that this God gave the Torah, I can see being impressed, but otherwise that God would have no claim whatsoever to me. I would tell him flatly that I owed him nothing and that he had no right to demand anything of me. If this God actually believed in free will, he would be pleased.

jewish philosopher said...

If you believed that God created you and sustains you, you would naturally feel great love and gratitude to Him. This would motivate you to obey his commandments. The commandments are commandments, not suggestions or pieces of advice.

Veronica said...

"Even if - if - a god created the universe, including all of us, that being would have no claims on me or on anyone else. " claims Larry confidently, without the barest fear that he might be mistaken.

Abe said...

IF there were incontovertible evidence."

>>>Which I'm sure is what Ahmadinejad says about the Holocaust.

More septic logic from Mr. Stein.
The rigorous proof of the existence of the holocaust is easily validated by countless authoritative historians.
OTOH, Mr. Stein is actualy in Ahmadinijad camp. Using his contorted view of history and its denial, is quite similar to Mr. Stein's denial of any lack of evidence of god's existence.

jewish philosopher said...

"the holocaust is easily validated by countless authoritative historians"

Appeal to authority is a logical fallacy.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Appeal_to_authority#Examples_of_appeals_to_authority

Larry Tanner said...

"The commandments are commandments, not suggestions or pieces of advice."

So you conceove of god as a tyrant, in other words. On the one hand, I "should" be motivated to love him - a love you are prepared to force upon people, no doubt. On the other hand, he seeks to control and rule individual action and thought - just in case my love wasn't sufficiently motivating, I guess.

How awful is this god, this relationship with him, and this desire to retreat into infantile servitude? Do you ever really understand the things you say and the horrors you profess to believe in?

Veronica says: "'Even if - if - a god created the universe, including all of us, that being would have no claims on me or on anyone else,' claims Larry confidently, without the barest fear that he might be mistaken."

OK, Veronica. By your own logic, you must be pretty afraid that Jesus Christ might be your savior and that Mohammad is God's prophet. You must be terrified about not making sacrifices to Ammon and Zeus.

I am not claiming absolute certainty. Are you? If all you have to say is a whine about the "confident" tone of some guy's comment, maybe that's a sign you don't have any substantial ideas to contribute.

jewish philosopher said...

"How awful is this god, this relationship with him, and this desire to retreat into infantile servitude? Do you ever really understand the things you say and the horrors you profess to believe in?"

Do you understand that you are engaging in wishful thinking?

The formation of beliefs and making decisions according to what might be pleasing to imagine instead of by appealing to evidence or rationality.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wishful_thinking

Larry Tanner said...

"Do you understand that you are engaging in wishful thinking?"

But accepting as true the statements of a few rabbis that an invisible dude in the sky handed down instructions (most of which were already in existence and being practised in the region) to 3 million slaves 3000 years ago - all without any empirical corroboration - that's not wishful thinking. No way.

All I'm saying is that I'd believe the whole line - everything - if there were any reason to. As far as I can tell, there is no argument for being a theist of any variety. Your "obvious proof" entries, which I have read, all lack the one fundamental item: proof.

Based on everything you write, it seems to me that you believe because it makes you feel good/better, or because your ancestors did, or because you think it's 'cool' to self-identify as Jewish, or because you like some of the rabbis, or you like the talmudic tradition, or you like arguing against atheists/atheism, or because you like the idea of a God, or because you distrust 'science,' or because believing matches your political disposition, or because the idea of God in Judaism seems logical to you, or because you have some personal statement to make to your family, or any combination of these.

But you don't believe because there's any proof or evidence. There is no proof and no evidence. There's only wishful thinking.

But maybe this is why you believe. Maybe it's linked to a fantasy of your being "right" without having to do any real intellectual or emotional work to be right.

George Russell once noted that fear seemed most of all to be behind religion. People who feel vulnerable turn to religion, use it, in other words. My own theory is that there's a self-esteem element involved, too.

jewish philosopher said...

"There is no proof and no evidence."

As I've pointed out, it seems clear that if one is willing to accept that Aristotle and Alexander the Great were real people, there is no reason to doubt the existence of Moses and Abraham and if one can believe that the Peloponnesian War happened, there is no reason he cannot believe that the Exodus and the Mount Sinai revelation happened.

http://jewishphilosopher.blogspot.com/2009/07/is-history-bunk.html

Larry Tanner said...

"As I've pointed out, it seems clear that if one is willing to accept that Aristotle and Alexander the Great were real people, there is no reason to doubt the existence of Moses and Abraham and if one can believe that the Peloponnesian War happened, there is no reason he cannot believe that the Exodus and the Mount Sinai revelation happened."

Yes, there is a reason "to doubt the existence of Moses and Abraham." And yes, there is a reason not to believe that "the Exodus and the Mount Sinai revelation happened."

What's the reason? It's that there is no proof and no evidence.

By your logic, you should believe that Jesus was born of a virgin, died for your sins, and was resurrected from the dead before ascending to heaven.

By your logic, you should believe that Mohammed was a prophet of God who flew upon a winged horse, etc., etc.

By your logic, you should believe that I have invisible dragons living in my garage and that a small teapot is orbiting the sun.

How is it that you determine what not to believe? Oh, I forgot. It's science and reason you don't believe. If someone digs up some fossils and makes some conlusions about them, you'll all the sudden become a skeptic. If someone does experiments in a lab and suggests they support a hypothesis, then you don't believe it. If a cosmologist takes existing data and is able to make mathematically coherent statements about the possibility of multiple universes and additional dimentions, then you become the arbiter of common sense.

I get it now. You believe what you believe and you don't want anyone telling you about actual or potential flaws in that belief, such as its absence of proof and evidence.

jewish philosopher said...

Perhaps you could enlighten me a little - what exactly prompts you to deny Torah yet accept evolution, beyond the fact that you desperately want to?

jewish philosopher said...

The universal presence of DNA proves one God as much as it proves one common ancestor.
The appearance of something as complex as DNA so soon after oceans formed indicates that it was created not evolved.
The idea that God would instruct man how to live hardly seems unlikely.
I see very little if any contradiction between science and Torah.

Veronica said...

"The universal presence of DNA proves one God as much as it proves one common ancestor."

Maybe God designed the animals and God's co-God designed the plants, both using the same raw material.

I'm just kidding by the way.

Larry Tanner said...

"The universal presence of DNA proves one God as much as it proves one common ancestor."

"Proves" is an awfully strong word. I would rather say "is consistent with."

However, in my view one problem with the God hypothesis is that it is consistent with everything. In other words, is there anything that would NOT be consistent with the existence of God?

(It appears you are referring to a comment of mine that you have not released.)

jewish philosopher said...

Larry Tanner has left a new comment on your post "Got Milk – The Miraculous Mammary Glands":

"Perhaps you could enlighten me a little - what exactly prompts you to deny Torah yet accept evolution, beyond the fact that you desperately want to?"

That's a fair question, but I am not sure I can answer fully in a blog comment. Please forgive me, then, for being high-level in this response.

To be clear, my position is that it is far more likely that the Torah is man-made and a composite text than is it that it is a divine text given directly and/or directly from God. I think the current state of our knowledge about the Torah's language patterns, about ancient history, about archaeology of the period, about the evolution of beliefs and worship described in the Torah itself, about the history of rabbinic Judaism and the talmudic era, and about the laws of physics and nature - I think all of this is consistent with the hypothesis that the Torah is man-made and inconsistent with the alernative hypothesis of a divine origin for the Torah.

I accept evolution - meaning I think that it is more probable than, say, special creation - because both its logic and its ever-accumulating science make sense to me.

For example, here is Darwin's very simple explanation of evolution as version of Malthusian doctrine: "As many more individuals of each species are born than can possibly survive; and as, consequently, there is a frequently recurring struggle for existence, it follows that any being, if it vary however slightly in any manner profitable to itself, under the complex and sometimes varying conditions of life, will have a better chance of surviving, and thus be naturally selected. From the strong principle of inheritance, any selected variety will tend to propagate its new and modified form."

I also agree that the fact that DNA code is universal among all living things, with all creatures sharing identical segments of code, is powerful evidence for evolution. This is a very compelling data point, in my view.

Obviously, there's much more that could be said, but this sums it up for me.

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Posted by Larry Tanner to Jewish Philosopher at Monday, November 09, 2009 12:49:00 PM

jewish philosopher said...

I'm sorry about rejecting that post. Today I'm on the road and blogging from an iPhone.

If the universe would not exist, that weaken quite a bit the argument for God.

Larry Tanner said...

No need to apologize. Thanks for putting it up.

Anonymous said...

All computers use binary code, but how could you get a Mac to evolve into a PC by a random process?

Veronica said...

"In other words, is there anything that would NOT be consistent with the existence of God?"

Darwinism, too, has that problem, says the fearless evolutionist Lewontin:

"If scientists are going to use logically unbeatable theories about the world, they might as well give up natural science and take up religion. Yet is that not exactly the situation with regard to Darwinism?...Natural selection explains nothing because it explains everything. "

Eh, Larry, showing me that Lewontin maintained his belief in Darwinism will be no disproof of what he said above.

jewish philosopher said...

You see Larry, in my mind this is what it boils down to:

The Watchmaker Analogy was allegedly refuted by Darwinian evolution.
I however have refuted evolution
http://jewishphilosopher.blogspot.com/2008/03/evolution-science-hijacked-by-atheism.html

Therefore, since an Intelligent Designer created us, it is reasonable to assume that He would have instructed us how to live. The revelation at Mount Sinai is most the credible example of such a revelation
http://jewishphilosopher.blogspot.com/2006/12/truth-of-judaism.html

The alleged contradictions between science and Torah can be easily resolved

http://jewishphilosopher.blogspot.com/2008/09/how-i-understand-genesis.html
http://jewishphilosopher.blogspot.com/2008/10/biblical-deluge.html
http://jewishphilosopher.blogspot.com/2008/02/torah-and-archaeology.html

In additon the Torah includes unique wisdom
http://jewishphilosopher.blogspot.com/2009/06/gods-wisdom.html

And rabbinical literature shows some unique characteristics
http://jewishphilosopher.blogspot.com/2006/10/judaic-literature-providing-proof-of.html

Finally, I don't find the documentary hypothesis to be impressive
http://jewishphilosopher.blogspot.com/2008/12/documentary-hypothesis-critique.html

Judaism is not very popular simply because it so demanding. It is rejected by most people not because there is something wrong with it, but rather because there is something wrong with them.


You can continue to insist "that there is no proof and no evidence" however I am going to have to put you in same category with those who insist that the is there is no proof and no evidence Auschwitz.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nSNkA0kjmS0