Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Did the Exodus Really Happen?


[The eruption of Pinatubo in the Philippines, 12 June 1991. Relatively mild, about 1/6 the size of Thera, 1600 BCE.]

The Bible tells us that 600,000 adult Israelite men together with their families left Egypt (according to rabbinical sources) in 1313 BCE.

Many people have questioned this claim, primarily because there are no Egyptian records that make any reference to such a momentous event or to the plagues that preceded it.

Professor Israel Finkelstein in the “The Bible Unearthed” page 59 writes “in the abundant Egyptian sources describing the time of the New Kingdom in general and the thirteenth century in particular, there is no reference to the Israelites, not even a single clue”. Therefore, concludes Professor Finkelstein, the Exodus could not have happened (page 63).

The question can be asked however: How complete are the Egyptian records from this period? There is no real literature, no actual books or chronicles, which have survived from that period of Egyptian history. (Actually the Bible is by far man’s earliest chronicle.) We have only a very limited number of inscriptions that have been recovered and translated. Seemingly, studying Egyptian history is like trying to reconstruct the history of the United States based on a smattering of tombstone inscriptions and the inscriptions on a few monuments. Our primary source of Egyptian history is in fact Aegyptiaca by Manetho written c. 300 BCE. And in fact we don’t even have Manetho, we only have portions of Manetho recorded about 800 years later, by writers who quote other writers, who quoted other writers, etc. who had read Manetho!

The eruption of the Thera volcano c. 1600 BCE can help to illustrate the problem. The eruption was perhaps four times as powerful as the Krakatoa eruption in 1883. The eruption occurred 450 miles from the Nile delta with the force of a 600 megaton hydrogen bomb. There would seem to be no question that the sound, smoke, ash and tsunami had a major impact on Egypt. However there is no reference to it, “not even a single clue”, in surviving Egyptian records even though we know from geological evidence that this certainly did happen.

It therefore seems silly to draw any conclusion from the gaps in Egyptian records. Obviously, in this case an absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.

134 comments:

ksil lo yavin said...

Are you suggesting that a lack of evidence exists, yet you still believe this "exodus" occured?"

That's odd....

jewish philosopher said...

There is no reference in Egyptian sources. Of course, Jewish sources provide abundant references.

ksil lo yavin said...

Are there ANY sources, outside of jewish sources (presumably you mean the old testament) that support such an enormous claim? 2 million people walk out of a country?!?!

jewish philosopher said...

No, but of course that's not different than ancient history in general.

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

Anonymous said...

There are no surviving Egyptian records, says Wikipedia. Yet, as Wikipedia continues, there are other sources to draw upon: The Admonitions of Ipuwer, the heavy rainstorms described in the Tempest Stele, the Greek traditions, the Chinese traditions, Minoan remains, and of course geological evidence.

The Exodus does not have anywhere as much attestation.

Some relevant articles:

http://www.straightdope.com/columns/read/34/is-there-any-historical-basis-for-the-events-of-the-jewish-exodus

http://larrytanner.blogspot.com/2009/12/historical-exodus-sorry-but-probably.html

http://www.myjewishlearning.com/history/Ancient_and_Medieval_History/2500_BCE-539_BCE/Social_History/Exodus.shtml

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/04/18/world/middleeast/18israel.html?_r=3&scp=2&sq=passover&st=nyt&oref=slogin&oref=slogin

ksil lo yavin said...

Huh??~!!

So, because history in general cannot be verified by more than one source, you dont need to verify this extraordinary claim?

You realize that this extraordinary claim is physically impossible....I would expect SOME additional evidence if I were to give up my whole life for it...

jewish philosopher said...

Ipuwer is so vague, it may be referring to Thera, the Exodus or something else. Bottom line, the Egyptian records are extremely spotty,

I don't find the exodus story to be extraordinary.

http://jewishphilosopher.blogspot.com/2006/12/truth-of-judaism.html

anon said...

The reason people do not believe that the Exodus occurred has little to do with historical records and much to do with the fact that it is physically impossible. First of all, two+ million people would form a conga line from Egypt to Israel *many* times over. Second of all, the desert cannot support that many people. And if you say "it was a miracle" you're just begging the question. Anyway, a miracle would be irrelevant, since the question is why people don't believe it; if they believe in supernatural miracles then no objection (sketchy records, physical evidence, impossible numbers) is ever a reason not to believe.

jewish philosopher said...

Of course there are many reasons why people choose atheism.

http://jewishphilosopher.blogspot.com/2009/05/atheism-in-nutshell.html

I am just dealing with this one question raised by Finkelstein.

Crawling Axe said...

Anon, what does “believe in supernatural miracles” mean? It is possible for miracles to happen, since one could not prove it impossible. The question is whether there is evidence. Testimony is a type of evidence. Any objections raised against testimony from the Bible can be debunked through Kuzari argument.

See Dovid Gottlieb’s book “Living Up to Truth”, chapters 2, 3 and 6 (available online; google for it).

Crawling Axe said...

I think most comments missed the point of the post. There is an argument: “If X happened, there would necessarily be historical records [in the country A] describing X. Since we have not found any such records, X must not have happened.” This is a fallacious argument for several reasons, some of which were presented in the post.

Anonymous said...

The Egyptian don't mention the Israelist slave, but they do mention the Haburi, which sounds like Haivri. And the Ipuwar papyrus closely parallels Exodus. Then there's the El Arish stone. The Mycenae Grave Stella look exactly like a child's drawing of Krias Yam Suf. So ther may be some evidence.

Anonymous said...

The Tempest Stele may very well been refering to the plague of hale. Its all in the interperetation.

Alex said...

The title of this post is "Did the Exodus Really Happen? "

Based on the line of argument in the post, it should really be called, "Is the argument against the Exodus really sound?"

Anon wrote: "The reason people do not believe that the Exodus occurred has ... much to do with the fact that it is physically impossible. First of all, two+ million people would form a conga line from Egypt to Israel *many* times over. Second of all, the desert cannot support that many people."

You can do better than your first objection. Who ever claimed the Israelites formed a single file?

Anonymous said...

Forget about all this exodus nonsense.
This sefer in high demand in chareidi circles. Do a chesed. Donate a copy to all the gedolim and askanim going to jail:
HILCHOS BEIS HASOHAR: The Laws Of INCARCERATION


http://artscroll.webs.com/

jewish philosopher said...

Forget about the rabbis in prison nonsense.

How about a self-help book for atheist genocidal dictators

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kim_Jong-il

or cannibals

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

Larry Tanner said...

Crawling Axe:

Lack of historical (i.e., written) records is not by itself a strike against the possibility of the Exodus being true in some form or another. But there are other considerations.

Here is what "The Bible Unearthed" says on page 63:

"The conclusion - that the Exodus did not happen at the time and in the manner described in the Bible - seems irrefutable when we examine the evidence at specific sites where the children of Israel were said to have camped for extended periods during their wanderings in the desert (Numbers 33) and where some archaeological indication - if present - would almost certainly be found." [Specific details follow.]

Here is a passage from a bit later in the book, page 69:

"It is impossible to say whether or not the biblical narrative was an expansion and elaboration of vague memories of the immigration of Canaanites to Egypt and their expulsion from the delta in the second millennium BCE. Yet it seems clear that the biblical story of the Exodus drew its power not only from ancient traditions and contemporary geographical and demographic details but even more directly from contemporary political realities."

Lacking historical records outside a bible that is read, interpreted and translated according to specific religious prejudices, and lacking any corroborating archaeological evidence at specific places named in the biblical account, we simply must exercise caution in our declarations of what may or may not have happened.

We cannot say whether or not the biblical Exodus actually happened. The Bible says it happened, so there is perhaps a chance that it or something like it did occur. If we like, we can appeal to the authority of the bible and the rabbinic tradition - as in, we think they are authoritative and credible; what they say is true.

The appeal to authority can certainly be rationalized, and this is JP's position. However, in the realm of physical evidence we simply cannot state that the Exodus happened.

Perhaps some new evidence will emerge and force a re-evaluation, a tipping of the scales to the side of "it happened when and how the Bible said it did." However, if we're honest, we must say that we are not there yet and the scales do not at this point lean to the "it happened, etc." side.

Crawling Axe said...

Well, Torah itself tells us that there were no remains left. So, it would be a strike against Torah if something was found. Plus, the fact that archeologists have not found any evidence in a desert after 3000 years is hardly proof of anything.

What is says on page 69 is merely a conjecture.

The only evidence that I know of that points to Exodus happening is testimony of an entire nation recorded in the Bible, which is improbable to have been falsified. I don’t know what you mean by an “appeal to authority of the Bible and the Sages”. Authority of both stems from the validity of the account of giving of Torah, described in the Bible.

Crawling Axe said...

Btw, the commercial for that book (on the ArtScroll website) was hilarious. I especially liked the previous titles. The author clearly has a sense of humor.

jewish philosopher said...

"where some archaeological indication - if present - would almost certainly be found."

This is the point where I disagree with Finkelstein. He believes "If something happened in the past, then there must be clear archeological evidence of it which we would have found."

Consider for example that one of Finkelstein's proofs that the Torah was written about 600 BCE not 1300 BCE is the fact that Edom is mentioned as a strong country with a king in the Torah (Numbers 20). However, "archaeology has discovered" that Edom was only a "sparsely populated fringe area" until 600 BCE ("The Bible Unearthed" page 68).

Recent excavations in Jordan have apparently shown that a developed, urban culture existed in Edom since at least 900 to 1000 BCE.

http://www.nytimes.com/2006/06/14/health/14iht-snedom.1974388.html?_r=1

Professor Finkelstein by the way is a nice man. I've exchanged a few emails with him. However I believe a little more humility would be appropriate. Because he hasn't found scorch marks on Mount Sinai or piles of manna crumbs in the desert doesn't disprove the Bible. It's been 3,300 years and that's a very long time.

Jewish tradition is as solid as a rock and the fact that archeologists have not (yet) found something is meaningless.

ksil lo yavin said...

Here is a "what if" question. What if, in 3 years from now, there was physical evidence that was found that PROVED the exodus did not happen? What would you say then?

I know...you would say that the exodus needs to be read allegorically (like creation!) we have hard evidence that the earth is older than 6,000 years - so now we read breishis WAY different than they used to read in the alter hime.

This whole religion is BS 0 get it through your thick skull and stop projecing your porn addiction and cocaine urge on others!

jewish philosopher said...

Well, actually there is right now physical evidence proving that evolution did not happen.

http://jewishphilosopher.blogspot.com/2006/11/evolution-refuted-again.html

Does that bother scientists, Communists, drug addicts and whore mongers? Of course not. They have vested interests in promoting evolution and atheism.

http://jewishphilosopher.blogspot.com/2009/05/atheism-in-nutshell.html

Anonymous said...

The archaeologists said that the Hittites didn't exist, then they found a whole Hittite empire. They used to say that the camle was not domesticated in the time of the Avos, then they found evidence that says it was. So when it comes down to Archaeology versus the Torah, I would not bet on archaeology.

Abe said...

When all of the events in the torah are incontovertibly proven and god's orchestration becomes scientificaly incontestable, I'll be the first to prostate myself to his holiness.
Until that authentication, the torah is just like any other fairy tale. Denial of god's existence will not prevent the earth from spinning on its axis or the sun from rising. So, I'll continue to enjoy my pastrami sandwich served with a cold glass of cholov akum. Its a lot more satisfying than the god myth bedeviling believers with tales of eternal suffering in hell.

Abe said...

>>>Well, actually there is right now physical evidence proving that evolution did not happen.

Nope. It did happen.

http://www.livescience.com/strangenews/051109_evolution_science.html

Crawling Axe said...

But you hardly use the same logic in your everyday life.

jewish philosopher said...

"god's orchestration becomes scientificaly incontestable"

You mean scientists unanimously announce "God controls and creates everything, meaning that from now on you should look to theologians not scientists to answer your questions."

That really going to happen. Probably about as soon as scientists stop watching porn and chasing thirteen year old girls.

http://jewishphilosopher.blogspot.com/2009/12/what-scientists-are-really-doing.html

http://jewishphilosopher.blogspot.com/2007/09/portrait-of-scientist.html

"It did happen."

Just like books are written by typographical errors, not by intelligent authors.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QERyh9YYEis

Anonymous said...

Abe:


You don't have a problem accepting miracles like the universe popping out of nothing, or the universe somehow fine-tuning itself to accomodate life, or magic soup turning into bacteria, or a lump of meat we call the brain becoming the mind. Or bacteria turning into blue whales. The miracles of the Bible are trivial compared to these. So either you have blind faith in science. Or maybe you have faith in scientists. If its the later, I really do believe that your faith is misplaced since there is so much proof that scientists are quite capable of lying to the public.

Crawling Axe said...

All the science-bashing makes me suspect that perhaps Rasag was not as right as it might seem. Perhaps IQ can be low enough amongst both frei and frum Yidden.

Crawling Axe said...

It's like saying "Your belief in the rabbis is really misplaced, because some rabbis have been known to cheat, rape, steal, throw stones, and in general behave like animals and fools."

Larry Tanner said...

Is the Bible proven even though scorch marks on Mount Sinai or piles of manna crumbs in the desert have not been found? Is it plausible - possible, even - that a 3300 year old story is not entirely accurate?

If you think it's proven, then how do you decide other claims, such as:

(1) Jesus was physically resurrected from the dead.

(2) Mohammad traveled upon a winged horse.

(3) Multiple gunmen assassinated John F. Kennedy.

(4) The U.S. government perpetrated 9/11.

(5) Aliens landed in Roswell, NM.

(6) Elvis is still alive.

(7) Witches infiltrated the Puritan community of colonial Salem, MA.

(8) Magician David Copperfield made the Statue of Liberty disappear.

(9) Bigfoot roams the U.S. Pacific northwest.

(10) Leprechauns exist, as identified in centuries-old texts from Ireland.

Every single one of these claims is better attested than either the Exodus or Moses himself. If you do not accept all of them as true, could you please explain the methodology/reasoning you use that puts the Exodus in the "plausible" column and these other claims in the "not plausible" column?

Does the Kuzari Argument serve - alone or relative to physical evidence - as reliable support of the authenticity of the miracles described in the Torah?

jewish philosopher said...

Larry, isn't it completely ridiculous that the most educated, civilized, hygenic and scientific nation in the world mudered six million harmless, unarmed civilians between 1939 and 1945? Isn't that totally absurd, lol?

But you do believe it because of the eyewitness testimony of thousands of people, and creating a conspiracy like that is implausable. Sounds a little familiar?

Abe said...

>>>You don't have a problem accepting miracles like the universe popping out of nothing, or the universe somehow fine-tuning itself to accomodate life, or magic soup turning into bacteria, or a lump of meat we call the brain becoming the mind. Or bacteria turning into blue whales...

I accept the possibility that the universe popped out of nothing because there is serious scientific conjecture of that occurance. Until a better theory establishes certainty, that is the creation process that reasonable people may employ. Or simply state: I don't know. Your belief in god's ex nihilo feat has no basis in fact. Your certitude rests only in your confidence of torah infalibility conjoined with illogical presumptions and falacious inferences.

Larry Tanner said...

No, that's not ridiculous. German(ic) and European anti-semitism had a long and established history. Germany was also a highly militaristic society, and I don't think this element can be under-appreciated because Judaism was a "natural" affront to order in Christian Europe.

Plus, we have eyewitness accounts of the Holocaust from multiple sources, and these accounts run the gamut from self-interested to independent to counter-interest. We have reports from sources both involved and outside of the main events. We have corroborating physical evidence. We have data on events related to concentration camps and other peripheral activities.

So there's a lot of material to point our way to the Holocaust. Even Holocaust deniers - so far as I know - accept that there were internment camps and there were some measure of atrocities committed. But the deniers challenge the scope of the Holocaust and the idea that it was a deliberate plan of the German government. So the existence of the event is not in question, they just don't like the "spin."

Now, you are dodging a serious question that I have asked in good faith. Would it be too much to ask for a considered response to the question I asked?

Abe said...

>>>That really going to happen. Probably about as soon as scientists stop watching porn and chasing thirteen year old girls.

Can you really have a serious debate with someone so bedeviled by the torah's beguilement, that he is reduced to fly off the handle with dopey ad-hominem responses?
It is no wonder that most Jews have abandoned torah fundamentalism. Who wants to end up like Jacob Stein ?

anon2 said...

JP and all of his supporters:

Lets say there was an exodus. So what? We're here now, what was 3000 years ago makes no difference to us. So pontificate and theorize all you want. Does the truth or falsehood of the story of Troy make any difference to anybody now, other than historians?

Many of my ancestors hundreds of years ago died in plagues and flu epidemics. Do I care?

I would say the same about the big bang theory. except that it is still happening and its effects are important to understanding current astronomy.

jewish philosopher said...

"I accept the possibility that the universe popped out of nothing because there is serious scientific conjecture of that occurance."

Could you ask my banker to pop about $20 million out of my zero balance?

"No, that's not ridiculous."

It was so ridiculous that very few Jews could believe it was happening until the poison gas started flowing.

"we have eyewitness accounts of the Holocaust from multiple sources"

If the Jews are unique pathological liars capable of unanimously conspiring to fabricate their own history (which is what you as a Torah denier believe), I don't think Holocaust denial sounds so unlikely either.

"there's a lot of material to point our way to the Holocaust."

Same with Torah.

http://jewishphilosopher.blogspot.com/2008/06/spies-narrative.html

http://jewishphilosopher.blogspot.com/2009/06/gods-wisdom.html

http://jewishphilosopher.blogspot.com/2009/03/heroin-diaries.html

"dopey ad-hominem responses"

I was responding to your dopey argument from authority - only when it's accepted by scientists will you accept Torah.

"We're here now, what was 3000 years ago makes no difference to us."

Sure does. The US Constitution was written 220 years ago and makes a big difference to Americans today. Likewise the Torah laws make a difference.

Larry Tanner said...

"If the Jews are unique pathological liars capable of unanimously conspiring to fabricate their own history (which is what you as a Torah denier believe), etc."

This is just precious.

For the record, I do not deny the Torah. I believe the Torah exists, and I believe it is the product of people telling, writing, and collecting stories.

And just because I think the Torah is man-made and that all things divine are human fabrications does not mean that I think Jews (of which I am one; I'm also an Atheist) are pathological liars.

They are perhaps deluded, like you; or mis-informed; or lied to; or apathetic; or emotionally in need of "spirituality"; or envious of science and scientists; or unstable; or tied to "tradition."

Now, could you please explain the methodology/reasoning you use that puts the Exodus in the "plausible" column and other claims (such as Elvis, 9/11, Salem witches, etc.) in the "not plausible" column?

Does the Kuzari Argument serve - alone or relative to physical evidence - as reliable support of the authenticity of the miracles described in the Torah?

Ahhh...never mind. You can't answer the above in any detail because that will lead you inevitably to the contradictions of both your reasoning and its application. If I were you, I would duck the question too. But then you're supposed to be so moral and you're supposed to know how to answer a heretic. So, you must find yourself in a real pickle.

jewish philosopher said...

"just because I think the Torah is man-made and that all things divine are human fabrications does not mean that I think Jews (of which I am one; I'm also an Atheist) are pathological liars"

I think it really does, because for thousands of years Jews claimed that the Torah was God given, that the Exodus happened, the manna fell, etc. Insisting that something obviously false is true is called lying.

You might find that you have a lot in common with Martin Luther. (Abe and a few of the various anonymous - are you listening??)

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

None of this ranting against Judaism is at all original, except that you're doing from an atheistic rather than a Christian (or Muslim or whatever) point of view.

"Now, could you please explain the methodology/reasoning you use that puts the Exodus in the "plausible" column and other claims (such as Elvis, 9/11, Salem witches, etc.) in the "not plausible" column?"

Could you please read some of the dozens of articles in this blog which do just that?

Larry Tanner said...

"Could you please read some of the dozens of articles in this blog which do just that?"

I have done that. Your methodology seems to be: I believe what I believe because I want to believe it and you can't prove it isn't so. NYAH-NYAH-NYAH. Stalin! Kim-Jong-Il! Evolution proven false! Sex! Drugs! Porn! Aaaaaauugh!!

Whatever floats your lonely little boat, I guess....

jewish philosopher said...

Larry, I understand the hardship of people who have learning disabilities. You might want to try some intensive therapy and then come back to blogging. Just a thought.

Anonymous said...

But the universe popping out of nothing violates the laws of physics, first thermodynamics, general relativity, and the uncertainty principle.If it violates the laws of nature, then it is a miracle. And multiverse is magical. It says that there are universes where the laws of nature are different, where unicorns exist, and seas can split simultaniously. Now you also accept magical dark matter, dark energy, particles that can read our minds, etc, etc. So I guess you accept sciences miracles due to blind faith in scientists. Or maybe the Torah's miracles are too trivial for your taste.

Anonymous said...

Look what I just found:

http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v463/n7277/full/463040a.html

Now Tiktaalik is no longer a transitional fossil. Let's see, that archaeopteryx, Ida, now this. The list of transitional fossils is getting shorter so fast.

jewish philosopher said...

Atheism really just boils down to one concept:

The fossils prove that the Torah is false and the Origin of Species is true.

This implies that clergymen are irrelevant, scientists are preeminent, nothing is sinful, killing is positive (eliminating the weak, increasing the strong), and so on.

Anonymous said...

All fossils are transitional fossils. Fossils have nothing to do with atheism. Atheism rejects gods because of lack of evidence they exist. People are atheists and skeptics of how robust the theory of evolution is.

If you want to convice an atheist, simply present some concrete evidence of the existence of a god or gods. Just one scrap of something physical we can all see together that makes a clear, direct link to a superhuman, supernatural being.

You obviously know nothing about evolution and what its real statements are. Everything you say that evolution is or that evolution claims is what's called a "straw man." It's lying.

Talk about your god. Talk about what it is that shows she exists. Every post you have is a form of the statement "You can't say it didn't happen this way or that it doesn't exist." Why are you incapable of bringing in physical data that unambiguously points to god?

The fossils point to evolution. Prothero, Dawkins, Coyne and many others have explained how the science behind the fossils shows evolution is tru. It's a fact. To deny it is on the same level as Holocaust denial, 9-11 denial, and flat earth philosophy. Your goal is not truth but your slant on truth. But you know what? No one cares what you believe. Go ahead, sacrifice away, do what you gotta do, but why misrepresent genuine science? Why lie and slander? Why collapse totally different ideas like atheism and evolution together? Focus on being private little whackaloons and leave the rest of the world alone. We don't care what you do with your dicks or what you eat or what you think about the rest of the world. You are free to worship the angry, evil manaical character that some folks invented millenia ago. Go to it! Start praying and don't stop. But you cannot talk about evolution and atheism and tell the truth.

So, talk about god. Prove she exists if you can, but try not to corrupt others in the world with lies about evolution and atheism. You know nothing about them and you violate the principles of your own religion by speaking out falsely.

jewish philosopher said...

"simply present some concrete evidence of the existence of a god"

Every organelle in every cell of every living thing is a proof of God since a machine must have an intelligent designer.

"The fossils point to evolution."

Actually they point to catastrophism, which is the opposite of evolution.

"But you cannot talk about evolution and atheism and tell the truth."

I think someone should.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous at 9:31:

I know enough about evolution to understand that it means species to species change. This is what is missing from the fossil record. So the fossil only show that different species lived at different times, not that one species changed into another. Its so simple that even someone who doesn't know evolution can get it.

Larry Tanner said...

"I know enough about evolution to understand that it means species to species change. This is what is missing from the fossil record."

If this were true - which I do not concede, then why don't you take the same attitude as you do to archaeology?

That is, why don't you say "absence of evidence is not evidence of absence"?

jewish philosopher said...

If I may butt in, that's what's always amazed me about atheists. In regards to the Bible, because we haven't found any manna crumbs, of course there was no Exodus. However in regards to evolution, not matter how much is missing from the fossil record it makes no difference because of course so little remains from the past.

My problem with fossils is not that there are so few that they tell an incomplete story. The problem is that they tell a different story than the one Darwin tells.

http://jewishphilosopher.blogspot.com/2006/11/evolution-refuted-again.html

Larry Tanner said...

"The problem is that they tell a different story than the one Darwin tells."

Well, yes. The story is more complicated and interesting than even Darwin knew 150 years ago - the article you reference explains this in one instance. But the basic premise of evolution remains eminently solid, that is the premise of descent with modification.

The Evolution Library at Berkeley is a great source for learning about this, http://evolution.berkeley.edu

Larry Tanner said...

By the way, I think the proper claim is that there is insufficient evidence to say that the Exodus occurred when and how the Bible describes.

But my point above was that you're willing to forgive absence of evidence for the Exodus - and there really is no direct evidence at all - yet you are not willing to forgive absence of evidence for evolution - when in fact there actually is direct evidence from various sciences.

It's an interesting example of inconsistency, contradiction, and prejudiced thinking.

jewish philosopher said...

Scientists have an obvious vested interest in promoting evolution. Saying "God did it" would mean that clergy would be very relevant again, rather than being limited to some traditions like wedding and funerals.

The problem is that worms becoming people is an extraordinary claim and the (constantly changing) evidence provided is laughably flimsy.

Larry Tanner said...

"The problem is that worms becoming people is an extraordinary claim and the (constantly changing) evidence provided is laughably flimsy."

I suppose if you choose to stay at a great distance away from the evidence you might think this. Of course, a scholar knows to dig to the details.

I showed this point on a different topic by showing how even small differences in the translation of the same text can produce very different readings, so much that readers of the different versions disagree irreconcilably about what the text says/means.

But I think if you care to look at all the evidence and look at it closely, then you start to see how complicated the questions are that we're trying to answer.

In any event, at no point is "God did it" a helpful answer to the question. You may think evolution is bad and the evidence flimsy, but it is light years better than "God did it."

jewish philosopher said...

"But my point above was that you're willing to forgive absence of evidence for the Exodus - and there really is no direct evidence at all - yet you are not willing to forgive absence of evidence for evolution - when in fact there actually is direct evidence from various sciences."

Actually the truth is quite the contrary. Judaism simply says: A watch must have a Watchmaker. The Watchmaker would naturally include an instruction manual with the watch. The only manual with any credibility, of a public revelation, is the Torah.

Evolution proposes: Chemicals plus time plus radiation equals people. It's an absurd fantasy with no basis in reality. It's as sensible as junkyards plus thunderstorms producing computers. What are the bombshell "proofs": Things like "If God made man, why did He give males useless nipples."

jewish philosopher said...

"if you care to look at all the evidence and look at it closely"

there really isn't any

"at no point is "God did it" a helpful answer to the question"

obviously it's very unhelpful if your status and income depend on God not doing it.

Larry Tanner said...

'Evolution proposes: Chemicals plus time plus radiation equals people. It's an absurd fantasy with no basis in reality. It's as sensible as junkyards plus thunderstorms producing computers. What are the bombshell "proofs": Things like "If God made man, why did He give males useless nipples."'

Terrible oversimplifications and straw men here. Topped with bad analogies.

Like I've said, whatever floats yer boat.

Good Shabbos.

jewish philosopher said...

I'm simplifying but not misleading.

Anonymous said...

Larry:

The problem with fossils is that there are from 2 to 10 million species that exist now. There are from 20 million to 1 billion species that are now extinct. According to evoolutionary theory, all of them are the result of evolution. If only 1% left some record of acuall evolution, we should find from 200,000 to 10 million examples of transtitions. If 1/10 of 1% left a record of evolution, we should see 20,000 to 1 million examples of species to species change. That a lot more than the 3 dozen or transitions that are listed on the talkorigins website. And there are problems with mnay of those example. Some are transition between groups. The species to species change is still missing. The status of some of them as transitions is highly questionable, due to new discoveries, and some of them merely show trivial changes, like the relative size of a monkey's molars, that are within the normal range of variation within a species or the result of a physiological (not genetic) change in response to the environment.


Now, as far as the Exodus is concerned, the evidence is pretty much what I would expect. The Israelites wrote it down in the Torah. The Egyptians had a habit of not recording, or even erasing theings that made them look bad. So they wouldn't have written it down.

Anon2 said...

Once again, anonymous, you reveal your extremely poor and superficial understanding of evolutionary biology, as well as of the scientific method in general.

You misuse the term "transitional forms", which by your own logic means "intermediate forms which are not found". What fossil what you accept as a transitional form? Since for every possible organism, you can imagine some in between stage between itself and the most closely related species, you again will be left with a "gap" which you will always find.

In the modern conception of the evolutionary tree, ALL species are intermediate forms, in relation to their closely related species. So a chimp is an intermediate form between other apes and humans, and so forth. Neanderthal is intermediate between ape and modern man, etc. A whale is intermediate between land mammals and fish, complete with vestigial limbs. The fossil record, as a "snapshot" of evolution rather than a movie, cannot directly show smooth continuous change, and thus like most of science we are left using inference to come up with the best theory that explains what we see. And Gould's theory of punctate changes in no way contradicts evolution, and you are welcome to see his own opinions in the matter.

Your "gap" arguments against evolution essentially negate most scientific theories, which combine direct observation with inferential logic. As Larry said, do you not accept archeology? If we find ruins of a city, but can't actually "see" the burning of the city or the complete city itself, is this "gap" a reason to reject the story of the city? Do you reject the theory of black holes, which can only be inferred and observed indirectly?

An exodus may or may not have happened. We don't have an abundance of independent sources, just the Bible. That doesn't mean its false, but given what we already know about the Bible's unreliability about history of other matters (like creation), it is certainly suspect.

jewish philosopher said...

"you reveal your extremely poor and superficial understanding of evolutionary biology, as well as of the scientific method in general"

Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. Claiming that chemicals plus radiation plus time equals people is surely a very extraordinary claim, as much as claiming that a Jewish carpenter was God in human form for example is an extraordinary claim. The evidence being provided to support either claim is very flimsy to say the least.

"the Bible's unreliability about history of other matters (like creation), it is certainly suspect."

I think I've resolved that.

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

anon2 said...

You're confusing abiogenesis with evolution-- 2 separate things. And the evidence for evolution is extraordinary. In contrast with the Bible story.

Your "resolution" to the problems in the bible are intellectually dishonest and unsatisfying to all but the most brainwashed.

Crawling Axe said...

What’s Bible unreliability in the story of creation?

The funny thing about this conversation for me is that both sides use the same arguments to support their beliefs. There is no conceptual difference between reaching the state of belief in evolution and reaching the state of belief in Exodus (by “belief” I mean educated belief, not blind faith).

Anonymous said...

Anon2:

Again, evolution means that one species changes into another. That is absent from the fossil record. By transitional species, I mean species that are changing into another species. That's what evolution means. I don't know why intermediate forms is relevant. A car is intermediate between a scooter and a truck. What does that mean? And the whale's pelvis is not vestigial. It supports the muscles that retract the male whale's penis so it doesn't interfere with the whales streamlining. And fossils are not rare, there are series of strata found all over the world full of fossils, so the I don't really like the arguement that the fossil record is incomplete. The evidence I would expect just isn't there.




And by "negating science," would that include global warming science? That negated itself.

jewish philosopher said...

Evolution is an "indisputable fact" only when someone is promoting atheism.

No one would ever dream of actually relying on it in practice.

http://jewishphilosopher.blogspot.com/2009/03/climate-change-and-evolution.html

Crawling Axe said...

You would never rely on evolution in practice? See this cartoon.

What’s the big deal with evolution? It in no way contradicts the most literal, the most traditional reading of Bereishis.

jewish philosopher said...

Small changes between parents and children is not evolution; the creation of new, useful limbs and organs is and of course that never happens.

The Torah says God created man from dust. Darwin said people came from monkeys. Those are entirely different beliefs.

Crawling Axe said...

Who cares what Darwin says? The facts presented by theory of evolution say that there seems to be relation between the design of animals’ bodies, to the point that it is feasible to suggest that design of species X evolved from design of species Y. These are the facts. Now, interpretation of those facts could be that this process happened throughout millenia — and we know it’s possible to happen, because it is happening now (there is no essential difference between the process of micro- and macroevolution). Or, interpretation of those facts could be that G-d designed the bodies of the animals, and there was “evolution” of the design in his mind; i.e., that evolution was spiritual not physical.

Practically speaking, it makes no difference.

The way we know about evolution is the same way we know about, lehavdil, Mattan Torah. We look at what we have today (a bunch of fossils, genetic and phylogenetic similarity between animals, etc.; and in the case of Torah, people believing that popular revelation happened from tradition they received from their ancestors), and we say: there are many possibilities how this could have happened, but this is the most probable explanation (evolution of design; popular revelation of G-d).

jewish philosopher said...

Children are a little different than their parents. Life in the distant past was much different than it is now.

However the idea that new, useful limbs and organs can gradually, spontaneously develop is a baseless fantasy contradicting the fossils and common sense, as well as Judaism. It was fabricated merely to excuse atheism.

Crawling Axe said...

Imagine if there were mystics who could glance into the spiritual make up of the Universe, but didn’t know Torah. They would say something like: “There is a spiritual world, from which this world emerged, which resembles this world, but not exactly. Now, there is another world, from which that world has emerged, etc., etc. And this chain of world, emerging one from another, with certain differences, goes all the way to some source, about which we know nothing. We think this is how creation happened/happens: there is a source of energy which gave birth to a simple world, from which emerged a more complicated, but less spiritual world, world, from which emerged a more complicated, but less spiritual world, and so on, until our world, which is very complicated with billions of details but is completely not spiritual.”

Now, a person who has read Chumash would say: “This is not true. It says in Torah that G-d created the world in one instance. Not that the world emerged from a higher world, but that G-d created it. What you’re saying is not true.”

The mystic would answer: “I am just telling you what I see.” And they would argue like that, going in circles.

Of course, we know from Judaism that both are right.

Crawling Axe said...

That’s why we have phylogeny which shows that new organs did not just spring yesh m’ayin. They developed from a similar organs of previous generations. If you sit down in a bus in Montreal, where it’s snow and ice and wake up in New Orleans, where it’s hot and humid, you weren’t necessarily teleported. It could be that you were gradually taken from place to place, from colder to warmer climate. Now, if you woke up once in a while and took pictures of the outside, you can have some broken evidence of that “evolution”. But you will never have a continuous change, unless you had a video camera on all the time.

When you look at your friends’ pictures from a trip to another city, and you see random places, you don’t suspect they were doing quantum leaps from place to place like an electron. You assume they were continuously walking from one place to another and only took pictures at some special occasions. Now, in the case of evolution, we actually see something like Hotel Plaza with the castle in the background, and then the castle, with Hotel Plaza in the background. So, that allows us to assume that people took a walk from Hotel Plaza to the castle (imagine you can tell time by where the sun is). Of course, there may be mistakes and inaccuracies.

Phylogeny is not the only source of support for macroevolution. There is astonishing genetic similarity between phylogenetically close species with patterns that can be explained only by emergence of one genome from another. Now, as I said, all of this is just evidence of evolution of design. That evolution could happen from animals living on planet Earth, having babies, living and dying under selective pressure, etc., etc., or G-d designing species in His mind, one design flowing from another. We know such evolution of design happened in case of our world at large (as I described above), so there is no reason to disbelief it could have happened in case of living organisms.

jewish philosopher said...

I suppose someone digging through a landfill might imagine that the iPhone evolved from the original telephone and all the tiny intermediary changes got lost.

Crawling Axe said...

Well, phones normally don’t reproduce by themselves from each other. Animals do. If phones were not designed intelligently but were running around in the forest and reproducing from each other, we could imagine something like this happening.

Anonymous said...

Crawling Ax:

By phylogeny do you mean that ontology recapitulatee phylogeny? That theory was shown to be an outragious fraud over a century ago. Haeckel confessed to faking the embryo drawings, but they continued to be used in tectbooks until Behe and Wells went public with the fraud.

And scientists have found that DNA does not match morphological relationships. Closely related species might have very different DNA. They have come up with the theory of horizontal gene transfer to explain away the problem. You can learn so much biology from the Discovery Center website.

Anonymous said...

You can learn so much biology from the Discovery Center website.



!!!! This statement is classic idiocy from a mind that obviously does not want to believe the evidence overwhelmingly points to evolution.

Thanks for the laugh!!!!

jewish philosopher said...

True, unlike man made machines, living things reproduce. However reproduction by definition means "making a copy". Therefore it doesn't help explain they origin of new limbs and organs.

The proofs of evolution at best are as convincing as all the proofs of christianity and Islam. Just silly drivel which doesn't hold up five minutes under skeptical scrutiny. Scientists promote it in order to get rid of the only other answer, God did it, and thereby usurp the prestige of the clergy.

Anonymous said...

So you're a 'copy' of your parents? Any each of them is a 'copy' of her or his parents? Does this make all the siblings the same?

If these copies are not pure copies but rather copies with modifications, is it reasonable to imagine that over millions of generations and with added selective pressures (environment, ecology, competition, etc.) that advantageous traits would accumulate?

If it's reasonable to imagine this, is it also reasonable to imagine that a theory of evolution could be proposed without any particular reference or care to teachings about God's role in creation?

jewish philosopher said...

The fallicy in that logic is that children are different than their parents however they never have new useful limbs or organs. My son may have longer fingers than I do, but he won't have bat-like wings and fly to school.

Crawling Axe said...

I find it difficult to understand what people find difficult to understand in the concept of gradual change.

Nobody argues that language evolved. That languages evolved from each other. Nobody argues that technology evolved. Some technologies and language have “limbs” which their ancestors did not have.

jewish philosopher said...

Language and technology are created by intelligent designers. As was each type of living thing.

Crawling Axe said...

Languages were not created by intelligent designers, unless you’re talking about computer languages or languages like Esperanto. But that’s not the point. Evolution of memes obeys the same rules as evolution of genes. The question here is whether completely new complex structures can emerge through evolution.

Also, for you, the fin of a whale can look like a completely different organ from the leg of a cow, but for someone ignorant in technology, a computer on which you watch a DVD can look completely different from a tip calculator, while in reality they are cousins.

jewish philosopher said...

People create new words and language is therefore it is intelligently design. It doesn't come from random mutations.

Crawling Axe said...

My personal argument with you is not that G-d created the world, but that evolution happened. I think evidence points to the fact that evolution happened. Whether it happened under the guidance of G-d or “randomly” is a second question (and if you accept Torah, the answer is the former — and not necessarily in “each day of Creation is a billion years” way).

Look, I can ask the similar question about any phenomenon in nature. How does the shape of a snowflake form? Back in the day, people would say that G-d individually forms the shape, because something so seemingly complex and beautiful cannot be formed randomly. Today we know that very simple laws of physics and chemistry shaping the properties of each water’s molecule (separation of positive and negative charge between oxygen and two hydrogens, etc.) can result in the formation of this shape. So, seemingly, we took G-d out of picture.

If you learn Judaism in more depth, however, you see that existence of these laws in no way contradicts the fact that G-d individually shapes every single snow flake. So, if someone would tell me: “Ah, these laws are all baba maises. Eibeshter makes the snowflakes”, I would agree with the second part but disagree with the first. The same regarding the statement: “Evolution did not happen. G-d created all the species.”

This opinion, by the way, is an even stronger argument against atheist position. I agree with all the atheists’ facts, but in a way that in no way disagrees with super-traditional Torah view of reality.

Crawling Axe said...

For the most part, languages “drift” not because someone invents new words. If you take old Skandinavian “husbandir”, it became English “husband” and Russian “gospodin” (“master”). Nobody intelligently and purposefully designed these changes. Also, if you look at Russian, German or Latin cases, or English tense system, no particular group of people purposefully designed these complex structure — they just evolved through generations of people speaking a little differently each new generation.

(There are a few exceptions like Communists in Russia or nationalists in post-reformation Czech Republic purposefully simplifying language to make it more accessible to the masses.)

By the way, if you compare the language of Anglo Saxons (the language of Beowulf) and modern English, you will that many structures (e.g., the system of cases) were lost, while many new structures were gained. To the point that these are completely different languages, such that a speaker of Old English could hardly understand a speaker of modern English. And yet, in any given generation, the father taught a son how to speak, and the son spoke (almost) in the same way as the father, never inventing a completely new grammatical structure.

jewish philosopher said...

People like making up new words or pronouncing old words in new ways. Like saying "sweet" instead of "good". And someone makes this stuff up. Intelligent design.

jewish philosopher said...

I guess the Torah predicted Darwin, just like it predicted jesus and islam.

Larry Tanner said...

"The fallicy [sic] in that logic is that children are different than their parents however they never have new useful limbs or organs. My son may have longer fingers than I do, but he won't have bat-like wings and fly to school."

The fallacy in your logic here is that we don't know how our species will develop and what evolutionary changes may bring. You also seem to expect that a huge evolutionary change would take place in one generation rather than thousands or even millions. There are also competition and population factors that would need to be accounted for.

But when we look backward from the fossils and other evidence, we can see that our species developed from a primate line. When we look at the ancestry of whales, we can see the gradual emergence of species approaching whales.

It's not a direct, "this-became-that-and-that-became-whazzit-and-whazzit-became-whodit, etc." Rather, it's the shifting success of species with different attributes.

This is exactly what's shown by the tetrapod trackways recently discovered in Poland - dating back 395 million years. Creationists have the mistaken notion that this discovery has somehow invalidated the status of Tiktaalik as a transitional form. In fact, Tiktaalik clearly is a transitional form that acts as a representative on a state in the development of life. What the track discovery helps us see is that tetrapod evolution was spread out over a longer period of time than was previously thought.

But as usual, the real question and problem for the creationist is that the Bible is silent on the details of how life actually seems to have developed. The concept of God seems to have no relevance whatsoever to the complex and brutal processes that led to the various species of life of earth.

Or perhaps you have an explanation is how God is working as relates to Tiktaalik and tetrapods generally. If so, I'd love to hear it.

Crawling Axe said...

First of all, people who say “sweet” instead of “good” and the like are rarely intelligent or designers. :)

But, first of all, I am not talking about such small things — I am talking about larger “limbs” of language like fourth declension or future perfect tense. Nobody sits down and says: “Hey, let’s invent a new tense”, invents it and gets people to use it.

Second, I am not talking here about intelligent vs. non-intelligent. I am asking whether a series of gradual small changes can accumulate over time to a major change, which makes X not recognizable from Y. In the case of the language, it’s clear that it is possible (whether or not these individual small changes are intelligently designed or happen chaotically). Now, we know that in the case of animals, small changes shaped by environment happen from generation to generation (“microevolution”). Logic tells us that such changes can accumulate over time, resulting in emergence of more complex structures.

At the end of the day, there is no nafka mina whether evolution happened or not. If it happened, one can still say that G-d created the world in the most traditional way described in Torah (in 7 days, 6770 years ago). The only problem evolution creates is for a “G-d of gaps” argument: “Look at the complexity of life in the world; only someone intelligent could create this.” This argument is not a basis for our belief in Torah. It’s the basis for belief in an abstract Creator which still leaves G-d of Torah unproven.

So, if evolution definitely did not happen, we are allowed to use “G-d of gaps” argument, but we still have to prove that Mattan Torah happened through Kuzari Argument. So, why not do that to begin with, leaving the machloikes about evolution aside?

If I have revelation tomorrow from G-d, and He tells me that He created Toyota Camry (not inspired Japanese to create it, but created Himself), that will be in no way a contradiction to my existing memories and existing evidence in the world.

jewish philosopher said...

Larry, again I believe that the contradictions to evolution are insurmountable while the proofs are flimsy at best.

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

Basically, evolution is an attempt by scientists to usurp the prestige of the clergy, to eliminate the "God did it" answer, but it's not science.

"I am asking whether a series of gradual small changes can accumulate over time to a major change"

I still don't see any comparison between language and evolution. Languages change over time because people like variety and each generation creates it's own little changes until today an Englishman would not be able to hold a conversation with his ancestors of 700 years ago. So what? Does that mean that if enough tornados hit a junk yard a Boeing 747 will emerge?

As far as what's wrong with believing evolution, it's similar to asking what's wrong with believing that Jesus was the messiah or that Mohammed was a prophet. It's just not true.

jewish philosopher said...

Tiktaalik - exposed as another glob of psuedoscience.

http://www.evolutionnews.org/2008/09/the_rise_and_fall_of_tiktaalik.html

Anonymous said...

Anonymous at 7:45

Gee, I thought than when I got home from my kob teaching kindergarten that I would not experience childish name calling, but rather an intelligent discussion. Apparently, was mistaken.

Larry:

If there where completely terrestrial tetrapods 20,000,000 before tiktaalik, which was completely aquatic, then the real ancestor is missing. Just like so many other ancestors.

If I were to make random changes to my car, I might occasionally hit upon a change that might improve my car's functioning marginally. But if every time the random change caused a loss of some function I scrapped my car and started over, then I don't think I would get very far. I certainly don't think I could turn my car into a truck that way.

Anon2 said...

I see so much ignorance in the comments by creationists here, I am astounded that intelligent people can delude themselves this way.

That most biologists believe in evolution doesn't prove that its true. However, since almost all current biological research is based on all of the underlying assumptions and mechanisms of evolution (random mutations, population genetics, natural selection and sexual selection), it is hard to imagine that any useful biological work today could be possible if evolution were false.

Francis Collins, a religious Christian scientist of impeccable qualifications, does not deny evolution and sums it up very nicely:

http://www.beliefnet.com/News/Science-Religion/2006/08/God-Is-Not-Threatened-By-Our-Scientific-Adventures.aspx

So I think JP and all the rest of you should stop your amateurish and silly arguments and quote mining to deny evolution and get a life. Because you have no idea what the **** you're talking about.

jewish philosopher said...

Anon2, when faced with someone of your breathtaking ignorance and arrogance, it is almost impossible to know where to begin.

First of all, people like Collins are hardly something new. They are known as "Useful Idiots".

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

Second of all, Darwinian evolution has contributed nothing positive to humanity. Unless you count Fascism as positive.

Let's do a thought experiment.

Scientist A and B are equally intelligent and have had the same education. The only difference is that A is a real Christian fundamentalist new earth creationist who believes that dinosaurs lived with Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. B is a flaming atheist who has complete faith in the neo-Darwinian theory of evolution.

Can you name any medical treatment or new technology which B could have developed but A could not have, or which B would have even developed more quickly that A?

Anon2 said...

Scientist A could not develop anything. Because if he was a new earth creationist he would be incapable of understanding the most basic concepts of genetics and biology (which are inconsistent with creationism) and thus could not function as a real biologist. Evolution explains everything in biology and is the basis of almost everything. "A" could not develop antibiotics because he would know nothing about mutations and natural selection. He could not develop cancer treatments because he knows nothing about the genetics of cell replications, mutations and selection, and certainly knows nothing about how the genetic code for the cancers made their way into our genome, and how it is different and similar to that of other animals. For similar reasons he could not understand or develop vaccines, which must take into account the evolution of viruses.

Your question would be like asking if a physicist who believed in ether and the earth being the center of the universe could produce anything useful in current times.

And I admit absolute guilt in the crime of argument by authority--Francis Collins.

A biologist who does not believe in evolution cannot be called a biologist. Anybody who claims to be a biologist who rejects evolution is either a crackpot or a liar.

jewish philosopher said...

Clearly you're very confused. Gregor Mendel, founder of genetics, was a creationist.

What about someone who bred cattle 500 years ago - was he an evolutionist because he believed in reproduction, variation and selection?

As I explained, the only thing evolution has created is Fascism.

anon2 said...

We've come a long way since Mendel, in case you forgot. Although he discovered laws of inheritance, he knew nothing of DNA or molecular biology.

Nothing in molecular genetics makes any sense whatsoever unless there was evolution from a common ancestor.

jewish philosopher said...

Sure it does - God created it.

Atheists have a problem - where did DNA come from?

In any case, you can't point to anything a creationist scientist could not discover.

Anonymous said...

Anon2:

I see a lot of name calling comng from you, but no arguements. Now, creationts don't have a problem with antibiotic resistance, because all case of antibiotic resistance involve wither an epigenetic process, a cahnge in the boacteria which is actually detrimental but happens to have a side benefit, like sickle cell disease in humans, or is a trivial change that could not lead to a new species, which is what evolution is. Now, Behe did predict, based on known mutations rates, that malaria would not be able to evolve a way around sickle cell disease. He also predicted that HIV would not be able to evolve a way around a three drug cocktail. To the best of my knowledge, his prediction have held up.

And since scientists have found that the DNA in many species does not follow morphology, then genetics does not make sense in the light of evolution. Of course the evolutionists are saying that the answer is horizonal gene transfer.

jewish philosopher said...

I never take skeptic bloggers, who are always anonymous, too seriously. You never know, he could be in a psych ward or he could be 13. I just wish someone would say something interesting.

Anon2 said...

Anonymous, do you honestly believe that your dumb little high school biology arguments and quotes actually undermine all of the evidence for evolution?


Even Behe believes in common ancestry and evolution, so stop quoting him to support your position. He does not believe in the literal creation story, just that there was a guiding hand in the evolutionary process of speciation. ID is not creationism.

http://ncse.com/rncse/27/1-2/review-edge-evolution

JP, here's a challenge for you.

Name one biologist (your type "A") in the past 30-40 years who has made a major, nobel-prize type discovery in the field, who rejects evolution in favor of a literal creation story such as yours.

jewish philosopher said...

People with strong religious beliefs generally aren't motivated to pursue a career in science. We're busy with spiritual pursuits.

How many evolutionists have published great works of Talmudic scholarship?

Anon2 said...

OK, so stop spouting bad science, if you're not a scientist.

My point is of course that when you blog in the realm of science when you're really talking theology, its just pseudoscience.

Leave biology to the biologists.

jewish philosopher said...

As usual, the appeal to authority. According to that, we would have to accept what priests claim about Jesus. They're the experts; who are we to question.

Anon2 said...

Since neither your or I are nobel prize winning biologists, a technical dialogue about evolution becomes pointless and endless. We therefore have no choice but to consult with authorities-- my point not being that they are necessarily correct, but that just about any biologist in the field who has access to all of the data comes to the same conclusion, more or less, even Behe and Collins.

So I unabashadly resort to argument by authority in this case, to refute your oft made claim about evolutionary biologists being crackpots and nazis..

Indeed, I accept rabbis as "experts" in Judaism as a religion, but not in history, morality, or science. So as far as history is concerned, the rabbis and the priests are just as unreliable historians about jesus or anything else.

jewish philosopher said...

Excuse me, but neither of us are ordained priests or have advanced degrees in Christian theology, so how dare we question the divinity of Jesus?

Anonymous said...

Anon2:

I haven't heard one arguement from you, high school or otherwise. Just lots of insults. And we all know that scientists are capable of lying to the public, so why should I believe them? And the reason more scientists do not speak out against evolution is because they are worried about their careers.

And I know all about Behe. He says that evolutiohn happened, but it required intervention. But once I have to come onto to "G-d did it" then I can say G-d did it any way He wanted to. And IMHO the evidence for common descent Behe sites is not all that compelling. Things like similar non-functioning genes in apes and humans. But they are discovering more and more that these genes really do have various functions.

Anon2 said...

"Excuse me, but neither of us are ordained priests or have advanced degrees in Christian theology, so how dare we question the divinity of Jesus?"

This is true of every religion, including Judaism, who have their own so-called "scholars" who have mastery of the internal knowledge of their system. But, they have no capability to use critical thinking to evaluate the overall truth of their claims, in relation to outside knowledge, which is a scholar in the modern sense. Thus arose "apologetics".


Many so-called Tamudic scholars in the yeshiva world (talmidei chachamim)are not really scholars, just masters of their own internal system. I think of them like experts in dungeons and dragons--experts in their own little worlds. But a true scholar has the ability to use critical thinking and comparative analysis outside the system as well. Names that come to mind are R Aharon Lichtenstein or James Kugel.

"I haven't heard one arguement from you, high school or otherwise. Just lots of insults. And we all know that scientists are capable of lying to the public, so why should I believe them? "

Listen, I don't know your qualifications, but it sounds to me like your bottom line argument is based on the idea that scientists are part of a big conspiracy to fool the world with false ideas.

You are of course free to think this, but I think it reveals your agenda and a kind of distorted thinking. Just because there have been some charlatans and hoaxes in the past, now any scientific theory (especially ones that contradict your faith) no matter how well founded and accepted is suspect in your eyes. Furthermore, I have demonstrated to you that there are many religious people who do accept evolution.

You are really a skeptic, Nathan. Using your same skeptical attitude, you should not believe in Judaism, either, using the same logic--look how many religious hoaxes there have been in the history of man-- clergy lie to us all of the time-- so why should I believe them?

I think that this skepticism is more well founded that that of science, which has a way of correcting itself.

jewish philosopher said...

"But, they have no capability to use critical thinking to evaluate the overall truth of their claims, in relation to outside knowledge, which is a scholar in the modern sense."

I see. So you believe in evolution because evolutionists are honest and objective and therefore you feel confident relying on their authority. You disbelieve Christianity because Christians are biased and dishonest and therefore their teachings are unrealiable.

Did it ever occur to you that belief in evolution is no different than belief in Christ - both are rationally baseless fantasies, believed by millions of people, including some brilliant intellectuals, for emotional reasons?

Anon2 said...

Science is not about emotion.

jewish philosopher said...

Evolution isn't science and scientists seem to be as emotional as anyone else.

http://jewishphilosopher.blogspot.com/2009/12/what-scientists-are-really-doing.html

Anon2 said...

If you say so.

Anonymous said...

Anon2:

I reject evolution because the problems are huge, and the evidence is spotty. When people respond that I must accept on blind faith what the scientists say, I respond with "Why? There is so much scientifc fraud, how do I separate the truth from the lies?"
And I don't know of any Jewish leaders who knowingly perpetrated a fraud on the public like global warming, piltdown man, or Haeckel's drawings.

Crawling Axe said...

How much scientific fraud is there? Out of 100 scientific papers published in peer-reviewed publications, how many are a result of fraud? Give me a number. It can be in all scientific branches or any particular branch you are interested in.

(Just in case, climatology, humanities and social sciences are not included in my list of sciences. With the exception of linguistics.)

Anonymous said...

Let's see, there Global warming, piltdown man, Haeckel's drawing, cold fusion, the cloned dog. There was a computer generated paper that was gibberish that got published in a journal.

Akll you have to do is google scientific fraud and see how many hits you get.

Crawling Axe said...

I don't really understand why you wrote all that instead of giving me a number.

You said "a lot of scientific fraud". What does "a lot" mean? Do rabbis molest little boys "a lot"? Do frum Jews go to prison "a lot"? Do atheists tend to become dictators "a lot"? Is a snake that is 5' long a long snake? What about one 10' long? 2' long?

I want some statistics. You are giving me some examples.

Crawling Axe said...

Let's focus on life and natural sciences. In Journals like Nature (with its sub-branches like Nature Biochemistry, etc.), Cell, Science, Neuron, etc. -- out of 100 papers how many are proven to be based on fraud? 10? 60? 39?

jewish philosopher said...

Sorry to butt in, however in some cases such as Freud or Margret Mead the "creativity" of the scientist is only discovered decades later.

I would personally like to see the word "science" limited to exact, repeatable laboratory experiments.

Anonymous said...

Well, there where 82 atheist dictators in the 20th century, 52 were known to have been responsible for at least 20,000 non-martial murders. So atheists do become mass murderers a lot.

Anonymous said...

I read about a study that said that 3% of scientists surveyed confessed to fabricating data. A higher percentage confessed to other forms of misconduct.

Anonymous said...

Here's an articel I got off of wikipedia:


http://www.informaworld.com/smpp/content~content=a793939942&db=all

It says that serious misconduct was discovered in 11% of cases.

Anon2 said...

"in some cases such as Freud or Margret Mead the "creativity" of the scientist is only discovered decades later. "

As with religion.

"I would personally like to see the word "science" limited to exact, repeatable laboratory experiments."

Its a good thing people don't listen to you.

Anonymous Nathan is guilty of overgeneralization, like if I were to say, why should I trust black people, so many of them are drug dealers and murderers. Very primitive thinking.

You don't have to believe anything you don't want to, but the arguments you put forth sound silly. Basically, you say, because there has been rare scientific fraud (and global warming isn't among them), and because we don't have all of the answers, and because it contradicts my bible, I refuse to accept it, ne ne ne ne neh!

Anon2 said...

"And I don't know of any Jewish leaders who knowingly perpetrated a fraud on the public like global warming, piltdown man, or Haeckel's drawings."

How about Shabtai Tzvi, and the messiah/lubavitch rebbe? What about King David?

I suppose that you believe that 9-11 was the Mossad, too.

jewish philosopher said...

"Its a good thing people don't listen to you."

So you end up with junk science, like Scientology or evolution. Have you ever noticed that no one has won a Nobel for contributing new knowledge to evolution?

"What about King David?"

What about King David?

Anon2 said...

"Have you ever noticed that no one has won a Nobel for contributing new knowledge to evolution?"

Wrong. 2009 Chemistry prize to Ada Yonath for her work about the structure and function of the ribosome. Adds to the body of knowledge giving naturalistic physical explanations to basic life processes, no need for miracles. All part of evolutionary biology. We're just a bag of chemicals, sorry for the news.

Ever noticed that nobody has won a Nobel for contributing new knowledge about creationism or God?

"What about King David?"

A corrupt, self-serving and sinful leader. (from the bible itself.)

jewish philosopher said...

"2009 Chemistry prize to Ada Yonath"

Sorry, the the press release makes no mention of evolution.

http://nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/chemistry/laureates/2009/press.html

"Ever noticed that nobody has won a Nobel for contributing new knowledge about creationism or God?"

Wrong. 2009 Chemistry prize to Ada Yonath for her work about the structure and function of the ribosome. Adds to the body of knowledge which demonstrates that only a divine creator could have designed life on earth.

"A corrupt, self-serving and sinful leader. (from the bible itself.)"

Which proves the absolute honesty and divine authorship of the Bible. Does any other pre-modern chronicle include negative information about the founder of the royal dynasty? In most other places, the monarchy was descended from a god.

As usual Anon2, you have been hoist with your own petard.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Petard#.22Hoist_with_his_own_petard.22

Anonymous said...

More evidence that Jewish slavery in Egypt is a myth.

http://www.jweekly.com/article/full/41055/egypt-unveils-more-proof-that-jews-did-not-build-pyramids/

jewish philosopher said...

Who said Jews built the pyramids? Walt Disney?

Anonymous said...

Anon2:

Did you read my post? I said that I examind the science behind evolution. I concluded that the problems are huge and the evidence is spotty. When people tell me that I have to accept evolution because the scientists say so, then I remember that they have a majot credibility problem. I saw Haeckel's faked drawing in a number of textbooks, written by PhD's that I used in my biology classes. I read about fraud, I see it with my own eyes. Why should I believe anything they say?

Anonymous said...

I don't recall reading in the Novi that Dovid Hamelech was guilty of perpetrating a fraud on the people. He did some bad things, but there was no massive fraud. And to the best of my knowledge, the Lubavitcher Rebbi never claimed to be Moshiach. That was started by some of his mistaken chassidim. And Shabai Tzvi was exposed during his lifetime, and he lost his following. Now, Haeckel confessed to faking his embryo drawings during his lifetime, yet the drawings continues to be used in textbooks for a century. That's why scientists have a credibiity problem.

Anonymous said...

Anon2 said something abotu glolabl warming not being a fraud. Well, it seems its an even bigger fraud.

http://icecap.us/images/uploads/NOAAroleinclimategate.pdf

Anonymous said...

Brian Boitano built the pyramids. It says so on South Park.

Anonymous said...

The broader questions is, "How do we evaluate any claims of any religion?"

Not so much "what do we believe?" but how can we tell whether there is any evidence of any kind to believe it at all?

It's funny when I observe the very religious people in my life. They can think very critically and skeptically about the claims of OTHER faiths. But they steadfastly, stubbornly, even willfully refuse to apply that same kind of critical thinking to their own faiths.

Ask JP to evaluate the "evidence' that Jesus rose from the dead. He'll likely do a superb job tearing it to pieces, with flawless logic.

But he won't apply that same critical thinking to the claims that the Exodus historically, really happened.

(Personally I think it's unlikely that either event actually happened. But I could be wrong. I do apply the same rigorous logic and critical thinking to both claims, so at least I'm consistent and fair in finding them both lacking.)

RJ

jewish philosopher said...

And you won't apply that same critical thinking to the claims that evolution really happened.

Anonymous said...

Why should we find evidence of the exodus in egyption records anyway? The exodus was an embarrasing defeat for the egyptions so I don't think they would want to record it in the first place.

Anonymous said...

We are told it would have been very difficult for such a multitude wandering around out on the desert to have lived for more than a short time. Yes, and the same could be said about one person out on the desert. They are forgetting God, Who supplied water, meat (quail) and daily bread (Nehemiah 9:20). They believe that encampments of such a multitude would have left some sort of “trash” for them to follow, but they are still trying to figure out which route the children of Israel were on. “Yea, forty years didst thou sustain them in the wilderness, so that they lacked nothing; their clothes waxed not old, and their feet swelled not.” (Nehemiah 9:21) There was no thrown away, worn-out clothing, no piles of leftover manna as it melted (Exodus 16:21), and they left no “soda bottles or gum wrappers” for them to follow. As others have brought out, the Israelites the critics are looking for never existed, because they do not believe God provided for them, but the truth is Israel “lacked nothing”! Their inability to find something is what they offer as proof! They only recently found (2002) the “workers’ village” for the pyramids of the Giza Plateau. It is estimated this town housed 20,000 people and was built out of bricks, whereas the children of Israel lived in tents. And this discovery only came after they had searched every inch of the Giza Plateau for the last two hundred years of archaeology. See this site with new info on the Exodus = http://www.sinai-horeb.com/