Thursday, July 08, 2010

Of Course, It's All About Science



In this video clip Penn Jillette, magician and militant atheist, describes the process by which one Hasidic Jew converted to atheism, beginning from the 8:30 point in the clip. The Jew was in a strip club and had paid a stripper to dance for him. The Jew and the stripper then somehow began discussing atheism and evolution and through this he became an atheist.

Just imagine the lengths this man went to - he went out of the comfort of his home all the way to a strip club, paid a stripper for her time, discussed with her, I guess while she was nude, the existence of God and the development of life. Strippers are well known for their philosophical insights. Perhaps she sat on his lap to demonstrate her sympathy with his spiritual quest. Considering that they were able to hear each other talk and hold a lengthy conversation, I assume our heroic Hasid rented a private room to consult with the stripper. Did he have a few shots of whiskey? I don't know but it's entirely possible. And through this intense intellectual experience he discovered the truth about the universe and left his family and community. That is a man I can truly admire. Let's hope he left her a nice tip.

And I used to think Jews converting to atheism had something to do with sexual addiction! I am so sorry! My bad. I really got that wrong!

71 comments:

Philo said...

You would be right if he said it was because of the sexual experience, which he did not...

Anonymous said...

I wonder how many former Chasidim remain involved in things like hatzola, tomchei shabbos, all the chesed that so pervades Chasidic communities, etc. Or maybe ther too busy gong to strip clubs.

Israel my home said...

Nebach! Very depressing story! :(

jewish philosopher said...

"You would be right if he said it was because of the sexual experience"

Of course it wasn't. A young woman who is most likely a drug addict with breast implants and bleached hair is clearly the ideal person to discuss life's ultimate questions and to reach the most rational conclusions.

Why didn't I realize that? I must be stupid.

Bravo, Hasidic Atheists! I salute you!

Anonymous said...

Nothing matters.

This is all bullshit.

All you self-righteous religionists pretend to know about god, what he wants, what is right and what is wrong.

Shit happens.

That's all there is.

jewish philosopher said...

Someone sounds a little bitter today. Is the atheism not going too well?

Anonymous said...

"we live, we die, and the wheels of the bus go round and round"

Jack Nicholson in The Bucket List

Nothing more true. Everything else is a guess.

Mahla said...

Oh my goodness, this story is just plain CRAZY! :^O Why on Earth would a frum Jew go out to a strip club in the first place?!

I think if this man was truly committed to his religion and moral principles he would not have been in that environment in the first place! :^(

jewish philosopher said...

"the wheels of the bus go round and round"

Ok, but where is the bus going? I hope to the nearest synagogue, not the nearest strip club!

Mahla, I think this post may explain it a little. Some men are out of control. And then they claim "Science convinced me of atheism". Sure

http://www.unpious.com/2010/03/sin-samantha-talmud/

Anonymous said...

"Ok, but where is the bus going?"

It's the cycle of life. 500 years from now there will be different people alive. If one idiot went to a stripper now, it will make no difference 500 years from now. The only thing that matters is our relationship to our loved ones who are living now.

jewish philosopher said...

Everything which we think, say and do has an affect on our eternal destiny. Our soul will continue to live in a spiritual world after death and then will be reborn in a new body when the dead are revived. People who have chosen to leave Orthodox Judaism will burn in hell eternally as I have explained here.

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

Of course from an atheistic point of view, people are merely worthless, soulless bags of chemicals who will soon disintegrate so nothing is really of any importance.

Anonymous said...

"Everything which we think, say and do has an affect on our eternal destiny. Our soul will continue to live in a spiritual world after death and then will be reborn in a new body when the dead are revived. People who have chosen to leave Orthodox Judaism will burn in hell eternally as I have explained here."

I'm glad you have revealed your scholarship for all to see and examine.

Your silly exhortations, predictions and threats don't scare too many people. Do you yourself live in terror of this underworld of eternal damnation? Alternatively, does it give you comfort that Adolf Hitler continues to scream in pain for eternity?

Sounds like the fantasy of a 4 year old.

jewish philosopher said...

"Your silly exhortations, predictions and threats don't scare too many people."

Appeal to the People, a logical fallacy

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

Appeal to Ridicule, a logical fallacy

http://www.nizkor.org/features/fallacies/appeal-to-ridicule.html

My beliefs, on the other hand, are based on well known facts of nature and history.

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

Anonymous said...

Your arguments speak for themselves. I'm sure that you and Nathan are now more convinced then ever.

jewish philosopher said...

And again, Appeal to Ridicule, a logical fallacy

http://www.nizkor.org/features/fallacies/appeal-to-ridicule.html

Anonymous said...

I am not ridiculing, I am stating that you have revealed to your readers the real basis of your beliefs: It all boils down to burning in hell (sorry for the pun!)

This and other assertions may or may not appear ridiculous to different readers. They will decide if they are based on "well known facts" and reason.

Personally I don't think they are. I don't think that heretic souls burning in hell is based on "well known facts" OR reason. Perhaps you are privy to some facts that are not so well known that have convinced you. I don't think that Talmudic assertions from 2000 years ago qualify as "well known facts".
Let's see what you readers think.

NoLiveGod said...

This story shows the failure of Judaism and nothing about "science."

Seems that an orthodox life is not fulfilling enough for some. unfortunately, since many OJs live lives separated from the rest of the world, they are unprepared (emotionally, intellectually) for initial brushes with the outside.

jewish philosopher said...

"I don't think that heretic souls burning in hell is based on "well known facts" OR reason."

Sounds like argument from incredulity again

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Argument_from_ignorance#Argument_from_incredulity_.2F_Lack_of_imagination

"Let's see what you readers think."

Appeal to the people

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

"Seems that an orthodox life is not fulfilling enough for some."

According to that logic, fat people and smokers prove that a healthy lifestyle is not fulfilling enough for some. Doctors are failures; they have to try to make veggies and jogging more fulfilling.

"He asked questions and critically evaluated what he had been taught by rote."

He asked questions and found an excuse to indulge the sexual addiction which brought him to the strip club to begin with.

NoLiveGod said...

"According to that logic, fat people and smokers prove that a healthy lifestyle is not fulfilling enough for some. Doctors are failures; they have to try to make veggies and jogging more fulfilling."

Not sure how you calculate the logic here, but let's go with it. Sure, some people enjoy eating food and enjoy smoking cigarettes. I see no reason to condemn rational adults for the decisions they make about how to live their lives enjoyably. Doctors are not responsible for PR of a "healthy lifestyle." Their function is to evaluate the overall health of their patients. Period.

You don't want doctors peering into every aspect of your life and forcing you to live what they consider "healthy," do you?

jewish philosopher said...

I pay my doctor to give me health advice. If I choose to be an idiot and ignore it, it's not because health is unfulfilling or my doctor is failure.

By the same token, I ask my rabbi for spiritual advice. If I choose to be an idiot and ignore it, it's not because Judaism is unfulfilling or my rabbi is a failure.

NoLiveGod said...

"I ask my rabbi for spiritual advice."

What does he think of your blog? I hope you don't pay him for "spiritual advice."

What kind of spiritual advice would one want, anyway?

jewish philosopher said...

"What does he think of your blog?"

Wild about it.

"What kind of spiritual advice would one want, anyway?"

Your soul needs protection, care and nourishment just as the body does. Call your local Orthodox rabbi for details.

NoLiveGod said...

"Your soul needs protection, care and nourishment just as the body does. Call your local Orthodox rabbi for details."

Been there, done that. Have you ever read Tanya? One of the biggest wastes of time ever. When I finished it, I realized that "the soul" might be the biggest load of BS of it all.

jewish philosopher said...

Well, in that case, please explain to me:

Why we have the feeling that we are not our bodies. We see ourselves as inhabiting our bodies but we don't identify ourselves by it. This feeling begins with the smallest children and is universal culturally.

Why do we have the feeling of free will. We all feel the freedom to make choices that are not determined by prior causes. Therefore, we hold people responsible for their behavior and either reward or punish them accordingly.

Why are humans more valuable and have more worth than earthworms or trash cans.

NoLiveGod said...

"Why do we have the feeling of free will."

How funny. You say, "The soul exists." I say, "Really? What I've read sounds like BS." You say, "Oh yeah, then explain to me a very complicated phenomenon of human consciousness."

I am not a neurologist. I am not a cognitive psychologist. If you want to know why we have the illusion of free will, go read the experts.

As for your claim of the existence of "the soul," perhaps you have something better to offer for evidence than "the feeling" that we MIGHT have one? I've read some of the experts on the soul, and have yet to see any evidence, but perhaps you know something they don't.

"Why are humans more valuable and have more worth than earthworms or trash cans."

Depends on what you mean by "valuable," I suppose. Human beings are wonderful creatures. I'm a big fan. Earthworms are marvelous creatures, too. Trash cans serve a neat purpose in middle class society. In any case, one doesn't need to have a soul to determine a reasonable sense of value. And one doesn't need a soul to affirm his own value.

I suppose you disagree, but what else is new?

jewish philosopher said...

"If you want to know why we have the illusion of free will, go read the experts."

The same reason why there is an illusion of a round earth. Because it is.

"Earthworms are marvelous creatures, too."

So squashing a person or an earthworm are equivalent morally.

NoLiveGod said...

"The same reason why there is an illusion of a round earth. Because it is."

And thus no need to read experts in the field. Why read them when you already know the truth, right?

"So squashing a person or an earthworm are equivalent morally."

LOL. What I wrote says just the opposite.

jewish philosopher said...

Since we all intuitively feel that we have a soul, the burden of proof obviously lies upon you to prove we don't.

And according to your beliefs, a human being is merely a worthless, soulless bag of chemicals with no more intrinsic value than a bag of trash.

NoLiveGod said...

"Since we all intuitively feel that we have a soul, the burden of proof obviously lies upon you to prove we don't."

Hogwash. We don't all intuitively feel that we have a soul. You're asserting the existence of a soul, so the burden is yours to prove it's a real thing and not an illusion.

"And according to your beliefs, a human being is merely a worthless, soulless bag of chemicals with no more intrinsic value than a bag of trash."

Of course, my text said not this at all, but you want to make up whatever you want about atheists.

I suppose next you'll want to talk about how Jews have horns and love the blood of Christian babies.

If you want to know what atheists believe, I can point you to some of my favorite sites:

http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/

http://skepticaljew.blogspot.com/

http://frumheretic.blogspot.com/

http://larrytanner.blogspot.com/

http://www.dovbear.blogspot.com/

http://whyevolutionistrue.wordpress.com/

http://friendlyatheist.com/

There are others, but start with these. Happy reading!

Anonymous said...

NLG:

Why do humans have the illusion that we have a soul? Why did it evolve? Why do humans have a need for spirituality, to connect to something beyond the material? It doesn't improme our chances of surviving any, so it couldn't have been the result of Darwinian processes.

jewish philosopher said...

If you truly feel that you are your body and that you have no free choice, then you need a psychiatrist ASAP.

"my text said not this at all"

But you can't deny it.

"There are others, but start with these."

Those blogs are all anonymous and may be written by 14 year olds. Two are written by third class scientists who have never discovered anything worth mentioning. I have better things to read.

David Smith said...

"Why do humans have the illusion that we have a soul? Why did it evolve? Why do humans have a need for spirituality, to connect to something beyond the material? It doesn't improme our chances of surviving any, so it couldn't have been the result of Darwinian processes."

One can also speculate that, if there IS an evolutionary advantage to these sensibilities, they should be indulged, and not suppressed.

It's rather ironic that those atheists who use evolution as a basis for their atheism should argue that one "go against nature," in the case of religious feelings.

I once had an atheist roommate in college argue that we should all emulate behavior found amongst thugs in the inner city--to sire multiple children out of wedlock, as this seems to follow basic evolutionary imperatives, and they were exhibiting greater reproductive success than a bunch of nerds in an honors dormitory.

Anonymous said...

"Well, in that case, please explain to me:
Why we have the feeling that we are not our bodies. We see ourselves as inhabiting our bodies but we don't identify ourselves by it. "

Why do we feel anything? Is phantom limb pain "real"? What about romantic love? Is that "real"? Does romantic love exist outside of our brains? What about a delusion, or a dream?

Obviously, these phenomena prove nothing about existence of an extracoporeal phenomenon.

It's all in our brains.

Anonymous said...

But why did it evolve if it serves no purpose?

NoLiveGod said...

"use evolution as a basis for their atheism"

I don't think so. The Bible is the basis of atheism, not evolution. People become atheists because they read the Bible and realize that it's probably not of God or by God. They see that it's human invention. And once one accepts that the Bible is no different than the countless other holy texts around the world and across all ages, atheism usually comes close behind.

Of course, many people are theists and understand the difficulty of divine authorship/inspiration arguments. This includes Rabbis like Wolpe and scholars such as Kugel. Also, many agree that evolution provides the best explanation we have for the development of species. I'm thinking here of someone like Ken Miller.

But how arrogant of some theists to think that their beliefs in undetectable entities like gods and souls automatically deserve credence! How blind of such people to think that "faith" in something inscrutable makes them better, more moral people than those who ask, "What's/Where's the evidence for this?"

It's very simple: If YOU affirm the existence of gods or souls or free will, then YOU HAVE THE BURDEN TO PROVE it. Until you prove your case, don't ask me to disprove gods/souls/etc. or to explain evolution or to teach you neuroscience. I'm not the one saying "Hey, we have SOULS! Isn't that f-ing great!" This is what you are saying. So prove it, if you can. Prove it with direct, specific evidence--not an analogy, not an indirect argument, not with evidence of some other process.

NoLiveGod said...

Who says it serves no purpose?

While we are at it, do you think evolution "cares" about what you think the "purpose" is?

jewish philosopher said...

"The Bible is the basis of atheism, not evolution."

Wrong. "although atheism might have been logically tenable before Darwin, Darwin made it possible to be an intellectually fulfilled atheist."

-- Richard Dawkins, The Blind Watchmaker (1986), page 6

http://www.positiveatheism.org/hist/quotes/dawkins.htm

Actually, it's the incredible stupidity and dishonesty of "Origin of Species" which has convinced me to remain an Orthodox Jew. Grey pigeons become white pigeons so therefore amoebas become people. Laughable nonsense.

"But how arrogant of some theists to think that their beliefs in undetectable entities like gods and souls automatically deserve credence!"

Nothing is more detectable. Each organelle in each cell proves God. All of us intuitively know we have a soul.

"How blind of such people to think that "faith" in something inscrutable makes them better, more moral people"

Belief in God and in a humanitarian God given law can influence people’s behavior even when they know they won’t be seen by anyone. Religion can insure that the government itself is honest and humane. Just like no government-less society has ever been a very pleasant place to live, likewise no God-less society has ever been a very pleasant place to live.

"If YOU affirm the existence of gods or souls or free will, then YOU HAVE THE BURDEN TO PROVE it."

And I have, again and again.

"Prove it with direct, specific evidence-"

Can you prove Aristotle or Alexander the Great with direct specific evidence?

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

NoLiveGod said...

"although atheism might have been logically tenable before Darwin, Darwin made it possible to be an intellectually fulfilled atheist."

This means that Darwin's OoS gave, at long last, a scientific explanation for the development of life that did not rely on God/religion and had no need of God/religion. Before this, God/religion had a stranglehold on most every intellectual endeavor. Evolution is not necessarily a reason to to become an atheist--as theistic evolutionists can attest--but the Bible is. As I said, once you realize that the Bible is a book just like the OoS, you can't really go back.

"Grey pigeons become white pigeons so therefore amoebas become people. Laughable nonsense."

Please give the exact location of this argument in Darwin's writings.

"Each organelle in each cell proves God."

But how does each organelle do this, ahem, proving? What's the mechanism by which the proof is made? Each organelle in each cell proves God by doing what, exactly? Is it just the fact that they exist, or is there something else in them or about them that makes this proof?

"All of us intuitively know we have a soul."

False. I don't intuitively know this at all. Many people don't know this.

"no God-less society has ever been a very pleasant place to live"

Visit Scandinavia sometime.

"Belief in God and in a humanitarian God given law can influence people’s behavior"

Yes, it can make people constrained, authoritarian and narrow-minded. People can use religious belief as a vehicle for altruism and self-discipline, certainly. But the fruits of religion--any religion--are not universally good, moral, or beneficial. You can agree with this, right?

"Can you prove Aristotle or Alexander the Great with direct specific evidence?"

Arguing the existence of historical people is a bit different than arguing for the existence of a supernatural deity or an immaterial soul. For a person, the standards of proof can be quite high: records, reports, artifacts (e.g., bones), and writings of people who mention the person in their reports of other events.

But what are your arguments for the existence of God and the soul? Theological? Philosophical? Personal?

In any case, I like to hear what your "organelle" argument actually is. You affirm it a lot, but I don't know that I have read anything by you explaining it in detail.

David Smith said...

"Actually, it's the incredible stupidity and dishonesty of "Origin of Species" which has convinced me to remain an Orthodox Jew. Grey pigeons become white pigeons so therefore amoebas become people. Laughable nonsense."

The problem for atheists run deeper. At least evolution provides some mechanistic explanation for the development of different species, in spite of a tremendous degree of uncertainty regarding how such a process actually occurred on a step by step basis.

The theory of evolution itself, however, presupposes the existence of a primordial living organism, complete with a genetic code (DNA/RNA, which even in simple organisms is fantastically complex and elegant) upon which evolution, via random mutations and natural selection, can act.

The burden of proof is actually upon atheists to prove that such a primordial organism, complete with molecular machinery and a genetic code, could come into being spontaneously without any guided intervention whatsoever. They have to prove spontaneous generation occurs. Until such a time as this is proven, they essentially have to take on blind faith that such a process is possible.

Contrast this with the alternate hypothesis that a Creator brought such a being into existence. That design implies a designer is readily observable on a daily basis. It is a hypothesis that has at least significant support in common every day experience. Those who counter this argument try to advance a claim that "nature" is somehow an exception to this rule, but this is simply an assumption. There is actually no logical basis to assert that this claim is true. We have no reason to assume that "nature" is different than artificial creations with respect to the argument from design.

Anonymous said...

"Since we all intuitively feel that we have a soul, the burden of proof obviously lies upon you to prove we don't."

Since an amputee feels his missing limb, the burden of proof lies on you to prove that he doesn't have the limb. And, as with the soul, not seeing it is no proof!

"But why did it evolve if it serves no purpose?"

Totally ignorant question reflecting a complete lack of understanding of evolution.

Evolution explains "how", not "why". It cannot explain why we evolved with 5 fingers and not 6 or 3. Evolution could have taken many alternate paths, and a trait might be preserved if it doesn't have too much reproductive cost.

Don't you realize that MY evolutionary explanation of how it came to be that we humans have body hair (with piloerector muscles) and toenails is SO much more logical than your "god" explanation that yahweh just happened to make us like apes, even though we have no need for these structures?

Anonymous said...

"Prove it with direct, specific evidence-"

Can you prove Aristotle or Alexander the Great with direct specific evidence?

OK, I agree neither Aristotle or Alexander existed. Using that benchmark, god also never existed. I'm happy that your logic proved his non existence. Now that the z'man in my yeshiva has ended for the summer, I can go to the strip club and get that lap dance without a tinge of guilt.

jewish philosopher said...

"Evolution is not necessarily a reason to to become an atheist--as theistic evolutionists can attest--but the Bible is."

The Bible is not necessarily a reason to to become an Orthodox Jew --as Christians can attest--but the stupidity of Origin of Species is.

"Please give the exact location of this argument in Darwin's writings."

Did you ever read it? Here's a summary.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/On_the_Origin_of_Species#Variation_under_domestication_and_under_nature

"But how does each organelle do this, ahem, proving?"

How does your fingerprints and DNA on the smoking gun prove you killed him? Because how else did it get there?

"I don't intuitively know this at all. Many people don't know this."

If I have no soul and my brain chemistry makes me a Jew, then what's the point in discussing it in the first place?

"Visit Scandinavia sometime."

I have cousins in Sweden, who baptize in church, have church weddings and funerals, celebrate Christmas and their national flag has a cross on it.

"Arguing the existence of historical people is a bit different than arguing for the existence of a supernatural deity or an immaterial soul."

If you believe in the Peloponnesian War there is no reason you can't believe in the Exodus.

"Since an amputee feels his missing limb, the burden of proof lies on you to prove that he doesn't have the limb."

If we have no soul, then criminals should not be punished. No one is guilty. No one has free will.

"Now that the z'man in my yeshiva has ended for the summer, I can go to the strip club and get that lap dance without a tinge of guilt."

And because you're a moron you'll go to hell forever.

NoLiveGod said...

@David,

I thought you'd run screaming to become an atheist after you'd decided not to try and figure out with me a definition of "murderer" that we can then test against accused murders, including your god. You claim to like objective analysis, so I thought this project should have been right up your alley.

But to your point: "The burden of proof is actually upon atheists to prove that such a primordial organism, complete with molecular machinery and a genetic code, could come into being spontaneously without any guided intervention whatsoever."

May I point out that an atheist and a scientist are not the same thing? The atheist has no such burden to prove the origin of life, although I am sure you know that there is much science being done in this area and many hypotheses are being tested. Indeed, there have been recent developments that I can track down for you if you don't feel like searching on your own.

But please answer me this: Why is it that you find naturalistic emergence of life unbelievable when you find spontaneous creation of life by a magic invisible man who has existed forever and never dies believable?

Anonymous said...

JP, there you go with the hell thing again. You're kind of obsessed with that, huh? Does that make you feel good to say that?

Anonymous said...

Evolution says that something evolves because it improves the organism chances for survival and reporduction. It the need for spirituality does not improve our chances of surviving then it should not evolve. From a evolutionary viewpoint even thinking about religion is a waste of precious calories and neurotransmitters. And you can't say that it is a vestige of from our ancestors, because apes don't have religion.

And I dropped a can on my big toe recently, and my toenail protected my toe. And as far as pileoerector muscles are concerened, I will just use the atheists fallback, and say "I hope to have an answer for you someday."

Anonymous said...

Me : "Now that the z'man in my yeshiva has ended for the summer, I can go to the strip club and get that lap dance without a tinge of guilt."

'And because you're a moron you'll go to hell forever.'

You're the moron because you've proven that god doesn't exist, just like Aristotle never existed, and you don't even realize it.
Now, remove that chastity belt and join me in a nice lap dance. I can assure you that god won't even notice. Neither will will jesus, allah or the space aliens.

GodAwful said...

"If you believe in the Peloponnesian War there is no reason you can't believe in the Exodus."

There are multiple cross-corroborations to prove the Peloponnesian War occurred. Recognized historians use many rules of historical evidence to validate historical events. Those benchamarks cannot be applied to the torah. There is only one source for the exodus, the torah, which is evidence of nothing other than sophistic vacuity. But objective historical standards are meaningless to crackpot religious fundamentalists. As long as you deliver your mind to fallacious arguments to justify falsehood, its OK as long as you're doing it for the sake of heaven.

Anonymous said...

"And because you're a moron you'll go to hell forever."

Forever is a long time. Can I borrow your chastity belt before I go, so that I can resist the hot passions of the she-devil lap dancers?

jewish philosopher said...

"JP, there you go with the hell thing again. You're kind of obsessed with that, huh? Does that make you feel good to say that?"

There goes the Surgeon General about cancer again. He's so obsessed with it.

http://www.smokefreesociety.org/NewsClip/Surgeon.html

Does it make him feel good to say that? Apparently.

"There is only one source for the exodus, the torah,"

Regarding anything else which happened before the Gutenberg Bible, it's probably as bad or worse, as I explained here.

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

"Can I borrow your chastity belt before I go,"

No. I can do better. My pit bull can fix you permanently in a few seconds.

GodAwful said...

"There goes the Surgeon General about cancer again. He's so obsessed with it."

Cancer, can be medicaly diagnosed, and ultimitely has debilitating symptoms. If left untreated it is deadly. Many times any treatment is futile.
But you knew that, right? Doesn't comparing the existence of hell to the existence of cancer make you feel rather stupid?
Oh, I forgot. Religious cranks like you aren't capable of logical perception. Sorry to have intruded while you were attempting to put on your chastity belt during for nine days.

Anonymous said...

I guess GA never heard of the Ipuwar Papyrus, the Mycenae Grave stelle, or the El Arish stone.

David Smith said...

"May I point out that an atheist and a scientist are not the same thing? The atheist has no such burden to prove the origin of life ..."

That's as much of a dodge as anything I've heard. In order to assert a belief as true, it has to make sense. There has to be at least a compelling logical basis to support this belief, even if you cannot guarantee 100% certainty. You decry the argument from design, and the Kuzari, but when shown one of the absurd implications of atheism, i.e. the notion that a living organism, complete with DNA, spontaneously coalesced from inanimate atoms you suddenly back off. Suddenly it doesn't have to make sense! As long as you believe, it must be true! That's called wishful thinking, and evidently atheists can fall victim to it as much as anyone else.

Why not admit the truth: that your beliefs are rooted more in your emotions than your intellect? Why carry on the hypocrisy of belittling religious people, when your own beliefs are founded on quicksand?

jewish philosopher said...

"Doesn't comparing the existence of hell to the existence of cancer make you feel rather stupid?"

And again, the Appeal to Ridicule.

http://www.nizkor.org/features/fallacies/appeal-to-ridicule.html

Could we try something a little more original for once?

I was merely pointing out that there is no more reason to think a rabbi enjoys talking about hell any more than there is to think that doctors enjoy talking about cancer. It's just a fact.

GodAwful said...

Me: "Doesn't comparing the existence of hell to the existence of cancer make you feel rather stupid?"

And again, the Appeal to Ridicule.

http://www.nizkor.org/features/fallacies/appeal-to-ridicule.html

Its not an appeal to ridicule. It IS contemptuous ridicule. Some things are so ridiculous as to be beyond rational
justification. Like people who believe in alien abductions, Zeus, or Hell. Cancer is real. Hell, while an enjoyable diversion to connoisseurs of fairyland, is not real. Of course, if you've sojourned to Satan's hot coals, please offer us some evidence of its exisence. Other than that, you're simply blowing very, very hot air. Hellish hot!

GodAwful said...

David Smith:
"You decry the argument from design, and the Kuzari, but when shown one of the absurd implications of atheism, i.e. the notion that a living organism, complete with DNA, spontaneously coalesced from inanimate atoms you suddenly back off. Suddenly it doesn't have to make sense! As long as you believe, it must be true! That's called wishful thinking, and evidently atheists can fall victim to it as much as anyone else."
Baloney. You havn't got a clue or purposefuly misrepresent DNA creation. Learn some science instead of parroting your creationist true-believers.
http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/abioprob/
Lies, Damned Lies, Statistics, and Probability of Abiogenesis Calculations
"... Every so often, someone comes up with the statement "the formation of any enzyme by chance is nearly impossible, therefore abiogenesis is impossible". Often they cite an impressive looking calculation from the astrophysicist Fred Hoyle, or trot out something called "Borel's Law" to prove that life is statistically impossible. These people, including Fred, have committed one or more of the following errors..."

NoLiveGod said...

David,

"That's as much of a dodge as anything I've heard. In order to assert a belief as true, it has to make sense."

Atheism makes sense without positing a theory of how life originated on Earth. The basic and essential position of atheism is that gods are made up. They are inventions of human intellect and culture. Is there evidence supporting this position? Why, yes, certainly. All of the linguistic, textual, historical and archaeological evidence collected is consistent with this position. I'm happy to name sources for you if you like.

You talk about the "implications" of atheism, but then you make this ridiculous description of the origin of life that resembles no scientific hypothesis I've ever seen. Your "absurd implication" is exactly absurd--I completely agree with you!--but it's not an accurate description of what I would find acceptable as a hypothesis.

If you want to ask me what I think the origin of life might be, just ask. Intellectually, however, I find nothing more patently absurd than the "God did it" hypothesis. Just look again at your "absurd" implication of atheism and you see its its the very same thing as your God hypothesis, except that God (who? which one? from where? with what?) made it all happen. The real absurdity of your atheist implication is how a god fits in there at all.

"Why not admit the truth"

OK. My atheism contains both intellectual and emotional factors. Happy now? But I also have to be honest and say that the theist position is far weaker intellectually than an atheist one. That's my opinion, at least.

Watchmaker is a flawed analogy. It does neither of us any good to pretend that it makes some sort of direct score for a theist position. Kuzari, too, is ultimately no more than idle speculation. As logic, it's flawed, and it fails as an "anti-conspiracy principle" when we look at it closely.

I'm simply saying that watchmaker and Kuzari, while appealing on an emotional level, don't get us much toward proving the actual things we're trying to prove. You seem to think these are very strong indicators favoring your position, but I don't see it.

Now, when I see a statement like "every organelle proves God," I have a natural curiosity as to what details and evidence support it. Perhaps you have an answer to this, David.

Anonymous said...

"Evolution says that something evolves because it improves the organism chances for survival and reporduction. It the need for spirituality does not improve our chances of surviving then it should not evolve. From a evolutionary viewpoint even thinking about religion is a waste of precious calories and neurotransmitters."

Wrong.

Anonymous said...

"I was merely pointing out that there is no more reason to think a rabbi enjoys talking about hell any more than there is to think that doctors enjoy talking about cancer. It's just a fact."

But for you its the bottom line. Do everything you say, don't be a heretic or else....

Anonymous said...

"Evolution says that something evolves because it improves the organism chances for survival and reporduction."

You repeat this same fundamental misconception. Evolution is a mechanism for change, that explains how life changes. But it cannot answer the "why" questions, like "why are we here"? It can explain how giant mammals called whales got into the ocean, but it cannot answer why they have to be that way in the first place. They could have been small. or that could have developed gills. But they didn't. They stayed mammals. Evolution cannot answer "why". It cannot even answer why are the laws of evolution (or physics) they way they are in the first place.

This is a critical and fundamental misunderstanding that creationist/intelligent design proponents have of evolution. "Why" is a second order question, and presumes purpose, like "why is the universe here?" It can try to answer how it came into being, but not why.

Similarly, evolution explains pretty well how different forms of life emerged. But it assumes no "purpose" or "why".

You'll have to sit with a real philosopher for that question.

jewish philosopher said...

To all the atheist posters here, let me try and save you a little work.

I understand atheism. I understand the irrefutable logic and the undeniable evidence behind atheism.

The way it works is like this.

A man (and it's almost always men who are atheists) is sitting in a strip club. He may a professor

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard_Feynman#Personal_life

or a humble office worker

http://www.unpious.com/2010/03/sin-samantha-talmud/

Time is passing. Whiskey is flowing. Girls are dancing. Suddenly, like a bolt from the blue, our young thinker realizes "There is no God! I have no soul! There is no afterlife, no Torah! I just evolved from nothing! LOL! ROFLOL!!"

So there you have it. The whiskey is the logic, the stripper is the evidence and it's all absolutely unrefutable. And since everyone else in the strip club agrees, then it's unanimous. Case closed.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous at 7:34

Evolution by natural selection says that sometimes a reproduction event produces a random change. Sometimes the change benefits the organism. This individual organism lives longer and has more offspring, which inherit this benefit. They live longer and reporduce more. Their offspring do better at the game of survival. Eventually they drive the other to extinction. If the process repeats enough times, you get a new species. This is evolution 101. You need two things a random change and a benefit to the organism. Whales got big because there was a selective advantage to the random changes that led to an increase in size.

Anonymous said...

So what was the benefit inthe change that made humans need spirituality?

NoLiveGod said...

JP, thanks for the work saver.

Let me return the favor and explain why people choose to be religious.

It's ego, basically. They want to justify the way they live their lives. Fortunately, all around the world, in every sect and cult imaginable, the religious find that -- surprise -- God wants them to live their lives just as they want to. God never disagrees with them, conveniently.

The other part of religiousness is fear, as Russell pointed out. Fear of the unknown and fear of being alone in troubles and disputes. Thus, with "God" on their side, the religious fight with verbal cruelty (e.g., fool, hell, moron) and intellectual indifference against the infidel hordes. And they always "win."

Case closed.

jewish philosopher said...

"They want to justify the way they live their lives."

Other than marriage to a Jew, there is no materialistic reason to convert to Judaism. And since I converted at 16, that obviously wasn't the case for me.

See for more details.

http://jewishphilosopher.blogspot.com/2009/01/motives.html

Atheists however have the whiskey, the stripper - irrefutable. The impossible improbability of evolution or the fossil record indicating catasophism not evolution or the unique and extraordinary history of the Jews certainly mean nothing next to those irrefutables.

NoLiveGod said...

"And since I converted at 16, that obviously wasn't the case for me."

You were searching for a father figure. The Jewish God best conformed to the kind of strong commander that you fancied yourself to be, and that you admired.

jewish philosopher said...

Well, Christianity is a lot less burdensome. That was the religion of my adopted parents and about 80% of my neighbors.

It might be the bagels that really got me. Plus, I wear glasses, as many Jews do.

CTJew said...

I think it good that you have a trustworthy rabbi, Mr. Stein. The guidance of a good religious leader is a valuable thing. Out of curiosity, which rabbi and congregation do you go to? I ask because I have cousins in Wesley Hills.

jewish philosopher said...

Tell me your cousins name, address and phone number and I'll be happy to contact with advice about local rabbis.

Anonymous said...

"So what was the benefit inthe change that made humans need spirituality?"

First of all-- spirituality, like love, altruism or benevolence, may have benefit to the collective survival of the species (not survival of the specific individual). Perhaps it promotes social unity, or gives comfort in face of hardships, or perhaps it is a spandrel, a by product of our large brains.

Second-- in order for a trait or gene to survive it does not have reproductive benefit, unless it has a cost. Like redundant DNA, etc. In the case of religion , it does seem to be fading with modernity, as people become more secular in the face of alternative mechanisms of coping and explaining nature.

I have no idea what will be in a thousand years. Perhaps religion will thrive, maybe it will disappear, only to be replaced by some other "ism".

Clearly religion has a role in the life of ancient man-- giving him a sense of control and social cohesion.

Anonymous said...

Religion does have a cost if nothing more than the fact that thinking about religion uses up precious calories and neurotransmitters. And religion often requires some sort of sacrifice from its adherents, food offerings, or gifts to the shaman. So why did it evolve? If it is because it creates social cohesion, why do apes and other animals manage to live in society without it?

And Christianity is growing vry fast in the former Soviet Union, and Communist China, and Moslem are taking over secular Europe. So I'm not convince religion is fading.

And there is growing evidence that redundant DNA really performs critical functions in the cell.

onlyajew said...

I just wanted to add my two cents on the soul.

Take a hammer and whack someone on the arm-he will scream bloody murder. What is feeling that pain? His body? His soul? Take that same guy-now lying dead and do the same thing--you wont hear a sound--what is it that feels the pain? the body? Now if you want to argue that it is the body--bones and blood etc, take that same blood and sinews and bones and stick them in a large garbage can then strike it with the same hammer and see what you get.


My point is it is your soul that feels the pain. when it departs, you can beat the body all day long you wont feel a thing.