Thursday, December 09, 2010

Thank God for Trilobites



I bought this on the web for $30 and I keep it near my desk. It’s a rock that contains an imprint of an animal that lived in Utah about 500 million years ago. I think the symmetry and detail are beautiful.

Personally, this doesn’t disturb my faith in the truth of Genesis in any way, and in fact it increases my love for God and my appreciation of the glory of His creation. About 60% of the minerals on earth were created by life. Most of the oxygen in the atmosphere was created by living things. Most of our electricity is generated by coal, coal that was created by extinct plants. Our vehicles are powered by gasoline and our homes are heated by natural gas. These fuels were created by ancient marine life.

It would therefore seem to be clear that these earlier eras of life on earth were all part of God’s wonderful plan to prepare the earth for us. Thank God for the trilobites!

And actually, the sudden appearance of trilobites is one of the greatest proofs that evolution is false.

66 comments:

ksil said...

OK, now i am convinced this blog is a sham to make orthodox judaism look false. job well done JP!

hashem (i love the way krumbagel's bears say that) put all this stuff on earth to confuse us! yes, thats it! he is testing us!

LOL. ROTFL

jewish philosopher said...

You sound pretty confused, without any help. That's not what this post says.

I think you should at least wait till after lunch for your "medicinal" marijuana.

NC said...

NEWS FLASH: TRILOBYTES REFUTE ATHEISM!!

JP, How did you think of this?

I prefer real authorities. The soundness of your arguments, as well as your facts, are really ameteurish.

jewish philosopher said...

"I prefer real authorities."

So ultimately, you're belief is "Most scientists are atheists therefore atheism must be true."

Had you lived 400 years ago you would have said "Most professors are Christians therefore Christianity must be true."

Had you lived 2000 years ago you would have said "Most philosopher worship the emperor, therefore he must be divine."

This is the fallacy of the appeal to authority.

ksil said...

most orthodox jews dont rape and murder therefore orthodox judaism must be true.

where have i heard that one before....hmmmmm

HAHAHAHA

NC said...

In my headline, I mean 'EVOLUTION" not atheism. Pardon the error. As many have stated, you don't have to be an atheist to believe in evolution....

Yes, I believe the scientists much more than you, unabashadly.

If you give me reason to think otherwise, such as presenting your credentials and accomplishments in the fields of paleontology and biology, I would be happy to reconsider.

You claims of "appeal to authority" ring hollow, as it can only be used in an argument among experts. Since you are not and neither am I, I most certainly must rely on expert authorities on the subject. And thats a good thing, mind you. I shudder at the thought that anybody less than that would be accepted.

Imagine that the Federal Reserve were run by bloggers, the NIH by christian fundies, and Biology departments at universities by rabbis.

jewish philosopher said...

Actually, that's an interesting point ksil.

I am personally aware of only two Orthodox Jews ever having been convicted of murder - one is the assasin of Rabin, Yigal Amir, and the other is a man in Cleveland, Ohio who killed someone in a dispute about 20 years ago.

I am unaware of any Orthodox Jews ever being convicted of forcible rape.

So I don't know if this proves that the Torah is true, however it would seem to prove that Torah observers are nicer than average people. Can you imagine a city the size of Houston, Texas for example with two murders and no rapes, not in one year, but ever in it's history?

ksil said...

"I am unaware of any Orthodox Jews ever being convicted of forcible rape."


cuz they are not reported!

jewish philosopher said...

That's all baloney.

In my experience of over 30 years in the Orthodox community, Orthodox Jews will dial 911 just as fast as anyone does. If you try to invite an Orthodox girl (and I mean over 18) out to lunch and her mom doesn't approve, she'll call the cops for an order of protection.

Here's a little experiment for the scientifically minded secret atheists out there. Go to an Orthodox neighborhood and try to rape a girl. You will find yourself in handcuffs so fast your yarmulke will spin off into orbit.

ksil said...

does young boy rape count? you ever spend time in telshe yeshiva? or a dozen other yeshivas i could mention....

that old book (i think you fundamentalists call it the torah) doesnt even mention sexual abuse....how conveeeeenient for your sick sex-obsessed culture

jewish philosopher said...

One forcible rape conviction. Can't find it can you?

ksil said...

i know many many many boys who were sexually abused by RABBIS when they were just youngsters.

never reported

jewish philosopher said...

"I most certainly must rely on expert authorities on the subject. And thats a good thing, mind you. I shudder at the thought that anybody less than that would be accepted."

So in regards to Christianity, you accept the opinion of the experts in the Vatican? Or do you use your own reason?

Appeal to authority is a fallacy of defective induction, where it is argued that a statement is correct because the statement is made by a person or source that is commonly regarded as authoritative. The most general structure of this argument is:
Source A says that p is true.
Source A is authoritative.
Therefore, p is true.
This is a fallacy because the truth or falsity of a claim is not related to the authority of the claimant, and because the premises can be true, and the conclusion false (an authoritative claim can turn out to be false).

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

ksil, making baseless accusations of Jewish crimes is not too original.

Jesus is quoted as saying (Matthew 23:27) “Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men's bones, and of all uncleanness.”

Martin Luther wrote in the “The Jews and Their Lies” chapter XII: “They deny just as brazenly as they lie. And wherever they can secretly curse, poison, or harm us Christians they do so without any qualms of conscience. If they are caught in the act or charged with something, they are bold enough to deny it impudently, even to the point of death, since they do not regard us worthy of being told the truth. In fact, these holy children of God consider any harm they can wish or inflict on us as a great service to God. Indeed, if they had the power to do to us what we are able to do to them, not one of us would live for an hour. But since they lack the power to do this publicly, they remain our daily murderers and bloodthirsty foes in their hearts. Their prayers and curses furnish evidence of that, as do the many stories which relate their torturing of children and all sorts of crimes for which they have often been burned at the stake or banished. Therefore I firmly believe that they say and practice far worse things secretly than the histories and others record about them, meanwhile relying on their denials and on their money.”

Through out the Middle Ages, Jews were constantly accused of murdering Christian children and abusing communion wafers. As recently as 1989, a woman appeared on Oprah claiming to have participated in Jewish human sacrifice. The woman, according to some websites, was in fact Vicki Polin, who now operates a website dedicated to alleged rabbinical sexual abuse.

ZG said...

"i know many many many boys who were sexually abused by RABBIS when they were just youngsters.

never reported"

Except to you, of course.

NC said...

"So in regards to Christianity, you accept the opinion of the experts in the Vatican? Or do you use your own reason?"

I consider them experts in Christianity. Period. Not Judaism, history, cosmology or biology. Much like, say, a scholar in Greek mythology.

You are an expert in fundamentalist ultra-orthodox Judaism. If had a question about what ultra-orthodox Judaism says about a particular subject, I would even come to you. Maybe I would go to another ultra orthodox Jew and compare, and decide who is more of an expert.

I think of you as kind of a Jewish mythologist. An expert on Jewish myths. I would admit that you probably know a lot about them.

Argument by authority-- you forget to quote the rest of the article:

"On the other hand, arguments from authority are an important part of informal logic. Since we cannot have expert knowledge of many subjects, we often rely on the judgments of those who do. There is no fallacy involved in simply arguing that the assertion made by an authority is true. The fallacy only arises when it is claimed or implied that the authority is infallible "

Nobody here would claim that scientists or their claims are infallible. But overall, in modern times, they have a pretty good track record.

So, if I have to choose between what the majority of expert authorities say, and what you say, I would put my money on the former.

Lets say your child is ill with a serious disease. Option A is to follow a remedy offered in the Talmud by a rabbi. Option B is to follow a medical expert. Who would YOU follow?

Ksil, don't bother trying to find examples of orthodox crimes. He'll just disqualify the source as anti-semitic propaganda. Been there before.

jewish philosopher said...

"I consider them experts in Christianity."

In that case you should worship Jesus. They do.

"But overall, in modern times, they have a pretty good track record."

In the hard, exact sciences where conculusions are based on repeatable laboratory experiments. Otherwise their track record has been abysmal. We know for example that the financial crisis was not widely predicted by mainstream economists.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Financial_crisis_of_2007%E2%80%932010#Role_of_economic_forecasting

We know that Freud was a fraud.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Psychoanalysis#Scientific_criticism

As was probably Margret Mead.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coming_of_Age_in_Samoa#The_Mead-Freeman_controversy

Therefore you can't compare medicine to a soft science like paleontology, where the personal bias of so called scientists works wonders.

"He'll just disqualify the source as anti-semitic propaganda."

Unless you can cite convictions, which somehow never seem to materialize. Those crafty Jews!

NC said...

"In that case you should worship Jesus. They do"

No more than I worship Zuess, based on the expertise of a Greek mythologist. I consider them experts on what the Greek myths were.

I consider the Vatican an expert on Christian theology and mythology, like you being an expert on Jewish myths. It doesn't mean I consider them authoritative historians.

"Therefore you can't compare medicine to a soft science like paleontology, where the personal bias of so called scientists works wonders."

Everybody has biases and I don't deny it. But because JP determines that paleontology is not science because it contradicts his mythology, well, let's say that I won't bet on that either. Given the overwhelming consensus on the matter I would say the burden of proof is on you that paleontology is bogus.

jewish philosopher said...

Evolutionists are also experts on the false evolution myth. I think you should look at it like that.

We know from experience that the soft sciences, if you want to call them science, need to taken with a huge grain of salt. Here's a little example from economics:

Asked if he saw any risks of a recession, Mr. Bernanke demurred. “We have not calculated the probability of a recession,” he responded. “Our assessment is for slower growth, but positive.”

The Fed chairman’s stance was similar to that of Henry M. Paulson Jr., the Treasury secretary. In a meeting Thursday with editors and reporters of The New York Times, Mr. Paulson predicted that the crisis in mortgage and credit markets would hurt growth but not lead to a recession.

11/9/2007

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/11/09/business/09fed.html


The late-2000s recession (or the Great Recession) was a severe economic recession that began in the United States in December 2007 and ended in June 2009 (as determined by the U.S. National Bureau of Economic Research).

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Late-2000s_recession

jewish philosopher said...

A footnote:

"Among our peers, paleontology is regarded as soft science, with very little in the way of testable hypotheses and experimental falsification."

http://www.nhm.ac.uk/hosted_sites/paleonet/paleo21/rr/image.html

So I'm not alone apparently.

Anonymous said...

Various midrashim write about there being a series of special creations and destructions. This explains the appearance of the fossil record with it abrupt appearance and extinction of species, better than evolution.

Anonymous said...

"Anonymous said...
Various midrashim write about there being a series of special creations and destructions. This explains the appearance of the fossil record with it abrupt appearance and extinction of species, better than evolution."

Why should I believe those midrashim any more than the myth of Gilgamesh?

Mahla said...

When we were in San Diego last year we saw the loveliest jewelry in Old Town made from fossils. There were SUCH nice trilobite earrings & pendants! Seeing the picture brought back to me how nice these fossils were, you know, aesthetically speaking. :^)

jewish philosopher said...

"Why should I believe those midrashim"

Basically because Judaism is the truth, as I explain here.

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

Anonymous said...

jewish philosopher said...
"Why should I believe those midrashim"

Basically because Judaism is the truth, as I explain here.

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

***********************
Your explainations are nothing more than justifications for mindless pursuits of irrational conjectures. There is nothing in your explainations that rationaly substantiates your beliefs.

jewish philosopher said...

I think that was an appeal to ridicule.

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

ksil said...

go is trying to FOOL us! thats it! put all these fossils, give us science and then say "aha! gotcha!"

lol

Anonymous said...

jewish philosopher said...
I think that was an appeal to ridicule.

http://www.nizkor.org/features/fallacies/appeal-to-ridicule.html
*****************************
Flying saucers, alien abductions
and belief in nonsensical midrashim happen to be the product of easily indoctrinated minds.
These are some of the beliefs that are deserving of ridicule. So don't feel bad, the next time your the victim of an anal probe. Somewhere there's a medirsh that says its god's message to you.

jewish philosopher said...

Just a little advise guys - don't blog when baked.

It is true that many false beliefs are ridiculous. Evolution for example comes to mind. If evolution were real, then evolutionists should applaud global warming. We know from the past that evolution increases following a catastrophe.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Extinction_event#Evolutionary_importance 

Lol.

However, in and of itself, ridicule proves nothing.

Seagull said...

The "Great Recession" ended? The US still has 9.8 percent unemployment, job losses, huge numbers of foreclosures, and more people than ever needing the services of soup kitches and food pantries. Tell all these people it ended in 2009. What is a "Great Recession" anyway? A recession is a mild economic downturn. A "Great Recession" is a severe mild economic downturn? Why not just call it what it really is--a depression and ongoing.

NC said...

"However, in and of itself, ridicule proves nothing."

True. However, we all have faculties for assessing the plausibility of assertions.

For example, when you solve a complex math or physics problem, you go through your calculations, then you look at the answer. You "eyeball" it to see if it plausible. If not, you suspect that you made an error in the calculations.

If you subtract out the emotion of ridicule we are just saying that your assertions are implausible.

For example, the idea that a perfect god would require multiple iterations of creations and destructions in order to create the current world, and leave evidence of all of these previous worlds to confuse us, after telling us a story of a single creation.

That just seems implausible, what can I say? No ridicule, to making faces, no LOL.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous at 10:13

The fossil record is exactly what we would dexpect to see if these midrashim are true. So the fossil record provides evidence the evidence for the midrashim.

On the other hand, if evolution were true the fossil record would look very different. It would show gradual species to species change. There would be no need for scientists to resort to apologetics like punctuated equlibrium or the incompleteness of the fossil record.

jewish philosopher said...

"The "Great Recession" ended?"

I think the Stimulus Act of February 2009 caused a slight, but temporary and artificial, economic recovery. That government spending is now ending. I hope everyone is wearing his parachute.

"That just seems implausible, what can I say?"

I don't think that we can speculate about the motives of a supreme being any more than houseflies can speculate about human motives. Even children find adult behavior incomprehensible. And the Torah is not misleading. We have no need to know more than what it says. In fact, it would be very odd to suggest that until 6,000 years ago God did nothing. There may be earlier worlds, other universes, parallel universes to this one, etc ad infinitum, however we have no need to know so we are not being told.

NC said...

"I don't think that we can speculate about the motives of a supreme being any more than houseflies can speculate about human motives."

Maybe. But here's why I find that answer implausible, no ridicule:

Untold volumes of Judaism's bible, talmud and other holy books are filled with the story of man's interactions with god; their love-hate relationship; their attempts to understand and know one another; their attempts to bargain with each other. They are full, as you know, at explanations of why god did this or that or said what to whom for which reason. We are even told to emulate god's "traits".

This is not like man and a fly, who couldn't care about one another and who have no real relationship.

So when I ask you a serious theological question about god's creation process, to answer that we can't possibly know is just not credible. (BTW that's not the same as saying "I don't know", because that doesn't preclude us finding out because its knowable)

"however we have no need to know so we are not being told."

So why tell us details about the earth's creation?

Another plausibility problem with the repeated creations theory is how the rabbis would have known about it. If they had the incredible ruach hakodesh to know such a secret about the earth's creation, surely they should have had special insight into other more relevant information about this world, such as heliocentrism, which they obviously did not.

Now why do I find evolution plausible, which you do not? Because the fossil evidence, the mathematics probabilities, and the microbiology (and I readily proclaim that I must rely on authorities for the details) make evolution not only plausible, but likely.

Anonymous said...

G-d didn't attempt to confuse us. He told in the Torah about multiple creations. That is how the Rabbis knew. And the reason he did it is to show us how much he loves us. He cretaed worlds, then destroyed them to show us how much he loves us. He4 had to "get it right." And again, the paleatological evidence supports multiple creations better than evolution.

Anonymous said...

According to the General Theory of
Relativity, no point in the Universe is privileged. This means that the geocentric solar system is just as valid as the heliocentric solar system. So the Rabbis got that one right as well.

Anonymous said...

Now how does the mathematics make evolution plausible? For example, the hemoglobin molecule for example has >140 amino acids. The chances of getting them all right is >20^140. And even if there are a billion possible functioning hemoglobins, it doens't help much. It will knoick about tens zeros off, but we will still be left with a hugely improbable event. And there are a number of diseases that are the result of a misplaced amino acid in a hemoglobin molecule. This means thathemoglobin cannot tolerate a great deal of variation and remains biologically viable.

Anonymous said...

NC:

By microbiology, do you mean how bacteria have learned to eat new things like citrate and nylon? These are the result of damage to proteins and enzymes. But they just happen to have a side benefit. Same thing with anti-biotic resistance. Now saying that we can extrapolate from this that a new structure or function can evolve is implausible.

NC said...

Plausibility in this case is just a mathematical question. And since I am not a mathematician, I believe the scientists' math, not your amateur calculations.

"He told in the Torah about multiple creations. "

What are you talking about? Where?

"So the Rabbis got that one right as well."

Yea, sure, they knew relativity as well. Like they knew the germ theory of disease and the brain being the organ of thought.

" the paleatological evidence supports multiple creations better than evolution."

Wishful thinking. Why would god have to "get it right"? Again, not very plausible, given what is written in the creation story and what god is supposed to be. What, he created all of these worlds, full of non-human creatures, only to destroy them?

jewish philosopher said...

"So when I ask you a serious theological question about god's creation process, to answer that we can't possibly know is just not credible."

In this post, I do take a tentative stab at explaining the function of earlier eras of extinct life. However I think it is obvious that God's intellect is on an entirely different plane than our own.

Just imagine that Bill Gates were to approach the world's greatest technology and medical centers and ask them to create, from basic chemicals, an artificial finger which would be equal to one of his own natural fingers. I would be self healing, powered by soda and potato chips or whatever he eats, it would move, feel, etc like a real finger. He makes out a check for $150 billion and waits for the scientists to call him back when his new finger is ready. It never will be. And one human finger is just one small detail of the universe around us.

One of the only Biblical examples of man asking God "why" is Job. See for example Job 10:18

"Wherefore then hast Thou brought me forth out of the womb? Would that I had perished, and no eye had seen me!"

http://www.mechon-mamre.org/p/pt/pt2710.htm#18

Eventually, God answers Job:

"Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth? Declare, if thou hast the understanding."

http://www.mechon-mamre.org/p/pt/pt2738.htm#4

The answer to "why" is "there is no answer you can comprehend".

"Another plausibility problem with the repeated creations theory is how the rabbis would have known about it."

It is hinted in the Torah, however we are not told any more than we need to know.

"the fossil evidence, the mathematics probabilities, and the microbiology (and I readily proclaim that I must rely on authorities for the details) make evolution not only plausible, but likely."

Personally, I feel that I have done my due diligence. I have read "Origin of Species",

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

The Blind Watchmaker

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

and I think best of all What Evolution Is

http://www.amazon.com/What-Evolution-Ernst-Mayr/dp/0465044255

I have corresponded directly with leading evolutionists,

http://jewishphilosopher.blogspot.com/2010/01/questions-to-scientist.html

I personally do not believe that my questions have been adequitly answered, therefore I believe atheism is a scam, like Christianity, Islam, Mormonism etc.

Anonymous said...

NC:

So show me the scientists calculations. I, at least, did the math.

Midrash Rabba in chapter three, based on a very careful reading of the Torah's text (that's how Midrash works) says that there was a series of creations. The Gemora in Hagiga says something similar. When I said Torah, I included the Torah She Baal Pe.

There is nothing wishful about the fact that the fossil record does not show species changing from one to another. That's a fact. Same thing with abrupt extinctions, including mass extinctions. This matches the idea of multiple creations pefectly. In fact, the person who invented paleantology, Cuvier realised that the fossil record indicates a series of creations and destructions. He developed the theory of catastrophism based on the empirical evidence of the fossil record. No wishful thinking. The fossil record was a problem for evolution in Darwin's day. That why we resorted to the apologetics of saying that the fossil record is incomplete. And it still is. That's why more scientists are coming on to punctuated equilibrium. More apologetics.

G-d created, then destoyed all those worlds to show how important humans are. Now, saying that this is implausible because G-d wouldn't do it that way is a theological arguement, not a scientific one. I'm, at least, relying on the empirical evidence of the fossil record to support my approach. I don't presume to know what G-d would or would not do. And why wouldn't G-d do it that way? Why is that way any worse than any other way? Now, the Midrash says that G-d destoyed those worlds to show how important humans are. He had to get it just right for us. This isn't me talking, this is the Midrash. I wouldn't presume to know enough about G-d to say what he would or wouldn't do on my own.

Anonymous said...

בתור Newbie, אני תמיד בחיפוש מקוון של מאמרים שיכולים לעזור לי. תודה וואו! תודה! תמיד רציתי לכתוב משהו באתר שלי ככה. אני יכול לקחת חלק של ההודעה שלך בבלוג שלי?

NC said...

As far as the science and math is concerned, neither of you are qualified to do a critical review of the scientific literature and the various relavant theories, (and neither am I). Therefore I do not even intend to revert to an amateurish, unprofessional, and ignorant argument about a scientific topic. I trust your review no more than I would trust your critical analysis, of say, the best chemotherapy for leukemia or the structural analysis of the twin towers collapse.

JP, your "correspondence" with experts isn't intended to get to the truth, but rather to confirm your own ideas. Dr Theobold answered your questions properly, you simply rejected his answers. For example, he explained that the mathematics and probabilities have been worked out quite rigorously, but you latch on to his words about "incredible" then use it to attack the theory.

Regarding theological arguments, Anon, your point is well taken. Its not science. But your answer makes no sense. How does creating and destroying worlds show love for people (especially when they don't even know about it)? Do you feel any more warm and cuddly about god because of it? And, is a god, who must work in such a trial and error manner-- well, we'll just say, he's not much of a god. Nor is a god who quakes in his throne or fumes in anger because heretics say bad things about him. In fact, he doesn't really sound like a god at all. These stories sound just like the creation myths of other tribes and religions.

So what I am saying is that the god you describe sounds very ungod like, and certainly not worth worshipping. If that is how "he" works, I would tell him to shove off.

NC said...

Scientific theories can and do change, and it is possible (although I think improbable) that in the future evolutionary theory will have been proven incorrect. At such time I will be the first to stand up and admit that I was wrong and you are right.

Until then, I think that most rationalists like myself will view your and anon's ideas as being conspiracy theory with no scientific backing.

jewish philosopher said...

NC, if you want scientists, I've got scientists.

Louis Agassiz was an anti-Darwinist paleontologist.

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

http://www.wwnorton.com/college/history/archive/resources/documents/ch21_04.htm

Lee Spetner is a creationist physicist, with an extensive knowledge of math.

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

http://www.amazon.com/Not-Chance-Shattering-Modern-Evolution/dp/1880582244

However in any case please explain to me how your trust in scientists differs from the Orthodox Jew's trust in his rabbis. Would you be impressed by an Orthodox Jew who argues that Judaism must be true since we are not qualified to do a critical review of the theological literature and the various relavant theories. Therefore he does not intend to revert to an amateurish, unprofessional, and ignorant argument about a theological topic. He trusts an atheist's review no more than he would trust his critical analysis, of say, the best chemotherapy for leukemia or the structural analysis of the twin towers collapse.

And remember that you are not merely arguing that scientists are the best experts concerning the false, mythical theory of evolution. You are arguing that evolution is real and true because scientists endorse it. So how about an Orthodox Jew arguing that Judaism is real and true and ignoring all questions and contradictions since after all the great rabbinical minds endorse it?

We are ultimately coming back to the great logical fallacy of appeal to authority.

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

NC said...

"So how about an Orthodox Jew arguing that Judaism is real and true and ignoring all questions and contradictions since after all the great rabbinical minds endorse it?"


A simple answer:

There are many Jews, including authentic and knowledgable orthodox rabbis, who allow for evolution and find no contradiction. So I could choose to believe them if it makes more sense to me.

"However in any case please explain to me how your trust in scientists differs from the Orthodox Jew's trust in his rabbis."

Honestly, it is not that much different. But you have no business trusting rabbis in areas of knowledge for which they are not qualified to give in opinion. You wouldn't "trust" your rabbis opinion against a medical expert, would you? As I indicated before, your rabbis are experts in Judaism, in halachah and what judaism says about a particular problem. But they're not experts in history, medicine, military tactics, cosmology or biology. You should leave those things to the experts.

As far as your scientists: Aggasiz lived over 150 years ago. Hardly an authority, given the progress made since then. Spertner may be a brilliant physicist and mathematician, but he is not an expert authority in biology or zoology. As noted in the wiki link you provided, he does not reject evolution as a mechanism of the origin of species. Nor do his arguments address the other components that provide the overwhelming evidence of common origin-- the fossil record and DNA.

Before you rely on an expert authority in a subject, you have to ascertain that he/she is in fact an established expert with credentials and accomplishments in the field you are inquiring about.

jewish philosopher said...

Actually, the objections which Aggasiz made still persist and as a result punctuated equilibrium had to be fabricated.

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

Spetner "shatters the modern theory of evolution" according to his book title. I don't know of any change of heart since then.

Who is your established expert with credentials and accomplishments in the field evolution? Surely not Richard Dawkins. His entire contribution to science consists of a few papers about animal behavior - hardly the renaissance man with expertise in DNA, paleontology, mathematics, etc. Surely not Darwin himself, an amateur naturalist whose "Origin" is more a popular polemic for atheism than a serious peer reviewed scientific paper.

NC said...

How about Steven Gould, Niles Eldridge, Nick Barton and Derek Briggs? (You can google them yourself)

Richard Dawkins is a "popular" writer and educator, and is not considered by anybody to be a leading authority in the field.

Darwin is no longer an authority, any more than Newton is an authority on mechanics or Lister an authority on germs.

NC said...

Maybe you haven't heard of all of those folks, but they're (or were) pretty heavy hitters in the field, in terms of cutting edge research and peer reviewed publications.

I can't comment about the title of Spetner's book, only that the reviews and links state pretty clearly that he does not refute evolution. He only questions the "random" source of mutation (he agrees that macroevolution still occurs).

NC said...

So I challenge you to decide between the ilk of the experts I just mentioned, or the likes of the dyslexic commentor who comments under "anonymous" on this blog.

jewish philosopher said...

Gould, Eldridge and Briggs know the fossils, Barton knows the biochemistry. They may well not all agree with each other; Gould was quite contraversial.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stephen_Jay_Gould#Controversies

So I'm really not sure who is this God-like individual whose opinion of evolution we must accept because his understanding is so far above ours no sane person would question it.

I want you to know this is not just a question of evolution. I would question everything. True, I am not an MD. However before I undergo surgery I am going make damn sure that I understand why it's necessary and how it's going to help me, not just help the doctor buy a new Porsche. I'll google it, read books, ask questions etc before I sign off.

Just look at some of these lunatics who are also real scientists:

http://jewishphilosopher.blogspot.com/2010/02/portrait-of-professor.html

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

So I'm not just going to drink the Kool Aid because someone with a PhD recommends it.

NC said...

"I'll google it, read books, ask questions etc before I sign off."

Good, no problem. But whose books and articles will you ultimately be referencing? Artscroll Talmud, or articles by current experts and researchers in the field?

So there are some bad scientists, so what? The question is ultimately, this: Does any serious, leading and accomplished paleontologist, microbiologist, biochemist or zoologist, in the past 50 years, reject evolution at its core? So if you dig really hard, you might find one or two people like Behe who ask some questions, but even they don't really challenge evolution at the core. And they're probably bible thumpers or orthodox Jews. You must then ask youself, why? Who is objective and who is biased?

I acknowledge that this does not establish truth. However it does speak to how a rational person decides what to believe and what not.

Even in your world, you go with "rov" when it comes to psak halacha, right? If the overwhelming majority of rabbis stake out a certain position, and you find one marginal rabbi who holds a minority opinion-- what do you do?

jewish philosopher said...

It's really quite simple. I look at the glaring problems which I see in evolution.

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

Then I read books by experts and ask questions directly to experts. The problems remain.

So I must ask myself: Which is more likely - that I am insane or that scientists, because of their obvious self interest in promoting atheism, are lying?

I explain those self interests here.

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

My conclusion: They're lying.

This is basically the same method I used to reject Christianity by the way.

NC said...

"So I must ask myself: Which is more likely - that I am insane or that scientists, because of their obvious self interest in promoting atheism, are lying?"

Humorous retorts aside, are there no other possibilities?
(1) That you don't understand the answers you get.
(2) You have incomplete information with which to make an informed judgement
(3) you are lying to yourself

In the exchange you posted Dr. Theobold answered you quite well. Am I crazy? He answered your math question. He also noted that there are transitional forms in fossils. And he wasn't even addressing the microbiology and genetics. What else do you want, other than to say, "he is lying"?

BTW when I hear some rabbis I get the same feeling of a pit in my stomach, "he is lying".

jewish philosopher said...

I am afraid that your way of making decisions, besides being foolish and illogical, is also the root of much evil.

In essence you are suggesting: We ordinary people are surely incapable of grasping big concepts and great ideas. Instead, we must swear fidelity to the Great Leader. He truly understands what we must do. If we see flaws in his logic, WE are lacking in understanding. HE surely is correct. Our only logical choice is to follow blindly.

Does this bring anyone to mind? Hitler, Stalin, Mao, Charles Manson, Jim Jones, etc ad nauseum. 

Sorry, I'll pass on the Kool Aid.

http://jonestown.sdsu.edu/AboutJonestown/Tapes/Tapes/DeathTape/Q042.html

NC said...

I was wondering how long it would take you to bring up Hitler. No matter...

Anyway, I was merely stating that you considered only 2 diametrically opposed possibilities, when considering your response to your trying to understand evolution. I was suggesting other reasons why you didn't accept Theobold's explanation.

I am trying to figure out where you got stuck on Theobold's answers. Can you tell me? Do you think he is simply lying, or were the answers not logical? If he was lying, it would be simple matter to find out and difficult to conceal. If they were not logical, I would like to know why you think so.

Since Orthodox Judaism does not require you to reject evolution, why go to such great lengths to reject it?

NC said...

" If we see flaws in his logic, WE are lacking in understanding. "

I seem to recall a post about medical remedies in the Talmud, and I quoted some passage about sticking a snake into a vagina as a remedy for something, and your answer was along the lines of the above.

jewish philosopher said...

I think I explain exactly what is wrong with Theobald's arguments.

http://jewishphilosopher.blogspot.com/2010/01/questions-to-scientist.html

My understanding of Judaism completely rejects evolution.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jewish_views_on_evolution#Jewish_opposition_to_Darwinian_theory

"I quoted some passage about sticking a snake into a vagina as a remedy for something, and your answer was along the lines of the above. "

This doesn't ring a bell; are you sure you didn't see this in a movie somewhere?

In any case, I don't see how your decision making process is basically different from that of the followers of the Pope, Warren Jeffs or Kim Jong Il. We should ignore our own puny minds and follow the Great One. Sure. Just drink the Kool Aid.

Go ahead with that if you want to, but don't complain to me if you have problems.

NC said...

"This doesn't ring a bell; are you sure you didn't see this in a movie somewhere?"

Shabbat 110A

"We should ignore our own puny minds"

I had no problem understanding Theobold's answers.

jewish philosopher said...

"Shabbat 110a"

Actually, it's the opposite - how to extract the snake.

http://www.come-and-hear.com/shabbath/shabbath_110.html

Regarding the improbability of evolution, Theobald referred me to this page

http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/comdesc/section5.html#genetic_rates

Which seems to explain that genetic changes seem to occur at about the same rate whether we look at living organisms or changes in fossilized organisms. That may be sort if interesting, however it has nothing to do with the likelihood of reproductively positive mutations occurring. Bear in mind that no scientist today could take a fertilized chimp ovum and artificially engineer it to grow into a human. The modifications must be extensive and precise. How likely is it that this happened spontaneously? And where are the remains of all the millions of apes who doubtlessly mutated but did not succeed? So we are just taking a leap of faith into fantasy land.

NC said...

"And where are the remains of all the millions of apes who doubtlessly mutated but did not succeed? "

Don't you think zoologists ask that question? That is precisely what transitional forms are. What is Neanderthal man if not a transitional species?

You need to read about speciation.

No the fossil record is not perfect. Is that surprising? Do we have the skeletal remains of every human that ever lived?

jewish philosopher said...

The missing links are all still missing.

http://jewishphilosopher.blogspot.com/2009/01/our-family-tree.html

And my problem with probability still stands.

But don't worry NC. Just follow the Great Leaders. Ignore our pathetic so called logic.

jewish philosopher said...

I think NC that you have a basic misconception concerning evolution. You imagine perhaps a group of Nobel laureates gathering at MIT, walking around in white lab coats and performing rigorous biochemical experiments and using high powered computer models to prove that all life developed from one microbe billions of years ago. And if these great men ever discovered  any doubt that evolution created us, they would be delighted to share with us these doubts.

The reality apparently is far different. Scientists simply take it for granted that the fossils prove that the Bible is false and Origin is true. They love this idea since it means the clergy, rather than being highly honored, is now worthless. Beyond this, evolution is just a word to be used instead of God "evolution designed", "evolution provided", etc.  

NC said...

I think that your qualifications for judging the quality or validity of the science of people like Eldrige and others I mentioned, is highly questionable. If, however, you can find other preeminant scientists who can cast doubt on their work, my ears are open.

I have no need to justify my confidence in their findings and calculations. This is true no more or no less than in other scientific fields, given that human beings are fallible.

Science is a method, not a particular person or authority, so it has nothing to do with demogogues like Hitler or Stalin. Thus you could have a mean son of a bitch who is a good scientist.

You have consciously chosen to take the extreme interpretation of Judaism which precludes evolution. You reject the rationalist streams with orthodox that allow for it. As such you back yourself into a corner.

There is no perfect truth, and all theories are but models of reality. But, I concur with science that the evolution model of reality explains the facts far better than the bible model.

jewish philosopher said...

"If, however, you can find other preeminent scientists who can cast doubt on their work, my ears are open."

Since the death of Agassiz in 1873, there has not been, however not because evolution is true, but rather because for the scientific establishment evolution is a highly beneficial fiction, as I have explained here.

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

And in the "soft" sciences, which includes paleontology, scientists have a track record of falsification or "fudging" results. See Freud, Margret Mead and others, for example this "evolutionary biologist"

http://jewishphilosopher.blogspot.com/2010/08/evolutionary-morality.html

I like to think of my interpretation of Judaism as being "authentic". It is probably embraced by about 85% of the Orthodox community today. Modern Orthodoxy is simply a blend of Judaism and atheism as Messianic Judaism for example blends Christianity and Judaism. I'm sure that works for some people, but not me.

"I concur with science that the evolution model of reality explains the facts"

Then you should be delighted by the coming apocalypse of global warming, as I've explained here.

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

In any case, for you, NC, all logic and facts are irrelevant. Like the residents of Jonestown, you are prepared to follow your all knowing Great Leaders into the abyss and ignore your own silly thoughts. Good luck.

http://www.documentingreality.com/forum/f181/jonestown-massacre-photos-18-november-1978-a-11317/

Anonymous said...

NC:

I don't understand something. You presume to know what G-d would or would not do. So you reject the idea of special creations. Yet you have perfect faith in scientist. I'm not convinced that faith is justified. There has been lots of fraud comminted by scientists, including evolutionists. Haeckel's faked embryonic drawings come to mind. So you reject the evidence, because of theology and faith.

I, on the other have examined the evidence and follow where it leads. It leads to special creations as per the Midrash and the Gemora.

You are so much more religious than me. You just worship at the alter of science. I wish I had yoru faith.

Anonymous said...

And nobody considers the Neanderthal a transitional fossil. It is at best, a side branch the became extinct. That the case with most of the fossil that are described as transitions. They might have a transitional feature, but the details of their anatomy show that they can't be the real transitions. The real transitions are still unknown.

And my name is Nathan.

And I'm not dyslexic. I just have a very full life outside of blogging, so I don't have time to edit out my typos.

And the term you are looking for is disgraphic. Dyslexic means that the person can't read. I can read just fine.