Monday, September 12, 2011

Where is the Surgeon General?

The British government just last week permitted gay men to donate blood - after one year of full celibacy.

Few nations allow sexual active gay men to donate blood.

Shouldn't this perhaps tell us something - that rather than issuing marriage certificates to gay men, the Surgeon General should issue a warning against men having sex with men? I'm not suggesting that anyone go so far as quoting the Bible, (although it's interesting how many Biblical ideas have immense therapeutic value - see the post prior to this one) however it's at least a matter of hygiene.


SJ said...

>> a matter of hygiene

a matter of AIDS.

somebody tell shmarya. XD

Michael said...

I just wanted to thank you for the work that you are doing.
I particularly enjoy your repartee with some of the scuzzy "OTDers" on the web, locally at their sites. Keep it coming!
Though I cannot say that I always arrive at the same conclusions as you on certain issues, your viewpoints on these issues are certainly infinitely more valuable than the opinions of such individuals as AE, and RR. Keep up the good fight!

Jeff said...

Yours is a lost cause, JP.
Why don't you advocate for the reinstitution of slavery?

jewish philosopher said...

How about the reinstitution of sanity?

Milton W said...

Abrahamic Monotheism is anything but a 'lost cause.' Barely any philosopher of religion is a self-described atheist these days. Every non-orthodox branch of Judaism is gradually vanishing, and more Jews have rediscovered Judaism than ever before. One can disagree with the merits of Judaism, or monotheism, without resorting to silly statements like the one above ("lost cause.")

Joseph said...

It would be equally logical to ban anal intercourse between men and women. It's not man on man sodomy that's the problem. It's sodomy between any two people. The risk of spreading diseases like hepatitis and AIDS is extremely high between men and women who perform such activities, not just Gays. Unfortunately it's impossible to enforce. Criminalizing such behavior never acted as a real deterrent in the past.

yesodei Hatorah said...

This is off topic but I have a question that you might take a crack at. It seemed a very solid question to me, posed by an academic, not an atheist, strictly speaking. However, the question is about the logic of G-d's existence.

Simply stated, one of the objections to atheism was that the universe could not exist in such irreducible complexity as we find it now were it created randomly. You can easily google and wiki the "irreducible complexity" argument so I won't restate it here. You have asserted many times yourself, and it is the underlying logic of the watchmaker analogy among others.

However, the G-d that created the universe, being the intelligent source of its creation, must be far more irreducibly complex. All of the assumption of theism rests on the assertion of this "matzui rishon", which has no cause according to the Rambam. So, logically, if one cannot conceive of an irreducibly complex universe arising without a cause, how can one conceive of an irreducibly complex G-d arising without a cause? If one can assert such a G-d has always been, why can he not simply skip a step and assert the same exact assertion for the universe.

Remember, you are a "philosopher". Answer philosophically logically.

jewish philosopher said...

Women who engage in anal intercourse are not banned from donating blood. It's not the same level of risk.

The universe cannot be eternal since this would violate the laws of physics.

God however transcends and in fact created the laws of physics.

ksil said...

A man cannot live in the north pole with dozens of elves making toys for him since this would violate the laws of physics and reason.

Santa, however transcends and in fact created the elves, the north pole and physics.

jewish philosopher said...

Ksil, here's a novel idea.

Instead of nonsensical rants which make you sound like a pot head and/or 12 year old, try this:

Express an opinion.

Provide proof to support your opinion.

ksil said...



best joke i have heard all day!

please "proove" to me that santa claus does not exist.

jewish philosopher said...

Please prove to me that you exist. It could be just a monkey is banging on a keyboard some place.

Yesodei HaTorah said...

"The universe cannot be eternal since this would violate the laws of physics."

There are many cosmological models that allow for an eternal universe.

For example:

God however transcends and in fact created the laws of physics

This is an assertion, not an argument.

My question is, this transcendent "being" has always existed without cause, according to all theism. Your attempted argument (though mistaken) and your assertion make the question even stronger. Let's say that G-d transcends even the laws of physics, and let's say that there were no models that allow an eternal universe within the laws of physics. Who is to say that the universe MUST fully conform to the laws of physics and who is to say that G-d NEED NOT conform to the laws of physics?

Or put even more simply, if you are proposing a transcendent existence, why call it "G-d"? Why not call it "universe"?

jewish philosopher said...

"There are many cosmological models that allow for an eternal universe."

I don't believe they are widely accepted, since they would violate the known laws of physics.

"Who is to say that the universe MUST fully conform to the laws of physics"


"who is to say that G-d NEED NOT conform to the laws of physics? "

Theologians, because He is not physical.

natschuster said...

Yesodai Hatorah:

There is nolw that says that complexity hs to come from more complexity. That's something Dawkins made up. It just has to come from somewhere.

yesodei Hatorah said...


Actually, that is a basic principle of Judaism, to prove that G-d is beyond physical limits.

Again, you are both dodging the question, or you do not understand it. JP, you argued authority from theologians, but then you revert to arguing authority from physicists when it suits you. Arguments from authority are fallacious and beside the point.

If you followed the link that I provided earlier, you saw that the theory I mentioned is the current trend, and its new facts must be taken into account in any new or existing theory, but I only meant it as an example. The logical question still stands.

In short:

What makes it necessary to say that G-d transcends the laws of nature? Theological answer, Nat. He is the creator of a universe that exists within the laws of nature.

Logical question, why is it more logical to propose an unseen G-d as cause, rather than just proposing that all that we call G-d and universe, are in fact, merely universe with physical laws and properties that we do not yet fully understand. Why do I need an otherwise unperceivable deity in that hypothesis?

Why say that we do not understand G-d's ways? Why not just say, we do not understand the ways of the universe? How are they different? (They only seem to differ from the other direction, if you presume the exitence of G-d, then you need G-d. That is another fallacy, called begging the question.)

jewish philosopher said...

Scientists believe that the laws of physics are considered universal and invariable facts of the physical universe.

Therefore the only way to explain our existence is to say "God did it."

I don't see any problem with that.

natschuster said...

Yesodei Hatorah:

I don't recall ever hearing that Judaism says that complexity has to come from more complexity. It just has to come from somewhere. And even if there is such a law, we can very easily adress it by saying G-d is infinitely complex. That makes Him more complex than life.

natschuster said...

And the link yuo provided about an eternal universe dfepends on an oscillating model. Scientists haven't likd that for a good fifty years because there isn't enough mass in the universe to cause the expansion to reverse. Moreover, they can't find any evidence of closed curviture, which should be there if the universe will recollapse.

Yesodei HaTorah said...


You have not addressed the question at all, now, couple of times. Perhaps, you simply cannot understand it.


You need to update your research, and understand the facts. Even so, it does not address the point. If I discover QM which violates the theory of relativity in several respects, you are not proposing that proves deities exist, are you? Are you willing to hang your entire knowledge on a particular current idea, and then when science moves beyond it, insist on your old idea against all new evidence? Then, you are stuck with crackpot reconciliation to theories that have been refuted or outmoded.

I would also agree that according to Judaism, G-d is infinitely simple, the ultimate oneness, and infinitely complex, since the universe, which is infinitely complex (Ramban on "bohu"), was created of G-dliness, since his oneness demands that the universe created of Him, not just by Him. Thus, He is also infinitely complex, according to Judaism.

Now, the question is, and has been:
What difference does it make if I call that infiniteness an aspect of G-d or the universe? If it violates physics of the universe, and you insist that the universe follows physical laws, what difference does it make if I say it is G-d transcending the universe, or the universe displaying physical laws that I have not yet witnessed?

Note: all of our knowledge of physical laws comes from observing what is before us and making conclusions about it. We have not seen how everything in the universe operates. QM and astronomy are the prime example.

jewish philosopher said...

"what difference does it make if I say it is G-d transcending the universe, or the universe displaying physical laws that I have not yet witnessed?"

The universe is transcending the universe? I don't think that makes sense.

I think your question is: isn't there some conceivable way to explain how we got here without saying "God did it". I'm saying: no.

This post may help clarify a little. 

natschuster said...

Yesodai Hatorah:

I'm not exactly sure what your point is. My point is hat science still can't explain the origin of the Universe. The evidence is still against an eternal universe. Moreover, the articel you linked says that the poprosed mechanism does go violate General Relativity. Big problem. And recent finding make an eternal universe even less tenable. Y'know, dark energy causing the expansion to accelerate.