Monday, May 30, 2011
[are they evolving or not?]
One popular version of evolution is punctuated equilibrium.
Punctuated equilibrium (also called punctuated equilibria) is a theory in evolutionary biology which proposes that most sexually reproducing species will exhibit little evolutionary change for most of their geological history, remaining in an extended state called stasis. When evolutionary change occurs, the theory proposes that it is localized in rare and rapid events of branching speciation.
This theory was proposed by paleontologists Niles Eldredge and Stephen Jay Gould, basically as a way of explaining why the fossils seem to indicate catastrophism, or sudden changes, not evolution, or gradual change.
The theoretical mechanism behind punctuated equilibrium is geographic speciation: that species with large central populations are stabilized by their large volume and the process gene flow. New and even beneficial mutations are diluted by the population's large size and are unable to reach fixation, due to such factors as constantly changing environments. If this is the case, then the transformation of whole lineages should be rare, as the fossil record indicates. Smaller populations on the other hand, which are isolated from the parental stock, are decoupled from the homogenizing effects of gene flow. In addition, pressure from natural selection is especially intense, as peripheral isolated populations exist at the outer edges of ecological tolerance. If most evolution happens in these rare instances of geographic speciation then evidence of gradual evolution should be rare.
One immediately apparent problem with this theory, is that actually, genetically isolated populations tend to degenerate rather than improve.
The Amish, for example, suffer from higher incidences of particular genetic disorders, including dwarfism (Ellis-van Creveld syndrome) and various metabolic disorders because almost all Amish descend from about 200 18th century founders.
Likewise, in Appalachia, inbreeding in isolated communities, particularly prior to the advent of the railroad, apparently lowered intelligence.
This seems to refute the entire basis for punctuated equilibrium - rather than evolve, genetically isolated and inbred populations get sick.
Posted by jewish philosopher at 11:19 AM
Monday, May 23, 2011
["Haven't murdered anybody since breakfast?"- quote from "Inherit the Wind"; ridiculing the idea that evolution would corrupt morals]
One question frequently asked of atheists is: Since you don't believe in God, doesn't that mean you can kill people?
This is indeed not an idle question. No one disputes the fact that the greatest mass murders in history have been performed by avowed atheists, from the killing fields of Cambodia to the man made famine in the Ukraine. I would argue that the Holocaust as well was engineered by atheists. And then there have been a number of small scale, but still quite horrific, atheistic murderers such as Jeff Dahmer and Jim Jones. Sadly, as I write these words, about 200,000 innocent men, women and children are being tortured to death in atheist operated prison camps in North Korea. Just that atrocity alone makes the toughest Spanish Inquisitor or the most hardened Islamic jihadi sound like a big softy by comparison.
[By the way, atheists earnestly insist: no one has been killed "in the name of atheism". True enough. Atheism doesn't ask anyone to do anything. However atheism removes all barriers which would prevent murder; from that point, raw human nature takes over. This is similar to arguing that blowing up a dam would not be murder. The dam breaking does no harm. It's all that water behind the dam which is killing thousands of people and the bomber had nothing to do with that! Of course, such a ridiculous argument would not hold water in any courtroom.]
Clearly, atheists do have some explaining to do, and what they often explain is the following: Naturally, I love myself. Likewise, I naturally love creatures similar to myself. Therefore, I love other people. I feel a natural empathy for all humans. Even though, true, I do not believe in God, I do not believe that God commanded us not to harm others, I do not believe that I will suffer any adverse consequences from harming others provided that I can evade law enforcement (which is not an issue of course if the government itself is ordering the murders), nevertheless, I would not hurt an innocent person because I would empathize with the victim.
The basic problem with this argument is that it seems to provide little if any real deterrent to violence.
An atheist can easily calculate that in certain cases the gains from murder are so great that it's worth it to ignore feelings of natural brotherly love. He may also decide that for some reason the victim deserves to be hurt, and therefore he need feel no empathy. The victim somehow brought it upon himself.
An additional problem is that empathy, like all emotions, may vary widely from one person to the next. Many people seem to see anyone outside their particular nationality, race, religion, tribe, family, etc as being "not like me" and therefore having little if any value. Since the dawn of time, tribes attacked and killed each other constantly. In the present day United States, the government confers entirely different rights and privileges upon people who have a piece of paper proving "citizenship" - meaning somehow they are "one of us".
Bottom line: Humans, like all meat eating mammals, are naturally pretty nasty and without God everything is permitted.
Posted by jewish philosopher at 11:35 AM
Sunday, May 15, 2011
[dancing for joy]
There are several reasons why being an Orthodox Jew will make you happier than being an atheist would:
First of all, a Jew believes that when he dies, he is not losing anything. In fact, life begins with death. Following a righteous life, when a person dies he enters eternal paradise. The Talmud teaches: This world is like a hallway to the future world. Prepare yourself in the hallway that you may enter into the banquet hall. (Avot 4:21)
Additionally, whenever a Jew suffers in this world, he rejoices, as the Talmud Berakoth 60b states "one must receive the evil with gladness". This is because the Jew realizes that suffering is an atonement for his sins and he is grateful for this.
The Torah also guides a Jew to enjoy this world, but in healthy moderation. We drink alcoholic beverages, but at home, with friends, in moderation. We have sex, but only with our spouses and only with mutual consent and there are certain periods of abstinence. We have a holiday each week – the Sabbath and many other holidays throughout the year, but we work hard too.
Finally, the Jew finds himself living in a basically peaceful and caring community, in comparison to the atheistic world.
I have been able to find only one confirmed case of an Orthodox Jew ever convicted of homicide in the United States; a man in Cleveland who over twenty years ago shot his ex-wife’s father during a dispute. The perpetrator was modern Orthodox and had become Orthodox as an adult. In the United States as a whole, 8,400 Americans were convicted of murder in 2004 from a population of about 300 million. There are about 600,000 Orthodox Jews in the United States. Proportionally, there would be 17 homicide convictions per year in the Orthodox community. I would suggest that a very low rate of homicide is an indicator of a very low level of violence in general since assault often escalates, intentionally or otherwise, to homicide. This applies to child abuse and spousal abuse as well.
In regards to kindness, one well documented example is the network of volunteer ambulance corps in Jewish communities known as Hatzolah - “rescue” in Hebrew. Thousands of men volunteer their time to participate in saving lives. Together, the combined New York State branches have grown to become the largest all-volunteer ambulance system in the United States. The work these people do is incredible. Their response time is lightning fast and the work is done with genuine concern and caring.
In consideration of all this, it is clear that on the average Orthodox Jews will be significantly happier than atheists.
Posted by jewish philosopher at 9:47 PM
Friday, May 06, 2011
Predator Drone Court-Martialed For Afghani Civilian Deaths
According to atheists, who believe that people are merely meat machines with no free will, why not put predator drones on trial as well?
Posted by jewish philosopher at 6:49 PM
Monday, May 02, 2011
I was in Manhattan that day. From my office window I personally saw the towers burning and I knew I was watching thousands of people dying while I stood by helplessly.
I only wish I could have danced on the carcass of that worthless pig.
President Obama, you have just made my day.
"So perish all Thine enemies, O LORD; but they that love Him be as the sun when he goeth forth in his might." Judges 5:31
[Incidentally, at this time, 5/10/2011, I feel that there is substantial evidence that bin Laden was killed on 5/1/2011 by American soldiers. However I am amazed by the bizarre decision to immediately bury bin Laden at sea. Logically, the remains should have been frozen for several months, allowing numerous experts to examine them and confirm their identity beyond doubt. After that they could have been cremated and the ashes dumped at sea. While deliberately mutilating the body might have been barbaric, bin Laden should not have been shown any more dignity or respect than was shown to Nazi war criminals.]
Posted by jewish philosopher at 3:59 AM