Monday, February 27, 2012

Not By Chance


[it would never work]

What are the chances that we got here without God?

Apparently very slim.

Here are the more optimistic opinions which I have found:

Regarding the issue of how likely it is that the universe is spontaneously fine tuned to support life:
"Other Values for Physical Constants May Not Be Physically Possible"
"Other Values for Physical Constants May Be Highly Improbable"
"There May Be an Ensemble of Other Worlds"
according to Theodore Drange Professor Emeritus at West Virginia University, where he taught philosophy from 1966 to 2001.

Regarding abiogenesis: "At the moment, since we have no idea how probable life is, it's virtually impossible to assign any meaningful probabilities to any of the steps to life" according to Ian Musgrave who is a senior lecturer for medical research at the University of Adelaide.

Regarding evolution: "In particular, the extremely small probability of the spontaneous emergence of intelligent life, as calculated (usually not quite correctly) by the opponents of the hypothesis of life’s spontaneous emergence, by no means indicates that the spontaneous emergence of life must be ruled out." according to Mark Perakh professor emeritus of Mathematics and statistical mechanics at California State University, Fullerton

Other estimates are more pessimistic:

The probability of an environment occurring where life could exist among all the possible results of the Big Bang is on the order of one in 10^123 according to Roger Penrose, Emeritus Rouse Ball Professor of Mathematics at the Mathematical Institute, University of Oxford.

“The statistical probability that organic structures and the most precisely harmonized reactions that typify living organisms would be generated by accident, is zero.” according to Ilya Prigogine chemist and Nobel Laureate.

"The probability of human evolution is about: 10^(‑100x 3000) or 10^‑300,000." according to R. Webster Kehr B.S. Mathematics, BYU.

In other words, it seems to be very unlikely, if not impossibly unlikely, that we or any type of comparably complex living things could exist unless God created the universe and created life.

The atheistic response to this decisive refutation is as follows: God's origin would be even more improbable than the origin of life and the universe. Therefore belief in God resolves nothing.

This response is nonsense since God is eternal. For their argument to be valid, atheists would have to prove that an eternal Creator cannot exist, however of course they can't.

Divine creation is the only plausible explanation for our existence. 

156 comments:

Abe said...

You may be right about god.
However it is not your god that did it all. It is my god. His only requirement for my well being is that I believe in his existence and refrain from eating spaghetti on Tuesdays.
I even have an ancient book authored by a number of his prophets that guarantees the infallibility of their dogma.
However, I'm always tempted by the thought of eating spaghetti on Tuesdays. So, I'm thinking of converting to chareidi judaism, but rumor has it that a few of your super-pious gedolim are considering that very same prohibition. Something about microscopic spaghetti mites.
What should I do ?

jewish philosopher said...

"I even have an ancient book authored by a number of his prophets that guarantees the infallibility of their dogma."

Was your book revealed in front of millions of witnesses (see Exodus 20). If, so let's talk.

natschuster said...

IF I'm not mistaken, Penrose said that the chances of the universe having the entropy it had at the beginning is 1/10^10^127. That's a one followed by 10^127 zeros. That's a really big number.

Ironmistress said...

Let us assume there are deities.

What makes you think there is one God and not many Gods? Could it be that those thingies worshipped as gods in certain religions are angels in other?

If we assume there is one God, what makes you think it is the Jewish god and not Christian, Islamic, Zoroastrian or Mahayana Buddhist God? Or could it be that such God is too big to fit in just one religion?

jewish philosopher said...

Simple. Mass revelation compared to private revelation.

For more detail, click on this link

http://www.torahphilosophy.com/2012/01/why-weshould-beorthodox.html

on that page, click on the links there and continue clicking and reading.

ah-pee-chorus said...

"Was your book revealed in front of millions of witnesses (see Exodus 20). If, so let's talk."

My god , the invisible black unicorn, wrote a screenplay that was revealed in front of 14 million people. at least thats what it says in the script. and if thats good enough for you its good enough for me. i don't care whether it really happened. whats important is it CLAIMS it happened. the reason few mention it today is that the IBU commanded all to forget it took place, so true believers have never mentioned it.

Ironmistress said...

Hearsay is no evidence, and the older the texts in Tanach, the more they are mere hearsay and less their evidential value.

What makes you think that a) that mass revelation has really happened and is not merely legend and b) it wasn't mass hallucination?

Jeff said...

"Simple. Mass revelation compared to private revelation."

In other words: "my religious claim is different, and therefore must be true, even though others are false". Even though the evidence for such claims are no better than that of all other religions.

Classic argument by special pleading.

jewish philosopher said...

Once we've established that there is a God the rest is quite simple.

Go to the library and ask the librarian: “Has the creator of the universe ever publicly revealed himself to mankind and told us who he is?”

The librarian would think for a moment and answer: “Yes. There was in fact one such incident documented as having taken place over three thousand years ago.” Then she would open a Bible and show him Exodus 20.

The next question would be: “Are there any people alive today who are descended from those people who received the revelation at Mt. Sinai and who still observe those commandments?”

The librarian would answer, “Yes; there are.” And hand him a telephone book yellow pages open to the page of Orthodox rabbis.

Ironmistress said...

Which raises two questions:

1) Did it really happen or it is just legend and tall tale? The older the Biblical tales, the less reliable they are.

2) If it did happen, what makes you think it wasn't a mass psychosis or a mass hallucination? Mind you, the good old Occam's razor suggests the most simple solution is usually the best solution.

3) The descendants of Edda (Scandinavians), Nibelungenlied (Germans), Iliad and Odyssey (Greeks), Kalevala (Finns), Kalevipoeg (Estonians) and other similar mythopoea are likewise alive and kicking. What makes you think you are right and they are wrong?

Anonymous said...

"one such incident documented"

there is more proof for evolution, than this absurd claim.

ksil

jewish philosopher said...

Now that we've established that God created us and the universe, it seems quite plausible that He would at some point tell us what He wants us to do.

For more detail, click on this link

http://www.torahphilosophy.com/2012/01/why-weshould-beorthodox.html

on that page, click on the links there and continue clicking and reading.

Jeff said...

This is a very ethno-centric claim. This would only be made in the West, dominated by the Abrahamic religions. No such silly statement would be made if you walked into a library in China or India.

"The librarian would think for a moment and answer: “Yes. There was in fact one such incident documented as having taken place over three thousand years ago.”

Fact? Ha ha, you are very funny.

Look, I don't think that believing in God is irrational. Most of the world believes in some diety, so I would be foolish to say otherwise. I know that arguments can be made pro and con, and nothing is conclusive.

But, just as the other 99.9% of world religions are deluded into believing their own specific myths, which they are sincerely convinced of, so, orthodox Jews are as well. Judaism has no special case.

In other words, given nothing being absolutely proven, my default is no god, and your default is god. In my view the fact that the default "always was" god, is of no consequence.

jewish philosopher said...

"No such silly statement would be made if you walked into a library in China or India."

You would probably be surprised. I imagine the Torah is more respected in India and China than in Europe.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christianity_in_India#Culture
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christianity_in_China#Contemporary_PRC

"Fact? Ha ha, you are very funny."

The good old appeal to ridicule, a logical fallacy.

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

"I know that arguments can be made pro and con, and nothing is conclusive."

In this post I proved it is conclusive. 

"Judaism has no special case." 

Of course it does. For more detail, click on this link

http://www.torahphilosophy.com/2012/01/why-weshould-beorthodox.html

on that page, click on the links there and continue clicking and reading.

Abe said...

jewish philosopher said...
"Was your book revealed in front of millions of witnesses (see Exodus 20). If, so let's talk."

My book was revealed in front of millions of witnesses and my book is true because it says those events occurred.
Acts 2:22-36; 3:14-15; 4:10-12; 10:36-43; 13:26-39; 17:31; 26:22, 23
I Corinthians 15:6
John 20:26-31

My book also tells me that your book is phony.
http://larrytanner.blogspot.com/2010/07/definitively-refuting-kuzari-principle.html

Unimpeachable and incontrovertible proof for the infallibility of my book.
http://toptenproofs.com/article_resurrection.php
What's to talk about ?

jewish philosopher said...

"My book also tells me that your book is phony. 
http://larrytanner.blogspot.com/2010/07/definitively-refuting-kuzari-principle.html"

Tanner is very long winded and meandering, however as far as I can tell, and tell me if I'm wrong, he makes two major points:

Aztecs and possibly Christians also claim a mass revelation.
The Documentary Hypothesis is a better explanation for the Torah's authorship.

I would have to answer by saying that neither Aztecs nor Christians claimed that our Creator spoke to millions of people other than at Mount Sinai. 

Regarding the Aztecs, Huitzilopochtli, was a god of war, sun and human sacrifice. He sometimes appeared in human form. According the Aubin Codex, the Aztecs originally came from a place called Aztlan. They lived under the ruling of a powerful elite called the "Azteca Chicomoztoca". Huitzilopochtli ordered them to abandon Aztlan to find a new home. Huitzilopochtli guided them through a long journey.

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

The story basically describes the public appearance of a superhero, not the public revelation of the creator.   

Also, the Aubin Codex is one book currently in the British Museum Library.

http://www.britishmuseum.org/research/search_the_collection_database/search_object_details.aspx?objectid=3008812&partid=1&searchText=Aubin+Codex&numpages=10&orig=%2fresearch%2fsearch_the_collection_database.aspx&currentPage=1  

It was written by an unknown author in the Aztec language in 1576. We don't know how many Aztecs even knew of this story.

Regarding Christianity, Christians claim that Jesus was a man who did various miracles. That might make him a sorcerer or a clever charlatan. It might also mean that his biographers made things up. The Palestinian Jewish community, rather than being overwhelming impressed by the "miracle worker", instead killed him.

As far as the Documentary Hypothesis goes, I've debunked that here

http://jewishphilosopher.blogspot.com/2008/12/documentary-hypothesis-critique.html 

Anonymous said...

To all you atheists and nonbelievers...
NO OTHER RELIGION HAS EVER CLAIMED MASS REVELATION AND PASSED IT DOWN TO THEIR CHILDREN. If someone told their child that lie, the child would ask his friend if HIS father told HIM the same thing. If the answer was no, the lie would not be able to be perpetrated as too many people would say that it never happened.
If so many people NOW choose not to believe because they think life is more comfortable that way,and the proof is that there are so many "rational" atheists, then why would a whole generation accept mass revelation and pass it on to their children if it wasn't true?
It is not possible for hundreds of thousands of people to pass down such a monstrous lie to the next generation, without a very substantial number of people saying- it's not true, you're all crazy.
The only people who said it was crazy were atheists who came many many years later. What took them so long to wake up?
Also, in Judaism, it is not a worldview that if you are not Jewish you are a sinner. It doesn't need the whole world to convert so it can back up it's claim. Don't you think if someone created a religion, they would call all people who do not follow their laws as sinners so they/he can have more credence and followers.
In Judaism, people are not required, and are in fact discouraged from converting. If a regular person keeps the 7 Noachide commandments he is considered a good person before G-d. G-d loves all his creations, Jews and none Jews. Judaism desn not try to push its religion on the world. That is another indicator that it is not manmade, as people by nature, want honor and credence, and if YOU created a religion wouldn't you want the whole world to follow it, like Muhammad and many other religions.

natschuster said...

To the best of my knowledge, the only reference to a mass revelation in the Aztec chronicles in in the "Cronica Mexicayotle" which was written a hndred years after the conquest, and was discovered two hundred years after. I couldn't find any evidence that the Aztec acutally saw it, let alone accepted it as their auithentic histor. And the mircales of the New Testimate seem to have witnessed by other people. So if someone asks, "Why didn't my father tell me about those miracles" The answer would be "becuase he didn't see them. Ony other people's fathers saw them." That doesn't hold true for the National Revelation at Sinai.

Ironmistress said...

Jews have - and will always have - a very precarious position with Jesus.

We may assume he did exist, just as much as Socrates, Caesar or Alexander the Great existed. His existence is actually more plausible than that of Moses.

He may have been a charlatan, a sorcerer, a wizard, yes. And yet he was an incredibly efficient preacher and prophet, managing to turn a very inclusive and inbred religion into something easily digestible and easily followable and adaptable - almost 40% of people are Christians. And if we approve the maxim a tree is known by its fruits, the fruits of Jesus have been mainly good. My nation would still be sacrificing goats to Odin and burning people alive without him. So apparently he was more than just a mere charlatan or wizard.

Jews do have - and will always have - an uneasy relation with Jesus. They cannot help answering the question: Was he actually the Messiah we were promised? And if he was... we killed him. No wonder God is angry to us. And if he wasn't, what was he then and why does God make his followers so successful? And Christians do follow the Bible, the Noahide laws, the Ten Commandments, the Dual Commandment of Love and Golden Rule as well.

Jesus apparently was more than mere sorcerer or wizard; he was a Jewish nerd. He was a philosopher, and he read the Halakha as a Roman lawyer would have read; his midrashim did rather seek answer to the question What was on mind of God when he codified His thoughts into text rather than literal and nit-picking interpretations for various chapters.

I have read Talmud. 90% of it is utterly boring reading and rubbish. Yet some 10% of it is truly brilliant. And much of it makes sense also together on what Jesus taught.

jewish philosopher said...

"I have read Talmud. 90% of it is utterly boring reading and rubbish."

I'm sure the average person would find a book like "Advanced Engineering Mathematics" to be utterly boring rubbish. 

http://www.amazon.com/Advanced-Engineering-Mathematics-Erwin-Kreyszig/dp/0470458364/

Only specialists with years of training will appreciate it.

Christianity is Judaism for Europeans, just as Islam is Judaism for Arabs. 

Ironmistress said...

JP, the difference is that engineering mathematics has real life applications while Talmud does not. Likewise, to understand engineering mathematics you need to understand the very language and symbolics of mathematics and its concepts, while Talmud is straight reading.

Talmud is comparable to any legislature or law books. It does not require a specialist with years of training to read it, but a mind with a certain mindset and the understanding of legal and moral concepts. The Soncino edition English translation can be found in the Web, and is available at Amazon in digital format.

Most of Gemara is nothing but inane nit-picking, and majority of the Mishna clearly shows non-divine origins.

Yet some 10% of it is truly brilliant, and makes well sense. It also sheds very much light to the culture where Christianity was born, what Jesus taught, what was his exegesis and in which ways it differed from the other sects. It can be safely said that only after reading Talmud one can truly understand what Christianity is about and what Jesus and Paul taught. Paul was after all a Pharisee and student of Gamaliel the Great.

Talmud does not handle Sadducees with silk gloves. Neither does Jesus. Actually Jesus's theology is very similar to that of Pharisees. His complaint is that they did not live like they taught. This is always the problem in each and every organized religion: who watches the watchmen?

I have also read Quran, which I did not like. It is very boring reading and makes little sense. It is incohesive rambling, and some chapters are plain bloodthirsty.

jewish philosopher said...

"Likewise, to understand engineering mathematics you need to understand the very language and symbolics of mathematics and its concepts, while Talmud is straight reading."

This is just your ignorance. You don't begin to grasp it.

natschuster said...

Ironmistress:

There are people alive today who have spent decades studying the Talmud, and they say they still don't understand it thoroughly.

Jeff said...

Anonymous

You are either incredible ignorant of history or incredibly naive.

The history of mankind is replete with rumors, myths, conspiracy theories and lies. I am not a sociologist or a psychologist, but it takes no great rocket scientist to understand that social traditions and myths spread by various means. While each myth may claim something "unique" in comparison to other myths, in ALL CASES, the CONTENT of the MYTH ITSELF cannot be used to prove its own truth.

The mass revelation claims are part of the myth itself which most likely evolved over time, and using that claim to prove its own truth is circular reasoning. It is also an argument by special pleading, without evidence that such myths are by their nature true.

natschuster said...

Jeff:

It is a historical fact that the mass revelation at Sinai was accepted by the Jews as their authentic history. That is not part of the revelation story. That is not part of the content. If it didn't happen, it would not have been accepted as history for the simple reason that people would have asked why they never heard the story before. If someone tried to tell me G-d appeared to my Grandfather, the first thing I would ask is "why didn't my Granfather tell me?" That's why all the other revelation myths have the revelation happeing to someone else's grandfather, or to one person, or all the people who saw it died.

Ironmistress said...

Nat, there are people who have studied law for decades and say they do not understand it.

As an engineer I must say that the fault is in that case either on the law itself or on the people who attempt to study it. Any non-scientific text should be readily understandable to anyone with college level intelligence.

I can understand people who have spent years on studying thermodynamics without getting grasp of it, but non-scientific studies shouldn't really be that difficult.

And that is why we have the study of exegesis. To understand the Bible in scientific and historical concept.

jewish philosopher said...

Seriously, regarding the Talmud, one has to understand the style it was written in to have any appreciation of it.

Perhaps I could compare it to modern art - many people might dismiss Picasso's greatest painting

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guernica_(painting)

as a piece of junk. Art experts would regard that as arrogance and simply ignorance. 

natschuster said...

Ironmistress:

When I said they don't understnad it, I meant that they don't understand it fully in all its depth. I've been studying Rashi on the Torah for decades myself. Rashi is introduced to third graders in Yeshivas. I'm constantly finding new insights, understadings, and depths of meaning.

Ironmistress said...

JP, 90% of modern art is indeed junk. Ugly, poorly executed, incomprehensible and offensive.

10% of it are true pearls.

Ironmistress said...

Nat, that is called exegesis and hermeneutics. Exegesis attempts to find the answer to the question what did the writer have on his mind on his own era and cultural frame of reference when he codified his thoughts into words and hermeneutics attempts to find the answer to the question what do his words say to modern day reader?

They are not exactly nuclear physics but essential tools in all non-scientific studies like law.

Jeff said...

Nat:
"It is a historical fact that the mass revelation at Sinai was accepted by the Jews as their authentic history."

No it is not a historical fact.

The only evidence that we have of Jewish beliefs is from Codexes and Talmudic statements, going back only to about 200 CE, and to dead sea scrolls somewhat before that. That is more than a thousand years after the supposed "revelation".

We have no idea what Hebrews believed in before that, except that they believed in a deity named Yahweh or El or Ba'al and that they had some sort of divine law-- very similar to surrounding peoples.

We have no Hebrew texts prior to the dead sea scrolls period, other than occasional inscriptions.

What we do have are much older Ugaritic texts which proceeded the biblical period and which has similarities to the Hebrew religion

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ugarit#Ugaritic_religion

jewish philosopher said...

The fact is that our knowledge of anything prior to 1500 CE is pretty sketchy.

http://www.torahphilosophy.com/2009/07/is-history-bunk.html

In regards to the Torah, however, academics are hypercritical while actually the opposite should be the case. Since it is clear that God created the universe and life, it would be reasonable to expect a public revelation at some point.

Jeff said...

" Since it is clear that God created the universe and life, it would be reasonable to expect a public revelation at some point."

I suppose that would depend upon what kind of God you believe in.

As a pantheist, I don't believe that any revelation is needed.

As a monotheist, god could reveal himself in many different ways, in accordance with the traditions of major religions. Nothing special about Sinai.

The Eastern religion do not require any sort of revelation, either.

I don't think that academics are being hypercritical regarding the Torah, any more than they are with any ancient texts, including those from other religions.

If an ancient text claims to know about something (supernatural or otherwise) from a thousand years before it was dated, I think anybody would have reservations about its reliability.

Jeff said...

I would add, that I would expect of the type of god that you believe in, would be revealing himself clearly and continuously. Not just to select people, supposedly thousands of years ago.

So if you are trying to support the revelation story based on what one would expect, you could go either way. His apparent disappearance would seem to support proof against his existence.

natschuster said...

Jeff:

Even so, at some point in our history, the entire nations accepted the Torah as the nations authentic history. That wouldn't have happened if the mass revelation wasn't true, because everyone would have asked, "why didn't my Grandfather tell Me?"

natschuster said...

Ironmistress:

What diffenrence do the labels make? The point is that the more you search into the same Rashi that a third grader reads, the more you find.

jewish philosopher said...

It would seem clear, based on this post, that the universe was created by a transcendent, omnipotent and omniscient being and the idea that He would at least once in history reveal His identity and wishes to mankind certainly seems plausible. Now where do we find a record of such an event? You have one guess!

Jeff said...

Nat-

" That wouldn't have happened if the mass revelation wasn't true, because everyone would have asked, "why didn't my Grandfather tell Me?"

How do you know that? You're guessing.

Since people believe myths, they would believe this one, too, unless you could demonstrate that with this kind of myth it would not be believed, or it was true. This is an argument by special pleading, as I have previously stated.

Furthermore, it does not take too much imagination to see various scenarios, whereby myths and traditions are built upon one another and change over time, especially in an era when most people are illiterate and there are few written records.

Even today, nobody has personal specific family "memories" more than a few generations (with a few exceptions). Most people wouldn't even know the name of their great grandparents from 5 or 6 generations ago.

I think that a good living example of this today, is the Palestinian mythology of the "naqba"-- its a big collective memory of national tragedy, consisting mostly of antisemitic lies and fantasies, with maybe 1-2% truth. It is perpetuated and embellished in Palestinian textbooks, songs, poems and popular media.

I am positive that in a few hundred years they'll have stories of how the Jews gassed and poisoned them before taking their land.

jewish philosopher said...

falsifying history is nothing new; look at how communists rewrote the official history every few years. Or joseph smith falsified the whole history of the western hemisphere in his book of Mormon.

The difference is that there are always dissidents and whistleblowers who object and protest.

So in any case, when Ezra unveiled his so called Torah, at least a large part of the far flung Jewish community should have reacted "f--- you". And the Samaritans should never have even looked at it.

natschuster said...

Jeff:

#1: Whenever people try to rewrite history, someone does call them on it. People might get away with fudging some details, but they can't rewrite the nation's entire history without someone calling them on it. The Palestinians did loose wars. There are refugees, Nobody questions that. They just spin the details. But the revelation at Sinai was the biggest thing that ever happened to the Jewish people,

#2: Every other religion has its revelation happening to one person. So, when people ask "why didn't my Grandfather tell me G-d spoke to him?" The obvious answer is that G-d spoke to someone else, like Jesus, Mohammed, oracles, priest, etc. Why didn't anyone else even attempt to convince people of a mass revelation. Either they knew no one would believe it, or someone tried to, and no one believed him.

Anonymous said...

Hi JP:

you wrote:
"Was your book revealed in front of millions of witnesses (see Exodus 20). If, so let's talk."

I wrote the following essay. Would love your comments. Good Shabbos. - Tuvia

KIRUV AND NATIONAL REVELATION

The story of national revelation at Mt. Sinai is central to the truth of Judaism.

One of the things that kiruv workers point out about national revelation is that it is hard to fake.

They contrast it with personal revelation, which is how other religions tend to begin.

They claim that three million (or two million) people witnessed the giving of Torah (at least the initial sentence, or perhaps a sentence fragment) by G-d to the Jewish people.

They claim that you can’t fool this many people, and that they would never accept the Torah as true unless they agreed that they themselves, or perhaps their parents, had personally witnessed the event of the giving of Torah.

The kiruv claim is problematic for two reasons.

First, kiruv workers claim we have three million witnesses.

We do not have three million witnesses: a witness is someone who gives testimony (see Wikipedia: witness.)

What we have is one story telling us that three million people saw the same thing: the giving of Torah at Mt. Sinai.

The use of the word “witnesses” should be struck from kiruv presentations (unless they can provide copies of three million witness testimonies! I’ll settle for – ten thousand?)

But there is a second problem.

There is something about the story as a story that does not ring true.

How so?

Kiruv workers claim that the Mt. Sinai revelation is a “true life” story of an unprecedented and mind-blowing event that was seen by three million people who all agreed on what happened and retold the same story about it to the next generation.

The problem is that an event that strained reality (with shock and awe to boot) would produce different recollections and meanings among eyewitnesses – even if there were just five people in attendance.1

Can you imagine the number of different impressions it would have left on three million?

I would tell the author to change the story in one of two ways:

He could either change the mind-blowing event to a mundane event (a baseball game, for example – and everyone later agreed on what happened.)

Or, he could change his description of the uniform recollections of those in attendance (at this almost unimaginable event) to something believable.

For example: “there were wildly different understandings of what transpired that day – some felt it was G-d, others believed they dreamed the whole thing, still others thought it was a devious trick played by Moses who they suspected of being a megalomaniac.”

And when you go on your book tour – don’t call them witnesses!

1 Further reading on the issue of how individuals will later recall a stressful event differently: Eyewitness Testimony, by Elizabeth Loftus, psychologist, distinguished professor at UC Irvine.

Jeff said...

"The difference is that there are always dissidents and whistleblowers who object and protest."

What difference do whistleblowers make? They simply reject the religion, while the others become believers. Those who reject the religion could become something else or disappear.

We have a minor example of this (not concerning revelation) vis a vis the Karaites and Tzaddokites. It becomes a political and ideological struggle, having nothing to do with the "truth" of a claim.

Where are the "whistleblowers" for Mohammed or Jesus? The non-Muslims and non-Christians, and assorted apostates. But that hasn't extinguished those religions.

If religions rise or fall based on whistleblowers and exposes, there would be no religions at all!

Nat-
"Why didn't anyone else...Either they knew no one would believe it, or someone tried to, and no one believed him."

How do you know this(assuming the premise is correct)? There is not a shred of evidence for this assertion. I could think of many possible reasons why a religion would or would not make a certain claim, and how people might react.

"The Palestinians did lose wars. There are refugees, Nobody questions that. They just spin the details. "

The Arab mythology, which they believe deeply: The Jews were never in Palestine. They have no history there. There was and is a Palestinian nation, not just local nomad Arabs. The Western wall is not the Jewish Temple. The Jews ethnically cleansed Palestine by slaughtering the Arabs. They're doing it to this day. And, btw, there was no holocaust, that is just a Jewish conspiracy.

Read any Arab newspaper if you don't believe me.

So, despite the whisteblowers, and the history books, the documentation-- they still believe it. Why??? How???

BECAUSE RELIGIOUS DOGMA IS MOTIVATED BY IDEOLOGICAL, HISTORICAL AND POLITICAL CONTINGENCIES.

Now suppose the Jews had an ancient, core story of Moses and some sort of law giving at Sinai. The "details"-- how and when it happened, who was there, etc-- gradually got embellished over time. This would be entirely believable, and since it occurred a thousand years earlier-- there would be no way to verify it.

I'm not saying that I proved that my version is entirely correct, but it is just as plausible as the mythological development of any other religion. And there seems to be no mass abandonment of Islam or Christianity, despite the abundant evidence that Christ and Mohammad (peace be upon his name) were frauds.

Jeff said...

"when Ezra unveiled his so called Torah, at least a large part of the far flung Jewish community should have reacted "f--- you". "

Perhaps some did, how do you know? They could have branched off and/or disappeared. We have only the biblical account.

" And the Samaritans should never have even looked at it."

Again, how do you know which text they accepted and when? We have nothing before 200 CE. How do you know how they would have reacted? The Shiites, the Alawites and the Sunnis have the same Koran, don't they? This, despite their violent rivalry.

I'm afraid you're grabbing at straws.

jewish philosopher said...

"Would love your comments."

In this post I go into this question in detail. I think this should cover your objections.

http://www.torahphilosophy.com/2006/12/truth-of-judaism.html

"What difference do whistleblowers make?"

"the skeptical position is that grand conspiracy theories require that the conspirators possess an almost magical ability to control information and human behavior."

http://www.criticalthinkeracademy.com/2011/tct-017-critical-thinking-about-conspiracies-part-2/

Atheists seem to claim that Ezra had just such an ability, which is of course implausible.

"Where are the "whistleblowers" for Mohammed or Jesus?"

The Koran and New Testament are filled with condemnation of contemporaries who regarded both Mohammed and Jesus as dangerous crackpots. Jesus was hanged. Mohammed started a war against his opponents - which unfortunately still continues.

"Perhaps some did, how do you know?"

No one mentions these dissidents.

"Again, how do you know which text they accepted and when?"

According to them, they accepted the Torah at Mount Sinai. According to Jews they accepted it after emigrating to Palestine following the exile of the ten tribes. Both versions have some truth - some samaritans are descended from Jewish priests who performed their conversion, while others are descended from the converts.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15300852 

Jeff said...

So both Jews and Samaritans have their myths, unsupported by evidence. The Samaritans probably historically got their text in a manner parallel to Jews. There is no evidence before the codex. You're going to prove your own religion based on the myths of others? Why don't you base it on Muslim myth, that the Torah is corrupted?

"The Koran and New Testament are filled with ...."

You can't use the text to prove its own truth. That's circular logic. "The Torah doesn't mention skeptics, therefor there weren't any, because the Torah is true"

Besides, the nach is full of accounts of idol worshipping Israelites. Evidently there were quite a few nonbelievers.

natschuster said...

Jeff:

No other religion in the world has a mass revelation. Why not? Why didn't the founder of any other religion attempt to convince people of a mass revelation? Thay would give his theory much more credibility. Why was the founder of the Jewish religion the only one? There are two possible answers. Either it was attmepted, amd no-one believed it, or no-one attempted it, because they knew no-one would believe it.

There were no whistle blowers for Jesus and Mohammed becuase they didn't say G-d revealed "himself to your Grandfather," so no-one could say "why didn't my Grandfther tell me."

And it is very possoble Palestinians don't really believe their propagada. And the whole world is calling them on it. What they say publicly to the Israelis and other leaders when they negotiate and what they say amongst each other is often different. They don't need it to have reason to kill Jews. They just hope it will strengthen their cause.

The accepting the Torah as history, however carries with it the burden of all those mitzvas.

Ironmistress said...

Sorry, Jesus was crucified, not hanged.

Jesus was sentenced according to Roman, not Jewish, law.

Hanging was reserved for thieves. High treason, including rebellion and mutiny, was punishable by crucifixion. The charge from which Pontius Pilate finally sentenced Jesus to death was mutiny and contempt to Emperor.

Roman citizens were beheaded with sword.

Really depraved criminals could be sentenced damnatio ad bestiae, thrown to beasts at amphitheatre.

natshuster said...

This is what I fund about arab claims to Palestine:

http://www.freearabvoice.org/articles/TheArabIdentityofPalestine.htm

They claim to be desended form the ancient Canaanites. There might be some truth to that. The Jews cme as invaders under Joshua. That's true. This is mostly a spinning of fact that nobody disputes, or aren't falsifiable. And the arabs where perfoming excavations on the Temple mount to prove that the Bais Hemikdosh wasn't there, but somewhere else. They knew they had to prove it, or it wouldn't be accepted as proof.

jewish philosopher said...

"So both Jews and Samaritans have their myths, unsupported by evidence."

Supported by plenty of evidence, at least as far as Jews go. Go to this link.

http://www.torahphilosophy.com/2012/01/why-weshould-beorthodox.html

Clink on the links there, click on the links in those posts, continue.

Anyway, my point with the Samaritans is that clearly Ezra wasn't the Torah's author. In fact, the Samaritan Pentateuch, combined with there being no reference to Jerusalem in the Torah, point to an authorship no later than Samuel.

"The Torah doesn't mention skeptics, therefor there weren't any,"

Nor does the book of Ezra or an other ancient text.

"Besides, the nach is full of accounts of idol worshipping Israelites."

The did both - Torah and idolatry. See 1 Kings 18:21

And Elijah came near unto all the people, and said: 'How long halt ye between two opinions? if the LORD be God, follow Him; but if Baal, follow him.' And the people answered him not a word.

http://www.mechon-mamre.org/p/pt/pt09a18.htm#21

Think perhaps of today's modern orthodox - believing in both Torah and evolution. 

"Sorry, Jesus was crucified, not hanged."

The Oxford English Dictionary states that hanging is "specifically to put to death by suspension by the neck", though it formerly also referred to crucifixion.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hanging 

Jeff said...

Nat-

Couldn't get anything with your links. In any case, to get a good idea what the Palestinians and other Arabs are saying in Arabic amongst themselves (and not whitewashed English platitudes for the New York Times), check out Palestinian Media Watch:

http://www.palwatch.org/

Check out the section on rewriting history.

Many Arabs and non-Arab Muslims, such as Pakistanis, are entirely convinced of the truth of Protocols of the Elders of Zion, and think that the Jews and their Christian sponsors want to destroy Islam and subjugate Muslims. They blame all of the backwardness and social ills of their societies on Israel and the Jews.

Jeff said...

The whisteblowers for Mohammad and Jesus would just claim they they are frauds. They didn't talk to god and they made everything up.

And I already said to you the "grandfather" thing doesnt work because they wouldn't remember from a thousand years ago anyway.

natschuster said...

The Novi makes it abundanty clear that the Torah was the law of the Land in Ancient Israel. Even the Idol worshippers like Ahab recognized this.

jewish philosopher said...

I still don't follow how atheists deal with problem that if Ezra authored the Torah why did all Jews and also the Samaritans accept it as valid, although presumably they had different, earlier traditions.

You are endorsing a type grand conspiracy theory, involving conspirators who possess an almost magical ability to control information and human behavior.

http://www.criticalthinkeracademy.com/2011/tct-017-critical-thinking-about-conspiracies-part-2/

I think the answer is that atheists just don't deal with this. They accept dogmatically that the fossils have proven the Torah to be false, meaning that no further debate is needed.

I have explained however that is not correct.

http://www.torahphilosophy.com/2008/10/biblical-deluge.html

Jeff said...

"I still don't follow how atheists deal with problem that if Ezra authored the Torah why did all Jews and also the Samaritans accept it as valid"

First of all, we don't really know if it was Ezra. He is a candidate, but it could be some other redactor.

Secondly, I just answered your question, but you didn't hear me. Who said ALL Jews accepted it? The Bible? The ones who didn't wouldn't be here to tell us about it. And do we know historically when the Samaritan bible came about, other than their traditions? What if the Samaritans, as an offshoot of the Hebrews, also had fragmentary traditions about revelation, and literate scribes at a later time compiled it? What's bugging you?

Frankly, I don't see where you Fundies are stuck on this point. Using unproven traditions to prove their own truth just doesn't work- logically or historically. This is the fatal flaw in your thinking. its circular reasoning.

jewish philosopher said...

"Who said ALL Jews accepted it?"

So many didn't but they, and all reference to them, all memory of their existence, was lost with no trace. So all evidence supporting your beliefs has been lost. 

"What if the Samaritans, as an offshoot of the Hebrews, also had fragmentary traditions about revelation, and literate scribes at a later time compiled it?"

They should only have the E document.

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

"Using unproven traditions to prove their own truth just doesn't work- logically or historically."

Using fossils to prove prove evolution and discredit the Bible just doesn't work.

http://www.torahphilosophy.com/2008/03/evolution-science-hijacked-by-atheism.html

http://www.torahphilosophy.com/2008/09/how-i-understand-genesis.html 

And the Torah is based on as much evidence as anything in pre-modern history.

http://www.torahphilosophy.com/2009/07/is-history-bunk.html

Jeff said...

"So all evidence supporting your beliefs has been lost."

No, I'm just giving a plausible scenario. You asked how something could come to be and I gave you a possible scenario. The fact that the Bible doesn't write about it shouldn't bother you in the least. The focus of the bible is rhetorical, not historical.

The ones who accepted the Torah were called "Jews". The ones who didn't, became gentiles--pagans, zorastrians, whatever.

Given the cult-like and tribal nature of the Hebrew/Jews, it shouldn't be so surprising to you. Look at the sects that existed in the second temple era-- Essense, Sadducees, etc. The Sadducees thought that the rabbis were frauds. No conspiracy theories, no magicians; just political and ideological rivalry, reflected in a book that takes one of the sides in the conflict.

"They should only have the E document."

Look. We both know that the Samaritan torah and religion is a fraud, right? So why bother trying to "prove" ANYTHING from their beliefs?

jewish philosopher said...

So maybe many Jews didn't accept Ezra's Torah but they, and all reference to them, all memory of their existence, was lost with no trace. So unfortunately all evidence supporting your beliefs has been lost.

The Samaritans demonstrate that present Torah text far predated Ezra and in fact goes back at least to the time of United Monarchy.

natschuster said...

Jeff:

If someone approached you or anyone you know, and said that G-d spoke to your Grandfather, how owudl you or anyone you konw react? If he said that he is the only one who knows because everyone else forgot, the first thing you would ask is how is it that he is the only one wo remembers.

And the Arabs believing the Protocols is different because all that stuff that is in the Protocols didn't happen to their Grandfathers. IT is all secerte hidden conspiracies.

Larry Tanner said...

I appreciate being mentioned in a discussion at all related to (or bringing in) the "Kuzari Principle). I have written quite a bit about it: http://larrytanner.blogspot.com/search/label/Kuzari%20Principle

My major point (at least as I see it) is not really about the Aztecs, the Christians, or the Documentary Hypothesis. In the post you have referenced, I most want to lay out the case that Kuzari fails to prove either Sinai or Judaism. Subsequent posts have explored various aspects of why Kuzari-based arguments fail.

I try not to be long-winded and do believe that my posts tend to be shorter than the challenges issued to muster support for Kuzari.

Finally, note that I have confined my arguments to Kuzari alone. Whether Sinai/Judaism is true, reasonable, or provable (and to what extent) is not something addressed in the Kuzari work.

Feedback of all kinds is invited and appreciated.

Ksil said...

Nat, in regards to statistical probablities....your logic is flawed, and it aomdhoggling why you cant see it.

It happened. Whatever it is that you say is improbable....HAPPENED.

You were born to your parents, with your specific DNA and genetic makeup and emotional problems. And even thgh, the probablility of that iccuring (say 5,000 years ago) is infinitely tiny...IT HAPPENED. I''m not aure why you cant grasp this

Ksil said...

atheists accept dogmatically that the fossils have proven the flying spaghetti monater book to be false, meaning that no further debate is needed.

Those crazy, logic, rational, reasonable atheists.

Lol

If you would just admit that your belief in this manmade religion is based on a gut feel, or some emotional reason, then maybe, just maybe some would be attracted to it. But its so irrational and absurd, people just laugh at you.m i feel for your kids,....poor things

Jeff said...

I would react exactly how a baal tshuva or convert acts nowadays: Someone else's grandfather has this tradition from thousands of years ago, mine don't, and I accept it anyway. Just like JP did when he converted. Just like many baale Tshuva I know.

If the claim was for something 50-100 years ago, I could check it. But not for 1000 years.

" the first thing you would ask is how is it that he is the only one wo remembers."

Because he has records-- a "book" (the Torah) to remind him, unlike other people.

Perhaps like Ezra.

Imagine JP's experience of conversion, a thousand times over, in an era that was ripe for faith, when there was no science, most people were illiterate, there were no books, and people were desperate for leadership.

jewish philosopher said...

My basic problem with atheism is the following:

According to atheism, we are clumps of subatomic particles which, through an impossibly unlikely series of blind accidents, have been formed into intelligent living things. We have no soul, free will, moral responsiblity or afterlife. We are in no way intrinsically different than any other plant, animal or mineral.

According to atheism, Judaism is basically the fabrication of Ezra the Scribe. Abraham, Moses, etc never even existed. 

According to atheism, Ezra possessed an almost magical ability to control information and human behavior. Therefore he was able to instantly convince the entire far flung Jewish community as well as the Samaritan community who were enemies of the Jews that their earlier traditions were wrong and that his new Torah was authentic.

I personally find this all to be incredible and implausible for many obvious reasons. I have yet to see an atheist convincingly address these issues.

Regarding the fossils, which are considered to be the most convincing proof against Judaism, I have explained here how this is not the case.

http://www.torahphilosophy.com/2008/09/how-i-understand-genesis.html

Jeff said...

Larry, it looks very interesting but its too long to read :-)

JP's skill is in conveying his message in a brief and compelling (if not slick) sound bite that a person can understand without too much deep thought or debate. If he throws a one liner at us, and we have to answer with a 20 page essay, then we lose the battle.

We have to come up with sound bites like he does like "people from worms", etc.

natschuster said...

Jeff:

How come he is the only one with the book? He claims that the book was written and given to the entire nation. Everyone knew and saw, but he somehow managed to keep the only copy and the only tradition?
I don't think most people would buy that. And the Jews have their history recorded in the Novi. So this scammer had to get people to accept a completely false history as well.

natschuster said...

Ksil:

Don't worry. My kids are all doing fine. The big ones are working and/or going to school. The little ones are doing well in school. How are your kids?

jewish philosopher said...

"We have to come up with sound bites like he does like "people from worms", etc."

You have to quit the alcohol and marijuana so you can think a little more clearly.

Jeff said...

Nat-

"I don't think most people would buy that"

That's right. That's why most of the world isn't Jewish.

"How come he is the only one with the book?"

The Book of Mormon

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joseph_Smith#Book_of_Mormon

The Quran

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Muhammad#Beginnings_of_the_Quran

And many others.

Jeff said...

"My basic problem with atheism is the following"

And my basic problem with believers is that you completely fail to see how ancient religions were formed by the same basic process, and how later followers of all religions are able to delude themselves into believing that their religion is the one and only true one.

jewish philosopher said...

"followers of all religions are able to delude themselves into believing that their religion is the one and only true one."

As atheists do. Who cannot answer convincingly my questions.

Jeff said...

I think that if your arguments are so persuasive and clear cut, and everybody who heard the Sinai story knew it to be correct, then we would have more than 1/10th of 1 percent of the world population who are Orthodox Jews. Everybody would be doing what you did.

While numbers don't prove truth, I think they are a pretty good indication of how believable a story is. And that is what we are talking about.

Believability.

" Who cannot answer convincingly my questions."

Evidently convincingly enough for the majority of the enlightened world who believe in evolution and who don't believe in the Torah.

Must be something to the argument.

Jeff said...

And you have answered convincingly why a loving and just god does this:

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

jewish philosopher said...

"Must be something to the argument."

Has history demonstrated consistently that whatever most people believe about creation and the Creator is generally true? Or has history demonstrated consistently that whatever most people believe about creation and the Creator is generally untrue?

Check this out.

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

Now you may argue "Today it's different. Now we've gotten it right." however I would suspect that people 1,000 and 2,000 years ago thought so too.

"And you have answered convincingly why a loving and just god does this:"

I have a post about suffering.

http://www.torahphilosophy.com/2009/08/kindness-of-suffering.html

So I am anxiously waiting to know: 

How likely is it that subatomic particles would, through a very long series of blind accidents, form into intelligent living things? (I know that evolution involves natural selection as well as chance, however natural laws which make life possible were also apparently created by chance.)

Also, how did Ezra possess an almost magical ability to control information and human behavior and therefore he was able to instantly convince the entire far flung Jewish community as well as the Samaritan community who were enemies of the Jews that their earlier traditions were wrong and that his new Torah was authentic?  

Jeff said...

I specifically did not say that what people believe makes it true. We were talking about what would be convincing or believable. Don't distort my statements.

I noticed you cut and pasted your question, do you want me to cut and paste my answer, too?

I already said that you actually have no idea how many people accepted Ezra's Torah. In any case those people who did, the Jews, remained a small minority of the population of the Middle East, so I don't really see the point of the question. There was no magical ability, because he didn't convince everybody. he convinced those who went on to write about it--the rabbis.

The Samaritans have a different text in a different script so there's no problem there. They didn't have to accept Ezra.

jewish philosopher said...

"I already said that you actually have no idea how many people accepted Ezra's Torah."

It would seem that all Jews, meaning the Babylonian exiles from Judea, accepted it. We have no record of any dissidents.

"They didn't have to accept Ezra."

The Samaritan Torah is essentially identical to the Jewish Torah. 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Samaritan_Pentateuch#Differences_from_the_Masoretic_text

I don't think that anyone doubts that they have the same authorship.

So atheism rationally just falls flat. What have you really got? Most scientists are atheists so it must be true? If God really existed my life would be easier? 

natschuster said...

Jeff:

Thje book of mormon was not revealed to the nation, just to Joseph Smith thats why he had the book. The Qran was revealed only to Mohammed. What you are saying is that someone claimed there was national revelation, but everyone forgot butr him, and there is a clear history that does not have any record of anyone forgetting. Just the opposite. we have a mesorah and a written history. And everyone bought it.

And most of the world isn't Jewish, but most of the world believes that the Bible is the word of G-d.

ksil said...

"How are your kids"

i am trying to "un"brainwash them from their yeshiva and bais yaakov education

its a tough job, but they are coping well

natschuster said...

Ksil:

How are they functionng as people? Are they living productive lives?
My kids are not only working, and learning, thye are heavily into Chesed. My son donates blood ona regular basis. All muy big kids are on the bone marrow donors registry. My boys both wanted to donate kidneys. We are reluctant to give our blessing because there is a strong history of kidney cancer in our family. My kids have worked with sick children, handicalled children, siblings of sick children, etc. If this is "brainwashing," then brainwashing is a good thing. H

Anonymous said...

Jeff
I was reading your posts and I have come to a conclusion. Firstly, your reasoning is totally warped and bias, however "logical" you claim yourself to be.
If you refuse to accepts the jewish people and it's history as a historical fact, then you refuse to accept ALL history.
Nothing is more historically proven than Judaism. It's history has been repeatedly documented throughout all generations, passed dowm from father to son, teacher to student - IF not- so who are the Jews? Where did they get their name- where did they come from. We know Greeks come from Greece, and Africans come from Afria- but where do the JEWISH nation originate- SCATTERRED AROUNS THE WHOLE WORLD_ YET STILL CLAIMING TO BE ONE NATION, NOT LOSING THEIR IDENTITY- what an amazing reality.
You are forced to admit that you simply don't believe in history.
Skip the "evidence" that you are lookinf for, which is all over the land of Israel, and throughout the Bible.- (you can look those up allover I'm sure as there are no shortage of them)
If you refuse to accept history you are silly because you are turning a blind eye to things that you can learn from, and your limitting your comprehension of the world and existance, to one puny generation- yours- what a smallminded way to look at the world and existance.
IN LIFE A PERSON HAS TO CHOICES- TO BELIEVE THERE IS A G-D AND AFTERLIFE- OR NOT TOO.
Unless G-d reveals Himseld miraculaously during our lives- there will be one time that we'll find out whose right- once we die.
If I was mistaken- what did I lose? I lead a happy and meaningful life anyways.
If you were mistaken- well that would have been a bad mistake- becasue YOU WILL SUFFER ETERNALLY!!
G-d's existance is proven enough, that you can't say when you die- "well G-d You didn't prove yourself!"
The honest truth is- you cant ACCEPT His existance.
You foolishly sell yourself to this evolution THEORY,- it is still only a theory- that was discovered less than two centuries ago- when thousands of more brilliant people than you- would never sell themselves to your foolishness.

Ksil said...

Nat, you didnt tell me that you were secular!!! That makes sense....

natschuster said...

Ksil:

If by "secular" you mean that I value chesed, then you are right. But that woudl be an oxymoron, since religious people value chesed so much more than religious people.

Anonymous said...

Oh wow, where to begin on this hilarious piece of bad reasoning. Firstly, the universe is not finely tuned for anything resembling what we know of as life. Most of the universe is a nearly desolate vacuum (in other words, not a great place for anything to live)(In addition, only 25% (of the surface area) of our very own planet is a livable zone for our particular species). Regarding abiogenesis, you are right at least in that we don't know exactly how abiogenesis works (mostly because we have no way of replicating conditions on the Earth 3.5~4 billion years ago, however, this does not mean you get to plug your god in as an answer. That's called the god of the gaps fallacy and does literally nothing to help actually answer the question.) As far as evolution and intelligent life, large numbers by themselves easily impress most people, it's just unfortunate then that most numbers thrown out like the ones you presented are entirely meaningless. One could very easily show how low probability means practically nothing in the larger scale. The chances that you are going to receive a royal flush in a game of poker is 649,350 to 1; or .000154%. This doesn't mean that royal flushes never happen (or that they are miracle if they do). You could do the same thing with the probabilities of what 100 select individuals are going to do in their daily activities. The probability that they will have done everything they did (pinpointing exactly when each person inhaled/for how long/when they exhaled and literally every other action they took) will be astronomically low. Your large numbers may be impressive to a layman, however, to anyone with the ability to use critical thinking skills, it will be seen for what it actually is. You (and presumably your side) being entirely unable to actually present an answer and prove it (in regards to things like; How do we know a designer was involved, what exactly did it do to interfere, what reasons do we have to infer that this designer exists at all?)

jewish philosopher said...

OK, so why don't you take a shot at it: what is the chance that advanced, intelligent life would exist without God involved in creating it?

First of all, what is that chance that the universe would be created with laws which would make stars, planets, carbon, water, etc possible?

Secondly, once that happened, what is the chance of bacteria being forming anywhere in the universe spontaneously?

Thirdly, what is the chance of those bacteria gradually morphing into advanced, intelligent life through an unguided process of mutations and natural selection? 

Then multiply all those three astronomically unlikely chances together to get one total infinitely small chance.

Anonymous said...

Wouldn't something require "laws" simply to sustain existence?

Aren't all the things that are not-existing not following the "laws" that keep other things in place?

jewish philosopher said...

"Wouldn't something require "laws" simply to sustain existence?"

Not if there is no lawgiver.

Anonymous said...

You still don't quite see it do you? You are the one with a position to defend here. The point of the last post was to get you to understand that the fact that something is statistically unlikely does not in any way mean that it can't (or in this case did not) happen. You are the one throwing out probabilities, how about you actually defend them instead of trying to shift the burden of proof. Say for a moment (and just for the sake of argument) that it is extremely unlikely for things to occur as they have, how does that in any way confirm the existence of a designer (much less show how this designer did any of the things it supposedly did). If you don't have an answer to those then you don't really have any kind of reasonable point to start arguing that a designer did anything. As it turns out scientists actually have started to understand abiogenesis (although granted it may not be exactly how it happened on Earth and the science is still in it's infancy). We have shown that the basic components of things like DNA can form entirely on their own under certain conditions. See this is useful scientific research and many many hypotheses will be tested (and most will be thrown out). This is how you build a base of knowledge around a subject. The idea of a designer doesn't lead to any more understanding. In a practical sense you are saying it cannot be understood so here is a deity who I claim can and did create and manipulate life. It simply isn't useful.

natschuster said...

Lots of evolutionary evidence is based on "evolution of the gaps." For we don't know why the recursive laryngial nerve goes under the aorta, so it couldn't have been designed. If Gaps reasoning is acceptabel for evolutionists, why isn't it good enough for deists.

Jeff said...

Richard Feynman once said, regarding the anthropic principle, that its like claiming that a puddle hole is perfectly fine tuned and shaped for the water that it holds.

Life is fine tuned to the universe/earth, not vice versa.

jewish philosopher said...

"The idea of a designer doesn't lead to any more understanding. In a practical sense you are saying it cannot be understood so here is a deity who I claim can and did create and manipulate life. It simply isn't useful." 

Let's say I were to win the national lottery one thousand times in a row. Or let's say I was put in front of a firing squad one hundred times in a row and all the bullets always missed.

A rational observer might remark "You know, I think this is not merely chance. I think that someone is purposefully arranging for the results to turn out like this." 

So would you, the strict rationalist and scientist, respond "The idea of a designer doesn't lead to any more understanding. In a practical sense you are saying it cannot be understood so there is an intelligent agent who I claim can and did manipulate what is happening here. It simply isn't useful." 

This is absurd and you are only suggesting it because of a deep seated emotional prejudice against God. When a series of very unlikely events occur which all accomplish a certain purpose we naturally assume the presence of an intelligent designer controlling them.

"Life is fine tuned to the universe/earth, not vice versa."

So you claim that in a universe with for example no stars, complex, intelligent life could just as easily appeared but in a different form? Actually, even on a planet not so different from earth such as Mars we still find no trace of life, let alone highly complex, intelligent life. (Although "My Favorite Martian" was great classic TV.)

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

natschuster said...

Jeff:

Any shaped hole can hold water. If you change any one of ~100 parameters in out universe, then life wouldn't be possible. For example, the proton and the electron have charges of the same magnitude. But the proton is 10^37 times bigger than the electron. That makes no sense. But if either the charge of the proton or electron was off slghtly, or the mass was different atoms couldn't form, and there would be no life. There are a lot more coincidences like this. Makes ya think.

natschuster said...

Anonnymous:

The basic components of RNA (not DNA) where produced under very precisely controlled laboratory conditions. The only reason it was significant is that they got around a chemical problem that made forming RNA in nature impossible. It's a big jump form the lab to nature. And its an even bigger jump from nucleotides to a self replicating RNA.

ksil said...

nat, your missing the point on the puddle. the shape of that water, is that shape exactly! if the hole changes, then the shape of the water would not be the same....you dont get that?

"what is the chance that advanced, intelligent life would exist without God involved in creating it?" well, it happened. so it doesnt matter! like the lottery winner

"what is that chance that the universe would be created with laws which would make stars, planets, carbon, water, etc possible? well, it happened! so it doesnt matter! like the lottery winner

"what is the chance of those bacteria gradually morphing into advanced, intelligent life through an unguided process of mutations and natural selection?" it happaned! so it doesnt matter! like the lottery winner

what is the chance some invisble man in the sky waved a magic wand and POOF we are here! then he gave some random nomadic people in the desert a book on top of a mountain one day?!? and wants them to wear black hats and furry hats and strings magic underwear?!?! and shake a lemon and waste their life reading books that have nothing to do with anything?

Jeff said...

"Any shaped hole can hold water"

No, not THAT SAME puddle of water. It was a specially shaped hole that holds the specifically shaped blob of water perfectly.

We are the blob, and the universe is the hole.

If the universe was different, whatever it contains would be different. Maybe we would call it something else. "life" is our concept, which you are pre-specifying.

Perhaps a slightly better analogy would be:

A certain plant will grow to a certain size, according to the pot size, the soil conditions, amount of sun present, the temperature and humidity. We would say, "the plant is adapted to the conditions x,y, and z mentioned above"

We wouldn't say, "the pot size, cloud conditions and humidity is perfectly matched and adapted to the plant".

jewish philosopher said...

"well, it happened. so it doesnt matter! like the lottery winner"

If you won the national lottery a hundred times in a row, or even twice, I guarantee that you would be very carefully investigated for fraud. Why? It happened, so what's the problem?

When a series of very unlikely events occur which all accomplish a certain purpose we naturally assume the presence of an intelligent designer controlling them.

"what is the chance some invisble man in the sky waved a magic wand and POOF we are here! then he gave some random nomadic people in the desert a book on top of a mountain one day?!? and wants them to wear black hats and furry hats and strings magic underwear?!?! and shake a lemon and waste their life reading books that have nothing to do with anything?"

What's the chance of some guy named "George" with a wig and false teeth kicking the most powerful empire in the world out of America? Since we know it happened the chance is 100%.

ksil said...

"Since we know it happened the chance is 100%."

exactly! you are finally coming around.

all that religious stuff is just man made bullshit. you are lucky we live in a free country and can follow this rdiciulousness for you entire life and waste it way if you like....have fun with that

jewish philosopher said...

Please don't blog when you're drunk or stoned.

I just pointed out that just like the American Revolution is an historical fact and not a matter of chance, so is the giving of the Torah at Mount Sinai.

natschuster said...

Guys:

The shape of the puddle doesn't make a difference. There is a difference between a universe with life and universe with non-life.

natschuster said...

If you look at a factory where microchips are made, it is designed just so. Maybe the factory was made by accident, and it just so happens to accomodate microchips. Its possible.

And a plant could grow under different conditions. Nothing like life could exist in a different universe.

Jeff said...

JP,

"If you won the national lottery a hundred times in a row.."

Last I heard there was only one big bang, and only one earth. What one hundred times?

You and Nat either do not understand probability, or deny its existence.

If you flip a coin 20 times, the chance of any particular combination of heads or tails is the SAME as getting ALL heads or ALL tails-- about 1 in a million.

Yet you will always get one of the unlikely particular combinations.

Similarly, the universe would always produce SOMETHING, even though that particular something is highly unlikely. In our case it happened to be something we call "life".

Perhaps in your view there is no such thing as chance, even in flipping a coin. Either there is chance or there is not.

natschuster said...

Its interesting how skeptics will say that probabilities don't matter when talking about the anthropic principle or abiogenesis or evolution since it already happened, but G-d is improbable so they can't believe. Do probabilities matter or don't they? And the whole point of G-d is that He is not subject to the laws of nature, math, and probabilities, so the argument doesn't even start.

jewish philosopher said...

Many laws of nature must be just right for life to have a possibility of existing

http://rareuniverse.org/evidence_for_creation/finetuned.html

then many fortunate accidents must happen for life to actually arise

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/02/22/science/22origins.html

next an endless chain of small de novo genetic mutations which increase fertility would have to occur one after another to transform primitive life into complex life with a human level of intelligence, and those seem to actually occur to one organism in trillions

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/E._coli_long-term_evolution_experiment

We see here many unlikely events all accomplishing a certain purpose. 

So the existence of intelligent life happening by chance might be compared easily to consecutively winning thousands of lotteries. Try convincing the lottery board that you're just a heck of a lucky guy or that SOMEONE had to win. By the third or fourth jackpot win you'll be in prison.

Anonymous said...

Actually, for skeptics the probabilities are enormously important. But the anthropic principle, for example, isn't about probabilities--at least as creationists use it.

An illustration: if my wife and I decide to have another child, there is a likelihood that we will succeed, and there is a certain likelihood that a certain egg and a certain sperm will constitute that success. Our future child may marvel at the "miracle" of her/his having been exceedingly fortunate that of all the possible sperm and all the possible eggs, those two perfect forms happened to conjoin to make him/her. From her/his point of view, existence is truly miraculous, but from the point of view of the parents...well, something was probably going to happen. And whatever happened would be just like what has happened to billions upon billions of other couples throughout history.

As for "the whole point about God," you are correct that the non-starter if God is not subject to nature, math or probability. That's the atheists' point, too.

jewish philosopher said...

".well, something was probably going to happen"

So you're saying that intelligent life is no more "purposeful" than any other random clump of subatomic particles.

So by extension, your heart for example has no purpose. Therefore you should not mind giving me your address and allowing me to come and remove it. Thousands of people waiting for a transplant would love to have it. 

Anonymous said...

'So you're saying that intelligent life is no more "purposeful" than any other random clump of subatomic particles.'

That's not what I said, but feel free to interpret anything so as to suit your pre-set agenda.

Anonymous said...

"A rational observer might remark "You know, I think this is not merely chance. I think that someone is purposefully arranging for the results to turn out like this."" Ok fantastic, we have a start for you to fully explain what exactly is doing these things, how it is doing them, and perhaps most importantly what exactly this designer is and how you know that.

First off, don't blame your lack of any evidence for the existence of some kind of designer as me simply hating it. Frankly, I don't care what your god is and couldn't hate it any more than I would hate any other fictional character (and whether or not I would hate it depends entirely on how you define it and how it supposedly acts).

"When a series of very unlikely events occur which all accomplish a certain purpose we naturally assume the presence of an intelligent designer controlling them." The problem here is that again, you haven't demonstrated any such designer and frankly no, I will not give you the idea that any of the events that have occurred since the beginning of the universe were done for the expressed purpose of us being here. You have not demonstrated that to be the case.

"So you claim that in a universe with for example no stars, complex, intelligent life could just as easily appeared but in a different form?" Not at all, a universe without stars (assuming it had the same exact laws of physics of the universe we do live in) would be quite different. I sincerely doubt anyone on this planet has sufficient knowledge to know what any other universe would look like though. As it turns out, if you don't actually know the answer to something, the best answer to give is "I don't know," not "god did it". But more importantly, you are still assigning a purpose for the stars to be there. You are asserting that we are the intended end result and that is the highest form of narcissism. The fact that large nuclear fusion reactors happen to produce heavier elements that we and most of Earth itself are made of does not in any way imply that the star starting burning with us as the product in mind. Your assumption is baseless, unless of course you care to demonstrate said designer and how exactly it did the things it did.

Lastly, it's good to see you missed entirely the point about probabilities. Statistics and probabilities are great for understanding things, but can also be used quite easily out of context to say or mean entirely different things. The point I made about the random 100 people and doing the probabilities for each and every thing they did for an entire day was to show that something with a ridiculously low probability of happening (in this case that each individual did all of the things they did in the order they did them) does not mean that it is come kind of miracle or design that it happened. The fact that the universe ended up as it is is simply not enough to say that everything was done with us in mind. As far as your comment on Mars is concerned, I'm glad to see that we've explored enough of the trillions upon trillions of stars with planetary systems for you to comfortably say that life is either only on this planet or so exceedingly rare as to suggest that the rest of the trillions upon trillions of stars were only made to make the night look pretty for us.

So once more, in summation. Before you go on making baseless assumptions about the universe being made by a designer, you still have to show that this designer exists somehow (and ideally exactly what this designer did or did not do and how it did it). If you can't do those things then you don't have any useful explanation, you have a god of the gaps. (Mind you that isn't a good thing, it puts your god on the same level as "Zeus is the reason for lightning!" back when humanity saw most things in the universe as entirely incomprehensible)

jewish philosopher said...

"That's not what I said,"

What did you say?

"Before you go on making baseless assumptions about the universe being made by a designer, you still have to show that this designer exists somehow"

I did. A series of numerous very unlikely things have happened which serve the purpose of creating life. It's similar to me winning the lottery a hundred times in a row. A series of numerous very unlikely things have happened which serve the purpose of making me rich. Obviously I cheated somehow. It's not happening by chance.

natschuster said...

Anonymous:

Since there are billions of sperm cells, then the chances of any sperm cell hitting the egg are pretty good. But if you picked just one sperm cell out of billions, and that one was the one that fertilized the egg, then we would start wondering.

And it isn't the stars that have the end result of life in mind. It was the desinger of the stars who arrainged the all the laws of physics just so, got just the right amount of mass in the universe, and tinkered with gravity at the galactic level, (dark matter, which violates the laws of physics) so that the star density owuld be just right at the right time, who had us in mind.

Anonymous said...

I think the area of how the Bible came to be the Bible is best covered by orthodox Jew James Kugel.

He basically sees an intricate process, beginning hundreds of years before the Hebrew Bible was complete, that eventually turned stories into the Bible we now hold and consider a guide to our spiritual lives.

I think a debate between JP and JK would be cool.

Tuvia

jewish philosopher said...

Yes, bring me this heretic.

ksil said...

"It's similar to me winning the lottery a hundred times in a row."

no its not

jewish philosopher said...

Why not?

Anonymous said...

"Yes, bring me this heretic."

See here: http://larrytanner.blogspot.com/search/label/James%20Kugel

jewish philosopher said...

He's just one more bible critic.

Anonymous said...

And an orthodox jew

ksil said...

"Why not?"

speaking of sperm and eggs....its like going back 1,000 years, retracing all the sperm and eggs that have merged out of the billions and billions and have now created you, jew philo...going back and looking and the probability of all of those people being created with those particular characteristics leading all the way to you would be so small, you couldnt even measure it, yet it HAPPENED! you are here!

capiche?

jewish philosopher said...

"its like going back 1,000 years, retracing all the sperm and eggs"

So you're saying that intelligent life is no more "purposeful" than any other random clump of subatomic particles, just like my being born is no more purposeful than any other person being born. Therefore, life doesn't require a designer.

So by extension, your heart for example has no purpose. Therefore you should not mind giving me your address and allowing me to come and remove it. Thousands of people waiting for a transplant would love to have it. 

"And an orthodox jew"

I think he actually is Conservative.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Conservative_Judaism#Revelation

Anonymous said...

Anon A (explained later)

"I did. A series of numerous very unlikely things have happened which serve the purpose of creating life. It's similar to me winning the lottery a hundred times in a row." No, you didn't. As I explained, just because something is unlikely statistically it doesn't mean it is a miracle when it happens. You have not demonstrated that we are the purpose for any of the things that have happened in the universe. Once more, you still need to prove that we are the ultimate purpose of the universe's existence if you are going to say that all of the things that happened before humanity arose did so with us as the ultimate purpose in mind. (Not to mention you still need to support the unsupported notion that we have to be the only (or one of the only) living things in the universe)

You still haven't explained what the rest of the trillions of stars are doing existing at all either. Your deity is rather sloppy if it took him making that many galaxies only to ultimately make us. You are taking the universe as it is and trying to stick it in the confines of the idea that we are the ultimate creation. Your doing exactly the opposite of what one should do when trying to prove something. You are starting with the assumption that you already have the correct answer and trying to fit everything else into that explanation. That's not how it works.

And just to pick on some of the other things you've put to me (as your last post was the most lackluster attempt you've put forward so far)

"Secondly, once that happened, what is the chance of bacteria being forming anywhere in the universe spontaneously?" You really need to read up on the current scientific thoughts on abiogenesis, no one in their right mind claims this. (ie. bacteria didn't just poof into existence on the Earth either (or at least there is no good reason to think so, unless of course you think you can provide one)

Oh, and "That's not what I said." Is from a different anon. I'll make it easier by becoming anonymous "A".

jewish philosopher said...

The way it works is that if a series of incredibly unlikely events happen which all serve to accomplish a certain purpose, then we know that some intelligent designer planned it and arranged for those things to happen. Winning a national lottery ten times in a row would be considered clear evidence of cheating, for example.

natschuster said...

Anonymous at 11:51:

I understand you to be saying that a big universe could not have been designed to accomodate life. But the Great Pyramid was desigend to hold the body of one dead Pharaoh. The Taj Mahal was built to hold the body of one dead queen. We know fro studying designed things that the size of a designed objects doesn't always correlate with its function.

Jeff said...

"So you're saying that intelligent life is no more "purposeful" than any other random clump of subatomic particles,"

From a cosmic perspective, it has no more purpose than a river or a mountain. It just is. Who says everything has to have a purpose? That is philosophy, not fact.

"So by extension, your heart for example has no purpose."

Poor analogy. Just because something is important to me doesn't mean it has a purpose, other than to me. From a cosmic perspective, or to anybody else it may be meaningless. I value the tree in my back yard. I value the beach near me. To anybody else, or to the cosmos, does it have a "purpose"?

Its really circular reasoning. God created it so it must have a purpose. It has purpose so God must have created it.

Anonymous said...

Anon A

"The way it works is that if a series of incredibly unlikely events happen which all serve to accomplish a certain purpose..." See, there it is again. "...to accomplish a certain purpose..." Again, how do you know that we are some sort of intended purpose? As far as I can tell so far, the only reason to think that we were intended to be is if you couple it with the concept of a deity who purposely made us as such. A deity which you have not shown to exist. This is what your argument looks like from here. 1. We are an unlikely outcome if we were intended from the beginning to exist; 2. We are intended to be because you either believe that; a. we must have a purpose for existing (unsubstantiated) or b. a deity wanted us to exist; 3. (assuming b) that deity exists because we are unlikely.

So far it looks like you've either hit a road block in logic (a) or you've made a completely circular argument (b).

Anonymous said...

Anon A, to natschuster.

While I can agree that the size of a design does not always correlate to the intended function, this is on a slightly different scale than 1 human to 1 pyramid. (On a side note, one correction to my previous comment, it's more in the upper part of the 100 billions of galaxies, not quite trillions) The supposed creator (on this blog) of this universe is asserted to be omnipotent. This means it is constrained by nothing in terms of the limits of it's abilities. Do a bit of research and look at the size of our galaxy alone in comparison to our particular planet (much less the entirety of the universe). Or, you know, don't, the scales are so ridiculous that the human mind cannot relate in any kind of sensible fashion to the scale at all.

Suffice to say, we are infinitesimally small compared to the universe as a whole for no apparent reason. The Old and New Testaments do absolutely nothing to speak to the scale of the universe or why Yahweh bothered making all of it if we are the only particularly important beings in the whole of it. It makes exactly 0 sense.

Anonymous said...

Anon A,

Upon a bit further reflection on the discussion here, I feel it might be useful (or insightful at least into how my side might think as opposed to yours) to throw out a scenario that would speak more directly to us having been designed or simply poofed into being.

I might actually be more convinced of our supposed greater purpose in the universe, if say, we were the only solar system (or if it were simply the Earth, Moon, and Sun). If it was just our lonely outpost in what was otherwise a seemingly empty void, the idea that we were designed might seem more plausible. With nothing else in the universe (or rather, us being almost the entirety of it), there would be nothing but guesses as to where everything came from. There would be no theories of stars exploding and creating heavier elements that make up what we know as matter today. There couldn't be, there would be no examples of stars exploding, or for that matter, any reason to think there were other stars. The explanations would come down to 1. We were poofed into existence by something 2. (Well, I don't know. Assuming the laws of physics were the same, we'd have no idea or place to start to understand our existence at all).

jewish philosopher said...

"From a cosmic perspective, it has no more purpose"

"Just because something is important to me doesn't mean it has a purpose,"

Would this be your defense when being investigated for winning a national lottery 100 times consecutively? 

If a series of incredibly unlikely events happen which all serve to accomplish a certain purpose, then we know that some intelligent designer planned it and arranged for those things to happen.

Just to take one example from recent history:

At 9:03 am local time on 9/11/2001, a second airplane hit the World Trade Center.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_Airlines_Flight_175 

At 9:05 am Chief of Staff Andrew Card whispers to the president, "A second plane hit the second tower. America is under attack."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Timeline_for_the_day_of_the_September_11_attacks#9:00_a.m.

President Bush accepted that statement as fact.

Now if Mr Bush had been an atheist, apparently he would have rejected that conclusion as ridiculous. 

First of all, he would have invoked the "Ultimate 747 Gambit": The idea that terrorists designed these attacks immediately raises the larger problem of who designed the terrorists.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ultimate_Boeing_747_gambit#Dawkins.27s_statement

Additionally, he would have observed that from a cosmic perspective, two planes hitting two buildings within a few minutes has no more purpose than a river or a mountain. It just is. Who says everything has to have a purpose? That is philosophy, not fact. Just because something is important to me doesn't mean it happened on purpose.

Further, he would have argued, how do you know that there was some sort of intended purpose? As far as I can tell so far, the only reason to think that these planes were intended to crash is if you couple it with the concept of a group of terrorists  who purposely made them do such. A terrorist group which you have not shown to exist. This is what your argument looks like from here. 1. The crashes are an unlikely outcome if the planes were intended from the beginning to crash; 2. They were intended to crash because you either believe that; a. the crashes must have a purpose for occurring (unsubstantiated) or b. a terrorist group wanted it to happen; 3. (assuming b) that terrorist group exists because the crashes are unlikely.

Also, I might actually be more convinced of the airline crashes supposed greater purpose in the world, if say, New York were the only city. If it was just one lonely city in what was otherwise a seemingly empty planet, the idea that the crashes were designed might seem more plausible.

Isn't it strange that no else seems to think about anything else in the same way that atheists think about God? Atheists have invented their own special rules for dealing with this one subject which they are desperate to avoid dealing with. That's exactly what addicts do who want to deny having an addiction. 

Jeff said...

"Would this be your defense when being investigated for winning a national lottery 100 times consecutively? "

If I lived for 13.75 billion years, and played the lottery over and over again every single millisecond for 13.75 billion years, in every single square centimeter of the universe, it would be a good defense.

That is also the flaw in your 9-11 example.

Highly improbable things happen all the time. It is not a proof of purpose.

jewish philosopher said...

So if you were President Bush on the morning of 9/11, you would have explained to the Chief of Staff "Andy, listen. The universe is so huge and so old, apparently purposefully coincidences like two jet planes striking two neighboring buildings within minutes of each other are bound to happen from time to time! I see no reason to jump to any assumptions. Until these supposed "hijackers" come to the White House and personally prove to me that they exist, I'm going to continue going about my business as usual. Except I'm replacing you, Andy, with someone who has studied some philosophy!"

Jeff said...

Your analogy is totally fucked up.

Jets are man made machines operated by people, and therefore aren't stochastic. They presuppose human control and intention, because we already know, a priori, that they are controlled by a pilot. If millions of pilotless planes just flew around randomly, blindly obeying the laws of physics, I imagine that crashing into tall buildings wouldn't be so unusual.

OTOH, the universe operates according to the laws of physics and probability. There is no pilot, unless you assume the premise (which would be an unjustified jump in logic--the same circular reasoning that you employed before)

The bottom line-- in stochastic systems unlikely things happen all the time. Meteors hit earth. Weather records are constantly being broken. And some lucky bastard who really needs the money wins a lottery.

And life evolves.

jewish philosopher said...

"Jets are man made machines operated by people, and therefore aren't stochastic."

That's another problem with your beliefs. According to you, jet pilots have no free will

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1451683405/

and therefore a crashing plane is no different than a meteor.

I, on the other hand, believe that God controls everything so nothing is deterministic. 

You can't win the argument that God doesn't exist by beginning with the premise that God doesn't exist, but nice try. If you like you can go through my complete list of logical fallacies.

http://www.torahphilosophy.com/2009/06/post-about-comments.html

Anyway, bottom line, even just two unlikely events (large jet planes crashing into office building) which both accomplish a certain purpose (killing a lot of Americans) immediately convinced everyone of the existence an intelligent designer (in this case Osama bin Laden, may he rot in hell). Clearly all the millions of unlikely events necessary to produce intelligent life, as summarized in this post, prove that God made us. 

Anonymous said...

Anon A,

I find it amusing that you actually posted the comment showing your logic is flawed and then did nothing to try and defend your logic. I'll take it it's not a tacit admission that your thinking is flawed though.

Going to the lottery analogy your so fond of, it doesn't work as an analogy to the universe if you are not presuming that human beings were intended. An analogy that might be closer to the universe (when not assuming that we were intended) would be that on any given week, someone in the world (or even just in the states) wins the lottery. Each time it happens it's an extremely unlikely outcome for the individual, but on the whole, people winning the lottery is not all that uncommon. It may be unlikely that our particular planetoid survived the early stages of our solar system's beginning, but certainly not impossible. (etc etc for any individual event occurring in the universe)

In short, that analogy better represents the universe as it is, unless of course you can do something to substantiate the idea that we were in fact an intended consequence. Otherwise your argument is falling flat on it's face.

jewish philosopher said...

"Going to the lottery analogy your so fond of, it doesn't work as an analogy to the universe if you are not presuming that human beings were intended."

The occurrence of many unlikely things which all accomplish a certain purpose is the proof of intent.

At 9:03 am local time on 9/11/2001, a second airplane hit the World Trade Center.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_Airlines_Flight_175 

When one plane hit one tower, everyone assumed it was an accident - no intelligent designer. However, even just two unlikely events (large jet planes crashing into office building) which both accomplish a certain purpose (killing a lot of Americans) immediately convinced everyone of the existence an intelligent designer (in this case Osama bin Laden, may he rot in hell).

Clearly all the millions of unlikely events necessary to produce intelligent life, as summarized in this post, prove that God made us. 

johnny shoe said...

Anonymous at 2:32

Khufu designed the Great Pyramid all out of proportion for its function to show hos own greatness. The Raj built the Taj Mahal to show his love for his wife. So maybe G-d made this Universe so big to show how important life is to him.

Astronomers have found lots of exo=planets. But the majority of exo-planets are very different than Earth. They are much bigger, and orbit too close to the sun to have life. Our solar system has a planet of just the right size at just the right distance. IT also has big planets at the right distance to protect us from comets. We also have a moon of just the right size and distance to stabilize our rotation, without causing too many tidal problems. So it look like our solar system and Earth-Moon system really are unique.

Anonymous said...

Anon A

"The occurrence of many unlikely things which all accomplish a certain purpose is the proof of intent." So, when somebody whens the lottery every week, that is evidence of some sort of being purposefully making each random person win the lottery? My point with this analogy is that it is astronomically unlikely that each and every person who wins the lottery in a year would have done so. It would be nigh impossible (and perhaps even a demonstration of true foresight) to have predicted each winner for a year (or for that matter to intentionally make each person win). It is merely a series of unconnected events. Each in it's own right perhaps unlikely for a person, but on the whole, the fact that someone wins the lottery every week is not uncommon. You, I'm afraid, are simply wrong about this. You still need to demonstrate that we, as living beings, are some kind of intended purpose.

The fact that the universe existed before us and that after a long series of events (something in the neighborhood of 13.5 billion years worth of events) we eventually became the current state of the "present" does not itself imply intention. You simply need more than what is provided so far.

The fact that our particular star exists is not fantastic or unlikely, it's one of trillions and trillions of them. The fact that our planet exists is not unlikely (likely many billions or even trillions of them exist). The fact that our planet sits where it does has less to do with intention and more to do with gravity and the interactions with other heavenly bodies. None of these things speak to any kind of intention. Especially not if they are explainable by natural occurrences.

Jeff said...

"Anyway, bottom line, even just two unlikely events (large jet planes crashing into office building) which both accomplish a certain purpose (killing a lot of Americans) immediately convinced everyone of the existence an intelligent designer"

Only because we know that planes are piloted by humans. Without that foreknowledge you would not have that same conclusion, as I demonstrated in my previous comment.

"That's another problem with your beliefs. According to you, jet pilots have no free will"

That's called, "changing the subject". The free will issue is another debate. Suffice to say that we know that there is a causative agent, the pilot.

"You can't win the argument that God doesn't exist by beginning with the premise that God doesn't exist, but nice try"

Oh yes you can, since the burden of proof is on the person who claims something does exist, since a negative cannot be proven.

JP, I know you are a skeptic of human knowledge. Great. However, if you were truly a consistent skeptic, you would understand that ALL human knowledge (including religion), and ALL reality, as we perceive it, is uncertain and may be just an illusion. So we all pick our illusions, don't we? We are free to pick the illusion that suits us. Yes, I admit that even science is an illusion-- a human construct.

Jeff said...

Until meteorology came along, god was the default explanation for storms and seasons.

Until geology came along, god was the default explanation for earthquakes.

Until bacteria were discovered, god/spirits were the default explanation for diseases.

Until neurochemistry came along, god/evil spirits were the default explanation for mental illness.

Until Darwin came along, god/gods were the default explanation for the origin of species.

Until cosmology and astrophysics developed, god was the default explanation for the universe and its characteristics.

Until probability mathematics came along, god was the default
explanation for apparently random events.

So what's the problem?

jewish philosopher said...

"the fact that someone wins the lottery every week is not uncommon"

Because those random wins spread out over many people accomplish no single purpose.

"None of these things speak to any kind of intention."

The chain of unlikely events leading to the creation of intelligent life, rather than any other random clump of particles, indicates intention and purposefulness.

"Only because we know that planes are piloted by humans."

Maybe they were or maybe they were on autopilot.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Autopilot#Modern_autopilots 

Apparently on some commercial airliners the pilots are actually asleep.

http://abcnews.go.com/Blotter/pilot-fatigue-crash-pads-threaten-safety-airline-passengers/t/story?id=12874949

"Oh yes you can, since the burden of proof is on the person who claims something does exist, since a negative cannot be proven."

You are assuming in advance that the intelligent design option cannot be right, "the universe operates according to the laws of physics and probability. There is no pilot" equivalent to insisting that the planes on 9/11 must have been on autopilot and there are no hijackers. Why assume that? Every person watching the events unfold saw immediately intelligent design behind the events on 9/11.

"Until meteorology came along, god was the default explanation for storms and seasons."

This is just a straw man. You are creating the illusion of having refuted a proposition by replacing it with a superficially similar yet unequivalent proposition (the "straw man"), and refuting it, without ever having actually refuted the original position.

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

You are implying that prior to modern science, Jews believed that all events were supernatural and occurred completely at random based upon God's whim at the moment. Science has demonstrated that the universe is deterministic and in fact every event can be predicted provided that we have all the necessary information. 

In fact, Jews have always believed that the universe generally functions according to the laws of nature. The Creator endowed the universe with physical properties, and sustains the natural order, and any act of providence involves, by definition, an intrusion into the laws of nature. In the absence of providential interference, cause and effect governs the affairs of the universe.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Divine_providence_(Judaism)#Nachmanides

Determinism is a philosophy stating that for everything that happens there are conditions such that, given them, nothing else could happen. This however has not been proven by science.

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

Therefore there is no conflict between modern science and Judaism.

Again, you're welcome to just continue working your way down my list of logical fallacies.

http://www.torahphilosophy.com/2009/06/post-about-comments.html

Jeff said...

"Apparently on some commercial airliners the pilots are actually asleep."

yes but they are programmed and operated by people.

"Therefore there is no conflict between modern science and Judaism."

I agree with that statement, but not for the same reasons that you have.

"This is just a straw man"

The purpose of that list was to show that there are many examples where naturalistic explanations replaced ones that werent. So cosmology and evolution are just further examples of that, and don't have to contradict faith unless you want them to.

As I said, one can arguably hold that EVERYTHING is an illusion, or at the very least, a human construct imagined by our brains, and therefore you can rationally choose any belief system you want.

In my case the construct I choose is the one that assumes that something doesn't exist until it is proven to exist, within our limitations.

jewish philosopher said...

"yes but they are programmed and operated by people."

An atheist, however, to be consistent with his belief that everything is an accident  regardless of how unlikely and how purposeful it appears to be, should have insisted that two plane crashing or two thousand planes crashing are an accident. Anyway terrorism answers nothing because we are then left with the problem of who designed the terrorists. That would be Occam's Razor - the simple solution is better.

Clearly, atheism is sheer lunacy.

"The purpose of that list was to show that there are many examples where naturalistic explanations replaced ones that werent."

Nothing has been replaced by anything. Jews have always believed that the universe generally functions according to the laws of nature. The Creator endowed the universe with physical properties, and sustains the natural order. In the absence of providential interference, cause and effect governs the affairs of the universe.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Divine_providence_(Judaism)#Nachmanides

Jeff said...

"Clearly, atheism is sheer lunacy."

It explains things much better than teodicy. It explains that the tsunami was random. Theodicy says that it was good, god caused it and that there is somehow divine justice through some imaginary or unknowable calculation in this life or after.

Theodicy says that the victims of your 9-11 example all deserved to die, their loved ones deserved to suffer, and Osama bib Laden was carrying out divine will, he was doing a mitzvah.

Now THAT is lunacy, my friend!

natschuster said...

anonymous at 10:32:

It looks like our solar system is unique. It doesn't fit the observed pattern. And some of the fine tuning is not the result of the laws of physics. For example, if the amount of mass was slightly greater than it is, the universe would have recollapsed shortly before the big bang. If it was slightly less, then the universe would have expanded too fat for stars to form. No law says that the mass has to be what it is, And the number protons and electrons in the universe is roughly the same. If it wasn't, stars couldn't form. Protons and electrons are very different particles. There is no reason that they should appear in the same numbers. But they do. And there should have been equal amounts of matter and anti-matter. But our universe is all matter. Either fine-tuning, or we just got really lucky,

jewish philosopher said...

"he was doing a mitzvah."

No, "mitzvah" means commandment and we are commanded not to murder. Yet, if someone is in any case destined to die, we are given the free will opportunity to murder him.

"Now THAT is lunacy, my friend!"

This is an atheist standby:

There can't be a God because if there were He would surely treat me much better than life is treating me now.

This is an argument from incredulity:

P is too incredible (or: I cannot imagine how P could possibly be true); therefore P must be false.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Argument_from_ignorance#Argument_from_incredulity.2FLack_of_imagination

jewish philosopher said...

Just to summarize:
According to atheism the universe (or actually the multiverse) has existed eternally, thereby violating the laws of thermodynamics.

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

Alternatively, the universe created itself from nothing, violating the law of conservation of matter and energy.

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

Following this, through an incredibly unlikely series of accidents, intelligent life developed.

Many laws of nature must be just right for life to have a possibility of existing

http://rareuniverse.org/evidence_for_creation/finetuned.html

then many fortunate accidents must happen for life to actually arise

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/02/22/science/22origins.html

next an endless chain of small de novo genetic mutations which increase fertility would have to occur one after another to transform primitive life into complex life with a human level of intelligence, and those seem to actually occur only to one organism in trillions

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/E._coli_long-term_evolution_experiment

The fossil evidence seems to indicate a number of radical changes rather than gradual, slow change. Atheists therefore assumed that sometimes evolution happens very quickly and often it doesn't happen at all.

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

This makes the spontaneous appearance of advanced life even more improbable.

This huge improbability is dismissed by atheists since they claim that the creation of God would be even more unlikely.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ultimate_Boeing_747_gambit

However this argument is based on the assumption, for which there is no evidence, that an eternal, transcendent supreme being cannot exist.

According to atheists, free will is an illusion. We are in fact robot like zombies who actually have no moral responsibility for our behavior.

http://www.naturalism.org/atheism.htm#littlegod

According to atheism, Judaism is basically the fabrication of Ezra the Scribe. Abraham, Moses, etc never even existed.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Bible_with_Sources_Revealed#Comparison_with_Wellhausen

According to atheism, Ezra possessed an almost magical ability to control information and human behavior. Therefore he was able to instantly convince the entire far flung Jewish community as well as the Samaritan community who were enemies of the Jews that their earlier traditions were wrong and that his new Torah was authentic.

http://www.criticalthinkeracademy.com/2011/tct-017-critical-thinking-about-conspiracies-part-2/

This long list of crazy, baseless, ridiculous claims makes the Roman Catholic Church for example seem like the ultimate in hard nosed rationalism in comparison to atheism. Atheism is embraced by addicts (drugs, alcohol, sex, etc) as a means of continuing their destructive behavior while feeling no guilt. It is also embraced by scientists as a means of completely discrediting the clergy and proclaiming themselves to be society's leading intellectuals.

Jeff said...

So, rather than honestly struggle with the difficult existential questions regarding randomness, evil, morality and suffering, you simply bypass the problems using your imaginary angry man in the sky and and equally imaginary soul that burns in hell.

Best of luck!

jewish philosopher said...

"your imaginary angry man in the sky and and equally imaginary soul that burns in hell"

That's possibly an argument from incredulity

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Argument_from_ignorance#Argument_from_incredulity.2FLack_of_imagination 

but more likely an appeal to ridicule.

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

So, rather than honestly accepting your responsibilities to your Creator, you simply bypass the problem using your nonsense logical fallacies. 

And by the way, if I'm wrong I really lose nothing. It's well established that monotheists are on the average happier than atheists. While if you're wrong, and you clearly are, you're going to hell forever.

Best of luck! 

Jeff said...

"And by the way, if I'm wrong I really lose nothing."

Ha! What if you're wrong about Jesus or Mohammad? You'll go to hell, too.

You see, that's no way to make a decision.

See you in hell.

Jeff said...

"That's possibly an argument from incredulity"

I call it common sense. Like your duck argument.

My point is that it is actually hard to be an atheist (notwithstanding all of the free sex and drugs). Because you are forced to accept a difficult reality, namely that there is unexplainable evil, bad things happen randomly, and we will all die and most probably suffer doing so. All we can do is try to make the world better and reduce suffering with our own acts.

You, on the other hand, have a nicely wrapped fantasy that allows you to deny these things. God takes care of everything.

jewish philosopher said...

"What if you're wrong about Jesus or Mohammad?"

Actually, both Jesus and Mohammad agreed with me, that God gave the Torah at Mount Sinai. They just claim "But now God told me He cancelled it and my law is the new, improved version." Since then Joseph Smith, founder of Mormonism, has come out with a new new version. I'll let you ponder how reasonable all that is.

"I call it common sense."

No, calling God "your imaginary angry man in the sky" is not sound and prudent judgment based on a simple perception of the situation or facts 

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

but rather it's just ridicule.

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

"All we can do is try to make the world better and reduce suffering with our own acts."

First of all, according to your beliefs you can't try to do anything because you have no free will. You will do whatever nature has programmed you to do.

Secondly, are atheists actually doing that? The most devoutly Godless country today is North Korea. Why don't atheists all move there? I also find it amusing that so many Orthodox Jews who have become atheists remain living for free with Orthodox relatives. Why don't their wonderful new atheist friends take care of them?

"You, on the other hand, have a nicely wrapped fantasy that allows you to deny these things. God takes care of everything."

I invite everyone to change and live the good, easy life like me. 

Jeff said...

" I'll let you ponder how reasonable all that is."

If it is so "unreasonable" there wouldn't be a billion believers.

So, what if you're wrong? Are you willing to gamble, and risk going to hell??

See you actually have a bigger problem than I do. Since you believe in hell, you have to figure out which version is right to keep you from going there. I'd say your formula is no better than any of the others.

Since I, as I explained, reject the existence of things unproven, like hell, I don't have to worry about it!

If i were you I would really be worried. But then, like an alcholic, maybe you live in denial of the possibility that another religion might actually be right, and that you're heading straight for the burning excrement.

The reason I suspect that you aren't afraid, is that you don't actually believe in hell.

jewish philosopher said...

"If it is so "unreasonable" there wouldn't be a billion believers."

Now your trying a new logical fallacy, the appeal to the people which concludes a proposition to be true because many or most people believe it; it alleges: "If many believe so, it is so."

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

Mao may have had a billion believers as well. Are you interested in a copy of The Little Red Book? It is among the books with the largest number printed in history.

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

"reject the existence of things unproven"

Yet you believe that we got here by chance, not intelligent design. As I explain in this post, that's obviously false. So you seem to use something else besides proof to make decisions.  

Jeff said...

"Now your trying a new logical fallacy,"

No, I am not trying to prove truth. I am responding to your statement that other religions are unreasonable-- which speaks to human reason--so if lots of normal people including intelligent ones hold those faiths to be true, you cannot claim that they are not reasonable.

And since so many reasonable people DO consider those faiths to be reasonable and true, your summarily discounting them, at the risk of you possibly going to an eternity in purgatory (which you agree exists), seems unreasonable.

If you do take hell seriously, and you do seem to be cautious about it, it seems that you should worry about these alternative pathways to hell.

Perhaps you should find a way to observe all faiths simultaneously, just to be on the safe side.

Or better, you should do a poll or some research to find out who exactly has gone to hell and who hasn't, to get a better idea of the criteria.

That is how a rational person would make such a decision.

jewish philosopher said...

No, the appeal to the people is a fallacious argument. If it were valid, then at a time in history when most people believed the world was flat, one could have claimed the world is flat because the majority believed it. 

Jeff said...

You are ascribing to me an argument that I am not making. Perhaps that in of itself is a straw man argument :)

I am referring to your portraying other people's beliefs as "unreasonable". I dispute that. I am not asserting that their beliefs are true (clearly to don't believe that they are). But those beliefs are no more unreasonable than yours.

This is not an issue of semantics. It is a statement about perception of reality, and about your unjustified certainty, that your knowledge of hell is perfect and correct. If "reasonableness" is the criterion that you use, well, their are a lot of other "reasonable" choices as well.

You'd better start putting on your 50 SPF sun lotion.

jewish philosopher said...

And I suppose you won't be taking any long distance trips, since, after all the idea that the world is flat was believed for thousands of years by many reasonable people.

Jeff said...

Since our criteria for evidence of the physical nature of the world has changed (and I accept these criteria) i know accept that the world is round and that evolution is the origin of species. But, in its day, the belief that the world is flat was quite reasonable, given what they were able to observe with the tools of the day. Now it is not reasonable, just as it is not reasonable to reject evolution given what we know now.

I no longer accept evidence of ancient books being true unless there is sufficient corroborating evidence, consistent with what we know about science and physics.

As to religion, they are all equally reasonable or unreasonable, depending on your perspective...they all rely on stories of things that violate laws of nature, based on reports of people who understood little about physics, chemistry and biology. Pick your bullshit.

jewish philosopher said...

"But, in its day, the belief that the world is flat was quite reasonable, given what they were able to observe with the tools of the day."

So if 2,300 years ago a Greek philosopher would have shown you with clear evidence and logic that the world is round

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

you would have rejected that because 99.9% of mankind doesn't agree and you are assuming they're right. 

And you would have been wrong.

And you're wrong now.

Anonymous said...

Anon A

"Because those random wins spread out over many people accomplish no single purpose." And if you are agreeing that the universe as a whole is better compared to my last analogy, than it follows that we then are simply one of a series of random "wins" that eventually led to us. That was the point of the analogy.

"The chain of unlikely events leading to the creation of intelligent life, rather than any other random clump of particles, indicates intention and purposefulness." Except you just agreed to the previous analogy for the universe, so it's not something predestined or unlikely. It is just something that will happen in the universe given enough "lotto drawings". That ultimately is the point (btw, you cannot claim to know how likely or unlikely intelligent life is in the universe unless you can demonstrate that you know that life is in fact rare/common/only one single event). So go ahead and take intelligent life out of your probabilities unless your prepared to defend your knowledge on that.

Unless you can show that humanity was predestined (btw, the fact that we exist in and of itself does not do that, no matter how many times you claim otherwise) you cannot claim that we were intended. Logic simply does not work that way.

jewish philosopher said...

"than it follows that we then are simply one of a series of random "wins" that eventually led to us"

Even considering the size and age of the universe, the chance of intelligent life developing spontaneously would still appear to be impossibly small.