Tuesday, November 20, 2012

How to Spot Intelligent Design

 Crockfords Casino - they know design  when they see it

About a month ago an article appeared in the news about Phil Ivey an American professional poker player who is regarded by numerous poker observers and contemporaries as the best all-around player in the world today. 

During two nights of card playing in August, Mr Ivey won £7.3 million at  Crockfords Casino in London. 

The casino refuses to pay. 

The casino apparently believes that this could not have occurred through random chance and therefore some sort of cheating (in other words what might be called "intelligent design") must have been involved, even though every move was observed by an inspector as well as having been recorded on ten cameras and no sign of cheating has been found.

The reason for this is obvious: when a great number of improbable events, such as hundreds of winning hands of cards dealt to a certain player in a matter of hours, are all clearly accomplishing a certain purpose, such as making that player very wealthy, then we can assume that those events are not merely good luck but are being controlled by an intelligent designer, such as a cheating card player.

Therefore when we see the immense improbability of the universe possessing the qualities which would make life possible, of life forming from simple chemicals or of more advanced life evolving from simpler life, we clearly understand that an intelligent designer is involved. So many unlikely events would have to happen separately and all of them accomplishing the purpose of forming intelligent life. This is infinitely more improbable than Mr Ivey's winning streak, which the casino is assuming could not be the result of blind chance.

This cannot be dismissed by arguing "Well, if God did it, then who created God." anymore than Mr Ivey's attorney can argue "Well, if Mr Ivey cheated, then who created Mr Ivey?" The question doesn't make sense. Nor can one argue "Well, some sort of cards had to be dealt. It could have been these as well as any other." because we know that specifically those cards were dealt which served the purpose of enriching Mr Ivey and this implies intelligent design, not mere chance.

45 comments:

Anonymous said...

I just have a question for all you atheists out there, although it is not really related to the post.

If this world has come into existence from purely PHYSICAL matter, without supernatural intervention, you are essentially saying that there is a possibility for only one kind of worldly existence- purely physical.

There is no spirituality or any other kind of otherworldly force guiding creation or the world's upkeep. It can all be only natural science- with the laws of nature- all physical, causing everything.

Yet we all have very strong nonphysical experiences- namely the world of emotions and thoughts.
This is my question-If we live in a purely physical world, as you all seem to claim, then where do we get our emotions from?
Where do we get our thoughts from?

They are not physical- and there is no way to prove their existance on a physical, tangible, sensory level. The way we know they exist is because we all experience them, and relate to each other on those levels.
So we KNOW we have existence other than the purely physical being, no?

In fact, I would venture to suggest that our emotions and thoughts is what causes us to interact and take an interest in the physical world in the first place.
Basically, there are too many dimensions to man's existence, to limit it only to the physical world.
YOu speak of the physical world as if it is the be all and end all of everything. Even if you say you don't, everything you have to back up your arguments as evidence and proof, is purely on the physical level. Yes the physical world is very concrete, and therefore it easy to prove and discuss.
However, we all know and admit that it is not all there is to our existance, in fact it is a minor priority in our lives. relationships, meaning, satisfaction, fulfillment, pleasure- all emotions- drive us so much more strongly.
So how can you claim our whole existence revolves around these physical prrofs?
Basically I feel your claims are unbalanced, narrow minded and limited.

Dave said...

"Where do we get our thoughts from?"

Where do they go when you are under general anesthesia, when you get dementia or when the oxygen is cutoff to your brain and you are brain dead?

This answers your question.

Abe said...

"Therefore when we see the immense improbability of the universe possessing the qualities which would make life possible, of life forming from simple chemicals or of more advanced life evolving from simpler life, we clearly understand that an intelligent designer is involved."

Well Mr Stein, your perspicuous insights have had their effect. You've convinced me -- there is an intelligent designer that created the universe.
But there may be more than one intelligent designer. Logic would suggest one with greater intellect who created the physical cosmos but also another divine intelligent entity with a mad-scientist predisposition.
Obviously the enlightened, reasonable designer of the universe wouldn't have crafted dumb torah rules like nidda or shabbos prohibitions. That would have been the purview of the slightly less intelligent but decidedly malevolent designer.
So, Mr. Stein, you were on to something and I'm glad you've finally convinced me.

natschuster said...

David:

Some people who experienced brain death had near death experiences. So it seem that thought still takes place even in those who are brain dead.

natschuster said...

And people with dementia can still think.

The primary point is that the laws of physics as we know them cannot explain thought. It's just another case where the atheists have to say "we hope to have an answer for you someday."

natschuster said...

David:

Some people who experienced brain death had near death experiences. So it seem that thought still takes place even in those who are brain dead.

jewish philosopher said...

Abe, the Torah is actually full of amazing wisdom as I explain.

http://www.torahphilosophy.com/2009/06/gods-wisdom.html

However to the evil, criminal mind anything good appears to be bad and anything bad appears good.

Anonymous said...

NAt Schuster- I like your post- thanks for helping me out.

Also, Dave, you cannot know what happens to someone experiencing dementia, general anesthesia, or brain death- since it is something that luckily, you have not experienced.
Additionally, we cannot know or prove whether or not a person has a real existence when their mind has a physical problem, and what level it is on. It could be they do, but can't relay the experience.
- Since it can't be proven, (unless as Nat Schuster said- someone talks of their Near Death Experience, (which ppl. do, although even that wouldn’t convince a hard core atheist), you can’t say one way or another.
Whatever the case, we can’t know what a person's reality is when they are physically disconnected from us. That is what makes this whole world so complex. The physical reality is provable; spirituality is much harder to prove. It manifests itself in the physical world however, and we need the physical world to bring it out.
Someone who sees existence as a purely physical reality will see the person without a brain as useless matter. A person who believes there is possibly more to man than a mere physical reality, will respect the person even if his brain is no longer useful.
Also, there are stories of people who were biologically dead, and were revived afterwards, which the stumped the doctors- so please explain that on a physical level, Dave.

Abe- Why would a human being make up Torah laws that are nonsensical as you say- and expect people to follow it, and listen to him?
What is the point? There would be no reasonable gain for his followers, and it wouldn't be worth the effort.
No other religion has claimed mass revelation like Judasim, nor have they made laws that are humanly incomprehensible, as the Torah is.
That itself implies that Torah has to be Divine- as no human being would make such claims, and expect a whole nation would follow him- especially if they are generally known to be a smart group of individuals who are researched have the highest IQs in the world. - Yet you, Abe, seem to think they are unintelligent enough to burden themselves with countless, pointless laws.

Dave said...

Anon

No brain dead person has ever come back to life.

The fact that in some cases unconscious people have hallucinations is no more surprising than the dreams people have when they sleep or on drugs, which are usually nonsense. How much credibility do you attach to dreams?

What we do know is that normal mental processes correlate with a physically healthy brain, and that mental disorders correlate with physical damage is certain areas.

That alone is enough to prove that mental experiences, such as thoughts and emotions, are neurophysiologic phenomena.

Anonymous said...

Dave-
Well I did some research on the topic of Brain Death, and this is what came up. I know you may say that Wikipedia is not a reliable source, but in this case it seems thorough, impartial, and valid enough.

WIKIPEDIA
"Consciousness-
Medical science argues that a permanent cessation of electrical activity indicates the end of consciousness. Those who view the neo-cortex of the brain as solely responsible for consciousness, however, argue that electrical activity there should be the only consideration when defining death. In many cases, especially when elevated intracranial pressure prevents blood flow into the brain, the entire brain is nonfunctional; however, some injuries may affect only the neo-cortex. During the death process, brain function can be lost gradually. When going through such a change, a small proportion of subjects have reported a variety of "near-death experiences".
-http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brain_death

So this is a just excerpt on brain death, although there is a lot more to say about it(as far as what it is, and how it is connected to life).
Basically, it is quite a complex topic with many ways of understanding it. However, Wikipedia states, “...In many cases, especially when ...prevents blood flow into the brain, the entire brain is nonfunctional...” So although the entire brain is NONFUNTIONAL, a person can come back to his body and describe the experience of his mind being detached from the body.

Next quote-
"-Alternative viewpoints

[edit] Near Death Experiences (NDEs)

Some people who have undergone cardiopulmonary resuscitation report experiencing such sensations as detachment from the body, feelings of levitation, and the presence of a light, happening after cardiac arrest. These are so-called near-death experiences (NDEs). It has been suggested (e.g., by David Fontana[12]) that NDEs indicate postmortem consciousness.[13][14] Due to difficulties in medical terminology at defining death, it is important to note that all these experiences happen after clinical death but before brain death, since brain death is irreversible. Sam Parnia comments that consciousness isn't disrupted immediately after clinical death and describes the process of death as "essentially a global stroke of the brain. Therefore, like any stroke process one would not expect the entity of mind/consciousness to be lost immediately."[15] Stuart Hameroff and Deepak Chopra suggest that at death or during NDE, "it is conceivable that the quantum information which constitutes consciousness could shift to deeper planes and continue to exist purely in space-time geometry, outside the brain, distributed nonlocally", as a "quantum soul" apart from the body.[16]

In counter argument, the experiences have been described in medical journals as hallucinatory.[17][18][19] Ketamine, a dissociative hallucinogen, has been shown to replicate compounds of near-death experiences.[20][21][22] Lucid dreaming too induces experiences quite similar to those of NDEs.[23][24] The imagery in NDEs varies within cultures.[25][26][27] Rick Strassman advanced the hypothesis that a massive release of the psychedelic dimethyltryptamine (DMT) from the pineal gland prior to death or near-death was the cause of the near-death experience phenomenon.[28][29][30"

-http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Consciousness_after_death_(science)

-Okay, so here are two sides of the same coin- it depends which you choose to go with and my argument still remains.
Perhaps physical death occurs when a mind is dead, and has completely lost consciousness, but the NDEs indicate that there is a possible consciousness which is removed from the physical body.
Yes, without the brain, the physical body will be dead, or you can say the person's conciousness/soul has left the physical world. But that does not exclude the possibility, that there is another reality of existence without the physical body. In fact, it supports it.

natschuster said...

This is interesting:

http://www.kgw.com/news/Brain-dead-Washington-woman-comes-back-to-life-105635108.html

People wiht brain injuries can still think. They might experience some impairment, but they still have functions. And our experiences with brain injury demonstrates only that the brain is a necessary condition for normal functioning, but not that it is sufficient. We can trace the path of neurotransmitters in the neurons. We can scan a brain in real time. But we still can't bridge the gap between the brain, and the mind. So maybe a human mind needs a brain, and something else, like a soul.

natschuster said...

What is really interesting about near death experiences is that the people who have them insist that they are real. When people dream then wake up, hey know it was a dream. Same thing with hallucinations. When the person stops hallucinating, they know it wa sa hallucination unless the person is psychotic. That's not the case with near death experiences.

natschuster said...

This is interesting:

http://www.kgw.com/news/Brain-dead-Washington-woman-comes-back-to-life-105635108.html

People wiht brain injuries can still think. They might experience some impairment, but they still have functions. And our experiences with brain injury demonstrates only that the brain is a necessary condition for normal functioning, but not that it is sufficient. We can trace the path of neurotransmitters in the neurons. We can scan a brain in real time. But we still can't bridge the gap between the brain, and the mind. So maybe a human mind needs a brain, and something else, like a soul.

Dave said...

"Okay, so here are two sides of the same coin- it depends which you choose to go with and my argument still remains"

I suppose anything is possible, but you are putting the burden of proof on me to show that something does NOT exist, which as you know is impossible. This is illustrated by Bertram Russell's celestial teapot thought experiment.

I have shown that the evidence points to correlation and causation between the physical brain and consciousness. You concede this but assert that there is something else as well. But this "something else" adds nothing to the understanding, explains nothing and is not required (Occam's razor).

When something falls to the ground, we explain it by gravity, using Einstein theory of relativity. You could claim that there is also Gods invisible hand pulling things to the ground, but this additional explanation is not necessary and adds nothing to

natschuster said...

Dave:

The laws of gravity can explain how something falls. The laws of chemistry and physics cannot explain the mind. And saying that the mind depends on the brain only demonstrates that the brain is necessary for the mind, but not that it is sufficient.

natschuster said...

Dave:

The laws of gravity can explain how something falls. The laws of chemistry and physics cannot explain the mind. And saying that the mind depends on the brain only demonstrates that the brain is necessary for the mind, but not that it is sufficient.

Anonymous said...

There is not one answer either way.
FOr centuries brilliant minds have debated the Existance of G-d.

Much of the persuasion is a matter of brainpower.

But look at it this way, Dave.
There is one time when we will discover who is right- the athiest or the believer. That is when the body dies.
After that there are two options-
Either there is nothing. Or there is a G-d and another world.
Now what do I have to gain and lose as a believer? If I believe there is a G-d which obligates me- I miss out on a few sins that I couldn't commit. Yet I still lead a happy, satisfying, and meaningful life. I actaully lead a cleaner life, and a more relaxed one, as I realized, this world is not an all end in itself. Now, afterwards, if there is nothing- C"V, then what major loss did I have?

If you are an atheist- what do you have to gain and lose?
You gain some extra pleasures perhaps. Although your level of satisfaction will be less intense, as it does not satisfy an eternal purpose, and you lead your life playing by the rules you set for yourself- which may or may not benefit you ultimately, depending on your own standard and definition of morality.
And after you die- well if there is nothing- you haven't lost much. But if there is something- well then you gave up ETERNITY. The easiest way to do that is by being an atheist.
SO the ramifications of not believing are far worse than the ramifications of believing.
Therefore, in order not to believe, you have do be absolutely sure that there is nothing afterwards. But you can't prove that because the evidence that points in that direction is at least even, if not stronger, than the evidence that points your way.
So you almost have to be crazy to chose to be an atheist. Why would you risk your existance?

Dave said...

Anon,

But what if you are wrong about Jesus or Mohammed?
Then, even if you observe Judaism, you lose eternity.
So you are gambling, too.

Anonymous said...

Dont worry- I actually thought about that long and hard, and I am unequivically convinced of the truth of Judaism.
It always bothered me that Christians and Muslims believed differently than I did. I knew there had to be truth seekers and intellectuals amongst them. I always wondered how they came to their conclusions.
But learning the context of how people came to these religions helped me understand that it is not so shocking. The way these religions came about, are explained, presented, and protrayed, make them sound very plausible to the masses, although ultimately they are not the truth.
But that is another discussion. Proving the superiority of Judaism, is far easier than proving the Existance of G-d.
But back to what I said- the easiest way to lose ETERNITY is by being an atheist.
At least a Christian or Muslim believes in a G-d, and hopefully tries to seek the truth and live by it. That is a saving grace he can have in his stead. Such a person merits a portion in Eternity as he recognizes G-d's existance, and is living for that purpose.

Besides, both of those religion's that you mentioned are based on Torah Judaism and recognize the Divinity of the Torah. Perhaps that is why they have been able to obtain such a stronghold.
Anyway, I choose to follow the original version of Torah handed straight to the Jewish people by Mount Sinai in front of the entire nation of more than 600,000 people.
And why shouldn't I? IF that is the only time it has been claimed the G-d gave a mass revelation, and gave the Jews an instruction book to follow for eternity, why should I be so bold or audacious to change the rules He gave to live by. If G-d wanted to do something so significant as give us a new instruction book, or change the chosen nation, why didn't He come and let us know something as improtant as that, as He did the first time. There should have been some sort of clear revelation to all, which there wasn't. Furthermore, because He promised to love us with an eternal love, not in our merit, but in the merit of our forefathers, who were spiritual giants and were worthy of being the bearers of G-ds nation.

But more than that, G-d is perfect. He created this world based on the Torah, and for the fulfillment of the Torah. G-d is too great and Perfect, which makes Him incapable of creating an imperfect Torah. That would Make Him limited, which He is not. g-d would not create and instruction manual, and realize afterwards that it needs to be revised. torah is from G-d, and therefore it is Eternal.

Anonymous said...

Dave you wrote- "...When something falls to the ground, we explain it by gravity, using Einstein theory of relativity. You could claim that there is also Gods invisible hand pulling things to the ground, but this additional explanation is not necessary and adds nothing to..."

It seems that you respect Einstein's thought processes, as you quote his theory to back up your statement, which of course, I don't object to. So I just thought I'd mention as a sidenote, that his complex,brilliant, probing mind actually thought that there is a G-d Who Is running the world, created nature- and it's laws... which seem quite perfect (besides for those few exceptions, which let us know He is there.)
How do I know about this? well, I just recently read an excerpt of Einstein himself stating/writing that, on some forum that posts good writings... I remembered this because I actually didn't know this, and I was surprised to discover that one of the biggest scientists/"naturalists" beleives in a G-d Who governs the laws of nature.

Anonymous said...

Dave you wrote- "...When something falls to the ground, we explain it by gravity, using Einstein theory of relativity. You could claim that there is also Gods invisible hand pulling things to the ground, but this additional explanation is not necessary and adds nothing to..."

It seems that you respect Einstein's thought processes, as you quote his theory to back up your statement, which of course, I don't object to. So I just thought I'd mention as a sidenote, that his complex,brilliant, probing mind actually thought that there is a G-d Who Is running the world, created nature- and it's laws... which seem quite perfect (besides for those few exceptions, which let us know He is there.)
How do I know about this? I just recently read an excerpt on some forum that posts good writings, of Einstein himself stating/writing this ...
You can check it out yourself.
I remembered this because it made an impression on me. One of the biggest, universally acclaimed, scientists/"naturalists" beleives in a G-d Who governs the laws of nature.

Anonymous said...

"But what if you are wrong about Jesus or Mohammed?
Then, even if you observe Judaism, you lose eternity.
So you are gambling, too."
Okay, I resonded to this before but it didn't post, so I am posting again. My other post was more articulate, but here goes.

Actually, I thought about that for a while and it bothered me. I wondered how two religions that were false, can have so many followers. I was sure there are many smart, capabel thinkers there, who would realize how false they are.
Then I learned more about both religions. I realized, that the way these religions came about, are explained, presented and portrayed, make them sound very plausible to the masses. It is much easier to prove the superiority and truth of Judaism
than to prove G-d.
However, they are still monotheistic religions that believe in a G-d, and that is a saving grace in their stead. The merit of theri belief, sincerity, and living towards a greater purpose, can give tehm a portion in the World to Come. Thye may have reached the wrong conclusions but they are seeking G-d and trying to live a life congruent with such values,- which gives them what to say on their judgement day. At least they have respect for a Higher Authority.
I am unequivically convinced of the truth of Judaism.
I choose to follow Judaism, as it is the only religion, that can claim a mass revelation from G-d, where over 600,000 people wittnessed G-d, and accepted His Torah.
Christianity and Islam both admit this truth and are actually based on Torah. Perhaps that is why they were able to have such a stronghold. They just say their's is the new one. But they come with only one person's claim.
If G-d came on a mountain, and revealed Himself to us, gave us the Torah, in which He says He will love us with an Eternal love, not in our sake, but in the merit of our forfathers who were spiritual giants, then don't you think He would let us know that He changed His mind?
BUt it can't even be, because G-d is Perfect, and Unlimited, and for G-d to change the Torah, which is the source of creation, it would portray G-d as imperfect and limited, which of course He is not.

Dave said...

Anon-

At best one can claim that Einstein was an agnostic

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

He certainly did not believe in a personal, conscious god of the bible, but rather a Spinoza like concept. He also praises Spinoza's theories about mind and body being one, and not dualism, as you suggest.

Dave said...

Anon-

Your argument for Judaism is the well known Kuzari argument, which has been thoroughly refuted elsewhere and is not evidence for Judaism. It is circular reasoning as well as argument by special pleading.

In any case I'm glad that you have reasonable doubts regarding the fact that the truth that seems to obvious and easy to prove to you is obviously rejected by 99.9% of the world's inhabitants. They are, of course "brainwashed" and ignorant, while you are "objective" and enlightened.

You did not invent or discover the tenets of Judaism on your own, but rather heard them as a package from somewhere else, and either chose to believe it or were raised to believe it. When you realize that this is the case for the followers of all religions as well as Judaism, you will someday realize your subjectivity and be able to overcome it.

You will also realize that the orthodox Judaism that we have today, rabbinic Judaism, was an offshoot, just like Christianity, of the biblical Hebrew religion, which died around the end of the second temple era. Some people chose to believe it, who became "Jews", and the rest became Christians, Karaites, or other sects. Modern Judaism bears little resemblance to biblical Hebrew religion as described in the Bible.

laugh out loud said...

Dave:

If the revelation at Sinai didn't happen, they why did the entire nation accept it as their authentic history? How is that circular?

And what exactly is your evidence that Rabbinic Judaism is different than Biblical Judaism? Things have been added, but the fundamentals haven't changed.

Anonymous said...

Dave, are you Jewish? I know you are not a believer, but is your mother Jewish?
Second, how much background knowledge o you have of Judaism, because your assumptions are totally different from the facts. I dont who made up the information you just stated.

Torah Judaism, and rabbinic Judaism, are one and the same.
Biblical Hebrew religion which died according to you, by the second temple era, is the same religion Orthodox Jews practice today.
Do you know where we got the Mishanh from?
The second Temple Era.
Do you know where we got the Talmud from?
The next era in exile, from the Rabbis who lived right after the temple era.
Do you know where they got their knowledge of the Talmud?
From their rabbis who lived during the second temple era,and wrote the Mishanh.
the Talmud is based off the Mishnah, and the rabbis who taught the Mishnah. THe Talmud was created to further expound on the Mishnah, so the Torah should not be forgotten, in exile. It was created out of necessity. Idealy, we should all remeber and learn it through our Rabbis teachings, as was done for generations beore the Talmud and Mishanh.
However, the Jews were no longer on the level, nor capable of remembering all the laws, so it was necessarry to be written down, lest it be forgotten.
Maybe you should consider some lessons on basic Jewish history...?

Here is the chain of the passage of Torah through the generations- Moshe, Yehoshua, Zekeinim, Niviim, Anshai Knesses Hagdola, Tanaim, Amoraim, Geonim, Rishonim, Acharonim. We are just a link in a long, strong, chain of Jewish history. All our texts, originate from these generations.

We are an eternal nation. Although nations have persecuted us relentlessly, we still remain. We are one of the oldest nation in the world that still exists today.

We are older than islam, christianity, and every other monotheistic religion.

You seem to have little knowledge and no respect for history.
Oh, the only history you seem to respect, is evolutionist history, which claims the world is billions of years old. That far back you can go-and you can believe. But the last few thousand years? No- that history you dont respect.
The evidence for the old history seems to make sense, but recent history, you like to ignore.

Mark Twain on the Jews

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

If the statistics are right, the Jews constitute but one quarter of one percent of the human race. It suggests a nebulous puff of star dust lost in the blaze of the Milky Way. Properly, the Jew ought hardly to be heard of, but he is heard of, has always been heard of. He is as prominent on the planet as any other people, and his importance is extravagantly out of proportion to the smallness of his bulk.

His contributions to the world’s list of great names in literature, science, art, music, finance, medicine and abstruse learning are also very out of proportion to the weakness of his numbers. He has made a marvelous fight in this world in all ages; and has done it with his hands tied behind him. He could be vain of himself and be excused for it. The Egyptians, the Babylonians and the Persians rose, filled the planet with sound and splendor, then faded to dream-stuff and passed away; the Greeks and Romans followed and made a vast noise, and they were gone; other people have sprung up and held their torch high for a time but it burned out, and they sit in twilight now, and have vanished.

The Jew saw them all, survived them all, and is now what he always was, exhibiting no decadence, no infirmaties, of age, no weakening of his parts, no slowing of his energies, no dulling of his alert but aggressive mind. All things are mortal but the Jews; all other forces pass, but he remains. What is the secret of his immortality?

--Mark Twain, September 1897

Anonymous said...

If the world is always evolving, from energy being transferred from one matter to another, for billions of years... then where did that original bit of energy that set this whole universe in motion, originate from?

Anonymous said...

If there is no G-d, why should anyone be a decent human being?
What was wrong with what Hitler YSH did?
Why should people object to suffering, poverty? Why shouldnt people kill, steal, or stop themseles from doing any such things?
Why should people give? Why do I like to give?
In short- why is there this basic sense of wrong, right, decency, civility and morality taht courses through mankind?
Why do we function differently than animals?

Dave said...

Anon-

I am Jewish, but my background is not relevant, and there is no such thing as "respecting history".

I respect scholarship and evidence, not dogma. You completely forget the billions of the world's inhabitants who follow the eastern religions which are much older than Judaism, and had never heard of revelation at Sinai. In that Christianity and Islam are offshoots of the bible, it is not surprising that they share some of Judaism's ideas.

The best proof that Judaism as we know it was invented by the rabbis, is the existence of various sects whose traditions predate rabbinic Judaism--the Ethiopian Jews, Samaritans, etc. Various passages in the Bible also seem to be totally unaware of many rabbinic laws, and the Dead Sea Scrolls reflect a struggle of ideas among Judaens.

Rabbinic Judaism developed during the second temple period. When I said the "end", I was referring to the codification as in the Mishnah and subsequent Gemorah. You are referred to the Daat Emet site

http://www.daatemet.org.il/

for a ton of evidence of the rabbi's changing of the Hebrew religion.

The Kuzari argument is circular reasoning because it assumes the consequence, i.e. the revelation story must be true because people believed the tradition, but we only know of the story (ie 600,000 witnesses) because of the tradition itself. It is self-referential. Check with any logician.

Also, all religions begin with a "story" which becomes embellished over time and people believe it. Ask any Indian tribe.

Having said all of that, I respect the Jewish traditions as a culture and moral system. I just don't believe in the dogma.

Dave said...

"If there is no G-d, why should anyone be a decent human being?"

Ha Ha, very funny. So silly of me not to notice, that it was the revelation at Sinai that made people stop killing.

Killing, and laws against it, were around before and after Sinai, I don't see what the connection is.

For example

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

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hammurabi#Code_of_laws

Humans are capable of all kinds of things, good and bad. What does god have to do with it?

jewish philosopher said...

When I talk to atheists and agnostics about morality the best they can do seems to be "Since I am human, I naturally empathize with other humans."

The problem that I have with that is first of all some people seem to have more empathy than others. Some people empathize with all animal life while some people have little or no empathy for anyone.

Secondly, what happens when some other emotion such as anger, greed, hatred etc is stronger than your emotion of empathy?

Therefore fear of divine punishment seems like a much firmer foundation for morality than empathy.

Anonymous said...

"If there is no G-d, why should anyone be a decent human being?"

Ha Ha, very funny. So silly of me not to notice, that it was the revelation at Sinai that made people stop killing.

Killing, and laws against it, were around before and after Sinai, I don't see what the connection is.


Humans are capable of all kinds of things, good and bad. What does God have to do with it?"

I dont say the connection between not killing and everything else is connected to the Revelation at Sinai.
On the contrary- you are right- it has always been around.
My question is really, where does this strong moral imperative originate, if we are offshoots of animals?
They don't have it, they kill their prey and are aggresive.
Only the human being has this moral imperative, which indicates the presence of a soul. That is all.
But you are going to argue with me somehow, I know it. So I will brace myself.

So you are saying that Hitler, Gadhafi, and all other committers of mass atrocities were right, by the way?
I mean if our sense of good and bad, is not from G-d, as you beleive, then you must think it originates, from our dependency on each other, and our need to live civily side by side. But then, there really is no right or wrong, it's all a matter of how we define it, it is not universal, and you can't say anyone is really wrong, because they are satisfying their own needs to exist. So in other words- everything, no matter how evil is justified?

natschuster said...

Dave:

The Rabbis added things, but they didn't change the fundamentals. And the different sects were offshoots of the mainstream, just like Reform Judaism is today.

And the story of the Revelation at Sinai is not the same thing as people accepting it as their authentic history. It's no more cicular than saying that the Battle of Gettyburg happened, and people accepting it as history. Two different things. I don't see how it is circular. The latter wouldn't have happened if the former was not true.

natschuster said...

Dave:

The Rabbis added things, but they didn't change the fundamentals. And the different sects were offshoots of the mainstream, just like Reform Judaism is today.

And the story of the Revelation at Sinai is not the same thing as people accepting it as their authentic history. It's no more cicular than saying that the Battle of Gettyburg happened, and people accepting it as history. Two different things. I don't see how it is circular. The latter wouldn't have happened if the former was not true.

Anonymous said...

I also don’t see how mass revelation is circular reasoning. Actually, circular reasoning does not seem as a good basis to refute mass revelation. IT may be a good way to refute other information, but I don’t see how it applies to Sinai.
Honestly, circular reasoning sounds like a great sharp rebuttal, but is really an empty logic.

IF the Bible was made by the Rabbis, and evolved over the years through traditions, there has to be a time when the big fat, preposterous lie started.
You can’t just claim to have mass revelation, and expect a whole bunch of followers to continue passing on the lie.
Every religion started to somewhere, and Judaism would be based is on something you can make up and hand down to your followers to believe. Either they witnessed G-d and accepted it, or they didn't witness G-d and refused to accept the lie.
You just can't make up a lie that big to start a religion. It is not possible.

I could tell you George Washington, Henry VIII, and Christopher Columbus never existed, because it is circular reasoning. People made them up and passed it on through tradition.
Yeah there are primary sources of history that back up this statement?
Who cares; it’s circular reasoning and therefore invalid. Who cares if the whole world disagrees with me- circular reasoning is on my side.
People who live in twenty years from now can say the original World Trade Center never existed and was never destroyed because it is circular reasoning, and they never witnessed it.
In fact people today are saying the Holocaust never happened.

The circular reasoning logic- is a fallacy- and all it is, is evil-.

A Harvard educated man who wanted to disprove all religions became an Orthodox Jew from writing his thesis on disproving all religions.
He's really interesting- listen to this and tell me your rebuttal.
http://www.simpletoremember.com/media/a/Rational_Approach_Divine_Origin_Torah-B/

Dave said...

Anon-

You love your Judaism as you love your wife (if you're married) or your child. So I understand why you do not engage in critical thinking about it, just as you do not objectively judge your child or wife.

This is what makes you defend false analogies (like the evidence for modern American history) and misconceptions about religions, such as the idea of a "big lie" suddenly appearing.

All circular reasoning is based on trying to prove a story from the story itself, without outside objective verification. Your only outside "evidence" is the fact that at some time in history, people started to believe it. But the "witnesses" exist only in the book itself! So it leaves you nowhere, except to say, "it happened, otherwise why would I believe it!"

I know of no historical or scientific theory that incorporates such a method for verification of truth. I would call this "pseudo-evidence".

Dave said...

I am familiar with Rabbi Kelemen's lecture, and it is an elaborate restatement of the Kuzari argument, which I rebutted, above.

As you why educated "Harvard men" believe these things, well, ask the same thing about Islam and Christianity.

natschuster said...

Dave:

The Torah does not say that my Grandfather believed in the Revelation. There is no reference to that in the Torah. That is why the Kuzari is not circular.

If someone came to you and said that around 1820, aliens came from space, took all the Americans out of Canada, killed all the Canadian first born, gave Americans a new Constitution, and it was all witnessed by two million people and written down, what would you say? I would ask why no one ever heard about this but him.

Anonymous said...

Dave
You are right- i love my Judaism- which makes me feel terrible that I caused you- another Jew to post on Shabbos. I hope you dont do that often, because that makes us responsible for your sin- whether or not you believe or admit it exists.
Now, being that you are so smart- which I do admit you are-can you please explain to me, why the mass revelation, with various primary sources FROM ALL OVER THE WORLD supporting it, in an unbroken chain since it began without one missing link, ending today with millions of Jews still learning and practicing the Torah- is not sufficient evidence-WITHOUT USING THE WORD CIRCULAR REASONING. I honestly dont understand circular reasoning and how it is a valid rebuttal. So explain to me in simple "Laymen's" terms, why the evidence is not good.
I did look at my religion with a critical eye. It still makes more sense to me than athiesm. And at this point, I know it is true from so many ways, including my own life experiences.
If you are trying to convince me to become an atheist,it aint working. I just dont buy that senseless circular reasoning.
Second- if G-d does exist, what would convince you of it?
C. Some food for thought-If it was something so obvious, than wouldn't it defeat the whole purpose of serving Him from faith, through love, and for reward? We would no longer have free choice, and be worthy of anything.

Dave said...

Anon/Nat

I think we have gone about as far as we can go with this. Perhaps you should submit your historical argument using the "kuzari" theory to a prestigious historical journal or department for review.

natschuster said...

Dave:

It's been done. The responses are along the lines of a national hypnosis, everyone was intoxicated, Jews are really stupid. etc.

Anonymous said...

Dave- I dont think we have gone as far as we could go.
I think we are jsut getting to the point.
The obest rebuttal you have to the truth of Judaism is circular reasoning.
THe problem is circular reasoning does not apply to Judaism.
there are various primary resources all over the world supporting evidence that the Torah is true.
There is no other logical way to explain jewish tradition.
Please show me a possible explanation for the strong never broken chain of Torah Judaism that makes sense and is foolproof.
Ciruclar reasoning- avoidds the problem. - or explain it in your own words without using the word circular reasoning and I may understand it.
I am a Jew from total objectivity.
I have questioned why Judaism is true, and why other religions are true, and Judaism is the most satisfactory religion I have come to- LOGICALLY. It makes sense to me.
If I wasn't objective, I wouldn't be intersted in this site, nor in what you have to say.
Every religion has a claim of how it started. Personally I dont object to religious claims.
I may object to the validity of a claim, but if there are enough historical resources from various places that testify to the claim, why should I object to it?
I dont object to the origins of Hammurabi, Confucianism, Islam, Christianity or anything else. There is enough objective evidence to support it.

Dave said...

To be honest, and with all due respect, its getting kind of boring and intellectually numbing to repeatedly respond to the same old washed up "arguments" from the middle ages, like watchmaker or kuzari. JP has raised them numerous times in his posts and comments. They do not hold up to modern standards of evidence and scientific reasoning, and its a waste of time to discuss them.

If they satisfy you, great. But in case you haven't noticed, they don't impress too many people besides people who are already followers. You're preaching to the choir.

jewish philosopher said...

Atheists admit that life appears to be designed however Darwin refuted this. Prior to Darwin the word "atheist" was used almost exclusively as an insult directed at someone else.

 "Darwin made it possible to be an intellectually fulfilled atheist."
-- Richard Dawkins, The Blind Watchmaker (1986), page 6

But I refute Darwin.

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

There is overwhelming evidence supporting the Torah.

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

It is certainly validated as well as anything else in pre-modern history

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

Regarding Judaism's lack of popularity, whatever you believe, including atheism or anything else, most of mankind disagrees with you.

Ezra said...

Nosson Slifkin has refuted this elsewhere