The rabbi knows best part 4 – The bulletproof argument

The inspiration for this is a series of email communications shared on mesora.org, http://www.mesora.org/LettersNovIV.htm. As you can guess, it was shared with me in response to my critique of a speech by rabbi Aryeh Kaplan. I feel the need to share all the interaction here and then I’ll show how another rabbi gives more reason to take their words with a pinch of salt, if not a boatload, especially about things outside of their Torah discipline.

Reader: Dear Rabbi Moshe Ben Chaim, while I do not necessarily disagree with your hypothesis on the age of the universe, I do not believe the proof you attributed to Rav Chaim Ozer to be bullet proof. You said “For light to reach us from a star 10,000,000 light years away, the universe MUST have existed that long, in order that the light traveled this distance.” The old phrase “From a false premise anything follows” comes to mind. Who said the light in fact traveled that distance? Perhaps God created the star together with a “10,000,000 light year long light stream” connecting it to Earth, thereby allowing it to be immediately visible; despite the fact that nowhere nearly enough time had elapsed to allow the light to travel that distance on its own.. I do not posit this as to what actually happened, only to only to suggest that this particular proof is not “irrefutable.”

Sincerely,

Fred

Rabbi Moshe Ben-Chaim: Fred, you posit that God could have created the light “in travel already reaching Earth” at the moment the star was created. According to you, the wisest of men (Einstein) viewing this object’s light and using reasoning will miscalculate its age. God is really fooling us. Your theory imputes a deception to God. That’s problem number one. But as we know that fabrication is of human origin, and cannot be ascribed to a perfect Creator, whose Torah says “From a falsehood, distance yourself”… we know this suggestion is something we must distance ourselves from.

Furthermore, you contradict yourself. Based not only on senses, but also teamed with your reasoning, you accept that the star only “appears” smaller than it truly is, due to its distance. But you do not equally accept the star’s age, based on the same use of senses and reasoning. We see an object at a distance, and then up close. It appears to have changed size. But we use reasoning together with our senses and conclude that the object has not changed at all. We correctly reason for ourselves that objects “appear” smaller at a distance. So why reject the reasoning that the star’s light accurately reflects its age? In both cases, we must engage our senses, and our reasoning. In both cases, our deductions are correct. Without basis, you reject your senses and reason in connection with age issues, but not other issues.

I agree, “From a false premise anything follows”. (emphasis in the original)

Rabbi ben Chaim believes in a billions of years old universe, claiming his proofs are irrefutable.

Now, first let’s look at “Fred.” Now he doesn’t disagree with the rabbi’s belief in an mega-aged universe. But he provides the “bullet-proof argument from the rabbi.

“For light to reach us from a star 10,000,000 light years away, the universe MUST have existed that long, in order that the light traveled this distance.”

Now, for me, it’s clear to see that this reasoning is deceptive because it hides several assumptions, beliefs, one must accept for the conclusion to flow from the premise. Without these presuppositions, this so-called “bulletproof argument” becomes a non-sequitur, a fallacious argument.

Look at the first glaring problem. The rabbi understands “light year” as a time, that the light from something x light years away takes x years to get to earth. This is wrong. A light year is only a distance of 6 trillion miles, a distance that has never been traversed, experienced and therefore directly observed and verified by the senses of any man. Yes, I set up an argument with that last statement. A light year, that distance, can only be a theoretical distance, not a verified one.

But I can already hear the screams of those who do a bit of digging.

“But, David, the International Astronomical Union defines a light year as the distance light can travel through a vacuum in a year, 365.25 days. So that kicks your position in the butt right there!!!”

I want you to see this. It’s taken from a website, but it shows you that this distance isn’t something actually measured but rather calculated.

So to measure really long distances, people use a unit called a light year. Light travels at 186,000 miles per second (300,000 kilometers per second). Therefore, a light second is 186,000 miles (300,000 kilometers). A light year is the distance that light can travel in a year, or:

186,000 miles/second * 60 seconds/minute * 60 minutes/hour * 24 hours/day * 365 days/year = 5,865,696,000,000 miles/year

A light year is 5,865,696,000,000 miles (9,460,800,000,000 kilometers). That’s a long way! (What is a light year? from https://science.howstuffworks.com/dictionary/astronomy-terms/question94.htm)

So to make it very clear, the light year is a distance based on maths (not reality) and assumption, not an actually measured distance.

So here’s the other issue. They say light travels at that speed. What do they believe about the speed of light? That it’s constant. Here’s my question. What’s the one-way speed of light? Because, if I believe them, they can only measure the two-way speed of light. But light gets from the star to here, that’s one way, not two way. So what’s the one-way speed of light? Check for yourself. It’s undefined.

Also, what is the nature of every part of the vast immense universe that the scientists imagine? What happens as light goes through the theoretical millions and trillions of miles?

Here’s a fact. Scientists, humans, haven’t been anywhere outside of the “solar system.” They can do no scientific test on places they cannot test or manipulate. So again, what happens to light as it travels through the cosmos? If someone tells me that they have experiential knowledge, I would call them a liar. Add to that, they say “space” itself is expanding (yes, the space they have no direct experience of).

Is light a constant? Has it always been? They say it is. It makes their maths work. But maths is not reality. So …

The point again, as Maimonides says, is that the behaviour of something at its creation is not the same as when it is fully developed. So how can it ever be said that the speed of light has always been constant? How can it ever be said by those who never created light from nothing that, when it was being innovated, that its speed must be constant and behave as certain people “measure” it now, when the universe is fully here? That’s got to be the height of arrogance.

So, looking again at the logic of Ben Chaim, he says that the universe MUST have existed for the time it would take for light to traverse millions of light years. In order for this logic to work, you must already believe that the speed of light is and has always been constant, which is not a fact nor can it be verified, neither is it logically sound. In order for his logic to work, you must already believe that stars are trillions of millions years away, distances that cannot be verified. In order for his logic to work, you have to tell the creator of the universe how light must have behaved at the point when he innovated it from nothing, something no human has ever done. Or you have to think like an atheist, where God didn’t make the world but rather the current decisions of humans about constants and speed reign supreme. In order for the logic of the rabbi to work, you have to know the one-way speed of light. For those a bit further out on the fringe of the brainwashed cattle, a brainwashed herd amongst which Ben Chaim seems to have found a home on this topic, in order for his logic to work, you have to accept the whole globe earth model, much, if not all, of the maths and assumptions (not actual natural science that accords to the scientific method) is based on the globe earth model.

So Ben Chaim’s argument is about as bulletproof as a typical sheet of paper, as air, because it’s all based only on what you choose to BELIEVE about what can’t be verified. Yes, Ben Chaim is only selling a faith based system, and it ain’t based on Torah at all.

Now attention to Ben Chaim, look at a telling statement he makes.

According to you, the wisest of men (Einstein) viewing this object’s light and using reasoning will miscalculate its age.

I just want you to look at the quality of that statement. “Hey, man, you really think a guy I think is smart, who many people think is smart, using the observation of light and using his reason would get this wrong?” I’m sure there is a name for this type of fallacious reasoning. I think it’s the argument from authority fallacy. Did Einstein actually do this, look at starlight and (mis)calculate its age? There’s no evidence that I can find that he actually did. So this is an argument from utter speculation.

But hey, let me pretend some smart guy actually looked at the light of a star and use his reasoning to try to figure out the age. Question: did the smart guy ever experience the entire existence of one star? No. Based on their assumptions, guesses and stories, that’s impossible because the believed time span for the existence of a star is just far too long, longer than the existence of the entire human race. That means we are not dealing with the scientific method again, things within our human experience, but rather more assumptions and declarations.

“But, David, they’re useful and they work together well.”

Ah, making the mistake of conflating what is useful, but necessarily tentative, for what is actually true.

I believe, due to my experience and reasoning, that a smart man looking at starlight and using his reason alone may come to a conclusion. But since he’s only working according to unverifiable assumptions, without guidance from the Builder of it all, then he can only come up with a plausible story, uncertain of the truth, nothing more. In fact, if he included the humble recognition of his own ignorance and limitations in his reasoning about objects he cannot interact with, he should come to conclusion that he’s only playing a game of logic surrounded by unknown factors.

Now if the thinker actually has communication from the Creator of all, as Jews do, telling how old everything actually is but it doesn’t match the results of his logic game, speaking of longer ages or a shorter span of time, then how can he argue when it’s not in his power or knowledge to build a universe or the light in it?

But here comes the white knight, the rabbi, with such “powerful” logic.

God is really fooling us. Your theory imputes a deception to God. That’s problem number one.

Wait. Wait. What? Isn’t that a totally stupid answer?

“Why, David? Why?”

Did God say, “use the stars to figure out their distances and ages”? No. Did God tell them to make the unverifiable assumptions they make? No. Did God say, “ok, assume that I don’t exist, that I didn’t give a tradition, and then just go with whatever happens?” No. Did God tell humans to take their maths and their reasoning and then accept the conclusions they get as the absolute truth? No. Arthur Eddington rightly said that if people only want to go with observations and shun theory (the creative stories), then when it comes to astronomy, all books are banned because everything “outside” in the universe is only seen afar from a terrestrial platform. Did God tell the scientists that their theories were right? No. Did God say the celestial bodies were for anything other than days, years, appointed seasons, and signs? No.

Who set up this logical game bereft of the method of natural science? Man did. Who chose to accept theory as fact? Man did. Who said, “hey, let’s run with these ideas ignoring tradition about how the universe was built, ignoring the fact that things in their seed form don’t act like their more developed form?” Man did. Who chose to use the lights in the sky for purposes other than days, years, appointed seasons and signs, alien purposes such as determining how old stars are, the age of the universe and figuring out how far the stars were, and other stuff? Man did.

So man builds a structure themselves using faulty logic ignoring God, using them for things other than what God said, and then God is blamed for deception? And this coming from a rabbi?!? You use a tool for something other than its stated purpose and then accuse the creator of deception?!?

You, rabbi, are an idiot! At least on this topic anyway. And those who use the same reasoning are much the same.

Now, the rabbi then goes on some schpeel about the use of senses and reasoning, but he is talking to someone who has accepted the paradigm of a multi-billion year old universe. Maybe it makes sense to him to “if you’ve swallowed some of the BS, you may as well swallow it all.” I don’t know if that’s strong reasoning, that if you’ve accepted some of the paradigm, you should accept it all. Again, doing it may make a prettier picture, but maybe someone actually stops at a point and says “prettier and appealing doesn’t necessarily mean true.” But dispensing with that rubbish, let me talk to the common man.

When I look up at the stars, all I see are pinpricks of light. That’s it. I can’t tell the actual size of the star. As I said earlier in this article,

A light year is only a distance of 6 trillion miles, a distance that has never been traversed, experienced and therefore directly observed and verified by the senses of any man.

Nothing in my experience, none of my senses, tells be that size or brightness points to absolute age. My reasoning doesn’t have the necessary information to start making declarations and issue dictates on how the entire universe is meant to be. I take a lesson from Psalm 115:16.

The heavens, the heavens are God’s, and the earth he gave to humanity.

But it’s a great distraction, isn’t it? To get so lost in the distant skies while the earth turns to crap? I was listening to Trump’s state of the union speech – what a piece of WWE-like sports entertainment, vacuous and ego-bloated – and he mentioned the introduction of his “Space Force.” I guess NASA and the US military still have their hefty cheques worth billions coming in. Nice incentive for a wonderful distraction.

But I don’t simply take what those incentivised creative art programs shove down the throats of the masses, the wonderful pictures that are just imaginative artist renderings based on data I’ve never seen. I’ve learnt not to just go by hearsay and accept what the government dishes out, but to test it.

For me, none of my senses tells me about billions of years, trillions of miles and so many light years. My reasoning doesn’t tell me to sell my mind to the cult of scientism, of pseudoscience where maths, which, in and of itself, is unreal, but is king and actual experience and scientific testing where cause and effect relationships are actually tested is questioned and rejected, where Torah is simply a mindless, soulless slave, something to be bent and reshaped by the next wave of human opinion.

I watched a movie in which the Jews were portrayed as weak, the christians as liars, the muslims as fanatical barbarians, and the atheist as not really existing. From my experience, there is an element of truth in each.

The rabbi knows best part 3 – An article review H

Continuing my critique of a speech given by rabbi Aryeh Kaplan called “The Age of the Universe: A Torah True Perspective” and it can be found here. It was published by Reuven Meir Caplan.

Over the course of the next pages, the rabbi spends his time wiggling and wrangling, throwing as much shit against the wall to see what will stick. He goes through different approaches, citing source after source, trying to get something in the Torah tradition to agree with his scientific gods. But with the very foundation of this so-called debate being cracked, void, based on fallacies and other faith systems (that of naturalism and scientism), the whole purpose of this endeavour is nullified.

One of these approaches has the six days of creation just be in God’s mind (page 22). What a joke that makes out of the basis for the sabbath day! On another page he takes what is normally used in a spiritual sense to turn it into a literal sense (page 14). How he twists the Torah and shreds it so that it flies on the wings of the “scientific” wind! Let (pseudo)science be true and everything else, including Torah, be a lie.

How sad. And this, from a rabbi. How sad.

So I return to the conclusion of his speech.

The conclusion of all this is that, if one looks into our mekoros and seforim, and see what our sages have taught us, we see that Judaism is very much at harmony with the world as science sees it. I am not speaking of scientific theories or philosophy, but of scientific evidence and fact. (page 22, emphasis mine)

Here I see the fallacy of reification. Here is where I see how everything is turned into an idol.

The world as science sees it? What the hell?!? The fallacy of reification involves taking something that is inanimate, abstract, and treating it as if it were real or a physical entity. If someone says “nature selected certain genetic traits,” that’s an example of reification. Or, “love brought you back to me.” In this case, the rabbi talks about how “science” sees the world. But science is just a tool, a method. It can’t see anything. But the rabbi has turned a method, a limited method, into the authority and standard that Torah must meet. If it “sees” the world one way, the Torah must accord truth that “science” brings. Moses isn’t the greatest prophet. The scientists are the masters of the occult truth.

Yes, a form of philosophical idolatry. And a rabbi using logical fallacies doesn’t endear me to the idea of rabbis knowing best.

And that’s the problem. This whole series wasn’t just about the bastardisation of science and the declarations of scientists being unjustly used as the anvil of truth. It’s about the fallacy of the appeal to authority when it comes to rabbis. The admonishment is to just sit down and learn. The advice is that they know best. But to listen to a rabbi like this, to just take his word for it, to trust an approach that is rationally shoddy, showing only a common conflation of the powerful scientific method and the weak pseudoscientific declarations of scientists, the just-so stories of the ignorant, would be ridiculous.

But, David, the rabbi just has expertise with regards to Torah.

A rabbi must use his reasoning to apply what he learns whether it is Torah or “science.” To see a learned rabbi make such blunders in reasoning in one arena at the very least raises questions about other areas.

*sigh*

Look, despite my harsh approach, I do realise that rabbis are meant to be learned and studied men for their Jewish communities. My friend shared a video with me that opened my eyes to the fact that rabbis know a lot. Religious Jews have heaps of respect for them. They’re supposed to be versed in so many things. They can be fantastic teachers, a wealth of knowledge. And in my own mind, I know I don’t know it all. They are supposed to be giants of intellect and I’m supposed to be the ignoramus. The amount of times I’ve said to myself, maybe I’ve got something wrong. But even if people come to challenge me, I believe that I refute them or that their arguments are unconvincing. And who has the time to actually show me my errors with patience? No one. Maybe I’m now unreachable, unteachable, and must remain the teacher-less student.

I don’t know.

Fin.

PS. Also based on the works of Rabbi Manechem Schneerson, found in the article, “Theories of Evolution” at https://www.chabad.org/library/article_cdo/aid/112083/jewish/Theories-of-Evolution.htm

and

How The Days of Creation Were Understood by Our Sages–Revised found at https://slifkin-opinions.blogspot.com/2012_10_01_archive.html?m=1

The rabbi knows best part 3 – An article review G

Continuing my critique of a speech given by rabbi Aryeh Kaplan called “The Age of the Universe: A Torah True Perspective” and it can be found here. It was published by Reuven Meir Caplan.

What will be unsatisfying is the almost unthinking way Kaplan continues.

So we can meet the opposition and face the problem head on. How do we face it? There are several published viewpoints.

One, the very simplest, is that 6000 years ago, HaShem created the universe with a history. There is a certain logic to this, and one may even find a hint of it in the Gemara. If HaShem created a tree, did the tree have rings or not? If it had rings, then it had a history. (page 10)

Now when Kaplan goes through the other approaches, he refers to some Jewish text or another, some reference to what the view actually is. Here he does not. He just paints this picture which, from my own experience with Jews who hold the “simple” view, seems like a caricature. He seems to, as he spoke before this point, hold the billions of years as an immutable fact and impose it onto the “simple” approach. So now it is not as those holding this approach say, that the universe was simply fully functional and prepared, but rather, in rabbi Kaplan’s misrepresentation, it is this awkward “created with a history.” His logic at the end of this is weak. He says the following.

If HaShem created a tree, did the tree have rings or not? If it had rings, then it had a history.

But that is not the only option. It could be the following.

If HaShem created a tree, did the tree have rings or not? If it had rings, then maybe the rings had a function or purpose other than simply internally recording years our seasons of growth. (Or maybe it didn’t have rings.)

This, again, is speculation. But think about it further, adding to the speculation. If the first man was created, formed from the dust and given life, he would not have been like the modern 1-day-old baby. He would have looked like a mature man. So the presumptuous, the God-rejecting naturalist would ignore what God did and said and do their visual tests and say “this is a guy with a history.” The person who actual pays attention to what actually happened would know that, regardless of appearance, the man is fresh, new, with no history. One ignores the truth and stays addicted to a limited method, and the other, the latter, pays attention to all the information as well as the nature of said information to make a truly informed decision.

So the tree ring argument is nonsensical, mistaking fully functional for “the appearance of age.”

But rabbi Kaplan continues in folly.

The difficulty is that one could use a similar argument to say that HaShem created the universe five minutes ago. There is no question that an omnipotent G-d certainly could have created us all with our memories, with all the records, and with all our histories. It is very possible to say that the world was created five minuets (sic.) ago. But this weakens the above argument. If it is possible that HaShem created the world 6000 years ago, then everything is possible. (page 10)

Rabbi Dovid Gottlieb, a logician, dealt with this exact point. In his teaching, “Evolution and the Age of the Universe,” found at http://www.simpletoremember.com/media/a/evolution-age-of-the-universe, he gives a good analogy to illustrate the point.

In a murder case, if a lawyer were to just arbitrarily state that all the evidence against his client was planted, and that he was framed, then that sort of claim would be baseless and arbitrary. But if the lawyer had an intelligent eyewitness that corroborated his claim, and also had evidence to show such a frame-job, and possibly could show that the prosecutor’s evidence was also lacking in substance or even contradictory, then when the claim would not be arbitrary, but rather it would be a substantial and valid claim.

In much the same way, to say that history and evidence was created 5 minutes ago would be an arbitrary and baseless claim. But the Jews are supposed to have a tradition that comes from God Almighty, The Creator himself. That makes the claim about the relatively short universal history valid and substantial and not simply arbitrary. Added to that, it doesn’t take much to look at the evidence and the basis of the method of the so-called scientists and see loads of contradictions and insufficiencies. But that is if you are not too indoctrinated by the current education system, the media, and culture and the mental laziness that is ubiquitous in it.

So Kaplan’s argument against adopting the traditional age of the universe, that of sub-6000 years, fails. Kaplan imposes his own faith in billion-year speculations upon those that reject it. He then falsely equates those who hold strong testimony that the universe is a certain age with those who simply baselessly speculates upon an age.

And this is a rabbi doing this! But he continues to heap nonsense upon foolishness. Straight after the previous quote, he states the following.

Of course, it is an irrefutable argument. Therefore, if one feels comfortable with it, I would say all well and good. But I think that it has problems. It touches almost on intellectual dishonesty and sophism. It presents us with more problems than it answers. It seems to make all of Judaism depend on a glib argument.

But there is an even more serious problem. In no place in Torah literature do we find that HaShem created the universe so that it should appear to be billions of years old. If not for current scientific discoveries, no one would have ever made such a statement based on Torah sources alone. Therefore, this approach is nothing more than apologetics. (page 11)

Now the rabbi’s straw man rendition of the views of his opponents may reek of “intellectual dishonesty and sophism.” His misrepresentation may seem problematic and glib. But it’s very easy to kick down a straw man.

Then he continues to impose his nonsensical reconstruction upon the Torah, that it doesn’t say God made an old-looking universe. The Torah also doesn’t say God made the universe billions of years ago and developed it over those eons. So rather than putting words in God’s mouth, why not just go by what he says, that the universe was not finished until day seven? The laws and natural routines would not be fully established until God ceased from the creative work he had done.

Let me not linger any further on Kaplan either dissecting one way of dealing with a 6000-year-old universe which says it only appears old and/or total ignoring the views of a 6000-year-old that didn’t hamstring itself by using pseudoscience and flawed logic to buttress a silly idea that the universe looks the age that modern scientists imagine.

As rabbi Kaplan briefly deals with another approach, he states the following.

Moreover, we keep Shabbos because there were six days of creation, where each day was just like one of our days.

Moreover, there is no support in classic Torah literature for saying that the days of creation were more than 24 hours long. (page 11)

The rabbi makes clear
that classic Torah tradition has the days of creation being at most 24 hours each, and that the keeping of the weekly Sabbath is based on the creation of the universe lasting a normal week.

But the rabbi faces a barrier he cannot scale or circumnavigate: his belief that the universe is billions of years old.

So what do we have left? We are left in a position where we have no choice but to look into our classical Jewish literature, and see what it says about the age of the universe. Is there anything about the age of the universe that has not been discussed properly? (page 11)

When the rabbi paints himself into a corner (*chuckle*), he sees no choice but to try to look for ways to bend, nay, break the back of the Torah narrative over the more firm “rock” of the (un)scientific. Maybe he should have taken his own advice about doing such painting before he thought to teach others on this topic.

To be continued.

PS. Also based on the works of Rabbi Manechem Schneerson, found in the article, “Theories of Evolution” at https://www.chabad.org/library/article_cdo/aid/112083/jewish/Theories-of-Evolution.htm

and

How The Days of Creation Were Understood by Our Sages–Revised found at https://slifkin-opinions.blogspot.com/2012_10_01_archive.html?m=1

The rabbi knows best part 3 – An article review F

Continuing my critique of a speech given by rabbi Aryeh Kaplan called “The Age of the Universe: A Torah True Perspective” and it can be found here. It was published by Reuven Meir Caplan.

But, I think to somebody who knows what science is, this is a very unsatisfactory approach. We have some idea of what is involved in paleontology. We have some idea what is involved in geology and in radioactive dating. We have some idea of what is involved in astronomy. We can casually speak about a star being a million light years away, and we do not stop to think, “Well, that’s a bit too much!”

So I would say that if someone feels that science is ignorant and false, all well and good. Many people prefer not to accept science as a worthy challenge. But I think that for many of us here, such an approach would be totally unsatisfying. (page 10)

A central statement in this segment is “to someone who know what science is.” What is science? You see, the usage of that word has become so bastardised and stretched and dragged across the street. These days, words like “science” and “scientific” are used as codewords for “more true” and “reliable and trustworthy.” When something is “scientific” nowadays, it has an air of expertise, or even prophecy. By “prophecy,” I mean that that “scientific” thing is now the truth from a righteous priesthood. Or it’s used to mean “what the consensus of an unknown group called scientists say,” which, again, is taken for “the best explanations we have right now which can be treated as correct.” It can simply mean the study of something, which is why there is now something called “computer science.” It’s rarely used, at least colloquially, to refer to a specific method, the scientific method, a method of enquiry. When someone says “you are going against science,” it rarely actually means, “you are going against the practice of a specific method which has limited applicability,” but now seems to mean “you’re going against what the modern priesthood have declared.”

This is evident when Kaplan speaks of “radioactive dating.” He is not talking about natural science – the observation of phenomenon, the hypothesis which proposes a cause for the effect, an independent variable that can be manipulated, etc, – but rather he’s talking about measurement of radioactive elements present today mixed with logic, extrapolation and belief. That is not science, as in being in accordance with the scientific method. And if it were presented as such, it would be pseudoscience, that which is presented as science but does not accord with the scientific method. Why do I get the feeling that this is what rabbi Kaplan is doing?

Also, he talks of astronomy, about stars being a million light-years away. Once again, this is not natural science. It’s hard to even call it a science that is based on the scientific method. Wait. I should just be blunt, right? Astronomy is not a science based on the scientific method. When he says, “We can casually speak about a star being a million light years away, and we do not stop to think, Well, that’s a bit too much …” This again betrays ignorance. Why? Because a light year is not a time. It is not the statement that “the light from that star would take a million years to get here,” which is what is understood by too many. A light year is a distance of about 6 trillion miles today. Also, distance to stars isn’t science (based on the scientific method), but rather mathematics and, again, reasoning based on certain assumptions. Added to that, in order to jump from “a million light years” to “it would take a million years for the light to get here” you have to know the one-way speed of light. Unfortunately that speed is undefined and can’t be measured. Also also, as Maimonides stated, you can’t use the laws of a fully functional universe and apply it to its infancy or the role of its building or work back to it.

We, the community following in the footsteps of Moses and Abraham, believe that the world came into being in such-and-such a form, and became such-and-such from such-and-such (haya kach mi-kach ), and such was created after such. Aristotle comes to uproot our words, bringing proofs against us based upon nature in its stabilized, perfected and active state. We ourselves admit to him [Pines translates: As for us, we declare against him] that this is legitimate after nature’s having settled down in its fully developed stage; but in no way does this correspond to something’s characteristics at its being brought into existence, and produced out of absolute non-existence (Guide for the Perplexed, 2:17, Maimonides).

So this notion of light from stars needing millions of years to get here is baseless on so many levels and is unscientific and not rationally compelling (maybe even irrational). So it’s not “a bit much.”

But how did rabbi Kaplan present it? As “science!” He gives the impression that people who reject the dictates of acolytes of scientism actually reject science, as if they are only saying “science” is “ignorant and false” when, according to what I’ve read, they may be able to tell the difference between actual science that follows the scientific method and popular pseudoscience which is complex structure based on declarations, beliefs and assumptions decorated by maths and the confident stride of the naturalist.

Maybe it’s his experience with the dissenting Jews around him that makes him so dismissive, declaring their ways “unsatisfactory.” Maybe.

to be continued.

PS. Also based on the works of Rabbi Manechem Schneerson, found in the article, “Theories of Evolution” at https://www.chabad.org/library/article_cdo/aid/112083/jewish/Theories-of-Evolution.htm

and

How The Days of Creation Were Understood by Our Sages–Revised found at https://slifkin-opinions.blogspot.com/2012_10_01_archive.html?m=1

The rabbi knows best part 3 – An article review E

Continuing my critique of a speech given by rabbi Aryeh Kaplan called “The Age of the Universe: A Torah True Perspective” and it can be found here. It was published by Reuven Meir Caplan.

So Kaplan carries on.

One problem is that many people have taken a stand on this. When people take a stand on something, it is very hard for them to change their mind. (page 8)

I agree with this. But Kaplan’s position is always that this issue is not one to take a stand on although his criteria for advising people not to do so is, at last to me, questionable. “It’s history not law so there’s no authoritative decision.” So God neither creates the universe, nor did he take the children of Israel out of Egypt. That’s history, right?

For the next few paragraphs, rabbi Kaplan goes through instances where Jewish books were written stating that the Torah position is so and so but the “correct” position was something else. He refers to the geocentric universe and space travel above and beyond earth’s body of air, the so called “atmosphere”. Both of these are instances where Kaplan believes Jews painted themselves into “an intellectual corner.” I believe he only uses these examples because he believes a geocentric universe and “no outer space to traverse” are factually incorrect positions and he feels Jews were wrong to make these Torah standards.

But the footnote of the publisher of this speech actually corrects the rabbi with regards to geocentricity.

This opinion should not necessarily be scoffed at. For it should be noted, that according to the theory of relativity, there in no preferred reference point. That is, any point in space and time is as “centered” as any other (although much easier to understand when looked at in some reference frames than others.) In fact, according to modern cosmology, every square speck of space was present at the moment of creation of the universe, and therefore every point in space is the “center” of the universe. Now since every point is in a way, the center of the universe, the only possible difference between different positions would be on a spiritual level. Therefore, to say that right now, the Earth is the center of the universe is technically a true statement according to the current laws of physics. (footnote 3, page 8)

I do not share this as an endorsement of Einstein’s theories of relativity, but rather to show that in popular (pseudo)science, the sort of “science” that Kaplan should have been aware of, the statement “the earth is the unmoving centre of the universe” is a valid statement because odd relativity.

And it should be known that ever since it was claimed that man went into space and onto the moon, that the claim has been doubted, and questioned, and even rejected, with notions of the vacuum of outer space being challenged by the second law of thermodynamics.

The problem here is that where a person should take a stand is a difficult question. When it comes to the Torah, there will be a difference in opinion as to what the standard should be. Maybe rabbi Kaplan wants Judaism to be inclusive to points of view that treat science as if it is the absolute truth that the Torah must bend to. Unfortunately his inclusive view must alienate Jews and others who don’t hold science as a purveyor of absolute truth but rather the Torah.

So to summarise, Kaplan’s view of where one should take a stand is very different to other rabbis, just as his view on the solidity of the dictates and opinions of modern scientists differs from those more knowledgable of the nature and philosophy of science.

To be continued.

PS. Also based on the works of Rabbi Manechem Schneerson, found in the article, “Theories of Evolution” at https://www.chabad.org/library/article_cdo/aid/112083/jewish/Theories-of-Evolution.htm

and

How The Days of Creation Were Understood by Our Sages–Revised found at https://slifkin-opinions.blogspot.com/2012_10_01_archive.html?m=1

The rabbi knows best part 3 – An article review D

Continuing my critique of a speech given by rabbi Aryeh Kaplan called “The Age of the Universe: A Torah True Perspective” and it can be found here. It was published by Reuven Meir Caplan.

The fact is that every single example of the “overwhelming evidence” given by the publisher of the speech is either unscientific (meaning that the scientific method can’t be used to come to the conclusion of age) or highly dependent on assumptions and beliefs, and can be seriously questioned, more so than I’ve done here. If such evidence is, as it seems to be, only tentative at best, and at worst simply an adoption of an anti-Torah philosophy of nigh-supreme naturalism, then it makes the rabbi’s statement of “almost overwhelming evidence” particularly empty, deluded and incorrect.

Always bear in mind that, in choosing to elevate what is essentially belief and speculation by the authorities he reveres, the “scientist,” he is declaring that their creative reconstructions and stories of the past have a quality of truth, of absolute truth, that places the narrative of the Torah in a lesser status. Hmmm … elevating the words of man above that of God? So the rabbi and his accomplice teaches philosophical idolatry? Hmmm …

To conclude this part, the very basis for the debate that the rabbi concocts is invalid. So the endeavour that follows of the rabbi trying to find ways to have the words of Torah bow to the modern (pseudo)scientist is a fool’s errand.

Anyway, let me carry on into the rabbi’s speech.

If I were to comment on every word of this rabbi in which I found fault, this post would be a lot longer. So I’m skipping over some points.

Also let me add that I’m gonna translate as many of those annoying transliterations of foreign terms that I can when I quote him.

The second introduction is a principle … that the Rambam makes in his Perush HaMishnayos. When one has a question of historical fact or [philosophical outlook] – there is no [final authoritative decision].
In a question of [practical details of Jewish law], after there is a discussion of different opinions, we must come to one conclusion. Anyone not abiding by that conclusion is going against [Jewish law] … However, in the case of [philosophical outlook], or historical questions, this is not true. (page 4)

Is this true? When it comes to historical facts or questions, there is no final decision like there is with law? Really? Did God give the laws at Sinai? Did Moses exist? Did God even create the universe? These are questions of historical fact, I guess there’s no final decision, right? No final say? I doubt it somehow. But I guess those who want some wiggle room to reinterpret Torah would prefer no final say about history, right?

Carrying on.

I remember years ago when some of the first experiments were conducted making amino acids, the basic building blocks of living matter, out of carbon dioxide, methane, ammonia and water vapor, together with spark discharges or ultra-violet radiation. I remember where further experiments were performed, where Professor Fox was able to combine these amino acids automatically to form simple proteins and micro-spheres, which almost looked like very simple living creatures. When this happened, many religious people were very upset.

Many people saw this as a blow to our tradition. Here we saw that the interface between the living and the non-living was not quite as immutable and unbreachable as people thought it was.

I recall that around that time, people came to me and asked, “Rabbi Kaplan, what do you think about that?” My reaction was “Mah gadlu ma’asecha HaShem” – “How great are Your deeds O G-d.”

All this experiment did was show that inert matter and nonliving elements have the ability to actually crystallize into life, producing the chemicals of life. But what does this mean? It means that Whoever created the basic matter of the Universe, created it to be the building block of life. Whoever created the carbon atom, designed it specifically so that under certain conditions, it would build into amino acid and proteins.

The fact that non-living matter can “come to life” is in itself extremely remarkable. (pages 6-7)

So Sidney Fox, the “Professor Fox” the rabbi refers to, tries something. He seems to try to create life in the laboratory. He used the naturalistic creation myths to speculate on what the conditions on earth would be like just before life sprang out of a sterile environment. Think about how stupid this is. Life from an environment void of life is similar to creating something from nothing. Imagine sterilising your kitchen whilst still in fear that bacterial life will still from the sterile table top. Essentially, he speculated on the unscientific, about things that contradict experience and facts about how life can only come from life, and created a fictional environment to make real what was only imagined. Did he succeed in creating life? Absolutely not. There were significant issues with this experiment that even other scientists acknowledged, issues that removed the results of this experiment from the possibility of it occurring in real life. Some may say that Sydney Fox got close to creating life from nonlife. But considering that this is a laboratory experiment, all he did was show that, by creating a unrealistic scenario (using technology and a controlled environment), it takes intelligence to create some of the ingredients found in living creatures – but not life – as well as other chemicals.

And what is the response of the learned rabbi? He sees the line between living and nonliving is now blurred. This is even though life was not created. For the rabbi, even in failure, the scientist succeeded? Even though the chemicals did not come to life, the rabbi acts as if the chemicals came to life.

There is a term nowadays, “cuck.”

A man who is desperate for acceptance, approval, and affection from women. This desperation has led to the compromise of his beliefs and values, the desecration of his dignity and self-worth, and his inability to stand up for himself and what he deserves as a human being, eg. loyalty, fidelity, and honesty in a romantic relationship. (“cuck,” Urban Dictionary, https://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=cuck)

So far, this is what I see from rabbi Kaplan in this topic in particular.

A man who is desperate for acceptance, approval, and affection from people. This desperation has led to the compromise of his beliefs and values, the desecration of his dignity and self-worth, and his inability to stand up for Torah and what it deserves as divine revelation, eg. loyalty, fidelity, and honesty in a devout relationship.

This is a man who acknowledged that the Torah seems to speak of a creation that is about 6000 years old. Yet, he is a cuck for speculation, for the unscientific, for scientism. It appears it would take a different quality of person to say,

Wait there! Did the scientist actually find life coming from non-life in the natural world? No. Then if he only used an unnatural scenario to get some fragments of the ingredients for life, then I don’t think a religious Jew or any rational God-fearing person has anything to worry about yet. Let’s just wait and see. And remember, life isn’t just the atoms and amino acids any more than a written message is just ink molecules.

But no, rabbi “Kucklan” says,

Therefore, when I see carbon and other non-organic elements crystallizing into organic chemicals and life, my first reaction is “Mah gadlu ma’asecha HaShem. (page 7)

even though that didn’t actually happen.

Talk about standing up for truth, right?

But, to be fair, the rabbi seems more focused on seeing God in the falsehood.

Therefore, when people ask me for proof for the existence of a Creator, I say, look at matter itself. There is only one type of matter in the entire universe. Matter could not have evolved, since it is basically immutable. And yet, matter contains all the properties necessary for life and thought. This is a very important principle. (ibid.)

That is an admirable trait. I don’t have to add anything to that conclusion as I’ve said enough.

To be continued

PS. Also based on the works of Rabbi Manechem Schneerson, found in the article, “Theories of Evolution” at https://www.chabad.org/library/article_cdo/aid/112083/jewish/Theories-of-Evolution.htm

and

How The Days of Creation Were Understood by Our Sages–Revised found at https://slifkin-opinions.blogspot.com/2012_10_01_archive.html?m=1

The rabbi knows best part 3 – An article review C

Continuing my critique of a speech given by rabbi Aryeh Kaplan called “The Age of the Universe: A Torah True Perspective” and it can be found here. It was published by Reuven Meir Caplan.

What about “ice core samples” and “geological layers?” The ice core samples are just the fact that in places in the world with a much colder climate, when the ice is dug into, there are layers of ice underneath the surface, one on top of the other. The geological layers are rock layers that are on top of each other under the surface of the earth. And what are these things supposed to prove? Oh, millions and billions of years, right? But what are they? They are just layers of rock and layers of ice. Don’t I have to make certain assumptions to start concluding that they are something other just rock and ice, but a reliable record of absolute time? Of course I do. Why? Well, I was not around during their formation. There are no eye-witnesses to their formation. At best, all scientists have done is possibly, if I give them the benefit of the doubt, watched how they formed for a number of years, maybe decades, and then said, “hey, let’s apply what we’ve observed for this relatively short time and extrapolate it to millions of years, claiming that the processes have remained generally the same for all that time. Now that’s if I give them more credit than they’re worth. If I remain as sceptical as I am, then I’ll just think that they see layers, wonder how they got there, then presume that they accumulate annually without verification, build a model and then after that they extrapolate and claim the processes have remained roughly the same. Either way, the publisher of the rabbi’s speech – and possibly the rabbi himself – just take the word of the “scientific authorities” and adopt their assumption about generally unchanging routines in world weather cycles for millions of years, save the supposed Ice Ages.

It reminds me of the logic about redshifted light from stars and the inference that they are redshifted because they are moving away, and therefore the whole universe is expanding, and therefore all a person needs to do is just reverse the expansion until everything becomes a dot that the universe expanded from. So see something happening now, and then apply the assumption that all you have to do, in your mind (this only happens in the mind, since the belief they have about universal history has no eyewitnesses to corroborate the story) roll back the tape. Essentially, presume that there is no God and pretend you understand the workings and nature of the entire universe, and then …

Oh, but wait. A scientist’s imagination must be so much truer and more accurate than our imagination. Right? And if they imagine our history over billions and billions of years, then it must really be our history, right? Remember, all the scientists can see is today, the present. They don’t literally go back in time. They stuck in the present with us. And the scientific method – based on observation in the present, presumed cause, hypothesis, testing variables to find cause and effect relationships, experimentation in the present – is stuck in the present. So the vast history over billions of years of time is not something scientific, but rather something creatively imagined.

What does Cosmic Background Radiation prove? I was watching an atheist give a talk about this. In his mind, first scientists “discovered” (translate as “created in their minds”) the Big Bang Theory (BBT), the notion that the universe expanded from a small dot, the BBT then “naturally” predicted that there would be a universal radiation that should be left over from the expansion, and then, lo and behold, afterwards, they detect this radiation. [I must add that things didn’t happen in this order. The prediction did not come before the discovery of the radiation. The discovery of the radiation came before, the scientists predicted a range of “temperature” for the radiation, and then they fit the already discovered radiation into the theory.] See that? They predicted something, it came true, so therefore the BBT is true and the universe is billions of years old. Hence, here we have some more of the “overwhelming evidence” that the Torah needs to be reinterpreted because there is a truth greater than the plain reading of the text from the mouth of the holy scientist. According to space.com, everywhere the scientists point their doohickeys, they detect the radiation. They say it’s everywhere in the universe.

This brings a story to my mind. Spencer was scared of spoons, especially plastic ones. He didn’t want to be near them. And why? Because he had had a terrible experience with a spoon when he was much younger where he was almost choked. Since then, he’s built up in his mind that the spoons are out to get him. In fact, he’s sure that some spoons had plotted to attack him the day before in his back garden, but because it had rained, some of them may have got stuck in his back yard. So he decides to go out to this yard and check. And lo and behold, right at the back of his garden, near the footpath that passes outside the back of his house, there is a plastic spoon, half buried. He had the theory of the plotting spoons, he found one, where he suspected it would be, so he is then empowered to do plan his counterattack and spread the word to others.

I mean we could say to Spencer, “Hey, ummmm, you’ve heard of the affirming the consequent logical fallacy, right?” What’s that? Well, in algebraic form, it’s the following: if p, then q; we see q, therefore p. In the form of an example, when my dad tells me off and chastises me, I get really sad; I’m really sad, therefore my dad must have just beaten me. But there might be other reasons why you’re sad, even if I can’t think of one at present. So I’d admonish and gently talk to crazy Spencer, there may be other ways that a spoon could have got into your back garden. And I’d say to the crazy BBT supporters, there may be other reasons why a universe that you don’t even fully understand may have this radiation. But that’s if I accept that this radiation exists. No, I need to say that right. My issue is not whether it’s true that this radiation exists, but rather whether it’s true that it exists throughout the whole universe.

You see, in the current view of the universe held by people in general, the earth is such a tiny, tiny, tiny, tiny, tiny, itsy bitsy, infinitesimally small part of the universe. If, by analogy, it was like the size of a fly, the imagined universe could be the size of either a big field, or maybe even a city, maybe even a whole landmass. But imagine it was like a fly that felt warm in one part of the field. Could that fly ever come to the conclusion that because it feels warm all over, therefore, everywhere in the field is warm? It gets much worse if I’m underestimating the size of the earth in comparison to the imagined size of the universe, and I’m fairly sure that I am. And remember, the human race hasn’t left the solar system they think exists. So it’s like being a crippled, paralytic fly that can’t move. We’re stuck here, just looking out. And I’m highly sceptical about how much this fly knows about the nature of the field or landmass it’s in.

The weakness with my analogy is that I’m talking about something humans have experienced: a field, a city, a country. But no human has experienced more than even a speck of the huge huge universe scientists imagine. That makes things much worse in terms of measuring things in our little corner of “space”, and making it seem as if it’s the same everywhere else. If you know anything about sample sizes and making judgements based on them, then you may have an idea how utterly ridiculous the situation is when dictating, declaring, what’s happening throughout the entire universe.

But add to this, if I was blunt, just because some radiation is everywhere around me, what is the scientific evidence that therefore the universe is billions of years old? What was the hypothesis? And how was the independent variable manipulated so as to get a result of billions of years? Isn’t this just another example of man detecting something in the present and then doing massive extrapolation into an unknown that can never be verified due to lack of eyewitness and actual scientific experiments? “Hey, Bob, we’ve detected some radiation.” “Great, Bill, so how old is it?” “Well, Bob, I had this story and it seems like this radiation fits my story, so I think it’s about 5 minutes old.” “Great, Bill. What’s the phone number for the nearest mental asylum?” Oh wait, wait. A scientist said it, so it can’t be logically fallacious or just utter bullshit, right?

When it comes to “the parallax of stars,” all that is happening is that a star appears to be moving in a little circle in the sky over the year. But this has nothing to do with the age of the universe, unless you accept the assumption that the stars are distant suns, millions and billions and trillions of miles away. Star distances cannot be scientifically verified. Why? What would the hypothesis be? And how would you manipulate the independent variable? Oh, this is where some say “but science isn’t so narrow, you don’t have to manipulate the independent variable.” If you can’t affect the presumed cause to compare with the desired effect, then you can’t really control the experiment, so you’ll end up with more declarations void of solid evidence. To those that say that it’s “simple maths” or trigonometry, I can still say that they are ignorant of the assumptions needed to do such “simple maths,” such as what stars are and what the nature of “outer space,” amongst other things. To bring up again the statement from Sir Arthur Eddington,

For the reader resolved to eschew theory and admit only definite observation facts, all astronomical books are banned. There are no purely observational facts about the heavenly bodies. Astronomical measurements are, without exception, measurements of phenomena occurring in a terrestrial observatory or station; it is only by theory that they are translated into knowledge of a universe outside.”
Arthur Eddington – The Expanding Universe: Astronomy’s ‘Great Debate’, 1900-1931 p.17

Astronomical measurements includes even the proposed distance to the stars.

So, in my own words, with these large distances, as with statements about the distant past, these (pseudo)scientists make declarations about things they can never touch, can never do direct measurements, can never practice the actual scientific method on, and they build these wonderful stories, intricate in detail, plentiful in mathematics, seeming like an insurmountable mountain of intellectual pomp, and yet they are not built on truth, just declarations.

The main reason I’ve seen why people want to get away from the strictness of the scientific method is that they want to allow such declarations and then hang “truth” on the “authority” of the preachers, i.e., the new (pseudo)scientist.

To be continued.

PS. Also based on the works of Rabbi Manechem Schneerson, found in the article, “Theories of Evolution” at https://www.chabad.org/library/article_cdo/aid/112083/jewish/Theories-of-Evolution.htm

and

How The Days of Creation Were Understood by Our Sages–Revised found at https://slifkin-opinions.blogspot.com/2012_10_01_archive.html?m=1

The rabbi knows best part 3 – An article review B

Continuing my critique of a speech given by rabbi Aryeh Kaplan called “The Age of the Universe: A Torah True Perspective” and it can be found here. It was published by Reuven Meir Caplan.

When I was a kid, I was taught what the scientific method was. But weirdly it seems to get thrown aside for declarations that seem to have nothing to do with the method. I had to be re-taught this method. I could deal with these “evidences” more on a level of pure reasoning, and I might. But my first question is whether they are scientific evidence.

Anyway, to summarise the method as it regards natural science, first a person must observe a natural phenomenon, something happening in the natural world. It does not start simply with asking a question, but, since it is natural science, then you must find a naturally occurring phenomenon. Then you try to figure out a cause for what happened. With this presumed cause, you then make a hypothesis using that presumed cause as a variable you manipulate. After doing some research to make sure this hasn’t been tested before, you’ll say “with this presumed cause, something will happen.” You also have a null hypothesis that says something like “with this presumed cause, that occurrence will not happen.” You create an experiment to test the cause. The presumed cause is the “independent variable,” the thing you manipulate. The effect is called the “dependent variable.” And you try to control other variables that may interfere with the experiment. These are the “control variables.” The experiment will either validate the hypothesis or the null hypothesis.

So basically, the scientific method, science-proper, is about cause-effect relationships.

So, with that in mind, let me look at the evidence provided to see if it’s “scientific evidence.”

The first evidence is called “radioactive carbon dating.” That’s supposed to be scientific evidence? Ok. How exactly to you scientifically test a date or age? What was the hypothesis? The null hypothesis? The dependent variable? And independent variable that you can manipulate? No idea. Scientists throw ages about but don’t really share the actual following of the scientific method. What I understand of radioactive dating, it’s only the measuring of the amounts of two related materials and then apply a form of logic and untestable assumptions to it to get a suggested age. But that’s not in accordance with the scientific method. That’s just observation, reasoning and declaration. And the reasoning is only as strong as its weakest link and presuppositions.

“But, David, that’s science!”

No. That’s just what I said, it’s only observation, reasoning and declaration. No rigorous scientific experimentation. It’s not scientific.

“But, David, you don’t need a hypothesis, an independent, dependent or control variable to have an experiment or create scientifc evidence.”

You’ve essentially said that you don’t need to do science to have science.

“But the authorities say it’s science.”

Of course. They can call a cat “a dog” if they like. As it doesn’t comport with the scientific method, something is fundamentally wrong with claim.

“But, David, the reasoning is tight.”

I doubt most people even know the reasonings or presuppositions. I have to believe that the world is mechanistically naturalistic, that no God created it, that there was no worldwide cataclysms that could have messed up that radioactive rates, that natural things can’t affect the rates. Most importantly, I have to assume or believe in what the starting conditions of the radioactive materials are. I have to believe. But that isn’t science either. It’s just “accept my assumption.”

Essentially, this isn’t scientific evidence. It’s hardly evidence, just accepting a paradigm or worldview.

Added to that, the “dating” referred to, “radiocarbon, ” is only supposed to be able to reach “ages” of tens of thousands of years IF you accept the assumptions, the beliefs that can’t be verified by the scientific method, such as uniformitarianism. That’s not “millions of times longer than 6000.” But I know that I have to accept beliefs and worldviews to think anything more of the other forms of radioactive dating. And none of them adopt the scientific methoda.

The main thing, this radiometric dating doesn’t give dates. It just measures the amount of two related materials. That’s it. Without the assumptions and beliefs, such as the starting conditions of the radioactive substance, it’s not evidence and it’s not a product of the scientific method. With the assumptions and beliefs, it just remains assumption and belief.

Is the “fossil record” scientific evidence? Well, what was the hypothesis? Or the independent variable that can be manipulated by the experimenter to properly record whether the presumed cause causes the effect? Nada. Nothing. No science. To be fair, no normal person, no everyday Joe could verify the claim that there is a “record” qof bones in the dirt. We just have to take it on their say so. I have never seen such a record in the ground. My question is what makes it a record? Doesn’t the very name imply an assumption, that creatures lived in a certain order of time periods and were buried in that order? And also that these creatures are related? But how do I know there is this ordering? How do I know one is related to another? There’s no DNA remnants to check. All there is is the assumption that evolution happened. The actual facts in only and simply that a creature died and was buried, that’s it! The rest is belief and assumption.

Hey, rabbi! Hey, publisher! How do you know the creature on top of your assumed pile is related to any creature lower than it? Do you know from personal experience and direct observation? Hell no! If it just because some stranger called a scientist declared it? Or is it that a consensus of their brethren believes it so you believe to? Seems so. It can’t be physical similarity because you’ve never seen these things alive and in the flesh for you to make such judgements. So this “fossil record” evidence is not evidence of some long age, only your belief in declarations by scientists.

In fact, it’s not as if these scientists were in one place and dug in that one place and happened to pass fossils on the way down in that order. They are simply going to different places worldwide and piecing the “record” together to fit a certain belief. And it is a belief. It is not science because it does not follow the scientific method. It is not history which needs eyewitnesses and records from intelligent agents. Imaginary vast eons in the past that the creative nationalistic story narrates isn’t something that is within human experience. No science, no historical records from intelligent agents, very little from human experience, just guesswork based on assumptions, a story to believe in. It’s just a belief system.

Anyway, how the hell did this “fossil record” get to be called evidence? Where’s the critical thinking?

Not with the publisher of this Kaplan speech apparently.

To be continued.

PS. Also based on the works of Rabbi Manechem Schneerson, found in the article, “Theories of Evolution” at https://www.chabad.org/library/article_cdo/aid/112083/jewish/Theories-of-Evolution.htm

and

How The Days of Creation Were Understood by Our Sages–Revised found at https://slifkin-opinions.blogspot.com/2012_10_01_archive.html?m=1

The rabbi knows best part 3 – An article review A

When I had reached the 6,623rd word of this post, I knew it was time to separate it into parts. And I still haven’t finished yet. So here’s part one.

Day after day, the altars of veneration that I had built over the years break down and crumble one after another.

It was almost as a response to one of my most recent articles when an article was shared in a Facebook group that I am part of. It was a write-up of a speech given by rabbi Aryeh Kaplan called “The Age of the Universe: A Torah True Perspective” and it can be found here.

Now I am sure that this piece was shared with good intention. The person who shared it it is nothing but humble and kind in his manner. And yet reading this essay, once again I am reminded about how much faith I should put in rabbis.

Now I apologise in advance to people who don’t know Hebrew or Yiddish or whatever language the Jews choose to converse with one another. The speech is peppered with transliterations of odd and strange words that would likely be known to the audience but just make it an additional chore for the native English speaker. But it’s just something one has to deal with in these circles.

I will also highlight that the introduction and footnotes are by the person who chose to publicise the speech, Reuven Meir Caplan. I’ll comment on his words too.

This speech is rabbi Kaplan’s attempt to deal with a certain issue.

I will begin with a kasha, a question that has been around for almost a century. It involves the age of the universe, and it is a classical kasha.

For all practical purposes, the Torah seems to teach that the Universe is no more than 6000 years old. There are many people who would say that anyone who believes that the universe is more than 6000 years old is an apikores. I’ve heard this from many people.

On the other side of the kasha, there is almost overwhelming evidence(1) that the universe is more than 6000 years old…maybe even millions of times more than 6000 years old. This is the kasha. (page 2)

Now here Kaplan makes two admissions. He tells me what I’ve known, but what others have been telling me is utterly wrong: that the Torah seems to teach that the universe is no more that 6000 years old. But he makes sure this side of the debate, the “kasha,” is couched in questionable language, “seems to.” That is because, for the other side of the debate, he uses absolute language as if it is absolute fact: “there is almost overwhelming evidence that the universe is more than 6000 years old, maybe even millions of times more than 6000 years old.” This initial statement betrays his bias, a bias that is quite clear throughout his speech. Near the end of this written account he says the following, which I’ll return to.

The conclusion of all this is that, if one looks into our mekoros and seforim, and see what our sages have taught us, we see that Judaism is very much at harmony with the world as science sees it. I am not speaking of scientific theories or philosophy, but of scientific evidence and fact. There are no major problems. (page 22)

It is clear that he thinks something called “science” sees the world and its evidence and facts are what needs to be harmonised, which is why he spends the whole speech leaving the dictates of “science” immutable and untouched while bringing up ways to alter how the Torah is read. “Oh the Torah can be read this way.” “This source says this.” “That source can be interpreted as that.” The Torah is the thing, for rabbi Kaplan, that can be shaped and moulded to confirm with the real truth, which is the dictates of the scientist.

For me, that shows what his priority is and where his bias is. The scientist has spoken the immutable truth and the fact, and the Torah from God can be reinterpreted, not the other way around.

It seems more like a feature I see amongst many Jews (and others), the desire to conform and be subjugated, maybe even assimilated, to fall in line with the so-called “authorities.”

This “almost overwhelming evidence,” what is it? What makes this billions of years so true that the Torah only seem to speak differently? Rabbi Kaplan treated it like a given and elucidated it no further. And if the listener who accepted Torah was even a bit skeptical, and didn’t just accept claims, even from rabbis, they would see that this whole debate is baseless without evidence that there was this insurmountable pile of factual evidence. Kaplan carries on regardless. But the person who published this speech thought he would help furnish some of this “evidence” with a footnote.

Now, just to remind you, this is supposed to be scientific evidence. So what does the publisher think it is?

This includes both terrestrial evidence (such as radioactive carbon dating, fossil records, ice core samples, and geological layering), as well as astronomical evidence (such as the Cosmic Microwave Background, red-shifting of galaxies, and parallax distance calculations of nearby galaxies.) (footnote 1, on page 2)

So this supposed to be “scientific evidence,” right? That means this is evidence to do with the scientific method, right? Not just the ukases and declarations of a person with the title of “scientist.”

to be continued

PS. Also based on the works of Rabbi Manechem Schneerson, found in the article, “Theories of Evolution” at https://www.chabad.org/library/article_cdo/aid/112083/jewish/Theories-of-Evolution.htm

and

How The Days of Creation Were Understood by Our Sages–Revised found at https://slifkin-opinions.blogspot.com/2012_10_01_archive.html?m=1

Hearsay: Wisdom is knowing that you don’t know

The inspiring article: People accept hearsay instead of facts.

Let’s see if I’ve got the principle down.

What is hearsay? It is testimony given to prove a case or a point that cannot be cross-examined.

Is that right? Let me double check.

Any out of court statement that is offered to prove the truth of the matter asserted. (“The “facts” people get from the news would be laughed out of court, but the masses gobble them up like candy”, from https://www.thetruthaboutthelaw.com/people-accept-hearsay-instead-of-facts/)

Hmmm, I forgot “out of court”. Let me get some more info.

That’s from freedictionary.com referring to another resource. In case you can’t see the image, it says:

hearsay
n.
1. Unverified information heard or received from another; rumor.
2. Law Evidence that is not within the personal knowledge of a witness, such as testimony regarding statements made by someone other than the witness, and that therefore may be inadmissible to establish the truth of a particular contention because the accuracy of the evidence cannot be verified through cross-examination.

You can see why I mentioned “cross-examination.” Please check here for a fuller description of the point (https://legal-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/hearsay).

When I first heard the article that inspired this piece, I was taken aback. Look at the title in the web address: “People accept hearsay instead of facts.” I have had to listen to it more times to try to absorb the message because I feel it’s important.

Why did it resonate with me so much? Because the author applied the principle to the news. I have had an understanding that I shouldn’t trust what the news says for various reasons. But this? The way it was articulated? It was just very poignant to me, especially with recent affairs that are being reported not only by the mainstream media, but also what is known as “the alternate news media” found on video sites like Youtube, Bitchute, Bittuber.com and many others. It impacts what is said and publicised by Jew-haters and people of other worldviews.

There are youtubers like Sargon of Akkad and Paul Joseph Watson, like “WE GOT A PROBLEM” and others and there are mainstream news broadcasters like the BBC. I’ll watch their content about things supposedly happening across the world, and what I end up asking myself nowadays is “how do they know what really happened?” Recently, news programmes and YouTube commentators reported that supposedly some guy in Iran was killed by the Americans. They gave his name as well as stating things that he is supposed to have done that warranted his killing. My question is how the news broadcasters know these things. What was their source? How reliable was their source? How did their source know what happened? Isn’t it just hearsay upon hearsay? When the YouTube commentators comment on it, how do they know what they’re talking about? Don’t they just get it from the news, which could be hearsay upon hearsay? So now it could be hearsay three times removed. Many on the internet believe that something called “America” is just doing the will of something called “Israel.” One such person called “Mark Collett” who seems to say a lot of sensible stuff, but also seems to have an issue with something called “Israel” made such a connection, that the only people who have something to gain from the destabilisation of the “Middle East” is that thing called “Israel.” Many times they are vague in their language. What exactly do they mean by “America” and “Israel?” Do they mean the population? A representative number of the population? The government? A part of the government? The military? And me, as the viewer, do I have the time to verify all their stories? No! But can I trust them? Of course not. Any one of them, from the BBC to Mark Collett, I can see agenda in their words but I have no way of validating their stories.

Now don’t get me wrong? I’m not saying the principle of hearsay applies universally. The world is not a court of law. A lot of trust is needed to operate in this world, to have history and tradition. In many ways, it’s inescapable. But at least applying it to the news helps me realise how small my personal world really is and how all sorts of media is used to control my perspective and opinion of the world beyond me, to control my mind.

Look, how much do I really know about the world, about the universe I live in? And how much do I have to accept just out of faith in a report? A news story? An article?

I have to admit that I don’tknow much at all.