11 June 2006

The curse of Tiresias

Several of us on TFSG were debating the issue of disclosing to others our new found beliefs regarding Judaism . One argument went that maybe we're "responsible" for telling others in our lives so they can share of the truth. After all we don't let children believe in fairy tales forever. These adults may find out the truth anyway, etc. My argument was that I know that basically the audience is not receptive. In addition most people with true Emunah are quite happy. Their lives can be productive, disciplined and the promise of an afterlife certainly is icing on the cake.

Even upon hearing the truth, and believing the truth as we see it, many of us don't change our lifestyle at all. So what's to be gained in upsetting other people?

The question of medical ethics came up, do you tell a terminally ill patient when there’s no cure. The consensus was "It depends".

Ever hear this old joke?
Q) How do you tell a male Chromosome from a female chromosome?
A) Pull down its Genes.

Well, I'm in the middle of this fascinating book, "Genome, the autobiography of a species in 23 Chapters" by Matt Ridley. (Notice that all the books I review are fascinating?) It's a book about our human genetic history and it goes thru a discussion of the science behind genetics. I tell you I still can't tell a Chromosome from a Ribosome, and certainly not a male chromosome from a female one. But, I'm getting there. Slowly but surely, the concept of DNA, as being the software instructions of our lives, and the components, DNA, RNA, etc, is all kicking in.

The book goes on to describe the recent discovery of the genetic cause of Huntingtons Chorea as being related to too many repetitions of the "CAG" word in a mutated gene located on Chromosome 4.

This fatal genetic disease is now predictable with 100% certainty by blood tests. It is available and recommended for those with a family history of this horrible disease.

Based upon the results of the testing, the severity and even the age of onset of the dreaded disease can be determined.

The problem facing those unfortunate people is that in most cases, there is no point in knowing whether one has the defective gene. There is absolutely nothing to that can be done to help.

The author says science is now in the position of Tiresias who had the gift of seeing the future but was unable to change anything.

The author states, that as it turns out, 80% of those considered being at risk, chooses ignorance.

I could not help but think of the similarity, not exact, to my assertion, that ignorance is bliss.

Now wouldn't that be great if a simple blood test could confirm Torah Misinai. Hmmm, on second thought maybe it wouldn't be great. After all what would everyone blog about then?

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    At June 13, 2006 3:06 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

    The movie, Krakatoa was on cable this past Sunday night. I dont know which was more boring, the movie or the book. Still struggling my way through the book.

    At June 13, 2006 10:58 PM, Blogger Baal Habos said...

    Anony, if the book doesn't do anything for you by the 30% mark, I'd throw in the towel. Different strokes for
    different folks.

    What was the movie about?

    At June 14, 2006 3:01 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

    What is TFSG?

    At June 14, 2006 5:04 PM, Blogger Baal Habos said...

    Anony, TFSG is a Yahoo Group. "thefrumskepticsgroup"

    Frum Skeptics Group

    And who'm do I have the pleasure of responding to?

    At June 14, 2006 5:22 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

    If you don't mind, I'd rather not say at this time. Let's just say, that I too have questions and I am blog surfing to see what others are thinking.
    So it seems to me that TFSG practices OJ, at least outwardly, but really dosen't believe God/Torah.
    Doesn't make sense to me. If I'm gonna burn in hell, at least I'm having fun banging my shiksa and eating big macs. If your philosophy turns out to be wrong, you guys just get fried with nothing to show for it...

    At June 14, 2006 6:18 PM, Blogger Baal Habos said...

    Anony, you certainly don't want to literally identify yourself. I meant figuratively, by giving yourself a moniker.

    Actually, I believe most on TFSG are not Frum. There are some who are and some who aren't. Some have even come out of the closet completely. Some just have doubts, otheres are die-hard athiests.

    Its one of many places to hangout. The granddaddy of all seems to be GodolHador, but he's on vacation this week.
    If you're new to all this, you'll see there are many reasons for staying Frum,. They'e been posted on various blogs and TFSG but one of these days, I'll put together one of my own.

    What kind of "questions" do you have?

    At June 14, 2006 8:27 PM, Blogger The back of the hill said...

    The Frum Skeptics Group?

    Say, you wouldn't happen to know a certain Rabbi Pincus, would you?

    Rav Pincus Shmeckelstein?

    At June 14, 2006 10:42 PM, Anonymous Baal Habos said...

    BOTH, you must mean my uncle pincus?

    Actually, the reference rings a bell, I must have seen it somewhere recently. I just did a quick search on TFSG but came up with no hits for Shmeckelstien.

    At June 15, 2006 5:42 PM, Blogger The back of the hill said...

    Pincus, also known as 'Pinky'.

    He's responsible for some unique derashos on the weekly parshayos.


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