24 July 2006

The making of a skeptic or The 5 books of Baal Habos





Reminiscing over my own Aitz Hadaas I'll summarize it into five books. Think about it, reading 5 eclectic books over a two or three year period, turned my world topsy turvy and undid years of yeshiva study and countless hours of learning. Mind you, I did not go out looking for this change. It happened because the information came to me nonchalantly or as we say "Mesiach Lfi Toomo".

Not in chronological order:

Breishis: VS Stephen Hawking "A brief History of Time", this book about cosmology and physics is a real eye-opener and unlike any physics that I came across in college. One of the things about this book that strikes me, is not only the concept of the book, "a history of time", but it's also a history of man's unlocking the secrets of God's universe(s). Each generation of scientific creativity is built upon the genious of it's predecessors.

Shmos: VS Charles Pellegrino "Return to Sodom and Gomorrah", this somewhat fanciful and speculative book tries to map out and explain the origin of many Bibilical Stories. This is real ironic. I read it as an attempt to help shore up my faltering Emuna. I figured wow, this guy has got archeological evidence to help prove events in the bible. It turned out to be the my TKO. I remember reading this on the airplane to Eretz Yisroel and then again on the return flight home. There was something about this book that just blew me away.

Vayikra: VS Anne Rice "Lestat"; It's extremely odd to include such literature together with the others, yet it did have some impact so I must therefore (abashedly) include it. This wonderful piece of fiction and the rest of the vampire chronicle series, is unlike the movie version of the first in the series; "Interview with a vampire". I never saw the movie, but I understand it's terrible and bears little resemblance to the books. This is a book about, well it's just too bizarre to discuss the details. But it's a great piece of literature about loneliness and the meaning of life and existence. The relevance here? It introduced the novel concept to me, that perhaps mankind is so messed up and life can be so difficult because God is imperfect. It's amazing to me, how a piece of fiction could have such impact on me. But it did.


Bamidbar: VS Unfortunately, I don't recall the title. But it was a modest size book that discussed the age of Planet Earth and described how 20 scientific disciplines converge on a common age for planet earth.

Devarim: VS Any secular book on Jewish History coupled with some info on dead sea scrolls.

These books above were the start.

So, any questions? Comments?
I would really love to hear your personal experiences.


Coming up: "So now what?"

  • ===> Use Haloscan: |
  • Do NOT enter new comments here 48 comments Do NOT use. links to this post

    48 Comments:

    At July 25, 2006 2:22 AM, Blogger Irviner Chasid said...

    How ironic...


    Breishis: VS Stephen Hawking "A brief History of Time",

    I read this book, and was not impressed by Hawking's theories. Ironically, it brought me closer to Kabbalah.

    Shemot: Sodom and Gomorrah",

    This book I never read, however whenever I see things like this on T.V. or see these books in the bookstore, I always think to myself.. silly Christians.


    Vayikra: VS Anne Rice "Lestat";

    I read this book also, and LOVED it. It really drove home in me the reason why we need to be on Earth doing what Judaism says we should be doing, and why we shouldn't all strive to get the strenght just kill ourselves and get closer to G-d as quickly as possible.


    Bamidbar: 20 scientific disciplines converge on a common age for planet earth.


    Didn't read this book, but learned about them in school. The more unity I see in science the more I'm convinced of G-d, the more I am convinced of G-d, the more I am convinced that Judaism is the best way to have a relationship with Him.


    Devarim: VS Any secular book on Jewish History coupled with some info on dead sea scrolls.


    Never been big on this stuff, but it always fascinates me. I'm still never convinced of whats trash and whats gold. To me, in general, I feel like if its worth remembering, we would have remembered it. (but I feel that way about photographs in general)

     
    At July 25, 2006 9:21 AM, Blogger Baal Habos said...

    Irviner, I realize that my reaction to these may be atypical and we do seem to extract different conclusions. Just to recap some points from my perspective. Brief history of time and that other book shows you the scientific method and it's validity. It simply cannot be dismissed and in my view, must be reconciled. Without convincing reconciliation, science wins. As long as my Rabbis repudiate science and it's implication and simply write it off, I'm out.

    Sodom & Gomorrah is not a Christian book at all. I don't necessarily recommend it, but it also a somewhat scientfic book discussing fascinating concepts, such as Mitochondrial DNA, Lucy, etc. The Vampire series is an emotional rollercoaster. I can see the search for God in that. But again, coming from MY Chareidi perspective, the search for God does not include an imperfect God.

    The Dead sea scrolls underscores that old adage, History belongs to the victor, we are Rabbinical Jews because the Pharisees won. Any book on Jewish history in general, lends itself to interpretations of Tanach, that were not those of my Father's. It also brings into questions the identity of ancient hebrews. And once DH comes into play, it's all over.

    Anyhow, thanks for your take on everything.

     
    At July 25, 2006 1:04 PM, Blogger jewish philosopher said...

    If this stuff knocked you out of Judaism, then read my blog and it will knock you right back in.

     
    At July 25, 2006 1:16 PM, Blogger Baal Habos said...

    JP, I've seen your blog, and sorry, it does not do the trick for me. On several accounts. Firstly, all you have is your bashing of evolution, Which, I haven't even mentioned, right? I have no problem with God, if that's what you're driving at. 2) I'm not a scientist, but I basically trust the self correcting mechanisms of science. You seem to think there are evil people out there who hiding behind evolutions skirts to live immoral lives. It's not like that. Not at all.

     
    At July 25, 2006 1:28 PM, Blogger Irviner Chasid said...

    The scientific method is clearly valid in areas that the scientific method can explain.

    What I didn't buy about Hawking's book was his theories about the Universe. I don't remember now which one he advocates, I get Einstein and few others confused on the issue. Did he say the Universe continously expands and collapses?


    What I got from Lestat, was not beleif in an imperfect G-d, chas v'shalom. What I got, was that the ups and downs of life are whats important, not the final desitnation. Jumping into the life of eternity can be torture if you don't have the finite life to back it up. Thus the desires for the deep sleeps, and the rebirths from the sounds of music. (I like to call music soul food)

    I've met Richard freedman, I've asked him my questions on DH, and I've see what he preaches to people in life. I have a hard time believing in DH. Its assumes a great level of idiocy on the part of both the Rabbis and the Jewish people.

    I think one thing that people forget is what the Tanakch says on these issues, and with all the arguments which points there was agreement on.

    Have you ever seen somethign from the geniza or the dead sea scrolls that say, "Haha! I can't believe the people believe our stories aout wandering through the desert for 40 years, we sure pulled a fast one on them!"

    History may be written by the victors, but when it comes to matters of Thought and ideas, victory means that your ideas are correct. Atleast, thats the basic idea behind the scientific process.

     
    At July 25, 2006 3:49 PM, Blogger Moshe Kappoya said...

    Rabbi Avigdor Miller has a number of excellent books on nature/creation/science. I think you'll find them interesting.

    It amazes me that you accept Hawking, et. al. without question but Rambam and hundreds of Chazal you discard without a through understanding of their works.

    Do not take this as a critisism, I just can not understand your way of thinking. Which is why I am convinced that you are being blinded by the Yetzer Horah, and not really thinking clearly.

     
    At July 25, 2006 4:30 PM, Blogger Kylopod said...

    Recall Hawking's statement from early in the book, "Many people do not like the idea that time has a beginning, probably because it smacks of divine intervention." Square that with the fact that his no-boundary proposal is a theory of how time might have no beginning, within the Big Bang paradigm.

    This suggests something which I believe to be true, which is that many scientists are uncomfortable with the idea of God (or at least with divine intervention into nature) and seek to explain the possibility away. Many of them would even argue that to do so is the main purpose of science. I don't agree, but it does reveal a bias on their part. This is not to suggest that science is some big atheistic conspiracy designed to undermine religion, but it's clear to me that scientists do make philosophical assumptions, and not all those assumptions are testable. Those who think that scientific discoveries cast doubt on certain religious beliefs should keep in mind that the scientists typically exclude such beliefs from consideration prior to their investigations.

    If you haven't already, you may want to take a look at Robert Jastrow's God and the Astronomers. The author is a self-identifying agnostic who nonetheless notes some astonishing similarities between the Big Bang theory and the account of creation in Genesis.

     
    At July 25, 2006 4:49 PM, Blogger Avi said...

    This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

     
    At July 25, 2006 8:39 PM, Blogger Baal Habos said...

    IC,
    > The scientific method is clearly valid in areas that the scientific method can explain.

    Correct, and it keeps on explaining more and more. I don't know if you've ever learnt Talmud, but Talmud shows that Chazal were advocates of experiment and analysis. The problem was in their method, they extrapolated and generalized too easily. I've no doubt that Chazal of yesteryear would have deferred to Scientific explanation and discovery.

    The bottom line Rabbinical Judaism had 2000 years to come up with a philosphy and explanation. Learning Torah, everything seems to gel, but when stepping aside and re-examining it, it's one contortion after another. One "kvetch" after another. One conflicting explanation after another. The scientific method marches on and self corrects when necessary. Science may never come up with answer to the ultimate philosophical question, but what science does discover can be used to cross-check religious claims of historical events. At least in my book.

     
    At July 25, 2006 8:40 PM, Blogger Baal Habos said...

    IC,
    > The scientific method is clearly valid in areas that the scientific method can explain.

    Correct, and it keeps on explaining more and more. I don't know if you've ever learnt Talmud, but Talmud shows that Chazal were advocates of experiment and analysis. The problem was in their method, they extrapolated and generalized too easily. I've no doubt that Chazal of yesteryear would have deferred to Scientific explanation and discovery.

    The bottom line Rabbinical Judaism had 2000 years to come up with a philosphy and explanation. Learning Torah, everything seems to gel, but when stepping aside and re-examining it, it's one contortion after another. One "kvetch" after another. One conflicting explanation after another. The scientific method marches on and self corrects when necessary. Science may never come up with answer to the ultimate philosophical question, but what science does discover can be used to cross-check religious claims of historical events. At least in my book.

     
    At July 25, 2006 8:49 PM, Blogger Baal Habos said...

    Moishe K,
    I've read Rabbi Miller and it left deep impressions on me as I'll state in a future post. But his impression was from a philosophical perspective. Unfortunately, and I do mean that, he's just got the science wrong.

    I don't accept Hawkins in the way you think. I don't know enough about cosmology to accept him or not. It's Science that I'm impressed with. Hawkins was not anti God, and neither am I. I'm just against young earth, historical truth's about the Bible, etc.

    Don't you believe for a second that I'm blinded by a Yetser Hora. I'd much rather that Torah be true. As R' Miller puts it, you think I look forward to a "Dogs Death"? But I'm afraid we've all been deceived.

     
    At July 25, 2006 8:57 PM, Blogger Baal Habos said...

    KO, basically see my answers to IC and MK above.

    > Those who think that scientific discoveries cast doubt on certain religious beliefs should keep in mind that the scientists typically exclude such beliefs from consideration prior to their investigations.

    That may be true, But who do ou think is more biased, scientists or Theologians?

    And heres a testament to the science. Science works very much by concensus. The one who gets it right (like Einstein, etc) will end up being the acclaimed one. No matter how far fetched, right? Things age less if you go fast?
    Preposterous! An apple falls as quick as a brick? Preposterous. Yet, when a scientist discovers the truth, it is recognized and acclaimed. So theres a counterbalance to your notion of scientific bias against God.

    Anyhow theres no bias for things like Yetsias Mitraim, yet no one can come up with a shred of evidence that it occurred in the manner desciribed in Shmos.

    So, please lets take bias out of the picture.


    But when its the truth

     
    At July 25, 2006 9:03 PM, Blogger Baal Habos said...

    Avi, yes I've seen stuff like that before. The stuff in TFSG will knock your socks off. But in truth, if you read my pre-amble as to why I'm blogging, my purpose is in describing how I got this way, how I live and and other issues. I'm not looking to convert Maaminim into skeptics. That's why I don't want to post skeptical material. As a matter of fact, I'll be deleting that post. Sorry.

     
    At July 26, 2006 9:34 AM, Blogger Kylopod said...

    That may be true, But who do ou think is more biased, scientists or Theologians?

    Depends who. I think Rambam was considerably more open-minded in his search for truth than, say, Richard Dawkins.

    On a broad scale, though, science should be more open than religion, by definition. One of the tasks of scientists is to eliminate bias whenever possible. And I think for the most part, they succeed. But they're human, like the rest of us. You need only look at the history of science to realize this. I'm not merely talking about honest error, but about downright pseudoscience being passed off as accepted knowledge (ever heard of Freud?).

    And heres a testament to the science. Science works very much by concensus.

    That's a testament to science? Science should be about truth, not established opinion.

    Yet, when a scientist discovers the truth, it is recognized and acclaimed.

    Not necessarily. Some scientists have proposed theories decades, even centuries, before they came to be accepted. Does that mean they were wrong? Hardly.

    I'm not looking to convert Maaminim into skeptics. That's why I don't want to post skeptical material.

    And I don't come here to debate fundamentals of Orthodoxy, either. In fact, I try to avoid it. But I don't mind talking about "science" in general terms.

     
    At July 26, 2006 1:16 PM, Blogger Irviner Chasid said...

    Back, 100 years ago, the answers that science gave, had no relation to Torah, pro or con.

    However, recent discoveries and "future" sciences, atleast as I understand them (obviously some people think the opposite) prove to me, more and more the Truth behind the fundemental concepts.

    Two things. You say the talmud likes experimintation, I think you couldn't be further from the truth. When lines come up like "We went and tested" its a shock to the reader.

    Two, you say there is no shred of evidence for the story of the Exodus, and yet there are books, movies, documenteries and Discovery channel specials claiming the exact opposite.

    Infact, you come down to a very big problem, The Torah does not give much details about the exodus in terms of a timeline, most of our "details" of the story from Midrash. At the same time, there is a whole argument on knowing which midrashim are historically accurate and which are just true in a broader sense.

    But just for the record, my areas of interest and what I have read are as follows. Game Theory, Biology, Art, Quatum physics, Computers, History, Paganism(wiccan), Kabbalah(Both Christain and Jewish), The whole Tanakh, atleast 6 volumes of my 20 volume Talmud, the entire Mishna, Kitzur shulchan aruch, Guide to the perplexed, Masterplan, Musar books.

    I look at all of these things as whole and I don't like to say This body of knowledge says this, but that body of knowledge says that. The reason for this, is that I see the entire world existing, and there are no contradictions in reality, only in words.

     
    At July 26, 2006 1:21 PM, Blogger Avi said...

    Well, you can always try this on.This might fit better.
    http://georgeshollenberger.blogspot.com/

     
    At July 26, 2006 6:02 PM, Blogger Irviner Chasid said...

    That blog doesn't actually SAY anything.

    It just says "You will see!" He also claims to have invented the bulletproof vest but a quick search on the net prooves that false..

     
    At July 26, 2006 7:02 PM, Blogger Baal Habos said...

    KP, Can I call you KP?

    >Depends who. I think Rambam was considerably more open-minded in his search for truth than, say, Richard Dawkins.

    Sure. You may find exceptions. But it would be very tough to predict what Rambam's conclusion would be had he access to todays knowledge. Maybe with his brilliance he'd be able to reconcile the science and Judaism. But if you think about it, the Rambam made some pretty bold statements in his time. Maybe he would have said that Breishis and Shmos is not literal? And maybe they would have burnt his books (oh, they already did that!)

    > but about downright pseudoscience being passed off as accepted knowledge (ever heard of Freud?).

    Which eventually gets corrected by the by scienctific process.

    > And heres a testament to the science. Science works very much by concensus.

    That's a testament to science?


    Granted, concensus maybe the wrong term. But everything is questioned and validated and re-validated.


    > Some scientists have proposed theories decades, even centuries, before they came to be accepted. Does that mean they were wrong? Hardly.

    Of course not. But are you implying that one day science will turn around and concede that the world is less tahn 6,000 years old?

    Or that there was a global flood, 5000 years ago?

    Ot that there was a huge population (3,000,000) of Israelites in Egypt and spent 40 years in the desert?

    I don't think so.


    >And I don't come here to debate fundamentals of Orthodoxy, either. In fact, I try to avoid it. But I don't mind talking about "science" in general terms.

    Sounds good to me!


    BTW, IIRC you were into movies and literature, did you come across the Vampire Chronicles?

     
    At July 26, 2006 7:17 PM, Blogger Baal Habos said...

    Irviner,

    > However, recent discoveries and "future" sciences, atleast as I understand them (obviously some people think the opposite) prove to me, more and more the Truth behind the fundemental concepts.


    Can you give five solid examples?

    > You say the talmud likes experimintation, I think you couldn't be further from the truth. When lines come up like "We went and tested" its a shock to the reader.

    Maybe you're correct on that. It may be limited experimentation. So let me re-phrase that. Chazal were very much into cause and effect. But they got it wrong and based it upon then current mechanisms.

    > Two, you say there is no shred of evidence for the story of the Exodus, and yet there are books, movies, documenteries and Discovery channel specials claiming the exact opposite.


    You left out some of my important words "shred of evidence that it occurred in the manner desciribed in Shmos"

    If you know anything to the contrary please let me know.

    And as I said, it was exactly one of those kind of books (Return to Sodom and Gomorrah) that totally convinced me otherwise.



    > But just for the record, my areas of interest and what I have read are as follows. Game Theory, Biology, Art, Quatum physics, Computers, History, Paganism(wiccan), Kabbalah(Both Christain and Jewish), The whole Tanakh, atleast 6 volumes of my 20 volume Talmud, the entire Mishna, Kitzur shulchan aruch, Guide to the perplexed, Masterplan, Musar books.


    Impressive.

    > I look at all of these things as whole and I don't like to say This body of knowledge says this, but that body of knowledge says that. The reason for this, is that I see the entire world existing, and there are no contradictions in reality, only in words.

    Now that sounds like psycho babble. PLease rephrase.

     
    At July 26, 2006 7:17 PM, Blogger Baal Habos said...

    Avi, LOL!

     
    At July 26, 2006 8:07 PM, Blogger Irviner Chasid said...

    Compare current understandings of the way the BigBang worked, to the way Tzimzum is often explained.

    Compare the order of Evolution to the order of the Creation story.


    As for my psychobabble...

    Science is our current understanding of how reality works. However, Science is full of contradictions (quatuam mechanics vs einstein relativity for example) And many laws are given limitations, like Such and such is only true in a vacum. (even though vacums don't exist in reality)

    Even then, different bodies of thought will lead to different understandings of reality. Compare the way biologists see the mind working, to the way pyschologists see the mind working.

    However, as the athiests say, reality exists, and in the real world, you can't say X is true and X is false at the same time.

    So somehow, all of the vies of reality have to be true and work in the same world and not contradict eachother.

     
    At July 26, 2006 8:10 PM, Blogger Irviner Chasid said...

    >ou left out some of my important words "shred of evidence that it occurred in the manner desciribed in Shmos"

    If you know anything to the contrary please let me know.

    And as I said, it was exactly one of those kind of books (Return to Sodom and Gomorrah) that totally convinced me otherwise.


    Let me say it this way, there are 5 or 6 different versions showing what happened during that time period. There is no consensus on what actualy happened, so to say that none of those theories fits the ones we "sorta" have doesn't really do much for me.

    Proving history to me is silly. YOu can't prove events when people are bent on not proving them. Just look at our modern world to see that.

     
    At July 26, 2006 9:55 PM, Blogger Baal Habos said...

    Irviner, you and I simply speak a different language.

    BHB

     
    At July 27, 2006 12:37 AM, Blogger Kylopod said...

    But it would be very tough to predict what Rambam's conclusion would be had he access to todays knowledge.

    Okay, for a more contemporary example you might point to R' Slifkin. His supporters have tried to cast his controversial books as great works of kiruv, but I found a more plausible explanation in one offhand statement he made in one of his essays:

    "Many outreach workers claim that the Gemara is full of astounding scientific information that was unknown to the rest of the world at the time and could only have been known through ruach hakodesh. In the course of writing my book Mysterious Creatures I investigated dozens of such claims. I had hoped to include such cases in the section where I explain the approach that Chazal possessed superior knowledge of the natural world. Unfortunately, so far I have found all such claims to fall into one or more of the following three categories:

    "1) A statement of Chazal that is very unlikely to mean what it is claimed to mean;

    "2) A scientific fact that is indeed in the Torah/ Gemara, but which the non-Jews of that time knew also, or:

    "3) Something that is not true.

    "If anyone can send me an example of something that does not fall into any of these categories, I would be thrilled, and I would include it in the next edition of my book."

    In other words, he was following the evidence where it led him. Considering the response to his books, you may be correct that openminded religious people is the exception rather than the rule. However, based on my experience I think openminded anyone is the exception rather than the rule. Even among scientists.

    Which eventually gets corrected by the by scienctific process.

    That is an article of faith.

    Granted, concensus maybe the wrong term. But everything is questioned and validated and re-validated.

    Not everything. They don't question philosophical (or methodological) naturalism.

    But are you implying that one day science will turn around and concede that the world is less tahn 6,000 years old?

    Nope.

    Or that there was a global flood, 5000 years ago?

    I have my doubts.

    Ot that there was a huge population (3,000,000) of Israelites in Egypt and spent 40 years in the desert?

    Probably not.

    BTW, IIRC you were into movies and literature, did you come across the Vampire Chronicles?

    I read the first book. And I was one of the few people who actually liked the movie. Though I think they were trying to conform it too much to the conventions of the horror genre. Rice's books aren't horror; they are romantic fantasies about the "lives" (for lack of a better word) of vampires.

    I'm still a fan of the literary horror genre. And maybe that's why I didn't get so much into her books. Stephen King was my favorite as a teenager; my favorite now is Richard Matheson, whose I am Legend remains a classic (and very influential) vampire story.

     
    At July 27, 2006 3:32 PM, Blogger jewish philosopher said...

    Baalabos, it just sounds to me as if your commitment to Yiddishkeit was very weak in the first place and as soon as you read a few secular books, basically any books, you decided it's all fake.

    I just wonder why you were not more strongly commited to begin with?

     
    At July 27, 2006 7:36 PM, Blogger Baal Habos said...

    > However, based on my experience I think openminded anyone is the exception rather than the rule. Even among scientists.

    Sure! Everyone has Bias. Hopefully, with observation & experimentation it can be overcome. I once read that most scientists set out to prove one thing and come away with something else.

    I think we're in some agreement on other things.

    Indeed, the Vampire Chronicles is not horror, its about existence.

    The series is like a bell curve. It starts out good and gets fantastic and then slumps down to good again. Read the rest of it. It's wonderful.

     
    At July 27, 2006 7:40 PM, Blogger Baal Habos said...

    > Baalabos, it just sounds to me as if your commitment to Yiddishkeit was very weak in the first place and as soon as you read a few secular books, basically any books, you decided it's all fake.

    JP, what would lead you to believe that? If you believe that my commitement was weak, you'd be wrong. And BTW, that was precisely my point in my post. I was shocked to see how little it took to change my mind.

     
    At July 28, 2006 12:14 PM, Blogger jewish philosopher said...

    After age 20, how many years did you learn in yeshiva full time? I'm just curious.

     
    At July 28, 2006 1:19 PM, Blogger Kylopod said...

    Sure! Everyone has Bias. Hopefully, with observation & experimentation it can be overcome. I once read that most scientists set out to prove one thing and come away with something else.

    Hopefully. Ever read Thomas Kuhn? I'm a big fan of his philosophical ideas about the progress of science. I think they describe not just science, but the human condition as well.

     
    At July 28, 2006 2:24 PM, Blogger Baal Habos said...

    JP, around two years. And I didn't stop learning when I left Yeshiva either. I told you, If you have a Chavrusa, it might be me.

    In any case, you're barking up the wrong tree. My only "flaw" would be involvement in secular studies. But so what? If JO would be true, that should not hurt it. It should be strengthened by it.

    That's why Chazal aren't so hot about Chochmas Cheetsoneus.

     
    At July 28, 2006 2:26 PM, Blogger Baal Habos said...

    Kylo, no sorry. You've done lots more reading than I have. I'll keep it in mind though.

    Shabbat Shalom, all.

     
    At July 28, 2006 6:30 PM, Blogger happywithhislot said...

    Jewish Philos.
    Put up or shut up.
    Read Talkreason letter to my rabbi and then post a complete CONVINCING rebuttal.
    I await.

     
    At July 29, 2006 11:28 PM, Blogger Kylopod said...

    Read Talkreason letter to my rabbi and then post a complete CONVINCING rebuttal.

    What are you referring to? Could you provide us with a link to this letter?

     
    At July 29, 2006 11:36 PM, Blogger Kylopod said...

    Kylo, no sorry. You've done lots more reading than I have.

    Well, I take that as a compliment, but I have no idea if it's really true.

    I can't go into a big description, which would only oversimplify Kuhn's ideas. But he popularized the concept of "paradigm shifts" in science and elsewhere.

    I also should make a small point about your claim that most scientists set out to prove one thing and end up proving something else. Ideally, scientists set out not to prove but to disprove a hypothesis. That's what testing means: subjecting a hypothesis to potential disproof. In fact, Karl Popper believed that the essential difference between science and metaphysics is that scientific ideas can be disproven, whereas metaphysical ideas cannot. Kuhn, along with many other influential thinkers, have challenged Popper's criterion, but it remains a popular one.

     
    At July 30, 2006 12:47 AM, Blogger Baal Habos said...

    Kylopod, I actually did understand that distinction, that a hypothosis ideally is falsifiable and a theory can never be proven, only disproven. The reason being you never know when something in the future will come along to disprove.


    But what I meant is that scientists and researchers have an idea in mind, you can call this bias, and most often they are proven wrong in what they intended to prove in the first place.

     
    At July 30, 2006 2:10 PM, Blogger happywithhislot said...

    This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

     
    At July 30, 2006 4:36 PM, Blogger Irviner Chasid said...

    I could not read your entire letter, however I just have one comment to say.

    People who do outreach, are trying to sell a product. I take everything they say with a grain of salt.

    Unfortuneatly, in today's time, outreach really is a product. I remember a rabbi telling me I should go into outreach because they make good money, better than a pulpit.

    There is a reason why they say you shouldn't make money from Torah.

     
    At July 30, 2006 7:04 PM, Blogger happywithhislot said...

    ic
    what letter do you refer to?

     
    At July 30, 2006 10:20 PM, Blogger Baal Habos said...

    Happy, I think IC is referring to the fact that the first argument of the letter you posted is directed at refuting what Kiruv workers promote. So IC is stating that Kiruv Workers are not really an issue. (I believe this is called a strawman argument).

     
    At July 31, 2006 4:49 PM, Blogger happywithhislot said...

    Ok
    IC: there is more to that letter than attacking outreach.
    BHB have you read the letter or Daat Emet? These sites attack Judiasm from the inside. Its not all torah and science issues.
    If you are a LY charedi, these sites destroy you.
    I never saw a satisfying response to these sites (one of which is written by a former talmid of Rav Moshe Shapiro.)
    You have R Gil aishdas site, and Sanhedrin website. But they just dont give you that happy feeling you had before you read the critic.

     
    At July 31, 2006 4:53 PM, Blogger Baal Habos said...

    Happy, yes I have seen them, they're super but I don't want to be responsible for peoples lives, so I'll be deleting your references to it. Sorry.

     
    At July 31, 2006 5:22 PM, Blogger happywithhislot said...

    BHB
    no problem. I only posted them in response to someone who asked me where they are.
    I too am loathe to post them, i just cant stand the smugness of people who are sure they know the answer.

    We need to admit to ourselves that the reason our chachamim talked so much about emunah is because it is so hard. there is no slam dunk.

     
    At July 31, 2006 5:36 PM, Blogger Baal Habos said...

    > We need to admit to ourselves that the reason our chachamim talked so much about emunah is because it is so hard. there is no slam dunk.

    Happy, very well said. Suddenly everyone coming out of Yeshiva is looking forward to sit and learn all day, and society is so perfect, everyone has full faith, etc, except for kids at risk who presumably have problems at home or can't keep up with school. Other than that, there are no theological questions?

    Bah.

     
    At July 31, 2006 6:51 PM, Blogger happywithhislot said...

    I haven't met a kid at risk, but I think some of them should be sent to Israel to a real "children at risk" home, and maybe come back a little more appreciative of what they have. Here in the five towns a kid is at risk if daddy won't but him a BMW.

    But there are other reasons for kids at risk. I wonder if these kids simply ask questions that their rebbi isn't equipped to answer. And todays kids are more savvy. They can connect the dots.
    I asked another blogger what percentage of orthodox (for arguments sake, in flatbush) Jews actually believe that chazal were infallible. I lived there. The percentage is low in my opinion.
    There are tons of skeptics, except we don't admit it.
    The only ones who maybe aren't are Baal tshuvah. Is there a wonder ffb seem so uncomfortable with bt!
    Its the opposite reason than we are led to believe. Its because ffb think bt are a bit nuts to have no doubts.

     
    At July 31, 2006 9:02 PM, Blogger Baal Habos said...

    I never thought Chazal were infallible, but I still did not turn skeptical till after my 40th bday.

    I know everyone's different, but as long as my basline from childhood was not refuted, I was fine and looking forward to my share in Olam Haba. Start tampering with those baseline beliefs, such as ancient earth, questions about the Exodus, etc, and then you lose me.

     
    At July 31, 2006 9:27 PM, Blogger happywithhislot said...

    bhb
    is it possible we are basically having a midlife crisis?

     
    At July 31, 2006 11:50 PM, Blogger Baal Habos said...

    > is it possible we are basically having a midlife crisis?

    LOL; Anything's possible, but I don't think that's the case, at least for me.

     
    At August 01, 2006 6:23 PM, Blogger happywithhislot said...

    ;)

    I think for me the midlife crisis is related to re-evaluating things.
    Until 40, i didnt have a care in the world. Just focused on what tv to get, or selling the house to move or bungalow colonies.
    Approaching mid 40, and somethings seem less important. Like I used to die for a star trek movie.
    Now i couldnt care less.
    Its at this stage that the blog world appears.

     

    Post a Comment

    Links to this post:

    Create a Link

    << Home