29 September 2006

Oh my God!



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A few weeks ago, on Yahoo TFSG, there was an ongoing debate about the existence of God. Of course, there was no consensus. As the debate unfolded, I felt that I lacked the proper vocabulary to participate in the debate. I could have made the effort to follow, but I prefer to do independent reading first to understand the philosophical and metaphysical (whatever that &^%$ word means) issues they were talking about.


It reminded me much of LY's attempt to participate in a thread about evolution and Cosmology in another blog. He simply lacked the underlying concepts to debate in any meaningful way.

Nevertheless, I do have an intuitive opinion about God. After seeing what I believed to be a draw in the TFSG, I don't see why my uneducated position is any less valid.

There's nothing in being a frum skeptic that forces one to drop belief in God.

Up until about a year ago, I was absolutely certain, there was a God (Deist or possibly even Theist). How could there not be, Right? Well, guess what. I was chatting with this fella at work, and his atheistic position came out. I asked him flat out, how could there not be a God? Where did we come from? Who started Evolution? Who started anything?

And he asked me a simple question. "Well, Who created God?"

And in the space of 1 second flat I develed serious doubts.

It's such an obvious question, but one that as a Frum Skeptic Jew, I never permitted myself to ask. After all, Shlosha Devorim......

A Frum Yid just does not delve into the matter. In order to have Torah, there must be a God. Case closed. And that un-questioning attitude did not change in me.

What I notice now, is sometimes the proofs are intertwined. Agree to religion, well of course there's a God. Concede to a God, and then you have the issue of purpose -"Why did God put us here?".

So, what do I know or believe?

Evolution - Probably true, even if there is a God. It's no contradiction. Originally, even though I knew enough about computers and code, I still could not for the life of me understand, how mutations in DNA translated into changes in the body. But then I found out about Ribosomes and RNA, etc. It was eye opening. I learned about genetics, selection, balanced polymorphism and other concepts. And after a fair amoount of reading, it becomes very convincing. It explains so much and is the underpinnings of medical research, molecular biology and I'm sure many other scientific endeavors such as Geology.

But it's still difficult for me to fathom one species mutating into another. And life itself? That really boggles the mind, not only where does it come from, but where does it go? When you stop breathing because of lack of oxygen, why can't you be resuscitated 2 hours later? I'm sure there is a biological explanation, the cells die, then the brain dies, etc. But the whole concept is just a mystery. Where did the world come from? The energy that make up the big bang, etc. I could go on and on about sunsets, emotions, music, bla bla blah. But I'll spare you. The world SEEMS to be teeming with purpose and design. (Anthropic principal?).


I also learnt that there definitely is a God; it's called a God of the Gaps.

People tend to create a God when something is not understood.





Recently, I read "The Language of God". This is an informative book by a scientist with impeccable credentials. The author is Francis Collins who is Geneticist and the head of the Human Genome Project. In it he attempts to prove God. In addition to his attempt at proving God, the book is a great recap or many other scientific books that I've read. However, in my opinion, he fails in his main purpose. His basic argument rests on the so called "Moral Factor". I did not find it convincing at all. Other than the "moral factor" he simply lapses into some Christian Dogma. (See what I mean? Belief in religion compels him to believe in a God).

So is there a God? I don't know. Will I try to learn more about it? Probably. Will there be a definitive answer? I'm sure there won't be.

But I sure hope there is a God.
"Shlo Neegoh L'rik V'lo Nelaid Labehala".

I do not like the idea of spinning my skeptic wheels for nothing. I sure hope there is a God that can account for seemingly random accidents, violence and tsunamis.

Yes, I know about Tectonic plates, determinism, and all that Jazz; but for me, there must be a God.

And I'm perfectly content with that.

That is - until someone asks me "Who created God?"

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    102 Comments:

    At September 29, 2006 2:04 PM, Blogger Avi said...

    Whether there is a God or not is a moot point. What possible difference could it make to anyone? The better question is where did the torah come from, and what can it possibly have to do with God. From believing in God ( which is your personal choice) to believing that God gave the torah takes a mighty leap of imagination. If God did indeed give the torah ( care to explain how he did it?) and God is perfect, everything that we need to know about God ( Hashem) should be in the torah. Why then do we have rabbis tripping over each other telling us how to observe the torah properly? God ( Hashem )may very well exist but we the Jewish people are not his buddies as we like to think. We have no "Chazaka" on how to serve him. And if he loves us he loves ALL of us.

     
    At September 29, 2006 2:11 PM, Blogger happywithhislot said...

    bhb
    ultimately, something has to be outside space and time.
    wether its god or something else, there cant be a beginning, because something came before that.
    Unless before the big bang, the concept of time breaks down, and we have no idea what happens.
    anyway, isnt it an ikkar that god has no beginning nor end.
    so why does the question of what came before god.
    there is no "before"

     
    At September 29, 2006 2:24 PM, Blogger Baal Habos said...

    Avi,
    > Whether there is a God or not is a moot point. What possible difference could it make to anyone?

    I do not agree with you. If there is no God, you're free to do as wish - with only your conscience and civil law to guide you. If there is a God, you MAY have been created for a purpose. I'm not talking about shaking a Lulov next week, but maybe something more profound. Maybe that something is Chessed. Maybe, that something is to *know God*, which means unraveling the secrets of the Universe. Maybe there's reward and punishment. I just don't know and knowone else does either.

    But if I ever find out, I'll be sure to let y'all know!

     
    At September 29, 2006 2:31 PM, Blogger Baal Habos said...

    >ultimately, something has to be outside space and time.

    Happy, who says? or maybe something has to be outside of God?

    > anyway, isnt it an ikkar that god has no beginning nor end.
    so why does the question of what came before god.
    there is no "before"

    An Ikkar? where did that Ikkar come from? God told us? I see.


    If you believe in God, where does "God" come from? Forget about before God. Where did God come from?

    Maybe there is a God and maybe there isn't. I hope there is and I hope he's paying attention to what us mortals are up to.

     
    At September 29, 2006 3:35 PM, Blogger happywithhislot said...

    god doesnt come from anywhere. (hashem is here, hashem is there, hashem doesnt come from anywhere....)

     
    At September 29, 2006 3:37 PM, Blogger happywithhislot said...

    bhb
    what im saying is that the science of the this universe understands that there is no yesh mayin.
    but before the big bang the physics of this universe didnt apply.
    therefore until we know what that physics is (or if indeed it is physics) we cant talk about time or place.
    i think we will never know what came before the big bang until the next one.

     
    At September 29, 2006 3:43 PM, Blogger Baal Habos said...

    >I think we will never know what came before the big bang until the next one.

    Happy, I agree.

     
    At September 30, 2006 9:49 AM, Blogger Billie Jean said...

    I don't agree with the "who made God" argument. Somewhere along the line something must have come first. That's God.

    Of course I can't prove God's existence really. But I've always intuitively felt that there is one. Which is good enough for me.

     
    At September 30, 2006 9:55 PM, Blogger Baal Habos said...

    BJ, whatever floats your boat.

     
    At September 30, 2006 9:59 PM, Blogger Bishrirus Libi said...

    The question of Kadmus has not been grasped yet, and I believe it to be insolvable due to lack of knowledge. Imagination is also made possible thanks to knowledge. Can you imagine a color you did not see yet? As a concept purporting to be the counterweight of fact, FACT is probably imaginations’ biggest handicap!

    Kadmus is not solved by ANY solution that has so far been offered to us by the human brain. Its inconceivability renders all claims of PROOF as ridiculous.

    What is LIFE? Since we are LIVING our chances of deciphering this puzzle are probably greater. And if/ when we do; wait to see the “children of god” queuing up to hail his newest wonders… One spanner in the works might be 6000 year deadline … Haven’t those Sages exhibited fatal lack of foresight in offering up those deadlines? At the expiration of which it might yet be discovered that, after all we DO put our (recent) ancestral claims down to monkeys…

    Or will we be up against a barrage of “litterality” apologists? Oh no! That’s a whole new can of worms…
    -------------------------------------------

    Being blinded by authority is yet another eye closer...

    A particular person’s level of education conceals the very dilemma that still astounds me; How come that some really educated, bright, even brilliant minds are still trapped in an oblivion called upbringing? What is blocking them shaking off a pile of misguided baggage?

    Among the elements colluding to bias our thought patterns are; Cheider & Yeshivah, Family, Social circle, people we have been ingrained to revere, etc.

    WHAT PROOVES THE EXISTANCE OF A GOD?

    Is it the old infamous “repeat a lie long enough and people will start believing it?” After all, Germans were known as an educated, thoughtful and respectful people.

     
    At September 30, 2006 10:49 PM, Blogger Baal Habos said...

    Bishrirus Libi,
    > As a concept purporting to be the counterweight of fact, FACT is probably imaginations’ biggest handicap!

    I'm not sure what you mean by that.

    6,000 deadline will be interesting, but have no fear, if OJ is still around they'll wiggle their way out of that one too. will

    I think this may be at the bottom of people getting stuck in a mindset

     
    At September 30, 2006 11:35 PM, Blogger Bishrirus Libi said...

    Simply put; Imagination is the embodiment of non-existent fact. Since fact is inherently existent, imagination is its counterweight by trying to create what does not exist.

    For imagination it to be limited TO fact is one thing, but for it to be limited BY fact is already ironic.

    The point of it all was to underscore that since Kadmus is not imaginable (or handicapped by FACT) it is not likely to ever be comprehended, let alone solved.

    Evolution recognizes this, and does not attempt to solve it. Religion on the other hand does attempt to answer for it by offering the incomprehensible “Ruchni”. However, you must first prove your “Ruchni” for it to explain something else. Otherwise it is a circular merry-go-round and, fits perfectly the plight of the poor old rooster that will do just that tomorrow morning over your head…

    A Kapore!

     
    At September 30, 2006 11:52 PM, Blogger Bishrirus Libi said...

    By the way; that Cognitive Dissonance article you alluded to in that post was doing time in my "Bizem tash" for a while. It looked interesting to me, particularly since i am somewhat affiliated with psychology.

    It makes sense, and lets face it; most scholarly work is also fuelled by a sense of self-worth. I somehow feel that the Rambam was quite prepared to sacrifice a lot in his quest for truth. Reading through his work reveals rather hefty tectonic plate shifting!

    Would he have been a Darwinian evolutionist with today’s information?

     
    At October 01, 2006 12:53 AM, Blogger Baal Habos said...

    Bishrirus, you sound like you hava a Kabbalistic background. Anyway, yes, it's sounds like another way of saying "God of the gaps."

    Rambam was a heretic even then. Can you imagine someone innovative like Rambam today? He wouldn't get to first base.

     
    At October 01, 2006 12:53 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

    >Who created God?

    Short story.

    After my wife gave birth, I overheard my 2 kids talking:

    Four year old: Mommy went to the Hospital and had a baby.

    Three year old: How does the Hospital make babies?

    Recap:

    Three year old: How does the Hospital make babies?

    Athiest: Who created God?

    "YKN"

     
    At October 01, 2006 12:56 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

    "YKN"

    Typo.

    "YKW"

     
    At October 01, 2006 1:00 AM, Blogger Baal Habos said...

    YKW, I don't begin to understand the relevance of your story.

    Three year old - How does hospital make babies?

    Believer - Hospital has been around forever.

     
    At October 01, 2006 2:35 AM, Blogger Orthoprax said...

    Baal,

    No, you're looking at it the wrong way. _Something_ may very well exist that is more than we understand and that explains how the universe came to be, yadda yadda yadda. But that doesn't qualify as a person or personality that is intelligent and tells us how to act and so on.

    It doesn't qualify as cosmic force that cares about our well being or controls weather patterns.

    At best, as I see it, we can contend with the idea of transcendence by which _we_ try to allign ourselves with for deeper meaning within existence, but we shouldn't expect the transcendent to tell us how to act in order to accomplish that. As I see it, God doesn't "care" about us, but we have to care about God.

     
    At October 01, 2006 8:06 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

    >Believer - Hospital has been around forever

    NO! Everyone knows that its only the last few hundred years that people have babies in hospitals.

    The relevance to the story was that its the three year olds absolute lack of comprehension which makes him ask such a question.

    Its the athiests utter lack of comprehension which makes him ask who created God. If he has never 'seen' God, how can he question who created God, if he has no clue what God IS?

    "YKW"

     
    At October 01, 2006 9:04 AM, Anonymous Jewish skeptic said...

    BHB,
    When you use the word *God* you have to make clear what kind of God do you have in mind?
    Do you mean a PERSONAL GOD or do you mean *something* that caused the universe to come into being?
    Since we do not know what it is ,we named it God.
    Is it a God similar to the one described by the philosopher in the Kuzari 1:1,by Rabbi Yehudah Halevi:-

    "When the King of Khazar (as is related) dreamt that his way of thinking was agreeable to God, but not his way of acting, and was commanded in the same dream to seek the God-pleasing work, he inquired of a philosopher concerning his religious persuasion. The philosopher replied: There is no favour or dislike in [the nature of ] God because He is above desire and intention. A desire intimates a want in the person who feels it, and not till it is satisfied does he become (so to speak) complete. If it remains unfulfilled, he lacks completion. In a similar way He is, in the opinion of philosophers, above the knowledge of individuals, because the latter change with the times, whilst there is no change in God's knowledge. He, therefore, does not know thee, much less thy thoughts and actions, nor does He listen to thy prayers, or see thy movements. If philosophers say that He created thee, they only use a metaphor, because He is the Cause of causes in the creation of all creatures put not because this was His intention from the beginning. He never created man. For the world is without beginning, and there never arose a man otherwise than through one who came into existence before him, in whom were united forms, gifts, and characteristics inherited from father, mother, and other relations, besides the influences of climate, countries, foods and water, spheres, stars and constellations. Everything is reduced to a Prime Cause; not to a Will proceeding from this, but an Emanation from which emanated a second, a third, and fourth cause."

    Such a God,what do you care if He exists or not?
    If OTOH,you mean a personal God,that a different matter.

    It's Erev Y.K. As one skeptic to another(?),I want to wish you a g'mar chasimoh toivo,whatever that is supposed to mean...
    (& don't take it too seriously when I lived in chuts la'arets I always wished everyone a Merry Chrismas or Happy Easter.It's a cultural tradition. Being Jewish,it's of course for me of greater emotional & sentimental meaning.

     
    At October 01, 2006 11:23 AM, Blogger Baal Habos said...

    >Its the athiests utter lack of comprehension which makes him ask who created God. If he has never 'seen' God, how can he question who created God, if he has no clue what God IS?

    YKW,
    I of course should really re-phrase that to where did God come from.

    And the believers do comprehend what God is. You really have no idea because you never really thought about it. anywhow it's lauhgable. Go back to my post and follow the logic. The believer derides the questioner saying there must be a God, if not where did we come from. The question "where did God come from?" simply proves the faulty logic of the believer. You believe in God because you believe in TMS. Take that away and there may or may not be a God.

     
    At October 01, 2006 11:31 AM, Blogger Baal Habos said...

    Orthoprax, I'm not looking at it the *wrong* way, just a different way. Granted, there maybe a God that's a first cause and I never discounted this;

    > As I see it, God doesn't "care" about us,

    Pure conjecture. You may be right. But it's just a number out of a hat. Maybe there is a God who cares about us. Maybe there's Pantheism.
    > but we have to care about God
    Why?

    Be that as it may, I like to conduct my life as if there is a God that in some way cares about us, as difficult as it is to believe that. I guess it's a safety net and I'm not alone. But you can't show that I'm wrong.

    Does it makes a difference if I'm wrong?

     
    At October 01, 2006 12:20 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

    >And the believers do comprehend what God is.

    Of course not. But neither do we ask where God comes from.

    >You really have no idea because you never really thought about it.

    No. Because its imcomprehensible. Thinking won't help.

    >anywhow it's lauhgable. Go back to my post and follow the logic. The believer derides the questioner saying there must be a God, if not where did we come from. The question "where did God come from?" simply proves the faulty logic of the believer.

    Or it proves the faulty logic of the athiest. We finite limited beings aren't comparable to an infinite eternal God. Why then should the same logic apply for both?

    >You believe in God because you believe in TMS.

    WHAAAT?!? Avrohom Avinu was after TMS or before?!?!?

    "YKW"

     
    At October 01, 2006 12:57 PM, Blogger Baal Habos said...

    When I say I hope there is a God, I do mean a personal God. After all, a first cause disinterested God gives me no purpose and no real anchor in life. But I know it's only a hope for which I suspect there is no real basis to hang my hat on. Simply a personal preference.

    >It's Erev Y.K. As one skeptic to another(?),I want to wish you a g'mar chasimoh toivo,whatever that is supposed to mean...

    Vchain Lmar, whatever that means to you ;)

    (& don't take it too seriously when I lived in chuts la'arets I always wished everyone a Merry Chrismas or Happy Easter.It's a cultural tradition.

    Ala Felice Anyou Neuvaou (whoever you spell it).

     
    At October 01, 2006 12:59 PM, Blogger Baal Habos said...

    >You believe in God because you believe in TMS.

    >WHAAAT?!? Avrohom Avinu was after TMS or before?!?!?


    Good question.

     
    At October 01, 2006 1:33 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

    >WHAAAT?!? Avrohom Avinu was after TMS or before?!?!?

    >Good question.

    I fully understand the skeptic perspective in your response.

    Nevertheless, my point was that belief in God is totaly independent of TMS. The fact that we TEACH that Avrohom Avinu discovered God way before the word TMS entered the jewish dictionary clearly indicates that the belief in God is independent of TMS.

    "YKW"

     
    At October 01, 2006 2:26 PM, Blogger Orthoprax said...

    Baal,

    "Pure conjecture. You may be right. But it's just a number out of a hat. Maybe there is a God who cares about us. Maybe there's Pantheism."

    Not quite a number out of a hat. With the caring benevolent God hypothesis there're quite a few issues that don't add up. Like tsunamis, for instance.

    "> but we have to care about God
    Why?"

    Ok, I'll rephrase. You don't _have_ to, but I think it is human nature to be driven to do so. If we aren't seeking out the great rooted mysteries of existence then we are living in an unending superficial contemporariness.

    "But you can't show that I'm wrong."

    Not absolutely, but if we engaged in debate you might find your position untenable.

    "Does it makes a difference if I'm wrong?"

    Difference to whom? I'm sure it makes a difference to you.

     
    At October 01, 2006 2:29 PM, Blogger Orthoprax said...

    YKW,

    "Its the athiests utter lack of comprehension which makes him ask who created God. If he has never 'seen' God, how can he question who created God, if he has no clue what God IS?"

    And as you've admitted, you share the atheist's utter lack of comprehension since you have no clue what God is either.

    So why aren't you asking the same questions?

     
    At October 01, 2006 4:07 PM, Blogger Bishrirus Libi said...

    BHB
    >Rambam was a heretic even then. Can you imagine someone innovative like Rambam today? He wouldn't get to first base.

    Precisely! An interesting observation is how the populous framed as "Gedoilim" has changed shape over the decades.

    Ever since Anshei Kneses Hagdoile - when the de-facto kings of Judaism were "Reish Goluso" - The crown of authority and respect was largely endowed by the learned amongst us. There were of course some who were also cited for their tzidkus; such as Reb Chanine Ben Doise, Choiny Hamaagel, as well as the Rebels such as Eashbi, etc. However by enlarge it was Scholarly achievement that was the defining factor.

    This pattern continued through to Rishoinim, where we are also treated to recognition of poetic excellence such as Iban Ezra, Doinesh, etc., down the generation’s right up to about 400 years ago.

    The Rambams overwhelming brilliance eventually saw him accepted even in Ashkenaz (via a few “Moifsim” attributed to his deity).

    Over the last few centuries it seems that “perceived holiness” has gradually eased into that elevated seat. Today, scholarly excellence is a mere by product, and seems totally unnecessary in some circles! Which is why you are so right in your statement I cited above.

    Why & how did this come about?

    I have probably taken this post slightly off context. But I feel this is a valid and relevant response.

     
    At October 01, 2006 4:16 PM, Blogger Baal Habos said...

    Orthoprax,
    >With the caring benevolent God hypothesis there're quite a few issues that don't add up. Like tsunamis, for instance.

    That could be explained the same way Judaism explains it, even without believing in Judaism. (i.e Gilgul, punishment for who know what, etc).

    ">> but we have to care about God
    Why?"

    > Ok, I'll rephrase. You don't _have_ to, but I think it is human nature to be driven to do so.

    Absolutely, it must be innate.

    > If we aren't seeking out the great rooted mysteries of existence then we are living in an unending superficial contemporariness.

    True, and the seeking may be the real purpose in life, (or at least the real feel-good), not the actual attainment.



    "But you can't show that I'm wrong."

    >Not absolutely, but if we engaged in debate you might find your position untenable.

    Could be , but I saw you debate on TFSG with others and there was no concensus either way. In reality, if you check what I wrote, I expressed no position. Just a desire.


    "Does it makes a difference if I'm wrong?"

    > Difference to whom? I'm sure it makes a difference to you.

    How? If I live my life with the hope of a personal God, moral (the way I see fit) how can I be hurt if in reality there is no personal God?


    Have an easy fast.

     
    At October 01, 2006 4:22 PM, Blogger Baal Habos said...

    >Nevertheless, my point was that belief in God is totaly independent of TMS.

    YKW, you think so. It's not. Its intertwined.

    >The fact that we TEACH that Avrohom Avinu discovered God way before the word TMS entered the jewish dictionary clearly indicates that the belief in God is independent of.

    When I say TMS, I really mean Judaism. What is taught is clearly dependant on the Mesora.

    Have an easy fast. YKW, By the way, if your name grows any, it might sound like Yud Kay Vuv Kay. Are you trying to tell us something? maybe this is my revelation. LOL!

     
    At October 01, 2006 4:27 PM, Blogger Baal Habos said...

    >Over the last few centuries it seems that “perceived holiness” has gradually eased into that elevated seat. Today, scholarly excellence is a mere by product, and seems totally unnecessary in some circles!

    I think in my circles, its the reverse. Scholarship, and good character, bring with it authority. Then, the appelation "Daas Torah" is conferred upon all statements uttered by said scholar.

     
    At October 01, 2006 4:48 PM, Blogger Orthoprax said...

    Baal,

    "That could be explained the same way Judaism explains it, even without believing in Judaism. (i.e Gilgul, punishment for who know what, etc)."

    I know it _could_ be. But I don't find the ad hoc explanations very convincing. And I don't think you do either, hmm?

    "Could be , but I saw you debate on TFSG with others and there was no concensus either way."

    Well, yes and no. Our recent debate was between atheism vs non-atheism. I wasn't even arguing in favor of a specific deity, just something more than nothing. It's rather telling when you see an atheist who is adamantly sure that the universe was a random accident when there is no real reason to suppose that is so.

    But the point is that nobody was really arguing in favor of theism.

    "In reality, if you check what I wrote, I expressed no position. Just a desire."

    I understand that, but operationally you are taking a position.

    "How? If I live my life with the hope of a personal God, moral (the way I see fit) how can I be hurt if in reality there is no personal God?"

    Oh, that's what you mean. Pascal's wager. I thought you meant on a personal level whether you cared if you were following a true conception of reality of not. Personally, I care about the truth.

    "Have an easy fast."

    You too. Have a meaningful fast.
    ;-) Gmar chatima tovah.

     
    At October 03, 2006 12:11 AM, Blogger dbs said...

    Baal Habos,

    I just read through your entire blog. Wow.

    I reached skepticism (a poor word for meaning 'being absolutely sure that it's balony') about TMS long before agnosticism.

    This is my post on the subject:
    http://daasdiybur.blogspot.com/2006/04/agnostic-fundamentalism.html

    But, as J.S. Mill wrote, "Where belief is not warranted, hope is permissible."

    Gut Yor

     
    At October 03, 2006 8:19 AM, Blogger jewish philosopher said...

    The question "who created God" presumes that God is a physical being who therefore requires a creator. He's not and He doesn't.

     
    At October 03, 2006 11:06 AM, Blogger Baal Habos said...

    Orthoprax, you may be correct, I know it's something I just prefer to hang on to, without delving into it fully. There is lots written about why good things happen to bad people, maybe one day, I'll go through some of it. But, right now, that specific truth, is not that important to me.

    You mention Pascal, yes; but I like to think of it as Pascal's Insurance.

    Is the *absolute truth* important to me? Yes and no. From an intellectual perspective, I'd love the absolue truth. But in reality I know it might hurt me and I'm not sure what's to be gained by it.
    Do you think the truth about OJ brought me any happiness or peace?

    If I can find happiness and purpose with my God, then why not?

    I'm sure though that you see the difference between my stance on OJ and my hanging on to God.

    BTW, My tag line *Ignorance is Bliss* really holds true.

    You know, there's this individual that I'm somewhat friendly with, who became partly incapacitated through some very unusual event. I would have always considered him to be a centrist and, but not a skeptic. I would have expected he move to the left, but instead he's moving to the right. He is closer to God now. The way I see it, he just refuses, at least outwardly, to entertain the thought that his incapacitation is just blind chance. He see's Gan Eden at the end of the road.

    I have a book by Dennet now, "Breaking the spell". I suspect he'll say there's some evolutionary drive to longing for a God. Who am I to fight evolution?

    God, is like a daddy you don't want to give up.

    My fast was fine, but it's hard to extract meaning out of it.

     
    At October 03, 2006 11:17 AM, Blogger Baal Habos said...

    DBS, welcome.

    > Wow
    It sounds like we're on the same wavelength. I'm just inundated with things now so I just briefly read your post.

    > If we can not prove or disprove God, what does that tell us about our life purpose?

    Ouch - that really hurts. Very deep.

    And you're also very brave for using the Agnostic word (I'm wincing as I type this).

    I still do not like to think of myself as a Sekptic and certainly not as an Agnostic; but now that the cat's out of the bag....

     
    At October 03, 2006 11:23 AM, Blogger Baal Habos said...

    >The question "who created God" presumes that God is a physical being who therefore requires a creator. He's not and He doesn't.

    Jewish philosopher, whatever God is or isn't, you agree that God is not "nothing". So where did this "not nothing" come from?

    You must admit that you are not philosophizing at all. You are making blanket A-Priori statements that your religious upbringing primed you with. And I'm OK with that, you are a firm believer in TMS, then there's no need nor should you, really think about God. You only need concern yourself with God's will.

     
    At October 03, 2006 12:50 PM, Blogger happywithhislot said...

    BHB
    why does Time have to apply to god?
    Doesnt science have concepts that time doesnt apply in the normal way?
    For example, a black hole, i believe impacts time some how.
    maybe there is something else that time completely doesnt apply to and that is god.

     
    At October 03, 2006 1:11 PM, Blogger Orthoprax said...

    Happy,

    As per Relativity time is a function of the universe we live in and may have no corrolary 'outside' of our universe, assuming such a 'place' is even possible.

    There is no universal measuring stick or cosmic wristwatch, time and space vary in relative to the mass found within the vicinity. At the event horizon of a black hole time is actually at a standstill.

    What people don't often get when they hear about relativity is that it doesn't just _seem_ like time slows down, time _actually_ slows down.

    The issue then in regards to the universe's origins is how can we have causality in a non-place at a non-time in the first place? The whole function of cause and effect may be absolutely meaningless in such a realm.

     
    At October 03, 2006 1:16 PM, Blogger Orthoprax said...

    Baal,

    "BTW, My tag line *Ignorance is Bliss* really holds true."

    I know that, but in the end, if you could do it again, would you really have chosen ignorance?

    Red pill/blue pill.

     
    At October 03, 2006 2:03 PM, Blogger Baal Habos said...

    Orthoprax,
    >Red pill/blue pill.

    That's a subject for a future post.

     
    At October 03, 2006 2:06 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

    >and as you've admitted, you share the atheist's utter lack of comprehension since you have no clue what God is either.

    >So why aren't you asking the same questions?

    Because I know better than to ask questions which the answers are beyond my intellectual capability.

    Whereas BHB and crew seem to be of the opinion, that human intellect overides everything, and anything that they don't have an answer for just doesn't exist.

    The fact that most humans at age 99 are well into the process of turning into skeletons, and that the sun has been rising and setting on a daily basis as far back as history goes, is irrelevant to them.

    The complex universe, galaxies, planets, stars, earth, life...

    No, not God.

    It was all a freakin accident.

    **Something** big banged, and poof! The smoke settled and a vast complex universe appeared out of nowhere.

    Uuh no, not poof. It started with a **single cell** and **somehow**, there was enough information in that cell to expand into the vast universe we know.

    OJ? Can't be true. It isn't plausible or reasonable.

    But Big bang, single cell... its all good. What was before the Big Bang? Who provided the cell with the neccessary info? Where are the fossils of the supposedly millions of evolutionary stages?

    Who cares? does it make a difference? Its the opinion of the majority of scientists, and therefore, it gotta be true.

    God? Can't be. Who created him?

    BHB, can you please explain the discrepansies?

    "YKW".

     
    At October 03, 2006 2:43 PM, Blogger Baal Habos said...

    YKW,

    > Whereas BHB and crew seem to be of the opinion, that human intellect overides everything, and anything that they don't have an answer for just doesn't exist.


    On the contrary, I state that I do not know, and can't possibly know. And by acknowledging my limitation I therefore choose to live a lifestyle (moral, understanding human limitations) just as if there would be a God and trying to use my God given brains to at least try to figure out what God might want of me. And I certainly have more than my share of failure (see my Al Chait post).



    It is you who claims with certainty that you do know God's will and the reality is you have no idea whatsoever. You are abdicating your free choice and simply state "This is what the Gedolim say and therefore it's right". You will justify any statement or action made by such Gedolim, no matter how illogical.

    You are like a child. Maybe a well behaved child. But a child, nevertheless.

    >BHB, can you please explain the discrepansies?


    I have my doubts about evolution, but that's probably only because I have not studied it much. The more I learn about it, the more reasonable it gets (Children of Prometheus) . It's the opposite with OJ. The closer I look the less reasonable it gets.

    Furthermore, my disbelief in OJ is *totally* and *decisively* decoupled from evolution and theism. If you'll check my "reading" of what prompted my dis-belief, there is not one word about evolution. Until recently the ONLY knowledge I have of evolution was from a book "Darwin on Trial" which essentially defends creationism.

    So the differences in my approach to OJ & Evolution should be clear to you.

    Hoping you had a meaningful day yesterday, BHB

     
    At October 03, 2006 2:45 PM, Blogger happywithhislot said...

    ortho
    i certainly couldnt comprehend the meaning of time standing still.
    and we know that is possible.
    so why should we be bent out of shape by a being that time has no relation to.
    so the basis for the question of what came before god is wrong.
    it assumes time and god are related.

     
    At October 03, 2006 3:10 PM, Blogger Baal Habos said...

    Happy, so Time itself is a creation. Think about it.

     
    At October 03, 2006 5:21 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

    >Happy, so Time itself is a creation. Think about it.

    I understood that Happy was saying, that there was a period, in which there was no before or after, and only then God created the concept of time. So the question of who created God is moot, since that indicates that there was a "before", when its quite possible that God existed in a period where there was no "before".

    YKW

     
    At October 03, 2006 5:38 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

    >On the contrary, I state that I do not know, and can't possibly know. And by acknowledging my limitation I therefore choose to live a lifestyle (moral, understanding human limitations) just as if there would be a God and trying to use my God given brains to at least try to figure out what God might want of me. And I certainly have more than my share of failure (see my Al Chait post).

    If the context of this post was to fulfil the commandmant of "and you shall know God" and you're simply going through the motions, meaning your intentions are positive and not skeptical, I'll accept that. But was that indeed your context?

    >It is you who claims with certainty that you do know God's will and the reality is you have no idea whatsoever. You are abdicating your free choice and simply state "This is what the Gedolim say and therefore it's right". You will justify any statement or action made by such Gedolim, no matter how illogical.

    The discusion here is about God, not about statements by Gedolim.

    >You are like a child. Maybe a well behaved child. But a child, nevertheless.

    I have what to respond, but I'll control myself. What I will say is that 70% of the time, my children do NOT listen the first time.

    >I have my doubts about evolution, but that's probably only because I have not studied it much.

    If you doubt evolution, what do you replace it with?!? -- God? Then why are you doubting God for something which is also doubtful?

    >Furthermore, my disbelief in OJ is *totally* and *decisively* decoupled from evolution and theism.

    Again, this post is about God, not about your opinion on OJ. God and evolution are connected. If evolution isn't true, is there any other possibility other than God?

    >Hoping you had a meaningful day yesterday, BHB

    I did. I had a lot of Kavana by "V'olosa Tikpotz Pi'ha". In plain english, "the evil-doers should shut up".

    YKW

     
    At October 03, 2006 5:42 PM, Blogger Baal Habos said...

    YKW,

    > So the question of who created God is moot, since that indicates that there was a "before", when its quite possible that God existed in a period where there was no "before".


    I agree, "its quite possible". You can even call it probable. Infinity is incomprehensible so I can imagine that I don't understand. So I'm not an Atheist.

     
    At October 03, 2006 6:01 PM, Blogger happywithhislot said...

    re infinity
    i always wondered wether there was a basic building block to all humanity or it was infinitely made of littler and littler blocks.

    have scientists proven that there can be something no smaller than what ever smallest thing they have found?

    if they havent proven it, maybe that next smaller thing is god?
    literally the god of the gaps!

     
    At October 03, 2006 6:04 PM, Blogger Baal Habos said...

    >If the context of this post was to fulfil the commandmant of "and you shall know God" and you're simply going through the motions, meaning your intentions are positive and not skeptical, I'll accept that. But was that indeed your context?

    I would not say the context is in terms of a Mitsva. My context is simply one of searching. Even more, it's of being hopeful.

    > The discusion here is about God, not about statements by Gedolim.

    You were deriding me for attempting to use my intellect as in Whereas BHB and crew seem to be of the opinion, that human intellect overides everything, and anything that they don't have an answer for just doesn't exist.

    I counter that would be EXACTLY what God would want. Even you concede that Avrahom Avinu used his own intellect to negate polytheism.

    > What I will say is that 70% of the time, my children do NOT listen the first time.

    First class sense of humour :)

    >>I have my doubts about evolution, but that's probably only because I have not studied it much.

    >If you doubt evolution, what do you replace it with?!? -- God? Then why are you doubting God for something which is also doubtful?

    OK, firstly so maybe that's why I'm on the fence. secondly, I also have a lot of trust in the scientific process. The reason I'm on the fence is because I want to do my own research, so far, whatever little research I've come across is related to genetics which is very convincing. But I'm waiting for more, I guess what they might call Macro evolution, buut I'm not sure of the terminology.

    But you do miss a point that I made. Even if I did not doubt evolution at all, I still could have hope for a God. It's not a stira, ask Slifkin.

    >>Furthermore, my disbelief in OJ is *totally* and *decisively* decoupled from evolution and theism.

    >Again, this post is about God, not about your opinion on OJ. God and evolution are connected.

    YOU brought it up and then you ask me why I brought it up.
    I quote "OJ? Can't be true. It isn't plausible or reasonable.

    But Big bang, single cell... its all good. What was before the Big Bang? ....BHB, can you please explain the discrepansies?
    "


    So that's why I brought it up.

    >>Hoping you had a meaningful day yesterday, BHB

    >I did. I had a lot of Kavana by "V'olosa Tikpotz Pi'ha". In plain english, "the evil-doers should shut up".

    I've been on these blogs for several months now and there really is very little that I would categorize as evil. Atheism can lead to evil but so can religion..

     
    At October 03, 2006 6:06 PM, Blogger Baal Habos said...

    Happif they havent proven it, maybe that next smaller thing is god?
    literally the god of the gaps!

    Cute, but I certainly don't know. They used to think the Atom was the smallest particle. Then it was electrons, etc, etc

     
    At October 03, 2006 7:20 PM, Blogger Orthoprax said...

    YKW,

    "Because I know better than to ask questions which the answers are beyond my intellectual capability."

    No, actually you _don't_ know better. You just pretend that you do.

    And, btw, your shpiel on evolution is nothing but a showcase of ignorance.


    Happy,

    "so why should we be bent out of shape by a being that time has no relation to.
    so the basis for the question of what came before god is wrong.
    it assumes time and god are related."

    The whole discussion is absurd since we have nothing to even ground our understanding in. You're trying to play a game which's rules you don't know - and which may not even have rules that make sense to us.

    "i always wondered wether there was a basic building block to all humanity or it was infinitely made of littler and littler blocks."

    You mean like Quantum Theory? As per QT, yes, there is a limit to how small things can get. What exactly the nature of that 'thing' is - that is still an open question.

    Btw: Jebons - http://johnnylogic.crumpled.com/2005/06/quantum-christodynamics.html

     
    At October 03, 2006 10:57 PM, Blogger happywithhislot said...

    ortho
    "What exactly the nature of that 'thing' is - that is still an open question."

    exactly.
    i guess that thing has to be made up of smaller parts because otherwise where did it come from?
    so god is in the infinite space, and infinite time.

    the same question goes for what comes after the farthest point you can travel. is there an "end" to the universe?

    all these questions result in a thing that is beyond space or time.

    it could be god or something else. but you cant ask what came before. that shouldnt be a bomb kashye.

    i believe outside of time and space is god. whether it cares anything about this world or not is an entirely different discussion.

    if god is literally in the gaps between QM sub atomic particles, then its simple to understand how a miracle of nature can occur. and QM theory can make the miracle appear natural.

    how that translates to people believing in Golems is another story.

     
    At October 03, 2006 11:52 PM, Blogger Orthoprax said...

    Happy,

    "i guess that thing has to be made up of smaller parts because otherwise where did it come from?
    so god is in the infinite space, and infinite time."

    Well, no. Matter is equivalent to energy. So the smallest fundamental particles are really just energy in disguise from the Big Bang (or from whenever).

    "the same question goes for what comes after the farthest point you can travel. is there an "end" to the universe?"

    There probably is an end. If the universe began a finite time ago and is expanding at a finite rate then it can only be of finite size. That said, the border is probably not a wall but a curving of space so that it links back to where you started from.

    "it could be god or something else. but you cant ask what came before. that shouldnt be a bomb kashye."

    You can hardly ask what exists outside of our universe in a 'place' that is no place. It makes no sense to even start.

    "if god is literally in the gaps between QM sub atomic particles, then its simple to understand how a miracle of nature can occur. and QM theory can make the miracle appear natural."

    I wouldn't say it like that, but the principle is that potentially anything is possible at quantum levels, just most of it is very improbable. So even in theory the apparently miraculous could occur.

    The only problem is why should we believe that the wildly improbable has occurred when we have so many more mundune and believeable answers surrounding human psychology etc. at our disposal?

    But this is all after you've passed the even more basic question of why you suppose the nature of the 'great unknown' is basically that of an intelligent person, who can and does manipulate space-time at will, when there is no real reason to suppose that is so.

     
    At October 04, 2006 12:07 AM, Blogger Orthoprax said...

    And also, in general, the question of "Who made God?" or "what preceded God" does not have to be understood in a literal sense. It is an implied criticism of giving a more complex answer to an already complex question since it flies in the face of basic parsimony and really explains nothing.

    A good explanation is something that actually explains how something works, not something that passes the buck to another entity which then itself needs even more explaining than the original question. Being that God is presumed to be a more complex being than the universe itself, it does very little good to 'explain' the universe in terms of God since that then begs the question of explaining God.

     
    At October 04, 2006 7:32 AM, Blogger Baal Habos said...

    Orthoprax,

    I thought you said you were in scool to be a physician, you sound almost like a physicist ;) One of the things about you is that you obviously actually remember what you read. Sigh.....Those were the good old days

     
    At October 04, 2006 3:53 PM, Blogger jewish philosopher said...

    The universe is physical and therefore must have an origin and a cause. God is by definition non-physical and therefore need not have an origin or cause.

     
    At October 04, 2006 3:57 PM, Blogger jewish philosopher said...

    And incidentally, I don't believe that my statements are baseless or illogical just because atheists declare them to be so.

     
    At October 04, 2006 4:38 PM, Blogger Orthoprax said...

    Baal,

    "I thought you said you were in scool to be a physician, you sound almost like a physicist ;)"

    What can I say? I have extended interests. ;-)


    JP,

    "The universe is physical and therefore must have an origin and a cause. God is by definition non-physical and therefore need not have an origin or cause."

    You are fabricating properties for both the physical world and for God. It does not follow in the least that 'physical' means something that requires an origin or a cause, or that non-physical means that something does not need an origin or a cause.

     
    At October 04, 2006 4:42 PM, Blogger jewish philosopher said...

    Care to cite some examples of eternal physical objects?

     
    At October 04, 2006 4:43 PM, Blogger Baal Habos said...

    JP, see Orthoprax statements above dated Oct 4 12:07 . he says it much better than I.


    >God is by definition non-physical and therefore need not have an origin or cause.

    Really? Who said? What you trying to do is simply say "Trust me. I know better than you". While what you say *may* be logical or even true, it is not necessarily so. For an Atheist or even an Agnostic, the burden of proof is on you to back up your statements about God.

    The point really is you use God as an answer for the question where did we come from. He says it better than I can.

    >

     
    At October 04, 2006 4:44 PM, Blogger Baal Habos said...

    > he says it much better than I.

    See! He even beat me to it!

     
    At October 04, 2006 4:56 PM, Blogger jewish philosopher said...

    Orthoprax and Bos, this is just nonsense, if you'll excuse me.

    Let's say I find a gold watch on my dresser tomorrow morning. The card attached says "Happy birthday, from your wife." I wear the watch to work. Someone asks me "Oh, who gave you the new watch?" I tell him "My wife." He answers me quite seriously "A good explanation is something that actually explains how something works, not something that passes the buck to another entity which then itself needs even more explaining than the original question. Being that your wife is presumed to be a more complex being than the watch, it does very little good to 'explain' the watch in terms of your wife since that then begs the question of explaining your wife."

    I do not have to understand God in order to know that He created me just like I don't have understand my wife to know that she gave me a gold watch.

     
    At October 04, 2006 5:01 PM, Blogger Baal Habos said...

    >I do not have to understand God in order to know that He created me just like I don't have understand my wife to know that she gave me a gold watch.

    God, the way you put it, is simply a first cause. You don't know enough about this First cause to say that it's God the way YOU understand it; as a thinking, perfect, loving, watchful entity. You are imposing your (and my) wish upon a concept.

     
    At October 04, 2006 5:06 PM, Blogger jewish philosopher said...

    God, like my wife with watch, thoughtfully left a note. It's called the Torah.

     
    At October 04, 2006 5:11 PM, Blogger Baal Habos said...

    >God, like my wife with watch, thoughtfully left a note. It's called the Torah.

    I accept that much better than all the philosophising in the world. I stated that clearly in my post and in the comments; for religious people, God is a given and you indeed need no understanding of God to proceed. It's a fait accompli. If you believe in TMS then case closed.

     
    At October 04, 2006 8:27 PM, Blogger Orthoprax said...

    JP,

    "Care to cite some examples of eternal physical objects?"

    That's not the point. It's not my job to find the example that proves your assertion wrong. Your assertion lacks logical necessity in the first place. It _may_ be true, but it is by no means something that you can presume unconditionally.

    In any case, my primary issue was your presumptions on the nature of God which there is no way for you to know.


    "I do not have to understand God in order to know that He created me just like I don't have understand my wife to know that she gave me a gold watch."

    Great. So by "wife" you obviously mean the Jolly Green Giant and by "gave" you clearly can only mean "vomited on my lap." Right? Obvious.

    You are presuming to know the definition of words while at the same time saying that you do not know them. Using "wife" or "God" to explain the watch or the universe when you admit that you have zero idea of what either of those things mean is an explanation of nothing. You can only usefully use "my wife gave it to me" when the other person knows both what a "wife" is and what it means "to give."


    "God, like my wife with watch, thoughtfully left a note. It's called the Torah."

    Convenient...yet I do believe there is some contention there as well, no?

     
    At October 05, 2006 3:41 AM, Blogger jewish philosopher said...

    We know that life has not existed eternally - you know, the Big Bang. Therefore we must believe that an eternal supreme being created it.

     
    At October 05, 2006 4:54 AM, Blogger Orthoprax said...

    JP,

    "We know that life has not existed eternally - you know, the Big Bang. Therefore we must believe that an eternal supreme being created it."

    Wow. You should win a prize for that little dittum.

     
    At October 05, 2006 8:35 AM, Blogger jewish philosopher said...

    Is dittum a word?

     
    At October 05, 2006 10:19 AM, Blogger Baal Habos said...

    >We know that life has not existed eternally - you know, the Big Bang. Therefore we must believe that an eternal supreme being created it.


    We know that watches have not existed eternally. Therefore we must believe than an eternal supreme being manufactured it. Timex has just been promoted from a manufacturing company to an eternal supreme being.

     
    At October 05, 2006 10:26 AM, Blogger jewish philosopher said...

    If you keep following it back, yes. The watch was built by Timex, Timex was built by man, man was built by God.

    There are really only two choices:
    God did it.
    Chance did it.

    I personally cannot believe that life is the product of chance. The odds are too slim. Plus God has told us that He did it.

     
    At October 05, 2006 11:10 AM, Blogger Baal Habos said...

    What you really are saying is you don't understand where we came from so you attribute it to a supreme God. Last time around for me in this argument, but feel free to debate with others. Where did this supreme being originate from.

    > Plus God has told us that He did it.


    Oh! you mean TMS. OK, like I said I'll buy that. But first I have to be sold on TMS.

     
    At October 05, 2006 11:26 AM, Blogger jewish philosopher said...

    No I do understand where we came from - an intelligent designer made us, just like every machine is made by an intelligent designer.

    Atheism is really based on gaps, rather than knowledge. We don't yet understand the purpose of certain organs so "it must be" God didn't do it.

     
    At October 05, 2006 1:18 PM, Blogger Baal Habos said...

    JP,

    Od Kan hakkafa Gimmel ;)

     
    At October 05, 2006 1:39 PM, Blogger jewish philosopher said...

    I love smashing atheists to bits with my razor sharp mind.

     
    At October 05, 2006 2:14 PM, Blogger jewish philosopher said...

    It's the only fun I still allow myself, since joining Weight Watchers.

     
    At October 05, 2006 3:20 PM, Blogger Baal Habos said...

    I haven't seen anyone smashed yet. My problem is I'm not smart enough to be an Atheist. :)

    Heh, I'd rather eat.

     
    At October 05, 2006 3:36 PM, Blogger jewish philosopher said...

    I don't mean literally. I mean grinding the God damned atheist beliefs into dust, so to speak.

     
    At October 05, 2006 3:46 PM, Blogger Orthoprax said...

    Smash with a razor? Mixed metaphor, I think.

    Anyway, honestly, I think it is folks like you who do more to show people the wacky side of relgion far better than anything any skeptic could ever say.

     
    At October 05, 2006 4:38 PM, Blogger jewish philosopher said...

    I guess I'm kind of slashing the God damned infidel atheistic arguments with my razor sharp mind. Then maybe chopping, like eggs and onions. You get the idea.

     
    At October 05, 2006 5:04 PM, Blogger Orthoprax said...

    Whatever floats yer boat.

    I suspect, however, that you'd seem smarter the less you talk. It certainly doesn't help when you have a high opinion of yourself that none seem to share.

     
    At October 05, 2006 6:01 PM, Blogger Kylopod said...

    I'm not 100% sure that JS isn't a skeptic-created parody. This is not a whole lot different from my thoughts about figures like Ms. Coulter or Michael Moore.

     
    At October 05, 2006 7:22 PM, Blogger jewish philosopher said...

    I happen to have one or two fans.

    Anyone who wants to check me out can visit me. I identify myself, unlike some other bloggers.

     
    At October 05, 2006 8:06 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

    unfortunately JS is all too real.

     
    At October 05, 2006 8:20 PM, Blogger Kylopod said...

    You know him?

     
    At October 05, 2006 9:17 PM, Blogger Baal Habos said...

    >Anyway, honestly, I think it is folks like you who do more to show people the wacky side of relgion far better than anything any skeptic could ever say.

    Orthoprax, interesting. JP is the REAL Sitra Achra. He singlehandedly turns off more people from religion than everyone else combined in these blogs. Maybe we should turn him loose to speak in Shuls.

     
    At October 05, 2006 9:20 PM, Blogger Baal Habos said...

    Orthoprax,

    >>Whatever floats yer boat.

    >I suspect, however, that you'd seem smarter the less you talk. It certainly doesn't help when you have a high opinion of yourself that none seem to share.

    Talking to me? :-(

     
    At October 05, 2006 9:22 PM, Blogger Baal Habos said...

    Kylopod,

    >I'm not 100% sure that JS isn't a skeptic-created parody. This is not a whole lot different from my thoughts about figures like Ms. Coulter or Michael Moore.



    you mean JS or JP?

     
    At October 05, 2006 9:26 PM, Blogger Kylopod said...

    Oops! I meant JP. But I think you realized that. :)

     
    At October 05, 2006 9:32 PM, Blogger Orthoprax said...

    JS would work too. His name is Jacob Stein, after all.

     
    At October 05, 2006 9:37 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

    or Lee Epple

     
    At October 05, 2006 9:45 PM, Blogger Baal Habos said...

    OH!

    I though you were talking about JS Jewish Skeptic - who posted way earlier. OK, JS as in Stein makes more sense.

     
    At October 05, 2006 9:49 PM, Blogger Orthoprax said...

    Baal,

    "Talking to me? :-("

    Nah. You're hardly the one with an ego problem here.

     
    At October 05, 2006 10:11 PM, Blogger Baal Habos said...

    Ok, cause it was me who wrote "whatever floats your boat". I think you mixed up two comments.

     
    At October 05, 2006 11:31 PM, Blogger Orthoprax said...

    Oh, you said that about 90 posts ago. This was my own use of the phrase. I'm pretty sure it's in the public domain, if not then I'll give you the 5 cents in royalties for the usage. ;-)

     
    At October 06, 2006 2:04 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

    " an intelligent designer made us, just like every machine is made by an intelligent designer."

    He's a bit inefficient wouldn't you agree? I mean what do we need all these galaxies for if the world was created for the Torah. Besides if there was an intelligent designer how do you know his name wasn't Joseph Smith?

    "Atheism is really based on gaps, rather than knowledge." "

    Atheism just says that if you postulate the existence of something you have the burden of proof, that until you meet that burden you have no right to believe in it., and applies that to God.

    Besides what's wrong with refuting a theory based on gaps. Don't defense lawyers use that all the time.-- there's gaps in the prosecution's case therefore there's a reasonable doubt. the prosecution has proved it's case. If there really are gaps, then it makes sense.

    "We don't yet understand the purpose of certain organs so "it must be" God didn't do it. "

    Whether we know the purpose of an organ has nothing to do with whether God made it. An organ might have no purpose because it's a relic of evolution. On the other hand if an organ has a purpose it doesn't mean that God made it.

    Another anon

     
    At October 06, 2006 9:08 AM, Blogger Baal Habos said...

    AA, I'm reading Children of Prometheus. The more I read, the more evolution seems to make sense. The only way to ignore it is to think there's this big atheistic conspiracy out there.

     
    At October 06, 2006 9:36 AM, Blogger jewish philosopher said...

    "what do we need all these galaxies for if the world was created for the Torah"

    We don't understand all the Creators intentions because He is a little more intelligent than we are. I don't think my 4 year old children understand why I go to work every day.

    "how do you know his name wasn't Joseph Smith?"

    Did Joseph Smith reveal himself to millions of people at Mt. Sinai? I haven't heard about that.

     
    At October 09, 2006 9:47 PM, Blogger David said...

    Why must there be a god? Just a question. He certainly doesn't seem to be necessary. You probably have, but if not, I'd recommend reading some Dawkins, Pinker, Dennett, Hauser, et.al.

     
    At October 09, 2006 10:54 PM, Blogger Baal Habos said...

    David,

    >Why must there be a god?

    Cause I said so! :-)


    I understand it doesn't seem necessary. It's just my preference.

     

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