When You Fell In Love With Science/Reason/Rationality
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17-10-2017, 10:55 AM
RE: When You Fell In Love With Science/Reason/Rationality
(17-10-2017 10:17 AM)Thoreauvian Wrote:  
(17-10-2017 08:49 AM)Yonadav Kenyon Wrote:  As for the false dichotomy, I already have defended it.

Sorry, I must have missed that.
Hobo

Apology accepted.
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17-10-2017, 11:00 AM
RE: When You Fell In Love With Science/Reason/Rationality
(17-10-2017 07:48 AM)Yonadav Kenyon Wrote:  
(16-10-2017 10:38 PM)Aliza Wrote:  Yonadav Kenyon,

I was raised Reform, and I became a baal teshuva at some point in time in my past and I went all in with the long skirts, and the sleeves, and the netilat yadayim and the bentching for each meal and the marathon yontif/shabbos stretches such like we just had. Baruch Hashem, it was very enriching for me, but my family is totally secular and I was having trouble with the divide that my new lifestyle brought me, so I have settled into a kind of observant-light lifestyle. I’m that kind of Jew that eats fish out in restaurants, but no treif crosses the threshold of my home. Okay, so that’s my story.

You use a lingo that I’m not so familiar with, but that’s easily explained by you being from a different community. I really hope that's all it is, and not that you worship yushke and you're in some messianic group. Confused

Assuming that you’re not into yushke, I otherwise think you’re being legit about representing yourself. That being the case, I am 100% confident that you’re here only to have interesting conversations with people. Sure, some people will still think you're here to convert them or convince them to believe in G-d. I must admit that I wonder how much experience you have discussing religious matters with non-Jews. When I got here, I was pretty surprised to learn how little our modes of thinking have in common, and how very differently we view the world around us. The folks on this forum are really nice, but you may be in for a bit of a culture shock. Keep an open mind! They'll grow on you if you give them the chance, and for that matter, you'll grow on them if you're a straight shooter and respectful of the culture divide. We're the guests, not them, and I try to keep that in mind all the time.

I am pleased to meet you Aliza. I am also a BT. I am not sure what lingo I used that you are not familiar with. A few years back, I started using purely English expressions to describe Jewish things after a group of secular Jews became angry at me for using Hebrew phrases and Yiddishisms that they didn't understand. I say 'codes of Jewish law' because most of the participants in these discussions don't know anything about the Shulchan Aruch, Mishneh Torah, Arbah Turim, etc. They don't know Tosefta from Tosefot.

As for your repeated concerns that I might be some sort of messianic, I live in a community where I am regarded as being beyond such suspicions. I am a frum guy who flatly rejects any sort of post mortem messianism. I even avoid Lubavitch shuls if they have a picture of the Rebbe next to the Ark.

People on the left tend to describe me as Cheredi or wannabe Cheredi. People on the right tend to describe me as a flaming liberal. I consider myself to be a centrist and sort of take pride in being shot at by both sides. Like you, my Observance has lightened up a bit over the years. I don't eat at non-kosher restaurants, not even vegetarian ones. But lately, I have been known to get up in the morning and decide that I don't feel like going to shul.

I participate in discussions like those in this forum for a couple of reasons. One is that I continuously reach out to secular people to encourage cooperation in areas that we do agree on. I am a socialist and an environmentalist. A lot of religious people are socialists and environmentalists. It makes sense for us to network with secular socialists and environmentalists. I am opposed to prayer in public schools. I am opposed to teaching creationism in public schools.

I also feel that it important to disillusion those who see religion and science through the lens of a false dichotomy. An earlier poster presented me with such a false dichotomy immediately after I posted that this sort of dichotomy is false. If I get up in the morning and my car won't start, I don't pull out a Chumash to figure out why my car won't start. I pull out the car owner's trouble shooting manual. I use religion to understand religion, and I use science to understand science. Concepts like hashgacha pratis might be running in the back of my mind, but it is the trouble shooting manual that is going to get my car running again. Most people aren't confused by this. A few religious people are, and a few atheists are. That confusion is the very definition of cognitive dissonance.

In general, I am here for civil discussion. I knew that a few people would be sort of nasty with me, and recognize that this is their forum. I have put a couple of people on ignore. But for the most part, I can put up with quite a bit of foul language and antagonistic points of view. I am certainly not here to convert anyone. People either believe or they don't believe, and there is nothing that I can do to change that.

They do Kiruv, and then they’re uppity to the BTs who try to integrate. Go figure! Seriously, BT’s need to establish their own shuls and their own official movement. Then we can pass by the Haradi shuls on the way to daven and think to ourselves with righteous indignation, "I wouldn't be caught dead in a shul where the brims of everyone's hats are curled upward! Barbarians!"

A few words you used were not what I would have used. You said Jews daven in a beit Knesset, and while that’s technically true (and “Jew-Church” would be much worse), I usually use “synagogue” to describe it to a goyish audience and “shul” to a Jewish audience. You also used a different word in the circumcision thread. I’d have used “b’peh,” but you used something else (I can’t remember). I’m on high alert around this forum for J4Jers because this forum would serve as a juicy morsel to them to proselytize, and they’ll come here and represent themselves as Jews, or even “orthodox Jews” and the forum locals won’t know the difference (and will then associate that kind of bad behavior with Judaism.)

I’ve been here around two years, and I’ve really come to appreciate the respect the atheist community. While the atheists don’t like being regarded as a “group,” I have never-the-less noticed some shared interests that should make us natural allies. Unfortunately, you may encounter atheists (here or elsewhere) who see Judaism as being basically the same as Christianity or Islam; that we’re a group of brainwashed people who live our lives for Hashem instead of ourselves, and that our primary goal is to secure funds and new adherents to grow our “ministries” and propagate an anti-intellectual message to the world to “save souls.”

SYZ asked you, “Lastly, I'd like to ask you (or any other theists here) what sorts of answers does religion provide for the issue of catastrophic global climate change? Can, for example, the Abrahamic bible provide any guidance as to how we could solve the issue? Would your average theist claim that their religious beliefs—in their simplest form—could provide a practical solution, without the intervention of pure science? Or must they be forced to admit that religion and its holy books does not have the answers?”

To many atheists that I’ve met, if the Torah cannot solve everything, it must be false. To me, that’s the same as saying that if Stephen Hawking’s book, A Brief History of Time cannot solve a simple appendectomy, it must be false. I had to google what a false dilemma was, but yeah, this seems like a false dilemma to me.

There is an underlying assumption that we turn to Torah (as Christians turn to their bibles) to solve all of the world’s problems, and that the Torah will have literal solutions to every problem, and that if it doesn’t, it must be false. As far as I’m concerned, yes the Torah does provide guidance and the answer is right there in parsha Bereshis we’re smart like G-d. The Jewish position (as I’ve been taught it) is that we’re intelligent, we have free-will, that the cure always comes before the disease, and that the world will open up to us if we work hard. In other words, work hard, bear fruit.

There is a cure to be had for environmental issues. If we want to find it, we will have to work hard to figure it out.
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17-10-2017, 11:16 AM
RE: When You Fell In Love With Science/Reason/Rationality
(17-10-2017 10:17 AM)Thoreauvian Wrote:  
(17-10-2017 08:49 AM)Yonadav Kenyon Wrote:  As for the false dichotomy, I already have defended it.

Sorry, I must have missed that.

LOL... I must've too. Strange eh?

I'm guessing that Yonadav was referring to me when he said earlier: "A poster claimed that I can't love science/reason/rationality and be religious at the same time".

I never said any such words, but then religionists have an insidious habit of twisting other peoples' words to reinforce their own arguments. What I did imply by example was that religion lacks the facility or wherewithal necessary in solving real-world problems, and that those faculties are totally the remit of science alone.

I'm a creationist... I believe that man created God.
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17-10-2017, 11:19 AM
RE: When You Fell In Love With Science/Reason/Rationality
(17-10-2017 11:00 AM)Aliza Wrote:  To many atheists that I’ve met, if the Torah cannot solve everything, it must be false. To me, that’s the same as saying that if Stephen Hawking’s book, A Brief History of Time cannot solve a simple appendectomy, it must be false. I had to google what a false dilemma was, but yeah, this seems like a false dilemma to me.

The real question is whether religion applies the the natural (non-social) world at all. Religious people's assertions are often overstated, so atheists ask them to apply their insights to something specific. If you don't prefer climate change as an example, choose any other (non-social) area of concern. Where do religious assumptions address the natural world accurately?
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17-10-2017, 11:24 AM (This post was last modified: 17-10-2017 11:29 AM by Thoreauvian.)
RE: When You Fell In Love With Science/Reason/Rationality
(17-10-2017 11:16 AM)SYZ Wrote:  
(17-10-2017 10:17 AM)Thoreauvian Wrote:  Sorry, I must have missed that.

LOL... I must've too. Strange eh?

I'm guessing that Yonadav was referring to me when he said earlier: "A poster claimed that I can't love science/reason/rationality and be religious at the same time".

I never said any such words, but then religionists have an insidious habit of twisting other peoples' words to reinforce their own arguments. What I did imply by example was that religion lacks the facility or wherewithal necessary in solving real-world problems, and that those faculties are totally the remit of science alone.

I get the strong impression that Yonadav wants to avoid certain discussions and the same kinds of conflicts he had with us in the Amazon forums. That's all well and good, but when he asserts something which entails negative judgments against atheists or atheism, he can't be too surprised if we dispute his points or ask further questions....

I wonder if he knows what the word "equivocate" means.
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17-10-2017, 11:37 AM
RE: When You Fell In Love With Science/Reason/Rationality
(17-10-2017 11:00 AM)Aliza Wrote:  ...SYZ asked you, “Lastly, I'd like to ask you (or any other theists here) what sorts of answers does religion provide for the issue of catastrophic global climate change? Can, for example, the Abrahamic bible provide any guidance as to how we could solve the issue? Would your average theist claim that their religious beliefs—in their simplest form—could provide a practical solution, without the intervention of pure science? Or must they be forced to admit that religion and its holy books does not have the answers?”

To many atheists that I’ve met, if the Torah cannot solve everything, it must be false. To me, that’s the same as saying that if Stephen Hawking’s book, A Brief History of Time cannot solve a simple appendectomy, it must be false. I had to google what a false dilemma was, but yeah, this seems like a false dilemma to me.

I'm not quite sure why you've inserted Hawking's book failing to detail the operative procedure for an appendectomy Aliza, but Hawking—unlike the Christian's bible—never set out to provide a perfect guide to living and/or solving numerous of the world's problems. The word of their bible is allegedly complete and inerrant, but it doesn't even mention catastrophic climate change, or how to avoid it down the track. How is it possible that the Christian's god has no answer?

Quote:There is an underlying assumption that we turn to Torah (as Christians turn to their bibles) to solve all of the world’s problems, and that the Torah will have literal solutions to every problem, and that if it doesn’t, it must be false.

Not necessarily false per se, just incomplete and/or with errors of omission.

Quote:There is a cure to be had for environmental issues. If we want to find it, we will have to work hard to figure it out.

And the cure for negative environmental issues lies solely with science, and has nothing to do with religion. Religion is simply an unnecessary distraction or a security blanket for people who can't or won't face global dilemmas. Which is why we see absurd prayers for rain, such as I posted earlier.

I'm a creationist... I believe that man created God.
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17-10-2017, 11:44 AM
RE: When You Fell In Love With Science/Reason/Rationality
(17-10-2017 11:19 AM)Thoreauvian Wrote:  
(17-10-2017 11:00 AM)Aliza Wrote:  To many atheists that I’ve met, if the Torah cannot solve everything, it must be false. To me, that’s the same as saying that if Stephen Hawking’s book, A Brief History of Time cannot solve a simple appendectomy, it must be false. I had to google what a false dilemma was, but yeah, this seems like a false dilemma to me.

The real question is whether religion applies the the natural (non-social) world at all. Religious people's assertions are often overstated, so atheists ask them to apply their insights to something specific. If you don't prefer climate change as an example, choose any other (non-social) area of concern. Where do religious assumptions address the natural world accurately?

I'm not sure from where you're approaching this. I can't speak for other religions and I'm not particularly interested in what they teach as long as they keep it far away from me. Where did you hear that Judaism applies to the natural world, and where did you hear that it's a comprehensive science book that describes all natural phenomena? If you could source that, maybe I can start to address it, but from everything I've ever read about Judaism, Torah is a book about how to live your life, not how to cure or prevent cancer or how best to clean up the oceans.
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17-10-2017, 12:09 PM
RE: When You Fell In Love With Science/Reason/Rationality
(17-10-2017 11:44 AM)Aliza Wrote:  I can't speak for other religions and I'm not particularly interested in what they teach as long as they keep it far away from me. Where did you hear that Judaism applies to the natural world, and where did you hear that it's a comprehensive science book that describes all natural phenomena? If you could source that, maybe I can start to address it, but from everything I've ever read about Judaism, Torah is a book about how to live your life, not how to cure or prevent cancer or how best to clean up the oceans.

I guess the critique applies better to Christianity than Judaism, since Christians are quite well known for arguing about evolution, cosmology, or cause and effect in the natural world. However, even in asserting that Judaism is "about how to live your life" brings up certain questions about its real world relevance. Do your dietary and dress restrictions make you adaptable in general, or only to your specific social groupings? Do your behavioral guidelines help in general, or only with people sharing the same assumptions? Do your insights into human psychology work for all humans? Those are questions about the relation of religious ideas to the natural world.
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17-10-2017, 12:09 PM
RE: When You Fell In Love With Science/Reason/Rationality
(17-10-2017 11:44 AM)Aliza Wrote:  ...but from everything I've ever read about Judaism, Torah is a book about how to live your life, not how to cure or prevent cancer or how best to clean up the oceans.

From the Christian bible, why do we not read of preventative measures such as...

"Thou shalt not befoul the firmament nor sully the oceans, or defile the lands upon which man walks. If this shouldst happen, man and his kind will suffer the discomforts of pestilence, a death of painful certainty, and their souls shall be banished forever from the kingdom of God."

It's almost as though God forgot what his grand design was all about, and didn't give any thought to the inevitable global disasters of the future—particularly since he didn't consider man to be perfect.

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17-10-2017, 12:23 PM
RE: When You Fell In Love With Science/Reason/Rationality
(17-10-2017 11:19 AM)Thoreauvian Wrote:  
(17-10-2017 11:00 AM)Aliza Wrote:  To many atheists that I’ve met, if the Torah cannot solve everything, it must be false. To me, that’s the same as saying that if Stephen Hawking’s book, A Brief History of Time cannot solve a simple appendectomy, it must be false. I had to google what a false dilemma was, but yeah, this seems like a false dilemma to me.

The real question is whether religion applies the the natural (non-social) world at all. Religious people's assertions are often overstated, so atheists ask them to apply their insights to something specific. If you don't prefer climate change as an example, choose any other (non-social) area of concern. Where do religious assumptions address the natural world accurately?

In regard to climate change, the Torah tells us to not cut down the fruit trees of cities that we are at war with. The Sages of the Talmud drew a kal v'chomer from this, reasoning that if we are not to cut down fruit trees while at war, then how much more so must we not cut them down when we are not at war. Since the time of the Talmud, this line of reasoning has extended to all acts of gluttony and pointless destruction. All resources are fruit. Wasting or destroying resources, or using resources in a way that is destructive, is a violation of the prohibition against cutting down fruit trees.

Conversely, Isaiah 51 tells us that the world will one day be worn out, like a well used garment. A small number of people have used this to argue against environmentalism. But they are a minority. Even though the earth will one day be worn out, that doesn't exempt us from avoiding pointless destruction of it and the obligation to maintain it. Most Rabbis agree that the Torah points in the direction of responsible environmentalism.
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