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No longer take comments. Post's 'labels' are unreliable for linking or searching. Use the INDEX OF POSTS instead. A fairly accurate, but incomplete INDEX of Posts & good overview and understanding of this blog READ SOME REASONS TO REJECT ORTHODOX JUDAISM my April 2014 post or click link above. Born into an Orthodox Jewish family (1950's) and went to Orthodox Yeshiva from kindergarten thru High School plus some Beis Medrash.Became an agnostic in my 20's and an atheist later on. My blog will discuss the arguments for god and Orthodox Judaism and will provide counter arguments. I no longer take comments. My blog uses academic sources, the Torah, Talmud and commentators to justify my assertions. The posts get updated. IF YOU GET A MESSAGE THAT THE POST IS MISSING - LOOK FOR IT IN THE INDEX or search or the date is found in the address.

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Kuzari Argument Part 22 or Miracle Of Sun Part 13c- Rabbi Gottlieb Review

Updated 3/21/2019 to include some (but not all)  of the relevant links supporting my comments.

Continued from Kuzari Argument Part 21

I want to thank Rabbi Gottlieb for reviewing my blog post on the Miracle of the Sun

See Rabbi Gottlieb's apparent counterexamples to kuzari

Retrieved 3/20/2019


If the Rabbi reads all my Kuzari posts he will see my reasons for rejecting Kuzari style arguments including his own. 

I am going to focus on only a few points the Rabbi makes.

G1) Here is what I wrote in my original post Miracle of the Sun: 

Rabbi Gottlieb (RG) Principle: Let E be a possible event which, had it really occurred, would have left behind enormous, easily available evidence of its occurrence. If the evidence does not exist, people will not believe that E occurred.

This can be briefly restated as: If  people believe an event occurred, then evidence must exist for the event's occurrence. 

The Rabbi critique : Let’s call the last paragraph AK. This is a gross mistake: RG and AK are very different in content. AK implies that if people believe that Muhammad ascended to the sky on a fiery horse, there must be evidence that he did. RG does not imply this. His mistake is to leave out the qualification: “event which, had it really occurred, would have left behind enormous, easily available evidence of its occurrence.” Muhammad’s ascent does not meet this condition.A great deal of his argument below is undone by this mistake.

My response to this critique: There is no AK intended. I have edited all my posts to reflect my original intention that the brief restatement was meant to be the RG principle. RG Can be briefly restated as: If  people believe an event of type E occurred, then evidence must exist for the event's occurrence. Do the alleged unnatural events at Mt Sinai qualify as an event of type E ? If they do why not those alleged unnatural events at Fatima ?

G2) The Rabbi writes: Here is a crucial mistake in logic. At no point do I say, imply, suggest, hint or otherwise indicate the judgment of the witnesses as to whether the event was a miracle. In my view that is irrelevant. All I take from the witnesses is their account of what they experienced. It is our judgment that the described phenomena are miraculous. They say the mountain was aflame, the ground was shaking under their feet, there was cloud and smoke, the sound of a shofar, and they all heard a voice. It is our judgment that if they really experienced all of that it was a miracle.

Similarly, we should accept the testimony that they saw something happen in the sky that astonished them and created the impression of a miracle. Since they do not report (so far as I have seen) how long the vision lasted, and how long they were in an ecstatic state afterwards, there is no difficulty in accepting their statement that the wet ground and clothes became dry. It is then up to us to decide whether having that experience is evidence that a miracle occurred.”

My Response to this critique: In  older Kuzari  posts I argued very similar to reject  the Mount Sinai story !  They say the mountain [Sinai] was aflame, the ground was shaking under their feet, there was cloud and smoke, the sound of a shofar, and they all heard a voice. It is our judgment that if they really experienced all of that it was a miracle or divine  revelation or not. I think it is plausible  the Mt Sinai event (even is there is some truth to the story)  did not involve an actual miracle or an actual divine  revelation.  I think it is plausible  the Miracle of Sun event(s)  did not involve actual Miracle(s) or an actual divine  revelation or unnatural things. 

G3) Rabbi Writes “And note that a vision of a religious figure is claimed only for the three children. The tens of thousands see astonishing behavior of the sun and perhaps other items in the sky. There is no reason to doubt that some natural phenomena can cause such an experience.” 

My Response to this critique:  They say the mountain [Sinai] was aflame, the ground was shaking under their feet, there was cloud and smoke, the sound of a shofar, and they all heard a voice. There is no reason to doubt that some natural phenomena can cause such an experience. 

G4) Rabbi writes: “RG only applies to an event that we would expect to leave behind enormous easily available evidence of its occurrence.”

My Response: I have written several posts discussing the problems with this “an event that we would expect to leave behind enormous easily available evidence of its occurrence”.  Those problems are a serious objection to the usefulness and merits of the RG. 

https://altercockerjewishatheist.blogspot.com/2017/06/kuzari-argument-part-12_4.html  Enemy aircraft over British South Africa ?

http://altercockerjewishatheist.blogspot.com/2015/12/kuzari-argument-part-10.html Rumour in Orleans


G5)  Rabbi Wrote:

The first thing to note (as I mentioned above several times) that there are two different events in question here.

A.   The experience of the people of a phenomenon in the sky that awed and inspired them and appeared to them miraculous.
B.   G-d caused the phenomenon in the sky miraculously.

Let’s now try his argument for each event separately.

A: Would the event of tens of thousands of people having a vision that inspired them and seemed to them to be a miracle be expected to leave behind enormous easily available evidence? Sure! The people will tell it to others and a great many will believe that it happened. And that is indeed what happened. And therefore millions of people believe that event A happened. And they are right – event A really did happen.

My Response: The Rabbi writes the event he labled A:  “The experience of the people of a phenomenon in the sky that awed and inspired them and appeared to them miraculous.” Happened. Well of course it did but that is not the point. They had their evidence something  miraculous, something unnatural  actually occurred and it is their story and interpretation that gets passed down thru the generations,. Thus  later generation  claim a miracle occurred , something unnatural was witnessed by their ancestors.  Consider Mt Sinai. The ancient Israelites interpret the MT Sinai quaking etc: as a revelation from G-d, and that interpretation gets passed down and becomes G-d was at Mt Sinai. {ETA 3/21/2019 Some Ancient People related Mountains/Volcanoes with supernatural beings - this is documented in several of my Kuzari Posts. For example Kuzari Part 3,}

G6) The Rabbi  provides his rational for the RG. 

My Response:  The RG principle is not a reliable guide for determining the veracity of peoples beliefs. Justification for this comment is found in my Kuzari posts, it's links and including my posts on Rabbi Kelemens Kuzari style argument.

A important one regarding  'events of our type'

Kuzari Argument Part 21 Rabbi Kelemen Bomb April 23, 2018



G7) MY CONCLUSION The Miracle of the Sun shows the RG principle is flawed for determining the  veracity of peoples beliefs concerning current events or historical events. Per RG -   If  people believe an event of type E occurred, then evidence must exist for the event's occurrence. In the Miracle of the Sun let the event be the Sun danced and the other claimed unnatural things that occurred. Is this an event of Type E ? If Mt Sinai story is Type E, why not Miracle of the Sun events ?  People will see and experience  the event(s)  that happen. The story gets passed around and down.  We need not accept something unnatural happened at Fatima, despite the claims of a large mass of witnesses to unnatural events,  despite claims of a  large mass of their descendants and despite a large  mass of their fellow countrymen.  Much the same applies to the Sinai story.  I applaud the Rabbi for applying some good critical thinking skills seemingly to reject the veracity of the Miracle of the Sun. It seems to me some of his critiques of the Miracle of the Sun story apply to the Mount Sinai story.