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About Me

A fairly accurate, but incomplete INDEX of Posts & good overview of this blog READ SOME REASONS TO REJECT ORTHODOX JUDAISM my April 2014 post or click link above. Highlighted words lead to other posts almost all in my blog. 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. INDEX OF POSTS SEE MAY 2017 or click link above.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Genesis and Evolution

UPDATED THRU 3/23/2016

{ETA 1/10/2015 My post is plain meaning of the Torah/Bible. See my discussion later about commentators and why I have avoided them for this post. In my December 2013 and December 2014 posts discussing Schroeder's  book The Science of God I do discuss  some commentators.}

Prior to summarizing Genesis, the evolutionary time line and listing only some of the myriad of differences between Genesis and Evolution there are two over overarching reasons why there is no room for gods within evolution.

First, evolution operates through such natural processes random mutation, co-evolution, natural selection, entropy efficiency... to explain how the various species came to exist. The evidence for evolution is overwhelming. According to the principle of Occam’s razor/parsimony supernatural beings should not be added to the equation. They are superfluous. Of course there are gaps in our scientific knowledge, but plugging in supernatural beings is called the god of gaps fallacy. {ETA 7/25/2014 Evolution has no room for a designer. Species were and are still evolving without guidance and  not to some ultimate design. Evolution is governed by randomness, mutation, natural selection, changing environments, myriads of interactions...and is largely unpredictable.}

Second, Genesis has the creation ending on the sixth day, while according to evolution creation is a never ending continuous process.

The Genesis creation story:

Day one - Creates in this order "Heaven and the Earth", Light, "divided light from darkness"

Day two - Makes firmament in the midst of the waters

Day three - Gathers water under the heaven into one place and dry land appears. Grass, herb yielding seed, and fruit-tree bearing fruit.

Day four- Lights in the firmament of the heaven [stars ], sun, moon.

Day five - Living water creatures, flying fowl, sea monsters, creeping creatures, winged fowl 

Day six -  Let the earth bring forth the living creature after its kind, cattle, and creeping thing, and beast of the earth after its kind. Male and Female [human]. (Genesis also says god formed Adam from earth and breathed life into him. Then god forms a female from Adam's rib {ETA or maybe side - see discussion below}).

Evolution Time line (from Wikipedia)

for the last 3.6 billion years, simple cells (prokaryotes);
for the last 3.4 billion years, cyanobacteria performing photosynthesis;
for the last 2 billion years, complex cells (eukaryotes);
for the last 1 billion years, multicellular life;
for the last 600 million years, simple animals;
for the last 550 million years, bilaterians, animals with a front and a back;
for the last 500 million years, fish and proto-amphibians;
for the last 475 million years, land plants;
for the last 400 million years, insects and seeds;
for the last 360 million years, amphibians;
for the last 300 million years, reptiles;
for the last 200 million years, mammals;
for the last 150 million years, birds;
for the last 130 million years, flowers;
for the last 60 million years, the primates,
for the last 20 million years, the family Hominidae (great apes);
for the last 2.5 million years, the genus Homo (human predecessors);
for the last 200,000 years, anatomically modern humans.  

Now for some of the incompatibilities of Genesis and Evolution. Arguably the conflicts seem insurmountable.

1) There was no one original human Adam. Evolution has mankind evolving from prior primate species and not created from earth. Human females were not created  from Man's rib {ETA or side}.) 

{ETA 1/10/2015 Somebody questioned me about the female Eve being created out of Adams Rib. Gen 2:21 And the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and he slept; and He took one of his ribs (Hebrew root צלע), and closed up the place with flesh instead thereof. 22 And the rib (צלע), which the LORD God had taken from the man, made He a woman, and brought her unto the man -  So translates the Jewish Publication Society (JPS) 1917.  JPS Jewish Study Bible 2004 by the editors Berlin and Brettler also translates as Rib. Ramban on Gen 2:20 Translated by Rabbi Chavel (1971 edition) also writes Adam's Rib being taken.

Rib is a common translation of the Hebrew word  צלע in these Genesis verses. Another translation is 'side'. The Torah text writes 'one' of, suggesting 'one' from many. If the Torah text meant 'side' it could have written from man's side. There are other Hebrew words for side as well. Rib is a very reasonable translation. Using the translation 'side' will not change the fact the Torah contradicts evolution on the matter.}

{Update 2/19/2014 Religions of the Ancient Near East - Helmer Ringgron (Translated by J. Sturdy) 1973

Page 121 Regarding Assyrian and Babylonian religion:
" It is known that life or the BREATH of life is a gift of the gods, who also have the power to take it back." [My capitalization. Such a notion is found in Genesis.]}


2) Plants evolved after the Sun existed, while Genesis has plants before the Sun.

3) Genesis has first life forms as plants. Evolution has other living forms before plants.
.
4) Genesis has fruit-bearing trees before fish were created. Evolution has fish before fruit-bearing trees.

5) Genesis has fruit-bearing trees before say insects. Evolution has insects before fruit-bearing trees

6) The six days of creation is incompatible with the billions of years of the big bang and evolution. Some Apologetics reinterpret days to be something other than normal human observed earth days. But the Torah says  it was  evening and morning  for each day, as if to place human markers and affirm a clear separation of creation events.  Also, which days should be reinterpreted and by how much should they be changed from normal earth days ? By an amount to force fit genesis with whatever is the current scientific theory. This operation is called working backwards.  Human civilization have been around easily over 6 thousand years.

7) Evolution has in this order: Insects, Birds, Flowering plants. Genesis has Flowering Plants then Birds. Genesis has Flowering plants before any Insects. 

8) Seems Genesis has reptiles after birds. But Evolution has birds evolving from reptiles.

{Update 12/29/2013 My post is plain meaning of the Torah/Bible and relying almost solely on Genesis 1:1 through 1:31 the only place I am aware of with a detailed temporal sequence. It may be possible to selectively cite midrash/talmud/commentary/ kabbalah/verses and or reinterpret/speculate  to smooth over many inconsistencies between evolution and science.  However, those same texts themselves are frequently unclear, in conflict with science and even contradictory within themselves. I sincerely doubt that midrash/talmud/commentary/ kabbalah/verses all can be reconciled to provide a consistent internal accounting in any intellectually honest fashion.}

{Update 2/16/2014 To give the reader a sense of the importance,  consider this simple example which can be multiplied thousands of  times. Regarding the Genesis creation story - Beth (meaning the school of) Shammai says the Heaven was created before the Earth. Beth Hillel - the earth was created before the heavens, Rav Simeon says they were created simultaneously. (Midrash Rabbah Genesis 1:15) }

{Update 2/1/2014 Attempts  to "reconcile this 7 day creation story with evolution, geological and cosmological evidence  of the age of the universe are absurd, requiring a twisting of the words of the text in ways they never remotely meant". "Of course the Biblical picture is not a factual, literal account of the universe's  origin. The evidence to this effect is overwhelming". (Commentary on the Torah with a New English Translation 2001 by Richard E, Friedman Page 14)}

{ETA 3/23/2106 Understanding Genesis by Nahum Sarna 1966

He translates Gen 1:1 “ When God began to create the Heaven and Earth..”

Beginning Page 2 Regarding Genesis Creation stories:

“It is obvious” none of the stories are based on human memory, nor are they modern science accounts of the physical world’s origin or nature. The stories are Non Scientific. It is a naive and futile exercise to attempt to reconcile Bible creation stories and modern science.  Any “correspondences” discovered or ingeniously established are nothing more than coincidence.  

The book also provide many points of contact with ancient near east mythology with Genesis creation. stories. Beginning page 39 The  Flood story - The Torah used very ancient traditions adapted for it’s own purpose. }

ETA 1/10/2105 Anchor Bible Genesis E.A. Speiser 1964 
Page 9 Regarding Gen 1 - The Babylonian creation epic Enuma Elis - is in striking correspondences in both details and order of the events with Genesis 1.  It is clear the Bible approach is closely related to traditional Mesopotamian beliefs. The similarities include and are in the same order and type of creation: A primeval chaos, Light emanation from gods , firmament creation, dry land creation, luminaries creation, man creation, god resting.
Speiser explains Gen 1 has God creating light.  He goes on to write the Babylonians did not copy the Hebrews since cuneiform accounts such as the Enuma antedate in substance the Bible statements on the subject. There is no basis in fact for assuming an unidentified ultimate source for both Hebrew and Babylonian accounts.

JPS Torah Commentary Genesis by Nahum Sarna
Page 7  Verse 4-Light -  The first creation by God's utterance. The notion of light independent of the sun most likely derives from the observation that the sky is illuminated even on cloudy days and that brightness precedes the rising sun. In both situation no sun is visible. Verse 5 God called - According to the conception in  the ancient near east possessing no name was equivalent to non existence. "Name calling was thus associated with creation and by extension, with domination, for the one who gives a name has power over the object."}

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Genesis and the Big Bang

UPDATED THRU 3/23/2106

Some apologetics say the big bang is confirmation of genesis, however genesis and the big bang seem incompatible. After summarizing big bang theory and genesis some of these incompatibilities will be indicated. Furthermore the genesis creation myth has much in common with other ancient cultures conception of the universe and creation rather than with scientific knowledge. 

{ETA 1/10/2015 My post is plain meaning of the Torah/Bible. See my discussion later about commentators and why I have avoided them for this post. In my December 2013 and December 2014 posts discussing Schroeder's  book The Science of God I do discuss  some commentators.}

The Big Bang

The cosmologist consensus today is that about 14 billion years ago our universe was  a minuscule ball containing all the mass/energy of the universe. That ball began to expand about 14 billion years ago. (The big bang does not say the ball came  into existence from "nothing", although some theoreticians do say the universe was a quantum fluctuation. Also gravity was the negative energy  that together with positive energy/matter add to zero and therefore do not violate the conservation of mass/energy.)

The Genesis creation story:

Day one - Creates in this order "Heaven and the Earth", Light, "divided light from darkness"

Day two - Makes firmament in the midst of the waters

Day three - Gathers water under the heaven into one place and dry land appears. Plants.

Day four- Lights in the firmament of the heaven [stars ], sun, moon.

Day five - Living water creatures, flying fowl, sea monsters, creeping creatures, winged fowl 

Day six -  Let the earth bring forth the living creature after its kind, cattle, and creeping thing, and beast of the earth after its kind. Male and Female [human].

It is not clear where the big bang is taking place in Genesis, since in Genesis there is no tiny ball being created nor is an expansion of the tiny ball mentioned. Rather genesis has the heaven as the first thing created  

1) Big Bang cosmology has the sun forming before the earth in contradiction to the Torah.

2) Light comes from Galaxy formation and also from Stars. But Genesis has light coming before stars but after earth. ( Apologetics may reinterpret "light" as energy or the radiation soon after the Big Bang. If so, "light" should have been created before the Earth, but the Torah says light came after Earth). 

3) Torah has "Heaven and Earth" created as if simultaneously at the beginning. But the Earth was formed 10 billion years after the Big Bang, not even remotely close in time (Apologetics may say the creation of Heaven was the Big Bang and "then" later came the Earth,  adding words to the Torah. The big bang could not be the creation of light, because according to the Torah light comes after the creation of earth). Also the creation of heaven is not the big bang. Rather, heaven is a result of the expansion of the tiny ball. The Torah should have said God made a tiny ball and caused it to expand into the Heaven.

{ETA 3/23/2106 From the Book Understanding Judaism - Jacob Neusner Editor- 

Page 32 Regarding the sages beliefs Torah from ‘heaven’. Heaven was NOT a metaphor, but a place above Earth. They literally believed in the existence of water in the upper region; and God dwelt in the heavens above.}

4)  First star shone 100 million years after the Big Bang. This occurs before the Earth, in contradiction to the Torah.

5) Genesis requires god to divide lightness and darkness. But darkness happens automatically as the earth or a planet rotates and this would occur automatically in Big Bang cosmology.

6) Genesis says plants came before sun which is false.

7) The six days of creation is incompatible with the billions of years of the big bang. Some Apologetics reinterpret days to be something other than normal human observed earth days.. But the Torah says  it was  evening and morning  for each day, as if to place human markers and affirm a clear separation of creation events.  Also, which days should be reinterpreted and by how much should they be changed from normal earth days ? By an amount to force fit genesis with whatever is the current scientific theory. This operation is called working backwards.

8) Stars are still forming, yet the Torah seems to indicate  they were all created by day 4.

9) Water existed before the Earth 

10) Torah's firmament in the mist of the waters / firmament the heaven is not found in the Big Bang or in science. The Torah writes: The firmament divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament. And God called the firmament Heaven

Noteworthy in many ancient cultures  "The notion of the sky as a solid object (rather than just an atmospheric expanse) was widespread among both ancient civilizations and primitive cultures, including ancient Greece, Egypt, China, India, native Americans, Australian aborigines, and also early Christians.
The sky is depicted as a solid dome arched over the earth in both Mesopotamian and Indo-European mythologies (e.g., creation myths) and poetry. The Sumerian sky-god An ruled these firmament-like "heavens", which the wind-god had separated from the flat disc of the earth below, and there were primordial seas above the firmament. Ancient Indians also believed in a solid sky: "Firm is the sky and firm is the earth," says the Rig Veda. This approach to cosmology is probably universal, and is also encountered in mythologies of the New World." (from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Firmament}.

And the ancient Jews had similar beliefs: "The Hebrews regarded the earth as a plain or a hill figured like a hemisphere, swimming on water. Over this is arched the solid vault of heaven. To this vault are fastened the lights, the stars. So slight is this elevation that birds may rise to it and fly along its expanse." (From http://www.jewishencyclopedia.com/articles/6135-firmament#anchor8 )

{ETA 10/6/2015 Rashbam commentary on Genesis 1:6 describes the firmament as a hammered out plate extending East to West and North to South}

The torah's firmament most likely is referring to an actual SOLID vault above the earth. This gave rise to the tower of Babel myth and is integral to the ancient Jewish understanding of where god resides, how god controls rainfall....

{Update 2/19/2014 "In Israelite and Near Eastern cosmology , primordial waters remained above the dome of the sky and were released as rain (Gen 1.7;7.11)." - Page 428 The Jewish Study Bible A. Berlin, M. Brettler Editors, 2004}

{ETA 9/28/2014 Page 42 the Oxford Bible Commentary "The pre-existent watery waste [Genesis] (1:1-2) was divided into two by the creation of a solid dome or vault (the sky, 1:6-8), so that there was water both above and below it." }

{ETA 9/29/2104 From the Interpreter's One-Volume Commentary On The Bible sixth printing 1982 Page 3 "The Firmament. A translucent dome, like an inverted basin, placed in the midst of the waters defines the spatial boundaries of God's further work....The solid, 'hammered-out' firmament restrains the waters of chaos from above and receives its blue from them (compare genesis 7:11-12; 8:2). "}

11) Genesis creation myth has much in common with ancient creation myths.

For example (see http://www.jewishencyclopedia.com/articles/6135-firmament#anchor8 ):

"It has long been recognized that Biblical cosmogony bears certain similarities to that of other peoples; e.g., the Phenicians....or the Egyptians ..."

"Strikingly similar to the Biblical cosmogony is that of the Babylonians...."

{ ETA 3/4/2106 12) Regarding the making of the Sun and Moon Genesis 1:16 And God made the two great lights: the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night; and the stars. 17 And God set them in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth

The moon is not a light source, rather it is a reflector. However, the Torah authors were not aware of  that and consider the moon a weaker light source relative to the Sun.  

According to science: "Gravity started with sparse, cold cloud of gas, concentrating it and heating it up by huge amounts, until a star was born, the Sun."  (Page 162 Black Holes, Tides and Curved Spacetime by Professor Benjamin  Schumacher 2013) 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moon "The prevailing hypothesis today is that the Earth–Moon system formed as a result of a giant impact, where a Mars-sized body (named Theia) collided with the newly formed proto-Earth, blasting material into orbit around it that accreted to form the Moon."

The Torah claims God "made"  the Sun and set it in the firmament. The Sun was not made and set in the firmament. It evolved over time from a gas. 

The Torah claims God made the Moon set it in the firmament. The Moon was not "made" and set in the firmament. The Moon resulted from an accidental collision. }


UPDATE: I have become informed that according to the talmud the light on day one in Genesis is referring to the blue light from the sky. The Sun and moon were considered 2 other light sources. They did not realize the blue light as well as the moon are just reflected light from the sun. God could just eliminate blue light and put it back on to create a days even without a sun. I will be checking to document this information

UPDATE 11/15/2013: Regarding the existence of light before the creation of the Luminaries: 

"Other ancient Near Eastern myths similarly assume the existence of light before the creation of the luminaries"

Page 13 The Jewish Study Bible A. Berlin, M. Brettler Editors, 1999
---------------------------------------
UPDATE 6/23/2014  From Ramban - Genesis by Rabbi Chavel 1999 

Ramban explains  The light created on the first day illuminates the elements. But the creation of the firmament on the second day blocks out that light ! Thus on the third day the earth was all dark.  Hence day 4 let there be lights to illuminate the earth. Genesis 1:16 And God made the two great lights: the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night; and the stars. 17 And God set them in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth,
Ramban explains these fourth day lights were not made from the body of the firmament, rather they were bodies set into it. 
-----------------------

Update 1/14/2014 My post is plain meaning of the Torah/Bible and relied on Genesis 1:1 through 1:31 the only place I am aware of with a detailed temporal sequence. It may be possible to selectively cite midrash/talmud/commentary/ kabbalah/verses and or reinterpret/speculate  to smooth over many inconsistencies between cosmology and science.  However, those same texts themselves are frequently unclear, in conflict with science and even contradictory within themselves. I sincerely doubt that midrash/talmud/commentary/ kabbalah/verses all can be reconciled to provide a consistent internal accounting in any intellectually honest fashion.}
---------------------------------- {Update 2/16/2014 To give the reader a sense of the importance,  consider this simple example which can be multiplied thousands of  times. Regarding the Genesis creation story - Beth (meaning the school of) Shammai says the Heaven was created before the Earth. Beth Hillel - the earth was created before the heavens, Rav Simeon says they were created simultaneously. (Midrash Rabbah Genesis 1:15) }
------------------------------------- {Update 2/1/2014 Attempts  to "reconcile this 7 day creation story with evolution, geological and cosmological evidence  of the age of the universe are absurd, requiring a twisting of the words of the text in ways they never remotely meant". "Of course the Biblical picture is not a factual, literal account of the universe's  origin. The evidence to this effect is overwhelming". (Commentary on the Torah with a New English Translation by Richard E, Friedman 2001  Page 14)}

{ETA 3/23/2106 

From the book Note to the New Translation of the Torah - Harry Orlinsky Editor 1969

Beginning Page 49 Translates  “When God began to create...” Regarding genesis 1-3 The book provides cogent reasons why the verse should not be translated “In the Beginning God created...”, some of which include Rashi’s reasons.  It finally concludes “The Hebrew text tells us nothing about ‘creation out of nothing’ (creation ex nihilo) or about the beginning of time.”

From the book Understanding Genesis by Nahum Sarna 1966

He translates Gen 1:1 “ When God began to create the Heaven and Earth..”

Beginning Page 2 Regarding Genesis Creation stories:

“It is obvious” none of the stories are based on human memory, nor are they modern science accounts of the physical world’s origin or nature. The stories are Non Scientific. It is a naive and futile exercise to attempt to reconcile Bible creation stories and modern science.  Any “correspondences” discovered or ingeniously established are nothing more than coincidence.  


The book also provides many points of contact with ancient near east mythology with Genesis creation  stories. Beginning page 39 The  Flood story - The Torah used very ancient traditions adapted for it’s own purpose. }

{ETA 1/10/2105 Anchor Bible Genesis E.A. Speiser 1964 
Page 9 Regarding Gen 1 - The Babylonian creation epic Enuma Elis - is in striking correspondences in both details and order of the events with Genesis 1.  It is clear the Bible approach is closely related to traditional Mesopotamian beliefs. The similarities include and are in the same order and type of creation: A primeval chaos, Light emanation from gods , firmament creation, dry land creation, luminaries creation, man creation, god resting.
Speiser explains Gen 1 has God creating light.  He goes on to write the Babylonians did not copy the Hebrews since cuneiform accounts such as the Enuma antedate in substance the Bible statements on the subject. There is no basis in fact for assuming an unidentified ultimate source for both Hebrew and Babylonian accounts.

JPS Torah Commentary Genesis by Nahum Sarna

Page 7  Verse 4-Light -  The first creation by God's utterance. The notion of light independent of the sun most likely derives from the observation that the sky is illuminated even on cloudy days and that brightness precedes the rising sun. In both situation no sun is visible. Verse 5 God called - According to the conception in  the ancient near east possessing no name was equivalent to non existence. "Name calling was thus associated with creation and by extension, with domination, for the one who gives a name has power over the object."}


Related posts are Proof of God from Big Bang and Kalam Cosmological proof of God repudiated by Theology , Kalam Cosmological Proof Repudiated 

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Proof of God from Big Bang

Updated thru 12/19/2016

Briefly the argument is:

The cosmologist consensus today is that about 14 billion years ago our universe was  a minuscule ball containing all the mass/energy of the universe. That ball began to expand about 14 billion years ago. We do not know why the expansion began. We do not know where the ball came from. Our universe seems to have a beginning. Therefore a God must have created the tiny ball and initiated the expansion. 

This article will show the Big Bang does not prove there is a god and Big Bang cosmology contradicts the Torah.

First,  the argument fails on logic alone as it is an example of the god of the gaps fallacy. Our gap in knowledge is not a compelling reason to posit a god. We do not fully understand the physical behavior of such a tiny ball of great mass in part because relativity and quantum theory have not been reconciled at that level. "The singularity [some scientists say there was no singularity] at the Big Bang doesn't indicate a beginning to the universe, only an end to our theoretical comprehension. It may be that this moment does indeed correspond to a beginning, and a complete theory of quantum gravity will eventually explain how the universe started at approximately this time. But it is equally plausible that what we think of as the Big Bang is merely a phase in the history of the universe, which stretches long before that time – perhaps infinitely far in the past. " (From Does the Universe Need God? Professor Sean Carroll, California Institute of Technology). 

{ETA 12/19/2015 Page 50 A Brief History Of  Time by Stephen Hawking 1990 Bantam Edition.  Hawking is discussing Penrose's and Hawking's Cosmology. Hawking initially thought the Universe started with a Big Bang Singularity. But then writes  "So in the end our work [Penrose and Hawking] became generally accepted and nowadays nearly everyone assumes that the universe started with a big bang singularity. It is perhaps ironic that, having changed my mind, I am now trying to convince other physicists that there was in fact no singularity at the beginning of the universe - as we shall see later, it can disappear once quantum effects are taken into account."}

Second, we still do not know if some form of oscillating model can occur.If gravity is 100% efficient (and therefore there is no violation of thermodynamics) an oscillating model consisting of alternating big bangs and big crunches (compression) can go on indefinitely.

(ETA Sentence has been deleted as it may be wrong according to some scientists and requires further research. However Sean's article does not rule out oscillating models. Some such models are still being published in very recent years.)

Third,  lets assume a static model or oscillating model is not possible. Cosmology does not require a God - see for example Professor Hawking’s  recent cosmology books. Also "The Big Bang could've occurred as a result of just the laws of physics being there," per astrophysicist Alex Filippenko of the University of California, Berkeley (June 2012). Some theoreticians discuss the universe as a quantum fluctuation. 

{ETA 1/3/2016 Page 143-148 in Scientists Confront Intelligent Design and Creationism Petto and Godfrey Editors 2007.  Physics Professor Victor Stenger - "Several cosmological scenarios have been published by established scholars in reputable scientific journals that allow for a universe to appear as an uncaused quantum event from an initial state of zero energy (Akatz and Pagels 1982;...).  "It is conventional to label the time of the Big Bang as t=0. However, nothing we know demands that this was the beginning of time..., or that no universe existed at earlier times."
"No scientific basis exists for assuming a universe did not exist before the Big Bang" }

Even if the observable Universe "began", the building blocks of the universe may have existed forever. That would be consistent with the conservation of energy and matter.

Fourth  "Most modern cosmologists are convinced that conventional scientific progress will ultimately result in a self-contained understanding of the origin and evolution of the universe, without the need to invoke God or any other supernatural involvement.  ( Does the Universe Need God? Professor Sean Carroll, California Institute of Technology)

{ETA 1/23/2016  http://www.preposterousuniverse.com/blog/2012/04/28/a-universe-from-nothing/
April 28, 2012 by Sean Carroll -  A Universe from Nothing? "...the physical universe can perfectly well be self-contained; it doesn’t need anything or anyone from outside to get it started, even if it had a “beginning.”  " }

{ETA 12/19/2016 From Seven Brief Lessons on Physics By Carlo Rovelli 2014, 2016. The Theoretical Physicist Carlo is one of the founders of Loop Quantum Gravity Theory (LQG). Beginning on page 39 - Einstein developed relativity  to resolve the conflict between the equations of electromagnetism and mechanics. Today there is a conflict between General Relativity and Quantum Mechanics. A group of researchers are working on reconciling the conflict thru Loop Quantum Gravity (LQG). Consider a star as it begins to run out of fuel and starts to collapse. Per Loop Quantum Gravity infinitesimal points/singularities don’t exist, so the star’s matter will only condense up to a point (called a Planck Star) wherein  quantum fluctuations of space-time balance the weight of matter.  But a Planck star is not stable and it can then begin to expand again. When our Universe was extremely compressed, quantum theory generates a repulsive force and this can create a Big Bang. Thus our  Universe may have been born from a preceding Universe that compressed under it’s own weight into a tiny space before expanding into the Universe we observe.  


[LQG can provide a natural explanation why the BB occurred and what existed before the BB. So we need not posit a God to start the BB.]}

Fifth,  After summarizing the 6 days of creation some major incompatibilities of Genesis and Big Bang Cosmology will  be indicated. 

UPDATE this sentence and the discussion of it has been deleted since I wrote a new post Genesis and Big Bang.

{ETA See these related posts Proof of God from Thermodynamics

Kalam Cosmological proof of God repudiated by Theology , Kalam Cosmological Proof of God Premises and Conclusions Repudiated. My Posts on Shroeder's book The Science of God begun here. }


Thursday, September 5, 2013

Moshe became horny and suspicion of TMS

Exodus 34:29 . And it came to pass When Moses descended from Mount Sinai, and the two tablets of the testimony were in Moses' hand When he descended from the mountain and Moses did not know That the skin of His face had become radiant while He had spoken with him '
30th . That Aaron and all the Children of Israel saw Moses and behold! the skin of his face had become radiant, and they were afraid to come near him.And it came to pass When Moses descended: When he brought the Latter [second] tablets on Yom Kippur.
 
And Rashi enlightens us regarding "radiant", that the Hebrew expression literally means horns. Rashi is correct, the Torah literally says the Moshe's face sprouted horns. But Rashi then unjustly changes the meaning of the text to mean the face radiated.) 

 After changing the meaning of verse 29, Rashi has to explain the fear in verse 30 somehow in relation to radiation: Come and see how great the power of sin is! Because when they had not yet stretched out their hands to sin [with the golden calf], what does He say? "And the appearance of the glory of the Lord was like a consuming fire atop the mountain, before the eyes of the children of Israel" (Exod. 24:17), and they were neither frightened nor quaking. But since they had made ​​the calf, even from Moses' rays of splendor they recoiled and quaked. 

But there is parsimonious explanation that is consistent with both the actual Torah text (Moshe's face horned) and comparative religion.

In the book Mythmaking in the Biblical Tradition by Bernard Batto 1992  we find the following:

Batto confirms that Torah text literly says Moshe's face horned [just like Rashi]. Furthermore, in the Ancient Near East horns are symbols of divine status and in Mesoptamia gods wear horned caps. Syro-Canaan  have horns protruding from a deity's head. [The God El  was symbolised by the bull and wore horns. What OJ custum reminds us of a horned head ? I hope to discuss this in a future post]

Does versus 29-30 cast suspicion on the entire Sinai revelation story ?

{ETA July 8,2014 From A God of Volcanoes: Did Yahwism Take Root in Volcanic Ashes? Journal for the Study of the Old Testament 2014 38: 387  by Jacob E. Dunn


"If indeed Sinai is understood as an active volcano, Moses’
facial disfigurement no longer remains a mystery. In other words, the scorching heat from the volcanic vent near the summit likely caused his facial skin to melt, or to blister. Interestingly, William Propp argues that the usual translation of [kuf-reish-nun] (Exod. 34.30) should not be ‘horns (of light)’ or ‘radiance’, but rather ‘to blister’ or to become ‘calloused’, resulting in the following translation: ‘the skin of his face was burnt to the
hardness of horn’. Thus, according to Propp, ‘[this] story honors Moses as the human most intimate with Yahweh, but it also species the price he paid’." [William H. Propp, ‘The Skin of Moses’ Face––Disfigured or Transfigured?’, CBQ 49 (1987), pp. 375-86 ] }

{ETA 4/2/2014 A related post that speculates on phylacteries, tzitzit and tallit is Proof of God from Kosher Animals Part 2}

Monday, September 2, 2013

Proof of God from Origin of Life

Updated thru 12/15/2015

Briefly the argument is how did the first life form(s) emerge from inanimate atoms and molecules?  Probabilities are cited showing the virtual impossibility of say a cell emerging from a primeval
soup.  Cited is the second law of thermodynamic postulate that the natural tendency is to increase disorder. Therefore a God must have at least initiated the first living things.

However, just because our science has not advanced enough explain the emergence of life, does not imply a god initiated it. This is the god of the gaps fallacy.  Plugging our incomplete
knowledge with god explains nothing. Furthermore, scientists are currently working on theories for the origin of life (see wikipedia for numerous hypothesis http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abiogenesis). These theories are based on current scientific knowledge.

{ETA 8/11/2014 this link http://www.nature.com/ngeo/journal/v2/n1/abs/ngeo383.html and this link http://www.nature.com/ngeo/journal/v2/n1/full/ngeo400.html explain that meteor impacts (which also create high pressure conditions ) may have played a role in the origin of life. This kind of scenario is not contemplated when creationists tout 'impossible' probabilities thus rendering creationist calculations very misleading.}

The probability of a living cell suddenly emerging from some  primordial soup would be infinitesimal and is not what scientists advocate. Rather,  living cells emerged over millions of
years from much simpler structures. The process was not random and so probabilities calculated assuming randomness are misleading and do not apply. Natural selection, chemical and physical
laws drove the process. Furthermore, there are billions of planets, billions of years and billions of experiments occurring all greatly increasing the chances of "life" emerging someplace in our
universe.

Some scientists are saying that thermodynamics drove life to emerge.  For example  "Why Did Life Emerge?"  by Arto Annila and Erkki Annila  Department of Physics, Institute of
Biotechnology and Department of Biosciences, POB 64, University of Helsinki (http://arxiv.org/ftp/arxiv/papers/0910/0910.2621.) and  the book "Into the Cool: Energy Flow, Thermodynamics, and Life" by  Eric D. Schneider, Dorion Sagan. Naturally arising complex
systems such as hurricanes and chemical clocks arise to disperse energy (produce entropy) more quickly or more sustainably than without them. Similarly life evolved from inanimate matter to
disperse energy or produce entropy more effectively than without it. These types of complex systems obey thermodynamics and are arguably required by the laws of thermodynamics. Life is
expected to emerge.

The second law of thermodynamics applies to a closed system. Since planet earth is receiving energy input from the sun, the second law is not incompatible with abiogenesis or evolution of species. {ETA 10/31/2015 Also scientists explain the rays of the sun come in ordered and are then released by living things and the Earth disordered. And there is pollution / waste products created by living things which is also disorder. So Total Entropy in fact does increase and no violation of second law occurs. Finally, since the Universe is expanding the maximum total allowable entropy is increasing. Therefore small pockets of ordered structures can appear with no violation of the second law.}Also see my related post Genesis and Evolution. Also see Proof of God from Thermodynamics

Biologist Stuart Kauffman says that self organization also play role in the abiogenesis. For example the double spiral pattern of the sunflower can be simulated by pacing one electron at the center
of a circle. Then place additional electrons one at a time within a concentric expanding ring (up to the size of the circle), all the while minimizing the potential energy of the system. So Reductionist physics and chemistry can result in self organization.  In addition, simple rules can self organize into highly complex system, for example cellular automata. (Professor of Physics,
Astronomy, Philosophy V. Stenger page 64-65, God the Failed Hypothesis 2007).

{ETA 12/15/2015 From http://www.talkorigins.org/indexcc/CF/CF001.html "Several scientists have proposed that evolution and the origin of life is driven by entropy (McShea 1998). Some see the information content of organisms subject to diversification according to the second law (Brooks and Wiley 1988), so organisms diversify to fill empty niches much as a gas expands to fill an empty container. Others propose that highly ordered complex systems emerge and evolve to dissipate energy (and increase overall entropy) more efficiently (Schneider and Kay 1994). "}

{ETA 3/7/2014 Lets assume a  random process. A ‘prior extremely low probability’ of the final outcome of a process (i.e say the evolution of RNA) can not be used to suggest the ‘outcome’ of the process  needs some sort of a designer. That would be a misapplication of probability theory for two reasons:

1) I drop 100 pennies on the ground, some will be heads others tails and it turns out the prior probability of that specific outcome is infinitesimal. Yet, another person serendipitously discovering the coins on the floor can not rule out the outcome was not by chance. In fact it was by chance.

(As explained previously, the process of abiogenesis was not random, so all probabilities calculated assuming randomness are sorely in error.)

2) Low probability events are expected to occur }

{ETA 5/14/2014 Here is third reason 

3) Some 'ceationists' list  the sequence of events that lead to to say the formation of RNA. Each event is given a certain probability. Lets assume event independence and thus multiply the probabilities of all the events - this gives a very low probability of the RNA forming. The flaw with the calculation is it ignores other pathways to RNA formation. When these other pathways are considered the probabilities of RNA formation increase. It is analogous to tossing a dice twice, getting a 3 and then a 4 giving  a sum 7.  That sequence has a probability (1/6)*(1/6) or 1/36. BUT, that calculation ignores the possibility of getting a 7 with say a one and six. ETA In other words there are multiple pathways to the end result and all must be considered when calculating probabilities.}

{ETA 6/17/2014 Even if we could calculate the probability of the emergence of life, we do not have the probability of God to compare it to. And both probabilities are needed to make the comparison and selection}

{ETA  Additional refutation of the Proof of God from Origin of Life can be found in this post Proof of God from Design. }

Finally,  the Torah is incompatible with the early time line and early sequence of life emergence as described by science. The first verse in Genesis that discusses life is:

Genesis 1:11 And God said: 'Let the earth put forth grass, herb yielding seed, and fruit-tree bearing fruit after its kind, wherein is the seed thereof, upon the earth.' And it was so. [Third Day]

Genesis 1:20 And God said: 'Let the waters swarm with swarms of living creatures, and let fowl fly above the earth in the open firmament of heaven. [Fifth Day]

In verse 20, the Torah uses the term living, but not in verse 11. Did the Torah not consider plants as living ?

Scientists believe the first "living"  things were not grass, herbs or trees as the Torah says. The first organisms are chemoautotrophs, later come  prokaryote, then the universal ancestor, then the
split between bacteria and archaea occurs, then bacteria develop primitive forms of photosynthesis,  and then cyanobacteria performing photosynthesis. 

There is also a major hurdle how to reconcile the temporal periods described in the Torah with scientific knowledge of the time periods. In short both the sequence of early life and time frames
described in the Torah seem incompatible with science. 

A very related post is Proof of God from Life; Genesis 2:7