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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, January 10, 2014

Proof of God from Kosher Animals Part One

The Argument

Four  animals are enumerated in Torah/Bible as having one and only one of the following two features: Cloven Hoof, Chew their cud. The claim is then made no other animal in the world has been found with one and only one of the attributes. Furthermore,  how could the Torah written at least 2000 years ago know that on the entire planet earth only four animals would qualify as having only one of the features. Therefore the Torah had secret knowledge and therefore it must be divine.

The Torah verses 

Leviticus 11: 3 Whatsoever parteth the hoof, and is wholly cloven-footed, and cheweth the cud, among the beasts, that may ye eat. 4 Nevertheless these shall ye not eat of them that only chew the cud, or of them hat only part the hoof: the Gamal, because he cheweth the cud but parteth not the hoof, he is unclean unto you. 5 And the Shafon, because he cheweth the cud but parteth not the hoof, he is unclean unto you. 6 And the Arnevus, because she cheweth the cud but parteth not the hoof, she is unclean unto you. 7 And the Chazir, because he parteth the hoof, and is cloven-footed, but cheweth not the cud, he is unclean unto you. 8 Of their flesh ye shall not eat, and their carcasses ye shall not touch; they are unclean unto you.

In summary according to the Torah:

Gamal: Chews cud, no split hoof
Shafon: Chews cud, no split hoof
Arnevus Chews cud, no split hoof
Chazir: Split hoof, does not chew cud.

I hope to fully document and discuss the following undisputed  facts in my next post, but for now please accept them. {ETA has been done - see Kosher Animals Part 2 }

1) What qualifies as ‘cheweth the cud’ is uncertain according to some Orthodox Rabbis and others.

2) The Identity of the Shafon and Arnevus is hotly debated among the Rabbis and others. 

Refutation of the Proof of God from Kosher Animals

Firstly, building an argument from uncertain named animals and uncertain terms (cheweth the cud) is analogous to building a house on sand. The uncertainty alone is enough to refute the argument entirely. This also indicates our oral tradition tragically has significant breaks in it.

Secondly, observation, research and study could provide the four examples and it would not be extraordinary that by coincidence it turns out just these 4 animals (whatever they maybe)  meet the criteria. (Actually, the Torah does not extrapolate. Rather some Rabbi's made up the extrapolation argument).

Thirdly, we do not know the Torah authors were making a zoological statement to hold for the entire planet, past, present and future  They could just as well have been providing local examples of animals that fit the criteria. 

Fourthly  Are there only 4 animals that qualify ? As will be fully documented in my next post all these animals and more may qualify: Llama, Alpaca, Vicuna, Guanaco and Bactrian Camel. The  babirusa and peccary. Certain  macropods for example the kangaroo and koala. The, rabbit, mouse deer (maybe) and musk deer (maybe). There are more than 4 animals or even types of animals. (Now I realize Chazir can be argued to include all Suidae. This raises the question how inclusive or exclusive each Torah  named animal should be interpreted. Some Rabbi’s  inconsistently have a fairly tight circle around say the Gamal, but a larger circle around the Chazir. And so there is another level of uncertainty.  This will be discussed in my next post.)

Fifthly, just because the Torah or any ancient book may have some accurate scientific facts does not imply the book is divine. It depends on the nature of the facts and how compelling the book’s discovery is.  Many would not consider the 4 animals zoological statement in an ancient text  compelling evidence, especially when a strong argument can be made the that some portions of the Torah are inconsistent with modern science, archaeological evidence  and history. 

Sixthly - The overwhelming consensus is the Shafon is the hyrax. It does not chew it’s cud. (I hope to discuss in my next post) 

Seventhly  - The overwhelming consensus is the Arnevus is the hare; It does not chew it’s cud. (I hope to discuss in my next post post).

Therefore this proof for god is faulty.

The Proof can be reflected and become a proof against the Torah and will be discussed in my next post

(1) The Shafon and Arnevus according to the overwhelming consensus are the Hyrax and Hare. They do not chew their cud. But Torah writes  they do. How can a divine text get facts wrong ? 

(2) The Camel foot skeletal structure is split very similar to say the kosher deer. Saying a camel does not have a cloven  hoof has more  to do with superficial coverings than underlying skeletal structure. On the other hand,  Rabbis rightly argue as follows. Superficial coverings are important.  The camel’s ‘hoof’ is more of a small nail not covering the toe bones thoroughly as say an ox’s hoof. Also, the camel’s split in the foot is not completely through as in the ox. Moreover the camel walks on the two end toe joints,  while other ungulates (i.e the kosher ox)  on just one. 

Continued here: proof-of-god-from-kosher-animals-part-2

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