SEE THIS LINK FOR BLOG SUMMARY AND SOME REASONS TO REJECT ORTHODOX JUDAISM

Click this link for TOPICAL INDEX OF POSTS

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.

Monday, November 30, 2015

Kuzari Argument Part 8

It would be helpful to skim my prior Kuzari posts begun in Part One

Lets examine one version of the Kuzari 'proof' that the Exodus with all the miracles and the Sinai revelation really occurred.

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. 

Lets try to apply this principle to the ‘Event’ =  Miracles of Exodus and Sinai Revelation.

If the ancient Israelites believed the Miracles of Exodus and Sinai Revelation occurred, then evidence must have existed for  the Miracles of Exodus and Sinai Revelation occurrence.

My Kuzari Post 7  post  mentions the Hindu Milk Miracle and Kamikaze are examples showing people can misinterpret Events. In ancient times people would ascribe natural occurrences to supernatural. So something similar could well have occurred to the ancient Israelites - the first generation.  

Lets assume it was not possible those ancient Israelites could have mis-categorized the  Miracles of Exodus and Sinai Revelation. Then I raise this issue. How do we know the Ancient Israelites actually believed in the stories ? We cant go back in time and ask them about their beliefs.  Just after the revelation they claimed  the Golden Calf took them out of Egypt.  How could they claim such a thing ? In any event we just don’t know if the ancient Israelites actually believed in the Exodus miracles and Sinai Revelation. Thus the RG principle is inapplicable.  

The Kuzari proponent may argue that at some later point in time many Jews believed the Miracles of Exodus and Sinai Revelation occurred.  Lets assume that is true. However, it does not imply the original ancient Israelites believed the events to have actually occurred. So still RG principle does not apply. 

The Kuzari proponent may then argue it was impossible for the later generation of Jews to ever come to the belief in the story unless there is an unbroken chain back to the original witnesses.

But this is a different argument - it is not the RG principle. 

We know national traditions are not reliable. Also, there is something called myth formation. Over time for numerous different reasons a national foundation myth could have evolved and may have   been built around some kernels of historical memory. Some ancient Israelites may have been escaped Egyptians slaves. They may have found food and water in their wanderings. Maybe a leader called Moshe gave them laws at a mountain during a storm and or volcanic eruption and or earthquake. Even while all that was occurring some it could have been attributed to the divine, such was the nature of some ancient near east cultures. 

As the story is told and retold embellishments are added for various reasons. Our ancestors did not just find food it was miraculous food etc: etc: 

To summarize: the RG principle can not be used to ‘prove’ the Exodus etc: because we have no convincing evidence that the first generation of Israelites believed it. Rather, RG's  real argument is that myth formation is not a reasonable explanation of the alleged acceptance by many Jews of the Exodus stories. Given that we know myths (even when false) can evolve and become accepted and given that we know national tradition, collective memories, social memory are not reliable - RG’s Kuzari argument is very weak. This is not to say the entire Exodus story is all a fabrication, just that we need not accept the story as being the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.

Continued Proof of God from Miracles or Kuzari Argument Part 9

Monday, November 16, 2015

Kuzari Argument Part 7

Updated thru 11/16/2015 

This post continues the Kuzari Argument discussion begun in Part One and will provide some salient points from Propp; provide an example of invented tradition;  and Kamikaze attacks a Kuzari argument.

It would probably help to first skim all my prior Kuzari posts.

Propp

William Propp’s Anchor Bible Exodus Chapter  19-40 published in  2006  provides a version of the Kuzari argument: Surely the Exodus was common knowledge in Ancient Israel. Who would make up the Exodus ?

Propp  responds:

1) The story conforms to rags to riches stories popular worldwide and conforms to Vladimiar Proppian Archetype.

2) Who would falsely claim ancestors are slaves ? Propp answers this with a counter question - Who would falsely claim their ancestors came to the USA with only a shirts on their back ? 

3) It is not a fact that the average Israelite believed in the Exodus. It is merely a reasonable assumption.

4) Orally transmitted tales often DO NOT reflect actual events. Moreover, historic events may assume mythic guise and visa versa. Stories can move back and forth between the written and oral. Propp writes:  “I would always treat oral tradition with the most extreme caution.” 

5) The Exodus story does not map well against the historical and archaeological record. In fact, it hardly maps at all.

6) Regarding the routes of Exodus - Propp mentions the possibility it never happened.

7) Mytho-historical narratives may be entirely factual or entirely fictional or something in between. 

 Invention of Tradition  

From the book The Invention of Tradition  Hobsbawm and Ranger (editors)1983

Page 1 “Traditions which appear or claim to be old are often quite recent in origin and sometimes invented.”

Page 15 “Today whenever Scotchmen gather together to celebrate their national identity, they assert openly by certain distinctive national apparatus.”  “This apparatus, to which they ascribe great antiquity is in fact largely modern.”  “Indeed the whole concept of a distinct Highland culture and tradition is a retrospective invention.”

This example of inventing tradition occurred in 3 stages.

Stage 1: A culture revolt against Ireland; Usurpation of Irish culture; rewriting early Scottish history.

Stage 2: Creation of a New Highland tradition presented as ancient, original and distinctive,

Stage 3: The new tradition were offered to and adopted by historic lowland Scotland, Eastern Scotland of the Picts, Saxons and Norman.

The book provides other examples of how national traditions can be created and then accepted.  Sometimes a kernel of historical accuracy may provide a seed for the national tradition.

[In short, legends, myths, national traditions, collective memories, social memory may not be reliable.]

Kamikaze Attack on a Kuzari Argument

Here is one version of the Kuzari argument:

Rabbi Gottlieb (RG) : 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. 

Les explore how evidence and belief may interact.

1) The Hindu milk miracle: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hindu_milk_miracle is example how evidence can be misinterpreted (even in modern times) and lead to false beliefs.  And this is occurring in the first generation of the occurrence of the event ! Overtime as the story is told and retold all sorts of embellishments may overlaid.

Using RG:

If people believe the Hindu statues drank milk offerings, then evidence must exist for the statues drinking milk offerings.

Indeed RG’s principle works here. People witnessed the statues imbibing milk offerings.  However, it led them to a false belief.

2) Lets be clear. There is no evidence that Exodus  miracles and Sinai revelation occurred. So what ‘evidence’ is RG  claiming to exist for it  ? Social memory (or collective memory or national tradition.)

So lets rephrase RG 

Let E be a possible event which, had it really occurred, would have left behind a collective memory of its occurrence. If the collective memory does not exist, people will not believe that E occurred.

Said directly this gives: If people believe an event occurred then there exists a collective memory of the event.

Yet a collective memory of an event does not at all imply the event actually occurred as described by the collective memory. 

Consider the Kamikaze belief. It’s Japanese origins are that divine winds(s) dispersed  the Mongolian invasion fleets around the late 1200's.  I think there were major typhoons that were involved. But the evidence - typhoons was misunderstood as being divine.   

{Literally meaning “divine wind,” the term kamikaze was coined in honour of the 1281 typhoon, as it was perceived to be a gift from the gods, supposedly granted after a retired emperor went on a pilgrimage and prayed for divine intervention. http://www.britannica.com/event/kamikaze-of-1274-and-1281 }

Again, superstitious unscientific people can misunderstand the ‘evidence’ thus giving rise to a widely held false belief. It is also an example of people ascribing naturally occurring  events (Typhoons) to the God(s).


Indeed RG’s principle works here. People witnessed the typhoon's destruction. However, it led them to a false belief.

Once a false belief gains traction, it can become embellished over time.  

The RG principle may perhaps have validity to distinguish whether a real world event occurred or not. For example whether a Volcano erupted - we can study the geology etc: But the RG principle can not reliably distinguish between people's beliefs that are true and people's beliefs that are false. 

Continued Kuzari Part 8

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Proof of God from Coincidences in the Bible and Hebrew Part 2

Updated thru 11/10/2015 ( had a typing error for the mass of one of the particles. The calculations were unchanged)

On the heels of my ‘amazing'  discoveries in English found in Proof of God from Coincidences in the Bible and Hebrew part one,  I will like to share another. Maybe I should write a book about all the 
amazing ‘coincidences’ and amazing statistical results found within the English language. Of course no respectable Scientific publisher or Journal  would publish the results. That is because they are antiEnglishites. They deny the existence of encoded information in English. They may even deny the existence of English Aliens or the English God.  What can you expect from these skeptics and  heretics ?

Scientists tell us that the “Alpha Particle”  consists of the “Neutron”  and “Proton”  see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alpha_particle

I was wondering if English had encoded hidden information about the Neutron, Proton and Alpha particle. Based on statistics we can ‘prove’ it does.

Using the English Gematria table found in my part one post;  if I did all the math correctly here are the results:

The Gematria of Proton, Neutron, Alphaparticle are 33,34,45 respectively.

The respective kilogram masses are  1.672*10^(-27),  1.675*10^(-27), 6.645*10^(-27)

Fitting a line to the data gives us an ‘amazing’ R square of .994 

The significance of the fit is .048

We ‘normally’ may use .05 as the significance cut off and so we may ‘accept’ the results. 

To make sure this was ‘objective’  I also performed  the calculation using Alphaparticle, Neutronparticle, Protonparticle. The respective English Gematrias are 45, 61, 60

The results are even better: 

Fitting a line to the data gives us an ‘amazing’  R square of .997 

The significance of the fit is .036

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Proof of God from Coincidences in Bible and Hebrew

Updated thru 11/5/2015

I was presented with an alleged statistical ‘proof’ that Hebrew or the Bible has encoded information. 

I would urge the reader to be extremely skeptical of claims of codes or coded information in the Bible /Hebrew. Confirmation bias, data mining, coincidence, improper use of statistics, wishful thinking, data manipulation (accidental or otherwise), retroactive fitting, backed into figures or information and other problems can lead to false conclusions. Before we can accept the encoded claims we must have a large group of statisticians, scientists, Bible and Hebrew experts  review the presentation to determine if there are potential flaws. 

I will present an actual example found in the ‘proof’ and  raise a few  significant questions.  But there are many others questions to be resolved - just ask an objective statistician. I will then  provide an English  counter example and an amazing coincidence in English.

Here is a sample example in the ‘proof’: 

Consider a day. It has 24 hours or 24*60*60 = 86,400 seconds. The frequency is defined by the “proof” as  1/(number of seconds) = 0.000011574. The logarithm( using base e) of the frequency is -11.3667

The same can be done for month or year or in fact any period of time. The ‘proof’ uses only  day, month, year.

The  Hebrew word for day is Yom and  can be spelled  yud, vav, mem. Each Hebrew letter has a numeric value per a chosen gematria table.  Using one of the Hebrew gematria tables and adding of the numeric values of Yom gives 56. 

Day - Yom has Gematria value =  56 ,     Frequency = 1.1574* 10^(-5) and  log frequency =  –11.3667

For the Hebrew word for month and year we have these respective  values: 

Yerach (month)     218            3.9194*10^ (-7)         –14.7521
Shanah (year)        355             3.2661* 10^(-8)          –17.2371

The ‘proof’ then uses log (base e) of the frequency as the independent variable and Hebrew word gematria value is the dependent variable. All this really means is find the best  fit of line thru the 3 points. After doing the math it is found the(two tail)  significance level is .0255 and R squared .998. A  high R squared (or rather the square root of R square close to plus or minus 1) means there is a very strong linear correlation between the independent and dependent variable. This can mean, but does not always mean there is a  relationship between the two variables. Often the used  significance cut off is .05 and since .0255 is less we may ‘accept’ the fitted equation as providing some information as long as other statistical validations have been performed.  In the example presented to me they were not.  Nor do I think such validations would be meaningful with only 3 data points.  Also, since the claim is being made for supernatural  we would desire a significant cut off value not of .05, but something much much lower. 

Because there are often different Hebrew words and spellings to represent  a particular thing we are faced with a problem which Hebrew words and spellings to select.  Chadush is the overwhelming word for month used in the Torah, yet for some reason the ‘proof’ uses Yerach. Why ? Why did not the proof also use the Hebrew word for week i.e week, month, year or perhaps day, week, month, or day week month year etc: ? Was  it because only three Hebrew words for day month year and the odd choice of the Hebrew word for month gave the ‘amazing’ result ? Don’t let the facade of Statistics fool you, because it is possible to deceive yourself and others with Statistics.

For my example I will use Day Week Month, a logical sequence. Other than that I use exactly the same procedure as the alleged proof.

This website https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Numerology has a table having a correspondence of English 

Letters and numbers as follows.  

1 = A, I, J, Q, Y
2 = B, K, R
3 = C, G, L, S
4 = D, M, T
5 = E, H, N, X
6 = U, V, W
7 = O, Z
8 = F, P

After assigning the numbers to English letters,  add up the numbers to give the English Gematria value.
If I did all the math correctly these are the figures:

Day, Week, Month would give 6,18,25 as the respective English Gematria values.

The respective log frequencies are calculated like the ‘proof’. Day and Month are given in the ‘proof’‘ For week - multiply the  month frequency by four and takes it’s log. Gives -11.3667, -14.7521 , -17.2371 for Day, Week, Month log of the frequencies. 

Performing the exact same calculation as in the example the R square is .998 and this compares very well with the ‘proof’ example’s value.  The significance level is .0296, again very close to the ‘proof’ level.

{eta 11/5/2015 I redid my example using month frequency as one seventh of the day frequency and still calculated a high R square at .996 and a significance of .041, still under .05} 

My example is superior because  the English words are unique, leaving no choice to massage the spelling or letter choices nor the descriptive word. 

I have presented only one example of statistical proof  for English being Divine (tongue and cheek) and there are likely many others such examples. It would not at all be surprising if amazing English Gematrias , coincidences, word relations, ‘amazing statistical findings’ can be found using English or just about any other language.  If one looks hard enough in Hebrew (or virtually any language) you will be able to ‘find’  them one way or another. All the examples that failed are discarded and only the successes are presented. This not only misleads regarding the probabilities but fools the ignorant. 

P.S. The Homosapian has an English Gematria of 46 and they have 46 chromosomes !

Related posts  Proof of God from Gematria Proof of God from Hebrew

Continued here Proof of God from Coincidences in Bible and Hebrew Part 2