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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 28, 2018

Kuzari Argument Part 17 - Apple White Theorem, Rabbi Kelemen

Updated thru 3/30/2018 4/20/2018

Most of Rabbi Lawrence Kelemen’s (RK)  Kuzari argument has been repudiated in my Kuzari posts and it would help to read, or at least skim them for more details, support and documentation. Begin with Kuzari Argument Part One.  There is some important  new material in this post that repudiates the Kuzari argument, so please read carefully.

If there was a revelation at Sinai, the Israelites did not hear much of the Torah. Some say they heard the first two of the 10 commandments, others say the first 10, others say they heard no Torah at all just noise. Except for that, Moshe  was the translator/interpreter/messenger between G-d and the people.  It was Moshe that gave the Torah, not G-d. How do we know Moshe was providing G-d’s words ? 

Since RK’s book Permission to Receive 1996, RK has added something called  the AppleWhite Theorem (AT) to his argument.  For example in this video at about 22 minutes

Applewhite Theorem (AT) : (a) People are gullible and will believe anything, even claims (or lies)  that demand painful, destructive or suicidal observances; (b) as long as the claims (or lies) cannot be checked.

I will just use the term claim(s), to represent ‘claims or lies’. Lie is sometimes a misleading term when discussing the evolution of religions, mythologies, cults, rumors etc:. Sometimes it is an accurate term.

FYI: Heavens Gate cult evolves out of extant new age concepts and beliefs, extraterrestrial literature, religions, spirituality, occult etc: that permeated and still permeate  USA culture and entertainment media. Apple White and his crew found fertile ground (horse sh-t) upon which their cult could mushroom. Could a similar Idea, in the sense that extant very ancient beliefs and superstitions predating the Exodus-Sinai stories provide a fertile ground to evolve the Exodus-Sinai stories ? You bet. 

I can not source the AT, and my guess is RK concocted the AT. [If so, a more accurate description would be the RK hypothesis. Theorem invokes an aura of certitude, even mathematical truth; intimidation; as if AT has been ‘proven’ and well received by the experts. If my guess is correct,  I remind RK of Leviticus 19 not place a stumbling before the blind...   .

“The blind may come to see, for I too was once blind and have come to see the light. May my blog posts enlighten those blinded by superstitions, religions and cults.”  ACJA 3/28/2018]

Lets examine the AT, including questions about it's parameters and underling definitions.

1) The what, who and how of determining  when a claim can or can not be checked ?

2) Do mythologies, religions qualify as a ‘claim’  per AT ? What qualifies as a claim ? For example, an ancient near east people had a belief in a mythology. Nobody is making a claim. The mythology is something the people believed in and took as self evident. That is how it was in ancient times. Tribes, nations etc: had their god(s) and it was taken for granted.  

3) What does it mean to be ‘checked’ ? For example would inquiring the authority figures, theologians, body politic, military, and the priests qualify as ‘checking’ ? Perhaps those  people may have been considered the ‘go to source’ for information. For large segments of a population,  those sources  informed the ‘truth’  regardless what  your parents or neighbors thought or remembered or did not remember.

4) What are the qualifications of the people doing the ‘checking’ ? Suppose the people are  unqualified to do the checking ?  Why should I rely on the fact checking abilities of a particular group of people ?  Maybe the people did not check enough or were mistaken for one reason or another. Peoples standards of evidence will depend on the time period and the culture. The checking performed by ancient superstitions unscientific tribe(s) or nations  may not correspond to what the modern hard nosed scientific community considers checking. 

5) Under what  circumstance is checking being performed ? For example, a nation threatened or  thinks it has just been attacked may do very poor checking before responding and accepting the party line.  

6) Imagine a fertility cult making sacrifices and rain came. Something like that could convince ancient people when checking the veracity of the cult. Once the cult is accepted as ‘truth’ it can be embellished over time. 

7) Does AT hold from the inception of the homosapien species or had it become valid only after some point in human history ?  Which  people qualify for the AT ? For example how could ancient people check even if they wanted to ? Were they going to survey numerous of  their neighbors ?  How could they evaluate the truth of the response ? Did they have time to check ? Why would they want to check ? 

8) A mythology can gain traction regardless if it can be checked or not. For example: Intimidation; fear of questioning; disapproval; etc: may allow a myth to gain traction. The myth could have been checked but it was not for any number of reasons. Till this day, in some countries  atheists are killed because they dare to question, ‘check’ and deny. Do you think ancient Israelites that questioned  and checked  would fare well ? 

Consider the White Buffalo Calf Women (WBCW) Story. It is alleged by many Dakota that an ancestral  tribe of theirs,  had contact with a supernatural being and is foundational to their religion.  An individual may ‘check’ this story by asking  holy men,  perhaps other community leaders, or members. Many offer the oral story  plus the  revered  pipe delivered by WBCW.  This fulfills the AT criteria and RK should believe their story. After all, they checked the story. 

Ancient people (including the Israelites) believed in supernatural being(s)  and sometimes associated them with mountains. That provides a base for future evolution of mythology/religion. 

The idea of a ancestral revelation at a mountain  may have arose amongst  the people ala etiological mythology or for one reason or another. Alternately  King(s)/Priests/leaders/scribes could have evolved a story of an ancestral revelation at a mountain for one reason or another. Why would the Israelites want to check such a claim if they were the ones evolving it ? I am not sure people are necessarily inclined to ‘check’ a mythology/rumors/religions developing in their country.

The Palestinian leadership and people tell their history and stories about how events unfolded prior to the creation of the State of Israel and subsequently. No doubt, many of them believe it.  Do you think the Palestinians are inclined to ‘check’ their versions of stories and history  ?  How well would they check it ? Would they protest if it does not 'check’ ?  Moreover, many other people of other countries also accept the Palestinian stories and version of history. Do you think  those others  have ‘checked’ or are inclined to ‘check’ before accepting ?  Does RK accept the Palestinian version of history ?  If not why not ? The Palestinians would not accept a false history because they could and would check it. Therefore using the AT we have proven the Palestinian version of history.  (I think Rabbi Gottliebs principle can also be used to 'prove' the Palestinian version of history.) 

I  have written posts about Rumors and especially the Rumor of Orleans.  How could  Rumors spread and be accepted ? Many rumors can be checked yet are not checked and then accepted. Or they are inadequately checked and come to be believed. People accept stories, rumors, superstitions, myths, religions  etc: whether they can be checked or not checked.  Sometimes group think and peer pressure assist the spread of mythology, rumors etc:  I find it incredulous that the academic community would accept the AT. I do not think they have, even if RK claims they do. I wonder how many Orthodox Jews or RK's  potential recruits will 'check' RK's statements. I suspect not many, so much for the AT.

The Sinai revelation may have been a man made event, some sort initiation  rite  - see Psychiatrist  Reik. There may have been nothing to check as it was understood as  invoking the deity. 

RK implies most experts have discarded “present theory” to explain the Exodus/Sinai stories because AT invalidates that possibility. (Present theory means for example a leader or group  convince people that you just heard G-d speak.)  However, the most likely reason those ‘experts’ discard present theory is because the Exodus story is considered ahistorical. Those experts would probably reject Reik's or my maximalist narration which postulates an event did occur at Sinai. 

{ETA 3/30/2018 RK argues the Israelites would not accept the onerous or risky commands of the Torah unless they came from G-d at Sinai. I beg to differ. Overtime, King(s)/Priests/Holy Leaders can get people to accept such commands if appropriate methods are used; proper carrots and sticks are used. The laws may have evolved some time after Sinai. Thus, even at a much later period than Sinai, new commands could have come into existence. More details see the sequence of posts beginning at Proof / Disproof of God based on Fallow }

{ETA 4/20/2018 Prior Kuzari posts and perhaps some other posts discussed some Torah rituals/commandments that predate Sinai. Examples include Circumcision, Sinew prohibition, animal sacrifice. If Moshe informs the Israelites to circumcise there would be no reason for objecting to an already extant practice. Moreover, the Torah is providing a basis for already extant  practices - etiological mythology.} 

Rabbi Gottliebs Kuzari Principle and  Rabbi Kelemen’s Apple White Theorem are invalid guides to evaluate the truth of people’s beliefs, mythologies, religions, rumors, cults etc: I am extremely skeptical of 1) the validity of the AT 2) RK's claim that the AT is a  theorem 3) AT is accepted by experts

P.S. I hope to review more of RK’s video and Book Permission to Receive in the future.

P.S. Rabbi Gottieb's Kuzari Principle and what  Rabbi Kelemen's calls AT are similar and faulty for many of the same reasons.

{ETA 3/30/2018  From my post Proof of God via Jewish Survival, Jewish Suffering, and the Bible Predictor (Part Two) ? "When some Rabbis advocate the Kuzari argument and claim religions require a giver or founder they are either lying or ignorant.  Some religions may have a founder others do not. And ‘Judaism’  has a fare number of potential ‘founders’ as mentioned in my discussion of the Kuzari argument. " }

Continued Kuzari Part 18 unbroken chain ? -hints for Rabbi Kelemen

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