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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, May 6, 2020

Proof of God From Number of Stars in Talmud

This proof is based on alleged secret knowledge regarding the number of stars possessed by the authors of the Talmud. Knowledge that had to come from the Lord. Before reading this post please at least skim Proof of God From Secrets In Holy Texts. I have seen similar type proofs from other religions and like those proofs this one also fails.

The proof uses a section of Talmud Berachoth 32b.

Talmud Berachoth 32b

Resh Lakish said: The community of Israel said before the Holy One, blessed be He: Sovereign of the Universe, when a man takes a second wife after his first, he still remembers the deeds of the first. Thou hast both forsaken me and forgotten me! The Holy One, blessed be He, answered her: My daughter, twelve constellations have I created in the firmament, and for each constellation I have created thirty hosts, and for each host I have created thirty legions, and for each legion I have created thirty cohorts, and for each cohort I have created thirty maniples, and for each maniple I have created thirty camps, and to each camp I have attached three hundred and sixty-five thousands of myriads of stars, corresponding to the days of the solar year, and all of them I have created only for thy sake, and thou sayest, Thou hast forgotten me and forsaken me!

Before discussing the proof I would like to discuss the Talmud citation itself.

The Talmud is responding to concerns that the Lord has forsaken and forgotten the Jews and probably not intending an estimate of the number of stars. The Talmud attempts to pacify by writing the Lord created thousands and thousands of  stars for the Jews sake. As if that is consolation.  Hundreds of thousands of Jews killed, stop complaining and look at the stars created for your sake ! Talk about religion being pie in the sky.   

Also the Talmud response is not a response at all. The response does not address forsaking, nor does the Talmud respond to the issue of remembrance . The Lord creating stars at the creation is not evidence of his remembrance of the Jews  thereafter. 

In short the Talmud’s response is a non response and an evasion.  The Talmud is trying to uplift the spirits of the Jews by purporting to show how important the Jews really are to the Lord. There are similar self centered statements in the Talmud about how important the Jews and the Torah are to the world.  Most likely these things were invented by the politicians, priests and theologians to provide hope to the distraught, perpetuate the religion, tribe and nation.  Is it any wonder that to this day many Orthodox Jews think the world revolves around the Jews and because of the Jews ? 

The Proof

Lets discuss the proof. If I did the math correctly the number of stars based on the Talmud above  is 

12*30*30*30*30*30*30*365000 = 1.06 * 10^14 stars. 

Somebody has informed me to multiply that figure by a myriad which is claimed to be 10000 which then gives 1.06 * 10^18 stars.  It is claimed how could the Talmud know the number of stars so accurately unless the Lord had provided the information.

The Refute 

Why I do not find the proof convincing.

1) The number of stars at the start of our Universe  (right after the Big Bang),  was zero. As the Universe expanded at some point stars began to form because of gravity acting on the random densities of matter.  The Talmud does not specify the time since ‘creation’ where the number stars are being counted. It seems to take the number of stars as fixed and counted perhaps when G-d placed them in the firmament. If the Talmud meant the initial number of stars then the Talmud gets it wrong.  If it means the number of stars around the times of the Talmud it is still likely wrong since the number of stars are estimated at (7 x 10^22) or perhaps (2 x 10^23) in the observable universe. Source )

Using the skyandtelescope lower figure, the Talmud figure of 1.06 * 10^18  is short by about 10^22 stars which is large discrepancy. This large difference suggests there was no secret insight regarding the number of stars.

2) The Talmud is using the twelve Zodiacal constellations. However, the Zodiacal constellations are meaningless under astrophysics. The Zodiacal constellations  consists of ancient man imposed patterns on certain parts of the sky. They have no relevance to the number of stars.  In addition the shapes of the Zodiacal constellations had changed and will continue to change over time. The Talmud using a useless concept like the Zodiacal constellations to calculate the number of stars does not impress us with secret scientific insights.  In addition, the Zodiacal constellations were invented by the pagans and there are many more than 12 constellations and so using the Zodiacal constellations is useless. The Talmud and Tenach  should have  rejected the use of constellations since they have no astrophysics relevance. The Talmud’s use of Zodiacal constellations suggest there  was no secret insights regarding science.

3) The ‘firmament’ as understood by Tenach and Talmud does not exist.  The Talmud using a useless concept like the firmament does not impress us with secret scientific insights.

4)  Talmud's terms hosts, legions, cohorts, divisions, camps, and maniples. These sort of terms relate  to the Roman military and have nothing to do with astrophysics. There use does not impress us with secret scientific insights.

5) Since the Universe is billions of years old what are the number of stars ? Many stars have died a long time ago yet for some we still see their light - should those count ? What about newly forming stars ? Or dying stars ? Stars that have disappeared ? Or exploding stars ?  What about star's  invisible to the naked eye ? In short, the number of stars will depend on the parameters and criteria chosen to do the counting and when we do the counting. Since the Talmud did not provide the parameters nor the criteria the Talmud’s number of stars is meaningless as a proof of anything. The number of stars is meaningless unless many parameters and criteria are specified.