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Olbermann :

So now we use URANIUM to CARBON date? And he thinks the senator makes herself look stupid!

I take it you're an expert on radiocarbon dating?

I take it you're an expert on radiocarbon dating?

I take it your rhetorical question is meant to prove pedantsareus wrong?

I agree with pedantsareus. Olbermann missed it. Carbon dating does not involve measuring the radioactive decay of uranium. There are radiometric methods for dating uranium, none of which are called carbon dating.

I'd look less stupid if the link I used had posted correctly: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Uranium-lead_dating

If Olbermann, over and over again, refers to the radioactive decay of uranium as if it is synonymous with "carbon-dating" he's pretty much completely undercut his position in mocking the idiot fundamentalist woman from Arizona.

This is the stuff of college freshman chemistry - no terribly deep expertise is required to undestand that the time scales that pertain to uranium and C-14 decay are between 5 to 6 orders of magnitude different:

U-238 half-life: 4,470,000,000 years U-235 half-life: 704,000,000 years C-14 half-life: 5700 years

Keith fucked up.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Isotopesofuranium http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Isotopesofcarbon

RE: "Americans value science..."

I think everybody values "science". Most just don't know how it works, or even what is and what isn't science. People will happily think astrology or homeopathy is scientific. Hell, some catholic brothers I used to hang out with while doing a talk for preparation for confirmations, used the "science says from nothing, nothing comes", or (GASP!) even invoked the Second Law of thermodynamics to somehow prove a god (the actual "argument", I forgot, but even then as a 17-18 year old, I smelled the bullshit right away).

re: the pew research center thing:

i'd be more interested in the percentage of surfers or astronauts or deep sea divers who believe in god. but it's interesting that chemists, more than other scientists seem to be superstitious. tim, you're a chemistry person, aren't you? how do you feel about this? the "what the bloody flying fuck is this about, then?" factor must be pretty high in your line of work.

jonathan,

I'm hanging my head in shame. Seriously though, in any group of scientists there are some who are exceedingly narrow in their focus and some who think more broadly about their field's ramifications. Biologists have a very hard time reconciling the central organizing idea of biology, evolution, with 'goddidit'. I assume that physicists tend to pay more attention to cosmology and, of course, to fundamental physics. Those are also hard to reconcile with 'goddidit'. Chemists with a narrow enough focus can probably avoid thinking about whether 'goddidit' and not have to so directly embrace cognitive dissonance.

Or, maybe, chemists are just dumber.

so i'm curious: do you think these various disciplines are hard to reconcile with "goddidit" even with the broadest possible definition of god (like, "that living force which binds and determines boundaries for all things and beings" or whatever gobbledygook, you know what i mean)? like, in what way is whatever you consider "hard science" to be irreconcilable with the basic idea of a creator?

and yes, i understand that a creator is uneccesary as an explanation for any known physical phenomenon.

i'm also aware that you probably think "physical phenomenon" is an oxymoron. :)

in what way is whatever you consider "hard science" to be irreconcilable with the basic idea of a creator?

Well, in the way that God intervened in "his" creation once he got the ball rolling. And, of course, in all the other bullshit that religion is famous for - an obsessive megalomaniacal interest in being worshipped, in our sex lives, etc. The God that sets it all in motion, "binds and sets boundaries for physical laws - once and for all and then just leaves or observes is fine. As for determining boundaries for all beings - well, only insofar as the rules of the univserse do so. I just think he's superfluous and not very interesting.

hmm. seems you're saying god is more ludicrous and less "likely" the more human we make him, but less interesting the less human we make him, till you get to that point- who really cares about this non-specific force who requires us only to obey the law of gravity, etc.

thanks for the thoughts. it's hard finding any sort of intelligent conversation after midnight on a sunday sometimes.

What I find more damaging to any real evidence that a god of any kind can exist is that common beliefs about the being can simply be changed on a whim. They live on Mount Olympus, then in the clouds, then beyond the clouds and now most people would say in another dimension. THey answer prayers, they don't answer prayers.

If belief in god was based on some evidence, even if its just a feeling, wouldn't it be a little more consistant.

If you can redefine god to be more "likely" than you have essentially eliminated any chance that he exists.

If belief in god was based on some evidence, even if its just a feeling, wouldn't it be a little more consistant.

i'm sorry, i thought belief in god was based on "just a feeling"- or the experiences, if you will, of people who lived long ago and are no longer available for cross examination but left extensive (and confusing) testimonials. but somehow i doubt that, even if you agree with this that you would admit any consistancy in the argument. what, in your view, is belief based on, if not what i stated?

I think it's also that biologists and in a lesser extent physicists and cosmologists might be attacked by creationists and new agers alike, or their disciplines perverted so much by religion and pseudoscience that they just develop an aversion to that kind of thing, or it just makes it easier for them to call a spade a spade.

The God that sets it all in motion, "binds and sets boundaries for physical laws - once and for all and then just leaves or observes is fine.

are you ok with this, norm?

If God is an all powerful being than how could this be true.

For him to not have an affect on everyday life he must either not be all powerful or not really have the qualities of a sentient being that would inspire him to have interest. Making this thing you speak of, something other then a god.

God Fail

i was just quoting tim above. i wondered how norm would feel about that statement, and suspected it would be more or less how you did. but i don't understand- if god is supposed to be all-powerful (which is the case in a minority of world religions), why again would he be incapable of walking away from his creation? what, exactly, is your logical objection to an all powerful god who willingly limits his own power?

If he limited his own power he wouldn't be all powerful would he? It's the Idea that God has the power not to be God.

There is no reason a hiding god couldn't exist, but what is the point of such a god really? I think at some point of watering down god until he has no oxymoronic conflicts or no role in the real world eventually leaves you with somehting that meets no religious definition of what a God is. Something worth Worshiping and trying to understand.

If he limited his own power he wouldn't be all powerful would he? It's the Idea that God has the power not to be God.

i'm not trying to be obtuse, i really don't get it. if he didn't have the power to not be god he wouldn't be all powerful, would he? if you can't quit, you're not the boss- you're a slave. ask sarah palin. :)

why do i like discussing this so much here online? because most of my friends (that is, the people i bat around serious ideas with) are orthodox jews and as i've said before, judaism doesn't deal with theology so much. the question of what god is like doesn't concern jews so much. my friends say to me "what do you care what god is like, whether he's an asshole or not? we don't know what he's like, we know what he wants from us and that's good enough."

so, if i want to discuss whether god is an asshole, i have to come to 1gm. :)

see, all the jews know is that around 3500 years ago, 600,000 of our adult male ancestors along with their wives, children and servants- an estimated total of some 3,000,000 people- saw and heard SOMETHING at a place called mount sinai. we can't quite explain how such a gigantic lie could have been introduced all at once, or in stages either, to all of our ancestors, without exception, without one single jew standing up and saying "hey! i know for a fact my grandfather made this up while he was stoned one day!".

whatever you may say about this origin legend, it is unique as far as i know in the history of world religions (most of which were started by one guy, or a few guys, with a few witnesses, etc.) and we struggle with this shit, you know? maybe you can help me, oh wise one. but god being an asshole is not, for me, an argument against his existence.

it is, however, an excellent argument against blind obedience.

Your faith in human kind is somewhat unfounded.

Many people design their own god. He is this, she is that. An energy or entity like a person or more a force that binds the universe together. They essentially make it up themselves and believe it for the rest of their lives and it never occurs to them that it is completely fabricated or at least they decide to believe it anyhow.

Then again, maybe they all saw ball lightning and heard an echo and some intrepid young preacher yelled, that was God! and everyone was so honored to have met him they stop mentioning that it sounded more like a mountain goat falling off a glacier.

How did all these 3mil people end up outside at the same place anyway? Music festival?

How did all these 3mil people end up outside at the same place anyway?

well, first there was this huge explosion out of nothing. then came the dinosaurs... :)

Sounds like your religion started at the Universal pictures studio ride. Was Jaws there too?

i think it's from "airplane", actually, but close enough.

The thing about "god" or any other sort of supernatural being is that believers all have their own personal definition. There's no proof one way or the other and so it's an excercise in futility even discussing it really. Were it not for all the fundamentalist crazies and homeopathic crystal crazies out there, hell, I wouldn't even care to discuss this topic anymore.

As for an all-powerful god who limits his power... well, if that's the case, what an asshole he must be! He couldn't use his power to save innocent little children from being abused?

well, if that's the case, what an asshole he must be! He couldn't use his power to save innocent little children from being abused?

i ain't arguin' wit ya, sister. arguing for the existence of a god who isnt' an asshole would certainly be a waste of time.

yeah, i know bro. This great being is sometimes loving and sometimes an asshole. Why? Because he/she/it works in mysterious ways. Very very mysterious indeed.

And his/her/its behavior allows the believers to sometimes be loving and at other times to be assholes, because they too work in mysterious ways!

immediately after hitting send on that last post i knocked a beer all over the desk. hoping the keyboard escaped major damage. i is habing riligus experyens wif asshole god now.

you know he exists.

  "Imagine the universe beautiful and just and perfect.

  Then be sure of one thing:
  The Is has imagined it quite a bit better than you have."

One of my favorite quotes from Illusions. The fact is that even if there WAS a God, we couldn't understand him anyhow.

Our monkey brains evolved to read facial muscles and quickly interpret body language lest we die or face social rejection. Thus, our minds think of most other things using that very efficient computer. We think of weather as having moods, we name ships, we bargain with our old cars to start in the winter to get us to work. We anthropomorphize objects.

So, we say 'he made us in his image' because honestly, our monkey brains can't handle the truth that He may be far more like an ambivalent half squid half accountant space ghost that gives half a shit about the bacteria called Humanity that plagues that rock over there. Our wretched sense of self-indulgent self-importance blinds us to the obvious.

Likewise, our best minds are surely as intelligent as mold compared to some other life forms in the universe whose children read Quantum Mechanics cartoons on cereal boxes.

I always argue that Genesis was the best way to teach The Big Bang Theory to illiterate migrant sheep herders 3000 years ago. It could be the 'teachers' back then had some good ideas, but the only way the populous would give it two shits was to wrap it in the bullshit, like beer ads and tits and all they remember is the tits.

I mean christianity. Who ever asked "wtf? a jew named Mark and John and what?" And Jesus but Jesus' name WASN'T Jesus. You would THINK the name of the 'big guy' would be a priority.

sigh

He may be far more like an ambivalent half squid half accountant space ghost

this is what most "theology" sounds like to me. i'm much more interested in what the squid will do if i call it an asshole on teh interwebs. so far it made me spill a beer. i'll keep you posted. (if it's listening, my greatest fear is a well-paying job.)

maybe you can help me, oh wise one. but god being an asshole is not, for me, an argument against his existence.

Certainly not, If gods are anything like people I would say odds are very high that he would be a real dick. And when you figure we are more like ants than children to a being that can think universes into being, we would likely find our treatment rather lacking in bedside manner.

Evidence that god is an asshole simply weighs against certain theories on what good is like. Basicly makes Christians look like they are in denial.

Basicly makes Christians look like they are in denial.

oh, that's my favorite thing to do. it's the only reason i have any cred here at all. :)

They are easy targets, but at least they realized that if they are going to engage in religious conflicts with the Muslims they should do so from a good long distance.

yeah, us jews haven't figured that out yet...

LMAO to you and R7. *8)

this is what most "theology" sounds like to me. i'm much more interested in what the squid will do if i call it an asshole on teh interwebs. so far it made me spill a beer. i'll keep you posted. (if it's listening, my greatest fear is a well-paying job.)

And all this time I thought that you were some lover of deep and profound theology who looked down his nose at people such as Dawkins.

If it watches football games and answers the prayers of football players, it probably also reads teh interwebs. So watch your ass west banker.

And all this time I thought that you were some lover of deep and profound theology who looked down his nose at people such as Dawkins.

i am, actually. you had it right the first time. but to be clear i don't look down my nose at dawkins himself. he's a bright boy, got a good gig going. i look down my nose at, as you said, "people such as dawkins".

and i love "deep and profound theology" in the same way i love "the lord of the rings" or "catcher in the rye"- the beauty isn't in the origins, but in the realization. ahem.

can't someone else step up to the plate and be "the weird guy"? i'm afraid i might be a little too gung ho for the post.

for instance, the quote from robinson's post above. it's from "illusions"- one of the most mock-worthy books from one of the most mock-worthy authors ever to tread the charts. and yet, taken on it's own terms, completely out of context, it's a truly lovely idea. it could become the core of a really ass-kicking and positive worldview. the truth of it is immaterial, really.- see kurt vonnegut on folk societies and extended families.

i don't think many scientists would deny (i do know of a couple famous ones, and a few philosophers, too- determanists, etc.) that we create out own reality to a certain extent by our worldviews, which become kind of like the dna of ideas/mental reactions. the older we get, the more difficult, usually, it is to break with ingrained worldview "thought dna", although it certainly can be done. what the hell am i doing writing this i have a life. really. caio.

ok, i don't have a life.

right, the topic of whether or not some mythical being is an asshole holds a lot of interest for me too.

The guys I live with don't care to discuss these kinds of things. They're not believers but they're bored with the topic of religion. Basically they could care less about religion, although really religious type of people annoy them.

so if you're not doing anything else, JoAnn, please debunk this for me (from my post above which no one seriously challanged):

see, all the jews know is that around 3500 years ago, 600,000 of our adult male ancestors along with their wives, children and servants- an estimated total of some 3,000,000 people- saw and heard SOMETHING at a place called mount sinai. we can't quite explain how such a gigantic lie could have been introduced all at once, or in stages either, to all of our ancestors, without exception, without one single jew standing up and saying "hey! i know for a fact my grandfather made this up while he was stoned one day!".

remember, the claim is not that so-and-so experienced prophesy, but that every single member of a particular generation of israelites numbering in the hundreds of thousands experienced prophecy at the same time, in the same place, and no one has convincingly argued that point "until this day". maybe there were hallucinogenic plants in that desert that the hebrews called "manna"?

and, if it could be a fake, how come no other religion ever tried to make a similar claim?

My guess is that everyone would have also noticed the Great flood had it actually occurred.

I didn't take any comparative religion so I have no other examples.

3500 years ago is a pretty long time ago. We have first hand accounts recorded on 3500 year old paper or stone?

My guess is that everyone would have also noticed the Great flood had it actually occurred.

well, considering it's ubiquitous in mesopotamian and other creation myths, i think they did.

I didn't take any comparative religion

this would explain a lot.

We have first hand accounts recorded on 3500 year old paper or stone?

no, although the non-first hand accounts are pretty fucking old- old enough. but that's the point- if the idea was introduced after "it" happened, how was that done? i mean, if it didn't happen, how was the legend introduced without some jew saying "hey, as far as i know this never happened to MY ancestors."

maybe there were hallucinogenic plants in that desert that the hebrews called "manna"?

i hope people realize this is a rhetorical question. i have a totally sick amount of experience in this area and i can tell you that mass hallucination may be possible ("the madness of crowds" etc.) but NOT if everyone is under the influence of psychedelics. trust me. more than about 10 people and things start to seriously, uh, de-organize. so that leaves mass hallucination without drugs on an unprecedented level- possible, i admit but, again, unprecedented. and nothing lasting has ever come out of any of the lesser examples of it. so the whole thing is unprecendented. how can you even discuss such a thing intelligently?

I didn't take any comparative religion

sorry. but fun to emphasize. :)

jonathan said

JoAnn, please debunk this for me .... we can't quite explain how such a gigantic lie could have been introduced all at once

Because they were all a bunch of gullible silly idiots who had a strong need to believe that they were very very special?

Because they were all a bunch of gullible silly idiots who had a strong need to believe that they were very very special?

so they were human. you're right, that's very suspicious. i don't trust them humans far as i kin throw 'em. they always makin' shit up.

i feel much better now.

you know, i can't believe i'm offering norm and the entire 1gm readership the chance to debunk my religion and this is the best they can do. i've complained many times here that the horsemen, new atheist movement, whatever, doesn't even deal with judaism, even though it's the root of their 2 favorite targets (in order: christianity and islam). i understand that christianity is threatening separation of church and state, and islam is threatening to annhialate or convert the western world, and the threat from judaism is proportianately miniscule. to make up for this and i guess in their minds to be fair, they're very hard on the state of israel, supposing somehow that it represents judaism in the world. but it doesn't, and this is why anti-zionism is not considered to be anti-jewish, a cherished dogma here, and one i'm always willing to accept for the sake of argument. :)

anyway, i don't see many attacks on the jewish religious tradition itself, and i'm feeling left out. scoffing at literal or christian readings of bible stories or laws usually doesn't even come close to jewish interpretations of these matters, and yet it's the jews who have preserved and made a fetish out of the old testament for at least 2500 years. the tale of how we came to be in posession of this document, involving mass prophecy-every single member of a nation numbering in the millions- is unique among world religions. and if you can show how such a lie could be introduced to a large population that HAD'NT experienced it (on the assumption the event never occured, of course), the question remains, why didn't any other people try it?

come on, have at it people! i've been reading this blog for over 3 years, i'm telling you it hasn't been done. you could get written up in "atheism today" or something. just give me a plausible scenario that doesn't involve the story being true.

i would try to make this a forum post, but as i've mentioned the forum denies me access- or, i suppose, i could be doing something wrong.

I fixed your forum access on July 28th, have you tried since then?

no, but shit it was hard finding your post. why'd you have to ask me here? i thought torture was illegal in your country. (lotta scrolling)

are you suggesting my above post is worthy of a forum entry, even after the whole "a place for j.b. to argue etc." thing? please feel free if you think anyone cares about this stuff.

Is there an element of the supernatural in your "religion." If not it isn't a religion in the sense that the "new" atheists have in mind. It is nothing more than a philosophy, a cultural philosophy if you will, and nothing "unique." The obsession with scripture as practiced by Jews, I'm willing to concede has reached amazing levels. But to my mind it is pointless other than an interesting pastime that exercises the human mind, and not nearly as much fun as other such pastimes like chess.

Okay I put it on the forum for you.

good to have you back. hope you've been on an awesome vacation and not unwell in any way.

i'll even get you started with a joke that makes a wicked point in your favor:

god says to moses "moses! don't boil a kid in it's mother's milk!

moses says "so you mean we shouldn't eat milk and meat together?"

god says "moses! don't boil a kid in it's mothers milk!"

moses says "so what, then, should we keep seperate dishes for meat and milk?"

god says "moses! DON'T BOIL A KID IN IT'S MOTHER'S MILK!"

moses says "i know. seperate refrigerators".

god says "moses, do whatever the fuck you want."

jonathan,

Are you really serious about this? I thought that you were just joking, but it seems not. I mean, how can anyone discuss the veracity of some folk tale that was passed down some 3500 years ago? How do you know that not one single jew stood up and said "hey! i know for a fact my grandfather made this up while he was stoned one day!" ?

humor me. disabuse me of my irrational credulity. just one plausible scenario will do. it's certainly easy enough with any other folk tale or religious narrative i know of. should be easy with this one too. i must just have a blind spot or something, probably out of a desperately twisted need to feel special.

Oh, I see. You think that i'm saying that Jews think they're special. I was saying that these ancient people thought that they were special, which is true of all ancient peoples which is why they have a need to invent stories about how this entire universe was created for them by some supernatural being and why they have to invent all of these fantastical stories and shit.

I have no idea whatsoever what you're attempting elicit with some kind of scenario. What kind of scenario?

Clearly life 3500 years ago is quite sketchy and there isn't a whole hell of a lot written down way back then.

see, all the jews know is that around 3500 years ago, 600,000 of our adult male ancestors along with their wives, children and servants- an estimated total of some 3,000,000 people- saw and heard SOMETHING at a place called mount sinai. we can't quite explain how such a gigantic lie could have been introduced all at once, or in stages either, to all of our ancestors, without exception, without one single jew standing up and saying "hey! i know for a fact my grandfather made this up while he was stoned one day!".

I mean, come on. Where's the proof of any of this being true? You don't know that every single person saw and heard this.

I guess the scenario you're looking for is that a lot of people said, "that's a bunck of bullshit", and for all you know a bunch of people did say that, but there is nothing written down on their behalf. It's no like a lot of people even knew how to write back then.

I guess the scenario you're looking for is that a lot of people said, "that's a bunck of bullshit"

nope, even one will do. remember, the torah is chock full of challenges to the authority of god/moses, the authority of the judges and prophets, and the authority of the cohanim- the jewish priestly caste.

the rabbinical traditions are full of challenges to the authority of the text itself (more or less along the lines of the later bible critics- conflicting passages, stylistic and timeline issues, etc.)

furthermore, from the time of the enlightement until now, something like 80% of the ashkenazi jews stood up and said the whole thing is bullshit and became more or less completely secular, as it is unto this day. :)

but through all this, no one that i know of has seriously challenged the sinai event itself. there's plenty of argument about what actually occured there and the meaning and significance of the text, and there has been pretty much since the alleged time of the event itself. but the accusation that the earlier generations were simply lying to the later ones about the core prophetic event itself never raised it's head. to the best of my knowledge. and believe me i've been looking.

i'll try to frame it again another way: imagine you are an, uh, italian, and so am i. now if i told you that my ancestors have a story going back time immemorial about such and such well, you may believe me or you may not. but if i tell YOU that YOUR ancestors also have this tradition,and in fact so does every italian well, you would know right away whether i was lying or not. and if not you then your brother, or your cousins, or someone in your extended family. so, how to introduce such a gigantic lie in the first place? capiche?

you'll be doing the atheists a big favour if you can come up with something, btw. not because anyone cares what the jews believe (i'm sure they don't) but because this event is the very bedrock on which both christianity and islam rest. the only reason jesus or mohammed could convince their followers is because none of their followers (the early christians, after all, were jews) questioned this singular event. ALL of the claimed religious "authority" of the "3 abrahamic faiths" (retch!gag!) rests on this one event, experienced by an entire people. this is why i'm always so dismissive of anti-religious polemicists who don't even deal with it at all. i've always wondered why they don't...

but maybe i'm wrong? i'd be pleased if someone could show me a passage in dawkins, etc., or even hume or spinoza that even attempts to debunk this narrative.

but maybe i'm wrong? i'd be pleased if someone could show me a passage in dawkins, etc., or even hume or spinoza that even attempts to debunk this narrative.

cuz ther's nothing in the jewish tradition, including spinoza, i can tell you that. nothing. nada. zilch.

and before you start telling me about how "people didn't know how to write back then" and such, have a gander at the extensiveness, comprehensiveness and antiquity of the jewish written tradition. it's really unprecedented and unequalled, it's totally unlike any other ancient tradition you can name. they don't call us the people of the book for nothing.

But jonathan, you're assuming that this myth about the 600,000 people is true. Just because someone wrote it down doesn't make it true. There's no way to prove that 3,000,000 people saw and heard anything. It's a story written in a book with nothing to back it up. Anyway, 3 million people in the Sinai?! Wow. How many people is that per square mile!?

even thomas aquinas, and certainly mohammed, didn't try to claim that any of his ancestors actually saw jesus turn water into wine, let alone their entire ethnic groups.

ALL of the claimed religious "authority" of the "3 abrahamic faiths" (retch!gag!) rests on this one event, experienced by an entire people.'

All this proves is that the three faiths are all interconnected. It still does not prove than an entire people experienced a damned thing. These myths are built one upon the other over time until the point that it's so widespread that people think "oh, it must be true!".

You know as well as I do that even strictly historical writings are wrought with lies and errors.

The New Testament, Old Testament, Qu'ran, Book of Mormon and all of these so-called holy books are all related, but just different enough to have all of the different "faiths". But they're just something that people wrote about and desperately wanted to believe.

But they're just something that people wrote about and desperately wanted to believe.

why the hell would anyone want to believe that some crazy god person decided 3500 years ago that we should stone our children to death for eating and drinking too much? or that we should wrap leather straps on our arms and head every morning? or that some ethnic sub-grouping (the jewish priests) or intellectually based sub-grouping (the rabbis of the sanhedrin) should have the power of life and death over us? or that we should "dwell as a people alone, despised", or that we should commit genocide and suffer the deprivations and hardships of war for a little strip of land, with no oil, which was anyway supposedly "given" to us by this same "god"? the list is endless. does this sound attractive to you?

and before you start telling me about how "people didn't know how to write back then" and such, have a gander at the extensiveness, comprehensiveness and antiquity of the jewish written tradition.

What?! So it wasn't just Moses who was writing on stone tablets? The entire 3 million people were able to write? So if this tale were a lie, then any of the 3 million people could have debunked the lie? Or at least the 600,000 men? hmmmm...

Or at least the 600,000 men? hmmmm...

why only the men? what are you thinking?

again, the claim doesn't rest on the fact that it was written down, by moses or anyone else. it rests on three million eyewitnesses passing the story down orally from generation to generation.

but still, i wouldn't be so quick to assume these people couldn't write. :)

But jonathan, how do you know that there were 3 million eye witnesses?

And how do you know that most of these people knew how to write and that most of these people wrote on stone tablets?

I">http://www.neveh.org/winston/yfactor/y-intro.html">I found this on line. Sounds exactly like what you've been saying.

Over 3,300 years ago, an event occurred that was so unique, so spectacular that it defies the imagination of many modern-minded individuals.

Begins by assuming that this event occurred. There is no proof that this event occurred.

How do you sell all that to an entire nation?

As if entire nations of people aren't sold on all kinds of bullshit. Hell, practically an entire United States is sold on the idea that nudity is an awful thing that young children shouldn't be exposed to. Sex and nudity, two very natural things have been turned into something evil. How to sell entire nations of people on oppressive laws concerning their sexuality? And the U.S. is nothing compared to the Muslim countries.

Yet that is the story of the Jewish people (a nation known for its intelligence)

So the premise is that the Jewish people are too intelligent to be fooled? Oh come on now... So Moses wrote the Torah 3 million years ago and what is written there all of these intelligent people believe hook, line and sinker? wow...

It astounds me how the believers of every religion feel that they are God's pet and the chosen ones. The Mormons feel that only they will ascend to the highest kingdom. Ridiculous!

ok, some of those points sound like mine, and some don't. but the key thing this author is missing is that the point isn't about the numbers- though they may be impressive- but about the inclusiveness (or exclusivesness as the case may be)- in other words, the fact that there were no exceptions whatsoever, the ENTIRE generation was there. this is like begging for debunking. it only takes one jew who would say "well, MY mother doesn't know anything about that". and yet there were none, not in all the authority-challenging history of the jews.

why the hell would anyone want to believe that some crazy god person decided 3500 years ago that we should stone our children to death for eating and drinking too much? or that we should wrap leather straps on our arms and head every morning? or that some ethnic sub-grouping (the jewish priests) or intellectually based sub-grouping (the rabbis of the sanhedrin) should have the power of life and death over us? or that we should "dwell as a people alone, despised", or that we should commit genocide and suffer the deprivations and hardships of war for a little strip of land, with no oil, which was anyway supposedly "given" to us by this same "god"? the list is endless. does this sound attractive to you?

None of what any of the religions force their believers into doing sounds attractive to me. Women being subservient to men doesn't sound attractive to me, and I can't imagine that it would sound attractive to any intelligent woman, and yet millions and millions of women buy into this crap.

I suppose that people buy into this crap because they really truly believe in some divine law and divine ruler of the universe.

People regularly do all kinds of irrational things that are not in their best interests.

the fact that there were no exceptions whatsoever, the ENTIRE generation was there

One more time. How do you know that there were no exceptions??!!!!!

And I apologize for all of the exclamation marks, but I've asked you this again and again, to no avail alas..

One more time. How do you know that there were no exceptions??!!!!!

again, through the known history of the jewish people, which is better known and documented than probably any other people, there are no KNOWN exceptions. and like i said, the jews were not and are not shy about challenging authority, this is unbelievably well documented.

you must be aware that the fact that people are in general suceptable to all kinds of mass idiocy is not an argument against this particular claim. i emphasize again-this claim is completely unique in world history. it is not a claim of "this or that just makes sense, follow me" but a claim of an eyewitness account.

It's a "claim" of eyewitness account. Only a claim. It is not a fact. It is not historical evidence. It is nothing more than a silly claim in a silly "holy book"

There is no proof whatsoever for this so-called eyewitness account. The fact that so many people all believe this fairy tale just proves how gullible and ridiculous humans can be. But we already knew that.

Anyway, the premise is that the Jews are the chosen ones. Well, the Mormons feel that they're the chosen ones, and the Muslims feel that they're the chosen ones and other religions feel that they're the chosen fucking ones. I find it all perfectly ridiculous.

Only a claim. It is not a fact. It is not historical evidence. It is nothing more than a silly claim in a silly "holy book"

so you say. but i've got a a squillion jews over many generations that say different. and they dont' make this claim because it makes sense. they make it because they heard it from their grandmothers and grandfathers, back AT LEAST 2500 years, and that's only the written records. listen, we know it doesn't make sense. that's not the issue here.

Your premise, jonathan, is that what is written in the Torah is true and there is no way to prove that. Moses talked to God 3500 years ago and wrote this down and it became the Torah.. I guess this is the belief. Sounds perfectly goofy to me.

I suppose that people buy into this crap because they really truly believe in some divine law and divine ruler of the universe.

yes, and the reason they believe this is because of this one event. not because it's "attractive", which it obviously isn't.

Right, because this event is supposedly so unique and special. Only the Jews have a story so special and unique. (rolls eyes) Sorry, but it just sounds like another religious myth to me. Nothing more, nothing less.

It's amusing how every religion feels that they are so special and unique.

Only the Jews have a story so special and unique. (rolls eyes)

ok, can you think of another one like it?

Oh, yes. Study the religious beliefs of the Mormons. They're quite unique. And don't tell me that it's different because 3 million jews believed the crap fed to them whereas fewer Mormons believed the crap fed to them. There's no limit to what entire groups of people are willing to believe, even if results in a more difficult life. In fact, I think that religious people feel even holier if they live a difficult life in the service of their "lord"

And Mormons are quite intelligent. They're mostly wealthy businessmen.

There's no limit to what entire groups of people are willing to believe, even if results in a more difficult life.

well, i beg to differ. i think there is a limit, and the jewish claim to a mass audience with god himself is pushing that limit harder than anything else you know of.

Study the religious beliefs of the Mormons. They're quite unique.

no they're not. and their origin narrative is certainly far from unique. one guy had a vision, a visitation from an angel, blah blah. get real.

lol

So it's just blah blah blah for everyone else, but the Jewish religious oral tradition myth bullshit is unique and special in your eyes. I get it. ;)

It's clear that you truly believe this, so I'll just leave it at that.

Also, the story of the Mormons is a lot more complicated than that. You really shouldn't comment until you have studied Mormon theology and completely understand it! (shit-ass grin)

here, i'll pretend i'm norm or red7: " what, you think i need to understand something to criticize it? don't be ridiculous". :)

the Jewish religious oral tradition myth bullshit is unique and special in your eyes.

yes but that's not the subject here. :) the subject is the revelation at sinai, which i see as, like, UNIQUELY unique and special. :) like, historically and stuff. you still haven't shown me any other examples of such an origin myth.

Your premise, jonathan, is that what is written in the Torah is true

agggggghhhh!! no! again, i'm only talking about the "sinai event". it's true it's in the torah, but again, it's an oral tradition and this is what the claim is based on, not the torah itself.

So you're saying that the oral tradition is independant of the Torah? where's the proof for this?

well, according to jewish tradition the torah consists of both the oral and written traditions. both are equally "holy". so, insofar as the oral tradition is not supposed to be written, they are separate. not that the jews kept that particular law, or any of them, really, in any kind of substained way. stiff necked and all that rot.

So what it comes down to is all of this is based on oral tradition and/or the Torah, and how could so many people be convinced to follow difficult edicts. Well, that's not very convincing.

no, it's based on the idea that there were so many witnesses (the entire people, etc.) to god's interaction with moses and, indeed, the people themselves, that it's inconcievable that this could be lied about. the fact that the edicts are largely unpalatable is just a sideshow that supports the main claim.

Once again, there is no proof that there were so many witnesses. So it may be based on this 'idea', but it is sure not based on any fact. Folklore and religious books do not constitute fact. It doesn't matter how many fools believe it.

again: it ain't based on the book, darlin'.

Oh, yes, I know darlin'. It's based on 'oral tradition'. Of course you know that this so-called holy 'oral tradition' came from the so-called holy book. And even if it didn't, we all know how reliable oral tradition is.

So the Jews believe that the divine ruler of the universe came down and chose them, all three million of them, because they were so special. Sure this ruler had some horrendous rules to follow, but he is the ruler of the universe! And they're right and the other religions are wrong because it must be true because of oral tradition.

And the Mormons believe that the divine ruler of the universe chose them to be the special ones. Sure this ruler had some horrendous rules to follow, but he is the ruler of the universe! And it must be true because of their holy books and oral tradition.

And the Muslims believe that the divine ruler of the universe chose them to be the special ones. Sure this ruler had some horrendous rules to follow, but he is the ruler of the universe! And it must be true, also because of oral tradition.

And the same for the Christians.

And they all suffer in order to be holy and follow the divine, yet horrendous, edicts of this divine asshole.

Damn, the human monkey is quite ridiculous.

Of course you know that this so-called holy 'oral tradition' came from the so-called holy book.

no, it's the other way around.

btw, the christians, muslims and mormons all believe (based on said event) that "the divine ruler of the universe came down and chose[the jews]. it's just that they all hold that there was a subsequent revelation negating the first one.

yeah, I know. Each religion has a way of explaining how they're the special ones and they all feel unique and they all feel that no one else truly understands the profound and complex theology that only true adherents can understand.

The bullshit started with the Jews and then spread around to the rest of the world, and here we are in the year 2009 still believing the crap that ignorant gullible people believed so long ago. How sad is that?!

And by "we", I don't mean "me".

Thank goodness that fewer and fewer people every year believe in these mythologies, but still too many people are all too willing to want to believe in the religion of their native country.

And by "we", I don't mean "me".

i'm going out RIGHT NOW and having that emblazoned on a bitchin leather jacket.

The holy book came from oral tradition? And all of this supposedly occured 3500 years ago? Please tell me how you know that this is a fact? I'm all ears.

oh jaysus. the question isn't how i know it's a fact (which i don't). the question is how do you know it isn't a fact? this is not like the "is there or isn't there a god" question, where the burden of proof is on the claiment, or any of the other claims based on "logic" or "common sense", like goebbels or something. this is about eyewitnesses passing their story through hundreds of generations. the burden of proof is on you. all you need to do is come up with a plausible scenario in which this great lie could be introduced to an entire people. so get on it already, you're wasting time.

So if it started from oral tradition, then the people knew what Moses was gonna write before he even wrote it? Damn, those Jews really were intelligent!

this just doesn't follow. stop focusing on the book. it's only the event-whatever it really was- that we're talking about. what moses wrote or didn't write afterwards is not the issue.

what moses wrote or didn't write afterwards is not the issue.

i mean, it's an issue for ME, and i'll be happy to talk about it till the cows come home. but i'm trying to stay focused on the event itself, which as i say seems to have been ignored by everyone trying to "disprove" religion. i mean, isn't that in itself a red flag for you? it's the single fundamental basis for everything you (and i) hate about religion (the 3 abrahamic....feh.).

what do you mean you don't have any cheddar? it's the SINGLE MOST POPULAR CHEESE IN THE WORLD! ah, yr a bunch a wusses. except for JoAnn.

Hey guys, so what did I miss? :)

Jonathan, you are making your whole argument about the "event" based on two well-known fallacies, appeal to "authority" and appeal to popularity.

Even proper, evidence-based history is not very reliable, it is not rare to see different hypotheses for the same event, which with different degrees of confidence. Even when some physical evidence exists, no explanation is usually taken to be true just like that, no matter how many people believe it.

So, is there any evidence other than something written by someone, and believed just so by many people, for that event you allude to?

andyo, as usual everything you say is true. the use of logical fallacies are inadmissable in a logical argument. but as any lawyer or judge will tell you, appeal to authority is perfectly legitimate in a court of law, and i i've already admitted this has nothing to do with logic. that doesn't mean it has nothing to do with evidence, however. the use of any eyewitness account is essentially an appeal to authority. the more witnesses, the stronger the case. if i tell you i saw john lennon shoot john kennedy, this is evidence, although extremely weak and unverifiable. if i tell you that me and three million other people saw the shooting, this is an entirely different kettle of fish- although still technically a logical fallacy.

you may be interested to know that in a jewish court of law (not israeli-jewish) circumstantial evidence is inadmissable. in jewish law, murder gets you the death penalty. but to prove murder you must have at least 2 witnesses to the actual event. if you saw a guy with a knife run into a house chasing another guy, and run out again holding a bloody knife, and go into the house and see the second guy lying there dead in a pool of blood, all this circumstantial evidence is inadmissable and the first guy walks. crazy, maybe, but the point is your not dealing with a bunch of credulous people here dying for the "comfort" or "structure" of religion.

also, part of the evidence for this event is its very singularity- it is unlike any other appeal to authority or popularity you can think of. it is not, if this is what your thinking, a simple matter of "well, a lot of people believe it, including my local religious honcho, so it must be true."

further more, i've mentioned how strange it is to me that no jew has ever been recorded attempting to say that the "revelation at sinai" didn't happen. but i'm even more baffled that no one else has, either, except in the general context of "anything found in a huge pile of bullshit must also be bullshit"- an argument i hope you'll agree is also logically flawed.

i don't know how to do the research. can't anyone find me dawkins/hitchens et al on this subject? and if not, doesn't this strike you as strange? it is, after all, "the single most popular cheese in the (western) world."

just for reference: i really feel, in the context of this conversation, like the john cleese character in this famous monty python sketch:

I think what people mean when they say orderly or designed, they often are just identifying that the world is familiar and consistent.

jonathan,

I have discovered that what you're going on about is Kuzari principle. You of course knew that and I find it intellectually dishonest that you did not state this right up front.

http://jewishatheist.blogspot.com/

Kuzari proof: The common apologetic argument that the story of mass revelation at Sinai is so amazing and unusual that it must be true.

http://www.talkreason.org/articles/kuzari.cfm

One of the pioneers and an acknowledged champion of Jewish apologetics was the prominent poet Yehuda Halevi, who wrote the Kuzari tract in the 11th century. Halevi's apologetic technique relies on the standard Hellenistic scholastic system, perfected for centuries by Christian and Moslem philosophers, but Halevi undoubtedly made a valuable addition to this field. He was fully aware that Judaism, having lost its monopoly on monotheism, was in need of special apologetic arguments inapplicable to the powerful monotheistic religions – Islam and Christianity – which wielded not only a theology markedly similar to the Jews', but also powerful historical arguments in their favor. With this in mind he developed a series of interesting arguments in defense of Judaism, arguments which retain their popular appeal to this day.

modern Jewish apologetics has made the "Kuzari principle" into nothing short of a cult, declaring it the earliest and the sole authoritative proof of the truth of Judaism. We demonstrate that the principle – both in its origins and the nature of its arguments – is neither ancient nor actually Jewish. We determine which axioms were used by Halevi and other medieval Jewish thinkers to construct the Kuzari principle and similar apologetic arguments; in the process, we reveal the fundamental differences between ancient and modern Jewish apologists in approach to the Biblical narrative.

modern Jewish apologetics has made the "Kuzari principle" into nothing short of a cult

ouch. i guess if i knew, say, one other person that even cared about this i'd have to call the deprogrammers. :)

i went to the "jewishatheist" blog you linked to, and couldn't find anything about the "kuzari principle", but i assume it must be there since you quoted from it. great blog, though. i think you guys could learn something from the jewish approach to atheism. damn, i love a good oxymoron.

Turns out that this is debunked by many people once one knows what to search for.

(http://www.infidels.org/library/modern/shlomi_tal/sinai.html)

At this point the apologist for Orthodox Judaism will request that I should stop giving such seemingly fabulous examples as the Prometheus myth or the statewide decree of the Persian king Shahrayar and present a real example of a very public miracle which is reported to have happened but did not actually take place. I do not think any example could satisfy a person who has already subscribed to a doctrine, but no matter, I have an example from none other than the Hebrew Bible (the TaNaKh, which the Christians call the Old Testament) itself.

Indeed! No example would satisfy jonathan. Of that I am certain! :)

Indeed! No example would satisfy jonathan.

well, i haven't heard even one yet from anyone, including your sources. but you're right, i'm totally busted. i don't know if the kuzari is the first book to use this argument (it's 12th century, i think) but it's certainly the most famous. good research, JoAnn.

but i have not been disingenous in that i still haven't heard a good rebuttal. this doesn't mean i won't be satisfied with anything. all i want is one reasonable scenario, that takes into account the uniqueness of the claim (it's not about the numbers, it's about the lack of exceptions. ANY jew at the time should have been able to refute it) and doesn't involve it having actually happened.

and i'd still like to know why none of you or your gurus has even heard of it. took you 4 days, JoAnn, and you're no slouch on research.

Comment on the talk origin article. The one from the infidel site is weak.

The reason no one deals with this is because it's not that widespread. Hell, i discovered that not even the majority of Jews believe in this weak argument. In fact, many orthodox Jews feel that the Sinai revelation should be believed on faith alone and they don't even buy this.

Also, Jews aren't as influential in spreading their religion as Christians and Muslims are, so they're not as scary in that respect. Not that they don't cause problems in many other respects though!

We demonstrate that the principle – both in its origins and the nature of its arguments – is neither ancient nor actually Jewish.

how about you just start by showing me that part.

I am sorry, how are the Egyptians not an example?

How is the great flood not an example? Perhaps Mesopotamians heard of great floods but when Jews and Christians got to Germany or England or America and folks there had no memory of any such flood, why didn't they rewrite the bible? Why did those folks convert and believe when parts of their bible didn't ring true to what they knew from their oral history?

the egyptians are not an example because the ones who witnessed the splitting of the sea were all killed on the spot, and the ones who witnessed the plagues...many reasons, probably different for citizens and palace insiders. but the main reason is probably that the ancient egyptians no longer exist, having been subsumed in the great muslim invasion. there is no more egyptian tradition.

the great flood (again, according to the text) was only witnessed by 4 men and their wives. thats it. everyone else on earth supposedly died.

i didn't really understand the rest of your questions. but talking about the ancient greeks or persians or whatever is pointless, because they just don't exist anymore. none of their survivors even claim to have an unbroken chain of tradition, as the jews do.

as my friend marty the poet wrote, "look in the rearview mirror. sodom and gommorah are GONE."

only still existing religions. So you are unique as a religion when compared to Christianity and Moslems? Wow, that's pretty profound.

the ones who witnessed the plagues

Man, that's a pretty telling phase. the Nile turns red with blood and every first born sun in the kingdom is killed by god and somehow not everyone would have noticed that. Egyptians have writing and entomb their royal families. The tomb of the Pharaohs 1st born son and the tomb of the pharaoh himself would likely tell some version of the Jewish story if indeed it happened.

But clearly you don't want to have a real discussion.

No doubt a number of similar claims are made by Jews and others and the only one that isn't directly refuted by history is the one that only Jews witnessed and from which there is no first hand knowledge only a story in a holy book likely written hundreds of years later. A book that is full of other claims unsupported by any third parties.

only still existing religions.

not just existing religions/traditions but existing peoples/family/ethnic groups with a semi- coherent oral historical narrative going back that far. name another one.

So you are unique as a religion when compared to Christianity and Moslems? Wow, that's pretty profound.

well, i don't know how profound it is, but it's certainly true. if you can't see how you haven't been listening.

I get your claim. It is just pretty unimpressive.

Christians are unique because they have first hand witnesses to miracles telling their stories in the bible. I am sure Muslims have some claims to fame as well.

The egyptians are not an example because no one in the whole wide world is as unique and intelligent as the Jews are, right jonathan? And no one else in the whole wide world has such a compelling apology for their mythical beliefs as compared to the Jews. And no other society in the whole wide world has an oral tradition like the Jews. And no other society in the whole wide world has a more educated population who knows how to write as compared to the Jews. In fact, even in ancient history, the slaves themselves knew how to write and wrote how they felt on stone tablets. Dontcha know?! lol

talk about not wanting to have a real discussion. you and red are just being plain stupid and insulting because you have your backs against the wall. i can smell the fear. :)

the egyptians are fucking dead, ok? gone. there are no egyptians. no greeks. no romans. no persians. they're all GONE. i cant believe how lame you're being. and joann, this bullshit about how wonderful i think the jews are has got to stop. it's childish. i can think they're as wonderful as i want- that's my business- but it's not part of the argument. that the jews are UNIQUE (not wonderful) is part of the argument. if you can't admit this widely accepted fact it is you who are being intellectually dishonest.

you claim it's been debunked. ok, i'll go have a look. the reason i havent yet has nothing to do with cowardice- that was just cheap. why you couldn't just post the relevant quote is beyond me. but this better be serious. you look like buffoons. it's been 5 days now.

All of this is debunked in the excellent TalkOrigins website which, jonathan, you are too much of a coward to respond to.

ok, i'm back from my research jaunt. yes, the talk origins article is excellent. however, it states clearly:

What, then, is the KP? Nowhere in the Kuzari is it clearly formulated

which is quite correct. it takes years of study and argument with jewish apologists even to state the argument clearly. which is why i've done it for you here, and much better than the writer of the talkorigins article.

what this means is that, even in such an excellent and scholarly article, the formulation of the argument is necessarily a strawman. furthermore, if you read it clearly, even this strawman is far, far from debunked there.

can't anyone debunk the argument as i have stated it and not as someone else states it? it took me years to even get to this point. you should thank me for doing the research. believe me, arguing with jewish apologists is no picnic, you should be glad you didn't have to do it. and i apologize if some of their techniques and attitudes have rubbed off on me. it's one of the dangers of the game.

so, after a cursory examination and pecking out the above quick reply to you i've gone back to the talkreason article, which is extensive, dense and full of virtually mathematical formulations. it's about as straight, no bullshit as anything i could hope for and i want to spend a lot more time with it. it exceeds my hopes of getting anything out of this conversation, which is marred by emotion and obtuseness. nothing personal, we're all just blog commenters, after all.

but please consider yourselves off whatever hook you may feel i've put you on, i think i have what to work with now.

i sincerely thank you for the link, JoAnn. again, i didn't even know where to look on the internet, didn't know what this argument was called, and was hoping for a serious rebuttal here- silly, i know. but i'm done witht these threads now, moving on to talkingreason. thanks again for playing, and i'm sorry if i somehow offended anyone. my intentions were relatively pure, sullied only by my desire to be entertained and provide entertainment, and make people think a little about how such a fundamental principle, fallacious or not, could have been ignored by the atheism popularizers.

make people think a little about how such a fundamental principle, fallacious or not, could have been ignored by the atheism popularizers.

i'll tell you what i think. the talkingreason article makes abundantly clear that this argument, if it can be properly rebutted at all (i'm not convinced yet, but i'm hoping), it can't be done with a few smarmy remarks. i don't expect anyone to actually read this article, but just click on it to get a sense of the kind of extensive and detailed thinking necessary to even try.

Not only are Jews smarter than everyone else, but even the Jewish slaves were erudite. And the Jews back during the Sinai Revelation were able to gather 600,000 soldiers. Wow! That percentage of soldiers to overall population is unheard of, but the Jews are special, by gum.

neither i nor you know what the hell you are talking about.

the Jews are special, by gum

you really do have a problem with this, don't you? and not a logical one, either. thinker, examine thyself.

well, i haven't heard even one yet from anyone, including your sources.

Here you claim that you've checked out my sources and then you dismiss them. Then you admit later that in fact you had not read both of my sources. Then you procede to debunk something from Wikipedia, which i never even referred to.

ok, i'll go have a look. the reason i havent yet has nothing to do with cowardice- that was just cheap

bunch a wusses

And that wasn't just cheap?

I spent a lot of time reading all kinds of things from all manner of different Jewish websites and I found that just like other strong believers, they think that they're pretty damned special and I found it nauseating. This notion that fundamentalist Jews believe that the supreme ruler of the universe chose to speak to the thes Jews over all others I find astonishgly arrogant.

That percentage of soldiers to overall population is unheard of

it's roughly the same in modern israel, only now it includes women too. what are you on about?

i could do a point-by-point on that article that would make your head spin. but first, i would need to be convinced that i was talking to someone who could distinguish between "600,000 soldiers" and "600,000 men of military age" (20 to 50 years old acc. to the text) which neither you nor the author of said article seems to be able to do.

can i still play hardball if we're friends?

Then you procede to debunk something from Wikipedia, which i never even referred to

please go up a few posts and see my conciliatory attempt to bow out of this while i chew on the talkreason article you linked to. but i just wanted to point out that the wiki quote was taken directly from that article. which you would know if you had read it. :) jk can't we be friends?

i think it's pretty funny that an atheist would take umbrage at a people claiming to be the "pets" (i wouldn't wish it on my worst enemy) of a nonexistent entity.

You can be our friend,

You can also volunteer to be God's slug. :)

how did you find out about this secret and arcane aspect of our religion?

the volunteer slugs (or "sluggos" as we refer to them with much bowing and scraping) are god's elite shock troops, the jewish equivilant of those catholic guys who wear really, really uncomfortable underwear. we see ourselves as the "slugs" in god's underwear. our prime directive is to go on teh interwebs and make people think jews are cuddly and amusing to soften you up for brainwashing and conversion.

then, once you're good little jew-zombies, in the great battle at the end of days, we will send you out to strike against those weird catholic self-flagelaters. (i've never in my life even used that word. how do you spell "flaggelate"?)

our leader is jon stewart.

and if you say anything about this to anyone i'll deny it and use my connections in banking and hollywood to utterly destroy your lives.

I hope you got my reference and point. I wasn't trying to call Jews slugs.

of course, no worries.

Yeah, we're still friends damn it (albeit virtual friends). When you're not busy getting a kick out of annoying people, your wit and sense of humor are fun.

And i'm not even gonna take the bate on the second comment.

And i'm not even gonna take the bate on the second comment.

cuz we is frends, rite? :)

rite, cuz we is best fwends.

Don't bother ripping apart point by point the mwiner article. I just threw that in to annoy you to get back at you for being so goddammned annoying.

I'd rather you do a point by point on the talkreason article.

Hardball doesn't bother me in the least. Being deceptive annoys the hell out of me. You do have a way of avoiding the more difficult questions and muddying the waters.

did you even look at that talkreason article? do you realize what a point by point would entail? i certainly wouldn't attempt it here.

the only problem i'm having with it so far is that it looks more and more like what i have presented here is actually the "new, improved" version of the "kp", and the article doesn't seem to address at least 3 or 4 of my best points. but i'm still trying to decode it (the article) so i still could be wrong. i just can't handle it for more than about 10 minutes at a time, it makes my brain hurt. it's the drug damage.

i still maintain it's you and red7 that have avoided or misconstrued both my (apparantly) new points, as well as most of the old ones. as you can see by the article, it's not a simple argument, with or without my additions. but please, i'm not trying to start this thing up again here, i'm having enough trouble with the talkreason thing.

oh yeah, i read the talkreason article. I spents hours and hours reading it. Then I read the follow-up responses and replies. Quite interesting I must say. In the end, though, it's a lot like the arguments that the "intelligent design" people use. They're sophisiticated arguments, but they don't hold water once you pierce the veil and clear the smoke.

but they don't hold water once you pierce the veil and clear the smoke

Oooff.. what a sad display of mixed metaphors on my part!

They're sophisiticated arguments, but they don't hold water once you pierce the veil and clear the smoke.

so you came to the conclusion the article was "designed" (i use the term advisedly) to lead you to. well done.

i dunno, maybe i will too in the end. i don't know if i'm as smart as you, but i'm definitely not as fast as you with this kind of stuff. i haven't gotten there yet.

as you know, clearing smoke isn't my specialty. creating (i use the term advisedly) it is. :)

i'm glad you found it interesting, though. that makes you and me a minority of two here.

Speaking of this being fwends bit, it reminds of Derrick Carter's "Friends The One AM Dub"

i dunno, maybe i will too in the end.

Nah. You're bound and determined to believe that some magic voice in the sky spoke to 3 million jews. You're not even able to admit that there is no proof whatsoever that 3 million jews ever heard such a voice. This oral tradition argument is not proof.

i may admit in the end ther's no proof, but i'll never admit there's no evidence, cuz it just ain't so.

what am i saying. i already know there's no proof. i wasn't trying to show proof, but rather the weight of evidence. so what i meant was, i may in the end admit the evidence is too lightweight to be taken seriously.

Objection, your honor. Hearsay.

well,of course that's the obvious objection. what i've been trying to show is blah blah blah blah.

Oh, here's the link to derrick carter. The song is on his pop out player.

Damn it. Me too. brain damage from too much weed.

(http://www.myspace.com/theoneoclockclub)

hah, still doesn't work. it's not parenthesis that do the trick, apparently. i use the "greater than" sign. but you knew that.

and i always forget how to actually "embed" a link, otherwise i'd do that, it seems classier or somfin'.

http://www.myspace.com/theoneoclockclub

Oh, there it is. I used to use parenthesis and brackets, but that method doesn't work anymore. Thanks!

Oh, I see. You don't need proof. Some evidence is good enough for you. I get it. No wonder this conversation is so confusing.

WOW! did this guy used to be a bit thinner, with dreads, and play reggae? i think i jammed with him a few times in jerusalem about 12 years ago. derrik, from chicago/detroit. i'm not kidding. that'd be pretty cool if it's him. i don't remember him looking as serious as he is in that picture, though.

Oh, I see. You don't need proof. Some evidence is good enough for you.

come on, you know that even for gravity and evolution the "proof" is only the weight of the evidence. these are not sylogisms.

hmm. new t-shirt idea:

"the proof of the theory of gravity is in the weight of the evidence".

booya!

It is scientific, repeatedly tested evidence. Its not a story about someone seeing gravity, thousands of years ago and saying it exists because no one has evidence to counter the claim.

Not that you were equating the two but the comparison is worth bringing up.

fair enough, red.

though if you ask me, the real weight of the evidence for evolution is the fossil record (which isn't so much a matter of experimentation) and not the work on fruit flys, bacteria, and other forms of animal breeding.

That is why I said repeatedly tested rather then verified experiments. To test a theory sometimes you just try to predict what you should see in things such as the fossil record and then go look and see if you find supporting evidence. We pretty much always do. Witnessing the evolution of viruses is also another another way that observation without experimentation.

On the other hand no one is looking for and finding written records that verify the stories of miracles.

On the other hand no one is looking for and finding written records that verify the stories of miracles.

ah, but it's not the miracles that need to be verified in your analogy, there's no observable development in miracles- it's the prophesies. don't get me started on that one, or we'll find out just how long norm is willing to allow a thread from, what, 2 saturdays ago?- to continue. i'd be willing to bet i can debunk more of them than you can, but i could show you some real headscratchers too.

Here we go again. No direct answer. One has to dig and plead to know what is even being discussed.

Okay, jonathan, which records verify the prophesy 'prophesies"? And what exactly, precisely do you mean by the "prophesies"?

it is my PERSONAL OPINION (ok?) that history itself verifies certain threats and promises that nasty old man in the sky made to the jews. but this doesn't prove anything, and it would again involve discussing the historical uniqueness of the jews, and i don't think you could handle that again, the very idea seems to bother you.

the real reason this thread has gone on so long is that we're all a bunch of yentas, as i think red7 is pointing out with his reply below.

i never wear socks in the summer. or shoes either if i can help it. the god of the hippies has commanded us...

You know what else makes predictions? SCIENCE! And not some wishy-washy Nostradamus-y predictions that anybody can twist to their advantage, but predictions with balls. It will tell you where the Earth will be a hundred years from now with astounding accuracy.

Anyway, did I read right above, that you weren't trying to be logical? That would explain a lot! If you can separate logic from "evidence", you either have a misconception of "logic" or "evidence" (or both).

if you can't separate logic (the structure) from evidence (the raw material) you can't be the same andyo i've come to know and love.

i know all about the "nostradamas-y" quality of most biblical "prophesies". i'm referring only to a few choice ones from the pentateuch, not the ones from the books of the prophets. and i'm purposely being reticent about them because i worry about the other reader's and norm's patience. i'd be happy to do it as a forum thread if i could figure out how.

I think when we say "evidence" we both mean different things, but anyway, this is more interesting than semantics:

i know all about the "nostradamas-y" quality of most biblical "prophesies". i'm referring only to a few choice ones from the pentateuch,

Such as? Come on, don't be shy. I think we'd all be interested!

boy, at least one of us is a glutton for punishment. i'm afraid it must be me. although with all the howling about my "deceptive" ways, you'd never know it. ok:

  1. that the jews would be dispersed among the nations. even today, almost every country in the world has it's jewish community, except for those that forced them out. which is related to:

2: that they would be despised in the diaspora and never fully assimilate. this has been indeed the case, though they're taking a good shot at it in america.

  1. that they would in the end be "brought back" to their ancient homeland. i suppose you might say this has been done and undone more than once in history. but just for the sake of argument:

4: i think the story of the rebirth of modern israel is much more amazing and unlikely than probably most of you do. i've seen the post-zionist and anti-israeli "debunking" of this point and i just don't buy it. the nature of israel's military victories in '48 and '67 are as close as anything i've ever seen to "miracles". i wouldn't try to push this particular point too far, since i also believe that really, really determined human beings are capable of astonishing things. but i wanted to mention it anyway just to give you something easy to start with.

the accuracy and specificity of these predictions, and their being played out as predicted thousands of years ago in spite of all known "laws" of cultural anthropology is about as close to science as you can get in religion. imho.

i'm basically saying that the very existence today of the jewish people and their history and circumstances are unprecented, and powerful evidence of SOMETHING. maybe not god, maybe not prophesy, but it needs to be explained. and if you or anyone is unwilling to even admit this uniqueness, please don't bother.

there. beat me up if you like. i'm going swimming, back in a few hours.

I am not sure if this is through the looking glass or down the rabbit hole. Maybe its over the rainbow.

it's my job.

Who pays you? or do you get Pie in the sky?

i told you, i'm a sluggo. i'm recruiting shock troops for armageddon.

Oh, nice. Hard to find sluggo work in this economy. Ahhh and Religion + Government does always = Death, destruction, and armageddon.

I would wish you luck but I would much rather you get into design or go to nursing school or something that won't lead to conflict and death.

The reason that this thread is so long is because of all of the smoke and mirrors.

Red7 and I are gullible enough to continue with this little game.

jonathan,

Your socks don't match.

What is new with you JoAnn?

I'm still waiting for our token Jewish west banker to respond to the TalkReason article...

How's the weather in the SW? We had a cold spell and are now dodging thunder storms with hail up in MN.

I'm still waiting for our token Jewish west banker to respond to the TalkReason article...

i'll tell you if i'm convinced or whatever but i won't do a point by point- too long. i still haven't seen him even mention 3 of my best points, but i only sort of speed-read the last third of the article. and i'm still having trouble just understanding some of the middle bits. i never claimed to be einstein. but if i did you can be damn sure i'd bring 3000000 witnesses with me.

one of the main reasons this is taking me so long, besides laziness and a general tendancy to party, is that i actually know, more or less, the jewish apologist positions on every example he brings, unlike you, JoAnn, no offence. so i'm doing frantic cross-referencing in my poor fevered brain on practically every line in the article. it's a really amazingly well done article. if i understand the nature of the site correctly, the guy wrote it and posted it there for free, making it all the more amazing. it's a pretty serious piece of scholarly work, which is not always the case with some other articles there i looked at. good site in general, though, and thanks for the heads up.

jonathan,

I realize that my understanding of all this is elementary. The good thing about all of this, though, is that I now know about this topic and I ended up reading stuff that normally I would never bother with.

but if i did you can be damn sure i'd bring 3000000 witnesses with me.

lol

Red7, We're having some monsoon season here with thunderstorms and beautiful cumulonimus clouds to marvel at. We're having a cold spell here too. It's only 89 degrees F.

Crazy

You mean this thread? Yeah, i agree. I'm beginning to question my sanity.

Jonathan is recruiting folks for some sort of a holy war. Which you know, is crazy. What baffles me is this belief that his beliefs are somehow unique. There is some guy in Saudi Arabia right now doing the same exact thing. Probably another guy in south Carolina too.

And all kinds of guys in Utah. The Mormons really think that they are unique. They have their own holy books which were revealed to them only. They have the Book of Mormon, the Pearl of Great Price, and the Doctrine and Covenants. Their theology is ever bit as complicated and twisted as the Jewish theology.

There is some guy in Saudi Arabia right now doing the same exact thing.

ooh, that was nasty. i hope you don't think i was being serious.

What baffles me is this belief that his beliefs are somehow unique.

not my beliefs. the history of my people. dey's ma peeblz, man. cut me a break.

Yenta schemta. I was referring to the Friends One AM Dub song that you obviously didn't listen to yo!

oh, there you are. well, i didn't listen carefully to all the words, if that's what you mean. the beats were cool..

http://designcentre.ru/node/54615

oh sorry i thought you were talking to me. the option to hit "reply" or not results in some confusion.

Yes, I was talking to you. The beats are cool, yes. The words are amusing:

I wanna let you know that because you came to see us this evening, we want to be your friends. We would like you to be our friend. Will you be my friend? You know, having friends in places and stuff.. We go to see them. They smile and say things like 'you have a nice shirt' or 'your socks don't match'.

Music From a Tree! This Diego Stocco does the kind of stuff I love.. recording on different tracks using unusual sounds and tuning and mixing etc. I know a top-notch drummer and muscian who uses synthesizers and all manner of stuff to chreat music who would love this stuff. I'll have to send him the link.

Thanks

gladja liked it.

that should have been Yenta Schmenta

i'm answering you down here, red7, because something really weird is happening to the "reply" micro-thread or whatever you call it above. happens alla time.

design or go to nursing school or something that won't lead to conflict and death

ah, these things are inevitable. best to go out doing something you like.

Conflict and death do have their perks.

no, i don't think so. i'm against conflict and death. but they're inevitable. all you can do is pick your battles.

One does not always have to lead to the other.

oh, you prefer your conflict after death? mazel tov, so do i.

No, with rational discussion and resolution. I just prefer my death to be of natural causes.

conflict is a natural cause.

for instance, the conflict i have chosen frees me from other conflicts. settlements, believe it or not, are virtually crime-free zones. they are paradises for raising children, who play freely in the streets and view the entire town and all the homes in it as a playground. (and the views are stunning! :)) all it costs me is the eternal enmity of a bunch of people i don't like very much, and the not-very-well-thought-out enmity of some people i do like very much.

So when you don't like "a... people".

Oh wait... There's a word for that.

you know, redman, the difference between a bunch of people and a people should be pretty obvious. nice of you to leave out the crucial term.

do you need me to define the "bunch of people" who are against the very idea of settlers or, in fact, the existence of the state of israel itself, and show you how it trancends race or nationality? i take bodacious umbrage at your implication.

how about we leave the settler thing and go back to the prophesy thing, where you can go back to kicking my ass which i love so much because i'm a fucking masochist.

I did see the difference, but when there were a bunch of hostile people that you don't like and a bunch of hostile people with poorly thought out ideas that you do like, I have to assume that group one is made out of Palestinians and group two is made up of more liberal Jews and Americans.

Sorry if I was wrong, but that is how it sounded.

's cool man. sniff. :)

So it doesn't matter that there is this neverending conflict in this region cause little Jewish kids can run free in the West Bank. Of course you'll answer that the plight of the Palestinian children who can't run free is the fault of their parents. But nevermind them as long as you're happy.

palestinian children run plenty free, believe me. definitely the israeli arab children, and as for the "non-israeli-or-jordanian- palestinians" (correct terminology can be very difficult sometimes, i know) they live in protected enclaves where their greatest enemy is their neighbors who might bring down the casually destructive wrath of the idf on their heads. the horrible idf doesn't enter palestinian towns and villages just to kill children- unlike these children themselves, who likely as not grow up to be militia members with no other source of income who DO frequently target israeli children. it's the education.

yes, they are free to grow up into fine, upstanding citizens of whatever "entity" they wind up being citizens of. it's just that, so far, their parents aren't allowing them to even dream of this.

end of polemic. can't we go back to prophesy now?

Right, back to the prophecy. Otherwise, we're opening up another can of worms and we have enough worms crawling around here... wait, that didn't sound right. Well, I best get off of the teh interwebs... I really am losing my sanity methinks!

Of course you'll answer that the plight of the Palestinian children who can't run free is the fault of their parents.

that was pretty good as prophecy goes...:)

dey's ma peeblz, man. cut me a break.

i realized that was wrong as soon as i hit post. don't cut me a break, please.

ooh, that was nasty. i hope you don't think i was being serious.

Which part wasn't serious?

i told you, i'm a sluggo. i'm recruiting shock troops for armageddon.

that part, you disingenous...person, you.

haven't gotten a sluggo badge yet?

still working on "uzi care and maintenance". :)

the cutesy little smiley face is for those of you that don't recognize humor (ar ar).

I appreciate the humor and get some of it. I ran with your sluggo line although I believe it is Hyperbole, I would be surprised that as a settler you aren't in some way subsidized to be there and if your life there isn't in some way used to promote the idea that the Jewish people have the right to lay claim to the full "holy land".

Am I off base?

I would be surprised that as a settler you aren't in some way subsidized to be there

well me personally, no. remember, i'm a rocknrolla first. i'm a squatter- the hoity-toity contingent of the settlers would love to throw me out and replace me with some nice party line-toing family. but the settlement movement as a whole has been subsidized by the israeli gov't. your point?

if your life there isn't in some way used to promote the idea that the Jewish people have the right to lay claim to the full "holy land".

Am I off base?

no.

So you are subsidized and used for recruitment...

So employed as a sluggo recruiting for the Armageddon isn't accurate but perhaps receiving some govt assistance in exchange for being used as a tool to promote expansion and support for the associated conflict?

i told you, i myself am not subsidized except perhaps for cheaper bus fares. i live as much as possible without any relationship to money at all-another part of my brilliant worldview we can discuss at another time. :)

as for my propaganda value, it is obviously nil- i'm just one guy. you want to talk about the propaganda value of the settlers as a whole?

new subject.

you want to talk about the propaganda value of the settlers as a whole?

i really don't think it's a good idea to open up this can of worms. but i would like to tell you that the hardcore of the people who see this "propaganda" positively are already living in the settlements. the rest are whatever percentage of the jewish israelis (about half, i think) and very few supporters worldwide, including jews. for the rest OF THE ENTIRE WORLD it constitutes negative propaganda, helped along by the world media conspiracy :)

who are against the very idea of settlers or, in fact, the existence of the state of israel itself

Being against the idea of settlers is not at all the same thing as being against the existence of Israel itself. What about being against the idea of Palestine itself?

What about being against the idea of Palestine itself?

you'd have to be more specific. you mean against the idea of another palestinian state (besides jordan)? i'm not against it in principle if it would lead to real peace.

Hi SemperFi!

SemperFi! Hello!

I'm not posting on the forum anymore, so it's a good thing that you posted this here.

I might just come to expect an annual message from one of my favorite sailors.

I have to say that your description of your race with the Tartan was too technical for me to understand. Luckily I had a sailor boy sitting next to me who explained what all of this meant. He did say something about a genoa being at least 125%..

Anyway, sounds you had a wonderful time out there, what with polishing off four bottles of Zinfandel and enjoying the benefits of your friends "flight pay". ;) Interesting thing is, I've been drinking White Zinfandel this summer. We seem to have the same taste in libations. :)

may God bless and keep you

And may the best be with you too. Yes, I'm doing quite well. I've just completed a painting for a saloon with a picture of.... two Anchor Steams! lol

Thanks again for thinking of me SemperFi. I have always enjoyed your prose and it was a delight to read your message.

Oh shit, I posted this to the wrong blog!

How embarrasing... sorry

bwaaahaaahaa, etc. don't worry, JoAnn, your ok.

lol

Yeah, this is a sign that i've been too long at the computer. And I have a painting to work on, and besides it's beautiful outside. What the hell am I doing discussing religious theology and shit? yikes!

and no one has dealt with the prophesy stuff at all. after i spent a whole 6 and a half minutes writing up the case.

What is your question?

oh, please, fuck off. i mean, go back up the thread.

i'm basically saying that the very existence today of the jewish people and their history and circumstances are unprecented, and powerful evidence of SOMETHING

You never really asked a direct question as much as you layed out some points and said how about that.

I think there is evidence of SOMETHING, but perhaps predicting your own survival has a certian random chance of being right. Also given that the predictions were written before people could have known that judiasm would splinter into chritsianity and all its sects the prohpesies have a pretty fuzzy reading. and given the red headed russian jews I have met, it seems the Jewish people have made themselves at home in more then one country even if they weren't always welcomed with open arms.

There is also the zionist movement that has had a no holds bared approach to making these things happen. So there seems little evidence of divine guidance.

I think its your perspective that makes these thinks look unique. If you assume them false and try to look at them it isn't overwhelming by any means.

I don't know the military history well enough to say if those wars were miraculus. American military aid has reduced the need for miraclees since then certainly.

i count seven points in your comment, red7- how appropriate to your name. which one would you like me to start with? that is, if you expect me to answer all of them. which i can, of course. :)

sorry, 8 including this one:

If you assume them false and try to look at them it isn't overwhelming by any means.

which is true of any random bullshit that disturbs one.

argument fail.

Just explaining the perspective of someone that doesn't assume ancient stories to be true.

sorry again, 9.

American military aid has reduced the need for miraclees since then certainly.

yes, and it's been wonderful, wonderful. hugs and kisses to all. and thank you, barack obama, for cutting the pursestrings. (evil cackling, exit stage left)

Those two wouldn't have been my first choices.

Now you have seven left.

perhaps predicting your own survival has a certian random chance of being right.

quite the opposite, usually.

do i really have to do this?

how about just telling me which ones aren't jokes? cuz your humor is sometimes as hard for me to understand as the reverse.

shit i'm late for a gig, gotta go. sweet sorrow, etc.

Usually even my jokes have a point.

The number of religions who have predicted their continued existence and yet have failed to do so I am sure is high and the number who have predicted that people will stop believeing is very few, probably zero.

On the other hand, predicting that a nomadic group of people will leave and return to their homeland while being somewhat foreign to the places they go in between is somewhat obvious.

oh, please, fuck off. i mean, go back up the thread.

lolololol... hee hee

So you don't like it when some is being obuse eh? Oh master of all obtuseness. lol

obuse = obtuse or abusive? Hmmmm... :)

I suppose that to demonstrate to you jonathan that I have an open mind, I should concede that yes, indeed, 3 million people heard a voice which came from the supreme ruler of the universe. What this supreme ruler told these people and the ensuing history has resulting in so much death and unhappiness. But then, you say that God being an asshole doesn't change your mind. So this means that the asshole, God, chose the Jews to be his messengers of assholism?

"hi, I'm god, this is my last stop on earth for a few thousand years. Just wanted to say you should worship me and not the other imaginary gods. and also you shouldn't screw eah other's wives. That's bad."

"PS: Good luck with nuclear bombs,"

new topic.

run from the hard topics.

i thought we were done with the "god is an asshole" topic. you don't hound, fine. i dont' run.

This is different. It's the idea that if god were to address man that he would talk about such silly topics as local land ownership, making really clear that he is different from all the other gods people have seen, and some really basic laws of behavior. Why not give them some hints on the big issues that will challenge human survival; Nuclear weapons, over population, and global warming?

This is different.

the difference between "god is an asshole" and "god is inexplicably ridiculous" is so small conceptually, in terms of this discussion, as to be negligable, imo.

Ridiculous calls into question the authenticity of the Mt Sinai event. Asshole does not.

The number of religions who have predicted their continued existence and yet have failed to do so I am sure is high

this may be so, we have no way of knowing since they "failed to [survive] the jews, again, are the exception. i don't know if any other religions have "predicted their continued existence" but in any case it's the jewish people, not the jewish religion that was predicted to survive, and in very specific and unprecedented circumstances.

the number who have predicted that people will stop believeing is very few, probably zero.

you're right, with one exception- the jews, of course. :) the torah specifically predicts that the jews will "stray from their god" and also predicts what will happen to them subsequently. it's pretty accurate.

predicting that a nomadic group of people will leave and return to their homeland while being somewhat foreign to the places they go in between is somewhat obvious.

which nomadic people have a homeland, again? :)

anyway, i don't see how it's so obvious. i don't know of any other examples. where is the "homeland" of the beduin? the lapps? etc. i suppose if the lapps were dispersed among the nations, and managed to stick to their reindeer-herding ways (humor ar ar) they would seem "somewhat foreign", yes. but they weren't. and neither were any other "nomadic peoples". or, in fact, any peeblz. please prove me wrong.

btw, what you wrote above,:

You never really asked a direct question as much as you layed out some points and said how about that.

is quite correct. i was responding to andyo's challenge. he seems to have disappeared.

which reminds me, what happened to syngas? did you guys hound him out of here with your heretical scoffing?

I don't hound

well, what happened to him? i was away for 4 months or so, foraging for nuts and berries and generally living a money-free existence. when i came back he was gone.

which nomadic people have a homeland, again? :)

Actually I don't even really know what the heck a homeland is. The only people that seem to use the term are first generation immigrants and Jews. I don't have one. Don't really see the need either. But, none the less leaving and coming back seems to be the kind of things nomads would do over and over again and probably predict themselves to repeat in the future. If the prophesy mentioned going somewhere specific maybe that would be something. For all we know they meant they would wander around Mesopotamia and winter in the "homeland".

you're right, with one exception- the jews, of course. :) the torah specifically predicts that the jews will "stray from their god" and also predicts what will happen to them subsequently. it's pretty accurate.

Except those that strayed were the Christians really and they have done pretty darn well on average

Also a nomadic people moving back and forth across a dessert from sea to deltas would likely see periods of feast and famine. See those as falling in and out of favor with their gods. and predict those would repeat in the future.

interestingly enough, the jews never blamed god for famines, though they did blame moses in the desert for the lack of delicacies (he took them away from the "fleshpots of egypt".

jewish tragedies of all kinds were always blamed on the jews themselves and their wicked ways, and none of them had to do with being nomads. they didn't consider themselves nomads, unless you go back to the biblical forefathers before the egyptian slavery exile, when they weren't technically jews at all. the jewish people start at sinai where they were given specific (and horrifying) instructions as to the aquiring of a homeland.

No instructions on how to bring peace to their homeland?

sure, plenty. but how many topics do you want to open? you don't answer all my questions, or even try, and this is probably wise- keeps teh thread on track, and me from making you look dumb.

I don't even really know what the heck a homeland is. The only people that seem to use the term are first generation immigrants and Jews. I don't have one.

the german homeland is germany. the italian homeland is italy. the greek homeland is greece. the danish homeland is denmark. and the jewish homeland is israel. need i go on? true, america isn't a proper "homeland" in this sense, as a country of immigrants. but any american who wants a homeland has only to investigate his/her national/ethnic origins or, conversely, embrace north america fully and renounce any other claims. i'm sure the red staters feel america is their homeland- and probably many blue staters as well.

leaving and coming back seems to be the kind of things nomads would do

the only places nomads leave or come back to are campsites, not homelands.

For all we know they meant they would wander around Mesopotamia and winter in the "homeland".

yeah, except you know this wasn't the case, neither in the prediction nor in subsequent history.

those that strayed were the Christians really and they have done pretty darn well on average

the early christians including jesus, it's true, were jewish. but they were tiny in terms of numbers and almost completely unsuccessful in their attempts to convert the jews- as were the later muslims. they soon realized they would have to extend their outreach to the non-jews (see paul). no one thinks it was the early christians being referred to in the prophesies. and if the later ones were "brought back to the land of israel" i'd kill myself.

the german homeland is germany. the italian homeland is italy. the greek homeland is greece. the danish homeland is denmark. and the jewish homeland is israel

so the definition of German is a citizen of germany. It's their home. And the definition of an Israeli is a jew?

ny american who wants a homeland has only to investigate his/her national/ethnic origins or, conversely, embrace north america fully and renounce any other claims.

Oh great, 5 homelands. What do I do now, make them draw straws? or wait, do I go by my ancestors religion or philosophy?

I think Atheists need a homeland. Hmmmm... where to put it...

the only places nomads leave or come back to are campsites, not homelands.

Well at some point you all declared one of your campsites a homeland. I think Moses might have done that.

and if the later ones were "brought back to the land of israel" i'd kill myself.

I don't know if you have heard of the crusades, but the Christians did come back to the "homeland".

Also, your definition of "Jew" is pretty lose. Blonds, redheads, Walter Sobchak? Folks with no middle eastern heritage? and what is the definition of an Israeli, not that I think about it/.

I don't know if you have heard of the crusades, but the Christians did come back to the "homeland".

the crusaders, of course, never saw the "holy land" as their homeland. they, like the muslims they fought, saw it as the jew's homeland, as did the entire world until the politicizaton of the issue that attended the rise of the zionist movement and the invention of the "palestinian arabs" as distinct from the greater arab/muslim nation in the mid/late 1800's. the land was "holy" to the crusaders because it was "holy" to jesus- and his people who rejected the idea of his divinity, the jews.

they, like the muslims they fought, saw it as the jew's homeland,

anticipating problems with this statement: the muslims made a practice at the time of conquring MANY other people's "homelands". this did not make these lands, in the eyes of the conqurers and arab or muslim "homeland" exactly, but rather a feifdom that would be obligated to pay tribute to mecca and medina. essentially, in other words, outposts of empire.

so the definition of German is a citizen of germany

no.

It's their home.

having trouble with the difference between home and homeland? try a dictionary. you're wearing me out here.

the definition of an Israeli is a jew?

boy, how many fallacies can you fit in one short paragraph? no, red7, this does not follow logically in any way from what i said, as i hope you'll see when i get to it below.

Oh great, 5 homelands. What do I do now, make them draw straws? or wait, do I go by my ancestors religion or philosophy?

your lack of decisiveness isn't my problem. if you want a homeland, pick one. if you're not concerned about it, don't. what's so complicated?

Well at some point you all declared one of your campsites a homeland. I think Moses might have done that.

finally something you say makes sense. yes, and at that point the jews ceased being nomads (or slaves). you were the one insisting on the nomad thing.

Also, your definition of "Jew" is pretty lose.

a jew is whatever the jews say it is. it's not "loose" at all, but for this very reason it's not simple either. there's a lot of argument about it among israelis (who are largely secular) but not so much among the jewish religious establishment.

what is the definition of an Israeli,

whatever the israeli gov't says it is. it includes israeli muslim arabs, israeli christian arabs, beduin, druse (both of which serve with distincton in the idf) and the non-jewish extended families of jews who are accepted by the religious establishment, including at least 3 hundred thousand russians who came in the early '90's.

this question is often put in the hands of the rabbis, who work hard to control the "ministry of the interior" so they can bend and even break the laws to conform with their own narrow religious interpretations of both the "who's a jew" and "whos an israeli" questions. this causes a great deal of resentment in the majority secular population and i don't see their monopoly lasting much longer.

but i don't see how most of this has to do with the question on the table. and i'd appreciate it if you could make some effort to limit the # of seperate points in your comments, unless they're joking or rhetorical.

including at least 3 hundred thousand russians who came in the early '90's.

that should have been "300000 out of 1,000,00 russians who came in the early '90's".

http://notjewishphilosopher.blogspot.com/

The Kuzari argument hinges on that ALL Jews accepted the story. But by definition only those who believed in the story were called Jews. In otherwords, we can define Jew as "he who believed in the Torah revelation story and cared about it". Gentiles were "those who didn't believe or care about the Torah revelation story". What would the Kuzari say about all of those ancient inhabitants of the land who said, "the Torah revelation story is bullshit"? We know they existed. Ditto for the Christian and Muslim stories.

From the above mentioned blog, one of the commenters said:

There's a more fundamental problem with the mass revelation argument: Descriptions in both the Tanachand the Talmud make it quite that there were multiple times when only a very tiny number of people remembered. So this notion of an unbroken, large-scale tradition of mass revelation is contradicted in the texts themselves.

Descriptions in both the Tanachand the Talmud make it quite that there were multiple times when only a very tiny number of people remembered.

yes i was hoping someone would bring this up. many aspects of torah and torah law were "forgotten" at various points in history. but this is crucial- NOT the story of the revelation itself. otherwise the "remembering" of the forgotten parts would have been meaningless.

still, it's an interesting point and worth persuing with people willing to quote chapter and verse- not us, in other words.

Again from the comment section.

. At some point the belief in the revelation and Torah became more widespread but not universal. Given the lack of writing and documents among the populace such a belief would be easy to propogate. Those who accepted that belief became known as Jews. Those who didn't were gentiles.

Those who accepted that belief became known as Jews. Those who didn't were gentiles.

can't be. same reason as below.

Given the lack of writing and documents among the populace such a belief would be easy to propogate.

sigh. a wild and unfounded assumption based on, what? archeological evidence that the non-jews of the time were illiterate? sorry.

we can define Jew as "he who believed in the Torah revelation story and cared about it".

no, we can't, and no one in the world does, with the possible exception of some few hundred insane extremist jews whose position on this matter are accepted by no one. this would mean, for instance, that all believing christians are jews- a patent absurdity.

all of those ancient inhabitants of the land who said, "the Torah revelation story is bullshit"? We know they existed.

first, the "inhabitants of the land" are irrelevant here. the revelation supposedly took place in sinai, not in "the land".

second, who says "they existed"? the tanach says the opposite- that they had heard about this great event and were fearful of the invading ex egyptian slaves.

Here's your scenario jonathan

http://www.talkreason.org/articles/kuzariflaws.cfm

Similarly, there is little basis for the assumption that the individual elements of the story itself was static over time and did not gradually develop. Consider the following hypothetical scenario. An historical event occurred where 600 Israelites migrate from Egypt to Israel through the desert. The people attribute their survival to God. Many generations later, people wonder what their ancestors ate in the desert. The most plausible answer they can come up with is that God gave them manna to eat in the desert. After all, this is consistent with the original belief that God was responsible for their survival. At some point, people wonder where all their customs and laws came from. They conclude that since their laws must have come from God, therefore God spoke to Moses on a mountain in the desert, and Moses relayed the customs and laws to the people in the midst of thunder, lightning, and fire. Later, the thunder is interpreted to be God's voice and finally, that God spoke to the people directly. At this point, they have completely forgotten the historical population in the desert and conclude that for such an extraordinary event it would be quite a waste to have a population of less than say, 600,000 men and their families. At a later time, these elements are gradually recorded in various written texts and eventually the texts are compiled and accepted in a unitary form. [4, 6]

The idea that people would come up with a story such as this may seem implausible due to its supernatural elements, but compared to the beliefs and myths of surrounding cultures there is little extraordinary about it. In the ancient world, supernatural beliefs were the norm; skepticism was not. [7] The scenario may also seem implausible since a nation should be expected to accurately remember their history through oral tradition. However, as mentioned above, people in the ancient world were often unaware about their national history, and when people do have recollection of their distant history through oral tradition, it tends to be a distorted one. [4, 3] It should be noted once again that the above scenario is not an attempt to prove that the beliefs of the miracles described in the Torah arose in a gradual fashion, but rather to demonstrate that it is plausible

As for being unique..

from the talkreason article

Indeed, an example of this type is found during 1917 in the city of Fatima, Portugal. [10, pg.176-181, 11, 12] Ten year old Lucia de Jesus dos Santos first witnessed the Virgin Mary with her two cousins on May 13th, 1917. On the 13th of each month over the following six months, the three children along with many followers were present at the site. The children continued to witness and receive revelations from the Virgin Mary each month. (The one exception is August 13th, when the children were detained by government authorities.)

By October the population of people present at the site had grown to 70,000. As previously, the Virgin Mary was witnessed by the children exclusively. However, a very bizarre event occurred. Joe Nickell in his skeptical book Looking For A Miracle briefly summarizes the testimonies of people who witnessed the "miracle" of the sun:

Some claimed that the sun spun in a pinwheel fashion with colored streamers, others that it "danced." One reported, "I saw clearly and distinctly a globe of light advancing from east to west, gliding slowly and majestically through the air." To some, the sun seemed to be falling toward the spectators. Still others saw, before the "dance of the sun" occurred, white flower petals showering down but disintegrating before reaching earth. [10, pg. 177]

To this day 6,000,000 people make the pilgrimage each year to Fatima in commemoration of this seemingly miraculous event. [13]

Admittedly there are various aspects of this miracle that natural explanations such as coincidental meteorological phenomena, mass hysteria, and optical illusion can account for [10, pg. 178]. However, when applying similar natural explanations to the miracles in the Torah, one isn't too far behind. Moreover, taking into account the possibility of a gradual corruption of the Torah's miracles considerably increases the ease of accounting for it.

i fail to see how this has anything to do with the uniqeness of the jews story of their revelation and subsequent history confirming that revelation, other than to say that other people too claim to have witnessed miricales, sometimes in large numbers. above, i tried to show probably ten times how this is not addressing the issue, and got no (serious) response. i just don't have the energy to rebut this yet again. if you're interested in what i think about this issue, it can be found quite clearly, and even concisely, more than a few times, farther up in this (what must be) longest thread in 1gm's history.

JoAnn, i choose to interpret this sudden flurry of reason and source reference on your part as an attempt to help me debunk the kp concept, as i indeed requested way, way, WAY back up this thread, rather than as an attempt to avoid the new topic(s) that red7 and andyo dragged out of me, as i am sorely tempted to do.

so, thank you for your belated help. the particular quotes you're using now, however, just sound to me like unfounded assumptons about peoples', and specifically jews' stupidity and gullibility. normally i'd be totally with you on these assumptions, but there is a limit in my mind not to people's stupidity and gullibility (which know no bounds) but to their imaginations. this, for instance, sounds completely implausible to me. there would be no reason whatsoever to just make up such specific explanations with no evidence when more generalized ones would do:

Many generations later, people wonder what their ancestors ate in the desert. The most plausible answer they can come up with is that God gave them manna to eat in the desert. After all, this is consistent with the original belief that God was responsible for their survival. At some point, people wonder where all their customs and laws came from. They conclude that since their laws must have come from God, therefore God spoke to Moses on a mountain in the desert, and Moses relayed the customs and laws to the people in the midst of thunder, lightning, and fire.

at least it's an ATTEMPT to come up with a plausible scenario, which neither you, nor red7, nor andyo even took a shot at despite my repeated insistance that this was all i was looking for in the first place. i appreciate your finally realizing this.

however we (andyo, red7 and myself, at least) have moved on to an entirely different subject now. i just don't have the juice right now to fight a 3 front war and would prefer to stick to the prophecy thing (which, again, is being largely ignored and marred by misdirection by, especially, red7. i appreciate that you all have so much respect for me that you think i can juggle 15 arguments with 3 people at once, but sadly, i can't. at least not fairly, in more or less real time.

really, for the 6th time now:i'm not trying to avoid the kp issue but to give it the respect and attention it deserves. i'm glad to see you are finally ready to do so, and if you wish, i'd be pleased as punch if you would condense the issues and put it in a forum post and i'll be glad to continue with it. you could start with a concise list of the individual points that, when connected, make up MY version of the "kp", as opposed to talkreason's version (they're quite different), just to show me that you understand what i wrote above on the subject. so far neither you nor the others have given me any indication that you do.

i hope you don't take offence at any of this, i'm just really, really tired and sunburned.

would prefer to stick to the prophecy thing (which, again, is being largely ignored and marred by misdirection by, especially, red7

Wow, you are not well suited for the reasoned discussion.

My point in "Marring" the discussion was to go after the prophesies in the same way a palm reader's predictions. Are the desires of the believer making a vague prediction or a good guess into a miraculous prediction.

I guess I just should have been amazed.

i didnt' mean to be offensive, red7 but i was referring to all the israeli/settler stuff you were asing about. i know i mentioned "the rebirth of the state of israel" as one of my points, but i guess i wasn't expecting to be going into all those areas of the nature of the state and it's relationship to the settlers, citizenship, the crusades, the nomad issue, the "god must be an asshole issue"... i know that you were also dealing with the core stuff and i guess i could have done better winnowing in what i chose to respond too. but the core stuff is complicated enough. i could do with a little less of the side points, if you please- unless they're strictly funny, like i said. i've always had an appreciation for your funny.

Well, you understand what fortune tellers do. They say, "someone here has a father with cancer." and someone that wants to believe says, "I have an uncle with cancer, and he was like a father>"

So the definition of the Jews, the homeland and phrases like "dispersed amongst the Nations".

So really what happened was they just spread around Europe and Russia. They moved around to the rest of the world but so has virtually every other culture.

And it is also important to see if people were actively trying to make these prophesies happen, because that doesn't require any divine vision.

Clearly the jewish people have been attempting to recreate their "homeland".

I guess my question to you is not to answer the specific challenges to ways that redefining terms can make the prophesy not true, but what about them seems like it can't be reinterpreted or can't be seen as Jews creating a self fulfilling prophesy?

i understand what you mean about fortune tellers and stuff (sounds like you're decribing "cold reading") but i just don't see how it applies to

the definition of the Jews, the homeland and phrases like "dispersed amongst the Nations".

you don't seem to understand, for instance, the significance of "dispersed" here. no, it wasn't just russia and europe. you left out north and south america, north and south africa, the rest of the middle east itself, austrailia, new zealand, etc., and seem to be ignoring the sheer size and diversity (# of nations, language groups, countries) of russia and europe. even non-states, like kurdistan have or had large and ancient jewish communities. i can't expect you to be an expert in jewish history, as we said. but a little reflection i think will show you that the word "dispersed" takes on a whole new meaning as applied to the jews- for whom the term "diaspora" was coined (i think). now, the prediction (or threat, actually) in the torah is not, according to even the most ancient sources, an approxomation, a rounding off, a ball park figure. it meant ALL of them. a pretty tough thing to predict- especially at the time, when the roster of both continents and nations was still unknown.

And it is also important to see if people were actively trying to make these prophesies happen, because that doesn't require any divine vision.

yeah, plenty of people were working to make it a reality- everyone except the jews, who just wanted to go home. how could the torah predict the antisemitism that would serve both to unify the jews as a whole, and also force them to seperate physically and wander from place to place, until forced to pick up and move again, etc. you could have made this prediction about any nation on earth 2500 or 3500 years ago, and you would have been wrong in every case. it's a completely unique case, even without the prediction. with it, it becomes just a little spooky.

what about them seems like it can't be reinterpreted or can't be seen as Jews creating a self fulfilling prophesy?

well, we could start with the examples i just mentioned, leaving out the modern state of israel, of course, since it could be seen as an example of the self-fulfilling prophecy you refer to. but all that other stuff, and especially that the impetus for the situation came not from the jews but from their "host" nations...

you don't seem to understand, for instance, the significance of "dispersed" here. no, it wasn't just russia and europe. you left out north and south america, north and south africa, the rest of the middle east itself, austrailia, new zealand, etc.,

Ok, see you only prove my point by confusing the two possible definitions of "dispersed". If they were "dispersed" as in moved by someones force, then "the nations" is somewhat suspect as no one forced any Jews to move to Australia. On the other hand if you mean "dispersed", like peacefully moved to every end world, then it isn't much of a prediction because the same is true of every "people".

yeah, plenty of people were working to make it a reality- everyone except the jews, who just wanted to go home.

Right, they would be responsible for making the second part come true, not the first part. Except those that of course just moved around the world on their own, assuming that's what was meant.

it's a completely unique case, even without the prediction. with it, it becomes just a little spooky.

Well, I am sure there are some black folk that found their people spread over the entire new world by slavery and then across Europe by colonialism and would like to reclaim their homelands if they new what they were and the Gypsies may have been pushed around Europe and north America by racism and economics. The catholic Irish might have also been pushed into the new world as cheap labor and into the mines and then hauled to Australia as prisoners. The Irish might have also been out of power in their own homeland until through violent conflict reclaimed a piece and ownership over their homeland.

But maybe I have the wrong definition of Unique :)

ok, so that's a negatory on the "unique", then?

how about "SO good looking"?

next thing, you'll be claiming all humans were created equal, and have certain inalienable rights, and other woo of this nature. :)

You are a cute people, but the hats are odd looking.

you know, i should just give this whole thing up right now, take "cute" and cut my losses. "cute" is pretty good- it's certainly easier to explain -or sell- than " the one true faith that has been corrupted into unrecognizability over the generations by the very people charged with it's care and maintenance". :)

and some of the hats are pretty cool- the infamous borsalino, for instance, popularized by al capone and his followers. maybe atheists should consider getting an official hat. maybe one of those floppy top hats or jester hats with the bells so popular at "raves". :)

again (i noticed you mentioned it again below) i'm just joking about the "one true faith" thing. this idea was never part of my position here, the jews don't even have a term for this. we leave it to the muslims and the christians to hash that one out.

We do need a hat. Maybe the Irish Cabbie hat.

I know the "one true Faith" thing isn't anything that you said, but isn't that where this leads? I mean what else is the point of all this uniqueness and valid predictions? If your god is a false god, what is the big benefit to being unique in your false claims about him?

It seemed me as a reaction to calls for the justification of Israel itself.

see how well you do when you just stick to the main issue? now it is i who feel "thru the looking glass and down the rabbit hole". if i accept your examples and implications here, the word "unique" will have lost all meaning for me. if there is no justification for considering the story of the jews historically unique (as many historians have, notably gibbons) and i instead accept your reading of the situation (well argued, no doubt), than what WOULD constitute uniqueness? i seek falsifiability, in other words. a big part of my case here has been based on the easy falsifiablity of the jews claims, both to uniqueness and the "mass audience with god" thing. where is the falsifiability in your argument? what WOULD you accept as "unique"?

well done, well done- as you can see i'm clutching at straws. :)

All religions have some unique claims. Your arguement seems to be that your religions Uniqueness increases the chance that it is the "true faith".

My lack of belief is based on a view of all religions and the contradictions in any theory of a god. Your examples fail to raise evidence to the level that would make me even rethink my stance. So the uniqueness you claim doesn't rise to a level of significance.

If they were "dispersed" as in moved by someones force,

what do you mean "if"? the forced dispersal, both from the land of israel and from many of the lands where they sought refuge is not in dispute. the fact that in the later stages there were also relatively peaceful migrations ( you say australia fits this model, i don't know if it does or not but i'm willing to accept your claim for the sake of argument) doesn't change the uniquely universal nature of the dispersion. this level of dispersion is certainly not the norm for "every other people" and i still challenge you to bring a comparable example. your example of the african diaspora is problematic, since the africans didn't and don't now have any kind of unified religious tradition or even historical narrative. as for the irish catholics, their level of dispersion is much lower. i was unable to locate the irish catholic communities in morrocco, tunesia, iran, yemen...you get the picture.

i'm also a bit mystified why you and JoAnn are so dogged and insistant in your denial of the "jewish uniqueness" argument. if you accepted it as fact, or even for the sake of argument, you wouldn't thereby be admitting that anything special happened at mt. sinai 3500 years ago. it's only a supporting point, not the main show.

i would also contend that in the modern american context of "all men are created equal", etc., that you both have an essentially emotionally based and automatic rejection of anyone or anything as being unique. also, you may smell an underlying attempt at justifying the modern state of israel in the "uniqueness" argument, and (again as a result of post- modern western anti-nationalism brainwashing) and are constitutionally incapable allowing such a thing to pass unchallenged. :)

but the idea of the jewish people's uniqueness is really pretty simple, well documented and widely accepted. it doesn't prove israel's right to exist or the truth of the sinai event, either. so you could relax a bit on this one if you wanted to. which i suspect you don't...

documented and widely accepted.

both by the supporters and the detractors of the jews, i should say, as well as more-or-less objective historians. this too i would call unprecedented- it's not how history usually works. it's and area where (to be crude with a broad brush) both hitler and herzl are in agreement.

Seems unlikely that hitler was looking at the same uniqueness as you, unless he was intending to slaughter the followers of the true faith.

well, certain modern jewish apologists would say no, it's the same uniqueness- namely, that the jews are responsible for introducing absolutist morality into the world- something hertzl admired, in spite of his secularism, and hitler abhorred, in spite of his christianity.

anyway, that's just fyi, it's not my position.

It is certain that Jews were dispersed to a certain set of countries by force and there is no doubt that they also moved peaceably around the world.

The "if" is about which or both meaning was god using in the prophesy.

The "if" is about which or both meaning was god using in the prophesy.

i'm not sure how it makes any difference- the root cause in both situations is that they were forbidden from returning to israel- that was the first half of the "prophecy". the second half- that they would be "distributed amongst ALL the nations (my wording) could be achieved in numerous ways. the point is- it actually happened. but i think you get that already.

Well, simple distribution has happened to all people, darned foreign exchange programs. so yeah, that's not unique at all. Not a foregone conclusion in ancient times, so somewhat of an interesting prediction.

But given that "the nations" is a fairly vague list of places they will be sent. I find the prediction fairly non specific. A few Jews must have ended up in territories by this point. God could have taken this occasion to mention that the earth was a Globe.

God could have taken this occasion to mention that the earth was a Globe.

yeah, he could have taken this occasion to set me up with some ancient ibm stock, too.

the Gypsies may have been pushed around Europe and north America by racism and economics.

so i'm willing to accept the gypsies (p.c. "roma") as the closest example yet. they don't seem to be united in terms of historical narrative (neither they nor historians seem to be able to agree on exactly where their homeland would be) or religion, but they do seem to have some kind of homogenous "culture". the problem here would be the same as with the irish catholics- the extent of dispersion is just too small to compare with the jews.

And your prophesy had language that clarified the extent of dispersal required to meet the prophesy?

without quoting chapter and verse- which i have so far managed to avoid- yes. i thought i had made that clear.

Quoth away, What is the point of debating the specificity of a prediction without the verbiage.- you might just start a forum so we can let 2 Saturdays ago die a good death

i keep tellin ya, i WISH i could start a forum thread. i've tried a few times and had my offering harshly rejected. once it was a veritable thesis, and i watched it disappear into the ether, never to be seen again. i was crushed. so, either i'm doing something wrong (i followed the instructions) or my paranoid fantasies have come true, and my internet behaviour is being monitored and manipulated.

I made you one. Have at it.

norm, i wonder if you have some kind of software at your end that helps you keep track of blog stats. i was wondering, since this is the end of this thread, if it might be a 1gm record for length?

I believe it is. I've now fixed your permissions so you can comment etc on the forum. You've also qualified for the blow-hard of the week award. Red is a close second. All very entertaining I might add.

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