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EMUNAH & BITACHON-----proofs/ various


smile4me Posted - 09 January 2003 7:09

Moderator, are you purposely ignoring my q's cuz there aren’t any answers?! I guess I’ll post them one more time...

If Hashem really wants me 2 believe, why cant He just bring malachim down or s/t?

Why is He bringing 9/11 & killing 5,000,000,000 ppl?!

Why should we believe in Hashem?

There’s no real proof! I don’t know how this world was created, but I don’t know if I believe in Hashem.

Why are there so many ppl that have no idea why their Jewish, but when she goes off, their like, omg, nebach, she’s wearing pants, oyyyyy.....they don’t even themselves know why their Jewish!

All those frummies are bull! Why do they believe? Why should I blindly believe?

Why am I a goy cuz I say shut up? If being a goy means s/o who says stupid & shut up, & s/o who wears G-d forbid, a skirt that’s by her ankles, then guess what???? e/o, I'm the newest goy!

And ya know what? All those rabbis that preach hevei dan es kol ha'adam lekaf zechus, why don’t they practice what they preach?! They should be role models!

When they give you a 5 hour speech on lashon hara, how can they go that same day & tell my entire class lashon hara bout s/o! & after telling us hevei dun es cal haadam lecaf bout they do the same to me, & not accuse me of crazy (oops, bad word, I'm a goy) things I never did, like listening to Goyish music, talking bout movie start etc.

I cant take it. I don’t think I'm being religious anymore. Anyone that’s religious-I'm ruining their life, & ya know what? It's not worth it anymore!

How is there proof to Judaism? & why is it worth it to be religious?

How do I know about olam haba & moshiach-how can I want s/t that I never experienced! wtvr.

If you have answers, it would be veeeery appreciated!

MODERATOR Posted - 09 January 2003 10:52

Chill, Smile. Please. The reason I didn’t get to your post yet was the same reason I didn’t get to hundreds of others. Sigh. Plus the fact that we spoke about this already. (Would I ignore your posts? You? Smile4me?? No way!)

Here's the answers:

moderator, are you purposely ignoring my q's cuz there aren’t any answers?! I guess I’ll post them one more time...

““if Hashem really wants me to believe, why cant He just bring malachim down or s/t?”“

He did. Not the malachim, but the s/t. He created a world which simply could not have come without a creator any more than a malach can. If you were on the moon, and you found a CD player, what would you think? Obviously, that someone was here already.

Now what if someone told you that the CD player came by accident - billions of years of accidental natural upheavals caused the glass to be formed out of sand, the wires out of copper, the body out of raw aluminum that melded with other metals, that it all accidentally came together, including the logo and the letters on the front, the hinged cover, the playing mechanism, the machinery, the batteries, everything - that it came not through design but through accident --

-- what would you say?

You'd say he's out of his mind. The odds of a CD player coming by accident are psycho.

There are only two ways anything happens in this world: (a) accident or (b) intelligence. If the CD player could not have come by accident, that automatically means it was designed by intelligence. There is no third alternative.

If so, what should one say about finding not If that is what we would say, conclusively and without any room for doubt, about a camcorder, what, then, shall one say about the human eye, which demonstrates plan and purpose compared to which a CD player is no more primitive than a rock.

Light enters your eye, and these cone sensor tools fine tune the color contrast and detail of the image, based on the lighting conditions.

There are seven million of these color sensors in your eye. Seven. Million. All of them work together to give you a realistic color image.

Seven million.

If there's not enough light for them to create color, like in a shadowy place, the color tools give the job over to a different group of black & white image enhancers. There are about 127 million of them.

Meanwhile, at the same time, a computer in your optic nerve receives signals from those 127 million sensors, changes them into code and sends them, translated, through a few hundred thousand nerve fibers that lead to your brain.

How do these millions and millions of tools know how to do all this?

Accident or intelligence?

Why doesn’t your eye send the signals to your stomach or foot? How does it know which direction the brain is? How did the optic nerve in your brain know where to create a connection?

But we're not finished yet. While all this is happening inside your eye, the pupil, that black hole on the outside of your eye, is measuring the amount of light it needs to let inside the eye, and it opens and closes, like a lens, to accommodate the exact right amount. A stereo focusing system is busy maintaining maximum image sharpness and a sophisticated image enhancer is clarifying tiny blurs in your vision caused by motion or darkness.

But that’s nothing. The image then gets sent to your brain.

Your brain has about ten BILLION nerve cells. Each of these ten billion cells grows between 10,000 - 100,000 fibers in order to connect to other nerve cells in the brain. The total number of these connections, which totally work in tandem with each other, equals one quadrillion. That is: 1,000,000,000,000,000

If you want to know how much that is, here's an example:

Imagine a forest half the size of the entire United States - one million square miles. A thick forest, with 10,000 trees per square mile. If each of these trees had 100,000 leaves, the total amount of tress in the entire forest would equal one quadrillion - the amount of nerve fiber connections in your brain.

Ask an atheist what he would do if he was on a jury and they found the fingerprints of the accused on the victim's throat. The defendant claims that it wasn’t him, and there must be someone else with the exact same fingerprints that he has. Plus the 20 witnesses who saw him strangle the victim lied.

You can't PROVE that this guy is guilty. It is possible that there exist in the world 2 like sets of fingerprints. There's nothing scientific that makes sure, when a baby is born, that his fingers make sure to not to duplicate everyone else's prints. the reason why we assume there are not 2 sets of prints the same is that there are so many possible ways for fingerprints to look, the odds of 2 being the same are staggering.

If the atheist will not believe that two sets of fingerprints are possible to be the same, that he would send someone to the electric chair and consider it proven beyond a shadow of a doubt that this was indeed the defendant and not someone else who killed the victim (witnesses can lie, too, you know), ask him then, how he can believe that the human brain came by accident - if he believes that, he should surely believe in the possibility of a whole slew of people with the same sets of prints.

This is just the beginning. We discussed elsewhere on the boards the proofs from history, from science, from archaeology, and more. There are no two ways about it. Rationally, G-d created the world beyond a shadow of a doubt.

I would suggest reading the books of Rabbi Miller - I made this suggestion many times on the boards - they are by far the best works on this topic. And many other topics as well. They are invaluable. But at least, let this serve as a small sample.

““why r there so many ppl that have no idea why their Jewish, but when she goes off, their like, omg, nebach, she’s wearing pants, oyyyyy.....they don’t even themselves know why their Jewish all those frummies r bull! why do they believe? why should I blindly believe? why am I a goy cuz I say shut up? if being a goy means s/o who says stupid & shut up, & s/o who wears g-d forbid, a skirt that’s by her ankles, then guess what???? e/o, im the newest goy!”“

I'm with you on this - those people are guilty of gross overkill. They should learn to chill a bit. Nobody's perfect, and if the worst aveirah anybody does is say "stupid" and "shut up", then they should consider their lives a great success. As far as those who call you a goy because of this, well, they are talking stupid, and they should shut up. Okay?

Such words, although not polite, do not constitute aveiros, merely impoliteness. Its not nice to be impolite where impoliteness is uncalled for but let's get things in perspective.

As far as Judaism vs. other religions, that’s even easier to prove than the existence of G-d. Please see the Us, Evil, and Proofs to the Torah forum.

Hang in there, smile, and listen - I know the school you went to. This happens there more often than in other schools. I'm sorry you’re a victim of this, but please, do NOT judge Judaism based on the actions of Jews. Especially since the particular Jews you are surrounded by include some which are notorious for doing these kind of stupid (I guess I'm a goy too) things.

MODERATOR Posted - 09 January 2003 10:57

PS - Yasher Koach to Rabbis Leib Kelleman and Eric Coopersmith for the eye/brain info.

yideleh Posted - 09 January 2003 16:04

Thanks mod for posting that. It was mischazek me so much and it really put me on a high. (and guess what? you're funny!)

Smile, those questions you asked are a reflection of the frustrations you're going thru. I hope things get sorted out for you real soon.

smile4me Posted - 09 January 2003 21:38

Moderator, thank you, thank you, thank you! I'm printing this out & reading it every single time I have doubts. I really really appreciate it. You just made it so obvious that there's Hashem. & I needed that!

By the way, Rabbi mod, my principal told my mom that when he hears bad things bout a girl, he's supposed to scream @ her, & only if she denies it, then he has to believe her.

Shouldn't he first check it out & ask the girl? I was/ am? so messed up cuz of it! I felt like, ok, so I'm already listening to Goyish music, talking bout about movie stars, have bad language (stupid, crazy, oh my gosh) & I never did any of it, besides language. He said that he asked a Rav & that’s what he told him to do. mod, I’m so shocked & mad.

How can they do that? is that right?! & he didn’t even say I'm sorry, for screaming @ me for 45 minutes that he's kicking me out of his school cuz he doesn’t want such goyim in his school.(& I think all the teachers & students think im very frum, aidel maidel, knaidel, w/ good friends, & no stupid(oops)politics.....what else do they want?

& life, yes I AM gonna get outta there, & yideleh, yes, I have to, Hashem is w/ me, He's gonna help me get through this!

Moderator, do you think Hashem will forgive me after saying all that bout Him? can you explain what Hashem is & why He wants me & how He’s my father if He doesn’t really have feelings? thanx! & sorry, for saying that stuff about you not posting, I know, your busy. thanx for taking the time to answer.

MODERATOR Posted - 09 January 2003 21:52

I suggest you get out of that school. Its not helping you. And I see no justification for a principal to falsely accuse students of things knowing that he is doing it without basis.

Besides that its plain wrong, many girls will not deny it anyway because they figure they wont be believed. The whole thing makes no sense. And whatever Rav he asked doesn’t mean much, since he could have described the Q according to his own interpretation of the facts.

For instance: "Rav, I have a question: I have a girl in the school who I know is influencing others to do bad, but I cant prove it, and if I accuse her of it I know she will be scared and stop. Can I tell her I know she’s doing it? And of course, I'll very much dan l'kaf zechus because if she denies it I will actually give her the benefit of the doubt since I trust my girls so much that even if I know they are guilty, I don’t think they would have the guts to deny it to my face. So can I tell her I know she did it?"

Know what I mean?

Bain Adam L'chavveiro questions that were asked by only one of the parties are not more authoritative than the accuracy of the facts given.

Rav Moshe Feinstein ZTL wrote that school spies, which as you know, your school proudly uses, is wrong and teaches students to speak loshon horah.

I suggest you get outta there. Its just turning you off, and its not your fault.

And G-d forgives everyone who does Teshuva. Regret what you said, make up never to say it again, and Hashem erases the past. Simple as that.

When we say G-d has no emotions it means that He loves us in a way that we cant understand - He doesn’t get a "good feeling" from loving; its totally for the benefit of us - not at all for Him - that He loves us. Its not an emotional thing at all - its a generosity thing.

BaronPhilip Posted - 19 January 2003 16:11

Just a trivial piece of information:

The argument for the existence of G-d that the Moderator brought above (and in lots of other places on this site) has an official name that philosophers refer to it with. It is called "The Teleological Proof". Since we are all referring to this important proof so often, I thought people might be interested to know its "official" name.

By the way, I spelled G-d with a dash here because I saw the Moderator doing it. Moderator, do you do that merely as a preference, something to be done "al pi Musar", or is there a real opinion in the poskim that a person has to do that?

I have noticed in the last five years or so that many people are writing "H-shem" with a dash. Is THAT really necessary? And if it isn't, then what is the difference between that and G-d? Both are "kinnuim", i.e. not real names but substitutions that we use in conversation and in disposable writings when we are trying to avoid using the real name(names?), which we reserve for tefillah.

Come to think of it, isn't the pronunciation we commonly substitute for Yud-Kay-Vov-Kay, i.e. "A--nai", itself just a kinnui we use because the REAL name is too holy for our use even in davening? If so, then what's the point of saying "Hashem" or anything else to avoid using a holy name, if even the substitute eventually becomes something we must treat as holy and revered?

MODERATOR Posted - 19 January 2003 16:24

Many poskim - most notably the Nesovis and Tumim - hold you can't write G-d out in full. For a synopsis of the shitos see Chelkas Yaakov YD 156.

There is no reason to put the dash in "Hashem."

I believe, however, that on a computer screen, you would be allowed to write G-d without the dash - its only a habit. The reason is, a figure on a computer screen isn’t permanent but rather constantly flashes on and off, just too fast for you to see. Therefore you can never really "dispose of" anything shown on a screen - the most you can do is prevent it from flashing on again - and that is not a bizayon.

If that is not true, it would be prohibited to ever turn your monitor off if Hashem's name (YKVK) is shown on the screen. It would constitute mechikas hashem. But since the words are not being erased, but merely prevented form flashing once more, you have been "mochek" nothing.

smile4me Posted - 28 March 2003 10:55

So if I KNOW that there’s Hashem, & have PROOF, then why cant I believe & why do I have doubts?

MODERATOR Posted - 28 March 2003 11:38

Because Hashem gave us a Yetzer Horah that tries to prevent us form accepting the proofs. Emunah is the greatest Mitzvah in the Torah and the most important attribute a Jew can have. And the proofs are there. In order for us to get reward for choosing to believe, G-d caused us to have to proactively say, "OK, I have these doubts but I know in my head that the proofs are true, therefore I will ignore the doubts."

Lots of times, we have urges that are bad for us - ask any of the ED girls on the site - but it is our job to resist our urges. Those doubts that you describe are "urges" to ignore or reject clear proofs. Intellectual urges, you may call them. But since they are illogical, they are urges. They make no sense. They are the Yetzer Horah. Our response has to be to do what is sensible, not what our urges want us to do.

And since you see clearly that the proofs are solid, you should recognize the doubts as manifestations of the Yetzer Horah, and choose what you KNOW is the truth.

rander Posted - 18 August 2004 11:47

If I can, I'd like to go back to something that was mentioned at the beginning of this string, the classic teleological proof (pocket watch), though this time it took the form of a CD player. I haven't read these books that have been mentioned, though I would like to, but for the moment I hope some of those issues can be discussed here. (Back to my point...)

Here's an alternative to the pocketwatch proof. Let's think of an... apple. Now, we can mostly agree that apples are quite tasty, grow on trees in large amounts, are healthy enough, are easy to pick, and come in nice packages. They're at least as complex as a CD player. Here's the question: should we, from these wonderful qualities of the widely available apple, conclude that the apple was created to excellently complement the qualities of humans?
Or, rather, should we think,

-The apple is easily pickable not because it was made that way, but because humans developed the strength and height and so on and so forth to be able to pick these apples?

-It is nutritious because humans adapted, in the gastrointestinal sense, to be able to process the polysaccharides and so forth that are found in apples?
-Does it taste good because it's a good evolutionary trait for creatures to want to eat the things that are good for them?

Admittedly, it seems a bit odd to talk specifically about apples. I mean, I _hope_ we can all agree that the apple did not drive human development.

Let me draw the picture more explicitly, and make it a bit larger:

We can say that this world, and the laws of nature, and so forth, are so perfect for the development of humans and life in general, and since that indicates a purpose, we should believe in a Designer.

Or, we can say that this world was here first, and that humans and life in general are so well adapted to it, because it is natural to expect. In other words, the world was here first, and life as we know it and humans as we know them seem so perfectly suited to it because we/it adapted and evolved that way. Or, that there would be some kind of self-replicating structure/organization, no matter the laws of physics, because of the very nature of such things - that were Planck's constant 100000 times larger, or whatever, that 'life' of some sort would still exist, though its form would be different.

Now, I know there have been some references to rebuttals of evolution, but I have not heard them, so I would love it if someone could summarize them here.

MODERATOR Posted - 18 August 2004 12:10

Either way you cut it, the apple shows awareness of human needs, and the human body shows awareness of what the apple offers. No matter which "adapted" to which, the question is: the ability to adapt, the fact that the body knew exactly how to digest those apples, how to grow in order to reach the apples, what limbs it needed to reach the apples, etc -- was that accident or intelligence?

That is the issue here - there are only two possibilities: (a) accident or (b) intelligence.

To say that it adapted or evolved just evades the question: adaptation and evolution are either accident or intelligence. Either a string of billions and trillions of perfectly aligned accidents or there is something in the organism that knows what direction it needs to evolve.

And don’t forget - the organism needs the ability to be able to "evolve" to begin with. If we were all made of stone we couldn’t "evolve" lungs, etc.

So the proof still remains: the perfectly designed and aligned natural phenomenon could not have, by any reasonable odds, accidentally ended up this way.

And the only alternative to accident is intelligence.

rander Posted - 18 August 2004 16:11

"Either way you cut it, the apple shows awareness of human needs, and the human body shows awareness of what the apple offers. No matter which "adapted" to which, the question is: the ability to adapt, the fact that the body knew exactly how to digest those apples, how to grow in order to reach the apples, what limbs it needed to reach the apples, etc -- was that accident or intelligence?"

-The apple does not show 'awareness' of human needs, necessarily: that is the point. It is altogether possible that humans adapted to the apple (it is not a useful trait for apples to be good eatings for humans, more or less, so it is unlikely that the apple adapted to be human-friendly)

-Second, saying the body "needed to know how to do x" is in a sense misleading - if it were 'accident' then we would be lacking purposeful evolution, and accident/design is precisely the debate here.

"...the organism needs the ability to be able to "evolve" to begin with. If we were all made of stone we couldn’t "evolve" lungs, etc."

-The ability to evolve is not necessarily tied to the atoms C, H, O, N, and a few others; rather, it is tied to living things, and in essence something that lives is something that tends to create copies of itself faster than it dies. The evolution occurs from inaccuracies in the copying process.

"Either a string of billions and trillions of perfectly aligned accidents or there is something in the organism that knows what direction it needs to evolve."

-This is really the crux of the argument, so it will receive the longest response.

To begin: it is not important how likely it is that life exists on Earth in this form. Rather, the question is, 'How likely is it that life exists _anywhere in any form_?' If the chances are reasonable, then though the chances for one specific breed of life appearing in one specific place are very unlikely, it is perfectly reasonable for life to have existed somewhere. And should those odds be reasonable, that life should find it perfectly expectable that it exists in a place well suited to it, and where whatever random accidents necessary for its existence occurred there.

This universe is, according to astrophysicists, so vast that a spaceship, traveling at the speed of light, would not be able to completely "circumnavigate" it in the expected age of the entire universe. In other words, it is really really big.

I would say it is somewhat reasonable to guess that somewhere out there, there is another planet similar enough to Earth that similar enough coincidences that are necessary (but not sufficient) for life to exist there occurred there.

I would think it reasonable to assume that there is, in fact, more than one such planet. This alone makes the existence of our kind of life, somewhere in the universe, much more likely. If we then include other forms of life, necessitating different sets of 'accidents,' then the chance that life would exist somewhere in this universe would, in my opinion (though in reality this is a question best left for astrophysicists and biologists and so forth), make the assumption that the chances are reasonable for life to exist somewhere in this universe fairly reasonable. In other words, it is expectable that life would exist somewhere in the universe, and therefore our existence is not unlikely or unexpected.

The obvious response is that there were other coincidences necessary, and that these coincidences could occur only once in a universe (coincidences as to the nature of physical constants, the makeup of the matter in the universe, etc), but there is a reply to this contention, albeit one a bit more "far-out."

Frankly, we have no evidence that this is the only universe. Zilch. Any evidence one way or the other must come from outside this universe, and we have no experience of that. Now, let us say that the chances of a universe being suited to our style of life alone are 1/n. So, there ought to be a bit more than n universes in order for the chances of a universe like ours existing to be reasonable.

Let's call that number of universes "m." Now, what are the chances of there being more than m universes? Since we have no knowledge as to the number of universes, we can accord the possibility of any one number of universes existing an equal probability. Now, for any number m, there will ALWAYS be far, far, far, fewer numbers between m and 1 than there will be between m and infinity (the upper limit of the number of universes). So, it is overwhelmingly likely that there would be enough universes in existence to make the existence of one suited to our style of life reasonable.

That wraps up that particular argument. In essence, it contends that it is not unlikely at all that life would exist, and exist in a place suited for it, where even trillions of accidents had to occur for its existence. It is perfectly reasonable to assume that life would exist somewhere. If that is reasonable, then the teleological argument becomes unconvincing.

MODERATOR Posted - 18 August 2004 16:23

It doesn’t matter how many universes there are. The odds of life evolving, i.e. accidentally developing, in any universe is staggering, and beyond belief.

If you flip a coin, the odds are 50/50 for "heads." If you flip it 5 times and you always get heads, the 6th time, the odds are still 50/50. A coin has no memory.

So too even if you have a billion universes out there, the odds of any given one creating life by accident is the same as if there would only be 1 of them.

It doesn’t matter if the apple "adapted" for people or people "adapted" for the apple. Either way, accident is beyond believable odds.

What you refer to as "likelihood" of life evolving, still amounts to staggering odds. The numbers are too large to describe (please see the Proofs to the Torah forum where the math is done).

The fact that elements got together and life came from them is itself ridiculous by accident.

And the fact that life "knows" how to evolve is also impossible by accident.

You may not realize the level of coincidence that is needed to do this. Did your stomach "evolve" before the lining that protects it from the acids? If so, it would have been destroyed after the first meal. If the lining evolved before the acids, then nature must also be endowed with prophecy, because it was burdened for millions of years with some useless lining, until the acid evolved.

The chicken egg needed to be the right thickness - not too thick and not too thin - to allow the development and hatching of the chicken, form the start. Else even one generation of chicken would not have been able to survive.

And even if, theoretically, all this did evolve, the fossil evidence would have to show the billions and billions of species that did not survive - the "non fittest" that fell by the wayside. For every survivable species, you’re talking about countless non-survivors. The odds are ridiculous. And the fossil record so far has ONLY COME UP WITH VIABLE LIFE FORMS.

We still have no answer to the question; How does anyone account for the staggering odds of life forming by accident?

rander Posted - 20 August 2004 8:34

Your point about statistics is rather, well, odd. Sure, if I flip a coin 50 times, and get heads 49 times, it is no more probable that I would get tails on that last flip. The odds don't change like that. However, let's switch to a dice-rolling example. Although the chance of a six coming up is only 1 in 6, over a few thousand throws I would expect to get a six (several, actually). If, for every action x, there is a 1% chance of result y, then, though each time result y is very unlikely, over a few hundred thousand events x, the probability of getting at least one result y is very likely. To assert otherwise is just bad math.

The spottiness of the fossil record can also be explained. To begin, it is not very easy for bones to become fossils - it takes a great deal of luck. And if a species is not viable, then it is unlikely that it would last a long time, and hence it would be much less likely to leave behind fossils. Even if it did, given the size of the Earth, and the amount of the strata we have examined, it is altogether possible we've missed these few, if any, fossils.

As for the wonderful synchronization of our bodily systems, and those of other animals:

First (though rather weak) it is expectable that life would exist in a place where it got lucky enough to develop such things in the first place (those random coincidences are a precondition for that life, after all).

Second, we can see a slow development of various bodily organs, from the ridiculously simple ones of the lower animals (worms, whatever) to the more complex and powerful ones of the others. Evolution is a process both gradual and sudden. A sudden breakthrough mutation could leave an animal with an excellent advantage, and its success gives that life form enough time to "fine-tune" its innovation, which in turn is passed on to the next set of creatures.

Frankly, it is altogether possible that there are intermediate stages in things like stomachs (stages between the one we have now and the one posited to have come before), but as the actual, precise workings of the stomach are still nigh-unfathomable to our best biologists, it is unreasonable to expect at this point a biologist to be able to conjecture the details and function of such an intermediate stomach.

In other words, all these accidents are not unreasonably unlikely.

MODERATOR Posted - 20 August 2004 10:49

What you are saying in essence is, "Yes, but it could happen."

Well, that is of course true, but then you would be unable to prove anything at all, because similarly, "it could always happen."

If G-d Himself would come and reveal Himself to the entire world an say "I am Hashem", that, too, by your standard wouldn’t prove anything because a happy string of coincidences could account for natural sounds and sights that happened to have coincidently united at the right time and place to cause such a phenomenon.

It could happen.

Proof, in any other context other than atheists talking about G-d, is not expected to reach the level of absolute impossibility. There is no such thing as absolute impossibility. Anything "could" happen, as long as it is not an absurd concept that cannot exist (such as a triangle that is round).

You would send someone to the electric chair if you were a juror and the defendant’s fingerprints were found on the strangled victim's neck. A video of the murder, and perhaps 20 witnesses would make the verdict a no brainer.

But witnesses could lie, a video could be forged - one may even go so far as to claim that some technology exists out there that we are as yet unaware of that synthesized such a realistic video.

And please note, that there is no proof anywhere that says two people cannot have the same fingerprints. In fact, there is absolutely nothing in nature at all that precludes duplicate fingerprints. How in the world would my fingers know, when I am born, the patterns of fingerprints that have already been "placed" on the fingers of every other human being? How do my fingers know which fingerprints are "used" already so as to avoid duplicating them?

The only reason that we assume - yes, assume! - that two sets of fingerprints cannot be alike, or that two snowflakes cannot be alike, is because there are so many billions of possible fingerprint patterns, and snowflake patterns, that the odds of two like patterns existing are so staggering that we don’t even consider it a possibility.

Even though it could happen.

So if you are a juror and the defense attorney claims that nobody "proved" that the fingerprints on the victim's neck were really the defendants - because it could happen that by coincidence two identical sets exist, and that you cant "prove" that the 20 witnesses told the truth (they could have all lied and coincidently made up the same exact details in the story), and that you cant "prove" that the video cannot be faked, he would be laughed out of the courtroom.

Even though it all "could happen".

And you would send the defendant to his death, because you saw proof "beyond a reasonable doubt" or "beyond a shadow of a doubt" that this man is guilty.

You have no proof that your dessert is not poisoned, but you would take the chance of eating it anyway.

Once the odds reach a certain point, we don’t consider the alternative as viable.

Even though your desert could be poisoned.

And so, the amount of "coincidence" and lucky accidents needed to create life are so ridiculously beyond reason, that you’re talking about a universe of people with duplicate fingerprints and continents of totally identical snowflakes.

You’re talking about a monkey typing away at a keyboard and producing the Works of Shakespeare. Or more like, the entire stock of the library of congress.

It could happen.

We live our lives laughing at such claims. We would call the ambulance at someone who really believes those things.

Except for the atheist discussing G-d.

It's amazing how, on that level of reasonbleness, a person would risk his life and send others to their death, but to avoid eating pork, for that, he needs "absolute proof".

The question is not "can we prove G-d?" The question is, given the proof that we do have, why in the world would anybody NOT believe in G-d???

And to that, so far, no atheist has come up with anything close to a sensible answer.

rander Posted - 20 August 2004 12:29

I don't think your reply was perfectly accurate. It didn't seem to address the points I made. Admittedly, life may be freakishly unlikely in any given situation, but in order to address the overall probability of life existing _anywhere_, we need to look at the number of situations. I'll try to spell out my point more specifically by going back to the dice-rolling metaphor.

If I roll a die once, the probability of getting a two is 1/6. If I roll it again, the probability that it will come up a two on that roll is again 1/6. And so on for each roll. BUT, the probability of getting a two on any one of those rolls is much more than 1/6. If it were 1/6, then it would not be reasonable to expect to get at least one two on a hundred, or a thousand, or a million rolls. But it is reasonable to expect at the VERY least one two over a few million rolls of a fair die.

There are parallels to life. No matter how unlikely the existence of life in any one situation, even if it be one in a googol, it is probable that there would be enough instances of such situations for the expectation of getting at least one situation where life exists is reasonable. (For the reasoning behind this, see my previous post).

So, yes, life "could" exist through random chance. Of course. Anything "could" happen. But in this case, it is altogether reasonable to expect that life would exist in at least one situation. It is likely, in fact.

MODERATOR Posted - 20 August 2004 12:32

I did address this. Its like the lawyer saying "duplicate fingerprints are likely to develop somewhere, so its perfectly reasonable that they did so here."

All the "could have beens" are privileged with the same "advantage" of having had gazillions of chances, just like "life". But in the end, no matter how many monkeys sit at the typewriter, you’re not going to get the Library of Congress.

The odds of life developing by accident ANYWHERE are just too ridiculous to believe.

rander Posted - 21 August 2004 22:41

First of all, before asserting that it is impossible for life to exist by chance and then referring to a book, I would appreciate it if you outlined the reasons and then referred to the book for more filling-out (previous non-mod post).

I don't get out to bookstores enough to acquire these books, so I really appreciate it when the arguments in there are outlined and debated here, where I can get them.

As for the moderator's post, this is all basic statistics. The reason we get no repeat fingerprints is that, given the amount of possible fingerprint patterns and the number of people in an area, it is very unlikely for two fingerprints to match even closely. In fact, given the number of instantiations of fingerprints and the number of possible fingerprints, it is very unlikely for there to be repeats. There are just way more patterns than there are fingers, and so it is reasonable to expect that there are no repeats.

If we look at the possible characteristics of worlds (of which there are many), against a the likely number of such worlds, it is likely that _somewhere_ there would be life.

I am going to repeat myself, because perhaps it will allow one of y'all to get my point. If the chances of life are 1/n, and there are far, far, more than n worlds (and it is likely that there are; for evidence see my previous posts), then it is reasonable to expect that somewhere we would find life existing.

I don't think this point has really been answered. It is just basic statistics and probabilities.

MODERATOR Posted - 21 August 2004 22:59

Statistics don’t work like that. If the chances of getting heads in a coin flip is 1/2, if you throw the dice twice, or even 100 times, each time you’ll still get a 50-50 chance of getting heads.

If you throw a die, you have a 1/6 chance of rolling a 1. If you throw it 6 times, you still have a 1/6 chance each of those times of rolling a 1. It doesn’t change. And if you do roll a 1 lets say on the 3rd try, and not the first two, that was totally random.

No matter how many times you throw the dice, they will have to overcome the 1/6 odds to come up with any given number. Even if you roll them a million times, each throw still has to overcome the 1/6 odds.

Now 1/6 odds is not so hard to overcome, and if it happens, its totally random, unrelated to the number of times you threw the dice.

And no matter how many universes there are, in order for life to accidentally arise, it would have to overcome, on its own, without the help of any to the gazillions of other universes, the 1/innumerable chances. And that doesn’t happen.

And besides all this, life doesn’t spring up at once - it takes time, and each of the gazillions of happy accidents have to have time to happen, on their own, independently, and even if one would be missing, the whole organism would fail.

In fact, even according to the most conservative estimate of the age of the world according to evolutionists, there hasn’t been enough time since the beginning for life to develop, by any reasonable standard. You would need so many happy accidents, numbers beyond anything we can imagine, to have happened precisely in the right place and time, one after the other, with some kind of maintaining device existent all the while to ensure the continued life of the organisms while they were developing but only partly developed.

The whole thing is logically absurd. I don’t see how anybody can even entertain such a remote possibility.

The only people who do, I would imagine, are those with such unhealthy psyches that would be afraid to go out on a sunny day lest they get hit by lightning, the odds of which are infinitely greater than life developing anywhere, ever, or those paranoid people who live in bomb shelters because they’re worried lest a meteorite smash their homes into dust, which is much more likely than them having evolved form monkeys, who evolved from pond slime completely by accident.

It's very strange, and explainable only by way of the irrational inside all of us, that people actually believe the world exists with no Creator.

MODERATOR Posted - 01 September 2004 13:59

So even though a matching set of finger prints is possible, we consider it not even a reasonable doubt, and we would put a man to his death rather than entertain the possibility.

And yet, evolutionists try to convince us that the bottomless plan and purpose in the universe, which is infinitely more complex than a fingerprint, and infinitely less likely to occur, just "happened" by accident, and accident evolved for billions of happy year, all the time being involved in more and more billions of happy accidents. The whole thing makes no sense to any rational person and its a pity they ever th0ught of it to begin with.

And the lack of missing links in the fossil record, the historical records of mattan torah and the national experiences described in Tanach, the archeological evidence to the narratives in the Torah, the scientific facts that Chazal somehow "knew", the fact that the date of the world that we professed for thousands of years has been found to square perfectly with the development of cultures around the world - and we had no way of knowing whether some culture has a recorded history going further back than ours - but guess what? Nobody does - in a world supposedly billions of years old, it strange that nobody claims to be able to tell us historically what happened more than 5764 years ago - the philosophical and mathematical impossibility of the world NOT having been created , and the impossibility of a causeless being NOT being the cause of the world - all this is enough proof to remove any doubt from any truth-seeking mind.

rander Posted - 04 September 2004 21:30

I realize I neglected to mention the moderator's point about my statistical analysis. The moderator had said that no matter the total number of universes (trials), each one would still have to "overcome" the steep odds (1/n) of life occurring (the event).
Now, I say that given enough trials, even the most unlikely of events will arise at least once.

The moderator disagrees, and gave some explanation why, which I summed up above.

Let's change the parameters a little to see why the moderator's version of statistics is not the best. Instead of universes for trials, let's take die rolls (fair, six-sided die). And obviously the odds of this event (a 6) are 1/6.

According to the moderator, no matter how many times we rolls this die, the OVERALL probability of getting a 6 stays 1/6. So, according to that logic, if I roll the die a hundred times, it is only 1/6 likely that I would get s SINGLE SIX. Is that reasonable?

What I'm trying to say is that if there is a sufficient number of universes, no matter how unlikely it is that a single one would have life in it, it is reasonable to expect that at least one would have life in it. As for why it is likely that there would be a sufficient number of universes, I have already given analysis and argumentation as to why it is reasonable to expect it to be so.

I'd like to, again, talk about how I am using these statistics. Instead of talking about universes, we can say die rolls, and again this is a fair die, though this time it has a trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion faces. And if we roll a 1, life exists. So, if we roll that die a trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion times, is it reasonable to expect getting at least a single 1? Yes. I hope I have made my point clear, at last.

MODERATOR Posted - 04 September 2004 21:46

It would take more than a trillion trillion trillion - it would take many many more "dice rolls" than even the most liberal atheist estimate of the age of the universe has allowed. The odds are just impossible.

But your analogy is faulty anyway. In the case of the dice, each roll represents a new chance, from scratch, for the 6 to come up. In that case, you have a dice-thrower who is aware of the failure of his first attempt to throw a six, then picks up the dice again, and tries another time, and he will try, until he rolls a six. This intelligent being, who knows how to throw the dice, and how to "retry" after a failure, and in fact does try and try again, does not exist in the universe.

The size of the universe, or as you call it "many universes" is not analogous to many rolls. You can call any amount of space a "universe" and then make as many "dice throws" as you want out of it. The amount of space in the universe does not decrease the odds of accidents happening. There are no "multiple rolls" in the one reality that exists.

If what you are saying is true, then it would indeed not be unreasonable to find a monkey who did accidentally create the library of congress by pounding on a word processor. In fact, it would be strange if there WASN'T somewhere out there such a monkey who has accomplished this, because he odds of it happening are, according to you, reduced as per the multitude of universes that exist.

In fact, according to you, just about everything should be "out there" somewhere, by accident, or at least the odds are, that they are out there.

The argument that the murderers fingerprints were duplicated because "somewhere" it is likely that duplicate fingerprints should exist would not convince any sane person.

rander Posted - 04 September 2004 21:49

Moderator - I've said repeatedly that the actual likelihood of life is not important. The argument I originally advanced covers ANY degree of improbability aside from utter impossibility. As for missing links, it is not reasonable to expect that there would be fossils of every creature that ever existed. First, it is fairly difficult for a fossil to form and last. Second, if we consider the evolutionary idea of "punctuated equilibrium," any intermediate steps would be very brief. As for the other things you mention, I would like if you could actually state them and not reference them - I don't know as much about those things as I would like.

If I missed anything, feel free to mention it; I will try to address it. Sorry for the long delay in posting - I was visiting relatives and did not touch a computer.

MODERATOR Posted - 04 September 2004 21:54

Nothing is "impossible", rander. As I said, even if G-d Himself would announce His presence to the world, you could say that an improbable but possible combination of natural phenomena caused it. Nothing at all can be proven in that sense, nor does it have to. What we are looking for is reasonableness and consistency with what rational people consider compelling.

Thus, if an atheist believes the world came be accident, he may as well be afraid that he will be hit by lightning walking outside on a clear summer day. He will be scared that his desert is poisoned, because although improbable, it might happen. He will never, ever find a defendant guilty in court because witnesses can lie, fingerprints can be duplicated, and videos can be forged, perhaps even with alien technology. It is possible.

The chances of this world coming by accident are much less than all of the above put together.

onemore Posted - 05 September 2004 7:41

Moderator- as you have just admitted concerning Rander: anything is possible given enough tries. Meaning that yes, evolution is highly unlikely, but there is always that slight slight possibility. So, my question is: Isn't there that slight possibility that Judaism is false? Yes, Judaism was passed down through the generations, but don’t things in history repeat themselves? why hasn’t any other religion claimed to have had a mass revelation?

If your answer is that that is the answer in itself, that it's so unlikely for so many people to carry a lie without someone finding out the truth, you're basing it on statistics. But statistically, it's possible for a nation to get away with such a large lie (because they're one nation out of so many). so I guess what im asking is: isn’t it possible that the Jewish nation just simply got away with their lie (out there in the desert all by themselves)?

MODERATOR Posted - 05 September 2004 7:53

Anything is possible even given one try. It is not the amount of tries that makes something "possible", it is your definition of "possible", which is useless in the real world, and dishonestly applied to nothing in life except religion.

It is indeed possible that your desert is poisoned, but you would eat it anyway. Why? Why take the chance? The answer is that possible does not mean reasonable.

Naive people are naive even though what they believe is "possible"; foolish people are foolish even though what they think is "possible"; paranoid people are paranoid even though it is "possible;" that the whole world is indeed after them.

And you would send a man to the electric chair, considering his guilt "proven beyond any reasonable doubt" even though it is "possible" that witnesses lied, fingerprints could be duplicate, and yes, even aliens could have done it.

"Proof" does not mean negating an impossibility. No scientific or other type of proof negates all possibility of something being untrue. "Possibility" by this definition is a meaningless philosophical term that has no relevance in the real world.

All "proof" has to do in order to motivate you to act upon it is remove doubt, not remove impossibility. Removing impossibility in this sense is, well, impossible.

So the answer to your question is, it is probably less possible for you to be abducted by liens every day of your life - time after time.

And so if you are not worried about taking a stroll around your block, lest the aliens get you, you certainly do not have to worry about Judaism being false.

And it is probably less likely to be false than every one of your deserts poisoned by your enemies who, although you do not know it, want to kill you. It could happen, you know.

And so, if you eat your desert without fear for your life, then it would be dishonest to eat a cheeseburger without fearing for your soul.

And it is possible that if you jump off the roof, you will fly. But you have to be an idiot to take that chance.

It is even more of a risk that eating that cheeseburger will not send you to Gehinnom. So if you are not ready to jump off the roof based on the possibility of flying, it would be dishonest of you to eat that cheeseburger based on the possibility of Judaism being false.

MODERATOR Posted - 05 September 2004 15:51

Please note, that all of the above is referring to evidence-oriented proofs, where you prove something based on the preponderance of evidence. Such a thing cannot ever happen, because "anything can happen". Scientific proofs are not really proofs by this standard, and what you see with your own eyes is not even proof, by that mistaken definition of proof.

Proof, as I mentioned, means compelling evidence, which is the maximum that can exist in reality. Anything more just cannot happen. And so, if you are not willing to take a chance of jumping off the roof, because, after all, you cannot prove that you won't fly, then it would be dishonest of you to take a chance and eat a cheeseburger because you cant prove its bad for your soul.

However, there is another type of "proof" which isn’t really a proof but merely logical inference, since it is not based on evidence but simple logic. Such a "proof" would be when you say if A=B then B=A. In essence, this is the same way of saying two different things. It is not more a "proof" than saying A=A.

So too when you say If A=B and B=C then A=C. "Proof" here means something completely different than it does in a courtroom or a laboratory. All it means is "the alternative is absurd."

There are such proofs to Hashem's existence as well. The simplest was discussed in the "G-d" forum, where not only do we prove G-d's existence, we also prove everything we know about His being in one fell swoop. It's quite simple:

Every effect has a cause. And the cause of the cause, too, must have a cause, and so too must that cause have a cause, etc.

Now the number of causes that go back in time are either infinite or finite. There is no third alternative.

But to say that they are infinite is absurd, since infinity can never be reached and if we say that an infinite amount of causes already happened in the past, that means we have already reached an infinite amount of something, which is absurd. (Just think: If someone were counting every cause that happened in the past, what number would he be up to? That number cannot be infinite, because you cannot ever reach infinity.)

Therefore the number of causes that happened in the past must be finite.

If they are finite, that means by definition that they had to have a beginning, a first cause.

And that first cause cannot have any cause.

That First Cause is what we call G-d.

G-d, we have just established, had no cause, which means He has no definition, no attributes, no boundaries, no limitations, because all of that would be His cause, i.e. what makes Him Him.

We also know that G-d cannot disappear or die, since the cause of His existence cannot ever be undone if He exists without a cause.

We also know that He cannot change, because change implies before-and-after, but the first cause must exist outside of time, for otherwise time would be a cause of His existence. And if you live outside of time, you cannot change.

And so on.

The fact that G-d is causeless is the simplest and single most important thing we know about Him, because from that everything else we know about Him can be derived. And His causelessness is the only logical possibility, since an infinite amount of causes in the past is absurd.

onemore Posted - 05 September 2004 16:42

moderator- who are you speaking to in your last post?

Is this meant to be the reply to my post about e/ cause having an effect (which I made as a new forum called free will and my philosophy class; but it never got posted!).

MODERATOR Posted - 05 September 2004 16:45

I was answering rander. Your question about Bechirah is in the Bechirah forum. Here:

That will also answer the predeterminism.

BrotherConcern Posted - 06 September 2004 12:15

For the record, mod's post about the cause-and-effect series, is referred to as the Cosmological argument.

And if rander wants to debate it, he will be quoting Kant :)

MODERATOR Posted - 06 September 2004 12:31

Its not exactly the Cosmological Argument - the Cosmo Argu is different, and goes something like:

Everything has a cause, so the world has to have a cause.

It doesn’t make much sense because the retort arises: If everything has a cause then what caused the cause of the world?

What you have quoted above is different. Here we prove that there has to be a First Cause without a cause, because an infinite amount of causes is impossible. Kant nor anybody else has ever made a dent in that.

What remains is to understand why G-d needs no cause but everything else does. The answer to that is also contained in the argument. The reason why things need a cause is because there has to be a reason why they exist as opposed to not existing. And since both possibilities are real: existence and non-existence, there has to be a factor that causes existence over non-existence.

But that would not apply to a Muchrach Hametzius - something that could not have not existed, in which case it would not need nor would it be able to have a cause that determines existence over non-existence.

And since we can prove that there HAD to be a First Cause, we also conclude that this First Cause must be muchrach HameTzius - it could not have not existed. That is the only possible reason it would not need a cause.

rander Posted - 08 September 2004 8:18

Sorry, I realize I skipped one thing and was weak in another area.
First, I skipped the Moderator's point about proofs. Yes. Everything he said is true, to a point. I am trying to establish that it is reasonable to expect life to arise by random chance, in exactly the sense he described. I am trying to show that it is probable for life to exist somewhere. And if it is probable that it exists somewhere, then it is no surprise that it exists here (this being that somewhere).

Now, my response concerning the infinite-regress stuff was weak. What I really want to say is that the moderator's objections really concern the nature of infinity. Basically, he states that it is absurd. But we know they exist. How many integers are there? An infinite number. Can we reach the end of them by counting? No. Can we reach the beginning of them by counting? No. But the set of all integers is infinite. Admittedly, infinities are a bit odd. But they certainly exist, and they have those sorts of properties. And it is plausible that this universe is a result of an infinite chain of causes.

Sorry for the double post.

MODERATOR Posted - 08 September 2004 8:34

You haven’t shown that its probably or even likely, or even reasonable, for life to occur by chance, because you still have not overcome the insurmountable odds of that happening anywhere.

Your point about infinity is an error. Infinity means never-ending. Because there are an infinite amount of numbers you cannot count all of them. Infinity means you will never reach the end, even if you count forever. Thus, if you have reached the end, it is not infinity.

And therefore, the amount of time in the future can be infinite, which mean that the future will never end, but keep going on forever, but the amount of time in the past has to be finite, because the present has been reached, and if the amount of time in the past would be infinite, you would have passed infinity - and that is absurd.

Not that this needs demonstration, but consider:

If you have a six-inch spoon, and divide it in half. Now divide those halves in half. Keep dividing it over and over again. How many pieces can you divide it into?

Infinity, right?

OK, now take a football field, and divide it into half, and then again in half, and again and again. How many pieces can you divide it into?

Infinity, right?

This means that both a spoon and a football field are comprised of the same amount of points: Infinity. And that makes no sense.

If A/B=C, then C*B=A. So if 6 inches divided infinitely equals an infinite amount of pieces, that means that if you take an infinite amount of pieces and line them up side by side, you’ll get a 6 inch spoon.

But you’ll also get a football field.

The answer to this is that infinity is not a large number which you can reach if you count a long time. Infinity is unreachable. Therefore, no matter how long you chop up that football field, or that spoon, the number of pieces will always be finite. You can keep chopping in half forever, but no matter how long you chop, you will never reach an "infinite" amount of pieces.

You can never reach infinity.

Another cute illustration of this is the case of the hotel with an infinite amount of rooms, fully occupied. Someone comes to the hotel and asks the receptionist for a room. She says there are no rooms, the hotel is fully occupied.

The customer then says "I have an idea. Since you have an infinite amount of rooms, and infinity plus 1 is also infinity, all you have to do is move the occupant of room number 1 to room number 2, then move the person in room number 2 to room number 3, etc, ad inifinitum, and then room 1 will be empty!"

And you can keep doing that endlessly.

In other words, a hotel with an infinite amount of rooms, all occupied, also has an infinite amount of vacancies?!

The answer is that it is impossible for a hotel to have an infinite amount of rooms. Infinity cannot be reached, it cannot be contained, it cannot be collected - it is unreachable. Thus, if you have already collected it, reached it, or stored it, it cannot be infinity.

You may say that infinity exists as potential, but not as actual.

Time can go on and on forever, meaning, it may never end, but you will never reach an infinite amount of time-moments. That is not possible.

And so, the past must be finite.

rander Posted - 08 September 2004 8:36

There are several things I need to respond to in this post.

First, the Moderator, and some statistics. I think the source of the argument we have been having is an a misunderstanding. I am sorry for not realizing this earlier. When I say that the chances of life existing increase with the number of universes, I do NOT mean that the chances of life existing in any one universe are greater. I mean that the chances of life existing ANY one of the universes increases. The OVERALL probability of a certain result occurring increase as the number of events that could generate that result increases.

Next, BrotherConcern asked me to deal with souls and unexplainable things. As far as SIDS goes, as far as anything of that nature goes, I would simply say we should not expect our scientists and doctors to be able to describe everything in the entire world (describing the world is science at its most basic). Two hundred years ago we didn't understand the orbit of Mercury or cholera. But we do now. In some time I imagine science and medicine will have better answers to why some babies are stillborn, some have SIDS, etc.
As for why identical twins become different people, even if they might be raised with "the same things," they are also raised with different things. Their brains experience different environments (by environment I mean the totality of their surroundings) and these things combine to make them different. As for bears, well, bears are stupid (this said with a wink and a nudge). But some animals do exhibit individual preferences and quirks, namely the great apes. As for how the brain works, well, the brain is a monstrously complicated doohickey. How we understand things, neuro- and cognitive- and whatever- science are fascinating fields of study. If you want to argue further about the brain, let me know, but for right now I have a lot of ground to cover.
You also mentioned souls as an explanation of the Dahmers, etc. Well, I don't know how well the neurology of psychopaths is understood by scientists, but frankly, Dahmer was probably born with a problem (chemical imbalance or whatever). Or maybe it was just some quirk of his environment. Like I said, the brain is complex. If you want to talk more about deviant behavior, I can do that as well.

Moderator, you also mentioned monkeys, typewriters. Well, I'd have to say that we don't have rooms filled with monkeys banging on typewriters. A more modern example would be a computer with a random character generator. Run it long enough, and we probably would get the Library of Congress, or whatever.
You also said that the argument I proposed shows that anything could be "out there" in my other universes. I don't understand your point. It does not attack my argument; it does not support yours; it doesn't do much. Are you just remarking?

Before moving on to the next big topic, I have to address BrotherConcern's point about suicide. If he is saying that all atheists are either intellectually dishonest or suicidal, then that is a huge can of worms. If we want to talk about the existence of morals absent a god, then do lets. But again, that will be a large can of worms and I try to stay on topic.

Now for the next large section: the cosmological argument/first cause argument. I do not think this is a flawless argument for the existence of G-d. This comes for several reasons.

-The argument for a first cause.
What do we know about causality? We know that the principle of causality states that everything (in this universe - the principle of causality is an adductive inference) has to have a cause. We do we suppose the universe itself must have a cause? Have we observed things that would have bearing on such an inference? No; we are extending the principle of causality beyond its actual scope. There is no evidence that the universe itself actually needs a cause.
Now, if it does in fact need one, I do not think it true that there cannot be an infinite regress of causes. The PoC (acronym) says that each thing must have a cause. Well, each thing in our chain has a cause (the one before it). This satisfies the PoC. Now, the Moderator asks "What number would this universe be?" This is obviously an absurd question. It just doesn't bear. It is like asking, "Where does the graph of y = x + 2 begin?" This chain would not be the sort of thing that can be definitively counted. We would not "have" infinity things; that is absurd. Infinity is not a number. Infinity is not reached, by definition.

-The argument for that first cause being the one G-d.
Why could there not be two? Does a first cause need to be infinite? These questions are not answered to my satisfaction.

There, have I quoted Kant for the entire post?

MODERATOR Posted - 08 September 2004 8:43

The universe is nothing but the sum of its parts, and so there is no reason to assume that it does not need a cause. But besides that, it is illogical and absurd for something to not have a cause, since it could not be here forever, since forever implies an infinite amount of time in the past, which is impossible. As long as the universe exists within time (and space) it must have had a cause.

Since infinity is not reachable, that means time up until the present has to be finite - if not, since the present has been reached.

The First Cause cannot be two, because since the First Cause has no cause, it cannot have any parameters or attributes since those parameters or attributes would be the reason it is what it is, i.e. its cause. A causeless entity therefore cannot be composite - it must be purely Simple.

Every two entities must have parameters and characteristics that separate them, making one one and two two. Without attributes or parameters you cannot have quantification.

Therefore, a causeless entity cannot be plural.

MODERATOR Posted - 08 September 2004 8:55

PS - The odds of the Library of Congress being generated at random would, according to those odds, take needs quadrillions of years more than the universe is purported to be old even according to the largest evolutionist estimates.

Plus, at least in the case of the computer you start with a computer and continuous instances of word generation. To produce life, the computer itself and the program to generate random words would also have to come by accident (it could, I suppose - natural upheavals could form the words, glass, and plastic in exactly the right way, and put together a computer, program it, and get it to start generating. Not.)

rander Posted - 08 September 2004 10:51

First, infinity. The moderator talks about spoons and football fields. Interestingly, you cannot divide them in half over and over and over - there is a smallest distance, called the Planck length. It is just not possible to have a smaller length (Note that this length is ridiculously tiny. There is also a smallest time, called the Planck time, which is also tremendously tiny.). There are also different orders of infinity (yes, some infinities are not larger than others). For example, odd numbers are infinite. Counting numbers are also infinite. But there are more counting numbers than odd numbers; the set of counting numbers is larger than the set of odd numbers. Fun stuff, that mathematics. But enough about infinities.

On to causes. The moderator says that if there were an infinite regress, we would have an infinite number of causes, and we cannot reach infinity, so therefore there is no infinite regress. How about integers? We can say that they have an order (-1 then 0 then 1 then 2 ...). We can be at a specific spot on that order, say 56. How many numbers come before 56 in this set? An infinite number. How many come after? An infinite number. This setup exhibits all the properties that an infinite regress of causes would have. But mathematically there is no problem with it. So, there is no problem with the infinite regress. It's simple. Each cause has a cause, including the one before that. The whole chain obeys the PoC.

On to the next Moderator-post. First, I find it doubtful that the universe obeys the same laws that are obeyed within it. They are two separate levels. For example: a soccer game. It has rules, and so forth, and they comprise the whole of the soccer game (all its important parts) but the game, in relation to the world around it, obeys rather different rules. Two different levels, two different sets of rules.
Now, the universe IS time and space; it is not contained in them. Th-
SORRY, next class starting. I'll finish this later.

MODERATOR Posted - 08 September 2004 10:55

You’re missing the point. A "set" is only theoretical. You can write on paper whatever you want and allow it to represent whatever you want. But you cant have an infinite amount of anything finished. Time in the past has finished, so it cant be infinite.

And it doesn’t matter how many different types of infinities there are, for none of them are reachable.

Your doubt about the world and the analogy to the soccer game is an error. The soccer game is comprised out of completely different stuff than the people in the world - what does one thing have to do with each other? But the universe is by definition nothing but the sum of its parts.

MODERATOR Posted - 08 September 2004 11:54

There's a better proof, if you're looking for one: do a search on "Quantum non-locality". or just "non-locality". They have these particles that, even though they could be millions of miles away, are somehow "connected" to each other such that if you start rotating one let's say clockwise, the other one immediately rotates counter-clockwise. Except the thing with these particles is, there is absolutely zero time between when the first particle starts spinning and the second one. Not a billionth of a second. Its not that the first one starts spinning, and then sends a signal to the second, which starts spinning. Rather, the "signal" from the first to the second particle takes no time whatsoever.

What is happening here is communication over any amount of space - millions of miles even - that does not take any time. This is counterintuitive and impossible form a physical perspective.

The simple explanation is that the entire universe is only the Will of Hashem, and therefore Hashem can will that the particles activate simultaneously, just as you can do that in your imagination.

"Plancks", of course, do not negate the truth that infinity is unreachable. Besides, they're only a theory anyway.

There is though a smallest unit of time below which we can not know what happens. This is called the Planck Time and is equal to about 10 -34 seconds. It is a consequence of the Heisenberg Uncertainty principle that says; the uncertainty in energy (of a particle) times the uncertainty in time is greater than or equal to plancks constant divided by (four times pi). This shows that if we measure an event that lasts for the planck time or less, we know nothing about its energy and hence its state. This is not to say that time is quantified or that time has no meaning below this limit, just that we can not measure it.

HZ Posted - 08 September 2004 14:10

Mod, I don't see how that proof is better, people will just argue there are more dimensions. The smallest unit of time and space proof show that they can't "just" exist. They are creations - Hamichadeish B'tuvo B'chol Yom Tamid. It also shows Hashgachah Pratis.

It only takes an instant to see Hashem exists. :)

MODERATOR Posted - 08 September 2004 14:16

Other dimensions wont help. No matter how you cut it, the signal has to go from point A to point B - and that should take time, but it doesn’t.

I am not understanding how you see all those things form the fact that there exists a minimum amount of space.

HZ Posted - 08 September 2004 17:51

Mod, I like your proof of infinite sets of two different sized distances.

Basically, since time doesn't "flow" but is a series on independent "still moments," like frames on a film roll, movement from one moment to the next cannot happen by itself, like the movie roll that is turned by a motor. Time is not it's own entity, it is what we name a series or moments. Now, a motor can't be what moves time since it is subject to time itself, only something not bound by time can. Time (or some form of it) covers all of creation (if it was created , it must have a start, hence it is effected by time), only the Creator is beyond time. And since He must "carry" us from one moment to the next, it proves Hashgachah Pratis.

You can work a similar argument with space.

Regarding your point A to B, maybe the Universe is like a coiled rope, we follow the rope, but these things jump the coil that is next to each other. I think this is called a worm hole.

MODERATOR Posted - 08 September 2004 17:54

The proof isn’t mine, its just my way of explaining a very old proof, quoted in the Rishonim.

It doesn’t matter if the universe is coiled or any other shape - there still has to be a "before" and "after" - a cause and effect - and they cant come at the same time. But they do.

rander Posted - 09 September 2004 20:12

First, the moderator insists that quantum entanglement proves the existence of G-d as it is otherwise impossible. If it happens, it is not impossible. Classical mechanics is familiar, but it is also wrong. Science is just an attempt to describe the world, and that is how the world works. Because it is a little counterintuitive does not mean it is thoroughly impossible.

I hate to refer to books, but I am going to (sorry). For some good books on science, I recommend "The Search for Schrodinger's Cat" and "A Brief History of Time." A Brief History in particular does a good job explaining what time is from a scientist's perspective.

Now, I would love to argue about all the stuff being discussed, but I want to see if there is anything left to hit on the teleological argument. If anyone has any remaining objections, please post.

ACH! Class starting...

MODERATOR Posted - 09 September 2004 20:17

Non locality is not "a little counterintuitive"; it is totally nonsensical. As you yourself mentioned before, the cause has to come before the effect. Here it doesn’t. That makes no sense, unless there is another cause that caused both the visible cause and its effect, and that cause had to "know" what the effect would be before it happens.

““If it happens it is not impossible”“

True, but the only reason it is possible is if you accept a Cause that is not bound to logic or laws of nature. It is impossible unless you bring in G-d.

People often say that if they would see a miracle they’d believe in G-d. Well, here is a miracle. It is just as unbelievable as the splitting of the Red Sea.

HZ Posted - 10 September 2004 8:01

Ah, so maybe it is one thing on both sides of the coiled part. But I didn't catch that fine point before. I prefer proofs that don't require knowing things.

Punims Posted - 12 September 2004 15:17

““Now, I would love to argue about all the stuff being discussed, but I want to see if there is anything left to hit on the teleological argument. If anyone has any remaining objections, please post.”“

Of course there are objections left - you never disproved a thing that the Moderator proved. You just keep saying "Oh sorry, I FORGOT to add...." in every one of your posts. Just say what you want to say - and disprove everything so we can all start electing you as our new moderator. So far, your just talking nonsense - why does the Moderator keep on having to repeat himself?

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