Saturday, June 28, 2008

Evolution Shemvolution

In the tradition of Jewish Philosopher, my first post:

The Theory of Evolution has long been disproved. As if another nail were needed for the coffin into which Charles Darwin and his Theory are decomposing, here is one more proof.

According to Evolutionists, random mutations in a gene pool, aided by natural selection, prove beneficial and propel the gradual improvement of species. As well, new species form from this process. Species’ problems are solved using this technique. So, if a camel is having trouble reaching the top branches of a tree, well then natural selection favors the camel who has a mutation that codes for a longer neck, and wholla, a giraffe is evolved!

And since there are many copies of a camel and a nearly infinite evolutionary time, then all manner of problems is solved with mutations and natural selection. So, you are a species having problem swimming? Well then you can evolve from a cow to a whale! Suddenly a cow is able to swim in oceans, flipping its newly evolved fins and holding its breath as it dives deep in ocean waters!

But, if Evolution and natural selection are so good at solving very complex problems like allowing for a cow to evolve into a whale, then how come Evolution has not been able to cure the age old Cancer problem? Diverse species from humans to mice, to sharks, to plants, all develop cancer. And as we know, cancer is not good for survival of an organism. So how come, if evolution is so good at solving problems – given that it has had billions of years to work on this problem – it has not been able to find a solution for cancer?

The cancer problem is yet another proof of the absurdity that is evolution. To A god fearing person it is obvious that cancers are consequences of sins committed by individuals. It is God’s way of evening a score. George Collins, by now, can teach you a thing or two about the consequences of heresy and God's punishment!

Friday, June 27, 2008

A Sad Day

Truthful ideas can weather criticism. A correct theory will survive logical attacks, and proponents of correct theories should not and generally are not afraid of critical analysis.

Yet religious concepts have a tough time withstanding logical criticism. When I scan the internet, I find no shortage of orthodox Jewish blogs. Very few of them, though, are open to honest discussion. The comment sections of these blogs are generally not friendly to critics.

One notable exception to this was the so-called “Jewish philosopher” (to be found at I liked reading and commenting on this blog mainly because the blog represented Orthodox Jewish thinking without apology, and because it accepted frank criticism of its ideas.

In fact, besides the “Jewish Philosopher” blog, I am unaware of any other blog that unabashedly represents Orthodox Jewish ideas, and is willing to defend itself against criticism. No other Jewish blog was willing to tackle Evolution Theory, Jewish Orthodoxy’s views on atheism, authenticity of the Torah, the view of Jews about non-Jews, and God’s alleged relations with people. Although I frequently heard opinions similar to Jewish Philosopher in Orthodox Jewish circles, no one was willing to place these opinions in writing and defend them. No one was willing to attempt to defend these ideas in a forum where opinions could be openly exchanged. No one, except JP!

A group of very smart readers and commentators had blossomed around JP’s blog and regularly left comments. Generally no one was able to change one another’s opinions, at least not by anyone’s admission, but there was, I felt, an honest exchange of opinions. It was fun to see and anticipate the comments of people following a new blog post, and I certainly took some time every day to read this entertaining blog.

So I was saddened to see that this last blog go by the wayside. As of a couple of days ago, ‘the Jewish Philosopher’ has begun ‘moderating’ the comments section, in effect censoring dissenting commentary. Now, it is important to mention that no one has used foul language and aside from the usual banter and playful put downs, no one generally left obscene or grossly demeaning commentary. So, I must conclude that the reason for moderating the comments section must have been the withering and generally successful criticisms of Orthodox Jewish ideas. I guess the kitchen got a bit too hot and JP felt that he had to get out of it.

Too bad!

It is thus my intention to pick up where JP failingly left off. I will provide blog entries similar to ‘the Jewish Philosopher’ in order to introduce Orthodox Jewish or religious ideas in order to provide a forum for commentary. Of course, I am unable to provide perverse and tortured logical constructs, the kind JP masterfully and consistently delivers. But I will try to deliver blogs to serve as springboards for further discussion and commentary. For those who wish to contribute blog writings so that we can provide frequent and consistent entries, please let me know.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Occam's Razor

I recently engaged a fellow blogger (Orthoprax) in a rather lengthy and tedious argument. I asked him how he knows that God, if He exists, is one. He replied that God is postulated to be singular on the ground of parsimony. He stated that it is a simpler hypothesis to assume that God is one rather than more than one. Needless to say I was unsuccessful in my attempts to convince him otherwise. At one point he called my attempts “annoying” and repetitive.

Nevertheless, I was intrigued by the concept of parsimony or Occam’s Razor. So, I will make another attempt on my blog, where the neighborhood is a bit friendlier.

First, Parsimony, or Occam’s Razor is a logical principle, which states the following:

All else being equal, the simplest hypothesis proposed as an explanation to a given phenomenon is more likely to be the true one among alternate hypotheses.

This is a rather useful principle and is frequently used in scientific thought and in everyday decision making. Let me give some examples:

Suppose you wake up one winter morning and notice that the ground is covered with snow. You wonder what happened at night when you were sleeping. The possibilities are as follows:

  1. It snowed last night and the ground was covered with snow.
  2. A group of professionals with snow making machinery came in when you were sleeping and worked all night to fill the streets with artificial snow.
  3. It started snowing last night, but the snow fall was brief. Following the brief period of snow, the professionals came and augmented the snow with powder.

If you had no other data than the information given to you above, which choice would you consider more likely?

You might say that choice #1 is more likely since it only assumes the occurrence of a common and natural process, namely the occurrence of snow in winter time. It is simpler to assume that the ground would be covered by natural snow than man made snow, given that we routinely see natural snow in the winter. You might say that choice #1 is more parsimonious, and thus more likely to be true.

But suppose now that you lived in Southern California. Here, the occurrence of snow is much less common. It is very uncommon to see snow in the Southern California. Perhaps in anticipation of an upcoming motion picture filming, a crew equipped with snow making machinery really made snow to cover your street. Given the information of your location makes possibility 1 and 2 somewhat equally parsimonious. Possibility #3 is not parsimonious since it assumes both snow in a warm climate and existence of machinery. All else being equal, possibility #3 is not parsimonious.

What we learn from the above example are:

  1. Hypotheses which make the least number of assumptions are more likely to be true, all else being the same.
  2. When further information is provided, the parsimony of a given hypothesis is altered.

Now let’s consider one more example:

Suppose I wish to know how many inches of snow are on the ground in place X in the winter. The choices are:

  1. 1 inch
  2. 2 inches
  3. 3 inches

Having no further information, and knowing nothing about place X, can we decide which is the most likely answer? Can we by parsimony argue that choice #1 must be the correct answer since it is the simplest? If not, why not?

Notice here, that the choosing “1 inch” of snow is not any more parsimonious than the other choices.

Let’s see another example:

Last night I went to a party; guess how many people were there:

  1. 5
  2. 10
  3. 20

Here, again, note that we can not give a reasonable guess based simply on parsimony. Any one guess is as good as any other.

Now, one final example:

I own an elaborate watch. How many people have constructed it?

  1. 1
  2. 5
  3. 10

Here, again, notice, that without any further information, we can not guess on the number of people which have made my watch. We can make an educated guess, saying that from what we know usually a team of workers come together to make watches, but this draws from extraneous information. The point is that parsimony does not allow for making this choice.

Now, for the question at hand:

HOW MANY GODS ARE THERE? The choices are:

  1. One
  2. More than one.

I have given an example of how we can use the concept of parsimony to make choices, and I have given examples of circumstances where we can not. Now, to which of these examples does this question belong?

Is it parsimonious to assume that God is one? If so, why?

This fact is that there is no basis to assume that God, if he exists, is one!