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Jul 20, 2004
One argument presented to Rabbi Gottlieb was as follows:
1. Aristotelian gravity should have produced expected evidence (heavier masses accelerating toward the earth faster than lighter masses) which were absent. & Aristotelian gravity was refuted before the actual experiment in a thought experiment (if you attach two balls together by a chain, when they would become tight, they should excelerate (being a total greater weight), which is absurd.
2. Santa Clause should produce physical evidence increased size of chimney, tracks on roof, actual location at North Pole.
The US engages in a known conspiracy including falsified weather radar reports, post office redirection of letters, appearances at malls.
At #2, we have a clear case of a parallel to the miracle of the manna concocted for cultural gain.
What gain could a nation of parents have in promoting a religion to their children?
3. The bible itself claims that knowledge of God was lost and so the chain of oral tradition was broken:
10 After that whole generation had been gathered to their fathers, another generation grew up, who knew neither the LORD nor what he had done for Israel.
4. It is problematic that the Kuzari example is itself not sanctioned by tradition. You do not find it taught to the Orthodox (other than by Rabbi Gottlieb) as a *basis* for belief, at all. Orthodox Judaism does not set itself up to such a test, such that if it failed, it would surrender.
5. The Kuzari argument is a classic argument from ignorance: We do not conclude about the nuclear force anything more than what we can verify.
5b. There can be a force, but that does not justify / sanction specifically the Torah in toto.
6. In the Traditional is the belief that the world is actually less than 6000 years old (missing evidence: starlight only 6K, an earth only 6K ... That says something about our ability to believe anything.
7. The problem with the Kuzari principle is that it requires not only
1. satisfying the principle, but the geometrically more difficult step of
2. FINDING a counter example.
There may be examples out there, but *knowing* they are false beliefs requires a super position nobody claims to have.
The absense of evidence yeilds (only?) cases where we can not *know* that they were false.
Let's try to find a counter-example to the Manna:
They believe(d) X.
X should have produced evidence Y.
(end of Manna parallel)
We now know X did not occur because...?
If Y is missing, how can we - today - conclude that they were *wrong*?
Put another way, if there are other historical cases where evidence should have been produced, but was not, we now have no way to know that it was false.
We have no way to produce counter examples at all, by definition, we can only look at historical examples where there is no evidence. So we are limitted to cases where we can not know. There could be hundreds of cases.
The Kuzari - The Principle and the Formalism