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Critique of Intelligent Design

Evolution vs. Creationism

The Art of ID Stuntmen

Faith vs Reason

Anthropic Principle

Autopsy of the Bible code

Science and Religion

Historical Notes


Serious Notions with a Smile


Letter Serial Correlation

Mark Perakh's Web Site


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Title Author Date
Arguments against creationism, intelligent, etc Zeligman, Naftali Mar 30, 2005
Dear Mr. Coffer,

I will restrict myself to a few observations only, partly of a humorous, partly of a serious nature. Please treat both with lenience.
1. First of all, I wonder whether the last name you have introduced yourself by is real or fictitious. The fact is that the Jewish etymology of the word 'coffer' immediately suggests the word 'apicores', which, if we forget the dubious literal connotation of 'epicurean", simply means an atheist. Since you present yourself as a strong believer, such a pseudonym would look provocative, if not downright paradoxical. If this is your real name, that's a different story.
2. You write: "However, there are two kinds of Jews: the believer... and the non-believer." Apparently, your words should be taken as a claim that others - i.e. those who fall in the middle, those who waver and doubt, who accept religion only in part or reject merely some of its aspects - simply do not exist. Is this the correct interpretation of your words? I would like to verify the soundness of my interpretation before we discuss it in depth. To the above, I would like to add one simple conjecture to the effect that I neither fall under the category of the firm believer nor true non-believer - for if that were the case, my labor-consuming work would become meaningless.

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Title Author Date
Arguments against creationism, intelligent, etc Zeligman, Naftali Mar 30, 2005
3. You write: "I believe that there is no Torah foundation or basic principle that is deniable". Try not to misconstrue or take offence at the following argument: this sentence contains a profound contradiction, and is probably even meaningless. Indeed, if Torah is a theory that contains explicit verifiable claims, the question of belief in their deniability, their irrefutability that is akin to infallibility, is misplaced, or at the very least badly formulated. If so, there is no need to believe in it - rather, it must be substantiated. If, on the other hand, there are no such claims in theory, there is simply nothing to believe in. This linguistic diagnosis is borne out by the fact that you have used the label of "deniable". If you had been truly and sincerely confident in the truth of Torah statements, you would have simply used the word "wrong". Then your thesis would have merely asserted that Torah contains no wrong statements. Instead, you make a different claim, one that is much more flexible and flaccid: Torah contains no refutable statements. Alas, that is a rather feeble assertion. For example, statements like "The sukkah must be at least 90 centimeters in height" are indeed irrefutable, yet nothing can be said about their objective validity either. Mind you, at first glance Torah does contain wrong claims. Take, for example, the theory that about 4,000 years ago a flood wiped out every living being on earth. As you know, for a long time this theory was considered as literal truth. Today, when this literal interpretation has been shown as incorrect, we are offered other, non-literal ones, more often than not of the kind that can be neither proved nor disproved. Therefore the initial question should be phrased as follows: does Torah contain any non-trivial statements that can be proved or disproved by an objective outside observer? If it does, formulate them. If it does not, your thesis of undeniability is valid but tautological, devoid of content. Then again, it is not at all obvious to us that religion must contain valid statements. Why should it, in fact?
And another thing: you write that you believe in the infallible nature of Torah - nothing more. Does this mean that you are reluctant to make the more decisive statement we are prodding you towards, namely, that the Torah contains non-trivial verifiable claims, and all of them are true? If we are mistaken and you are prepared to endorse this statement, would you also be willing to take the next step? If so, we would like you to draw up a list of trivial, at least theoretically verifiable Torah statements, preferably such that, if disproved, would change your attitude to Judaism. If you present such a list, I will be more than happy to continue this discussion.


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