Jewish apologetics
Posted: 04 January 2009 06:32 AM   [ Ignore ]
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Hi,

What do you think about the following argument :

(1) Jews have a tradition that on mt. Sinai, the bible was given by god.
(2) It is impossible to invent such a _tradition_. Because if it were invented, people that would live close in time to the giving of the bible, would object and say “it is a lie”.
(3) The tradition is true.

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Posted: 04 January 2009 07:34 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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wandering - 04 January 2009 06:32 AM

Hi,

What do you think about the following argument :

(1) Jews have a tradition that on mt. Sinai, the bible was given by god.
(2) It is impossible to invent such a _tradition_. Because if it were invented, people that would live close in time to the giving of the bible, would object and say “it is a lie”.
(3) The tradition is true.

Since the JELP analysis of the Torah shows it has four different sources and we do not know when this section was actually written so if it was written long after these claimed events then this argument would fail miserably. Looking at fads and the media shows people often willing to believe falsehoods in contemporary time, heck people can be made to think they met Bugs Bunny in Disneyworld. Maybe many did at the time say it was a lie - and were right - but, as they say, history gets written by the victorious.

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Posted: 04 January 2009 09:38 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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I think the argument as presented is laughable, and the second premise is obviously false. Traditions are always mutable. Where did the tradition of Santa Claus coming down the chimney come from? Why didn’t parents object to it and say, “It’s a lie”?

Why didn’t the Mormons object to the (clearly fabricated) story of Joseph Smith and the invisible tablets of gold written in a nonexistent tongue? Why didn’t the early Mormons object to it and say, “It’s a lie”?

Why don’t Scientologists object to the fabrications of LRH and the quackery of the E-meter?

The problem is that people like a good story, and if the plot appears internally consistent and organizes their worries and concerns around a theme and direction, people are willing to swallow almost anything.

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Posted: 04 January 2009 09:47 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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dougsmith - 04 January 2009 09:38 AM

I think the argument as presented is laughable, and the second premise is obviously false. Traditions are always mutable. Where did the tradition of Santa Claus coming down the chimney come from? Why didn’t parents object to it and say, “It’s a lie”?

Why didn’t the Mormons object to the (clearly fabricated) story of Joseph Smith and the invisible tablets of gold written in a nonexistent tongue? Why didn’t the early Mormons object to it and say, “It’s a lie”?

Why don’t Scientologists object to the fabrications of LRH and the quackery of the E-meter?

The problem is that people like a good story, and if the plot appears internally consistent and organizes their worries and concerns around a theme and direction, people are willing to swallow almost anything.

Yes-Yes Way to make it simple. P.T.Barnum banked on this too.This is also why mysticism will never vanish from the species we identify with.Homo-sapiens.

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Posted: 04 January 2009 09:48 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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dougsmith - 04 January 2009 09:38 AM

I think the argument as presented is laughable, and the second premise is obviously false. Traditions are always mutable. Where did the tradition of Santa Claus coming down the chimney come from? Why didn’t parents object to it and say, “It’s a lie”?

Why didn’t the Mormons object to the (clearly fabricated) story of Joseph Smith and the invisible tablets of gold written in a nonexistent tongue? Why didn’t the early Mormons object to it and say, “It’s a lie”?

Why don’t Scientologists object to the fabrications of LRH and the quackery of the E-meter?

The problem is that people like a good story, and if the plot appears internally consistent and organizes their worries and concerns around a theme and direction, people are willing to swallow almost anything.

There is a difference between the cases. In your case, someone tells you a story, and you beleive it, even though you do not have evidence for it. In my example, it is the case when you have evidence to the contrary. The fathers would tell their sons if they would not witness a Mt. Sinai revelation.

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Posted: 04 January 2009 10:02 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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wandering - 04 January 2009 09:48 AM

In my example, it is the case when you have evidence to the contrary. The fathers would tell their sons if they would not witness a Mt. Sinai revelation.

But their writings, if they ever existed ,are lost in history. They did not get to write the Torah. Anyway as Doug said your second premise is laughable - as there are many modern instances of people ignoring evidence to the contrary but that does not stop them believing.

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Posted: 04 January 2009 11:04 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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Perhaps there is something more than tradition at work?

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Posted: 05 January 2009 03:40 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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faithlessgod - 04 January 2009 10:02 AM
wandering - 04 January 2009 09:48 AM

In my example, it is the case when you have evidence to the contrary. The fathers would tell their sons if they would not witness a Mt. Sinai revelation.

But their writings, if they ever existed ,are lost in history. They did not get to write the Torah. Anyway as Doug said your second premise is laughable - as there are many modern instances of people ignoring evidence to the contrary but that does not stop them believing.

Can you give me examples of people ignoring evidence to the contrary? Doug gave me examples of believing without evidence, not believing with evidence to the contrary.

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Posted: 05 January 2009 03:43 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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wandering - 05 January 2009 03:40 AM
faithlessgod - 04 January 2009 10:02 AM
wandering - 04 January 2009 09:48 AM

In my example, it is the case when you have evidence to the contrary. The fathers would tell their sons if they would not witness a Mt. Sinai revelation.

But their writings, if they ever existed ,are lost in history. They did not get to write the Torah. Anyway as Doug said your second premise is laughable - as there are many modern instances of people ignoring evidence to the contrary but that does not stop them believing.

Can you give me examples of people ignoring evidence to the contrary? Doug gave me examples of believing without evidence, not believing with evidence to the contrary.

Loads look up skeptics dictionary skepdic.com or how about creationism? I already mentioned bugs bunny in Disneyworld.

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Posted: 05 January 2009 03:46 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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faithlessgod - 05 January 2009 03:43 AM

I already mentioned bugs bunny in Disneyworld.

Do you actually know some adult people that think they met bugs bunny in disneyworld?

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Posted: 05 January 2009 03:56 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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wandering - 05 January 2009 03:46 AM
faithlessgod - 05 January 2009 03:43 AM

I already mentioned bugs bunny in Disneyworld.

Do you actually know some adult people that think they met bugs bunny in disneyworld?

No but what has that got to do with anything? This is a well known psychological experiment on false memory.

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Posted: 05 January 2009 04:19 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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I think there is another problem with the argument - when one wants that something really happened a long time ago, doesn’t one need to provide some physical evidence?
Tradition just cannot be given as a reason.

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Posted: 05 January 2009 04:34 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
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wandering - 05 January 2009 04:19 AM

I think there is another problem with the argument - when one wants that something really happened a long time ago, doesn’t one need to provide some physical evidence?
Tradition just cannot be given as a reason.

Yes this is called “argument from tradition” and is another informal fallacy.

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Posted: 05 January 2009 04:36 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]
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faithlessgod - 05 January 2009 04:34 AM
wandering - 05 January 2009 04:19 AM

I think there is another problem with the argument - when one wants that something really happened a long time ago, doesn’t one need to provide some physical evidence?
Tradition just cannot be given as a reason.

Yes this is called “argument from tradition” and is another informal fallacy.

Besides, there is actually reason against this. At least I have heard that excavations were made in the sinai desert, and if about a two millions of people would wander there for 40 years, someone would find some evidence for it.

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Posted: 05 January 2009 04:36 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]
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faithlessgod - 05 January 2009 04:34 AM

Yes this is called “argument from tradition” and is another informal fallacy.

How would you define “informal fallacy” anyway?

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Posted: 15 January 2009 01:31 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]
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wandering - 04 January 2009 09:48 AM

There is a difference between the cases. In your case, someone tells you a story, and you beleive it, even though you do not have evidence for it. In my example, it is the case when you have evidence to the contrary. The fathers would tell their sons if they would not witness a Mt. Sinai revelation.

(I’ve been trying to post the following for awhile but kept getting the old 404 Error. Anyhow it looks like it’s fixed).

This assumes that:

(1) the relevant parts of the Torah were written during the lifespans of people who could actually have witnessed the events described on Mt. Sinai. There is no evidence that that is true. Indeed, most likely the passages there were redacted much later; perhaps centuries later.

(2) the relevant parts of the Torah were widely known during the lifespans of people who could actually have witnessed the events described on Mt. Sinai. Even if the Torah had been written soon after the time of Moses (whose existence itself is somewhat dubious) perhaps the books were distributed among a select group of priests who had drunk the relevant Kool Aid. Perhaps it was rejected by a significant portion of the Israelites at that time, but we don’t hear about those who rejected it because their story wasn’t written down by the “winners” in this religious debate. ... except that we know from the Torah itself that there were many Israelites who were not exclusive worshippers of Yhwh. Perhaps some of them were the unconvinced?

(3) people aren’t willing to accept a pretty story which exalts their tribe, even if they don’t remember the events in precisely the same way. Do recall that careful historical, journalistic redaction of events was virtually unknown in antiquity. Stories were mythic and grandiose, not cold recitations of established facts. Nobody would have cared that the story were largely inaccurate, so long as it was a ripping yarn.  (Think of: Gilgamesh, Mahabharata, Ramayana, Popol Vuh, etc., etc.)

There’s just too much to argue here to the contrary.

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