"But That's The Old Testament"

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Acheick
 
Reply Sun 29 Oct, 2006 09:17 am
one more point from the Torah follower
Quote:
"It is the prevailing powers who write history. They record what is in their best interest, what furthers their agenda, and their interpretation of the events. They also do not write down a lot. This is, by no means, different with religious texts. In fact, I should think it is especially true."


This argument works against you, because the Torah constantly criticizes and slams the behavior of the Hebrews/Israelites. Indeed, Jew-haters in every generation have pointed straight at the Torah itself to support their hateful view of Jews as the "synagogue of Satan" that deserves to be replaced as the chosen people. It's quite a stretch to claim this is in the Jewish nation's best interest to be hated, persecuted, and massacred in every generation.
 
Thorwald 1
 
Reply Sun 29 Oct, 2006 11:51 am
Torah friend wrote:
The DNA polymerase III "transcription process" is not a good analogy, for a variety of reasons, including the following.


I don't know anything about your Torah friend, but I am going to assume she doesn't have much of a biology background. This assumption is made off of the major misconceptions about how cell biology really works (as described by her below). This is very _basic_ cell biology; stuff kids take in high school or their freshman year of college (I know, I took it).

For the above reasons, might I suggest your friend leave biology to the biologists?

Torah friend wrote:
(1) A replicated cell is not scrutinized for mistakes.


Wrong. A replicated cell is especially scrutinized for mistakes _immediately_ after each section of DNA is transcribed. That is what the whole DNA polymerase family is for.

Torah friend wrote:
(2) Cellular mistakes are not corrected; unless the mutation causes that cell to die, it is retained within the gene pool.


Wrong again. If a mistake is found by the proofreading DNA polymerase, it is _immediately_ corrected. This is done with astonishing accuracy. Did you read the part I wrote about "1 mistake for every million million transcribed"? Again, human transcribers are no where close to this accurate, no matter how strict their "laws" about transcribing may be.

Torah friend wrote:
(3) Every cell has equal opportunity to produce descendants.


Again, wrong. Every cell in an organism does _not_ have equal opportunity to do anything. Much like the organism itself, each cell is in a survival-of-the-fittest game.

Torah friend wrote:
(4) Each and every cell replicates itself; creating cell lines that are replicas of replicas; this produces the "snowball effect" of mistakes accumulating generation after generation.


Wow! Really wrong. Let me start with the "siblings" part. This really shows your friend's lack of cell biology knowledge. So, you know how DNA in an organism's genome is double-stranded? Well, it provides an extremely convenient template (or "master scroll") system. One strand is used as a template for transcribing, while the other strand is used for parallel transcribing. This is sort of like have two, identical "master scrolls" . . . even more redundancy increases the accuracy. Add they are called "daughter cells", not "siblings".

I am not sure where your friend read about the "snowball effect", but this is really not how it works. I will be happy to explain all of this in detail, as I rather enjoy discussing it.

Torah friend wrote:
(5) Cellular reproduction occurs at such an astonishing speed, that mutations can spin out of control, quickly killing the organism.


Oh! Wow! Sorry. Very wrong. The cell has an _amazing_ array of "machinery", called proteins, which stop exactly this from happening at each, and every, step, of the cell cycle.

Once again: One mistake every one million million (billion) transcribed. Nothing, and I do mean nothing, is "spinning out of control".

If you want to debate something, it is generally a good idea to know something about it first. Sorry, I am not trying to be cute . . . your friend has just tread on my ground and she ain't wearing any gloves. ;-)

I don't claim to be an expert on the Torah, but I do know the Bible better than most Christians and would even suggest I know the Old Testament better than most Jews.

Torah friend wrote:
This argument works against you, because the Torah constantly criticizes and slams the behavior of the Hebrews/Israelites. Indeed, Jew-haters in every generation have pointed straight at the Torah itself to support their hateful view of Jews as the "synagogue of Satan" that deserves to be replaced as the chosen people. It's quite a stretch to claim this is in the Jewish nation's best interest to be hated, persecuted, and massacred in every generation.


If this was an attempt at playing the race card, I suggest your friend reconsider. You are most certainly pulling it against the wrong person (and I would be happy to explain why that is). My point was entirely about religion. Now, I understand that the Judaism is almost inseparable from the Jewish ethnic group, but, again, my point was about religion and religion alone.

PS: Please let your friend know that this is all in good spirit. I enjoy a good debate and I hope she does likewise.
 
WalkerJ 1
 
Reply Sun 29 Oct, 2006 01:20 pm
Re: More on the Torah - part 1
Acheick's friend wrote:
(1)A replicated cell is not scrutinized for mistakes.
(2) Cellular mistakes are not corrected; unless the mutation causes that cell to die, it is retained within the gene pool.
(4) Each and every cell replicates itself; creating cell lines that are replicas of replicas; this produces the "snowball effect" of mistakes accumulating generation after generation.
(5) Cellular reproduction occurs at such an astonishing speed, that mutations can spin out of control, quickly killing the organism.

To use her own words, "[her] argument works against [her]".
If she believes that God created life, then her statements would imply that God did a very poor job of it.
 
Acheick
 
Reply Sun 29 Oct, 2006 05:56 pm
Hey, Thorwald - my friend is enjoying it - it is definitely in the spirit of learning something. I'm glad you feel that way too. The way I look at things now, after being so black and whitish in TF ala Bergism, I want to learn and understand all that there is in the world. History tells me a lot about human nature, the evolution of things, cultures, people, countries and lands. Religious differences tell me a lot too.

My eyes were really opened when I travelled the world in TF. Especially about other religions, like Buddhism, Hindusim, Islam. Unfortunately, all I learned about Christianity was through Berg and I need to get all that ick out of my 20 years of input. This is helping and thanks for the science class Very Happy
 
Acheick
 
Reply Sun 29 Oct, 2006 06:00 pm
Re: More on the Torah - part 1
WalkerJ wrote:
Acheick's friend wrote:
(1)A replicated cell is not scrutinized for mistakes.
(2) Cellular mistakes are not corrected; unless the mutation causes that cell to die, it is retained within the gene pool.
(4) Each and every cell replicates itself; creating cell lines that are replicas of replicas; this produces the "snowball effect" of mistakes accumulating generation after generation.
(5) Cellular reproduction occurs at such an astonishing speed, that mutations can spin out of control, quickly killing the organism.

To use her own words, "[her] argument works against [her]".
If she believes that God created life, then her statements would imply that God did a very poor job of it.


Would this then explain sin entering the world and mucking up things from the perfect world of the Garden of Eden??? Just wondering.
 
WalkerJ 1
 
Reply Sun 29 Oct, 2006 10:17 pm
Re: More on the Torah - part 1
Acheick wrote:
Would this then explain sin entering the world and mucking up things from the perfect world of the Garden of Eden??? Just wondering.

It could. The Bible can be used to back up almost any point of view. Smile
 
Acheick
 
Reply Mon 30 Oct, 2006 08:42 am
Re: More on the Torah - part 1
WalkerJ wrote:
Acheick wrote:
Would this then explain sin entering the world and mucking up things from the perfect world of the Garden of Eden??? Just wondering.

It could. The Bible can be used to back up almost any point of view. Smile


hahahhaa - boy, aint that the truth!!! Well, when you look around, there sure are a lot of things that aren't perfect, and if you notice, it's mostly with human kind. I rarely see anything wrong in the animal world. That seems to work flawlessly, even when things go wrong, things adjust themselves, animals and nature adapt. However, when you look at human kind, that's another story.
 
Thinker 1
 
Reply Thu 2 Nov, 2006 05:39 am
I catch the end of this debate, or pehaps I am mid way. I confess I have not read all posts, just the last couple.

It seems that science versus religion has crept in.

The Old Testament is an integral part of the "Testament" because it subjects Christians to the Torah and ionizes Jesus as an [important] prophet, but not the son of God.

He cannot be the Messiah as the World is not at peace, let alone Israel.

Personally, I feel the much of Old Testament and anything written by Paul should be burned (in the spiritual sense) because many of these texts, far from celebrating God seem more intent on creating Human monsters.
 
Thorwald 1
 
Reply Thu 2 Nov, 2006 06:14 pm
Thinker wrote:
It seems that science versus religion has crept in.


That's an understatement. I say, Break down the dams and let the waters of science drown religion! No "creeping" necessary.

Thinker wrote:
The Old Testament is an integral part of the "Testament" because it subjects Christians to the Torah and ionizes Jesus as an [important] prophet, but not the son of God.


Uh, no. The Old Testament never talks about Jesus (only a "Messiah", which you just wrote that he wasn't . . . so, it is really irrelevant, isn't it?).
 
Thinker 1
 
Reply Fri 3 Nov, 2006 06:01 am
But what is science, dear Thorwald?

It it not the observation of man[kind]? The eminent geneticist, Dr David Suzuki said recently in a lecture, "We all thought we were genii at college, debunking old fashioned practices with sparkling new theory, but now I have reached the age of 70 those sparkling theories [that were accepted] have now been relagated to 'old fashioned practices' and my students have come up with a bunch of new 'sparkling' theories [which will become old fashioned practices]"

He didn't use those words, my memory's not that good, but you should get the drift. Science reinforces egos until a bigger ego comes along.

May I be so bold to add, is man's view of things the absolute testament to what is? Or, in fact, should man humble himself to bless any insight he receives as, in measure, a pitance of the actual basis. For those who are lost at this point....human's crow of their Godlike staus and immeasurable perception. Considering the size of the Universe [which is I accept a theory] and the limits of man's perception, surely we have been given very little material to work with in a plausibly extremely limited capacity. Under those terms I would argue we are INSIGNIFICANT in every sense of the word. Thus religion may be the bridge to cherished importance. Yet only a fool demonstrates the unkown.

The Old Testament doesn't talk about Jesus because he DIDN'T EXIST when the last book was written. It does talk about a messiah, but defines that simply as "The True King". Please forgive me, I have only read chunks of the Old Testment, while reading all the New Testament and several Appocryphal texts. The Messiah, as defined by the Torah, is the true peacemaker and true King [of Israel?].

I though I was the one, but the World is beyond peace right now, so I can't be. Therefore, I can only assist in the journey. With what I know that is my duty.
 
Acheick
 
Reply Fri 3 Nov, 2006 08:46 am
To Thorwald
My friend is very curious about your race-card statement. She has penned another reply for you.

===============================================
Quote:
Thorwald wrote: "It is the prevailing powers who write history. They record what is in their best interest, what furthers their agenda, and their interpretation of the events. They also do not write down a lot. This is, by no means, different with religious texts. In fact, I should think it is especially true."


This argument works against you, because the Torah constantly criticizes and slams the behavior of the Hebrews/Israelites. Indeed, Jew-haters in every generation have pointed straight at the Torah itself to support their hateful view of Jews as the "synagogue of Satan" that deserves to be replaced as the chosen people. It's quite a stretch to claim this is in the Jewish nation's best interest to be hated, persecuted, and massacred in every generation.

Quote:
Thorwald wrote: "If this was an attempt at playing the race card"


Race? Please ask him what he means? I'm talking about the fact that many anti-Semites have based their Jew-hatred upon the Torah's criticism of the behavior of the Hebrews/Israelites. Where does a "race card" come into the picture?



===============================================
(1)A replicated cell is not scrutinized for mistakes.
(2) Cellular mistakes are not corrected; unless the mutation causes that cell to die, it is retained within the gene pool.
(4) Each and every cell replicates itself; creating cell lines that are replicas of replicas; this produces the "snowball effect" of mistakes accumulating generation after generation.
(5) Cellular reproduction occurs at such an astonishing speed, that mutations can spin out of control, quickly killing the organism.

Quote:
WalkerJ wrote: "To use her own words, "[her] argument works against [her]".
If she believes that God created life, then her statements would imply that God did a very poor job of it."


For argument's sake, I will temporarily put aside the fact that we have a biology expert (Thorwald) who has refuted the above points.

In response to WalkerJ, I fail to see how the presence of mutation, disease, and death, represents a "poor job" of creating life. Maybe he can explain WHY he feels that way, and then I can respond to his points. Meanwhile, I offer this. Biologically, mutation, disease, and death are integral to the process of evolution, an awesome process which I don't see as a "poor job." From a spiritual perspective, they provide contrast for appreciating health and life; impetus for inner reflection; and motivation for beneficial change in behavior. Science enhances appreciation for God and all of His creations.

Again, I am not a biology expert. So I'll quote somebody who is.

"[According to Carl Feit, an Orthodox Jew and professor of biology at Yeshiva University], science is itself a spiritual practice. Invoking Maimonides, the 12th-century Jewish philosopher, physician, scientist, and rabbi, Feit says that "the best way to develop a love and appreciation for God is by studying the works of his hand. There are certain blessings that a religious Jew makes every day. Some of them have to do with the fact that the sun rises and sets regularly, that all of the stars travel in their right orbits, and that all of our physiological functions work appropriately. With my knowledge of human physiology, I have a very different, and I think enhanced, appreciation when I make that blessing in the morning."
~ When Science and Religion Collide or Why Einstein Wasn't an Atheist
http://www.motherjones.com/news/feature/1997/11/slack.html
 
WalkerJ 1
 
Reply Fri 3 Nov, 2006 10:05 pm
Re: To Thorwald
Acheick wrote:
In response to WalkerJ, I fail to see how the presence of mutation, disease, and death, represents a "poor job" of creating life. Maybe he can explain WHY he feels that way, and then I can respond to his points.

Apparently, she didn't understand what I wrote.

When I said "her statements would imply that God did a very poor job of it", I meant exactly that. I did not imply that it was my sentiment. I stated that she is implying it is hers.

When she negated the validity of a comparison between the transcription of the Torah and transcription of cells, she implied that the cellular transcriptions are flawed, thereby attempting to bolster her argument for the Torah. I merely pointed out the conflict in her argument.

Likewise, in her latest statements, she says that genetic transcription errors are, in fact, a part of God's design. By saying this she implies that she believes that even if the Torah has accumulated transcription errors in its history, it was intended to be so and is a beneficial mutation. But if this truly is her opinion, then why did she object to the initial comparison?

If she's still interested in what I "feel", it is this: I feel she is using poor arguments to define her perspective. I have heard better (yet still unconvincing) arguments made by some of her fellow Jewish believers (think "Bible Code").

As for Carl Feit's statement of "science is itself a spiritual practice": While I have no doubt his religious bias makes this statement a reality for him, I doubt that a majority of the scientific community would concur.

That scientific studies invoke awe and appreciation is quite understandable, but that these feelings should be unequivocally directed at a designer and creator is a rather un-scientific conclusion.
 
WalkerJ 1
 
Reply Fri 3 Nov, 2006 10:42 pm
Thinker wrote:
Science reinforces egos until a bigger ego comes along.

Heh. I think science has contributed much more to mankind's development than ego reinforcement.

Thinker wrote:
Under those terms I would argue we are INSIGNIFICANT in every sense of the word. Thus religion may be the bridge to cherished importance.

True, it might. And so might many of the other theories, concepts, and beliefs held by mankind.

But then again, if we are insignificant, then so is anything we create -- including our theories, our religions, our masterpieces and our offal. In fact, our entire planet might just be a pebble laying in the construction path of an inter-galactic express way, and in the end, all that really matters is if you've got a towel. Smile
 
Anonymous
 
Reply Fri 3 Nov, 2006 11:08 pm
(Note to self: Do not debate WalkerJ.)
 
Acheick
 
Reply Sat 4 Nov, 2006 01:25 am
Anonymous wrote:
(Note to self: Do not debate WalkerJ.)


hahaha - he's a smart cookie alright. Razz
 
winter 1
 
Reply Sat 4 Nov, 2006 08:09 am
Anonymous wrote:
(Note to self: Do not debate WalkerJ.)

Not to Guest: do not debate, do.
 
Cookie 2
 
Reply Sat 4 Nov, 2006 07:52 pm
walker, will ya write me? wanna talk say hi on a chat or email. 8)
 
Acheick
 
Reply Sat 4 Nov, 2006 11:28 pm
However!!! Torah friend is not quitting. I hope you don't mind, Walker. This is still quite interesting to me.

Quote:
When I said "her statements would imply that God did a very poor job of it", I meant exactly that. I did not imply that it was my sentiment. I stated that she is implying it is hers.


None of my statements imply that God did a very poor job. You and I have had a misunderstanding. Let's move on.



Quote:
she says that genetic transcription errors are, in fact, a part of God's design. By saying this she implies that she believes that even if the Torah has accumulated transcription errors in its history, it was intended to be so


In fact, my statements do NOT imply a belief that Torah transcription errors were intended to be so.

Regarding science and Torah, my intended point was that the Torah is NOT a science book - and that science and Torah are harmonious with each other - and the Torah Jew finds science to be an integral part of spirituality as science allows us to better know God's creations and thus God. The fact that many scientists don't believe in either God or Torah is completely irrelevant to my point regarding the Torah Jew.

Personally, I don't feel the need to belabor any of the above points. Instead, here is the question posed to me which I am endeavoring to answer.


Quote:
"Do you really expect me to believe the Torah--as transcribed by humans, spread across the Mediterranean, and over millennia--has no noticeable and, by statistical probability, important mistakes? I am not taking about leaving out a 'u' here-and-there; I am taking about entire words, phrases, and even whole sections of text."


Regardless of whether you believe it or not, the answer to your question is that there have NOT been "important mistakes." In previous posts, I have pointed to the empirical evidence which demonstrates that the Torah transcription procedure has NOT led to changes in "entire words, phrases, and whole sections of text."

Instead, the empirical evidence shows that only a handful of letters changed - none of which affect the meaning of the text, or even the pronunciation of the text. The empirical evidence consists of Torah scrolls originating in vastly different parts of the world by Jewish communities that were isolated from each other, such as the Yemenite community.

"Thus we have three versions of the Torah: the Yemenite, the [Ashkenazi], and the version which is derived from [the majority of manuscripts]. The three versions differ from one another with respect to their source, and yet they are almost identical everywhere. (Breuer, introduction par. 20)"

"...we find that the three most authoritative versions differ in less than ten places. Less than 0.01% of the 304,805 letters of the Torah are under question.... we have no compelling reason to doubt that the overwhelming majority of the Torah text (over 99.99%) has remained in its original form throughout the thousands of years of transmission."

~ On the Text of the Torah, by Rabbi Gil Student
http://www.aishdas.org/toratemet/en_text.html
 
Thorwald 1
 
Reply Sat 4 Nov, 2006 11:45 pm
Torah friend wrote:
Regarding science and Torah, my intended point was that the Torah is NOT a science book - and that science and Torah are harmonious with each other - and the Torah Jew finds science to be an integral part of spirituality as science allows us to better know God's creations and thus God. The fact that many scientists don't believe in either God or Torah is completely irrelevant to my point regarding the Torah Jew.


That is a fair assessment and perspective from someone with a belief in God (of the Torah). I respect that. It even makes sense if I were to be a believer. I can see how one would espouse the wonders of science as reflections of God and his handiwork.

However, as a non-believer, I view all of this from a very different perspective. For me, science has all the answers I will ever need (so far, at least); there is no need for the super- or supra-natural. The wonders of Nature and our physical universe provide ample "creations" for me to cherish and preserve.

Torah friend wrote:
Regardless of whether you believe it or not, the answer to your question is that there have NOT been "important mistakes." In previous posts, I have pointed to the empirical evidence which demonstrates that the Torah transcription procedure has NOT led to changes in "entire words, phrases, and whole sections of text."


Fair enough. I will give you the benefit of the doubt here, as I am not a Torah expert. If this is truly the case, it is an astonishing feat. I remain sceptical, as that is my nature. I will quickly add, however, that it does not need a supernatural explanation; determination is a sufficient effect.
 
WalkerJ 1
 
Reply Sun 5 Nov, 2006 12:28 am
Quote:
None of my statements imply that God did a very poor job. You and I have had a misunderstanding. Let's move on.

No. Let's not. Let's stop for a minute to ponder if the arguments we are making are merely based on knee-jerk reactions or if we are actually taking into account the fact that every statment we make could be wrong or merely one angle of a range of disparate perspectives.

Quote:
In fact, my statements do NOT imply a belief that Torah transcription errors were intended to be so.

That's fine with me. Some of your brothers in the faith have argued that they are still part of God's design (all things being, as it were, under his control), but I see you disagree with them.

Quote:
Personally, I don't feel the need to belabor any of the above points.

Again, fine by me. I'm actually quite satisfied that the current version of the Torah is largely true to its original version. I merely thought it would be helpful to you if I pointed out the discrepancies in your arguments. Apparently, you prefer to attribute these to misunderstandings.

I am, in fact, far more interested in the much-debated credibility of the Torah's source. The mere fact that an author (or group of authors) has not been established and the possiblity of a redactor (presumably Ezra) being involved raises many questions in my mind.

So far in my debates with Jewish Rabbis, my questions in regards to this have been diverted with arguments along the lines of "The identity of the author does not matter because he was under divine inspiration, so God was ultimately the author." Forgive me, if I am a little distrusting of my fellow humans' ability to demonstrate restraint when it comes to interjecting personal opinions into written work.

I'd be interested in hearing your reasons for believing (or rather "knowing", as you put it) that the Torah is God's voice verbatim as opposed to, shall we say, a collection of nomads' superstitions?
 
 

 
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