Thoughts on Judaism

Sunday, July 10, 2005

The Sun went Silent

Today is the day in Jewish history when Joshua made the sun stand still. Many miracles occurred at that moment.

1) The laws of gravity and motion were suspended.
2) The regular motion of the Earth and Sun were resumed immediately thereafter.
3) The other planets maintained their orbits without damage.
4) The climate of the Earth was not affected.
5) The abilities of astrologers were not affected by the change.
6) Oh yeah, and Yehoshua won the war.

Oh yes, and on the Geocentrism front, a reeling blow was dealt the forces of stationary Earth geocentrism with the observation that starlight would have to alter its course and move around the Earth in heliosynchronous (is that a word?) orbit, rather than moving in a more or less straight line. It led me to wonder, if the sun stopped moving around the Earth, did the starlight maintain the sync with the stopped Sun or did it continue on as if the Sun was still moving?

30 Comments:

  • This is just one of the problems with what I refer to as strong geocentrism, and is not particularly new. Strong geocentrism has always required the universe to be involved in these sorts of perverse activities, but what do you expect when you pick a center for the universe?

    By Blogger The Observer, at 3:18 PM  

  • It may be an amplification of the "Stellar Aberration" objection.

    By Blogger Rebeljew, at 10:23 AM  

  • I don't think it is much of an amplification.
    The apologists already have a stock answer, just as they have stock answers for many of the others. It is the intellectual incoherence that is damning.

    By Blogger The Observer, at 1:33 PM  

  • I thought the most difficult part of resolving this was that teh stock ansers depend on the Theory of Relativity, but the pliable path of starlight violates said theory.

    By Blogger Rebeljew, at 3:15 PM  

  • By the grace of G-d
    Shalom uBrocha!
    To paraphrase a famous Chassidic story "even a Colonel Brady can answer such a question"

    DRUMMOND: I want those "Amens" in the record! I recollect a story about Joshua, making the sun stand still. Now as an expert, you tell me that's as true as the Jonah business. Right? That's a pretty neat trick. You suppose Houdini could do it?

    BRADY: I do not question or scoff at the miracles of the Lord - as do ye of little faith.

    DRUMMOND: Have you ever pondered just what would naturally happen to the earth if the sun stood still?

    BRADY: You can testify to that if I get you on the stand.

    DRUMMOND: If they say that the sun stood still, they must've had a notion that the sun moves around the earth. Think that's the way of things? Or don't you believe the earth moves around the sun?

    BRADY: I have faith in the Bible!

    DRUMMOND: You don't have much faith in the solar system.

    BRADY: The sun stopped.

    DRUMMOND: Good. Now if what you say factually happened - if Joshua halted the sun in the sky - that means the earth stopped spinning on its axis; continents toppled over each other, mountains flew out into space. And the earth, arrested in its orbit, shriveled into a cinder and crashed into the sun. How come they missed this tidbit of news?

    BRADY: They missed it because it didn't happen.

    DRUMMOND: It must have happened! According to natural law. Or don't you believe in natural law, Colonel? Would you like to ban Copernicus from the classroom, along with Charles Darwin? Pass a law to wipe out all the scientific development since Joshua. Revelations - period!

    BRADY: Natural law was born in the mind of the Heavenly Father. He can change it, cancel it, use it as He pleases. It constantly amazes me that you apostles of science, for all your supposed wisdom, fail to grasp this simple fact.

    http://www.geocities.com/quotequeen81/playsmovies/InheritWind.html

    On a more serious note you are missing the main point here:
    one could argue that teaching this from another standpoint destroys emuna peshuta in many people diminishes their zrizus in fulfillment of the commandments and creates other problems mentioned in the Rebbes review of the issue quoted in Mind over Matter
    may be it's one of those things in the category of, "but not everything that is revealed to him will he [Moshiach] reveal to them"
    see Derech Mitzvoisecho
    http://www.yiddishkeit.org/HTML/Mashiach/MinuiMelech.asp
    However all of the above is only a speculation of mine based on me trying to read the Rebbes words between the lines.
    I'm satisfied with answers he gives quoted in Mind Over Matter.
    http://www.chabad.org/library/article.asp?AID=111581
    besides the fact that I came up wit the same answer about the age of the universe the Rebbe gives there on my own when I was 1st confronted with the issue when I was 9.
    Ascent which is a Chabad kiruv center in Tzfat hosts this article from Simcha Koretz
    http://www.ascent.org.il/NewAscentOfSafed/Teachings/Introduction/Shoots/age.html
    which presents a more in depth look at the issue as I said I'm unsure if it actually contradicts what the Rebbe says quoted in mind over matter or it's a matter of Chabad Hashkofa as to the principles of Chinuch.
    With respect and blessing.

    Ariel Sokolovsky
    Long Live our Master our Teacher and our Rebbe King Moshiach Forever and Ever!
    ( http://www.israel613.com/VIDEOS/necessity-of-proclaiming-yechi.rm )

    By Anonymous Ariel Sokolovsky, at 8:25 PM  

  • The issue with spontaneously generated worms is very simple. True, experiments do allow for following the process through which a worm [larva] develops from an egg. And, when there are also explanations for the process of how these eggs were laid, that allows for the conclusion that these specific worms were created through a reproductive process. However, when eggs found in rot are identified as belonging to a specific species of worm, and the worms found there also bear signs of belonging to that species, that in no way proves that it is impossible for these worms to have appeared without the eggs, through spontaneous generation.

    In fact, every single individual worm has certain unique characteristics, so that no two specifics are exactly the same. The argument that a particular worm is exactly identical to those evolved from eggs under observation cannot be correct. And, even if it were true, that would not mean at all that it is impossible for these worms to have been spontaneously generated.

    In general, experimental science cannot fundamentally prove anything impossible. It can only talk about the possibility of something that has been witnessed, but that in no way proves the impossibility of that which they have not yet managed to see or recreate. Science, especially in light of thermodynamics, only establishes the probability of a given event. Therefore, according to the modern scientific approach, the concept of “an impossible event” has now been exchanged for “a low-probability event.”

    I refer to the quote specifically. This is truly astounding. What he is saying in response to the spontaneous generation references is that there is no proof taht it is not true. The Pateurs would be shocked to hear that, but he drops back to a sophistic position to protect the plate with two strikes. While he is right that if we have 5 worm eggs and later we find 5 worms, there is no "proof" that the worms came from the eggs. However, DNA scientists study worms all the time owing to their simplicity, and that is pretty conclusive in this regard. No sophistry will save him from that. Though again, I have no "proof" that the moon is not made of cheese either.

    I have no problem with the Rebbe's rejection of the day / age answer for the universe. It is directly contradicted in Mesichta Chagiga. However, to insist a young earth based on scientific evidence is also wrong. So the Rebbe goes Fossean. It does not surprise me that you came up with this answer when you were a child. It is a (klug) child's answer. It was made popular by a Christian pastor in the 1860's, shortly after Darwin published.

    And for the record, I have no problem with the concept of this "sun standing still" miracle. I agree with your point. Once we have ADMITTED that it is a miracle, rather than an aberration in natural laws, then there is no problem. It is interesting, though, as we did with Noah earlier, to catalog ALL the miracles that are needed to sustain the miracle. Lma'an Rvos mofsei.

    I do not understand what "apostle of science" means. Science is a method of observing what is going on around us. It is based on repeatable presentations, not on apostolic adherants. As Groucho said famously, "Who are you going to believe, me or your own eyes?"

    By Blogger Rebeljew, at 6:48 AM  

  • I am impressed with your knowledge of pop culture though. :)

    By Blogger Rebeljew, at 6:50 AM  

  • B"H
    You should reread my last comment especially it's second part and links in it in particular the one to Derech Mitzvoisecho if you have understanding and apply it you may get what I'm trying to say but I'll not planning to elabarate more on the issue in a publicly searchable blog at least email me your comments on this post personaly.
    I actually wrote a clarification on my last comments but had doubts if it should be published here which is why even the reply above was only published on your blog.. .
    If I see that you can understand the second part of my previous comment yourself I'll continue this discussion in email if not some things are better left unsaid...
    ariel5740@yahoo.com

    By Anonymous Ariel, at 8:41 AM  

  • In my estimation, Ariel's point here is that we mortals cannot fathom the depth of the sages and that is why they make no sense to us. It is our lack of "bitul" to G-dliness, owing to our lack of connection to one of these sages (and there is only one in Ariel's world, past present or future, make no mistake), which clouds our ability to reason with our own arrogance.

    In the past, I have noted the ironic situation of a Moshiachist Lubav making a charge of arrogance, so I will not repeat it here.

    By Blogger Rebeljew, at 11:03 AM  

  • I've been meaning to say this for a while, and rather than write a post on my blog (for which I have no time for lately), I'll just say it here.

    While experiment cannot disprove the spontaneous generation of worms, as noted above, it would be a great victory to the frum world if an experiment could prove that it does occur. This would not just benefit the Torah / Science debate, but would completely refute evolution. I'm sure there are enough frum biologists to perform such an experiment. Needless to say, no such experiment has ever been done.

    By Blogger Menuval, at 9:08 PM  

  • Absense of evidence is not evidence of absense. But sometimes it is evidence of nonsense. :)

    rebeljew18@yahoo.com

    By Blogger Rebeljew, at 10:58 PM  

  • Slight correction:
    It would not disprove evolution to show SG. It would demonstrate that it is ALSO a vehicle for diversification POTENTIALLY.

    This will not help the apologetics however. We know that the medievals thought that ALL LICE were spontaneously generated. That has been disproven in a big way. They probably did not make the connection between the eggs and larvae and the adult insects. That is speculative.

    By Blogger Rebeljew, at 6:02 AM  

  • B"H
    Shalom uBrocha!
    "In my estimation, Ariel's point here is that we mortals cannot fathom the depth of the sages and that is why they make no sense to us. It is our lack of "bitul" to G-dliness, owing to our lack of connection to one of these sages"

    It was not my point. And if that would be my point I'd feel toally comfortable bashing your "lack of bittul" on your own blog.
    Brocha veHatzlocha!

    Ariel Sokolovsky

    Yechi haMelech haMoshiach!

    By Blogger Rabbi Ariel Sokolovsky, at 11:37 AM  

  • Ariel

    Very simply. What is the point of teaching people nonsense? If you will say that it bolsters emunah peshutah, then what is the point of emunah based on nonsense. If you will say that it contains some "deep secret" (or someone else has some deep secret that we are not privy to) even though it appears to be nonsense, I can only answer that it uproots everything that Judaism holds dear.

    By Blogger Rebeljew, at 12:42 PM  

  • B"H


    "ChabadSkeptic said...
    I've been meaning to say this for a while, and rather than write a post on my blog (for which I have no time for lately), I'll just say it here.

    While experiment cannot disprove the spontaneous generation of worms, as noted above, it would be a great victory to the frum world if an experiment could prove that it does occur. This would not just benefit the Torah / Science debate, but would completely refute evolution. I'm sure there are enough frum biologists to perform such an experiment. Needless to say, no such experiment has ever been done.

    9:08 PM
    "

    Yudel Lives Eternal Uninterrupted Life
    It is well known that Moshiach will usher the era of eternal life into the world. This is demonstrated in the Midrashic sefer, Yalkut Shim'oni (Tehillim ch. 2, remez 621): Hashem will tell Moshiach that he may request anything and it will be granted him, and Moshiach will say "ribono shel olom, I ask only for life." Hashem will respond saying that before he asked it Dovid already prophesied it (Tehillim 21:5) "He asked you for life, you granted it; a long and eternal life." From this Midrash it is explicit that Moshiach will live forever.

    A particular form of calculating gematriyos is to count the Hebrew final-letters as advancing numerals from 500 to 900. According to this calculation, the word "chayim," "life," equals 628 – the exact numerical value of Yudel's name "Chayim Yehuda Krinsky." This indicates that Yudel, by his very composition, is not in the category of death whatsoever and is the embodiment of eternal life.

    The verse that began by the Rebbe (Tehillim 133:3) "[kan] tzivo hashem es ha-brocho," concludes by Yudel "chayim ad ho-olom," showing that Yudel has reached the manifestation of eternal life.

    This is recognized not just by Torah but even in the reality of olom ha-zeh, almo de-shikro. Indeed, there is no death certificate issued for Yudel Krinsky in the state of New York, nor in any other state.

    No hospital record exists for Yudel, nor any medical pronouncement of death.

    Not a single person has ever come forth claiming to have attended a funeral for Yudel. In fact, no such funeral ever took place.


    from http://www.yudelkrinsky.com

    on a more serious note you misunderstand why the Rebbe makes this claim about the SG worms see my quote from "Derech Mitzvoisecho" above see the Rebbes answer to Prof Velvel Green about the permisibility of searching for alients http://www.chabad.org/library/article.asp?AID=216626 despite the fact that the Rebbe proves that they can't exist at least not ones possesing free will...

    You are missing a point, but unless you understand it yourself I can't help you.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 1:24 PM  

  • "on a more serious note you misunderstand why the Rebbe makes this claim about the SG worms"

    On a more serious note, yudelkrinsky.com is probably far more serious than the Rebbe's worm discussion.

    By Blogger Menuval, at 6:15 PM  

  • By the way, Ariel, welcome back. I was wondering when you would again grace us with your wisdom on these important issues. Perhaps I can even treat you to a coffee at the bagle shop next time I'm in CH where we can discuss this in greater depth. ;-)

    By Blogger Menuval, at 6:17 PM  

  • B"H
    I have a site dedicated to the serious issues discussed at yudelkrinsky.com

    HREF="http://www.DonkeyMoshiach.blogspot.com">http://www.DonkeyMoshiach.blogspot.com

    see many chidushim and perushim there.

    the previous comment was adressed more to rebeljew than to you though and it's not really about sg worms per se but the whole attitude of the Rebbe towards Torah/Science issues which I think is misunderstood by many people here.

    I don't live in CH I live in Boston and I'm in Portland Oregon now and may visit few other places , not sure when I'll be in CH -kan tzivah Hashem et habrocha. next time and if you'll be there too to buy me coffe but if you want to talk with me you are always welcome to call me at my cellphone 617-372-2312

    By Blogger Rabbi Ariel Sokolovsky, at 6:46 PM  

  • Not sure why you think there is some deep chochma in this SG worms thing.

    There are three possibilities, the same that I posted myself at the beginning of the archives.
    1) Thumb your nose at a scoffing world and declare Torah beyond examination.
    2) Dispute the science.
    3) Reinvestigate your understanding of what the Torah actually says and doesn't say.

    I've always put stock in #3 because it is the weak link, OUR UNDERSTANDING. #1 is for "mystical approachers", but not for a rational person. #2 is "sort of" the Rebbe's approach, at least outwardly, though #1 is his "real" approach.

    I agree with the Rebbe that #3 can lead to a slippery slope of "reinterpretation". I agree that the "day / age" approach (popularized by Darrow, uh ... Drummond) to resolution of Breishis is weak or nonexistent, given the gemora in Chagiga. I also agree with the Rebbe that sometimes, we just don't have the answer yet and that should not limit us in accepting or understanding Torah's version of events.

    That said, we still cannot through out the baby with the bathwater. We will never know the answer unless we are looking for it. Every issue in the Oral Torah is resolved in this manner. Why should these issues be any different?

    The Rebbe's approach is that science is not conclusive, therefore, we uphold the literal words of Torah. Underlying this, he is really saying that since logically science can never prove the nonexistence of some process, we must simply always believe in the literalist Torah view, period, in all cases. This is more or less supportable, even from Moreh Nevuchim standpoint.

    I think this approach is oversimplified to work. Teh article on worms emphasizes the acrobatics to which we must go to avoid being pinned. We have eggs, we have worms, we even can watch the hatching process, but we cannot account for all worms in the world not being spontaneously generated, hence it is "unproven". So to Chabadskeptic, you are right on here. However, we cannot prove that x=x for all values of x either, since the number system is infinite. At some point, we must pass the buck back to dealer.

    If there is never a way to prove anything, then the entire concept of proof or truth for that matter becomes meaningless. Back to the $100 promise in the infallibility post. But that undermines the claim of Toras Emes as well, making that meaningless. What has the Chabad Rebbe gained in that?

    By Blogger Rebeljew, at 10:51 PM  

  • B"H
    You still don't understand what I'm saying.

    "If there is never a way to prove anything, then the entire concept of proof or truth for that matter becomes meaningless. Back to the $100 promise in the infallibility post. But that undermines the claim of Toras Emes as well, making that meaningless. What has the Chabad Rebbe gained in that? "

    perhaps you should throw out your faith in Neviim in Tanach too at least in some of them ...
    Huldah prediction about Yoshiahu's death forexample is fulfilled seemingly 100% opposite of what she said yet instead of declaring her false prophetes the commentaries simply reinterpret it (look in Melochim 2 )
    Why?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12:36 PM  

  • "Huldah prediction about Yoshiahu's death forexample is fulfilled seemingly 100% opposite of what she said yet instead of declaring her false prophetes the commentaries simply reinterpret it (look in Melochim 2 )

    Why?"

    I'm guessing for the same reason mishichistim exist.

    By Blogger Menuval, at 3:55 PM  

  • B"H
    ChabadSkeptic your comparission to mashichistim comes from your standpoint as "ChabadSkeptic" (in reality it comes from ignorance of the Rebbes talks on the subject of Moshiach) I however want to know why does RebelJew stop with "Talmudic science" but doesn't adopt "same standards" for Tanach to be "consistent"
    I'm trying to hint something to him about the Rebbes answers on these issues and he didn't get it yet.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 1:59 AM  

  • Point taken.

    From the honoralble R' Gil:

    Chulda's Prophecy

    Another question that can be raised is that in 2 Kings (22:20) Chulda the prophetess told the king Josiah that he would be laid in his tomb in peace. Yet in 2 Chronicles (35:23) it says that King Josiah was shot by archers during battle. Is this not a case of a phrophecy for good that did not come true? It is not, as the very next verse in 2 Chronicles demonstrates. Rather, Josiah was only injured in battle and he was brought back to Jerusalem, died there, was buried in his ancestral tomb, and was mourned by all of Judah. He truly was laid in his tomb in peace, as Chulda prophesied.

    By Blogger Menuval, at 2:24 AM  

  • Sorry to gang up on you AS (Anon):

    When Tanach is inconsistent, as CS shows in this case, commentaries try to weave a usable cloth from the mismatched pieces to show that there is no contradiction. They do just as I would do when "mada" does not match observation. (Namely, method #3 above.) How is that comparable to claiming that THERE IS NO contradiction when anyone with an elementary school education would think that there is?

    I have no issue with miracles, as long as we begin from the fact that they are miracles. Once we have to distrust our observations to match our beliefs, we are on unstable ground.

    By Blogger Rebeljew, at 9:59 AM  

  • There is a famous gemora, that "Shaksa Raba", Raba could not answer the challenge to his argument, but the gemora ends "halachta k,Raba". I can't remember the location or content, but it is shows, unmistakably, that the mesora halacha and the reasons for the halacha, given in the Talmud are different from each other.

    By Blogger Rebeljew, at 10:12 AM  

  • B"H
    "How is that comparable to claiming that THERE IS NO contradiction when anyone with an elementary school education would think that there is?
    "
    That's the key to the issue. In my experience even many people with college education can be easily convinced by Rebbe's arguements about geocentricity , age of universe and evolution.
    The Rebbe is presenting this arguement as part of Chabad hashkofa. And he points out many reasons why teaching it in other ways particularly when it's done in response to a scientific theory has bad side effects in the long term.
    What you don't seem to get(to know?) there is such thing as speech klapei pnim, klapei hutz , dchia not answering the fool according to his foley etc.
    for example the Rebbe saysin a letter quoted in mind over matter that now one can't bring the opinion of early kabbalists about age of the universe as pshat since Arizal who was accepted by everyone Sefardim, and Ashkenazim , Alter Rebbe and Vilna Gaon insisted that previous shmita cycles mentioned in Sanhadrin don't refer to this phisical world but to spiritual ones.
    So the Rebbe says he can't argue against the Arizal .
    Thing is perhaps the Rebbe can interpret Arizal in a way that wouldn't contradict early kabbalists but is not doing that (at least in those letters) see the quote from Derech Mitzvoisecho above.

    The Rashab in published arguments against Tzionim says that we are waiting for complete redemption with Hashem as the Moshiach . Yet the Rebbe emhesizes in many Sichos we don't hold like Rav Hillel . So who is the heretic here the Rashab the Rebbe (for "contradicting" the Rashab) or fools who don't understand what either of them is saying and why is he saying it in that context?:-)
    Bottom line these letters must be understood in the context of the Rebbes teachings in general .

    By Anonymous Otzar770.com, at 7:53 PM  

  • "In my experience even many people with college education can be easily convinced by Rebbe's arguements about geocentricity , age of universe and evolution."

    I would strongly disagree. Gossean sophistry convinces the convinced. See observantastronomer.blogspot.com for an example of the geocentrism argument from a Chabadnik astronomy professor. I have discussed these subjects with him many times and he admits he cannot defend the views in the Rebbe's letters.

    "What you don't seem to get(to know?) there is such thing as speech klapei pnim, klapei hutz , dchia not answering the fool according to his foley etc."

    This point follows and I made it myself as you can see in my archives of Feb and March. The CR answers these things in a very cagey way for a reason. I just disagree with you about what his true maskana is.

    By Blogger Rebeljew, at 11:48 PM  

  • B"H
    "In my experience even many people with college education can be easily convinced by Rebbe's arguements about geocentricity , age of universe and evolution."

    I would strongly disagree. Gossean sophistry convinces the convinced.


    You can't realy disagree with my subjective experience about this. All I'm saying that the easiest (at least in my experience) to disprove is evolution , next age of the universe and somewhat harder is the heliocentricity (probably because of the solar system models stuck in our subconcious since childhood).

    See observantastronomer.blogspot.com for an example of the geocentrism argument from a Chabadnik astronomy professor. I have discussed these subjects with him many times and he admits he cannot defend the views in the Rebbe's letters.

    As I said I'm simply retelling you my subjective experience talking to many people about these subjects over the last 12 years and more.

    "What you don't seem to get(to know?) there is such thing as speech klapei pnim, klapei hutz , dchia not answering the fool according to his foley etc."

    This point follows and I made it myself as you can see in my archives of Feb and March. The CR answers these things in a very cagey way for a reason. I just disagree with you about what his true maskana is.

    11:48 PM

    What do you think his true "maskana" is? Explain to me.

    By Anonymous Otzar770.com, at 7:10 PM  

  • "All I'm saying that the easiest (at least in my experience) to disprove is evolution , next age of the universe and somewhat harder is the heliocentricity (probably because of the solar system models stuck in our subconcious since childhood)."

    The reason that they are difficult to disprove is because there is so much corroborating independent evidence of these basic theories. Heliocentricity is verified by stellar aberration (violating the very Relativity that the geocentric argument depends on), stellar parallax, the free hanging pendulum etc., not just habit as you imply. Evolution and age of universe are both supported by multiple independent finds in paleontolgy, multiple independent dating methods, and that darned Theory of Relativity again, which the CR called "universally accepted" (even though it is JUST a theory, not a fact).

    Again, all of these should be discussed with observantastronomer.blogspot.com. He is a Chabadnik ivy league astronomy professor.

    Though these are your impressions, I think that if you depend on them, as the CR was wont to say mny times, you are fooling yourself. They are easily refuted.

    So the Rebbe was left with Gossean sophistry. This grants all of my objections, but states flatly that I cannot depend on my observation because G-d could have made it look old. This answer has no foundation other than simple mystical approach sophistry. There is no observation or differentiation that would lead me to believe that the observations are not correct, and tons to believe that they are. So you either believe that every prehistoric find was miraculously created ex nihilo or youo don't. Fine.

    My impressions of the Rebbe's real conclusions are not really relevant as you are no doubt as able as I to develop your own understanding through thorough study. But you are correct that the Gossean stuff is the answer klapi chutz and likely the answer klapi p'nim would surprise you.

    By Blogger Rebeljew, at 8:42 PM  

  • Otzar

    I realize on reflection I left you with no inkling of what I was thinking which is unfair. The hint to me is that the Rebbe often pointed out that just because we do not have an answer at this time, the resolution is no less existent, nor should we put a time limit on discovery.

    By Blogger Rebeljew, at 9:10 PM  

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