Thoughts on Judaism

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Fundamentalist Science Cringes

Is it just me?  No, it definitely is not.  Every time I hear a religious person talk about science, I grit my teeth and hope for the best.  Sometimes, I sigh in relief at the end.  Many times, I am not so lucky.

The latest was a brilliant statement by HR Akin proposing that women could block pregnancy during a rape. This is based on a "theory" that has since been thoroughly discredited.  However, since it supports the idea that abortions should not be allowed in rape cases, fundamentalists, even sensible ones like Mike Huckabee, will give it credibility.  No matter how you feel about the question of abortion in the case of rape, it is independent of the fact that a rape victim cannot control whether she gets pregnant.  Justifying your unpopular position with nonsensical "science" makes it both unpopular and embarrassing.

Then, there was the Israeli bestseller, "Hamehapech", which set out to prove that the Torah knew the deepest secrets of modern science millennia ago.  Again, it is largely debunked nonsense, devoid of science.

Of course, there are spirited defenses of spontaneous generation, disproofs of the theory of evolution, proofs of geocentric universe models based on relativity, proofs based on cryptic quantum mechanics, extrapolated to the nth degree, ark-eology (the profession of finding Noah's Ark), and many others all driven by ideological facts that are not facts at all, but merely dogmatic pronouncements.  It is flat out embarrassing to think that I am frequently equated with these people, and therefore, with their "ideas".  It unfairly erodes my credibility.  Who elected these people to speak for us on science?

Of course, the deep left has its own sacred cow science issues, positive feedbacks in global warming, new age magic, mermaids (to support an agenda of stopping navy operations) and history revisions to support their various extreme ideas.  But at least, I am not associated with them automatically based on my appearance.

So, if you are fundamentalist who believes that the Bible, the sages, the Zohar or your favorite rabbi are the sources of amazing scientific facts, think about whether you would believe in those facts if they did not support your underlying agenda.  Facts are evil little mothers that don't care if your cultural sensibilities are right or wrong.  Be honest.  You did not derive your values based on facts.  You are inventing facts to support your values.  Before you state that fact in public, have a little rachmones on the rest of us.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Oy not again

AP reports that the "blurry glasses" story has gone international.  That's right!  The brainchild of the loony tunes in Meah Shearim, glasses that are intentionally blurry, have made the wire.

Let's walk down memory lane.  So far, the press has picked up true stories, unembellished:

1) Rabbis warding off swine flu by flying around Jerusalem in an plane, screaming into a phone, and blowing shofars.  That and a public vaccination program, seem to have done the trick.  Stephen Colbert lampooned it mercilessly.  There was a further controversy on even using the term "swine" flu.
2) There was a controversy when Haredim photo-chopped Hillary Clinton out of a press photo, declaring to the world that it is forbidden according to Jewish law to look at a woman in a photo.  (I must have dozed off during that siman of Shulchan Aruch.)
3) The disaster, mess, and animal rights concerns caused by myriads of people waving chickens over their heads every year provides fodder for our enemies to attack shechita internationally.
4) Neturei Karta going to Iran to participate in a Holocaust denier conference.
5) A little girl getting spat upon by grown men and called vile names for the crime of walking home from school dressed as an Orthodox Jewish girl should dress.
6) Open violence to enforce gender separation on public buses in Israel, "modesty patrols" a la Iranian Mullah, and Haredi shakedowns of businesses in Jerusalem completely undermine our ability to display to the world that Israel should rule the city alone.

In short, except in the case of the NKs, the complete pusillanimous reaction of Jewish "leadership", whether Israeli political leadership, Agudah and OU, YU, religious batei din of all stripes has become intolerable.  Hey guys!  Some of us need a modicum of credibility to survive this, and your silence on these things is blasting like a boom box.    Once and for all, you have made yourselves irrelevant and are completely unfit to claim to lead the Orthodox world. Stop throwing rock concert style parties at Giant Stadium and face the task at hand.  Lead or step down!  Declare in no uncertain terms that this type of behavior is NOT JEWISH, NOT PART OF OUR PHILOSOPHY, and that the "Rabbis" that propagate it are HERETICAL!  Stop buckling under to celebrity nonagenarians and excommunicate them!

This, of course, assumes that Agudah, chasidic groups and the like actually do not agree with the Haredim.  Maybe it is time to cut it once and for all.  Maybe, Haredism needs to fully separate from Orthodox Judaism and become its own religion.  They have already declared that the Orthodox are not Jewish in their eyes, not trusting their marriage / divorce, conversions, kashrut and smicha.  They do not believe in paying for or defending the Jewish state because it is not Jewish in their eyes.  In short, they have already declared themselves a separate nation and religion.  WHY HAVEN'T WE?