Thursday, November 4, 2010

First of all Natan Slifkin accuses Chazal… then he explores the topic!

New revealing post published by Natan Slifkin, he wrote:
“…It thus appears to me that while Rambam was correct in describing Chazal as mistaken in believing the sun to make sound… … But I have only just begun to explore this topic.”
Aren’t “Rationalist Jews” expected to explore a topic and then qualify it as a mistake? Am I missing something?

42 comments:

  1. Rabbi Slifkin is saying that from his INITIAL exploration of the topic he agrees with Rambam's understanding that Chazal were mistaken in concluding that the sun makes noise. Rabbi Slifkin is explicitly stating that he has made no CONCLUSION about this, and needs to study the matter further before reaching a conclusion. Thus Rabbi Slifkin uses tentative language throughout the post.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Dear Nachum,
    That is exactly my point.
    I think that Chazal deserve at least the benefit of the doubt.
    If someone does not know if Chazal’s statement is accurate according to present-day scientific knowledge, he may explore the topic and then publish that they were mistaken or not.
    This behavior is expected from any human being, especially from a rationalist Jew.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Dr. Betech, do YOU think that Rambam was correct in describing Chazal as mistaken in believing the sun to make sound? Or do you think that the sun really does make sounds, and Rambam was wrong? Please explain your view.

    (By the way, l'aniyus daati, it seems that you completely misunderstood what R. Slifkin wrote, and you misrepresented it by chopping off half the quote. He wasn't saying that he isn't sure if Chazal were mistaken in believing the sun to make sound. He was saying that he isn't sure if "this was identical to the Pythagorean belief of Musica Universalis")

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  4. B”H
    Dear Yissacher
    Of course it is possible that I misunderstood.
    Please explain to me the meaning of the following sentence written by NS:

    It thus appears to me that while Rambam was correct in describing Chazal as mistaken in believing the sun to make sound…

    According to NS, Chazal were or were not mistaken in believing the sun to make sound?

    ReplyDelete
  5. Dr. Bettech: To be fair, Chazal were wrong in this issue according to the Rambam quoted by Rabbi Slifkin. Rabbi Slifkin takes it as "given" that the sun does not make noise by boring through the firmament. The only question is what did Chazal's statement mean. Rabbi Slifkin tentatively agrees with Rambam's interpretation of this Chazal, but he leaves open the possibility that he can be convinced that the Rambam's interpretation of Chazal is mistaken.

    ReplyDelete
  6. B”H
    Dear Nachum,
    I understand your point.
    But my point is:
    I think that Chazal deserve at least the benefit of the doubt.
    If someone does not know if Chazal’s statement is accurate according to present-day scientific knowledge, he may explore the topic and then publish that they were mistaken or not.
    This behavior is expected from any human being, especially from a rationalist Jew.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Dr. Betech, you are only quoting half the sentence. Here is the sentence:

    It thus appears to me that while Rambam was correct in describing Chazal as mistaken in believing the sun to make sound, I am not so sure that this was identical to the Pythagorean belief of Musica Universalis.

    R. Slifkin is saying that while Rambam is correct to point out that Chazal were mistaken in describing the sun as making sound, he is not sure if their belief as to how this sound occurs is the same as the Pythagorean belief as to how this sound occurs.
    (Nachum, you are also mistaken.)

    Please can you answer the question that I asked you? Do YOU think that Rambam was correct in describing Chazal as mistaken in believing the sun to make sound? Or do you think that the sun really does make sounds, and Rambam was wrong? Please explain your view.

    ReplyDelete
  8. B”H
    Dear Yissacher
    According to NS, Chazal were or were not mistaken in believing the sun to make sound?

    ReplyDelete
  9. Dr
    why argue your point is well taken

    they will never be convinced,

    I see the fight as a way to keep others away

    and to influence those stuck in the middle

    but slifkins "kat " will never change or agree they first have to teshuva

    ReplyDelete
  10. Dear Yissacher
    According to NS, Chazal were or were not mistaken in believing the sun to make sound?


    He's saying they were mistaken, just like Rambam says.

    Why didn't you answer my question? I already asked you twice. Here it is again, for the third time:

    Do YOU think that Rambam was correct in describing Chazal as mistaken in believing the sun to make sound? Or do you think that the sun really does make sounds, and Rambam was wrong? Please explain your view.

    ReplyDelete
  11. B”H

    IB:
    According to NS, Chazal were or were not mistaken in believing the sun to make sound?

    Yissacher said:
    He's saying they were mistaken, just like Rambam says.

    IB:
    Thank you for your confirmation.

    Yissacher said:
    Do YOU think that Rambam was correct in describing Chazal as mistaken in believing the sun to make sound? Or do you think that the sun really does make sounds, and Rambam was wrong? Please explain your view.

    IB:
    At this moment my view on this is irrelevant.
    As you can see, all my point in this short post is to show that Natan Slifkin is ready to state that Chazal were mistaken without exploring what modern science has found on the specific issue in question.
    Aren’t “Rationalist Jews” expected to explore a topic and then qualify it as a mistake?

    ReplyDelete
  12. How do you know that he hasn't explored it? The only thing that he says he hasn't finished exploring is whether their belief as to how this sound occurs is the same as the Pythagorean belief as to how this sound occurs. But as to whether there is a sound at all, he doesn't say anything about only beginning to explore it. Maybe, because you are Mexican, your English reading comprehension isn't very good?

    I know it's not your point, but I am nevertheless very curious as to whether YOU think that Rambam was correct in describing Chazal as mistaken in believing the sun to make sound, or whether you think that the sun really does make sounds, and Rambam was wrong. Why can't you just answer this simple question? It's just a few words: "Yes, Rambam was correct," or "No, Rambam was not correct." Aren't you interested in teaching the Torah-true beliefs on these things?

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  13. B”H
    Dear Yissacher, thank you for suggesting an alternative reading of NS´s statement.
    In that case are you implying that NS arrived to the conclusion that there is no sound at all?

    ReplyDelete
  14. Yissachar: Maybe I did read it wrong.

    Having reread the post, I now see that R. Slifkin believes: (a) Chazal believed that the sun makes noises as it bores its way through the surface of the crystalline firmament that encompasses the earth; (b) this view is incorrect, as we now know that the sun doesn't bore its way through any firmament; and (c) R. Slifkin is not at all sure that RMBM is correct in comparing Chazal's mistaken view to the Pythagorean view.

    I think that Dr. Betech has displayed an itchy trigger finger here.

    ReplyDelete
  15. B”H
    Dear Nachum
    Everyone is speculating on what NS meant…
    Even Yissacher wrote about you: “Nachum, you are also mistaken”.
    So the reasonable thing is to expect that NS will clarify his position.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Dr. Betech.

    You are the one who accused Rabbi Slifkin (on ambiguous evidence at best) of qualifying as an error a topic he has not explored. That's why I wrote: "I think that Dr. Betech has displayed an itchy trigger finger here."

    ReplyDelete
  17. B”H
    Dear Nachum
    Yissacher, you and I are speculating on what NS meant on his “ambiguous” statement.
    So the reasonable thing is to expect that NS will clarify his position.
    Then everyone will be able to evaluate his clarification.

    ReplyDelete
  18. I'm not speculating, I think his words are very clear. Having re-read the post, Nachum agrees. But if you are uncertain, why not ask him? Don't you believe in "fully exploring" something before making accusations?

    For the fifth time, I am asking the same question. I would like you to say either "Yes, Rambam was right" or "No, Rambam was wrong" regarding Rambam's claims that Chazal were mistaken about the sun making noise. Since you consider it your mission to teach people the proper derech regarding Torah/science issues, and you publicly criticize those with an improper approach, I can't understand why you won't answer this question in detail, and I certainly don't get why you can't just say a few words. It really looks pathetic that you only criticize others, and never speak about your own approach.

    ReplyDelete
  19. B”H
    Dear Yissacher
    So the reasonable thing is to expect that NS will clarify his position.
    Then everyone will be able to evaluate his clarification.

    ReplyDelete
  20. I don't think that is reasonable to expect at all, since his words were not at all ambiguous. Do you think that his words were ambiguous?

    For the sixth time now, I am asking the same question. I would like you to say either "Yes, Rambam was right" or "No, Rambam was wrong" regarding Rambam's claims that Chazal were mistaken about the sun making noise. Since you consider it your mission to teach people the proper derech regarding Torah/science issues, and you publicly criticize those with an improper approach, I can't understand why you won't answer this question in detail, and I certainly don't get why you can't just say a few words. It really looks pathetic that you only criticize others, and never speak about your own approach.

    ReplyDelete
  21. Yissacher -

    For the sixth time now, I am asking the same question. I would like you to say either "Yes, Rambam was right" or "No, Rambam was wrong" regarding Rambam's claims that Chazal were mistaken about the sun making noise.

    There is a logically prior question to this one. Was the Rambam's girsa of the gemara correct or not? Our gemaros do not state what the Rambam quotes "and you already know that the wisdom of the gentiles was decisive, in the matter of astronomy, over the wisdom of our sages as the sages themselves openly state ‘and the sages of the gentiles have triumphed’…"

    Rambam supports his view from Chazal themselves. What do you want from the Rambam?

    ReplyDelete
  22. B”H
    Dear Yissacher

    1.
    You asked:
    Do you think that his words were ambiguous?

    IB:
    “Having re-read the post…” suggests ambiguity.

    2.
    Yissacher said:
    “For the sixth time now, I am asking the same question”.

    IB:
    This question was answered 2 days ago in this thread November 5, 2010 1:56 AM.

    3.
    Yissacher said:
    Since you consider it your mission to teach people the proper derech regarding Torah/science issues…

    IB:
    Torah/science issues can be the 2nd public debate with Natan Slifkin.
    See page 4: http://toriah.com/pdf/Betech-Slifkin-debate2.pdf

    4.
    Yissacher you have not answered (November 5, 2010 9:08 AM):
    In that case are you implying that NS arrived to the conclusion that there is no sound at all?

    ReplyDelete
  23. IB:
    “Having re-read the post…” suggests ambiguity.
    YG:
    I don't think so, but if you're not sure what he meant, why don't you ask him.

    IB:
    This question was answered 2 days ago in this thread November 5, 2010 1:56 AM.
    YG:
    You said that your view is "irrelevant." How on earth do you describe that as "answering my question"? That is avoiding my question, not answering it.

    IB:
    Torah/science issues can be the 2nd public debate with Natan Slifkin.
    YG:
    But it doesn't look like there is going to be any debate. So in the meanwhile, why aren't you interested in sharing the Torah-true view on Rambam's position?
    Do you know what it looks like? It looks like you don't have any way of explaining how Chazal were correct - after all, there is no sound in a vacuum - but you refuse to admit it. So instead of admitting the facts, you avoid answering the question.

    IB:
    Yissacher you have not answered (November 5, 2010 9:08 AM): In that case are you implying that NS arrived to the conclusion that there is no sound at all?
    YG:
    I already answered that. Yes, he clearly already arrived at that conclusion. He writes, "Rambam was correct in describing Chazal as mistaken in believing the sun to make sound." We are still waiting to hear whether you think that Rambam was mistaken or Chazal were mistaken. Please stop avoiding the question, or making excuses, and just answer it already. This is the seventh time that I am asking!

    ReplyDelete
  24. Dear SC - I don't understand what you are saying. You're referring to a different Gemara. There are no variant girsaos regarding the sun making noise. Do you think that Chazal were correct in describing the sun as making noise, or not?

    ReplyDelete
  25. Yissacher -

    Dear SC - I don't understand what you are saying. You're referring to a different Gemara. There are no variant girsaos regarding the sun making noise. Do you think that Chazal were correct in describing the sun as making noise, or not?

    I wasn’t referring to variant girsaos regarding the sun making noise. I was referring to the passage in the Moreh that Rabbi Slifkin utilized to prove that the Rambam felt that Chazal erred. All I said was that the Rambam supported his assertion that Chazal erred from Chazal’s own admission. He didn’t do it on his own. I then went on to point out that the ma’amar Chazal he quotes in his support does not appear in our versions of shas.

    As far as my personal opinion re Chazal erring regarding the sun making noise, I am not prepared to commit to such a thing. Why? Because this ma’amar Chazal is too nebulous. Chazal provide three “noise making phenomena” whose “voice” is heard “from one end of the world to the other end”. The second example is rain. Surely Chazal didn’t think that rain bored its way through the spheres making a big racket? The third example is the soul leaving the body! Furthermore, an obvious kushya on this ma’amar is the self-contradictory nature of the very statement itself. If these phenomena make an inordinately loud noise, why don’t we hear it? (Chazal’s statement is; these things make a huge racket and us creatures on earth don’t hear it). I think an objective analysis of this ma’amar Chazal would seem to reveal that Chazal were speaking allegorically.

    So I know your next question. Am I arguing on the Rambam who apparently took Chazal’s ma’amar at face value? The answer is, no. I’m not big enough. You know what I am doing? I am reserving judgment.

    On one side I have a ma’amar Chazal that – to my tiny little ant brain – seems to be allegorical. On the other side I have the Rambam who seems to take this ma’amar Chazal literally. Well, if there was a consensus amongst the Rishonim regarding this issue, and if we could actually find the supporting ma’amar Chazal the Rambam refers to, I suppose I would have to admit that Chazal erred. But there is not a consensus amongst the Rishonim (meaning, I don’t know that there are several Rishonim who speak about this ma’amar Chazal at length like the Rambam does) and we can’t find the Rambam’s supporting Talmudic text in the Moreh. So for now I do the only reasonable thing possible; I reserve judgment.

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  26. Dear Yissacher G
    If Natan Slifkin confirms explicitly, publicly and clearly that his conclusions are as all your conclusions on this topic, I am ready B”H to address this specific point.

    ReplyDelete
  27. Isaac, what on earth does one have to do with the other? I am interested in what you have to say about this topic. Why should that be contingent on anything that R. Slifkin says? I don't see him making the publication of his views contingent on you; why is the publication of your views contingent on him? Just tell me whether you think that Rambam was mistaken or Chazal were mistaken. Please stop avoiding the question, or making excuses, and just answer it already. This is now the EIGHTH time that I am asking!

    ReplyDelete
  28. B”H
    Dear Yissacher G
    As stated previously, meanwhile there are two options:
    a) NS or his representative will debate.
    b) What I answered a few days ago to Yitz and I copy it again for your benefit:
    My busy multifaceted schedule includes among others, activities for kiruv rechokim and also for kiruv kerobim.
    I am ready to invest time in a public debate with NS (for kiruv kerobim). If he still refuses, as per your request, I am proposing an alternative.
    Please organize a weekend seminar or at least a Yom iyun (one-day seminar) for around 100 intelligent, intellectual people, and B”H all these subjects will be presented in multimedia (sources on screen), respectful, interactive lectures.

    P.S. If you are so interested on knowing about “the sun making noises” you can ask Natan Slifkin, after all he was the one who recently published, as per your understanding, that Chazal were mistaken on this issue. You can ask him to elaborate on this issue.

    ReplyDelete
  29. This conversation is surreal.

    I'm not interested in a debate about evolution.

    Nor am I interested in hearing any more about Natan Slifkin's view on the sun making noise; I already heard his view. And I am very surprised that you want me to ask him about his views; surely you believe him to be mistaken and dangerous, so why would you send me to him?

    I want to know YOUR view on the topic about which you criticized R. Slifkin's interpretation. I want to know the view that YOU consider to be the correct, Torah-true view.

    I know that you have a "busy multifaceted schedule," but you could already have answered my question in only a fraction of the words that you used to avoid it. Just tell me whether you think that Rambam was mistaken or Chazal were mistaken. Please stop avoiding the question, or making excuses, and just answer it already. This is now the NINTH time that I am asking!

    I really don't understand why you are always so evasive. It really doesn't make you look good, to say the least.

    ReplyDelete
  30. B”H
    Dear Yissacher G.
    You are right “this conversation is surreal”… because I am speaking with someone who does not dare to identify himself.

    I am not interested in “making me look good in your eyes”; I am interested in searching for the truth.
    If you are interested in searching for the truth, I suggest you 2 options:
    1. Read carefully every maamar Chazal, and then check thoroughly the updated scientific literature. Finally, arrive at honest conclusions.
    2. Suggest any activity that I will consider an appropriate forum for investing time in tzorche rabbim.
    P.S. You have not answered my question posted many days ago. I will copy it again:

    Could you please tell in which page I can see a basis for what you wrote:

    a)
    in "the Challenge of Creation" R. Slifkin makes it clear that he has since studied the topic more carefully

    b)
    and his views have developed,

    c)
    and that he considers the evidence for common ancestry to be real and overwhelming.

    Dear Yissacher please provide at least 3 page numbers.

    ReplyDelete
  31. "I think that Chazal deserve at least the benefit of the doubt."

    The Rambam gave them that and more. But he investigated the issue according to his abilities and found them mistaken and openly wrote that they were mistaken.

    Do you have a problem with the Rambam, Isaac?

    ReplyDelete
  32. I don't know why I am still bothering with this, but here goes:

    If you are interested in searching for the truth, I suggest you 2 options:
    1. Read carefully every maamar Chazal, and then check thoroughly the updated scientific literature. Finally, arrive at honest conclusions.


    Thanks for the suggestion. I already did that. I'm curious to know if your conclusions are different from my own, and how you explain them.

    2. Suggest any activity that I will consider an appropriate forum for investing time in tzorche rabbim.

    I have a great idea. You are posting on a website right here. You already raised this topic, when you criticized R. Slifkin's take on it. Why not use this very forum to explain what you believe to be the correct take on the topic? Why is this not an appropriate forum? All you have to do is write a few words!

    P.S. You have not answered my question posted many days ago. I will copy it again:

    Could you please tell in which page I can see a basis for what you wrote


    Just look at the relevant pages on common ancestry and compare them with what he wrote in the original book.

    Now, for the TENTH time, I am asking you to please tell me whether you think that Rambam was mistaken or Chazal were mistaken. Please stop avoiding the question, or making excuses, and just answer it already!

    (You can't expect people to organize public debates for you when you show yourself to be unwilling to answer a simple question - and you show yourself to be dishonest, too, claiming that you have already answered it when you haven't).

    ReplyDelete
  33. Dear Yissacher G
    1. If you want my opinion, let me know where you published your detailed conclusions with their respective source.

    2. Face to face, public, many hours continuously, etc.

    3. Page numbers for a, b and c.

    ReplyDelete
  34. Dear Dr. Betech:

    You apparently wish to convince others that your opinions are the correct ones and hope that they will adopt your opinions. That is why you post your opinions in comment sections, on this blog, and seek public debates. (Unless I am mistaken, and your only goal is to take pot shots at others' opinions, but have no clearly formulated opinions of your own. I am giving you the benefit of the doubt.)

    If your overall goal is to convince others that your opinions are correct, you will have a much higher liklihood of success if you:

    (1) Clearly spell out your opinions, along with the process that led you to them; and
    (2) Attack other people's opinions only after you have clarified what their opinions are.

    In this posting you haven't done either of the above.

    People will find it offensive that you first attacked R. Slifkin based on your misreading of Rabbi Slifkin's posting and refuse to acknowledge that until R. Slifkin posts a clarification; and you refuse to posit any opinion whatsoever on R. Slifkin's substantive point.

    (Also, your attacked R. Slifkin with innuendo, without clearly stating what you think R. Slifkin's position is or what is wrong with it. Do you believe that R. Slifkin made erroneous conclusions about the sun without first investigating the topic? Do you believe that R. Slifkin is reading Chazal and RMBM erroneously or without having adequately studied the source material?)

    Such behavior diminishes your ability to convince others that your opinions are the correct ones.

    ReplyDelete
  35. B”H
    Dear Nachum
    Thank you for your suggestions.
    If you think that I misunderstood Natan Slifkin on this issue, and Yissacher thinks that you also misunderstood (Yissacher wrote about you: “Nachum, you are also mistaken”), so the reasonable thing is to expect that NS will clarify his position.
    Then everyone will be able to evaluate his clarification.

    ReplyDelete
  36. And in the meantime, Isaac will leave his lashon hara and slander standing until "proven" (in his mind) false?

    Please answer my question, Isaac. I asked you a question about the Rambam. Do you have a problem with the Rambam?

    ReplyDelete
  37. B"H
    Dear Zeev
    Your question was already addressed in this comment thread.
    Please see above.

    ReplyDelete
  38. That is nothing but obfuscation, Isaac. It is fraudulent. You claim earlier in the comments that your view of the Rambam is "irrelevant." You never actually answered that question. Yet you say it was "addressed in this comment thread." Never addressed. Only avoided.

    But to anyone with even a drop of intelligence, it is highly relevant to the post you wrote given the content and nature of the post you wrote. You are afraid to speak because you know that your words will expose you and subject you to the criticism you wish only to deflect and project onto your "opponents."

    Smart readers can see through this charade. It's not worth any more of my time.

    ReplyDelete
  39. B"H
    Dear Zeev
    You wrote: Yet you say it was "addressed in this comment thread." Never addressed. Only avoided.
    ”Addressed” does not necessarily mean answered.
    You do not need a Mexican for teaching you English, but nevertheless it may be helpful.
    tr.v. ad•dressed, ad•dress•ing, ad•dress•es
    1. To speak to: addressed me in low tones.
    2. To make a formal speech to.

    ReplyDelete
  40. Actually, previously you claimed that you had answered it. I quote from your post at November 7, 2010 1:41 AM:

    "This question was answered 2 days ago in this thread November 5, 2010 1:56 AM."

    So not only did you never answer the question, you falsely claimed that you had.

    Zeev is correct. You are afraid to speak because you know that your words will expose you and subject you to the criticism you wish only to deflect and project onto your "opponents." And you claim that you have answered that which you have not answered. You are a fraud.

    ReplyDelete
  41. Dear Everyone,

    I sense a lot of frustration on the part of the readers here. Dr. Betech refuses to say anything substantive despite all the prodding in the world. Dr. Ostroff publishes erudite analyses but declines to answer simple questions on the grounds that they are offensive.

    All this seems quite curious. The issues are actually very simple, so there is no reason that they can't be simply presented.

    במקום שאין אישים, צריך להיות איש.

    I have taken the initiative to publish simple answers to simple questions about young earth creationism on my own humble blog. Finally, there is a place to quench your thirst for information about a old yet new paradigm that you have not properly understood.

    http://youngearthfaq.blogspot.com

    Cheers

    ReplyDelete
  42. B”H
    Dear Yissacher G.
    It is good to know that you are still following this comment thread.
    Before I answer your last post, please answer my last post directed to you.
    Then we will see who is afraid and who will be again exposed.

    ReplyDelete