Thread Tools
Old 09-05-2010, 09:07 PM
Guest
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: Waltham, MA
Posts: 441
Important to Me: Kuzari Principle, or Proof From Mass Revelation

Alrighty, this is one of the more unique arguments for religion I've seen. It's called The Kuzari Principle and Orthodox Jews I talk to LOVE it. Really, many proclaim that this is it for them, the big thing nobody can disprove because it's just that logical and shows Orthodox Judaism to be the only religion that could -- nay, must -- be completely true. The guy who has most developed it, apologist Rabbi Dovid Gottlieb (ph.D from Brandeis in mathematical logic and former Professor of Philosophy at Johns Hopkins, don'chya know?), even took time to respond to three critiques of it which can be read online -- here, here, and in a back-and-forth with blogging skeptic Larry Tanner (Tanner's arguments and his back-and-forth with Gottlieb can be found here and like blogs generally should be read from bottom-post-to-top).

I don't see what's so convincing about it in the first place (after all, aren't there lots of people out there making crazy claims of massive groups of people witnessing crazy stuff, e.g. the Miracle of the Sun at Fatima? Who cares if one is crazier than the rest? Don't we have to take other things -- like magic, witches, a global flood, and an off-dating of when the Bible was written -- in order to buy into Orthodox Judaism?). But my friends don't seem very convinced by my logic on this one (as opposed to other arguments). What is the most convincing way to debunk the Kuzari Principle to people who are willing to hear you out but think it sounds like a super-logical theory?
Old 09-05-2010, 09:47 PM
Guest
Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: BOWLING BALL MUFFINS
Posts: 1,850
Just skimming the article, but it sounds kinda silly. So thousands of people allegedly witnessed a miracle. If we teleported all those thousands of people to today, and they all told the same story, then yes, that would be noteworthy. But just because someone writes down that there were a thousand witnesses doesn't make it true. Does the Bible mention the testimony of every individual there? Suppose a reporter walked up to the crowd and interviewed just one person, and that person told their made-up version of the story and assured that if the reporter asked any one of the others they'd confirm it. Who's gonna know?

In fact, I could imagine a scenario where the multiple people all embellish the story to each other with subconscious suggestion. As an example, imagine you and your friend witness an accident. Later on your friend is describing the story to a reporter and insists that one of the drivers was wearing a blue hat. If he hadn't mentioned the hat, you would never have remembered it, but by the mere mention of the hat, you suddenly "remember" it, and then it becomes part of your side of the story too, even if the hat never actually existed. This happens all the time with "implanted" childhood memories, where your parents will tell you of something you did as a kid that you may not remember, but after hearing the story you'll suddenly "remember" it. Memories are not like video recordings; each time you remember something, you're really just making up a fictional story that resembles what little you really remember.

It's even worse since thousands of years ago, people as a whole were more superstitious, so you could make a supernatural claim, and your audience would be more likely to believe you, and reinforce your story, even if it's exaggerated or completely made up. You may not do it intentionally to deceive, it's just something that our brains naturally do.
Old 09-05-2010, 09:50 PM
Guest
Join Date: May 2003
Location: Florida
Posts: 67,487
Millions of people believe Barack Obama was born in Kenya.
Old 09-05-2010, 09:56 PM
Guest
Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: No, not there!
Posts: 2,318
It seems like a circular argument: "If Event X happened, lots of people would believe it happened. Lots of people believe Event X happened, so it must have happened." This doesn't strike me as particularly convincing.

It also relies on the assumption that the Jewish people are somehow exceptional with regard to their standards of evidence. That is, if Jewish people generally believe something to be true, this principle applies because they have high standards, but if some other group (e.g. Catholic believers) believe something (e.g. the miracle of the Sun at Fatima) to be true, this principle doesn't apply because their standards are low.
Old 09-05-2010, 11:08 PM
Guest
Join Date: Mar 2001
Location: New York, New York!
Posts: 2,461
FWIW, I'm Orthodox, and I'm not a fan.
ETA: A brief outline of issues with the theory by a major Orthodox blogger can be found here.

Last edited by GilaB; 09-05-2010 at 11:10 PM.
Old 09-05-2010, 11:39 PM
Guest
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: NY Metro area
Posts: 1,828
If someone found an hieroglyphic inscription outlining the plagues of Egypt, THEN I would be impressed.

No one has yet? Right? I was planning on giving up my life of debauchery, but I think I need a few more days.
Old 11-14-2010, 12:55 PM
Guest
Join Date: Nov 2010
Posts: 249
I am one of those Orthodox Jews who agrees with the Kuzari proof.

I will outline a few of the faults of the arguments against the Kuzari proof mentioned here.

1. "Argument from the lack of corroborating evidence." This is where someone says he distrusts the Kuzari evidence since we don't have an additional, extra-textual, account of the sinai miracles. This is flawed since he is not responding to the kuzari evidence. He is merely claiming that other evidence is lacking, to which kuzari enthusiasts don't disagree. We are merely claiming that the EVIDENCE WE DO HAVE CANNOT BE IGNORED.

2. "Argument from the fact that many people have false beliefs." This is when someone points out that since there are many false beliefs such as people believing that "Obama was born in Kenya" it implies that the Kuzari evidence can also be false. This is a complete non-sequitor. Kuzari enthusiast don't claim that people can't be wrong. We claim that a national HISTORY, which was believed to have been seen by millions of a nations ancestry, has never shown itself to be false. Since this historical belief has never shown itself to be false, we have no reason to assume that such a belief is fallible.

3. "Argument from the fact that hallucinations are common or that memories are fallible." Here is where skeptics point out that the people at Fatima hallucinated when they saw the sun (hallucinating when staring at the sun is quite common and has happened many times in history to large groups of people), or the fact that people who smoke drugs often have visions of false events. The flaw is that the skeptics use the existence of hallucinations - which are indeed common - to undermine an event which simply could have been the product of a hallucination. This is because the Jews believe that millions of their ancestors ate only manna for 14,600 days straight. If large numbers of people, millions of people, have never hallucinated for 14,600 days straight, the skeptic must show why he assumes that could have happened here, other than for the fact that it allows him to persist in his " life of debauchery", to use dzero's words.

Last edited by abele derer; 11-14-2010 at 12:56 PM. Reason: typo
Old 11-14-2010, 04:57 PM
Guest
Join Date: May 1999
Location: at the right hand of cool
Posts: 37,920
Quote:
Originally Posted by abele derer View Post
1. "Argument from the lack of corroborating evidence." This is where someone says he distrusts the Kuzari evidence since we don't have an additional, extra-textual, account of the sinai miracles. This is flawed since he is not responding to the kuzari evidence. He is merely claiming that other evidence is lacking, to which kuzari enthusiasts don't disagree. We are merely claiming that the EVIDENCE WE DO HAVE CANNOT BE IGNORED.
What evidence do we have that thousands of people viewed these miracles?
Old 11-14-2010, 05:01 PM
Guest
Join Date: May 1999
Location: at the right hand of cool
Posts: 37,920
Interestingly, Wikipedia has deleted the article for being non-notable--it apparently appears in very few places outside of the rabbi's self-published book and a few blogs. Abele, I take it you googled the term and came across this website therefore?
Old 11-14-2010, 05:03 PM
Guest
Join Date: May 2003
Location: Florida
Posts: 67,487
Following on from the prior post... it's all well and good that supposedly lots of people saw something, but only one or two people recorded it. So even accepting the premise that lots of people believed this stuff, we only have one person's account of the fact that they believed it.

Kuzari essentially ignores the issue of hearsay.
Old 11-14-2010, 05:59 PM
Guest
Join Date: Nov 2010
Posts: 249
1. We do not ignore the issue of hearsay. However, we claim that certain forms of hearsay - namely, national hearsay - has never shown itself to be false. If we have a form of evidence which has never, not once, shown itself to be fallible, we can confidently assume that the evidence is not fallible.
2. We don't care about how many accounts we have for the miracles (we happen to have two, Moses and Joshua, who each record the miracles in their own books). The issue is from the fact that the Jewish people BELIEVE that the events recorded in the Bible happened to their ancestors. Since that form of belief has never shown itself to be false, we are dumfounded why the whole skeptical community presumes that the evidence is fallible.
Old 11-14-2010, 08:50 PM
Guest
Join Date: May 1999
Location: at the right hand of cool
Posts: 37,920
Quote:
Originally Posted by abele derer View Post
1. We do not ignore the issue of hearsay. However, we claim that certain forms of hearsay - namely, national hearsay - has never shown itself to be false. If we have a form of evidence which has never, not once, shown itself to be fallible, we can confidently assume that the evidence is not fallible.
"National hearsay" is not a sensible idea. Nations don't hear about such things, humans hear about such things. Nations similarly don't write about such things, humans write about such things.

And the religions of the book are somewhat sui generis, inasmuch as they take as (pardon me) gospel the words of a few people.

So I reject the idea that there's any such thing as national hearsay, much less that it's infallible; rather, your claim is that if enough people believe that a single person's word is accurate, there are no counterexamples in which it's inaccurate. But by making this particular claim, you essentially exclude from examination all possible counterexamples.
Old 11-14-2010, 10:23 PM
Guest
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: NY Metro area
Posts: 1,828
This is more of a driveby post but I have been following the thread off and on. It seems that a lot of emphasis in support of the conjecture (I don't think it deserves to be called a proof in any rigorous sense) seems to be placed on the absence of any proof that the facts or methodology involved have never been shown to be false. I don't see how that amounts to affirmative support for the conjecture. I can postulate that there is a layer of reality just below our own populated by gnomes and they are responsible for the way things work in the reality we can observe. There has never been any proof that this is NOT the case, but certainly that lends my theory little or no credibility.
Old 11-15-2010, 12:21 AM
Guest
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: Waltham, MA
Posts: 441
nm

Last edited by Bpelta; 11-15-2010 at 12:22 AM.
Old 11-15-2010, 12:26 AM
Guest
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: Waltham, MA
Posts: 441
Not a driveby, I just put it up awhile back and didn't notice people were still responding to it. Apparently, abele joined Straight Dope yesterday and has only responded to this thread...

I finally figured out how to explain to people what my problem with the proof is and did so in a blog comment at http://seforim.blogspot.com/2010/10/...om-r-kook.html . Here are the important bits:
To Whom it May Concern,

...just to get my thoughts out on the Kuzari Principle:

...the Kuzari Principle simply ignores the classical process of myth-formulation. The question the Jews supposedly would have asked if the Torah wasn't given to Moses...at Sinai -- "how could this be true if my granddad didn't tell me" -- is easily answered: ...your great-great-great-grandparents forgot what God had commanded them. The Redactor, akin to the Council of Nicaea, decided what's holy and what's not holy. Mendy [=a commenter at the blog] points to Shoftim [=Judges] as an example of where the Jews forgot God (...the fact that it can be read according to the interpretation of Mendy is what's important; we only need to show it's quite plausible the KP is wrong...I personally think Mendy's interpretation seems truer to the original text, but nu); in Nechemia 8 it appears that the Jews had never heard of parts of the Bible and suddenly were "reminded" by Ezra. For a somewhat speculative account of what may have happened, see https://academicpursuits.us/columns/...e-bible-part-1 .

There's another problem too. Dovid Gottlieb [=apologist for Haredi Judaism] for one maintains based on the principle that "We have sufficient evidence to require us to believe that the Torah is true. The only choice we have is to be rational or irrational." Because Gottlieb thinks the Kuzari Principle is true, the Torah must be true. Therefore, Gottlieb (and IIRC this applies to Frumteens as well) can wave all the evidence for evolution and all the evidence for an old earth away because he has a mesorah: "The solution to the contradiction between the age of the earth and the universe according to science and the Jewish date of 5755 years since Creation is this: the real age of the universe is 5755 years...The bones, artifacts, partially decayed radium, potassium-argon, uranium, the red-shifted light from space, etc. - all of it points to a greater age which nevertheless is not true. G-d put these things in the universe and they lead many to the false conclusion of a much greater age." Instead of us having to reinterpret all of our evidence for the universe's age based on philosophical speculation, isn't it more likely that the Kuzari Principle may just seem true to the person who wants it to be, but really evolution is true, the earth is old, the Bible is exactly what it looks like (an ancient text which includes some really barbaric ancienct ideas), and bad things happen to good people (like, say, child rape or child torture...how can a benevolent god watch that with folded arms?) because life is unfair and there is no benevolent god? Occam's Razor seems to demand we adhere to that logic. If we overstep Occam's Razor, we might as well think the world is flat (as the Shevus Yaakov [=17th century rabbinic authority] did, since he maintained it was obvious from the Torah that the world was flat. Like Gottlieb, the Shevus Yaakov had prior philosophical reasons for believing in the Torah's infallibility and from that, could conclude that our science was wrong).

Anyways, that's my two cents. Orech [=another commenter at the blog] is free to disagree. He wrote, "We have teachers, libraries, internet, friends, many of us have professors..." If he's discussed [his] positions with a university bible scholar (re the idea of single authorship by a God-inspired Moses), a logician (re the Kuzari Principle), and a biologist (re evolution), then kol hakavod! It's important before making one's leap into religion to discuss the proofs with the people who would be experts on those proofs; otherwise, one can accidentally fall for ones own biases without realizing it (that's human nature and trust me, I realize it; I was frum for four years). So if he's done that, I think we can just agree to disagree. If he hasn't, I would suggest he at least reconsider his views based on what the gedolim [=great ones, usually referring to big rabbis] in the fields have to say, and then we can agree to disagree.

Sincerely,
Baruch Pelta
bpelta.blogspot.com
Old 11-15-2010, 12:49 AM
BANNED
Join Date: Oct 2002
Location: St. Paul, MN
Posts: 58,797
This is actually a convincing proof to some people? Wow.
Quote:
Originally Posted by abele derer View Post
We are merely claiming that the EVIDENCE WE DO HAVE CANNOT BE IGNORED.
What evidence would that be? There wasn't any Moses, no Exodus, no events at Sinai. This is a mythical story, not a historical one.
Quote:
We claim that a national HISTORY, which was believed to have been seen by millions of a nations ancestry, has never shown itself to be false. Since this historical belief has never shown itself to be false, we have no reason to assume that such a belief is fallible.
This is incorrect. The entire Moses myth has been proven false by archaeological evidence. Not a bit of it ever happened. The Israelites were never enslaved in Egypt, never left, never wandered in the wilderness, never witnessed anything at Mt. Sinai. The entire story is bullshit made up sometime between the 6th and 8th Centuries.

Quote:
Argument from the fact that hallucinations are common or that memories are fallible."
It isn't necessary to go here since there were no thousands of people claiming to have seen anything in the first place.

Last edited by Spectre of Pithecanthropus; 11-15-2010 at 05:08 PM. Reason: This post not actually edited; but mod noted in Post #29
Old 11-15-2010, 08:11 AM
Guest
Join Date: May 2003
Location: Florida
Posts: 67,487
Quote:
Originally Posted by abele derer View Post
1. We do not ignore the issue of hearsay. However, we claim that certain forms of hearsay - namely, national hearsay - has never shown itself to be false. If we have a form of evidence which has never, not once, shown itself to be fallible, we can confidently assume that the evidence is not fallible.
"National hearsay is never fallible?" Whatever national hearsay is, I take it, then, that you believe King Arthur really pulled a sword from a stone and was crowned King of England?
Quote:
Originally Posted by Diogenes the Cynic View Post
What evidence would that be? There wasn't any Moses, no Exodus, no events at Sinai. This is a mythical story, not a historical one.

This is incorrect. The entire Moses myth has been proven false by archaeological evidence. Not a bit of it ever happened. The Israelites were never enslaved in Egypt, never left, never wandered in the wilderness, never witnessed anything at Mt. Sinai. The entire story is bullshit made up sometime between the 6th and 8th Centuries.
Are you sure about that? I vaguely remember reading that there is some extra-Biblical evidence for the exodus of the Israelites from Egypt, though not for any of the plagues or the desert-wandering stuff.
Old 11-15-2010, 08:16 AM
BANNED
Join Date: Oct 2002
Location: St. Paul, MN
Posts: 58,797
Quote:
Originally Posted by Really Not All That Bright View Post
"National hearsay is never fallible?" Whatever national hearsay is, I take it, then, that you believe King Arthur really pulled a sword from a stone and was crowned King of England?

Are you sure about that? I vaguely remember reading that there is some extra-Biblical evidence for the exodus of the Israelites from Egypt, though not for any of the plagues or the desert-wandering stuff.
Nope. Nothing. They were never even in Egypt. The story may be vaguely based on garbled memories of the Hyksos expulsion, but the Hyksos were not Israelites (and that event happened before the Israelites even existed yet).
Old 11-15-2010, 12:29 PM
Guest
Join Date: Nov 2010
Posts: 249
Many interesting points have been made, and I will try to answer them, although I may leave out a couple of points which I find to be tandential. If you find them to be central, please bring it up in the next post.

1. "Left Hand" claimed that there is no such thing as national hearsay, or, National, Commemorated events. I don't know where you got that idea from. For example, the Jews believe that there was a Second Temple in Jerusalem (let's ignore for the moment the archeological evidence, and the ancient manuscripts of the Temple, for the sake of the argument). If a skeptic claims that there was never a Temple, we respond that since we believe that our entire nation saw the Temple in Jerusalem, and was commemorated by the same people who saw the Temple by Holidays such as Chanuka and Tisha B'av, we find that this form of national hearsay is reliable since we haven't found a case in which it has shown itself to be false.

2. Regarding the issue of archeology, I wonder how archeology can ever prove a negative? Did they find everything that ever existed? Furthermore, the Egyptians were notorious about not leaving any trace of embarrasing events (see what they tried to do to Anakhenton).

3. Baruch's point is convoluted, but I will try to reason with his comments. He claims that since we have evidence against the Torah -- i.e., evolution -- we must disregard the evidence for the Torah. Why, specifically, do you favor the evidence for evolution against the evidence for the Torah? Should you not, at least, be an agnostic about which evidence to follow? In fact, Rabbi Gottlieb's approach seems to be logical, since he is accepting the evidence for evolution; however, he is claiming that the evidence was planted by God. Indeed, God himself is called the "Hidden God" by Isiah. He doesn't leave in-your-face evidence for His miraculous actions (the whole point of Judaism is "Attem Eidai" - "You, Israel, are My witnesses, in the sense that the Jewish nation testifies to the Creator, instead of in-your-face evidence).

4. See Rabbi Gottlieb's comments about the event in Nehemia on his blog.

5. In Judges, it does not mean that the entire nation forgot about the miracles of Sinai. Indeed, Pinhas himself is recorded at the end of Judges, and he was one of the people who saw the Sinai miracles with his own two eyes. So your reading of the verse was certianly not THE INTENT OF ITS AUTHOR.

6. Diogenes: "Most scholars," according to the Encara Encyclopedia, believe that the Hebrews were the "Habiru" not the Hyksos, so you are beating a straw man.

Last edited by abele derer; 11-15-2010 at 12:33 PM. Reason: type + an additional point
Old 11-15-2010, 12:51 PM
Charter Member
Charter Member
Join Date: Apr 1999
Location: Portland, OR
Posts: 55,431
Quote:
Originally Posted by abele derer View Post
1. "Left Hand" claimed that there is no such thing as national hearsay, or, National, Commemorated events. I don't know where you got that idea from. For example, the Jews believe that there was a Second Temple in Jerusalem (let's ignore for the moment the archeological evidence, and the ancient manuscripts of the Temple, for the sake of the argument). If a skeptic claims that there was never a Temple, we respond that since we believe that our entire nation saw the Temple in Jerusalem, and was commemorated by the same people who saw the Temple by Holidays such as Chanuka and Tisha B'av, we find that this form of national hearsay is reliable since we haven't found a case in which it has shown itself to be false.
You keep saying "we", as if you were officially designated to speak for all of Israel-you are not, and neither is the originator of this theory. You cannot read the minds of all Jews and you have no idea what they believe in their heart of hearts. The most you can claim is that you believe that there was a second temple and that you believe without evidence of any sortthat other Jews believe the same. Your beliefs have the same merit as those who claim that secretly all atheists believe in God and fear and/or hate him.
Once again-your belief that the entire nation saw the temple in Jerusalem is not proof that this is true.
Old 11-15-2010, 01:13 PM
Guest
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: NY Metro area
Posts: 1,828
Quote:
Originally Posted by Czarcasm View Post
You keep saying "we", as if you were officially designated to speak for all of Israel-you are not, and neither is the originator of this theory. You cannot read the minds of all Jews and you have no idea what they believe in their heart of hearts. The most you can claim is that you believe that there was a second temple and that you believe without evidence of any sortthat other Jews believe the same. Your beliefs have the same merit as those who claim that secretly all atheists believe in God and fear and/or hate him.
Once again-your belief that the entire nation saw the temple in Jerusalem is not proof that this is true.
He didn't deign to respond to my criticism but I'm guessing that he thinks belief trumps observable fact - as long as "everyone" (ie, everyone who matters) believes it.
Old 11-15-2010, 01:19 PM
Guest
Join Date: Mar 2000
Location: hobgoblin of geographers
Posts: 4,226
Quote:
Originally Posted by abele derer View Post
"Most scholars," according to the Encara Encyclopedia, believe that the Hebrews were the "Habiru" not the Hyksos, so you are beating a straw man.

You don't actually know what "straw man" means, do you?

Diogenes' post doesn't say you believed the Hebrews were the Hyksos.
Old 11-15-2010, 01:36 PM
BANNED
Join Date: Oct 2002
Location: St. Paul, MN
Posts: 58,797
Quote:
Originally Posted by abele derer View Post
Many interesting points have been made, and I will try to answer them, although I may leave out a couple of points which I find to be tandential. If you find them to be central, please bring it up in the next post.

1. "Left Hand" claimed that there is no such thing as national hearsay, or, National, Commemorated events. I don't know where you got that idea from. For example, the Jews believe that there was a Second Temple in Jerusalem (let's ignore for the moment the archeological evidence, and the ancient manuscripts of the Temple, for the sake of the argument). If a skeptic claims that there was never a Temple, we respond that since we believe that our entire nation saw the Temple in Jerusalem, and was commemorated by the same people who saw the Temple by Holidays such as Chanuka and Tisha B'av, we find that this form of national hearsay is reliable since we haven't found a case in which it has shown itself to be false.
It would not be a form of evidence in itself and has no persuasive power. We know 2nd Temple existed from actual corroborating arcvhaeological and documentary evidence, not from "national hearsay" (whatever that is).
Quote:
2. Regarding the issue of archeology, I wonder how archeology can ever prove a negative? Did they find everything that ever existed? Furthermore, the Egyptians were notorious about not leaving any trace of embarrasing events (see what they tried to do to Anakhenton).
By not finding things they should be expected to be found, by showing provable anachronisms in the Exodus story (place names that did not exist at the alleged time of the Exodus), and by showing positive proof that the Israelites did not emerge from indigenous Canaanite tribes until well after they were supposedly taken as slaves in Egypt.

The Bible also says the Isrealites were enslaved in Egypt for 400 years, yet not a single trace of them has been found archaeologically in Egypt. Trying to say the Egyptians covered it up because they were embarrased, aside from being ad hoc scrambling is also ludicrous in that it isn't ossible to hide 400 years of archaeological history. That would be like us deciding we wanted to hide all evidence of the presence of African peoples in the Americas since colonial times. Hide it how?

For that matter who were the Egyptians supposed to be hiding this evidence FROM? This a patently ridiculous angle to take. The Israelites were never enslaved in Egypt. Sorry. never happened. And they never wandered in the Sinai either. Two million people leave evdience. This is a case where absence of evidence (not a single trace of human presence in the Sinai has been found in the relevant periods) is indeed evidence of absence. Archaeologists can ancient remains of camp fires from small bands of people (though not from the time of the alleged Exodus), yet they can't find a single potsherd, bone or sign of human habitation of 2 million people living at Kanesh Barnea for 38 years? Give me a break.
Quote:
3. Baruch's point is convoluted, but I will try to reason with his comments. He claims that since we have evidence against the Torah -- i.e., evolution -- we must disregard the evidence for the Torah.
What is meant by "evidence for the Torah?"
Quote:
Why, specifically, do you favor the evidence for evolution against the evidence for the Torah?
Evidence for evolution actually exists. What is meant by "evidence for the Torah?" What specific evidence are you talking about?
Quote:
Should you not, at least, be an agnostic about which evidence to follow?
No. Evidence is evidence. Evolution is a proven fact. The Torah is provably ahistorical.
Quote:
6. Diogenes: "Most scholars," according to the Encara Encyclopedia, believe that the Hebrews were the "Habiru" not the Hyksos, so you are beating a straw man.
I didn't say anybody thought the Hebrews were the Hyksos, I'm saying that's likely the historical event whih served as a vague template for the later Henrew fiction.

It's not true that scholars still believe that "Hebrew" comes from "Habiru," by the way. It is now know that "habiru" refered to a social class, not an ethnic group. The Habiru were peoples who lived on the fringes of cities, were generally seens as scruffy, outlaw types and who were sometimes employed as mercenaries in wars. The Habiru/Hebrew connection is no longer widely accepted.

Last edited by Diogenes the Cynic; 11-15-2010 at 01:40 PM.
Old 11-15-2010, 01:36 PM
Charter Member
Charter Member
Join Date: Apr 1999
Location: Portland, OR
Posts: 55,431
Quote:
Originally Posted by dzero View Post
He didn't deign to respond to my criticism but I'm guessing that he thinks belief trumps observable fact - as long as "everyone" (ie, everyone who matters) believes it.
No. He thinks that belief trumps observable fact-as long as he believes that "everyone"(i.e. everyone who matters) believes it.
Old 11-15-2010, 01:44 PM
Guest
Join Date: May 2003
Location: Florida
Posts: 67,487
Quote:
Originally Posted by abele derer View Post
1. "Left Hand" claimed that there is no such thing as national hearsay, or, National, Commemorated events. I don't know where you got that idea from. For example, the Jews believe that there was a Second Temple in Jerusalem (let's ignore for the moment the archeological evidence, and the ancient manuscripts of the Temple, for the sake of the argument). If a skeptic claims that there was never a Temple, we respond that since we believe that our entire nation saw the Temple in Jerusalem, and was commemorated by the same people who saw the Temple by Holidays such as Chanuka and Tisha B'av, we find that this form of national hearsay is reliable since we haven't found a case in which it has shown itself to be false.
Why don't you show us a case of "national hearsay" which has been shown to be true, and we'll go from there.
Old 11-15-2010, 01:44 PM
BANNED
Join Date: Oct 2002
Location: St. Paul, MN
Posts: 58,797
Quote:
Originally Posted by abele derer
...the Egyptians were notorious about not leaving any trace of embarrasing events (see what they tried to do to Anakhenton).
They weren't even successful at concealing Akhenaten, though, were they? So how did they manage to conceal 400 years of Israelite slavery even from the rigors and technology of modern day archaeology?
Old 11-15-2010, 01:50 PM
Guest
Join Date: May 2003
Location: Florida
Posts: 67,487
Claimed they were Kenyans?
Old 11-15-2010, 01:54 PM
Charter Member
Charter Member
Join Date: Aug 1999
Location: Not here. There.
Posts: 18,900
Moving to Great Debates.
Old 11-15-2010, 02:16 PM
Charter Member
Charter Member
Join Date: Aug 1999
Location: Not here. There.
Posts: 18,900
Quote:
Originally Posted by Diogenes the Cynic View Post
This is actually a convincing proof to some people? Wow.

What evidence would that be? There wasn't any Moses, no Exodus, no events at Sinai. This is a mythical story, not a historical one.

This is incorrect. The entire Moses myth has been proven false by archaeological evidence. Not a bit of it ever happened. The Israelites were never enslaved in Egypt, never left, never wandered in the wilderness, never witnessed anything at Mt. Sinai. The entire story is bullshit made up sometime between the 6th and 8th Centuries.


It isn't necessary to go here since there were no thousands of people claiming to have seen anything in the first place.
Dio, you need to dial it back. Whether the archaeological evidence exists for something or not isn't conclusive proof that it never happened, or that legends involving supernatural events don't still have a kernel of truth. Calling bullshit on one of the major scriptures of a world religion is out of place in a thread debating aspects of debate within that religion.

Last edited by Spectre of Pithecanthropus; 11-15-2010 at 02:19 PM.
Old 11-15-2010, 02:28 PM
BANNED
Join Date: Oct 2002
Location: St. Paul, MN
Posts: 58,797
Quote:
Originally Posted by Spectre of Pithecanthropus View Post
Dio, you need to dial it back. Whether the archaeological evidence exists for something or not isn't conclusive proof that it never happened, or that legends involving supernatural events don't still have a kernel of truth. Calling bullshit on one of the major scriptures of a world religion is out of place in a thread debating aspects of debate within that religion.
It is not out of place when that very historicity is what is being debated, and the events of the Exodus can, and have been conclusively disproven by archaeology and are no longer accepted as historical by archaeologists and historians.

This is a thread where a "proof" of the truth of a religion is being inferred from a premise that a story in the Bible is true. That story is not true, and seminal, historical precursors to the myth (possible "kernels of truth") are not germane to THIS debate since the proof being debated relies on a wholesale acceptance of this particular story being historically true essentially as it is described in the Bible. This event did not happen. It provably did not happen, and demonstrating the ahistoricity of the story is a perfectly legitimate refutation of the proof being offered.

If all you really object to is my use of the word "bullshit," the fine, I'll just say "fiction."

Last edited by Diogenes the Cynic; 11-15-2010 at 02:29 PM.
Old 11-15-2010, 02:31 PM
Guest
Join Date: May 1999
Location: at the right hand of cool
Posts: 37,920
Quote:
Originally Posted by abele derer View Post
1. "Left Hand" claimed that there is no such thing as national hearsay, or, National, Commemorated events. I don't know where you got that idea from. For example, the Jews believe that there was a Second Temple in Jerusalem (let's ignore for the moment the archeological evidence, and the ancient manuscripts of the Temple, for the sake of the argument). If a skeptic claims that there was never a Temple, we respond that since we believe that our entire nation saw the Temple in Jerusalem, and was commemorated by the same people who saw the Temple by Holidays such as Chanuka and Tisha B'av, we find that this form of national hearsay is reliable since we haven't found a case in which it has shown itself to be false.
Your claim is demonstrably false, as I can produce upon request Jews who did not see the Temple in Jerusalem. The "Nation" didn't see the temple: the nation neither has eyes nor the neurons necessary to process visual impulses. It's individual humans who have that.

What we have is a bottleneck:
1) Some number of individuals saw the temple.
2) Some MUCH SMALLER NUMBER of individuals wrote about a bunch of people seeing the temple.
3) A heckuva lot of individuals believe what those writers wrote.

The writers are the bottleneck. There's no nation that can engage in hearsay; there are just a bunch of people.

Secondly, by your standard, can I not point to the national hearsay of Iceland that says they see fairies? The entire nation of Iceland (minus people who disagree) believe they have seen fairies, just like the entire nation of Israel (minus people who disagree) believe their ancestors were led to the promised land by Moses. Are we not to believe that fairies therefore exist?
Old 11-15-2010, 03:47 PM
Guest
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: NY Metro area
Posts: 1,828
Quote:
Originally Posted by Diogenes the Cynic View Post
It's not true that scholars still believe that "Hebrew" comes from "Habiru," by the way. It is now know that "habiru" refered to a social class, not an ethnic group. The Habiru were peoples who lived on the fringes of cities, were generally seens as scruffy, outlaw types and who were sometimes employed as mercenaries in wars. The Habiru/Hebrew connection is no longer widely accepted.
I really need to get another subscription to biblical archaeology. Not sure why I let it lapse in the first place. Anyway, thanks for that bit of info. This was a popular notion in the 70's and maybe 80's. It's always a pleasure to get the straight dope.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Spectre of Pithecanthropus View Post
Dio, you need to dial it back. Whether the archaeological evidence exists for something or not isn't conclusive proof that it never happened, or that legends involving supernatural events don't still have a kernel of truth. Calling bullshit on one of the major scriptures of a world religion is out of place in a thread debating aspects of debate within that religion.
I don't think he would argue that it's complete fiction. Even the story of the flood has some basis in fact, it's just very attenuated.

Another think to remember is that ancients didn't have the same idea about objectively recording events that we do. Hell, even circumspect and well written modern histories aren't completely devoid of bias. Everybody has an ax to grind whether they realize it or not.

The people who wrote down these stories did so from an oral tradition. The problem is that later generations ask questions that aren't part of the original story and so the story gets embellished. Just look at the canonical gospels. The presumed earliest gospel, Mark, is the shortest. The others are much longer. Then look at aprocryphal texts like the gospel of Thomas from the gnostic Nag Hamadi library and it's a numbered list of Jesus's sayings - no story, no background, nada.

But it's not like the people altering the oral tradition are liars. They believe what they're saying based upon deciding what must have happened. They just don't see those types of conclusions as being non-factual.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Left Hand of Dorkness View Post
Secondly, by your standard, can I not point to the national hearsay of Iceland that says they see fairies? The entire nation of Iceland (minus people who disagree) believe they have seen fairies, just like the entire nation of Israel (minus people who disagree) believe their ancestors were led to the promised land by Moses. Are we not to believe that fairies therefore exist?
I hope you're not going to start bad mouthing fairies.

And BTW, fairies are real.
Old 11-15-2010, 04:14 PM
Guest
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: Waltham, MA
Posts: 441
Abele's response to me didn't seem especially cogent, but welcome to The Straight Dope anyways!
Old 11-15-2010, 05:03 PM
Guest
Join Date: Oct 2004
Posts: 6,764
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bpelta View Post
What is the most convincing way to debunk the Kuzari Principle to people who are willing to hear you out but think it sounds like a super-logical theory?
Find a Christian apologist to argue with him re: all the witnesses who saw Jesus perform miracles, resurrect, and ascend into heaven. Popcorn is recommended.
Old 11-16-2010, 08:31 AM
Guest
Join Date: Nov 2010
Posts: 249
Since I am fighting a war, on my own, against a brigade of "brights" I simply don't have the time to respond to all of the points. I will try my best, however.

1. Diogenes: They didn't succeed with in completely erasing the existence for Anhekantan, because he built, like many pharoah's, many monuments about himself. Still, they almost succeeded. However, why would THEY EVEN BUILD A MONUMENT TO ISRAELIES WHO WERE THEIR SLAVES? Interestingly, there is one measly mention of the Habiru's. Your scholars GUESS that they weren't the Hebrews. My scholars GUESS that they were (yes, archeology is all about taking guesses). Here we have a group of people - the Habiru - and we have one stinky mention of that group. This should make your VERY WARY about using the "absense of evidence" route for disproving historical events.

2. Regarding "really not that bright"'s point that I haven't shown that national hearsay can be true, I believe I did in the case of the Temple in Jerusalem. I assume you believe that there was a Temple in Jerusalem, don't you?

3. Do the Irish believe that SAW fairies? Or do they believe that fairies exist? Furthermore, we know that people are capable of hallucinating. Are you claiming that the Jewish national history of 14,600 days was a hallucination, and, if so, can you please point to a large number of people that hallucinated for that long of a period of time?

4. This is my evidence, and I will have to repeat myself: The Jewish people believe that A) Millions of their own ancestors; B) Saw extended miracles for 14,600 days (this would negate the possiblity of hallucination; C) Which was believed to have been commemorated from the time of the miracles until today with such commandments such as Passover, Philacteries (Jews wear black boxes which contain the miraculous exodus story in it), Sabbath, Sabbatical Years; Tzitzit; Yom Kippur; The Festival of Booths; etc.; D) These commemorations are burdensome; E) The nation who believes it are moral, intelligent, genealogical and litterate. That is our evidence. This belief has never shown itself to be fallible. Therefore, we have no reason to assume that it can be falsified.
Old 11-16-2010, 09:08 AM
Guest
Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: Howth Castle & Environs
Posts: 16,178
Simply because the broad brushing makes me mildly uncomfortable, I'd like to point out that quite a few Jews do not subscribe to abele's cosmology, epistemology or theology.
I'd go further and state that, for this Jew, I see some disturbing parallels between such rationalizations and the worst nonsense to come out of Christian fundamentalists.


/$.02
__________________
Hohohoho, Mister Finn, you're going to be Mister Finnagain! Comeday morm and, O, you're vine! Sendday's eve and, ah you're vinegar! Hahahaha, Mister Funn, you're going to be fined again!
Old 11-16-2010, 09:09 AM
Guest
Join Date: May 2003
Location: Florida
Posts: 67,487
abele, I appreciate that you are attempting to discuss this in good faith. It’s not often we get anyone new around here who can discuss fringe beliefs cogently.

Let’s break things down into smaller chunks. Perhaps that will make it easier to understand where we disagree.
Quote:
The Jewish people believe that A) Millions of their own ancestors...
I am inclined to believe the number of Israelites who wandered the desert (if any) did not number in the millions. Modern desert nomads rarely travel in groups larger than a hundred.
Quote:
...B) Saw extended miracles for 14,600 days (this would negate the possiblity of hallucination...
I doubt that desert nomads are overly concerned with keeping time. How would they know that exactly 40 years had passed? In any event, I don’t understand why their belief that miracles occurred over 14,600 days negates the possibility of hallucination.
Quote:
...C) Which was believed to have been commemorated from the time of the miracles until today with such commandments such as Passover, Philacteries (Jews wear black boxes which contain the miraculous exodus story in it), Sabbath, Sabbatical Years; Tzitzit; Yom Kippur; The Festival of Booths; etc...
I will assume, for the purposes of this discussion, that all of these celebrations date from the time of the exodus.
Quote:
...D) These commemorations are burdensome...
No they aren’t. Every culture has similar traditions. Far from being burdensome, they serve important sociological purposes (especially the Sabbath). Anyway, so what if they’re burdensome? What does that prove?
Quote:
E) The nation who believes it are moral, intelligent, genealogical and litterate...
Why does it matter if they are “moral”? Using the word genealogical doesn’t make sense in this context, but I assume you mean they keep track of their family trees.

Last edited by Really Not All That Bright; 11-16-2010 at 09:10 AM.
Old 11-16-2010, 09:20 AM
Guest
Join Date: Mar 2001
Location: Cape Town, South Africa &
Posts: 22,164
Quote:
Originally Posted by abele derer View Post
Since I am fighting a war, on my own, against a brigade of "brights"
I'm not sure anyone in this thread identifies as a "bright" - that's a strawman.
Quote:
1. Diogenes: They didn't succeed with in completely erasing the existence for Anhekantan, because he built, like many pharoah's, many monuments about himself. Still, they almost succeeded.
Except, you know, for leaving his entire capital city...
Quote:
However, why would THEY EVEN BUILD A MONUMENT TO ISRAELIES WHO WERE THEIR SLAVES?
We're not talking about monuments. Perhaps tombs from the first years of the sojourn in Egypt (you know, when they were still the First Advisor Joseph's beloved family and not slaves? Hell, a tomb for Joseph would be nifty...Or any other subsequent evidence. 400 years is a lot longer than Akhenaton was around. Mundane evidence would add up. 2 million people don't just up and leave a country without evidence.
Quote:
(yes, archeology is all about taking guesses)
No, it isn't. It's about examining material and other evidence and working from there.
Old 11-16-2010, 10:02 AM
BANNED
Join Date: Oct 2002
Location: St. Paul, MN
Posts: 58,797
Quote:
Originally Posted by abele derer View Post
1. Diogenes: They didn't succeed with in completely erasing the existence for Anhekantan, because he built, like many pharoah's, many monuments about himself. Still, they almost succeeded.
They didn't come close, actually.
Quote:
However, why would THEY EVEN BUILD A MONUMENT TO ISRAELIES WHO WERE THEIR SLAVES?
Why do you think that monuments are the only archaeological or documentary evidence that would be left of the 400 year presence of a cultural group numbering in the millions? Where are the communities, graves and inscriptions? Where are the state records dealing with them? Most of the evidence after 400 years would already have been buried underground before the Israelites even left. Do you think the Egyptians systematically dug up every bit of this 400 year archaeological history of the Israelites in Egypt and destroyed it? This is quite an extraordinary claim, since it's not something that could be done even in modern times
Quote:
Interestingly, there is one measly mention of the Habiru's. Your scholars GUESS that they weren't the Hebrews. My scholars GUESS that they were (yes, archeology is all about taking guesses). Here we have a group of people - the Habiru - and we have one stinky mention of that group. This should make your VERY WARY about using the "absense of evidence" route for disproving historical events.
We have far more than one mention of them, and it's not one group, but a social class mention over many centuries in many different civilizations and contexts. Educate yourself.
Quote:
2. Regarding "really not that bright"'s point that I haven't shown that national hearsay can be true, I believe I did in the case of the Temple in Jerusalem. I assume you believe that there was a Temple in Jerusalem, don't you?
There was a Second Temple, but the reason we know this has nothing to do with any "national hearsay," but actual physical and independent documentary evidence. By contrast, we have never confirmed a First Temple because we have no archaeological evidence or contemporary corroborating documentary evidence. Granted, archaeologists have not been allowed to dig much on the site, and the existence of a First Temple is still generally assumed as a probability, but the Bible is not good enough evidence to call it a fact, and neither is any kind of imagined "national hearsay."
Quote:
3. Do the Irish believe that SAW fairies? Or do they believe that fairies exist? Furthermore, we know that people are capable of hallucinating. Are you claiming that the Jewish national history of 14,600 days was a hallucination, and, if so, can you please point to a large number of people that hallucinated for that long of a period of time?
There are many cultures which have believed they literally saw such things. Indiia is filled with all kind of mass witnessing of Hindu gods and miracles, even today.
Quote:
4. This is my evidence, and I will have to repeat myself: The Jewish people believe that A) Millions of their own ancestors; B) Saw extended miracles for 14,600 days (this would negate the possiblity of hallucination; C) Which was believed to have been commemorated from the time of the miracles until today with such commandments such as Passover, Philacteries (Jews wear black boxes which contain the miraculous exodus story in it), Sabbath, Sabbatical Years; Tzitzit; Yom Kippur; The Festival of Booths; etc.; D) These commemorations are burdensome; E) The nation who believes it are moral, intelligent, genealogical and litterate. That is our evidence. This belief has never shown itself to be fallible. Therefore, we have no reason to assume that it can be falsified.
What some Jews "believe" is evidence of nothing. All religions have commemorative religious rituals. All such rituals could be called "burdensome." Intelligence is neither here nor there (it's hilarious that you misspelled "literate," though). Smart people can have religious beliefes, but those religious beliefs are not evidnce. The Exodus story is part of a literary national origin myth, at least partially syncretized from some pre-existing tribal myths, but it is not history, and people believing it doesn't prove it's history any more than hundreds of millions of Hindus believing literally in the "historical" events of the Mahabharata makes it true.

Last edited by Diogenes the Cynic; 11-16-2010 at 10:06 AM.
Old 11-16-2010, 10:19 AM
Guest
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: NY Metro area
Posts: 1,828
I'll make it easy for our guest. Point me to any proof, solid physical proof, that any large group of people spent any period of years at any point in time in the Sinai desert, and I'll concede the rest of the points gratis.

If you can't even do that much and the best you've got is some pretzel logic argument that relies upon what SOME Jews believe either now, the distant past or anywhere in between, then you have no argument at all.

If you think my words are harsh, let's take this quote: "We claim that a national HISTORY, which was believed to have been seen by millions of a nations ancestry, has never shown itself to be false. Since this historical belief has never shown itself to be false, we have no reason to assume that such a belief is fallible."

So, your argument is that if something hasn't been proved to be false, we have therefore proved that it is true.

Maybe the term "pretzel logic" is overly generous.
Old 11-16-2010, 10:50 AM
BANNED
Join Date: Oct 2002
Location: St. Paul, MN
Posts: 58,797
It actually HAS been proven to be false, though. Just for the record. The Israelites didn't even exist until around 1200 BCE, so no 400 year prior history. The Hebrew language did not exist during this alleged time of exile and Exodus either, so Mosaic authorship of the Bible is out on those grounds alone. Hebrew evolved from Canaanite some time around 1000 BCE (or maybe a pinch before), and the specific Hebrew dialect of the Torah (with the exception of a couple of more archaic fragments) is 6th Century BCE.

That's without even getting into the clear of evidence of multiple documentary sources being syncretized into one narrative.

Last edited by Diogenes the Cynic; 11-16-2010 at 10:50 AM.
Old 11-16-2010, 01:25 PM
Guest
Join Date: Nov 2010
Posts: 249
I'm amazed at how many people are responding to my posts. Hope I didn't hit a raw nerve. I will have to be brief, so I will miss many of your points.

1. You guys keep refering to other false myths, such as the Irish fairies, and then when I ask you if people claim to have seen it, you move onto other myths. Please, for God's sake, please enunciate a false event, which was believed to have been seen by millions of THEIR OWN ANCESTORS.

2. You admit that there was a Second Temple, since it was confirmed through acheologial means. Lucky for us Jews, since without that archeological confirmation you would assume that we cry on "Tisha B'av" about the destruction of a Temple that never existed. Since you admit that there was a Second Temple, does this not show that the Jewish national history is of evidential value? It sure does. HOWEVER, evidence can always be wrong. In order to evaluate the strength of evidence, we look around and see how often the form of evidence under question has ever been shown to be false. This may unnerve you: BUT THE EVIDENCE THAT I AM PRESENTING - NATIONAL, HEAVILY COMMEMORATED HISTORY - HAS NEVER SHOWN ITSELF TO BE FALSE.

3. Diogenes: How do you KNOW that the Habiru aren't the Hebrews (this is a matter of debate amongst archeologists, BTW)?

4. Diogenes: How do you KNOW that archeology can prove a negative (especially when the fall of Babylong didn't produce archeological evidence)?

5. Diogenes: How do you know that the Israelites didn't exist before 1200 BC (yes, the earliest mention of them is 1200 BC, but that doesn't mean they didn' exist before that)?

6. Diogenes: How do you know that Hebrew didn't exist during the time of he Exodus (absence of evidence is all you got?!)?

Diogenes. You don't provide a shred of evidence for anything that you claim. Your all about absence of evidence.

Regarding Nimble's point, Joseph was buried in Shechem, Israel. His tomb is there, not Egypt.

Last edited by abele derer; 11-16-2010 at 01:29 PM. Reason: typo
Old 11-16-2010, 01:30 PM
Guest
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: NY Metro area
Posts: 1,828
Quote:
Originally Posted by abele derer View Post
I'm amazed at how many people are responding to my posts. Hope I didn't hit a raw nerve.
Yes. Yes you did. The beliefs of some squirrelly sect of Judaism are near and dear to my heart. How could you have known that?
Old 11-16-2010, 01:31 PM
Guest
Join Date: May 2003
Location: Florida
Posts: 67,487
Quote:
Originally Posted by abele derer View Post
This may unnerve you: BUT THE EVIDENCE THAT I AM PRESENTING - NATIONAL, HEAVILY COMMEMORATED HISTORY - HAS NEVER SHOWN ITSELF TO BE FALSE.
Every year, the people of England celebrate St. George's Day, commemorating the victory of the patron saint of England over a dragon.
Old 11-16-2010, 01:53 PM
Guest
Join Date: Aug 2009
Posts: 413
Quote:
Originally Posted by abele derer View Post
6. Diogenes: How do you know that Hebrew didn't exist during the time of he Exodus (absence of evidence is all you got?!)?
Absence of evidence is evidence of absence when there should and would be evidence. If they did exist then, they existed somewhere completely unrelated to where the Exodus narrative says they were at the time, and even then, there's no evidence to support such a claim.

How do you know people didn't exist before the dinosaurs? Were you there?
Old 11-16-2010, 02:00 PM
Guest
Join Date: Nov 2010
Posts: 249
Blut Aus Nord: Sorry for making you tediously enunciate your logic, but can your please tell me why there "should and would" be evidence of the Exodus. Did the Egyptians ever record other embarrising events from which you can infer that there never was an Exodus?

I know this example isn't exactly like an Exodus, but I mention it for the sake of describing what I mean: The Egyptians, we should not forget, worshiped the sun. Stuningly, we don't find even a whisper in their writings about a solar-eclipse, even when there must have been hundreds of times during their many-millenium history in which their SUPREME GOD went dark in middle of the day. If you present this "finding", about the lack of recording of solar eclipses in Egyptian writings, to an astronomer, do you think he would be able to resist the urge to chuckle? The astronomer is presenting evidence about when eclipses should have occured and all you can come with is "absense of evidence." I, too, am having trouble resisting the urge to chuckle.

Last edited by abele derer; 11-16-2010 at 02:01 PM.
Old 11-16-2010, 02:03 PM
BANNED
Join Date: Oct 2002
Location: St. Paul, MN
Posts: 58,797
Quote:
Originally Posted by abele derer View Post
You guys keep refering to other false myths, such as the Irish fairies, and then when I ask you if people claim to have seen it, you move onto other myths. Please, for God's sake, please enunciate a false event, which was believed to have been seen by millions of THEIR OWN ANCESTORS.
I already told you that history is rife with miracle stories supposedly witnessed by other people.
Quote:
2. You admit that there was a Second Temple, since it was confirmed through acheologial means. Lucky for us Jews, since without that archeological confirmation you would assume that we cry on "Tisha B'av" about the destruction of a Temple that never existed.Since you admit that there was a Second Temple, does this not show that the Jewish national history is of evidential value?
What do you mean by "Jewish national history? Knowledge of the second temple period is just history. It's not in the Hebrew Bible. I guess you can call the New Testament part of "Jewish national history," but it's not the source of knowledge about it. This is a rather strange sort of logical leap you're trying to make. We're discussing the factual veracity of historical claims made in the Bible.
Quote:
It sure does. HOWEVER, evidence can always be wrong. In order to evaluate the strength of evidence, we look around and see how often the form of evidence under question has ever been shown to be false. This may unnerve you: BUT THE EVIDENCE THAT I AM PRESENTING - NATIONAL, HEAVILY COMMEMORATED HISTORY - HAS NEVER SHOWN ITSELF TO BE FALSE.
1. You are not presenting evidence. Belief is not evodence even if you write it in all caps.
2. This particular myth HAS been shown to be ahistorical.
Quote:
3. Diogenes: How do you KNOW that the Habiru aren't the Hebrews (this is a matter of debate amongst archeologists, BTW)?
Read the damn wiki link I posted. That's a summarized account of prevailing views, but basically the hypothesis that the Habiru were Hebrews (something that was never more than hypothetocal in the first place, so don't get your burdens of proof mixed up) has been abandoned is because of contemporary documentary evidence identifying the Habiru as a social class rather than an ethnic group, and because the Egyptions use a different word (Shashu) to refer specifically to Israelites.
Quote:
4. Diogenes: How do you KNOW that archeology can prove a negative (especially when the fall of Babylong didn't produce archeological evidence)?
Archaeology can prove negatives when the dates don't line up and when something isn't there which is supposed to be there.
Quote:
5. Diogenes: How do you know that the Israelites didn't exist before 1200 BC (yes, the earliest mention of them is 1200 BC, but that doesn't mean they didn' exist before that)?
Because the archaeological evidence shows them emerging and slowly becoming distinct from Canaanite culture around that time.
Quote:
6. Diogenes: How do you know that Hebrew didn't exist during the time of he Exodus (absence of evidence is all you got?!)?
Because the oldest Hebrew writing isn't found before the 11th Century BCE and because the evolution of languages is traceable.
Quote:
Diogenes. You don't provide a shred of evidence for anything that you claim. Your all about absence of evidence.
Your entire case is a desperate appeal to an argument from absence.
Quote:
Regarding Nimble's point, Joseph was buried in Shechem, Israel. His tomb is there, not Egypt.
Joseph is a fictional character.

Last edited by Diogenes the Cynic; 11-16-2010 at 02:06 PM.
Old 11-16-2010, 02:10 PM
Guest
Join Date: Nov 2006
Posts: 3,374
Quote:
Originally Posted by abele derer View Post
This may unnerve you: BUT THE EVIDENCE THAT I AM PRESENTING - NATIONAL, HEAVILY COMMEMORATED HISTORY - HAS NEVER SHOWN ITSELF TO BE FALSE.
Commemorated how? Written down? Widely believed? You keep hitting this point as if it's some kind of automatic win, but you haven't actually shown it to be true. And you also haven't shown that this history itself is true. Yes, someone wrote it down, but history has many examples of people writing down the wrong thing, mistakenly or deliberately, and that wrong thing being accepted as true by those who read it later.

Let's say that you do have an event that lots of people saw, and it was recorded by multiple people, and their accounts agree, etc. What evidence do you have that it was actually what you claim it to be? "It was god' is not the default response. If you want to be able to claim an event had something to do with god, you have to provide evidence that it was in fact god.

Ask anyone in America what type of tree George Washington chopped down, and what he said afterward. National, heavily commemorated history, but quite false.
Old 11-16-2010, 02:13 PM
Guest
Join Date: Aug 2009
Posts: 413
I did a research paper on the Exodus in high school, and I have a portion that pertains to this argument:

Quote:
At this point it should be emphasized that there is zero evidence of any Israelite presence in Egypt itself. There is no archaeological evidence, or any passing reference to support the idea of a group of Israelites living in the Land of Goshen (Genesis 47:27). In addition, the notion of any group escaping from Egypt under the control of Ramesses II is very unlikely. According to the archives of el-Amarna, the Egyptian presence in northern Sinai, Canaan, and even up through Syria, would make the only plausible escape route the Sinai Peninsula, for which there is no archaeological evidence (Finkelstein and Silberman 60-61). Lastly, and most importantly, is the oasis of Kadesh-barnea (Numbers 34). It is here that the Israelites are supposed to have camped for 38 years. However, not even a single potsherd or bone fragment or any sign of human habitation whatsoever, let alone an Israelite presence, has been found.
Cites:

Bromiley, Geoffrey W. International Standard Bible Encyclopedia. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1988. Print.

Finkelstein, Israel and Neil Asher Silberman. The Bible Unearthed: Archaeology’s New Vision of Ancient Israel and the Origin of Its Sacred Texts. New York: Simon and Schuster, 2001. Print.


That's my take on it, anyway. As for no records of solar eclipses, that may be so, but based on our knowledge of the orbits of the Earth and the Moon, we know that they happened. There IS evidence.
Old 11-16-2010, 02:15 PM
BANNED
Join Date: Oct 2002
Location: St. Paul, MN
Posts: 58,797
Not to mention it wasn't written down until anywhere from 500-800 years after the alleged events it describes, and there is no evidence of any "national memory" before then.
Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 05:18 PM.

Send questions for Cecil Adams to: [email protected]

Send comments about this website to:

Terms of Use / Privacy Policy

Advertise on the Straight Dope!
(Your direct line to thousands of the smartest, hippest people on the planet, plus a few total dipsticks.)

Publishers - interested in subscribing to the Straight Dope?
Write to: [email protected].

Copyright © 2018 STM Reader, LLC.

Copyright © 2017
Best Topics: lubricants walmart psychologist couch 1950s beards geisha minah stock suicide darwin fish symbol mre taste hookers boston deadliest catch forum smell of snow meat lockers temporarily lose sink not working css font small caps how to clean slides pulp fiction kill bill how to make myself pee for a drug test lularoe leggings in the dryer engine steam cleaning near me no hot water in the morning all i smell is poo wild on netflix streaming cortisone shot for sciatica