Tuesday, October 25, 2005

What's a Firmament?

(I brought up my questions about the firmament in passing on this post, but I thought it would make a good post of its own.)

(Gen 1:6) And God said, Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters.
(Gen 1:7) And God made the firmament, and divided the waters which {were} under the firmament from the waters which {were} above the firmament: and it was so.
(Gen 1:8) And God called the firmament Heaven. And the evening and the morning were the second day.
...
(Gen 1:14) And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years:
(Gen 1:15) And let them be for lights in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth: and it was so.
(Gen 1:16) And God made two great lights; the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night: {he made} the stars also.
(Gen 1:17) And God set them in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth,
(Gen 1:18) And to rule over the day and over the night, and to divide the light from the darkness: and God saw that {it was} good.
...
(Gen 7:11) In the six hundredth year of Noah's life, in the second month, the seventeenth day of the month, the same day were all the fountains of the great deep broken up, and the windows of heaven were opened.


To sum up:

1) There exists a physical barrier called a firmament.
2) There is water above and below the firmament.
3) The firmament keeps the water below separate from the water above.
4) God named the firmament "Heaven."
5) God placed the sun, moon, and stars inside the firmament.
6) God caused the great Flood in part by opening the windows of the firmament. ("Heaven.")

Discussion:

Where exactly is this firmament?

As we discussed in the previous post, most stars are billions of light-years away. So if both the moon and the stars are in the firmament, the firmament must extend from 240,000 miles, the distance of the moon, to... well, to more than 750,000,000,000,000 miles, the approximate distance of the farthest observed star. That's a big firmament.

What is the nature of the firmament?


It must be solid, in order to keep the water above it. Also, it must be hollow, or have tunnels, or be malleable, in order to allow the stars, moon, and sun to move about.

Where is the water above the firmament?


Well, it must be somewhere around 750,000,000,000,000 miles away.

So how did opening the gates of heaven allow the water to fall in?

Good question. The water above the firmament should be way outside the range of Earth's gravity. Also, it would take longer than the entire age of the Earth to get here since nothing can travel faster than the speed of light.

It seems that there's no way a literal interpretation of the firmament can be true. So what gives?

I believe there are several possibilities:


1) If God indeed gave the Torah to Man, then he tailored it to suit the understanding of the people of that generation, who would have believed that the Earth was the center of the Universe, and that there was a dome (if they believed the world flat) or sphere (if they believed it was round) above it, in which the stars were embedded. They also probably believed that rain happened when the firmament opened, and perhaps that the sky was blue because there was water above the firmament.

2) If God indeed gave the Torah to Man, he was being allegorical. The firmament, and the Creation story, weren't meant to be taken literally.

3) The Torah was written by people, who believed it was literally true.

4) The Torah was written by people, who were being allegorical.

The only explanation which cannot be true is that the Creation story is both literal and true.


Note to commenters:


If you wish to dispute my claim that the firmament can not be literally true, please answer the questions posed:

1) Where exactly is this firmament?
2) How thick is it?
3) What is the nature of the firmament?
4) Where is the water that is above the firmament?
5) How did opening the gates of heaven allow the water to fall in?

61 comments:

Sadie Lou said...

Again, I have learned over my seven some odd years of being a Christian, that the newly created earth looked very different than it does today. It was much like a greenhouse. The firmament acted like a "water ceiling". There really wasn't an atmosphere. This would explain the "heaven of earth" description of the Garden of eden. Also, people lived an extraordinary length of time--due to the firmament? I don't know that the firmament still exists.
Good questions.

Jewish Atheist said...

The firmament acted like a "water ceiling".

But Genesis clearly says that the stars, sun, and moon were in the firmament. You're saying the stars, sun, and moon were inside a "water ceiling?"

asher said...

It's kind of like the Bill Cosby routine with Noah..."Hey God, what's a cubit?" Here the question becomes what's a firmament. What is the hebrew word used? What is the etimology of the word "firmament". (Is it indeed "firm"?)

Atheist...to put your mind at ease, the great Rambam in his book "Guide to the Perplexed" which everyone talks about and no one actually reads, states that the planets rotate around the earth in some kind of clear ball and while rotating they made a "celestial music"

When I was in yeshiva the rabbis would always talk about the "sisray torah" the secrets of the torah. This was the religious way of saying, "You'll learn it in the next grade".

If God did create the universe in this manner, who was there to watch Him do it? When God said "Let there be light" to whom was he talking? Shall I continue?

Sadie Lou said...

Well some people believe it's a literal water ceiling or canopy and others believe that when the Bible says "water(s) above" the Strong's Hebrew translation is more like the word "Sea".
So it could be what we always know as "the ocean of stars". Galaxies--space.
I don't really know for sure. It's funny how you keep bringing up these Scriptures that are mysterious: The Bible warns us that there will be unexplanable mysteries of God...

Jewish Atheist said...

Sadie Lou, it sounds like you're getting allegorical. It clearly says there's a firmament, with water under it, water above it, and stars in it. The water mentioned is above and beneath, not inside the firmament, so your "ocean of stars" interpretation, although pretty, doesn't work.

It's funny how you keep bringing up these Scriptures that are mysterious

It's not mysterious; it's just not literally true.

Stacey said...

JA's right about the "ocean of stars." It's either literal or it's not. You can't have it both ways. You are contradicting yourself.

I am headed to my synagogue to celebrate Simchat Torah so I can't answer your comment on the below post, Sadie Lou.

But I will tell you that I am not surprised by your stock answer about "context." I have studied Jesus and the new testament. I have read it from cover to cover. I have pages of documented inconsistencies, but it doesn't seem like are willing to engage in critical thinking and objective discussion.

JC Masterpiece said...

I don't think that anyone can give you the perfect answer to this. In my studies the assumption has always been that this is a body of water somewhere in the atmosphere, which in turn prevented much of the harmful rays of the sun and was a large factor in allowing man to grow as old and large as they did.

1) Some possible explanations:
If you are looking from the ground through the firmament it would appear that the sun and the stars were in the firmament.

2) The firmament consisted of multiple layers and elements (as the atmosphere and space do) and are used to describe multiple aspects of or the entirety of "the heavens"

3) The earth, sky, etc. are formed and placed differently than they were before the flood.

There are bound to be theories beyond these three. These are just the ones i could produce off the top of my head. Either way, i personally think that some combination of the three and more.

Ultimately however there is no complete answer because no complete answer is given.

By the way sadie lou, for someone who has only been a Christian for 7 years you really seem to have a grasp on some of nuances and understandings that even people who have been Christians most of their lives never really learn/understand. I'm impressed.

oh yes, as a forth it appears that you are getting caught up on the word "in" a word that may not be translated to it's full extent. There are many times when a word in a foreign language has many nuances and meaning not easily translated into other languages. For instance what is the meaning of the word up?
It seems easy to define, however when used in context it isn't so easy. Some examples: to look-up (a word in the dictionary), to throw up, to make-up, etc. Now the simple word "up" is not so simple anymore.

Laura said...

"a word that may not be translated to it's full extent. There are many times when a word in a foreign language has many nuances and meaning not easily translated into other languages."

JC: So then how can the Bible be the literal word of god if you admit that translation muddles meaning. There are many more complex words in the Bible other than 'in' that have been disputed by scholars. Which version of the bible is the literal word? Original Hebrew/Aramaic? Greek? Latin? English? King James? New Catholic? Gideons?

Sadie Lou said...

Stacey said..."But I will tell you that I am not surprised by your stock answer about "context." I have studied Jesus and the new testament. I have read it from cover to cover. I have pages of documented inconsistencies, but it doesn't seem like are willing to engage in critical thinking and objective discussion."
Hmmm. That's not really fair. It's a stock answer because it is the answer. You are taking situations out of their context and attatching new meanings and subtext to them. You are the one unwilling to engage in critical thinking of your own predjudices against the word of God. It's always easier to be on the offensive rather than the defensive--

Jewish Atheist said...

Sadie Lou, either it's literal or it's not. Is it an "ocean of stars," or is/was there actually some sort of dome that the stars were embedded in and which had water on top of it?

oh yes, as a forth it appears that you are getting caught up on the word "in" a word that may not be translated to it's full extent.

JC, being a former Orthodox Jew, I actually know Hebrew pretty well. "In" is translated just fine.

JC, why is it that you prefer to think up wildly implausible theories rather than accept the obvious -- that Genesis is not literally true? Isn't that the simpler explanation?

Shouting Thomas said...

Why are you obsessed with this anti-religion?

I believe, and I don't really care about convincing you of anything.

Why are you wasting your time in this way?

If you don't believe, why not just be happy with that?

Jewish Atheist said...

Two reasons:

1) I enjoy debate.

2) I think that we as a society would be better off if people didn't take the Bible so literally. It hinders science education, gay rights, etc.

CyberKitten said...

JA said: I think that we as a society would be better off if people didn't take the Bible so literally. It hinders science education, gay rights, etc.


Very true.... At best the Bible is a method of proposing a particular form of life style/spirituality. Once you start treating it literally... it causes no end of trouble.

Shouting Thomas said...

I was drawn here by your comment about "jingoism" in 2Blowhards.

All I can say is that you are gravely mistaken in your outlook.

I'll skip the chase and go to the conclusion.

You've arrogated to yourself the notion that you are smarter than all of human tradition and history. This delusion has a long history, and the consequences of it have always been disastrous.

You're not just wrong. You're deadly wrong.

Fyodor Dostoevsky asked this question over 150 years ago: "Without God, why not murder your neighbor and steal his goods?" (I paraphrase.)

There is still no answer to this question. You do not have an answer.

Your entry in 2Blowhards suggests that you are a Marxist (consciously or not), a religion in itself, just a negative murderous religion.

No, you don't know more than the ancestors. You haven't discovered something that negates human history and tradition. You've fallen, frankly (and I know you'll love this phrase) for the temptation of the Devil.

The Devil always tempts eggheads by flattering their egos about their intellects. You've fallen for it again, as the eggheads always do.

CyberKitten said...

So S Thomas....

Do you think we should turn our back on the last 200 years of Scientific advances... Or just on some of it?

Jewish Atheist said...

You've arrogated to yourself the notion that you are smarter than all of human tradition and history

False. I believe that we as a species are better informed now than we have ever been about how the Universe, the Earth, and Mankind came to be. I believe there is a lot of wisdom in the old religions, as I write in my profile, but I don't believe them to be literally true.

Fyodor Dostoevsky asked this question over 150 years ago: "Without God, why not murder your neighbor and steal his goods?"

Because I am a human being with empathy. Are you saying that the only reason you're not killing your neighbor is because you believe that God will get you for it? How do you respond to all of the religious murderers out there?

Your entry in 2Blowhards suggests that you are a Marxist (consciously or not), a religion in itself, just a negative murderous religion.

Were did you get that? My comment was about media bias and the war in Iraq.

No, you don't know more than the ancestors.

The ancestors had telescopes? They knew about Relativity? They knew about dinosaur bones? They knew that the Earth goes around the Sun? They knew that the Sun is a star? Yes, I believe I do know more than the ancestors. As do you.

Laura said...

We also know that diseases aren't caused by demons or evil spirits. That the Earth is not the center of the universe, that our bodies are not constructed significantly differently than other animals on the planet (as opposed to the Descartes theory that animals were simply like robots). We know a lot more than ancients did. But that is not necessarily discounting what they did know. Arabs inveted modern mathematics, Greeks invented geometry, Egyptians and Mayans built wonderful structures with no modern tools, and had complex calendar systems. The Chinese and Indians tracked astronomical bodies we [re]"discovered" in the 20th century. We are re-discovering a lot of things about ancient uses of plants. We are building on the knowledge of our ancestors. They didn't know everything, and neither do we.

CyberKitten said...

We actually 'know' very little still... but we do know a whole lot more than people did 2K years ago.....

Jack's Shack said...

Tommy Boy,

You don't have to be religious to be a good person. They are not inclusive or exclusive of each other.

Stacey said...

"You've fallen, frankly (and I know you'll love this phrase) for the temptation of the Devil.

The Devil always tempts eggheads by flattering their egos about their intellects. You've fallen for it again, as the eggheads always do."

ROFLMAO. I guess I will see you in hell, JA, since I agree with every single thing you've said on this post and the last one.

Fear tactics. They don't work on me. Logic does.

And lastly, I do find it sad that it sounds like so many people only behave because they fear damnation and/or covet everlasting life. What selfish reasons to be a good person.

CyberKitten said...

I always did have a problem with God giving us 'Free Will'... and them damning us if we actually exercise it in any way He doesn't approve of... Hardly 'Free' is it....?

Shouting Thomas said...

I'm not particularly religious.

But, I know fools when I see them.

The foolishness of idiot eggheads is always astonishing to behold.

The hell you will create will be right here on earth. The idiot eggheads have done it before. One might well argue that the overwhelming lesson of the 20th century was that the vanity of the eggheads is lethal. The Bolsheviks, the Nazis, Pol Pot, Mao... these were the great idealistic movements of the eggheads.

You're doing it again fools.

Incredible, how stupid intellectuals can be. This board is hilarious proof of just what cretins eggheads can be.

Laura said...

Interesting, that the one calling us cretins is the only one doing any namecalling...

Those eggheads ruined the whole world. Who needs to think for themselves? We have Thomas to do it for us!

Those damn eggheads like Newton and Descartes and Plato... how dare humans use their unique capacity to think critically and ponder the world. Let's just scratch our heads and swing from the trees.

Jewish Atheist said...

What exactly do you mean by an intellectual or by an egghead, Thomas?

Jack's Shack said...

Incredible, how stupid intellectuals can be. This board is hilarious proof of just what cretins eggheads can be.

What it really shows is a demonstrative lack of understanding of language, nuance and an imbalanced approach to discerning truth. If I follow your insight and logic the best way to change someone's mind is through yelling, insulting and laughing at them.

It would be effective if they were not also laughing at you.

dbackdad said...

JA -- nice post. I've always been impressed by your blog because you bring up great inconsistencies in religion but in a scholarly and civil way that even religious people can appreciate. And I think that is why JC and Sadie continue to come back to engage you. And to their credit, they are good at staying on topic, being civil, and providing a pretty cogent explanation of their views.

Shouting Thomas, however -- I'm amazed that you were able to slip out of your straightjacket long enough to type a comment. Using the word "egghead" 7 times ... brilliant.

Eric said...

Anyone here ever read "A Canticle for Leibowitz"? Shouting Thomas' rant reminds me of parts of that book.

Shlomo said...

Excellent work my friend. A little critique brings out the worst in some. Now you know what Spinoza was going through. Deus sive natura!

Kol Tuv

JC Masterpiece said...

JC, why is it that you prefer to think up wildly implausible theories rather than accept the obvious

Why do you assume that Genesis is incorrect and science is when science can never even agree with itself most of the time let alone accept any certian view for an extended period of time.

It takes more faith to believe in science than the Bible any day. If science and modern times are so great why is our society so screwed up? Why do 50% of marriages end in divorce? Why is violence such a commonplace occurance in society? Why is it that the only way a family can get by is if both parents are holding full time jobs? Why is it that sexually transmitted diseases are so rampant? Why is it that no one can trust their neighbors anymore? Why is it that people always have to lock their doors when they leave their homes? Why is it that the elderly are treated like second class citizens? Why is it that suicide is so rampant? Why is it that very few people with only a high school education can do anything outside of making minimum wage? Why is it that in spite of all these advancements in society parents have less time in the day to spend with their kids creating huge generational gaps?

You praise the advances of modern society. I mourn the loss of life, culture, family, and society that this "things" focused world of ours has created. Science and education haven't made our world better they have made us more slaves than ever before. Our world has gone from one that loves people and uses things to one that uses people and loves things. Yet somehow you think that we are better than our predecessors. I guess that "better" must be a pretty relative word.

Jewish Atheist said...

JC, I understand what you're saying. I want you to understand that I don't think that we are "better" than our predecessors. I agree that society has a lot of problems. I wish divorce were rarer. I wish AIDS didn't exist. I wish all of the things you wish.

The only place we disagree is that I think fundamentalist religion is contributing more to the problem than to the solution. Fundamentalists oppose teaching about condoms to high-schoolers -- this may lead to more AIDS. Fundamentalists oppose gay rights -- this leads to more teen suicide. Fundamentalists by a huge margin support the Republican party, which makes the poor poorer and exacerbates the economic problems you cite. Fundamentalists have the right idea, but I believe they go about it the wrong way. We all want peace, love, justice, etc. We just disagree on how to get it, and sometimes on what it even means.

Science can't answer moral questions. I've never claimed that it could. For me, moral questions can only be answered by empathy tempered by reason. For you, they're answered by the Bible.

I think fundamentalism is outdated and while it may have worked in the past, it can no longer address our problems. In the modern world, fundamentalism leads to suicide bombings and hate and keeping condoms from those who desperately need them and trying to send abortions back to the back alley and starting wars with other fundamentalists and trying to tell other people what kinds of families they can and cannot have.

I believe in a liberal humanism. I believe that we must care about each other and work to make everybody's life better. I think we have to give up on the pat answers the Bible promises, because if they were so simple, they would have worked by now.

It's actually funny -- many of the best people I know are scientists or fundamentalists. They're more alike than they realize. They both do what they do largely because they care about humanity.

I think scientists could stand to better consider the implications of their work and fundamentalists would do well to question their fundamental beliefs and see if they're really accomplishing what they set out to do.

Orthoprax said...

Man didn't get to the Moon riding a rocket of faith.

Computers were not built with a prayer.

Science works.

JA doesn't "assume" Genesis is wrong, there is no evidence that leads to one taking the words as they are to be correct. As I said before, no one has independently gotten to Genesis based on modern evidence. Why should one assume it is correct? Why should we not take the physical evidence at face value?

Shlomo said...

One can assume that a God would say what he means and mean what he says. What's to stop Him from doing so? After all, who would know better about firmaments than the guy who allegedly created them?

Then, if one begins to weasel out of God saying what He means by claiming it to be allegorical, then how can we tell when when God means it and when He doesn't? The Torah doesn't give us any guide for deciding which is which! So if 'rakiyah' isn't a literal thing, then perhaps 'yetzias mitzrayim' and 'lo sirtzach' are allegories as well. Just look at what the Chazal did with 'ayin tachas ayin"!

It might follow that if I can't take it literally, then why take it seriously at all?

In regard to your five questions, bgein with the fact that agrarian peoples worshipped the rain. Notice how anything really good fell from 'heaven'. It was a practical concern turned into a religious cult. The 'holy spigot of the gods' is what they considered their 'firmament'. They had no idea about water vapor, barometric pressure, or the gaseous cycles necessary to produce rainfall.

There is no reason that God could not have drawn them a diagram (wouldn't it have been cool if the Torah came with pictures?), explained to someone how it worked, and made sure there would be no mistake about it.

JC Masterpiece said...

The only place we disagree is that I think fundamentalist religion is contributing more to the problem than to the solution.

Which is intersting since it has been in the last century or two that fundmentalism has been on the decline. It has become reactionary instead of being an active participant. For instance in the beginning of this century as a result of the Stokes trials that evolution was introduced to the educational system. Later it was accepted that conveience for women was more important than an unborn human life. Public schools were required to remove any theory that implied that the world might have a creator. And on and on and on. Meanwhile the church has, in too many ways, followed the social changes to the point that things like divorce and out of wedlock pregnancies are as common in the church as the world.

Our society becomes less fundamentalist all the time and yet these problems become worse and worse. If it were the fault of fundamentalist religion, society should be getting better not worse.

So what is becoming more and more prominant? Science, technology, liberalism/liberal humanism, individuality, rejection of history and the past, rejection of authority, etc. These things you would think would make society, yet as these things have increased more social problems exist than ever before.

You blame fundmentalist religion as people have for the last century, yet rejection of that has not improved things, it has only made things worse and worse. You say that you think that fundamentalist religion has added to the problem. Unfortunately, i would have to agree. I would agree because the fundamentalist religion is not doing what's right in the face of PC and social acceptabilities. Fundamentalist religion is failing to be true and is falling to the demands of culture and politics. Yup, you're right fundamental religion is at fault all right.

Sadie Lou said...

"And to their credit, they are good at staying on topic, being civil, and providing a pretty cogent explanation of their views. "

Thanks dbackdad. I enjoy this blog because it challenges me and it asks questions of me that I never thought of before. As it turns out, I have had in depth conversations with men I admire about firmament, starlight, and biblical "contradictions" in the last couple of days.
Most of the time, I'm posting ideas and answers from the top of my head. I am in no way speaking for all Christians with my thoughts and ideas. The only way I make myself a spokesperson for Christ is with the gospel. Everything else is me. If I present something that sounds misrepresentitive of Christ--that's me; not God.
Most of these topics are harmless, but I would never want to say something that would turn people away from God.
After talking to some of my Christian friends, I have come to the conclusion that I don't have a good understanding on the whole firmament thing.
They did.
and by the way: Science doesn't debunk Christianity. I know a lot of people in fields of science and technology that are also Christians. It's not as contradictory as one might think.

Jewish Atheist said...

Sadie Lou, I really enjoy having you and the others here.

I know a lot of people in fields of science and technology that are also Christians.

But do they believe in the Bible literally and word-for-word?

Sadie Lou said...

oh yeah, and thanks for the compliment, JC Masterpiece. I just saw that this morning. I think you do an excellent job here as well. I often read your comments to my friends.

Sadie Lou said...

But do they believe in the Bible literally and word-for-word?

What? How do I know? If you believe in the God of the Bible; you believe His word. As far as I know--there is no "half way"

Jewish Atheist said...

What? How do I know? If you believe in the God of the Bible; you believe His word. As far as I know--there is no "half way"

Seriously? I know many, many religious people who don't believe that the Bible is literal. You've talked to some, like Eric, on this very blog. I know a lot of Orthodox Jews who are physicists and biologists who don't understand Genesis literally.

Sadie Lou said...

God tells us himself, in His word--that there are things we will not be able to explain. There are things that our limited abilities can not grapple with. God is complex. Things are not black and white as we would like them to be. It's funny how people do not want to believe in absolute truth for themselves but they require God to line up with their preconceived ideas of how God should be. That's so messed up.
I like that I cannot fathom the depth of God's forgiveness because if some serial killer asked me if they could go to heaven--my answer would be NO WAY.

Shlomo said...

re: God tells us himself, in His word--that there are things we will not be able to explain.

That's complete nonsense. Even if WE cannot explain it, certainly HE could if he wished to, and if He doesn't want to explain something as morally neutral as our physical Universe and how it operates, I would sure love to hear some rationale (from HIM) for denying humanity the ability to know.

We aren't asking for prophecy, psychism, or magic super powers, just the wherewithal the know the world we live in. Thankfully, we have science and the scientific method, so we won't be sitting around doing nothing while the Invisible Sky Faery decides whether or not to be more specific.

Sadie Lou said...

It's not nonsense.
I believe that Jesus is the Son of God. I also believe he is God. I believe in the trinity. How do I answer questions like: How is Jesus tempted in the desert by Satan but God cannot be tempted by evil?

How can I explain a vigin birth?
How can I explain the miraculous?
God doesn't need to explain these things to us. We don't need to "get it".
What is nonsense is people telling God how they think he should operate.
What is nonsense is when my children, who don't know what's good them, question my parental descions. It's fine if they want a conversation about what I have decided but to ask me for an explanation that they have no ability to understand--is nonsense.

Shouting Thomas said...

You all are still here?

Just came back to see if you were all still yanking off.

Dumb stuff. Juvenile.

Truly a complete waste of time.

What a crock of shit.

Sadie Lou said...

guess what shouting thomas--you're still here as well.

Jack's Shack said...

Tommy Boy,

Glad to see you. You came back because you just cannot get enough of this place. On to bigger and better.

I believe in G-d but I do not take the bible to be literal. I think that there are interpretations and that is how it was designed to be.

Our society becomes less fundamentalist all the time and yet these problems become worse and worse. If it were the fault of fundamentalist religion, society should be getting better not worse.

I think that you have to define the problems. Overall medical care and technology is vastly superior to the past. People live better and longer then they ever did.

There are still racial issues, but fewer then in the past and on the whole it is possible for someone in the US and large parts of the world to grow up to become anything that they want to be.

Life is good for many.

asher said...

Will you please start another topic?

Jack's Shack said...

Sure. Which was better, The Godfather or or Goodfellas, The Princess Bride or Ghostbusters?

Discuss. ;)

Sadie Lou said...

Goodfellas.
Princess Bride.

Reasons:
Goodfellas was what the Godfather Trilogy had to accomplish in three movies--good old fashioned mafia movie with plenty of awesom talent in acting, writing and directing.

Princess Bride packs more humor into each scene than Ghostbusters had in the whole movie. Exception: Bill Murray was excellent.

dbackdad said...

Sadie -- Something we agree on. :-)
Goodfellas and Princess Bride

I always criticize people for going off-topic ... but here I am, going off-topic. But Asher was right, we needed a break.

Jewish Atheist said...

Ok guys, I made a new post. :-)

Stacey said...

The Godfather. Hands down.

JC Masterpiece said...

I would sure love to hear some rationale (from HIM) for denying humanity the ability to know.

Actually, He does give us the ability to know. He gave us the ability to recognize the world around us and to learn from it. Science is a great thing, when it is put into the proper perspective. The problem that comes with science is the aspect of human bias. The truth is not wrong, people are. Unfortunately, people have a way of screwing up research and misinterpreting the data. I have only come to the point of rejecting scientific studies and statistics because i have learned to use them. The more i used them the more obvious the baises are in them.

Sorry, rambling on again. Anyways you get my point.

Laura said...

Goodfellas & Ghostbusters... At least Shouting Thomas lives up to his name. Anyone here remember the Logic Monkey? Thomas reminds me of that person. Can't come up with an intelligent argument... fling your own feces in the form of insults...

Sadie Lou said...

Sadie -- Something we agree on. :-)
Goodfellas and Princess Bride


right on. :>)

Jack's Shack said...

The truth is not wrong, people are. Unfortunately, people have a way of screwing up research and misinterpreting the data. I have only come to the point of rejecting scientific studies and statistics because i have learned to use them. The more i used them the more obvious the baises are in them.

That is a convoluted way of saying that if people disagree with you they are wrong. Life is not black and white.

Laura said...

Jack: You and I speak the same language. Why must everything be divided into stark, contrasting yes/no dichotomies? The world is a very ambiguous and complex place. If we try to boil it down into absolutes, we miss out on many great experiences.

JC Masterpiece said...

That is a convoluted way of saying that if people disagree with you they are wrong.

???

Actually this is a way of saying that i've read enough research to recognize that quite often the "results" are often more an example of the bias of the researcher and their sources than of the facts or the results. Oftentimes these are studies that i disagree with. Sometimes these are studies i agree with. Many times, "scientific studies" are more about the beliefs and biases of the scientist / researcher rather than what the truth is / facts are.

Jack's Shack said...

Actually this is a way of saying that i've read enough research to recognize that quite often the "results" are often more an example of the bias of the researcher and their sources than of the facts or the results. Oftentimes these are studies that i disagree with. Sometimes these are studies i agree with. Many times, "scientific studies" are more about the beliefs and biases of the scientist / researcher rather than what the truth is / facts are.

JC,

You didn't say anything new, you just repeated your prior statement. I'll break it down.

Actually this is a way of saying that i've read enough research to recognize that quite often the "results" are often more an example of the bias of the researcher and their sources than of the facts or the results.

That is an argument that can be made for everything. It is a straw man. I can provide three out of five dentists who will say that Trident is the best gum for people to chew and you can refute that by providing two who disagree. Who is right there?

The real answer is that we do not know because we haven't defined the question and established parameters under which we can answer.

Oftentimes these are studies that i disagree with. Sometimes these are studies i agree with. Sometimes you feel like a nut, sometimes you don't.

Many times, "scientific studies" are more about the beliefs and biases of the scientist / researcher rather than what the truth is / facts are.

Again, this applies to every argument. You want this to apply to biblical study and I'll show you how you are basing your belief upon mistranslation and misunderstanding and then you'll counter it by telling me that I don't believe because of mistranslation and misunderstanding. It is a circular argument and invalid. You made my point when you said

The truth is not wrong, people are. Unfortunately, people have a way of screwing up research and misinterpreting the data.

I dislike these kinds of nonspecific arguments because they do not offer a place for dialogue. It is a simplistic approach to suggest that if only people were smart enough they would come to the same conclusion as you. It is not an effective method of debate, but if it works for you...

JC Masterpiece said...

You didn't say anything new, you just repeated your prior statement.
Because your statement showed a lack of understanding of what was being said.

That is an argument that can be made for everything. It is a straw man.
In many ways i would agree with this. However the point still needs to be continually made because many are still assuming that science has all of the answers and is exteremely reliable when it is just as fallible, if not more so, than religion.

Jack's Shack said...

Because your statement showed a lack of understanding of what was being said.

So in other words you couldn't come up with an answer and tried to refute it by using smoke and mirrors. It wasn't a lack of understanding, I recognized that you didn't offer any substance and called you on it. If you cannot use real examples then what is the point.

However the point still needs to be continually made because many are still assuming that science has all of the answers and is exteremely reliable when it is just as fallible, if not more so, than religion.

Ok, so you are conceding here. I appreciate that. Good to know that you understand that you are arguing based upon faith and not substance.

JC Masterpiece said...

So in other words you couldn't come up with an answer and tried to refute it by using smoke and mirrors.

No, in fact i made my point quite well. I made the comment that God gave us the ability to recognize the world around us, to study it and develop science and that i don't see science in itself as a problem. It is the uncanny ability of people to make their own decisions, have bias, basically screw up research to make it fit their viewpoint that i have problems with. You than said that that is a straw man because that is the case with all things that people are involved in. I agreed that in a sense it is a straw man because i agreed that that is the way it is in anything that people have influence in. However, in your making that statement you supported my original comment about people screwing up research etc., which is why i wondered if you misunderstood what i was saying. So you decided that because you agreed in part with me and i agreed in part with you, i must be throwing up smoke and mirrors. So if you want to accuse someone of using smoke and mirrors for their aggreeing with you about your agreeing with them you may want to reexamine those mirrors to see who's really putting them up.

Good to know that you understand that you are arguing based upon faith and not substance.
I really wonder sometimes if you really understand what you are saying.

Jack's Shack said...

No, in fact i made my point quite well.

Obviously you didn't, but if it makes you feel good go ahead and say that you did.
I made the comment that God gave us the ability to recognize the world around us, to study it and develop science and that i don't see science in itself as a problem. It is the uncanny ability of people to make their own decisions, have bias, basically screw up research to make it fit their viewpoint that i have problems with. You than said that that is a straw man because that is the case with all things that people are involved in.

It is a straw man argument. To suggest that the reason people don't agree with you is because they are ignorant, stupid or biased is simply weak and really unacceptable. Sometimes the evidence that is presented cannot be reconciled as being the truth, no matter what happens.

I agreed that in a sense it is a straw man because i agreed that that is the way it is in anything that people have influence in. However, in your making that statement you supported my original comment about people screwing up research etc., which is why i wondered if you misunderstood what i was saying.

This could be more convoluted, but only if you involved Abbot and Costello.

So you decided that because you agreed in part with me and i agreed in part with you, i must be throwing up smoke and mirrors. So if you want to accuse someone of using smoke and mirrors for their aggreeing with you about your agreeing with them you may want to reexamine those mirrors to see who's really putting them up.

No I said that your argument lacked substance and was based upon your hope that no one would fan away the smoke and see what was left behind, which was no substance.

Look, if you want to say that your beliefs are based upon faith that is cool with me. I believe in G-d but that is a faith based belief and I wouldn't expect everyone to accept it. However if I argue that in order to live humans require food and water that is something that I can prove with science and facts that there is basically a universal consensus on.