Archive for August, 2015

Recently, as I read through the famous work, Sh’ney Luchoth haB’rith (aka Shla”h) by the saintly Rabbi Isaiah (haLevi) Horowitz, of blessed memory, I saw that the author cited a source called Tanya. Now there is a very famous work known as Tanya written by Rabbi Shneur Zalman of Liadi, the first Lubavitcher Rebbe. This confused me. I had been under the impression that the Shla”h predated the Chasidic Movement (of which Lubavitch chasidim are a part), and that in fact Chasidic philosophy had drawn greatly from the teachings of the Shla”h. Seeing the Shla”h cite Tanya, a later source, didn’t make sense to me. What was I missing? Was I mistaken in my knowledge of history?

A quick perusal of Wikipedia yielded that in fact the Shla”h did live and die before Rabbi Shneur Zalman was born, which would certainly make a citation in the Shla”h of Rabbi Shneur Zalman’s work anachronistic. Which lead me to one of two conclusions. Either the Shla”h as it is printed is not authentic and has been tampered with by later individuals, or there is an earlier work called Tanya that predates Rabbi Shneur Zalman and the Shla”h.

So, I hopped on over to HebrewBooks.org and searched תניא (“Tanya”) and found that is indeed more than one Tanya. In addition to the famous Tanya of Rabbi Shneur Zalman, there is also an earlier work called Tanya by a 13th century scholar, Rabbi Yechiel ben Yekuthiel of Rome. I have undertaken to peruse this volume a bit, and I intend to report back with any interesting discoveries.

“Could Dinosaurs Have Been Warm-Blooded?”

The above-linked video is from one of my favorite YouTube channels, SciShow. This post is a follow up to this one, about the uncertainty among scientists whether dinosaurs were warmblooded or coldblooded. What I wanted to highlight in this video is disagreement among scientists in the reliability of the methods themselves that some scientists are using to reach their conclusions. My point here is only that so-called scientific conclusions should always be regarded as tentative (until advancements in knowledge replace the old conclusions with newer ones), and taken with a grain of salt.

I may as well note here that the presenter makes casual mention of the recent discovery of dinosaur soft tissue (see related post here), without at all bothering to mention that scientists are baffled at how organic tissue could have survived millions of years without degrading. (Even Schweitzer’s “iron-rich blood” hypothesis, while a start, is far from sufficient to explain how such tissue could have been preserved for even thousands of years, let alone millions. On that note, if anyone out there does know of a scientific explanation that can account for this, I’m definitely interested to know about it.)

Was the Civil War about Slavery?

Hear from Abraham Geiger, who wrote contemporaneously with the event: http://treasuresofthesand.blogspot.com/2015/08/was-civil-war-about-slavery.html

I kid you not, the following two excerpts are from the same Nature.com article (http://www.nature.com/news/university-sued-after-firing-creationist-fossil-hunter-1.16281), on the topic of a university professor (Mark Artimage) who was allegedly fired for espousing a “Creationist” view (based on scientific evidence):

‘Science is about building hypotheses and then attempting to falsify them,’ he [paleontologist Jack Horner] says. ‘Creation science or any kind of pseudoscience is just the opposite. It is coming up with an idea or a notion or anything else and finding evidence to support it.'”

Oh really? Is this dichotomy between “science” and “pseudoscience” genuine? Later in the article, Justine Lisser, a spokesperson for the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, explains why it would be hard for Armitage to win a law-suit to get his job back based on his claims of discrimination, because the firing institution need not reinstate someone if it would cause the institution “undue hardship,” which would be the case here. Why?

If Armitage made his living bending metal in a machine shop, an employer would find it difficult to show how his views caused undue hardship, she says. But in an academic setting, telling biology or palaeontology students that life began only a few thousand years ago more clearly undermines the institution’s goals.”

Oh… Now I get it. Since the GOAL of the ACADEMIC INSTITUTION is to espouse that dinosaurs lived millions of years ago, any evidence to the contrary is inadmissible, since it falsifies their hypothesis. It doesn’t support their preconceived “idea or notion.” But this is the exact OPPOSITE of “science” according to the earlier quoted scientist. No, as a matter of fact, the earlier-stated dichotomy between “science” and “pseudoscience” is a false one. There is no question that many people are dishonest in their cherry-picking (or misrepresentation) of evidence in support of their views, but scientists are no less guilty of the same. It’s time for scientists to get off their high horse.

The Religion of Atheism

Posted: August 10, 2015 in Science, Video
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What Science Doesn’t Know 2

Posted: August 10, 2015 in Uncategorized

“What is Dark Matter and Dark Energy?”

What Science Doesn’t Know

Posted: August 7, 2015 in Science
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