Sunday, July 20, 2014

Sam Harris

If you don't know Sam Harris, you should.

You may remember him from some of his books.

He's anti-religious. He tries to justify all religions as co-equal terrorists.

"“It is taboo in our society to criticize a persons religious faith... these taboos are offensive, deeply unreasonable, but worse than that, they are getting people killed. This is really my concern. My concern is that our religions, the diversity of our religious doctrines, is going to get us killed. I'm worried that our religious discourse- our religious beliefs are ultimately incompatible with civilization.”

"“We know enough at this moment to say that the God of Abraham is not only unworthy of the immensity of creation; he is unworthy even of man.”

His words speak for themselves.

Science cannot determine human values any more than the roulette wheel at the MGM Grand hotel.  Which scientific fact shall we use?  E=MC^2?  Quantum mechanics? Those are scientific facts.  But no help in building a moral society willing to work together.

From that, I find Sam Harris's notion that religion and science or logic must conflict supercilious.

If anything, what amazes me, is that one of Judiasm's commands, one of the 613 as explained in the Kabballah, is to pursue science. According to the Smag (an acronym for the Medieval Index of commandments called : Large Book of Mitzvot), this is one of the 613 commandment G-d has given to the Jewish people to keep.

"It is a positive commandment to compute tekufot, mazalot, moladot"

These three words refer to various cycles of the stars and planets (today, we call this astrophysics).

From Lectures on Torah and Modern Physics, by Harav Yitzchak Ginsburgh, pg. 161
This is why one must understand Jews do not all take the Torah literally, particularly because the Ancient words have been lost to time.
"Incidentally, by challenging our common-sense notion of space and time as constant and objective, special relativity requires us to reframe (and perhaps even discard) many seeming contradictions between scientific theory and Torah.  For example, consider the age of the Universe.  Since we can no longer refer to some absolute reference for the passage of time, we have to get used to the strange counter-intuitive notion that time can move faster or slower depending on motion.  Indeed, if we measure time from the point of view of a beam of light, there is no passage of time whatsoever.  According to special relativity, without unambiguously defining the "observer" in the Torah's account of creation and the observer in the scientific theory of creation, one cannot compare or contrast the two, because they lack a common frame of reference."

From Lectures on Torah and Modern Physics, by Harav Yitzchak Ginsburgh, Pg. 27

What Sam Harris substitutes for science is Evolution.

This is why I recommend reading David Berlinski's Devil's Delusion, because it helps explain the scientific pretensions of Sam Harris and others who attempt to paint everyone who disagrees with Darwinian evolution as 5000 year creationists.