Wednesday, July 30, 2008

What I'm Discussing Around The Web...

Over at ChabadTalk, I'm having a discussion with some members on the age-old subject of whether God can or cannot create a rock He cannot lift.

Money quote:
"Sure G‑d can create a rock so heavy that even He cannot lift it. G‑d can do anything. And He could even lift that rock that He cannot lift as well."

Over at YWN's coffeeroom, I got involved in a discussion when a poster brought up a story about a woman who had been in a coma for 73 years. I pointed out that the record for coma length is, in fact, 37 years. Certainly, if there was a longer coma (especially by such a margin) it would have been well-known and written up in medical literature. The response to that?

Oh and Mr. Musings,
If the Almighty decides that he wants someone to be in a coma for over 70 years, thats exactly whats gona happen;))))))) 'Record Shmecord.....

When I pointed out the difference between stating that HKBH has the power to do something and stating that that something actually happened, I got this wonderous response:

But now that we both agree that G-d rules the world, he obviously didnt want this story to be publicized in the Guinness Book of records, and frankly, thats why you havent heard of it!

Ah, yes. The very best from the "the best evidence of a conspiracy is the fact that there is no evidence" school of thought.

The Wolf


SuperRaizy said...

Thank you- you made me laugh at 10:30 at night, which is not easy to do!

Anonymous said...

You remind me of a discussion I had at a Chabad Rabbi and Rebbetzin's Shabbat table. When mentioning evolution vs. creation, it was said by them that carbon dating is simply a trick G-d created to test our faith; that there is no scientific anything in carbon dating.

Oy, that's all I can say.

Rafi G. said...

lol... that answer is great. A classic for YW commenters....

ProfK said...

Wolf, you've got to get a hobby that is less stressful. You're trying to use logic with people for whom black and white are relative, depending on what they want to prove.

Old maxim used in archaeology: an absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.

Ezzie said...

Seriously - why would you waste time on those sites arguing?

BrooklynWolf said...

Call me a cock-eyed optimist. I believe that anyone can be taught basic reason. It may be an uphill battle, but it can be done. :)

The Wolf

Anonymous said...

You have a lot of patience, Wolf.

Dave said...

I've found a generally good rule of thumb to be: "You cannot reason someone out of a position they didn't reason themselves into."

Anonymous said...

After totally agreeing with your observation that inanity has become the norm for "heimishe yidden" in philosophical discussion, I do want to note that the first question appears to me to be totally explained by basic chassidus.

The same Tzimtzum that Hashem used to create a space for man's freedom of choice or free will would also appear should Hashem decide to create a rock He couldn't lift, and thus once it was created it would be unliftable, even by Him.

That taking Himself out of the action can also be used to explain many evil things that otherwise would beg the question of "Why didn't Hashem do something?"

Yossi Ginzberg

-suitepotato- said...

To start with the tzimtzum mention, G-d need not contract Himself at all. If you lie there limp, people can move you. It doesn't make your parts less yours. G-d can be of and in and throughout and beyond all things and still we can have free will. He just lets us.

You want a better than the rock example?

Did G-d create His own nature for Himself?

By strict logic, He could not have. For a thing to be said to exist, it must have something defining it and separating it from non-existence. If G-d make His own nature, He would have had to predate Himself. That is, He had to have created Himself which is a logical impossibility for He had not been created yet by Himself.

Further, if He was never created, congealed, coalesced, etc., and always was, then there was no event of creation to give Him a nature. He certainly didn't. He simply was and is.

But He is, so what is He?

I submit He wants to know that more than we do. It fits in that we are supposedly in His image, yet clearly we don't mean His physical image or His power or else we'd make universes and people them. We must mean spiritually, intellectually, emotionally... existentially.

We want to know who we are. We endlessly explore that question. The entirety of the universe seems so grandiose and complex that it is way too overboard for just our playground. Instead of everything being for our benefit to do His works, it seems we are props in His play, playing a part He needs.

I think that when you think about it that way, it's easier to get a sense of our importance to G-d and the importance for us to be good people. We are part of G-d, He gave us His nature, and through us explores that. So what we do will tell Him if this is all worthwhile.

The universe is riding on us growing up then.

Larry Lennhoff said...

I most recently gave my opinion on this topic during a lengthy discussion on Making Light. Warning: not a Jewish site.

Briefly, I agree with the poster above. Nothing in the definition of omnipotence prevents you from taking that attribute away from yourself.

Ezzie said...

While I agree it can happen, I don't think that the people arguing on message boards are the ones who it can be taught to. Start with everyone else. :)