Monday, October 24, 2011

Debate with Dovid

Okay, update on the debate y'all have been waiting for:
Dovid and I made arrangements a couple weeks ago, but I had a lot going on; Dovid was kind enough to tell me not to be in a rush, so that allowed me to properly prioritize. But I've now set up a blog and asked Dovid to join me as co-administrator. I have made my Opening Argument and you can read it there.


  1. Nice; one thought though. Three days for comments might mean that people could miss a good opportunity to get their thoughts in. Why not a longer interval such as two weeks?

  2. > humans did not evolve from a common ancestor of chimpanzees and the universe is no older than 5,771 years.

    See, this is the problem Baruch: Sliffkin is not an apologist. He is quite correct in pointing out that it is not a principle of the faith to believe in the literal understanding of Bereshis. Therefore you have already sabotaged Orthodoxy's position by insisting that it must rely on an untenable position.

    > The accepted gedolim, Rabbi Moshe Meiselman (Kornreich’s rebbe), Rabbi Dovid Gottlieb

    Bovie faeces. Who says they're accepted outside their xenophobic little circle? What about Rav Kook? What about Rav Lichtenstein? What about all the other bigger rabbonim who don't hold like these "accepted" gedolim whose arguments are generally so faulty you could drive a tricycle through them?

    > G-d put these things in the universe and they lead many to the false conclusion of a much greater age.

    And I know rabbonim who lambast Gottleib for this piece of stupidity because it proposed that God is nothing but a cosmic prankster out to lead us astray and then punish us for going that way. Again, you're attacking stupid arguments that have no real basis in actual classic Jewish thought.

    > Every piece of evidence we have which converges may be dismissed because of what the Torah said!

    Again, the Torah never said it. Gottleib says it did, so you're debating his view, not real Judaism.

    In summary: Kornfield's positions on Judaism are, despite his fanatic protestations to the contrary, representative of a tiny part of classical Jewish thinking. You've chosen a weak opponent and should triumph handily over him, much the way the American basketball team beats the Congo at the Olympics. Congratulations.

  3. Baal:
    I hear; maybe we'll extend it.

    It's Kornreich. And I didn't choose him. I waited a good bit of time for an opponent and I got three challenges. One was on the philosophical deity, or deism, which I'm not interested in debating (my challenge was regarding Orthodoxy). One said he'd like to debate something else and when I accepted, backed out. Dovid was the only one who accepted. If you guys want me to have a stronger opponent, I will be issuing another challenge after this debate.

  4. Rabbi Gottlieb is correct in one aspect. All of the evidence points to a much older universe (and kadmus ha'olam - assuming that if the big bang was caused by laws of nature it is also part of kadmus ha'olam). Rav Yaakov Kaminetsky wrote as much in Emes L'Yaakov on Parshas Yisro, where he claims that a non-Jew is expected to believe in Kadmus. It is only a Jew, who has a tradition of creation, who must believe in it (this is why it says 'ger-cha' in the commandment of Shabbos - because you might have though that a convert could continue with his belief in kadmus, and simply keep rest of the laws of Shabbos - therefore it says that he too must accept creation ex nihilo).
    However, neither Rav Yaakov, nor any other mainstream statement of Chazal, Rishonim (or even Acharonim) goes as far as to say that it is a principle of faith that the world is less than 6000 years old. Unfortunately I agree with Garnel that this is not a traditional Jewish belief (but one invented in the past few decades) and therefore no points will be awarded for this round.
    When will you challenge more fundamental concepts such as Torah m'Sinai?

  5. Baruch, I too would like to see debate on issues such as Torah m'Sinai, but having come from the Ohr Somayach culture, I will thoroughly enjoy the current discourse. I look forward to reading, commenting on, and sharing links to the rest of the debate.

  6. Rabbi Sedley, whaddaya mean "unfortuately"?