Tuesday, September 21, 2010

The Case of Dr. Isaac Betech

Dr. Isaac Betech is a pediatrician in Mexico. He is very active in Jewish outreach, in collaboration with Rabbi Yosef Yagen of Monsey. By his own admission, he was instrumental in getting several Gedolim to sign a letter of condemnation against my books. According to someone in Mexico who wants to translate my books into Spanish, he would be unable to distribute them in bookstores due to Dr. Betech's influential opposition.

In a previous comment thread (link), an extensive discussion with Dr. Betech occurred. Dr. Betech requested to publicly debate the scientific merits of evolution with me, and said: "The reason I want to debate is because I want to know the truth, and this has been one of the main mottos in my whole life." He still has not responded to my main question to him, despite my having posed it numerous times. Here it is again:

Dr. Betech, you claim to want to have a scientific debate, but is that really the case? In other words, supposing I were to present overwhelming evidence in favor of evolution. Would you then accept it? And what would you then say about Bereishis?


Meanwhile, I am not accepting his proposal of a scientific debate about evolution. I am instead offering a counter-proposal, and I am also accepting another proposal of his.

The counter-proposal is to publicly debate the scientific theory of his creation model. After all, he claims that his beliefs about the development of the world are not only based on Torah, but also on science. And he claims that such debates are important for reaching truth, and that pursuing truth is one of his main mottos.

I propose a format for such a debate as follows: Dr. Betech would first describe his model in detail, explaining when and how each major group of animals (Paleozoic fauna such as ammonites, Mesozoic fauna such as Jurassic and Cretaceous dinosaurs, mammals, birds etc.) appeared and disappeared. Then I would pose ten question to him about his model. Then he would respond. Then I would pose further questions about his responses, to which he could again respond. Then I would make a brief closing statement, and then he would do the same. I would be generous and allow him to have the final word.

The second proposal is as follows: In a correspondence with a friend of mine, Dr. Betech said that he is able and willing to debate the question of "Did Chazal ever err in science", because it befits a scientist such as himself to evaluate (according to present day factual scientific knowledge) if there are any scientific inaccuracies when Chazal stated their innumerable specific statements describing nature. (He refused to debate the different question of whether it is legitimate to say that Chazal erred in science.)

I would be willing to engage in this debate, and the format would be as follows: Dr. Betech would first explain his methodology for determining what Chazal's words mean, in preparation for assessing whether they are consistent with modern science. I would then ask him questions on this methodology, to which he could respond. Then I would ask him to explain ten statements in the Gemara in light of modern science. Dr. Betech would give his explanations, I would ask questions, to which he could respond. Then I would make a brief closing statement, and he would do the same, again having the final word.

Dr. Betech, what do you say?

82 comments:

  1. He's not a scientist, he's a physician.

    And even so, he seems not to realize that modern medicine is based on the validity of the theory of evolution.

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  2. ...supposing I were to present overwhelming evidence in favor of evolution. Would you then accept it? And what would you then say about Bereishis?

    Glad to see that you have changed your wording. In addition to the conditions that you have outlined, you will also need to make sure that you both have the same definitions of the scope and limits of the matter you are debating. As I pointed out in an earlier comment, the Intelligent Design enthusiest must change the definition of Science to include their "theories" (read beliefs) under the rubric of Science.

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  3. Nachum writes: "modern medicine is based on the validity of the theory of evolution."

    That's going a bit too far. Actually, that's going way too far. Firstly, modern medicine (a small part of it, that is) is based on the validity of only a subset of the theory of evolution, the micro-kind. Second, even the famed biologist Jerry Coyne observed, "evolution hasn't yielded many practical or commercial benefits. Yes, bacteria evolve drug resistance and, yes, we must take countermeasures, but beyond that there is not much to say."

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  4. Rabbi Slifkin, I'm impressed. You found a way to debate Dr. Betech without legitimizing his "science." He'll probably continue evading your main questions, but you may as well call him on it. You sure are good at this thing.

    I'd like to see you grill him on his role in banning your books.

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  5. I would disagree with Nachum on one point: physicians are scientists. Most of us have basic science training before entering medical school and in order to keep up with the literature we must remain up to date with what is going on in medical science. No, we're not physicists or chemists but we are scientists.
    Secondly, there are always going to be people who, despite their training, have weird beliefs. The Chabadniks have one scientist they like to trot out whenever someone suggests that the earth revolves around the sun. This one scientist disagrees with them.
    During the whole metzitzah b'peh controversy a few years ago I was told that Rav Eliashiv found a specialist in infectious diseases who assured him that herpes is not transmitted by skin-to-skin contact.
    There are always those kinds of people. You cannot debate them because you have no common ground to being the debate over.

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  6. Interesting exchange between Nachum and Pliny, I think. Is the fact that bacteria evolves resistance what you meant modern medicine is based on evolution? And to Pliny I would say/ask, the study of bacteria is not just a small part of medicine, it is one of its primary planks.

    DF

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  7. R' Slifkin,
    One slight proposed twist - perhaps you should also offer to sell tickets with the monies going to tzedakah. That way, if (and I strongly suspect, when) the good doctor offers excuses not to debate, he is not only snubbing you, but denying worthy charities from receiving needed donations.

    KT,
    Hillel

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  8. R Slifkin, I would categorically decline Dr Betech's offer.

    These debates lead nowhere and convince nobody. The audiences are always stacked and nobody changes his mind. By debating him you grant legitimacy to his crackpot pseudoscience.

    Debates are for fleshing out political opinions and revealing to the public what the debaters opinions are on various matters. Arguing scientific facts in a public forum is not appropriate, except among true expert peers in scientific forums.

    Instead, I would respond as follows: If Dr Betech has some new and astounding evidence refuting current evolutionary biology, strongly encourage him to submit this remarkable new information to a prestigious scientific journal or conference. I am certain that these forums would be very interested in hearing about his new data. As a scientist who is confident in his information, Dr Betech should surely have no hesitation about submitting such a paper, which would survive rigorous scrutiny and review.

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  9. R Slifkin, I would categorically decline Dr Betech's offer.

    These debates lead nowhere and convince nobody. The audiences are always stacked and nobody changes his mind. By debating him you grant legitimacy to his crackpot pseudoscience.

    Debates are for fleshing out political opinions and revealing to the public what the debaters opinions are on various matters. Arguing scientific facts in a public forum is not appropriate, except among true expert peers in scientific forums.

    Instead, I would respond as follows: If Dr Betech has some new and astounding evidence refuting current evolutionary biology, strongly encourage him to submit this remarkable new information to a prestigious scientific journal or conference. I am certain that these forums would be very interested in hearing about his new data. As a scientist who is confident in his information, Dr Betech should surely have no hesitation about submitting such a paper, which would survive rigorous scrutiny and review.

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  10. I truly believe a debate on any scientific matter between two laypersons (non-Experts without adequate credentials in the respective field to be debated) to be asinine beyond belief. I cannot overemphasize that enough.

    That being said, a debate or discussion between yourself and an opponent that would focus on the theological ramifications of certain important issues related to these scientific matters, such as the theological ramifications of Darwinist (intelligently unguided) mechanisms resulting in intelligent life, would be a much more appropriate topic to delve into and debate.

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  11. By debating him you grant legitimacy to his crackpot pseudoscience.

    But as you say, the people here have already made up their minds, so I don't think that's too big a concern. Dr. Betech appears to already be well-respected in his community anyway.

    Debates are for fleshing out political opinions and revealing to the public what the debaters opinions are on various matters.

    And Dr. Betech has been evasive about his opinions. He's played a significant role in STARC; let's get his views into the sunlight.

    That being said, a debate ... on the theological ramifications...would be a much more appropriate topic to delve into and debate.

    Definitely. I hope Dr. Betech agrees to discuss Chazal.

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  12. "I truly believe a debate on any scientific matter between two laypersons (non-Experts without adequate credentials in the respective field to be debated) to be asinine beyond belief. I cannot overemphasize that enough."

    There are no experts in the field to be debated, because the scientific field (foundation of Creation as understood by Dr Betech) does not exist.

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  13. B"H
    Natan Slifkin said...
    Dr. Betech, what do you say?

    IB 21/Sept.’10
    1. I say that I want to continue our unfinished interchange of ideas; if you want to continue, please do not make unilateral decisions.
    2. Please post in the original thread of commentaries the commentaries I have sent and you did not post yet.
    3. Please post my commentaries when I send them, and not hours latter, when people cannot easily follow the sequence of ideas.
    4. Please continue the discussion on the original thread of commentaries, so that serious people can see all my questions and commentaries that you have not answered yet.
    Also they will be able to understand every statement in their original context.
    Of course, I know that I owe you some answers, and as I have said many times I want to answer them according to my time availability.
    5. All these technical difficulties are the result of the limitations of an Internet forum; I remind you my original proposal (September 14, 2010 1:01 AM) https://www.blogger.com/comment.g?blogID=6906205856510467947&postID=4546003264407525210

    So if you prefer we can go to a face to face debate.

    Isaac Betech.

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  14. משה רפאל:

    I don't understand the motive behind pointing that out to me. Do you honestly think I was suggesting that Biblical Creation Science was a legitimate field of scientific inquiry or were you just being sarcastic?

    I thought it was obvious I was suggesting that the parties to debate evolution should two recognized experts in biology with a substantial academic background. There are some sane advocates of theistic evolution in the scientific community after all.

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  15. Always be willing to debate. The logic of your arguments will shine and at the very minimum garner the respect of those who haven't completely thrown away their brains.

    ReplyDelete
  16. 1. I say that I want to continue our unfinished interchange of ideas; if you want to continue, please do not make unilateral decisions.

    What unfinished interchange? You proposed a scientific debate about evolution, and I declined. I responded with some questions for you, which you did not answer.

    2. Please post in the original thread of commentaries the commentaries I have sent and you did not post yet.

    I don't think that there are any. If you think that there are, please re-send them.

    3. Please post my commentaries when I send them, and not hours latter, when people cannot easily follow the sequence of ideas.

    Sorry, I moderate all the comments on this blog and it sometimes takes a while for me to get to them. But they all appear in the order that they are written.

    4. Please continue the discussion on the original thread of commentaries, so that serious people can see all my questions and commentaries that you have not answered yet.

    No, please reiterate here any questions to me that I did not answer yet. And might I remind you that you still have not responded to my original question to you, even though I repeated it several times, and even though in the meanwhile you found time to respond to a number of other people.

    5. All these technical difficulties are the result of the limitations of an Internet forum.


    Actually, I think that an internet forum is great - it's the best way of reaching the most interested people.

    I remind you my original proposal (September 14, 2010 1:01 AM)

    And may I remind you that I already declined. Repeatedly. Instead, I accepted a different proposal that you offered some time ago, and I also offered a counter-proposal regarding a scientific debate on your model of creation. What do you say?

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  17. I invite Dr. Betech to describe evidence that he would accept as proof that the age of the universe exceeds 6000 years. Indeed does proof exist that the age of the universe exceeds one second? After all, is it not possible that our collective memories and historical documents could have been created by the Creator?

    Without a common basis, there can be no meaningful debate.

    On another note, I would encourage everyone involved to eliminate invective or anything approaching it against Dr. Betech. It is most counter-productive.

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  18. Pliny: Macro. As R' Tendler once put it, the whole idea that we can experiment on animals and learn scientific (and medical) lessons for humans is based on the validity of the theory of evolution. Before that, no one would have thought that you could try out a human medicine on, say, a mouse.

    Garnel: That's all true, but I think it's a bit presumptuous for an MD (who has no other graduate degree) to call him- or herself a "scientist." That latter term, in our society, means something specific, and physician doesn't really cut it.

    (Not claiming I'm one myself, of course- I know far less science than any MD.)

    I'm reminded of the famous Huxley-Wilberforce debate. Huxley gave all the proofs for evolution, and then Wilberforce picked up a Bible (it is said) and simply stated that there wasn't anything about evolution in there! And, according to some accounts, he won! (The audience were all Oxford people.)

    Alas, Wilberforce didn't know that the days when you could do that were soon to end.

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  19. Without anything personal against Dr. Betech, who I have never met - this whole discussion is a farce. There's not a single scientist in the world who is qualified in the relevant subjects who thinks that creationism is anything other than dangerous lunacy - there is not a single scientific journal that has any articles supporting a young earth, or a global flood etc. etc.
    It is also as clear as day that Chazal were not familiar with modern science - everything they said fits in totally with the science of their time - nothing at all indicates any knowledge of contemporary discoveries (spontaneous generation anyone?).
    I think those supporting these inane viewpoints would do us all a favour if they read a couple of decent textbooks on evolutionary biology - perhaps once they begin to understand its awesome explanatory power (whereas their 'theories' are pure 'ad-hoc-ery' which can predict nothing and explain nothing). Evolution could be falsified in an instant ('fossil rabbits in the precambrian' to quote Haldane), whereas the theories of Betech and his ilk have failed every test, both practical and theoretical, time and time again.

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  20. R' Slifkin,
    I would also add one more thing:

    You have given the good doctor every advantage. Presumably, all or most of your arguments can easily be anticipated by reading Challenge of Creation and Sacred Monsters. So, he should have no trouble preparing.

    If, given these advantages, he does not clean your clock, it's a big win for you.

    Somehow, I don't think he'll be cleaning any clocks, even if he takes the debate.

    I do think that mentioning how strong a position he is in should add to your credibility, and diminish his if he chooses not to debate you.

    Best,

    A

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  21. Rabbi Slifkin,

    Stop wasting your time with Isaac Betesh. Judging from his reply to your proposal, he isn't worth a second -- nay, not even a half-second -- of your time.

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  22. >>> R Slifkin, I would categorically decline Dr Betech's offer.

    These debates lead nowhere and convince nobody. The audiences are always stacked and nobody changes his mind. By debating him you grant legitimacy to his crackpot pseudoscience.
    <<<

    I have to agree. This is not something you should be spending time doing. You and Dr. Betech have a classic "religious argument" -- one in which, whatever each of you says, _neither of you will change your mind_.

    But, if it will help get your books translated into Spanish and sold in Mexico, it might be worthwhile.

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  23. B"H

    Natan Slifkin said...
    1. I say that I want to continue our unfinished interchange of ideas; if you want to continue, please do not make unilateral decisions.

    What unfinished interchange?

    IB 22/Sept.’10
    Please go and check the original comment thread (link).

    I copy you again: if you want to continue, please do not make unilateral decisions.
    Do you agree?

    Natan Slifkin said...
    You proposed a scientific debate about evolution, and I declined.

    IB 22/Sept.’10
    It is amazing that someone who published 2 books related to the evolution of the species declines repeatedly to debate on the scientific proofs that support his approach…
    Since you consider evolution of the species to be compelling, it is only fair that your view is put to the test of the scientific method.

    Natan Slifkin said...
    I responded with some questions for you, which you did not answer.

    IB 22/Sept.’10
    You keep ignoring what I wrote:
    Of course, I know that I owe you some answers, and as I have said many times I want to answer them according to my time availability.
    If you check the original thread you will see that I keep posting answers and commentaries.

    Natan Slifkin said...
    3. Please post my commentaries when I send them, and not hours latter, when people cannot easily follow the sequence of ideas.

    Sorry, I moderate all the comments on this blog and it sometimes takes a while for me to get to them. But they all appear in the order that they are written.

    IB 22/Sept.’10
    This is exactly the problem that has happened more than once, when you finally publish my commentaries there are not at the bottom and people usually do not notice them, and do not follow the sequence of ideas.

    Natan Slifkin said...
    4. Please continue the discussion on the original thread of commentaries, so that serious people can see all my questions and commentaries that you have not answered yet.

    No, please reiterate here any questions to me that I did not answer yet.

    IB 22/Sept.’10
    Again you ignore what I wrote:
    …they will be able to understand every statement in their original context.

    Natan Slifkin said...
    And might I remind you that you still have not responded to my original question to you, even though I repeated it several times, and even though in the meanwhile you found time to respond to a number of other people.

    IB 22/Sept.’10
    You keep ignoring what I wrote:
    Of course, I know that I owe you some answers, and as I have said many times I want to answer them according to my time availability.

    Natan Slifkin said...
    I remind you my original proposal (September 14, 2010 1:01 AM)

    And may I remind you that I already declined. Repeatedly. Instead, I accepted a different proposal that you offered some time ago, and I also offered a counter-proposal regarding a scientific debate on your model of creation. What do you say?
    September 21, 2010 9:02 PM

    IB 22/Sept.’10
    I say that it is amazing that someone who published 2 books related to the evolution of the species declines repeatedly to debate on the scientific proofs that support his approach…
    Since you consider evolution of the species to be compelling, it is only fair that your view is put to the test of the scientific method.

    Isaac Betech

    ReplyDelete
  24. Dr. Betech, I am not a scientist.

    The purpose of my book is not to prove that evolution is true.

    Rather, it is to take that which is considered adequately proven by the scientific community and show that it does not conflict with Torah.

    These (my not being a scientists, my book not having the goal of proving evolution) are one set of reasons why I am not willing to debate evolution with you.

    The other reason is as I have repeatedly stated: that I believe your claim to want a scientific debate is a ruse, a lie. Because a scientific debate means drawing conclusions from the evidence, regardless of the theological implications. But you won't even answer my questions about whether you are able to do this.

    In any case, as far as I am concerned, evolution already has been put to the test by the scientific method. That is what has been happening for the last hundred years in the scientific community.

    Your view, on the other hand, has never (to my knowledge) been put to the test by the scientific method.

    I say that it is amazing that someone who is so insistent on the correctness of his view that he campaigns to BAN the teaching of another view, is unwilling to discuss its scientific merits.

    I also find it amazing that some time ago you proposed a debate about the scientific validity of Chazal's teachings, and when I take you up on the offer, you are suddenly apparently unwilling to agree.

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  25. In summary, and to paraphrase you:

    Since you consider the recent creation of all animal life to be SO compelling that you seek to ban other views, it is only fair that your view is put to the test of the scientific method.

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  26. I must correct an error in what I wrote.

    Dr. Betech, your view has indeed been put to test by the scientific method. After all, the original geologists and biologists of the nineteenth century all subscribed to your view. But when they put it to the test against the evidence, they found that it did not work. That is why it was rejected and the scientific community moved to their current view.

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  27. I'm still wondering how a human being (especially not a religious leader) gets the "influence" to keep bookstores in a democratic country from stocking a particular title. And how any modern (that is, living in 2010) person can look himself in the mirror after doing so.

    Perhaps Dr. Betech has a beard and doesn't need to shave.

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  28. B”H
    Dear Natan
    Thank you for your prompt answer.
    I hope B”H to have time to sleep tomorrow in the Sucah.
    I will try to answer some of your points, meanwhile disregarding that you ignored many important points of my last post.

    Natan Slifkin said...
    Dr. Betech, I am not a scientist.
    The purpose of my book is not to prove that evolution is true.
    Rather, it is to take that which is considered adequately proven by the scientific community and show that it does not conflict with Torah.
    These (my not being a scientists, my book not having the goal of proving evolution) are one set of reasons why I am not willing to debate evolution with you.

    IB 22/Sept.’10
    No problem, if you are not a scientist, you can choose a scientist that will represent you and I will debate with him.

    Natan Slifkin said...
    The other reason is as I have repeatedly stated: that I believe your claim to want a scientific debate is a ruse, a lie. Because a scientific debate means drawing conclusions from the evidence, regardless of the theological implications. But you won't even answer my questions about whether you are able to do this.

    IB 22/Sept.’10
    Of course I am ready to draw conclusions from the solid scientific proofs presented in a protocolized debate.
    Now I ask the same question to you, are you ready to draw conclusions from the scientific proofs presented? Even though that the conclusions may be as far reaching as retracting yourself from what you have published regarding the evolution of the species?

    Natan Slifkin said...
    I also find it amazing that some time ago you proposed a debate about the scientific validity of Chazal's teachings, and when I take you up on the offer, you are suddenly apparently unwilling to agree.

    IB 22/Sept.’10
    It is good that you wrote “apparently”… I am willing to agree.
    This can be B”H, the second protocolized debate we will be involved in.

    Isaac Betech

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  29. >>"After all, the original geologists and biologists of the nineteenth century all subscribed to your view."

    Really?
    Christian geologists where aware of how the sages of the Talmud interpreted Genesis?
    That the physical processes of the six days were sped up and were not cataclysmic nor chaotic?
    That's news to me.
    Where can I find this documented?

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  30. No problem, if you are not a scientist, you can choose a scientist that will represent you and I will debate with him.

    It's not up to me to do that. It's up to you. If you want to challenge the accepted consensus of the global scientific community, then do it! Submit papers to journals which show why their model is wrong. Have you written any?

    Of course I am ready to draw conclusions from the solid scientific proofs presented in a protocolized debate.

    So if there is sufficient evidence for evolution, you claim that you will accept it. But what would you then say about Bereishis? This is the key question that you keep avoiding.

    Now I ask the same question to you, are you ready to draw conclusions from the scientific proofs presented? Even though that the conclusions may be as far reaching as retracting yourself from what you have published regarding the evolution of the species?

    I am not a scientist. I am not qualified to determine that your scientific arguments are correct and those of the entire scientific community are wrong. All I could do in theory is to say that I am personally convinced, but this wouldn't mean much. Even if I were personally to be convinced by you, I would still see it as being vital to publish a book that shows that evolution does not contradict Torah.

    Now I repeat my question yet again: Are you willing to put your model to the test of the scientific method? The first time it was put to the test, a hundred years ago, it failed, and that is why the scientific community adopted their current model. Are you willing to debate it, or are you afraid?

    Remember, there are many reasons why we should be debating your model rather than mine:

    1) Yours came first.
    2) Yours has already been rejected by the scientific community, while mine is the model that was accepted in its place.
    3) I am fine with people rejecting my model, whereas you campaign against people rejecting your model.

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  31. Christian geologists where aware of how the sages of the Talmud interpreted Genesis?

    Ah, so if you are presenting a uniquely Jewish view of a recent creation, then there is all the more reason to put it to the test. After all, as far as I know, your model has never been discussed and debated, unlike the Christian model and the contemporary scientific model, all of which have been debated numerous times.

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  32. B"H
    Dear Natan
    I am going to sleep B”H, now it is very late in Mexico.
    I will try to comment on some of your science-related points, meanwhile disregarding that you ignored many important points from my last posts.
    I read your last post dated: September 22, 2010 8:54 AM where you refuse once and again to debate the scientific value of your published position on evolution, even though that I clearly stated that I am ready to draw conclusions from the facts as per your request, but you are not ready to do the same...
    If sometime you are ready, please let me know, you know my email since many years ago.
    Isaac Betech

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  33. Dear Isaac,

    even though that I clearly stated that I am ready to draw conclusions from the facts as per your request,

    You clearly stated it, but the question is whether you are fooling either me or yourself. Maybe you are like those Orthodox Jews who find some way to squirm out of any evidence that man landed on the moon. In order to clarify whether this is the case, I asked you what you would say about Bereishis if the evidence was in favor of evolution. I have asked you this about five times now and you still have not replied.

    but you are not ready to do the same

    Where did I say that I am not willing to draw conclusions from the facts? I did not say any such thing.

    Meanwhile, I am still waiting for you to respond to my proposal to have a debate on the scientific proofs that support your approach. If you haven't got time now for a long-winded response, please at least let me know if the answer is yes or no, and you explain in more detail later.

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  34. a few observations:

    (1) I commend Dr. Betech for walking into the Lion's den.

    (2) The issues here have importance beyond the individual personalities involved, and thus I would encourage Dr. Betech to accept the fact that he is not going to engage Rav Natan in debate on his own terms, and accept that this is not important.

    Nonetheless, I would encourage Dr. Betech to resume discussion and debate on another venue and just leave Rav Natan out of it. I for one would be pleased to engage in this forum with the caveat that I have neither scientific nor theological credentials, but rather whatever force of logic that I can muster.

    I suggest that the forum should be open, but moderated only to filter out the inevitable flaming and personal jibes that can be expected to come up (and have done so here.)

    חג שמח לכולם!

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  35. Dr Betech:

    As R Slifkin and I have suggested, why don't you submit your model of the origins of the species to a scientific journal or conference, where experts in the fields of biology, zoology and anthropology can review them?.

    Or, alternatively, in line with your suggestion to R Slifkin, have an expert in the field submit it on your behalf?

    Such earthshaking new evidence powerful enough to revise current thinking about evolution would gain you much respect.

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  36. It will be to clarify again that this post started here: http://www.rationalistjudaism.com/2010/09/expert-in-science.html

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  37. Debating a creationist isn't a debate any more than debating a holocaust denier. One side basically doesn't accept overwhelming scientific or historical evidence and is holding a position that is motivated purely by religious beliefs or hated for another group.

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  38. Nachum - where is evolution presupposed in the fact that we perform experiments on rats? Isn't it simply because they are hardy, readily available, and their anatomy is comparable to man's, or at least comparable enough so as to be instructive?

    I appreciate in advance your (always lucid) explanation.

    DF

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  39. Perhaps Dr. Betech has a beard...

    Incidentally, he does.

    Rabbi Slifkin, even if he eventually declines a debate, your calm reasonableness so far in dealing with this man already speaks volumes.

    And if he declines, maybe you can compromise. I suggest you propose having all three debates. Offer to debate the merits of evolution, futile as that debate may be, on the condition that he agrees to debate his creation model and the scientific knowledge of Chazal. If he declines, he is obviously the obscurantist and not you.

    I'm also not convinced that an orderly debate on evolution would be entirely futile. You would have a chance to formally present some of the strong points you have made in this thread. You don't have to defend the science in such a debate; stick to defending the worldview of Rabbi Slifkin as you've been doing so well.

    I would also add to Yitz's observation (1) that Dr. Betech appears to be a patient yerei shamayim, even if we find his science to be contrived and his politics to be unconscionable. Otherwise I don't see why he would still be here.

    חג שמח!

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  40. "IB 22/Sept.’10
    It is good that you wrote “apparently”… I am willing to agree.
    This can be B”H, the second protocolized debate we will be involved in."

    As the good doctor suggests that you get a scientist to debate the science for you, I recommend he get a rabbi to debate the theology for him. If a well-known rabbi publicly agrees (perhaps his friend R' Belsky), it could be worth the inanity of the first debate to reach the second. (Of course we know the "gedolim" will never actually justify their opinion.)

    ReplyDelete
  41. DF: Don't ask me. R' Tendler is the biologist and he said it (even while denying much of Darwinism in the same speech, but I'm sure much of Darwinism has been superceded- doesn't make him wrong though- it's like Columbus thinking he was in Asia, or Freud, etc.).

    Anyway, if I had to guess- there's no reason to think that a treatment that works on an animal (apart, maybe, from primates) will work on people unless we're related way back when.

    ReplyDelete
  42. If Dr Betech is similar to the other pseudoscientists that we run into on blogosphere, he won't have any new evidence different then the rest of us. These folks don't weigh the evidence differently. Creationists didn't discover any earth shaking "gaps" in the fossil record, or come to some new profound mathematical insight into the probability of this or that mutation.

    They simply reject inductive reasoning, which is the basis for most modern scientific discovery. I am sure that this is what it boils down to. They forget that induction is a powerful form of reasoning. How do we know that the sun rose on Jan. 15 in the year 1069 AD? Is there a specific record or proof that it rose? Witnesses? We use induction.

    ReplyDelete
  43. Rabbi Dr. Dovid Gottlieb says in shiur on evolution over here that if there was overwhelming evidence in favor of evolution it would not contradict the Torah he brings rav Hirsch to support this.
    (Forward to 1 hour 16 min into recording)
    I think this is the same source of Rav Hirsch that you use in your book. I think Rav Gottlieb must have said this before the ban.

    anyway, Dr. Betech can simply say that if there is overwhelming evidence for evolution, it was setup by Hashem to look that way, as you write in "challenge of creation" unless he cant accept this approach because of all the problems with it. but he will be forced into this approach every time he looks into the night sky.

    ReplyDelete
  44. The focus of the debate is misplaced.

    Instead of debating the validity of science itself, shouldn't you be debating whether it is religiously acceptable or not?

    A person may not accept the scientific evidence himself, thats his own business, a far cry from banning someone else.

    So I think the debate should focus on whether or not is is religiously permissible to accept evolution or question chazal's perception of science.

    ReplyDelete
  45. zach, I think you're making an unfair comparison.

    Take a look at the following people in this evolution debate:

    “The Great Debate” in Fort Worth on November 7th and 8th, 2008, talking about intelligent design and the existence of God.

    Dr. David Berlinski will speak from the Pro-ID Theist Position.
    Dr. Bradley Monton will speak from the Pro-ID Atheist Position
    Dr. Denis Alexander will speak from the Anti-ID Theist Position
    Dr. Lawrence Krauss will speak from the Anti-ID Atheist Position

    ReplyDelete
  46. Issac (Not Dr. Betech)September 26, 2010 at 7:42 AM

    David Hume wrote a powerful argument against the validity of induction.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Problem_of_induction

    I think Karisita's suggestion is the most intelligent one I've heard on the J-blogosphere.

    ReplyDelete
  47. Is it permissible to adopt a dogma without checking it, if one is able to validate? Even if one rules it is permissible, it is clearly wrong to force an unvalidated dogma on others. Dr Betech seems to realize this and therefore insists that he validated the dogma that he promotes. Good to call his bluff.

    ReplyDelete
  48. Dr. Betech has debated the scientific validity of the evolution of the species with scientists many times in the last twenty years, he does not need to do it again… don’t you feel that Dr. Betech is so confident when challenging you? This is the reason!
    So go ahead, accept the challenge and prove to everyone that your books are not mistaken.

    ReplyDelete
  49. If he was afraid, he would not have opened this new challenge against you.
    I don’t understand you; initially you refused to debate with Dr. Betech on the evolution of the species, arguing that you are not a scientist and you even admit you are not qualified to determine if Dr. Betech’s scientific arguments are correct or not, and in the next paragraph you invite him to a scientific debate on another subject???
    How are you going to evaluate his scientific proofs, if you admit you are not a scientist?

    ReplyDelete
  50. Rabbi Slifkin,
    I have enjoyed your many postings, your musings on Judaism and science and I check your blog many times daily hoping for a new stimulating idea. I lately have been feeling as if the blog has become singularly focused on Dr. Betech, which to me is dissappointing. He will not debate you in a rational forum with a specifically stated premise. He worked behind the scenes to advance the ban on you, and he seems me to have hijacked your blog. I would so enjoy if you ignored his posts, which do not add to what I and many others I believe found so enjoyable, your observations and scholarly postings which helped to enlarge my Judasim, and brought us Torah learning on a level we could truly enjoy. There is so little publicised Torah in the manner your proliferate. Please, don't pollute it with Betech's postings or disingenous challenges. He clearly will not change his views and will do his utmost to twist your words and can mean only to do harm to your views and ideas.
    Please, please let this blog revert to articles and musings about such things as discussing, science and Torah, yeridot hadorot, the quatification of the volume of a kezayit. I found such writings so enjoyable, please, post many many more such articles.
    Moadim Lsimcha,
    David Ilan

    ReplyDelete
  51. kisarita said...
    The focus of the debate is misplaced.
    Instead of debating the validity of science itself, shouldn't you be debating whether it is religiously acceptable or not?


    Yes, of course. But Dr. Betech refuses to debate that, he says that is the domain of the Poskim. Unfortunately one can't find any Poskim who are willing to debate it.

    ReplyDelete
  52. MenacheO. said...
    Dr. Betech has debated the scientific validity of the evolution of the species with scientists many times in the last twenty years, he does not need to do it again...


    Fine. So let him instead debate the scientific validity of his own model, which is something that he has never done.

    don’t you feel that Dr. Betech is so confident when challenging you? This is the reason!

    The reason is as I have said, that he wants to throw out lots of objections and use them to argue that evolution is false. Let him instead subject his own approach to objections.

    ReplyDelete
  53. E Akerman said...
    If he was afraid, he would not have opened this new challenge against you.


    He's not afraid of his challenge; he's afraid of mine.

    I don’t understand you; initially you refused to debate with Dr. Betech on the evolution of the species, arguing that you are not a scientist and you even admit you are not qualified to determine if Dr. Betech’s scientific arguments are correct or not, and in the next paragraph you invite him to a scientific debate on another subject???

    Questioning a theory is a different matter from defending it. Plus, ideally a scientist would do this, but in the absence of one, I'm stepping up to the plate. Plus, debates about evolution are a dime a dozen, but I don't think that a debate over Dr. Betech's theory has ever occurred.

    ReplyDelete
  54. I lately have been feeling as if the blog has become singularly focused on Dr. Betech, which to me is disappointing.

    Sorry you don't like this, but others do, and I think it's important and valuable to show this novel way of dealing with such people.

    ReplyDelete
  55. I don't understand why Pliny thinks Zach is making an unfair comparison. The Holocaust has been debated too, by Mark Weber (pro-woo) and Michael Shermer (anti-woo).

    If you want to see Intelligent Design's gedolim debate at full capacity and how they come out, see Behe and Dembski vs Miller and Pennock. That's all you need to know about ID.

    Baruch Pelta
    bpelta.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
  56. "David Hume wrote a powerful argument against the validity of induction."

    Yes, but nonetheless it is used and science is impossible without it. Everything is probabilistic, which is based on induction.

    Any experiment that uses statistical analysis would not be possible without induction. We could never rely on our calculations.

    ReplyDelete
  57. " Pliny said...

    zach, I think you're making an unfair comparison. "

    Interestingly, Dawkins makes that exact comparison (evolution deniers to holocaust deniers) in his latest book. Although it may be insensitive and boorish the way Dawkins terms it, it is basically true in the general sense. It's a denial of fact and twisting of reality to fit a dogmatic position. (Of course Dawkins employs the "all creationists deny evolution" fallacy so he incriminates a host of people 'innocent' of this offense, but that's a digression).

    ReplyDelete
  58. If you want to see Intelligent Design's gedolim debate at full capacity and how they come out, see Behe and Dembski vs Miller and Pennock. That's all you need to know about ID.

    Further to that, I would add that what most people don't realize is that Behe - ID's biggest Gadol - acknowledges that the world is billions of years old and that all life evolved from a common ancestor. It's only the mechanism that he quibbles.

    ReplyDelete
  59. StudentV writes: "Although it may be insensitive and boorish the way Dawkins terms it, it is basically true in the general sense. "

    I agree that it CAN be true, and often is, my counterexample I gave(which I invite your comments on) shows it need not be true.

    ReplyDelete
  60. Yes, but nonetheless it is used and science is impossible without it. Everything is probabilistic, which is based on induction.

    Any experiment that uses statistical analysis would not be possible without induction. We could never rely on our calculations.


    You are right. I overstated it. It's not that induction is an invalid way of making calculations to function pragmatically in the real world.
    But as rationalists who are searching for what is most probably true, scientific induction should not be confused with a pursuit of truth. It is a pursuit of what works best given the limited knowledge we have at the moment.

    ReplyDelete
  61. "Questioning a theory is a different matter from defending it. "

    R Slifkin, this is a good point, and a useful thing to remember when debating pseudoscientific theories. Its much easier to shoot holes in a theory you don't like, than proving your own theory.

    ReplyDelete
  62. If you want to see Intelligent Design's gedolim debate at full capacity and how they come out, see Behe and Dembski vs Miller and Pennock. That's all you need to know about ID.

    I just finished viewing that debate and I must say that while the evasiveness of the ID people to Pennock was annoying, I was more dissapointed with Ken Miller.

    Behe kept conceding openly that the parts may indeed have other functions but "irreducible complexity" means that the complex system ceases to function when any basic (non-redundant) part is missing.
    Design is not infered from the existence of the parts themselves but in their complex arrangement and complex function.

    Yet Miller's entire attack was to constantly point out just that-- the individual parts have other non-complex functions. Duh.

    ReplyDelete
  63. For my edification, while I recognize the shortcomings of the ID movement, isn't ID or some variation thereon, essentially what anyone who believes both in G-d and evolution subcribes to; the notion that evolution unfolded in a manner as per G-d's design?

    ReplyDelete
  64. No, you are mixing up intelligent design with The Intelligent Design Movement. Please see my book The Challenge Of Creation for details.

    ReplyDelete
  65. Natan Slifkin said...
    He's not afraid of his challenge; he's afraid of mine.

    E Akerman
    Kol haposel bemumo posel.
    Dr. Betech has not declined to debate with you any Torah-Science issue, but you have refused repeatedly to debate on evolution.

    ReplyDelete
  66. I have given several valid reasons why I refuse to debate evolution with him. To recap:

    1) His professed desire for a scientific debate is a ruse, since it is a fundamental religious issue for him.

    2) I am not a biologist and it is not up to me to defend evolution. He has to convince the scientific community; as far as I know, he has yet to convince anyone.

    3) Even if I believed evolution to be false (and frankly, I really don't understand how the mechanisms of evolution work), it would not make a difference; I would still consider it important to publish my book in the same way and show how evolution is not a contradiction to Judaism.

    Dr. Betech has formally declined to debate the halachic/hashkafic legitimacy of my approach, claiming that he is not qualified to do so. (But apparently he does consider himself qualified as a pediatrician to challenge the global scientific community of biologists, paleontologists, physicists, anthropologists, archeologists, etc., without even having published a single paper on the topic.)

    Dr. Betech has not formally declined my proposal to debate his own "scientific" approach, but since I've asked him plenty of times over the last week and he has not yet responded, it certainly looks like he is declining. (Perhaps he is avoiding formally declining so as not to be challenged to give his reasons for declining.) Which is odd, because he claims to be interested in truth, and claims that scientific debate between us leads to that. Apparently, that was all a ruse.

    ReplyDelete
  67. I am going to answer to your last post even though you published my last post many hours after it was sent, you changed the original time I sent it, and also you cut my last question. Veod chazon lamoed.
    Please see below.

    Natan Slifkin said...
    I have given several valid reasons why I refuse to debate evolution with him. To recap:

    1) His professed desire for a scientific debate is a ruse, since it is a fundamental religious issue for him.

    E Akerman
    Dr. Betech answered you, 6 days ago that he is ready to draw conclusions from the solid scientific proofs regardless of the theological implications.

    2) I am not a biologist and it is not up to me to defend evolution. He has to convince the scientific community; as far as I know, he has yet to convince anyone.

    E Akerman
    It is up to you to defend evolution because you wrote in your last book (page 317) that there are compelling reasons to believe that even Rabbi Yisrael Salanter has evolved from monkeys.

    3) Even if I believed evolution to be false (and frankly, I really don't understand how the mechanisms of evolution work), it would not make a difference; I would still consider it important to publish my book in the same way and show how evolution is not a contradiction to Judaism.

    E Akerman
    I hope you will be able to demonstrate this point in the debate.

    Dr. Betech has formally declined to debate the halachic/hashkafic legitimacy of my approach, claiming that he is not qualified to do so. (But apparently he does consider himself qualified as a pediatrician to challenge the global scientific community of biologists, paleontologists, physicists, anthropologists, archeologists, etc., without even having published a single paper on the topic.)

    E Akerman
    Rambam, the great source of rationalist thought said:
    Shma haemet mimi sheamaro.

    Dr. Betech has not formally declined my proposal to debate his own "scientific" approach, but since I've asked him plenty of times over the last week and he has not yet responded, it certainly looks like he is declining. (Perhaps he is avoiding formally declining so as not to be challenged to give his reasons for declining.) Which is odd, because he claims to be interested in truth, and claims that scientific debate between us leads to that. Apparently, that was all a ruse.

    September 28, 2010 10:06 PM
    E Akerman
    Challenge him to debate on creation after debating on evolution, and you will see if all is a ruse or not.

    ReplyDelete
  68. Dr. Betech answered you, 6 days ago that he is ready to draw conclusions from the solid scientific proofs regardless of the theological implications.

    You have apparently forgotten that I responded that he is not telling the truth. I advanced evidence for this, namely, that he refuses to discuss what the theological implications would be. Would it be that Bereishis is false, or that Bereishis can be reconciled with evolution? He won't even think about it.

    It is up to you to defend evolution because you wrote in your last book (page 317) that there are compelling reasons to believe that even Rabbi Yisrael Salanter has evolved from monkeys.

    It already has been defended sufficiently, for 100 years. If Dr. Betech has something new that the scientific community has never heard of, let him publish it. I'm not going to engage in a debate with someone who will refuse to ever find any evidence compelling. (Rather like you.)

    Rambam, the great source of rationalist thought said:
    Shma haemet mimi sheamaro.


    It's interesting that you advance that as a reason why I should debate Betech on evolution, but not as a reason why Betech should debate me about the hashkafos, or about his science.

    Challenge him to debate on creation after debating on evolution, and you will see if all is a ruse or not.

    WHY? Why can't he accept my challenge? And why doesn't it bother you that he doesn't accept my challenge? And that he won't even give a reason? After all, I gave several reasons why I'm not accepting his challenge. Why doesn't it bother you that he is just ignoring mine, even though he professes to believe that he is on a search for truth and that such debates are important for attaining it?

    It's pretty clear that you just have a religious agenda. You're certainly not interested in reaching scientific truth.

    ReplyDelete
  69. Isaac: "But as rationalists who are searching for what is most probably true, scientific induction should not be confused with a pursuit of truth. It is a pursuit of what works best given the limited knowledge we have at the moment."

    Outside of "je pense, dons je suis", and mathematical proof, do you have a way to pursue truth that is not "induction"?

    ReplyDelete
  70. HaRav Ovadia Yoseph Shlita said ...


    ולכן כל מי שיש ברשותו מספרי איש זה אסור לו בהחלט להחזיקם בביתו

    ReplyDelete
  71. "Outside of "je pense, dons je suis", and mathematical proof, do you have a way to pursue truth that is not "induction"?"

    I think the field of philosophy is a more dedicated pursuit of truth than science. I'm not saying philosophy is a reliable tool for such a pursuit, but at least it has a deliberate dedication to the task.

    Science is primarily about making models work. All the talk about science's "pursuit of the truth" business is just how scientists like to express themselves.
    It gives their field an air of exaggerated importance, idealism and romaticism.
    That's their perrogative, but don't buy into it uncritically.

    ReplyDelete
  72. MenacheO. said...
    Dr. Betech has debated the scientific validity of the evolution of the species with scientists many times in the last twenty years, he does not need to do it again...

    Natan Slifkin said...
    Fine.

    MenacheO. said...
    You say fine, but Dr. Betech always has demonstrated that evolution is scientifically wrong. Now you say fine… do you agree? Otherwise, as you said, step up to the plate, and defend the position you have presented in your books.

    Natan Slifkin said...
    So let him instead debate the scientific validity of his own model, which is something that he has never done.

    MenacheO. said...
    He has debated also many times regarding the Big Bang, chemical evolution and the age of the universe, even against a famous astrophysicist, and also has succeeded.
    So go ahead, accept the challenge and prove to everyone that your books are not mistaken.

    Natan Slifkin said...
    The reason is as I have said, that he wants to throw out lots of objections and use them to argue that evolution is false.

    MenacheO. said...
    So what? Refute his objections.

    Natan Slifkin said...
    Let him instead subject his own approach to objections.

    MenacheO. said...
    No problem, invite Dr. Betech to do this, after you accept his original invitation (http://www.rationalistjudaism.com/2010/09/expert-in-science.html
    September 14, 2010 1:01 AM).

    He invited you first.

    ReplyDelete
  73. B”H
    Public clarification
    October 4th, ‘10
    To whom it may concern:

    I
    Natan Slifkin (NS) published in his blogspot on Sept. 12, ‘10 (http://www.rationalistjudaism.com/2010/09/expert-in-science.html) that a physician (like me) has zero credibility when disputing his “science”.

    In consequence, in the commentaries thread of his blogspot, on September 14, 2010 1:01 AM I invited him to debate:
    “Since I have many times publicly stated that I do not know scientific evidences that prove the evolution of the species, and I do not want “to dispute the entire scientific establishment”, I invite you to a public, intellectual, respectful, protocolized debate; then our rationalist audience will not have to rely on my “zero credibility”, but they will be able to arrive at their own fact-based conclusions.
    Please let me know when and where this scientific encounter will take place so I will B”N make all my personal arrangements.”

    II
    Since then, he has published many reasons for his constant declination, in the original commentaries thread and also on a new post entitled: "The Case of Dr. Isaac Betech"
    (http://www.rationalistjudaism.com/2010/09/case-of-dr-isaac-betech.html). The reasons or excuses are:

    1.
    Natan Slifkin said...
    Dr. Betech, please don't waste my time… September 15, 2010 9:16 AM
    I proved to him (September 15, 2010 7:33 PM), from his own writings in the last 7 years, that he does not consider discussing with me a “waste of time”, sources available on request.

    2.
    NS argued that I am not objective (September 15, 2010 10:29 PM).
    I clearly stated (September 22, 2010 8:32 AM): “Of course I am ready to draw conclusions from the solid scientific proofs presented in a protocolized debate.”
    I hope the same attitude from him.

    3.
    He then (September 22, 2010 7:47 AM) presented a new excuse, that he is not willing to debate because he is not a scientist… because he is not qualified to determine that my scientific arguments are correct…
    I answered him (September 22, 2010 8:32 AM)
    “No problem, if you are not a scientist, you can choose a scientist that will represent you and I will debate with him.”
    By the way: NS’s position is difficult to understand; NS initially refused to debate with me on the evolution of the species, arguing he (NS) is not a scientist and even he admits he is not qualified to determine if my scientific arguments are correct or not, and in the following paragraph (September 22, 2010 8:54 AM) NS invited me to a scientific debate on another subject?
    How is NS going to evaluate my scientific proofs, if he admits he is not a scientist and also admits being unqualified to determine the validity my scientific arguments?

    4.
    NS argued (September 22, 2010 7:47 AM) that I also refused to debate about other relevant issues…
    I clearly stated (September 22, 2010 8:32 AM): “I am willing to agree.
    This can be B”H, the second protocolized debate we will be involved in.”

    5.
    NS argued (September 22, 2010 8:54 AM) that it is not up to him to prove evolution…
    I answer that it is up to him because he wrote in his book CoC (page 317) that there are “compelling reasons” to believe that even Rabbi Yisrael Salanter has evolved from monkeys.
    Surely if his reasons are genuinely compelling they can withstand critical scrutiny.

    6.
    NS argued September 29, 2010 7:43 AM that I am a liar since I refuse to discuss what the theological implications would be.
    I answer please prove me that I am lying, and B”N I will try to repair it.
    After the debate on the scientific issues (see below) will be concluded, I am also ready to debate the validity of the theological sources presented by NS on these issues.
    If evolution is false, why would we want to show that evolution is consistent with Torah? Logically, it would seem that the first step is to examine the truth of Darwin's theory in the light of the best scientific evidence.

    Please see the continuation in the next post.

    ReplyDelete
  74. The following is the continuation of the previous post.

    III
    Since NS has manipulated repeatedly the flow of information in his blogspot (details available on request), his has misrepresented my position, and has not answered many of my questions to him, I want to clearly state my position for anyone who is concerned.

    I am ready to discuss in an intellectual, multimedia, respectful, protocolized, neutral, public forum with NS or the representative (Jewish or not) he will choose, on any scientific issue relevant to his 5 controversial books, i.e.
    1. Creation of the universe (Big Bang Cosmology).
    2. Chemical evolution (increasingly complex elements, molecules and compounds developed from the simpler chemical elements that were created in the Big Bang).
    3. The age of the universe.
    4. Biological evolution (of the species).
    5. The accuracy of science-related statements made by Chaza”l.

    IV
    I give NS the opportunity to choose in which order he wants to discuss the above issues, with one exception, i.e. biological evolution has to be the first subject, because of the following reasons:

    1. I invited him first to debate on biological evolution about 2 weeks ago.
    2. His repeated declination with changing and refuted excuses is conspicuous and almost equivalent to an admission of defeat, because every time I removed the reason he used as an excuse to decline, he presented a new one.
    3. His personal half admission on this blogspot September 28, 2010 10:06 PM “frankly, I really don't understand how the mechanisms of evolution work…”
    4. The unrefutted admission of one of the bloggers in his blogspot September 15, 2010 10:05 AM “One cogent thing you have said is that you "do not know scientific evidences that prove the evolution of the species." Well, that much is quite clear…” And similar statements in his blogspot.
    5. NS admitted in a previous email public debate with Dr. Ostroff on November 06, the inadequacy of 2 proofs written in NS’s books, which some evolutionists use as support for even what is called “the fact” of evolution, i.e. common ancestry. Sources and details available on request.
    Of course I am ready to a fresh analysis of every proof NS will like to present.

    V
    By the way, I would like to know if there are any circumstances by which NS would agree that his position was defeated.
    If yes, please define, otherwise, a position that can not be falsified cannot be called scientific.
    For example:
    Isaac Betech says: I do not know any scientific proof that there was evolution of the species.
    My position would be falsified very easily if someone presents me just one irrefutable proof; in that case, I would say: I accept that I was mistaken.
    So I ask to NS, please define how your position could be falsified.
    For example:
    NS says: There are compelling reasons to accept the evolution of the species.
    His position would be falsified if he or his appointed representative fails to present to me even one irrefutable proof, in that case, NS would have to say: I accept that I was mistaken.

    VI
    1.
    I consider this invitation to debate and his acceptation or not, as a very significant point since NS has been represented as a victim of those critics who refuse to give him the opportunity of expressing his views.
    I am his longstanding ideological critic and I invite him respectfully to defend his position.

    2.
    Many years ago, I suggested NS not to publish one of the problematic books (before he published it), because of his hitherto insufficient research; and I invite him again, to a polite and intelligent deserved debate, as written in the foreword of his book CoC.

    So in case NS would decline again, who would have “zero credibility”?

    Isaac Betech, M.D.


    P.S. You may be interested to see some additional points on this issue on:
    http://slifkin-opinions.blogspot.com/2010_10_01_archive.html

    ReplyDelete
  75. MenacheO. said...
    Dr. Betech has debated the scientific validity of the evolution of the species with scientists many times in the last twenty years, he does not need to do it again...

    Natan Slifkin said...
    Fine.

    MenacheO. said...
    You say fine, but Dr. Betech always has demonstrated that evolution is scientifically wrong.


    Demonstrated TO WHO??? Has he ever convinced a single scientist who did not share his religious convictions?


    Natan Slifkin said...
    So let him instead debate the scientific validity of his own model, which is something that he has never done.

    MenacheO. said...
    He has debated also many times regarding the Big Bang, chemical evolution and the age of the universe, even against a famous astrophysicist, and also has succeeded.


    In other words, I was correct that he has never once debated the scientific validity of his own model.
    (And again, when you say that he "has succeeded" - according to who? Did the astrophysicist think that he succeeded?)

    Natan Slifkin said...
    Let him instead subject his own approach to objections.

    MenacheO. said...
    No problem, invite Dr. Betech to do this, after you accept his original invitation


    Why is one dependent upon the other, if Dr. Betech claims that he is interested in scientific truth and that scientific debate is the way to bring that to light?

    ReplyDelete
  76. You may be interested in this article on the public's perceptions of science - it's not necessarily that new or startling, but it is very relevant to this discussion.

    http://arstechnica.com/science/news/2010/09/skeptics-discount-science-by-casting-doubts-on-scientist-expertise.ars

    ReplyDelete
  77. Dr. Betech,

    Have you ever tried contacting Richard Dawkins in order to debate with him? He has an expertise in these areas and could suitably serve as the scientist to defend evolution's evidence against your objections and theories in a debate. He has written many books on the subject. Please try to contact him. I can't speak for Rabbi Slifkin, but I'm sure that Dawkins is as suitable as any scientist to defend evolution's premises and evidences against critique. So if you make the first step and let us know any new details, I'm sure Rabbi Slifkin and this entire blog would be interested to find out when the debate will be. Otherwise, it seems pointless to keep insisting that Rabbi Slifkin has to go and find a scientist to "represent him." This is not about Rabbi Slifkin or about representing Rabbi Slifkin or his views. This "debate" being proposed is about evolution and its own viewpoints to be defended by a scientist, with or without Rabbi Slifkin's personal seal of approval. I'm sure many followers of this blog would be interested in such a debate, even if not everyone will be. I know I would be interested.

    ReplyDelete
  78. Dr Betech,

    I beleive the point here is very simple;

    It is impossible to prove just about anything beyond any shadow of a doubt.

    Therefore when we decide what theory is rational to beleive we look to see which theory fits better with the evidence we have.

    The evidence that we have fits alot better with the "theory" that the earth is a whole lot older then 6000 years and that species have evolved over time.

    If you wish to say that according to the evidence as we have it, it makes MORE sense to conclude with your thoery of a young earth you can debate Rabbi Slifkin on that.

    The reason why people are reluctent to debate creationists is because they tend to just give reasons why it is possible that the earth is young and nothing evovled.

    The point here isnt what is or may be possible (ANYTHING is possible,)
    you have to explain why the evidence we have SUPPORTS your thoery and not why your theory may still make sense in spite of the evidence.

    ReplyDelete
  79. His position would be falsified if he or his appointed representative fails to present to me even one irrefutable proof, in that case, NS would have to say: I accept that I was mistaken.

    A few comments, with due respect to the doctor:

    1. There are so many fallacies in his understanding of falsifiability I don't know where to begin.

    2. Dr. Betech has still not explained how he can claim to objectively evaluate theories that he considers heretical. (I assume he considers them heretical if he supports the ban on the book; feel free to correct me.) As an analogy, I would never challenge a biblical critic to debate the documentary hypothesis under the pretense that I am objectively approaching the issue, because I consider the hypothesis heretical.

    3. It takes astounding chutzpah to charge a rabbi with obfuscation when you are actively involved in suppressing the rabbi's book.

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  80. I am assuming (perhaps incorrectly) that Rabbi Slifkin does not think answering Dr. Betech’s ridiculous comments above (October 4, 2010 8:02 AM / 8:07 AM) is worth his time, being that Rabbi Slifkin hasn’t answered them specifically, rather he has put up a new blog post titled: Exposing “Scientific” Anti-Evolutionists (Monday, October 4, 2010).

    However, I would like to answer Dr. Betech’s comments above, because it irks me when someone distorts the facts. Dr. Betech’s consistent distortion of the facts is especially bothersome since he was part of the team effort to ban Rabbi Slifkin’s books without allowing Rabbi Slifkin to present any defense of them.

    Dr. Betech wrote (October 4, 2010 8:02 AM):

    II 1.
    Natan Slifkin said...
    Dr. Betech, please don't waste my time… September 15, 2010 9:16 AM
    I proved to him (September 15, 2010 7:33 PM), from his own writings in the last 7 years, that he does not consider discussing with me a “waste of time”, sources available on request.


    Dr. Betech proved no such thing. Rabbi Slifkin answered Dr. Betech (as follows) regarding Dr. Betech’s specific examples.

    Rabbi Slifkin wrote (September 15, 2010 10:29 PM):

    Dr. Betech, the fact that I did not think it was a waste of time to discuss coprophagy in lemurs does not have any bearing on whether it is a waste of time to discuss the scientific merits of evolution!

    Then, after Dr. Betech asked him to explain the difference (September 16, 2010 8:02 AM), Rabbi Slifkin wrote (September 16, 2010 12:27 PM):

    The differenceS are:

    1) that at the time I did not see coprophagy in lemurs as being of critical religious importance to you (and I may have erred in that)

    2) I didn't know that you were so anti-rationalist that you believe that the universe is less than 600 years old
    [ed: Rabbi Slifkin later corrected this to 6,000 years old explaining that six-hundred was a typo]

    3) it was only since then that the ban on my books happened, and I discovered that you are connected to the kannaim who organized it.

    But Dr. Betech blatantly ignored Rabbi Slifkin’s answer, and now claims to have “proved” that which he did not prove. Dr. Betech is misrepresenting the facts. What a shock.

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  81. Although I initially intended to dispute each of Dr. Betech’s statements from his post on October 4, 2010 8:02 AM / 8:07 AM, I have come to realize that doing so would be excessively time consuming. If I thought that any of Dr. Betech’s comments or claims had any merit I would spend the time, but Dr. Betech consistently misrepresents and distorts facts, in addition to avoiding answering pointed questions.

    If you would like to get a full picture of the ways in which Dr. Betech misrepresents and distorts facts, and his avoidance of pointed questions, all you need to do is read the exchanges Dr. Betech has with Rabbi Slifkin and others from the start of Dr. Betech’s comments.

    Dr. Betech’s first comment is on September 14, 2010 1:01 AM in the comments section of the blog post titled “An Expert In Science” (Sunday, September 12, 2010). After the comments section on that thread, continue reading the above blog post and all comments thereafter. Dr. Betech’s distortions, misrepresentations and avoidances speak for themselves.

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  82. I write this for natan slifkin. I know i''m a few years late but I was interested on the subject and someone told me to look at this site, I really hope you will read my post and i''ll be glad if you respond to me some questions. before I write my questions I woul like to ask because i''m very afraid that since this topic has more than 5 years i''m scared that maybe you won't see at all my post, so first I just want to know that you are reading this so I can ask you some questions.
    thank you very much i''ll wait for your answer

    ReplyDelete

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