Thursday, June 16, 2022

The Jews and The Scientists

Some people wonder why it's antisemitic to say that the Jews run Hollywood. After all, with the exception of Disney, pretty much every movie studio was started and run by Jews.

There are two answers to this. One is that studios are one part of enormous corporations with many levels of involvement, and so it's meaningless to talk about anyone running them.

The other answer is that there is an enormous difference between saying that Jews run Hollywood and saying that "the" Jews run Hollywood. Yes, there are many Jews in prominent positions in the industry, but when you say "the Jews run Hollywood," this implies that they are running it as a coordinated unit, separate from everyone else, with a further implication that there is a distinct agenda.

I was reminded of this recently while having a conversation with a terrific yeshivish guy about science. He made reference to what "the scientists" say. It occurred to me that this is a style of speech that you don't hear outside of the yeshiva world. People talk about what science says, or perhaps about what scientists say, but not about what the scientists say.

Although this person was refreshingly well educated and was not anti-science, he was referring to the scientists in the context of a point about what religion knows and scientists do not. And it made me think that perhaps yeshivish people talk about The Scientists for the same reasons that some people talk about The Jews. Referring to them as "The" seems to imply that they are a coordinated unit, separate from everyone else, with a distinct agenda. 

What do The Rationalist Judaism readers think?

53 comments:

  1. I'd go even further say that there is no "science". Science is a method of discovery of the unknown. There are individual scientists, there might even be a consensus among scientists on certain things. But there is no entity as such. This changes the paradigm whenever there's a conflict between "science" and religion.

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    1. "I'd go even further say that there is no "science". Science is a method of discovery of the unknown."

      As the saying goes, "'science' is a verb".

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  2. Have you been following the news media the last two years? “Trust THE science”.

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    1. “Trust the science” is not referring to an entity called Science, but to the methodology used to support a view point. It’s not the same.

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    2. Can you point me to the empirical studies used to support Faucci's early advice in April 2019 to avoid face masks, and to the empirical studies when he changed his mind in June 2019? Or to similar studies in support of Dr Jenny Harries (UK deputy Chief Medical Officer at the time) when she followed the same trajectory in Faucci's slipstream?

      I remember reading the Twitter feed of consultant anaesthetist Dr Joanna Poole in April 2019 in which she dismissed using steroids to treat Covid 19 as it would depress the immune response. That's a reasonable hypothesis disproved by empirical data collected later. The truth is in April 2019 doctors were not experts in Covid 19 - how could they be? It didn't stop them assuming that mantle though, and that was very wrong.

      -

      Trust the science, as honorific enthusiast Rabbi Dr Slifkin acknowledged, was an appeal to authority. It meant trust the scientists.

      -

      Given that there is a decent chance that Dr Faucci funded the gain of function research that synthesised Covid ( https://www.factcheck.org/2021/05/the-wuhan-lab-and-the-gain-of-function-disagreement/) trusting scientists blindly is a very foolish thing to do.

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    3. Seriously?! Scientific methodology doesn't give advice on how to act, it presents results as it perceives them. The scientific advisory panels across the world didn't make a scientific decision, they had results and made a judgement. Scientists will always caveat what they are saying with the degree of certainty that they have and present evidence - politicians ask the public to "Trust the science".

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    4. ^^^ from Another Dave

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    5. Change 2019 to 2020 in all my dates, but the months are correct.

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  3. I think you're right, kind of like "the goyim".

    But also, saying "science says" seems to confer total authority to the statement; using "scientists say" leaves more room for error.

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  4. Adolescents grow up.
    Stop being so thin skinned .
    Plus how is that different from saying
    Charedim (or the like)

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    1. Please, please give yourself a fake name so that if there are two or more Anonymouses, no one will confuse you all.

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  5. I understand that "the scientists" in this context refers to the vocal majority of scientists, who believe that science has the answer to everything of importance, or at least that if science doesn't have the answer, nothing else does.

    It is usual to hear this kind of terminology not just in the yeshivish world, but also from many devout Christians. I agree that it is not helpful, because it can imply that we have nothing to learn from scientists (or science), which is patently untrue.

    However, it is important to realise that there is indeed a body of arrogant scientists who (together with some non-scientist atheists) are as fundamentalist and closed-minded as their religious counterparts. We need to invent another name for this group - perhaps "the fundamatheists."

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  6. I think that Jews run Hollywood and have from the beginning. It's not only studio heads, it's producers and all kinds of creative personnel, particularly with television. Sure there are gentile people involved, but the general power is with Jews. And sadly, most of the decadence comes from Jews in Hollywood.

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    1. I think you bring up a very interesting point. My wife and I are "Trekkies." My wife and I were binge watching Star Trek Discovery, which has a production, writing and directing leadership team with a significant percentage of prominent Jews in "Hollywood.". Many of the subplots revolve around sexual identity, transsexualism, homosexuality, sexual dimorphism, etc.

      Now, I really don't care what people do in private, I really don't care about who or what a person thinks he or she is, and I get there's a desire to tell the world at large people at the tails of the sexual identity bell curve are people, fully capable of being a part of society, our economy, sciences, arts, etc. and discriminating against them is morally wrong. I personally would never discriminate against a person who identifies as LGBTQ, not because it's illegal, but because it is simply wrong. (Hillel: "That which is hateful to you, do not do to your fellow. That is the whole Torah."
      But the underlying message the writers are trying to convey is these traits and behaviors are normal. They are, in my mind, not normal. They are two sigma or more outside the range of what is considered normal human identity and behavior. And that is true from a scientific/evolutionary perspective (we would not exist as a species if these traits were the norm), it is true from a moral perspective (the Torah is explicit on one aspect of this), and from social definitions of normal human sexuality.

      What I resent is the message that the media and arts (whether the big screen, small screen, or print) are trying to inculcate in us is more than promoting acceptance f people different than us, but to normalize the outliers on the sexual spectrum as "normal."

      Look, I'm a scientist and engineer...when a result is outside two standard deviations from the average, median, or mode, it is an outlier. You don't expand the curve to fit your agenda. When you do that, your analysis is meaningless.

      So yes, this political agenda to normalize outliers on the sexual spectrum is certainly influenced by secularized Jews. And that leads to a whole lot of other political and social problems for us here in the US, and no doubt in the entire western world. And that's how you get the phrase,"Hollywood is run by THE Jews." We are doing our selves no favors here.

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    2. There is an enormous difference between "Jews run Hollywood" and "the Jews run Hollywood".

      The former is an (approximate, likely exaggerated) statement of perceived fact. The latter is more like a conspiracy theory -- the unspoken completion of the sentence is "The Jews run Hollywood for the benefit of the Jewish people". How does that sound to you?

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    3. Tuvia, from another Trekkie, well said.

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    4. Funny how you guys miss the central core of Star Trek of tolerance and understanding Infinity Diversity in Infinite Combinations, even as you call yourselves Trekkies.

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  7. Evolution conspiracyJune 17, 2022 at 10:11 AM

    Ask any ID advocate and they'll point to numerous examples where the scientific establishment has --in coordinated fashion-- pushed their understanding of evolution in academia and pushed out any alternative--or even skepticism of the regnant theories.
    So plenty of non-Jewish ID advocates would justifiably refer to this enforcement of the orthodoxy as being carried out by 'the scientists'.

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    1. The scientific establishment isn't usually capable of pushing false ideas "in coordinated fashion", at least not for very long. Scientists are generally very keen on proving each other wrong.

      If "alternatives" to evolution have failed to gain traction in the science community (especially over the 70 years since the molecular biology revolution began) then I would ascribe this failure to the alternatives themselves, rather than the science community.

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    2. As evidenced here http://www.rationalistjudaism.com/2014/01/have-your-futile-arguments-about.html
      here http://www.rationalistjudaism.com/2018/02/futile-torah-science-discussions.html
      and elsewhere, a debate about evolution isn't worth heavy investment. But maybe just a few points.

      To begin, I accept evolution from the perspective of religion, as did R Hirsch, where evolution is the Creator's tool. From the perspective of logic, I find evolution or at least some of its popular components, very faulty. But you can be illogical and an upstanding Jew--I'll revere one for that.

      To return to your comments:

      The scientific establishment isn't usually capable of pushing false ideas "in coordinated fashion", at least not for very long. Scientists are generally very keen on proving each other wrong.

      True. But regarding evolution there's a red line, perhaps because that allows one to be "an intellectually fulfilled atheist" (Dawkins).

      If "alternatives" to evolution have failed to gain traction ...

      The anti-evolution argument is similar. That if the alternatives to the alternatives of evolution have failed to gain traction ... i.e., if evolution itself has failed to gain traction ... go ascribe that failure to it itself.

      Next step is that someone is being unreasonable. Both parties throw that accusation against each other, which leaves you nowhere. Of course, you can always try shouting.

      The other day I read that the PEPPERED MOTH is used as a proof for EVOLUTION ten times as much as any other proof. But “The [peppered moth] experiments beautifully demonstrate natural selection—or survival of the fittest—in action, but they do not show evolution in progress, for however the populations may alter in their content of light, intermediate, or dark forms, all the moths remain from beginning to end Biston betularia.”—Harrison Matthews, “Introduction,” to Charles Darwin’s Origin of the Species (1971 edition), p. xi.

      This is apparently because the peppered moth did not change at all. The dark-winged type is simply a Mendelian recessive, and both types are continually produced.

      Another quote, “We doubt, however, that anything more is involved in these cases (= the peppered moth) than the selection of already existing genes.”—Fred Hoyle and Chandra Wickramasinghe, Evolution from Space (1981), p. 5.

      So those are food for thought as we continue studying the subject. But actually a person mainly has to get their religious ideas straight. Per R Hirsch, evolution or not, you're good either way. What about logically? To some degree, who cares?

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    3. Another thing I read—I don't know if it's true and apologize in case it's fake—is that the whole peppered moth/industrial melanism/Kettlewell story is based on a(n inconsequential) falsehood. We've been told all these years that the variation in the wing color of the peppered moth was the fact that they rest on the sides of trees, and the trees became darker. But it turns out that they did not even get that story straight. Peppered moths do not alight on the sides of trees; the stock evolutionary “research photos” were made of dead moths pasted on the sides of trees.

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    4. There is much more to natural selection and evolution than the peppered moth.

      I recommend the book by Jerry Coyne ("Why Evolution is True") or any of the evolution-related books by Carl Zimmer. They're both excellent writers, very lucid and clear examples oriented to non-scientist readers.

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    5. Fine Jordan. Why doesn't peppered moth disappear from the books? That can increase evolutionists credibility.

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  8. To echo anonymous above - with respect to COVID reporting in the UK the phrase "follow the science" was used by the BBC and consistently by politicians as if there was a single scientific approach to COVI. As you say, RNS it was (and is) a misrepresentation of scientists and the scientific method.

    RNS, it is also, I think, a bit disingenuous to throw this habbit on "Yeshivish guys" and probably more accurate to say that such a terminology as "the X's" is used by those unaware of distinction in a subset or those intentionally trying to conflate discreet parts.

    Another Dave

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  9. There go my dreams.

    I could've been a contender!

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  10. The capital "T" in "What do The Rationalist Judaism readers think?" - is it inadvertent or is it meant to signal something? "The whomever" or "The Whomever" suggests that "We" are better than "they" - the antithesis of 'vi'ahavta re'echa kamocha.' But perhaps I am reading too much into an innocent capital "T." shabbat shalom le'kulam.......

    steve adelman

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    1. It is a joke.

      Of course, you may be also making a joke.

      Perhaps you are a jokester. One of The Jokesters. (Not one of The Jokers. That is a different group entirely...)

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  11. I grew up in Beverly Hills in the shadow of Hollywood. Only Jews could believe Jews don't run Hollywood. Even if they aren't "the" Jews, the argument is disingenuous as they are largely uniform in their attitudes and management styles. They have a club, and being Jewish gives one easier access to it, as I discovered personally ages ago.

    Even Disney eventually succumbed. And this continued to be pretty much the status quo as the studios were acquired by foreign entities. This is finally changing, and Jews in Hollywood are squirming. The non-West (such as Russia, China, India) doesn't kowtow to Hollywood the way Japan and Europe do.

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    1. Disney converted? Woo-hoo! Got another one...

      Awaiting the advent of Menashe Mouse and Doniel Duck. Goofy will now be known as "Klutzy" (not to be confused with the 613 Torah Island character of the same name.)

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    2. Disney the corporation, not the person. But the desire to mock trumps intelligence and discernment. Does (((Michael Eisner))) ring a bell? (((Stanley Gold)))? It started out goy, but it's practically the most Jewish studio today.

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    3. The distinction here is that these are not Jews acting as Jews, nor acting in coordination as Jews.

      Every now and then you hear that a Jew has a leg up in moving up in Hollywood, but I'm pretty sure that's not true anymore, if it ever was.

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    4. "Canceling" is a clearly coordinated action, even if we don't understand the mechanism how it is decided or disseminated, and clearly Jews are involved in some numbers. Chillul Hashem is a thing because a "Jew is acting as not a Jew." You can't call them JINOs, because a wayward Jew is still a Jew. Goyim with Jewish fathers and Jewish names are obviously a thing, but that is not what you are arguing. "Pretty sure," eh? That's categorical, for you. You don't know, but you want to believe an unsubstantiated assertion.

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    5. Of course it's a Chillul Hashem. That foedng mean they have Jewish motives.

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    6. What does motivation have to do with anything? In any case, the motives don't have to be authentically Jewish to be driven by some sort of Jewish identity.

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    7. Brilliant comment. I have several friends who went to Hollywood. I grew up with a girl who is one of the big shots at Netflix. She's Jewish of course, and so are most of the powerbrokers over there.

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  12. It turns out that I am at a conference of epidemiologists right now. Anyone who thinks scientists are a monolithic bunch have never attended a scientific conference. But when the data are so overwhelming, as they are with much of COVID-19, most scientists are quick to accept facts.

    There is a huge amount of disingenuous propaganda in social media, including some by commenters right here, by people who don't understand that scientists adjust their conclusions as additional information becomes available. People for whom either convience or economic gain was more important than life had a vested interest in attacking science and even the scientific method itself. Flawed and even fraudulent studies get played up big time, as we see with the continued insistence that hydroxychloroquine and/or ivermectin are efficacious against COVID.


    People also don't understand that no one means of action is going to end this pandemic, we have to do "all of the above" because no one intervention is a panacea. It is the combination of masking, social distancing, testing, contact tracing and vaccination that will end the pandemic. Probably the worst are the out and out lies about the vaccines; the mRNA vaccines are the greatest medical miracle of my lifetime and are among the safest interventions ever discovered. They keep people alive and out of the hospital; during the Omicron pandemic, unvaccinated people were 41x more likely to be hospitalized in New York City than vaccinated people.

    And sadly some of the worst disinformation has come from formerly respected scientists at major academic medical centers in the US. Scientists can do bad things, too. And yes, some scientists let their personal ideology get in the way.

    Because of all these things, and because getting COVID does not grant long term immunity, we are likely to be stuck with this pandemic for years to come.

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    1. "And sadly some of the worst disinformation has come from formerly respected scientists at major academic medical centers in the US. Scientists can do bad things, too. And yes, some scientists let their personal ideology get in the way."

      That is perfect. Do you realize what you just typed?

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  13. So, to refer to "the scientists" as a distinct entity is for some reason insulting, but to refer to "yeshivish people", as you do, in the very same sentence, is perfectly acceptable -

    ...

    Do you realize how deeply you've drunk from the current well of stupidity?

    GP

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    1. Wow, Pickles, you have outdone yourself. First of all, I never said that it is insulting to refer to "the scientists." Second, the whole point was about the use of the word "the," which I did not do with regard to yeshivish people.

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    2. Right. And I'm asking you, what difference does it make? Is "Yeshivish people" any less distinct than "the scientists"? They both clearly refer to a certain subset of the population. If you can speak of one, you can speak of another. And if you agree its not insulting to speak of "the scientists", as you just said, then what on earth is your problem? You don't think scientists are, in fact, a distinct unit, with their own agenda? How about lawyers? or doctors? Or rabbis? They're also not distinct units?

      Gr. Pckls.


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  14. The Hollywood example doesn't work because while Jews may have started and run the big studios, they were men who generally behaved in every non-Jewish fashions, sometimes abominably so. In short, it wasn't a movement to create an authentic Jewish entertainment industry. They just wanted the same indecency and power that the WASP's in New York had. In short, the Jews how started Hollywood did it to be like the WASP's, not to be like Jews.
    There is science and there is scientism and it's important to realize how much of science is controlled by scientism.
    I recently listened to a podcast reviewed a study that was looking for gender bias in a certain medical setting. The study failed to find any. The reviewers, one of who was an author, then came up with a dozen excuses as to why the study's findings are probably not valid. In short "We know there's gender bias. This study failed because it didn't find it but we know it's there!"
    Imagine another study finding bias using the same methods. Suddenly all the limitations and excuses would disappear. We found the bias we were looking for!
    Major journals openly admit they will not publish studies that don't conform to gender and climate ideologies so someone could put together an excellent study that disproves a facet of either of those two and it will not get published. If it doesn't get published, it doesn't exist. Any scientist who protests will be fired and cancelled so none will. Scientism has ruined science and yes, you can't trust "the science" anymore.

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    1. Not to mention race.

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    2. Why stop at race and sexual preference? Clearly we Jews are the unnatural perverts, as we don't naturally exist in humanity with a three sigma confidence level.

      That is why we make degenerate films about (checks notes) peaceful coexistence with people who are different?

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    3. The above comment was by The Hat of course

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  15. Try entering "the charedim" in the search box of the blog, and see how many times it appears....

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  16. I think they are different. ‘The Jews’ refers to a ethnicity of people and ‘The science’ usually refers to scientific consensus which can be influenced to some degree by outside forces such as politics, corporate profits and health care policy objectives. I agree with you that the scientific method is separate from all that, but when somebody complains about ‘the science’ they, legitimately in some cases, refers to the consensus of the scientist in a given issue or industry.

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  17. Is there a centralized Jewish-only governmental organization in the US that dictates Hollywood policy? No - if there were, “the Jews run Hollywood” might make sense. There are however, centralized government agencies and even the administration itself that dictate, fund, and set the tone for certain policies and guidelines, that many scientists and doctors blindly follow. Your analogy falls short.

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  18. WADR, you tested your theory on too miniscule an amount of samples. We have in the Parsha a difficulty that the Mefarshim grapple with, with the Rishonim saying that the Passuk is Lav Davka, while the Acharonim, citing the Medrash, make it Davka.... Actually, that last sentence, even if true, was a bluff... just an example of using the word the six times with no judgmental connotations. That explodes the extent of your theory.

    I found the following definition of “the”--“used as a function word to indicate that a following noun or noun equivalent is definite or has been previously specified by context or by circumstance.”

    More simply, that the thing is familiar. In some contexts, that carries negative baggage. In others, the baggage is outright positive, such as when Chareidim will cite “the Gedolim.” (And a Gedolim basher will say those exact words and mean them negatively.) In yet other cases, perhaps my “We have in the Parsha...” is a good example, the baggage is just neutral.

    Pardon me for getting technical but if you enter my house and I tell you that you can put your coat in the closet—that should be understood to refer specifically to the coat closet. But if I tell you that you can put your coat in a closet, that choice of words would allow you to put it in the broom closet!

    In Lashon Kodesh, this is the Hei Hayedia, used when something is familiar. Thus,

    זֹ֚את הַתּוֹרָ֔ה אָדָ֖ם כִּֽי־יָמ֣וּת בְּאֹ֑הֶל כׇּל־הַבָּ֤א אֶל־הָאֹ֙הֶל֙ וְכׇל־אֲשֶׁ֣ר בָּאֹ֔הֶל יִטְמָ֖א שִׁבְעַ֥ת יָמִֽים׃ This is the ritual: When a person dies in a tent, whoever enters the tent and whoever is in the tent shall be impure seven days;
    וְכֹל֙ כְּלִ֣י פָת֔וּחַ אֲשֶׁ֛ר אֵין־צָמִ֥יד פָּתִ֖יל עָלָ֑יו טָמֵ֖א הֽוּא׃ and any open vessel, with no lid fastened down, shall be impure.
    וְכֹ֨ל אֲשֶׁר־יִגַּ֜ע עַל־פְּנֵ֣י הַשָּׂדֶ֗ה בַּֽחֲלַל־חֶ֙רֶב֙ א֣וֹ בְמֵ֔ת אֽוֹ־בְעֶ֥צֶם אָדָ֖ם א֣וֹ בְקָ֑בֶר יִטְמָ֖א שִׁבְעַ֥ת יָמִֽים׃ And in the open, anyone who touches a person who was killed*killed Lit. “slain by the sword.” or who died naturally, or human bone, or a grave, shall be impure seven days.


    וְלָֽקְחוּ֙ לַטָּמֵ֔א מֵעֲפַ֖ר שְׂרֵפַ֣ת הַֽחַטָּ֑את וְנָתַ֥ן עָלָ֛יו מַ֥יִם חַיִּ֖ים אֶל־כֶּֽלִי׃ Some of the ashes*ashes Lit. “earth” or “dust.” from the fire of purgation shall be taken for the impure person, and fresh water shall be added to them in a vessel.
    וְלָקַ֨ח אֵז֜וֹב וְטָבַ֣ל בַּמַּ֘יִם֮ אִ֣ישׁ טָהוֹר֒ וְהִזָּ֤ה עַל־הָאֹ֙הֶל֙ וְעַל־כׇּל־הַכֵּלִ֔ים וְעַל־הַנְּפָשׁ֖וֹת אֲשֶׁ֣ר הָֽיוּ־שָׁ֑ם וְעַל־הַנֹּגֵ֗עַ בַּעֶ֙צֶם֙ א֣וֹ בֶֽחָלָ֔ל א֥וֹ בַמֵּ֖ת א֥וֹ בַקָּֽבֶר׃ Another party who is pure shall take hyssop, dip it in the water, and sprinkle on the tent and on all the vessels and people who were there, or on the one who touched the bones or the person who was killed or died naturally or the grave.

    In the first group of verses, we are introduced to 1) a person, 2) a tent, 3) any open vessel, 4) a person who was killed, 5) a person who died naturally, 6) a bone, and 7) a grave. We didn't hear of them before, so they are “a”s.

    Once we are introduced to them, all these novel “a”s become familiar “the”s. Thus, in the second group of verses, (with the order sometimes reversed), we sprinkle water on
    1) the tent, 2) the vessels, 3) the people who were there 4) the person who touched, 5) the bone, 6) the person who was killed, 7) the person who died naturally, and 8) the grave.

    So again, “the” is neutral, but there can be additional input from the context.

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  19. I bumped into something interesting about "democrats" vs. "the democrats", for anyone looking to burn some time.
    http://www.rationalistjudaism.com/2020/11/the-extremists-at-both-ends.html?showComment=1605712322992#c6574683290971572574

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  20. Anon: ...So again "the" is neutral, but there can be additional input from the context.

    I would agree but in your post you also reference "the Merfarshim" and "the Rishonim.' All, everyone, of the Merfarshim say thus? All the Rishonim are monolithic in agreement?
    Context is critical. My thought is the "The" followed by a group (title or name) implies a unified identity. Safer to say: some Reshonim say... or many etc. Even to say the majority of Rabbis say X implies you have conducted a poll or survey

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    1. @Anonymous June 20, 2022 at 9:08 PM, "All, everyone, of the Mefarshim say thus? All the Rishonim are monolithic in agreement?"

      In my hypothetical scenario, why not? Alternatively, the Mefarshim & Rishonim in general, or in the context of those we usually refer to, such as Rashi, Ramban, Ibn Ezra, R Bachye, and another few. Indeed, not all of them.

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  21. We have to trust the scientists.

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