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Rabbi: Dawkins claimed that a debate he lost had never occurred – until it was posted online

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No, not the Maverick, a new guy: In “Does Questioning Evolution Make You Anti-Science?” (Huffington Post, September 1, 2011), Rabbi Schmuley Boteach tells us,

Beginning in about 1990 I started organizing an annual debate at Oxford University on science versus religion where the focus was almost always on evolution and which featured some of the world’s greatest evolutionists like Richard Dawkins, who appeared several times, and the late John Maynard-Smith of the University of Sussex, who, at the time, was regarded by many as the greatest living evolutionary theorist. While I moderated the first few debates, I later participated in a debate against Richard Dawkins at Oxford which he later denied ever took place, forcing us to post the full video of the debate online where Dawkins is not only the principal proponent of the science side but actually loses the debate in a student vote at the end. I later debated Dawkins again at the Idea City Convention at the University of Toronto, the video of which is likewise available online.

What I learned from these debates, as well as reading extensively on evolution, is that evolutionists have a tough time defending the theory when challenged in open dialogue.

That observation is strong evidence  that the Rev. Mr. Boteach is an eye witness – he certainly did not learn such easily established facts from Dawkins’s many devotees in media. You have to literally be there, to see what today’s Darwin defenders are willing to do. What their media supporters are willing to cover up.

He also displays a remarkable familiarity with fact. With respect to the Icon of the Peppered Moth and the Beak of the Finch, he observes,

The problem with both these observations is that they are manifestations of horizontal, rather than vertical, evolution, as it describes how members of a species may change within the range of characteristics that they already possess. No new traits are generated. Rather, the traits that already exist are merely distributed differently. Vertical evolution, whereby natural selection can supposedly create entirely new structures, has yet to be directly observed and is thus a theory.

Yes, of course, but, it feels spooky hearing someone say that who hasn’t yet been Expelled.

He muses a bit on epsilon, the constant that holds matter together:

The value of epsilon is one of the most profound mysteries of the universe. Scientists have spent their careers trying to understand why it has the value it does. As Max Born, the brilliant and influential twentieth-century physicist put it, “The explanation of this number must be the central problem of natural philosophy.” The Nobel laureate Richard Feynman, in his typically flamboyant way, put it differently: “It’s one of the greatest damn mysteries of physics: a magic number that comes to us with no understanding by man. You might say ‘the hand of God wrote that number….'”

Of course, all numbers do. More.

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4 Replies to “Rabbi: Dawkins claimed that a debate he lost had never occurred – until it was posted online

  1. 1
    bornagain77 says:

    as to this comment:

    The value of epsilon is one of the most profound mysteries of the universe.

    The Rabbi further states in his article:

    The English cosmologist Sir Martin Rees argues in his book Just Six Numbers that the values of six numbers determine to a great degree many of the large- and small-scale properties of our universe. If any of these numbers were changed even slightly, the universe would exist in a radically different, and quite unfriendly, form, if it existed at all.

    Let’s look at the second number, epsilon, which is roughly .007. Epsilon describes, roughly speaking, how durable matter is, because it tells us how much energy is required to separate an atom into its constituent particles. Clearly, this is a very important number. But the remarkable thing about it is how delicately balanced it is against the other five numbers. If epsilon were .006—a difference of about 14%—the universe would consist entirely of hydrogen. No other elements would form, because the process of nuclear fusion could not occur.

    I looked up Rees’s Book, ‘Just Six Numbers’, on Amazon, and found:

    The second number (epsilon)is also a ratio and is the proportion of energy that is released when hydrogen fuses into helium. This number is 0.007, and if it were 0.006 or 0.008 we could not exist.


    The six numbers are:

    nu (a ratio of the strength of electrical forces that hold atoms together compared to the force of gravity which is 10 to the 37th power)

    epsilon (how firmly the atomic nuclei bind together)

    omega (amount of material in the universe)

    lambda (force of cosmic “antigravity” discovered in 1998, which is a very small number)

    Q (ratio of two fundamental energies)

    delta (number of spatial dimensions in our universe)

    Thus I think the ‘profound mystery’ of epsilon is related to the finely tuned condition of nuclear fusion that caused Fred Hoyle to remark years ago:

    Soon after Sir Fred discovered the stunning precision with which carbon is synthesized in stars he stated:

    “A common sense interpretation of the facts suggests that a superintellect has monkeyed with physics, as well as chemistry and biology, and that there are no blind forces worth speaking about in nature. The numbers one calculates from the facts seem to me so overwhelming as to put this conclusion almost beyond question.”

    Michael Denton – We Are Stardust – Fine Tuning Of The Elements – Fred Hoyle Atheist to Theist – video

    Rees clearly sees that God is a very viable solution for why matter is held together just as precisely as it is, but I think he tries to wiggle out of it, none-the-less, another prominent scientist was not so timid as to identify the clear theistic implications as to ‘Who’ is ‘precisely’ holding matter together;

    “As a man who has devoted his whole life to the most clear headed science, to the study of matter, I can tell you as a result of my research about atoms this much: There is no matter as such. All matter originates and exists only by virtue of a force which brings the particle of an atom to vibration and holds this most minute solar system of the atom together. We must assume behind this force the existence of a conscious and intelligent mind. This mind is the matrix of all matter.”
    Max Planck – The Father Of Quantum Mechanics – Das Wesen der Materie [The Nature of Matter], speech at Florence, Italy (1944)


  2. 2
    ciphertext says:

    That book sounds very interesting, BA77. I can imagine the “doubters” among the group saying that “all things we don’t understand are attributed to God, or the will of the stars, or Zeus, or some other supernatural being; until such time as we have established a natural cause”. To which I would argue, there will always be a “first cause”, no matter how far down the road you kick a can. At some point, the origin of the “laws” must be identified. “Laws” are passed by a governing body or governor (in the case of a monarchy). And while we use the term “law” to describe certain, predictable, orderly, occurrences and behaviors of the universe (and its contents), it is not illogical to posit a grand “governor” of the universe. Something from which the order and law of the universe owes its existence.

  3. 3
    DrREC says:

    Sorry if this double posts, but my first did not seem to appear.

    It is laughable to say Dawkins ‘lost’ this debate, which I had previously watched. There is a call for show of hands at the end, which are not tallied. The moderator concludes “Both Sides Won.”

    8 minutes on:

  4. 4
    Petrushka says:

    The comments at the video are rather revealing.

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