Saturday, January 14, 2012

The Fallibility of Man without Recourse to Torah

Some "computer geeks" believe computers can be "taught" to make intelligent decisions as humans can, on the condition the computer gets enough data. But no two people think alike, so what does it mean "enough data"? We would have to exhaust all possible combinations of facts, for every human involved, for the computer to accurately "decide" correctly -- to everybody's satsfaction. Their premise, "on the condition the computer gets enough data", is preposterous.

If that weren't enough, even with the "smartest" computer, won't the computer need updates on a constant basis, because the world doesn't stop for the sake of computer input, does it? And if the world could stand still, can we unload all of what we have in our minds onto paper?

A few more stupid questions, to make a point.

Can a computer: "Become acquainted" with its inventor; "Understand" the urge of a barren woman to have children; Differentiate between a stable or fickle personality; Intuit man's constitution of limbs and inner organs that provide grip, vision, secrete insulin, maintain balance, or digest food? Can it register emotions of pain, love, hate, mercy, cruelty or sympathy?

Can a nest know its bird? Can an explosion understand its etiology? Can milk understand the cow?

Here's the point: As foolish as we deem the assumption of "computer-geeks" to gather all possible data into a machine, as absurd as it is to reckon a computer can understand enough about its inventor, it is infinitely more ludicrous to think man himself can fathom his Creator! After all, the cognitive gap between man and machine is infinitely more minuscule than that between the Creator of the universe and man.

The closest we can get is, we can begin to try to comprehend some things about our Creator, knowing we will never get close. All we can come up with, based on Torah, and nothing but Torah, is that God has certain attributes, and even when we say so, we know we know nothing substantial about Him. For example, Torah says God is benevolent, merciful, righteous, etc., and therefore man, who was created in "God's image", should also aspire to such attributes. How these features help define an infinite God makes no sense to us except that thereby we acknowledge our own need to behave accordingly.

Why Torah? Because this medium mediates between God and man. It is the only and ultimate authority to reckon by. It is this world's "Manual of Instructions". One set of instructions apply to the Jew, whereas another set therein applies to the Gentile.

God can infuse prophecy into a person, but magicians can also infuse or mimic what appears like "Godly powers". So how can man differentiate between the real and the fake? By referring to Torah, and only Torah. The giving of the Torah was a one-time event and no other absolute authority can ever replace it. Only by Torah standards can we decide definitively if something is "kosher" or not.

Can we then ascribe "Godly powers" to a human being? Only if that person measures up to the requirements stipulated in Torah law. One good example of this is the incident of Elijah the prophet, who asked the Jews to build an altar, which Torah prohibits. But, Torah tells us, as long as this is a one-time incident, and otherwise the prophet is God-fearing and Torah-observant, in such a one-time situation we must heed this prophet's demands.

Ascribing "prophetic powers" to someone is one thing. To go even further and say a human possesses divine properties, comparing a man to God, is outright silly. Of course, to justify this belief, they would have to shun Torah, conveniently enough, for example, by saying Torah is outdated or wrong.

But think about the absurdity of this assertion. For, by saying a man is half God or 30% God or somewhat God is like saying man is some percentage of what his mind has no idea of what he's talking about.

What results from such preposterous belief? What else if not absurdities?

Can the mind be deceived? Yes, as sure as people (but never Torah-people!) once thought the earth was flat.

The one and only source of absolute truth is Torah. Torah is virtually the only way to avoid straying into erroneous conclusions. As we learn in Torah, and in its derived literature, Talmud and Chassidus, Torah is, after all -- "the blueprint of the universe"!

What if one believes monotheistically, as do Moslems, who do not attribute Godly attributes to humans; Could they, who are prime examples of heinous hate and cruelty, have access to truth? Of course not, for the simple reason that they too have no anchor to Torah.

1 comment:

  1. In the case of the moslems, they effectively believe that their deity is their prophet's alter ego (clark kent / superman, etc) that conveniently justifies his evil ways (one person even dryly comments that “your lord hurries in pleasing you”) and consider the latter as the "perfect being" who can apparently do no wrong (even though he is the complete opposite of Moshe Rabbeinu).

    Still, with regards to Future Tech / Human Enhancement potentially encroaching on G-d’s territory, I guess it is dependent on the motivation, whether man wants to be god or whether he wants to help repair the world (with his conception of G-d being something totally incomprehensible or basically existence itself) as some elements of Transhumanism / Posthumanism resemble what Adam HaRishon's original form have been like (Tzelem Elokim / Garments of Light aka light-bodies) before he and Eve fell.

    Also in this world pretty much everything has a dual use or purpose, from writing with a pen to stabbing with a pen, to killing something in self-defence or protecting others to outright murder, to using a plane to carry people / cargo to other places to using a plane as a weapon or missile, etc.