Audio Roundup 2018:36

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by Joel Rich

As part of my continuing search for understanding why an atheist might feel bound to ethics, I read an interesting book, “Finding Purpose in a Godless World; Why We Care Even if the Universe Doesn’t” (Ralph Lewis, MD).
How can you not love a book that quotes Ozymandis, the introduction to the Stone Chumash, R’W Goldstein and includes the quote, “We were also members of a synagogue community at that time—and orthodox one at that. (This seeming contradiction between non-belief and religious community affiliation is not unusual among Jews)” ? Interestingly, it was his wife’s cancer (and recovery) which pushed the author from agnosticism to atheism!
The book’s thesis is 1.) Humans find patterns where they don’t exist and this historically caused people (“religious” or not) to believe in a purposeful universe, 2.) But now science can explain cosmology and how our brains (minds—it’s all bio) operate. (Fairly good summary of current thinking in these areas). 3.) We now know (or at least can say it’s likely) that all the perceived directedness (our values and ethics) is not due to a prime mover but are natural (evolution) development. It’s all random! 4.) Science and religion are diametrically opposed and we can have meaning without religion—we’re significant to each other. 5.) Our evolution, quest for knowledge, and morality (very Pinkeresque) will continue forward with some bumps in the road.
So I didn’t “like” the book primarily because he never answered the question of why an individual who didn’t “feel” hard wired by evolution or any other internal drive would have any reason not to do whatever they felt like no matter what the impact.

From R’ Aviner:
Netilat Yadayim by a guest
Q: Should a guest avoid using large quantities of water for Netilat Yadayim, since it is at the host’s expense?
A: It is an insignificant amount of water and the host forgives the cost with all of his heart.
(me-paradigm shift due to indoor plumbing? See shabbat 62b and S”A O”C 158:10)

Please direct any informal comments to [email protected].

About Joel Rich

Joel Rich is a frequent wannabee cyberspace lecturer on various Torah topics. A Yerushalmi formerly temporarily living in West Orange, NJ, his former employer and the Social Security administration support his Torah listening habits. He is a recovering consulting actuary.

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