Avodah Mailing List

Volume 16 : Number 062

Friday, December 16 2005

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Subjects Discussed In This Issue:
Date: Thu, 15 Dec 2005 20:20:22 -0500
From: "Shinnar, Meir" <Meir.Shinnar@rwjuh.edu>
RE: Plato

> Aristotle believes that causality cannot not have an end. That means that
> ultimately there must be the first cause which is coexistent eternally
> with the the end product of that cause. This end product is chomer and
> tsurah (and as in I ch. 17 also he'eder) which together define all
> objects in the universe. Time is an accident (a property of matter,
> or more accurately motion), however, so it is possible for time not to
> have a beginning and for the world to be eternal vis-a-vis time.

> Plato holds of the same idea of causality except that the First Cause
> causes matter to come into being but the provision of tsurah to shape and
> specify this matter into objects took place at some defined, discreet
> point in time. That is what he calls Creation out of pre-existent
> matter. I think you will find that this is the correct interpetation of
> these words.

I don't believe that this is right.  
The rambam defines two differences between Platonic and Aristotelian
kadmut (whether that accurately defines the original platonic and
aristotelian shittot is a different issue)

Those two differences seem to be viewed as implying each other, rather
than logically separate differences.

1. In aristotelian kadmut, the heavenly spheres are eternal and
unchanging, not subject to change and degeneration. In Platonic kadmut,
they are also subject to change. This is the fundamental difference.

2. In aristotelian kadmut matter in the sublunar world puts on and
off different forms - and this process is eternal and not subject to
fundamental change. This is what limits divine intervention.

In platonic kadmut - matter is put into different forms - but this change
may affect the entire universe - not merely the sublunar world - and
this change is done according to divine will - and sometimes matter is
put to create a heavens and earth, sometimes other things. Therefore,
the giving of a specific form occurs at a specific time - but there
isn't the idea that there was time 0 at which form was given, and prior
to which either the concept of prior is meaningless (time being related
to the form of the matter) or there was no form to the matter. Rather,
different forms were given at different times - and the possiblity is that
our world was therefore given form at a given time - but prior to which
that same matter had a very different form - matter always had some form.

Meir Shinnar

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Date: Thu, 15 Dec 2005 22:05:06 EST
From: Yzkd@aol.com
Re: Length of Maaseh Breshis has no impact on halacha

In a message dated 12/15/2005 9:17:16pm EST, gil.student@gmail.com writes:
> Then look at 2:4. "Yom" seems to refer to a six-day period.

See Rashi, Ohr Hachayim, Ramban, Sforno on the Possuk.

Kol Tuv,
Yitzchok Zirkind

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Date: Thu, 15 Dec 2005 22:08:43 EST
From: T613K@aol.com
Re: Length of Maaseh Breshis has no impact on halacha

In Avodah V16 #61 dated 12/15/2005 [Micha:]
> That's true. The "fully mature universe" idea can not be scientifically
> proven or rules out. By definition. But then, one would not need
> to dismiss current theory. Carbon dating works -- but things were
> created pre-aged. I already posted my philosophical dilemma with this
> shitah. Perfect fake history equals real history.

Very well put. Perfect faked history does not negate but confirms
science. "The world just looks old" and "the world is old" is a
distinction without a difference, but if it allows people to hang on to a
literal sheshes yemei Bereishis while also reading the daily paper without
cognitive dissonance, then "perfect faked history" is a useful theory.

Certainly it's no worse than Stephen Jay Gould's "punctuated equilibrium"
which is a fancy way of saying that the actual fossil evidence supports
creation rather than evolution. It's a phrase that allows atheists
to look at the strong evidence for design and still maintain their
equanimity, and thus it serves for atheists the same purpose that
"perfect faked history" serves for believers.

 -Toby  Katz

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Date: Thu, 15 Dec 2005 22:18:44 -0500
From: "R Davidovich" <rdavidovich@cox.net>
Re: Malchut

[We're drifting off topic.... -mi]

>> In theory, the Queen of the UK still has all the power an English Monarch
>> had in the days of Henry VIII. No laws have taken those powers away.

> Er, there's the little matter of the Glorious Revolution in 1688.
> And the Act of Settlement in 1701. These clearly established that
> Parliament is sovereign, and has the power to hire and fire kings.

I understand what the Glorious Revolution accomplished in practice.
But the difference between that and what other revolutions have done,
or what the Swedish Constitutional Amendment accomplished, is that in
Britain, the theory was still preserved that the Monarch is the one who
acts' albeit "with the Advice and Consent" of the Lords and Commons.

Convention has bound her to act only upon advice, which is now often
written as Advice, with a capital A. This is still the system in
Australia, where the Governor-General, who has all Royal Powers in the
Queen's name, actually exercized the power to fire the Prime Minister as
recently as 30 years ago. I know this was controversial. But l'maaseh
he was able to do it.

I read that up until the UK abolished Capital Punishment, the King had
to sign every order to execute, even at times against his desire.


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Date: Fri, 16 Dec 2005 03:30:00 GMT
From: "kennethgmiller@juno.com" <kennethgmiller@juno.com>
Re: Malchut

R' Zev Sero wrote:
>>> the UK monarchy still has the notion of kevod hamelucha,
>>> that the queen stands above and aloof from the people,
>>> which is after all the point of the bracha. The gemara
>>> says that a person should try to see goyishe kings, in
>>> order to learn about the concept of kevod melachim, which
>>> is a distant mashal for the kavod of the Melech Malchei
>>> Hamelachim.

The older I get, and the more experience in this world I have, the more
do I see the difference between how Americans (such as myself) view the
monarchy -- a quaint relic of olden days -- and how the British see it --
being an American, I really have no words to describe their reverence to
the institution. And vice versa too, as they've failed in their attempts
to explain it to me. It's girsa d'yankusa for them; how can they explain
it to an outsider?

If not for other factors which might outbalance it, I'd suggest that
spending some time in the UK (which I've never done, alas) might be a
good idea for us all. Spending some time in such a culture might be a
very good thing for our Yiras Shomayim, as RSZ writes.

This is probably Areivim territory, but I'd be very curious about others'
experiences: Do Brits in general have an easier time with Kavod Shamayim
than the Yanks? Every time I hear a medrash about how the king came to
visit some little town in an outlying province, or how the king dealt
with his estranged son, I mentally translate the 'king' as a wealthy
businessman or influential politician, and I can't help but wonder if
the British automatically pick up the Yirah and Kavod aspects that I
have to remind myself about.

Akiva Miller

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Date: Thu, 15 Dec 2005 22:37:11 -0500
From: Zev Sero <zev@sero.name>
Re: malchut

I wrote:
> The gemara says that a person should try to see goyishe kings, in order
> to learn about the concept of kevod melachim, which is a distant mashal
> for the kavod of the Melech Malchei Hamelachim.

I misremembered. What the gemara says is to try to see goyishe kings so
that if we are zoche to see malchei Yisroel we will see the difference.
No mention of malchusa dishmaya. (B'rochos 58a).

My point stands, though, that a king who behaves like a civil servant
doesn't show this.

Zev Sero

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Date: Fri, 16 Dec 2005 06:18:44 -0500
From: Micha Berger <micha@aishdas.org>
Re: Length of Maaseh Breshis has no impact on halacha

On Thu, Dec 15, 2005 at 10:08:43PM -0500, T613K@aol.com wrote:
:> That's true. The "fully mature universe" idea can not be scientifically
:> proven or rules out. By definition. But then, one would not need
:> to dismiss current theory. Carbon dating works -- but things were
:> created pre-aged. I already posted my philosophical dilemma with this
:> shitah. Perfect fake history equals real history.

: Very well put. Perfect faked history does not negate but confirms
: science. "The world just looks old" and "the world is old" is a
: distinction without a difference, but if it allows people to hang on to a
: literal sheshes yemei Bereishis while also reading the daily paper without
: cognitive dissonance, then "perfect faked history" is a useful theory.

I do not understand the position altogether. There is no ontological
difference (barring rounding error in the numbers) between the statement
"Hashem created the world 13 billion years ago" and "Hashem created the
world less than 6 thousand years ago, but a universe that had already
gone through 13 billion years."

 From Hashem's "side", there is no "when" to ma'aseh bereishis. One can't
say He created the universe in the middle of the time line and then spread
it out in both directions (to the past from yom 1 and to the future). Hashem
has no "when", and to the universe, there is nothing different between
the time this shitah holds was laid out backward from day 1 and the time
they're calling real.

The only "when" for ma'aseh bereishis is the actually, the timeline as
a whole -- hamchadeish bekhol yom tamid ma'aseh bereishis. But age is
the first moment.

I therefore don't even see how it can be a distinction, nevermind whether
or not the distinction has a difference.


Micha Berger                 Time flies...
micha@aishdas.org                    ... but you're the pilot.
http://www.aishdas.org                       - R' Zelig Pliskin
Fax: (270) 514-1507      

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Date: Thu, 15 Dec 2005 23:06:16 -0500
From: "Samuel Svarc" <ssvarc@yeshivanet.com>

From: Micha Berger <micha@aishdas.org>
>Given the Ramchal's notion of the purpose of aggadita, chazal weren't
>trying to make historical statements. They probably repeated these ideas
>with no concern one way or the other about hystoricity. (The focus on
>separated history from myth wasn't a concern of their contemporaries,

>I disagree. All were meant metaphorically. Some might happen to also be
>history, some not. Above I argue it from the Ramchal, I could otherwise
>show it from Peirush haMishnayos lehaRambam, pereq Cheileq.

What bothers me about this, is that in your last round with R' SC you
were unable to show that all were meant metaphorically. In fact you left
him with the last word in Avodah V16 #23. I don't have the Ramchal so
I can't argue with you, but please address his questions. As for the
Peirush HaMishnayos, going on what was said in the last round, how do
you see that the Rambam means /all/ of midrashim, as opposed to those
that can't explained literally?


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Date: Fri, 16 Dec 2005 02:29:56 -0500
From: "S & R Coffer" <rivkyc@sympatico.ca>
RE: Oter Yisrael Betifara

On December 15, 2005, Lawrence Teitelman wrote:
> R. Simcha Coffer wrote:
>>As it happens, we make a bracha on a hat every day..."oter Yisrael b'sifara"..

> R. Shalom L. Kohn replied:
>>My recollection of the gemara is that this has reference to the
>> Tefillin shel Rosh. Oy vey if we give the [black] hat the chashivus of
>> tefillin....

> The Gemara in Berakhot 60b says that one utters this berakha "ki paris
> sudar al reisheh." A sudar (scarf? shawl?), while neither a hat nor
> tefillin, is clearly more similar to the former.

Actually, it does mean a hat. The "hats" they wore then were made of
wrapped cloth and are called turbans.

Simcha Coffer 

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Date: Fri, 16 Dec 2005 12:00:32 -0500
From: "S & R Coffer" <rivkyc@sympatico.ca>
RE: Length of Maaseh Breshis has no impact on halacha

On December 15, 2005, Micha Berger wrote:
>: Nearly everyone? In any case, even if everyone read Rav Dessler that way,
>: it would simply make Rav Dessler wrong. The Ramban couldn't be clearer
>: than he is about the literalness of 6 24 hour days; I don't see the
>: possibility of interpreting the Ramban any differently than RZL.

> I'm not revisiting this. Of course you don't see the possibility, because
> you require that time in the days of ma'aseh bereishis be comprehensible,
> and therefore there must be a setirah between 6 literal days, 6 millenia
> and 12 or 15 billion years.

Actually, despite our long-standing debate, I am a lot more closely
aligned to your way of thinking than you know. Here's what I believe. If
we had no messorah regarding MB, I would hold *exactly* like you because,
as Chazal point out and Rabbi Miller quotes in his letter, the chukey
hateva were not yet fixed until the end of creation. I actually believe
that without any input from Chazal and Rishonim, your shita is the *only*
logical choice. But since we *do* have "received" information from Chazal
and Rishonim about the literalness of time during MB, I must conclude
that when Chazal referred to the chukey hateva as not yet being fixed,
they were referring to everything but time.

>:> But the Ramban, like most mequbalim, holds that there was time between
>:> Bereishis 1:1 and 1:2. So he too agrees there was an extended process;
>:> the Ramban simply disagrees about how that fits the pesuqim.

>: I don't know of any mikubalim that hold that there was physical time
>: between 1:1 and 1:2. Kindly illustrate your assertion with sources please.

> This is again a request to revisit a discussion. RYGB already compiled
> and posted such a list in the original incarnation of the "A of the U"
> thread. See <http://www.aishdas.org/avodah/vol14/v14n065.shtml#09>,
> sources in the paragraph that begins "Many Mekubbalim....

Sorry but he brings almost no proof there whatsoever. The post
is basically a rehash of Kaplan. The only sources there that discuss
creation in terms of longer than 6000 years are the Sefer Hatemuna/Kaneh,
and Livnas haSapir. Every other Rishon cited their mentions nothing about
being further along in the shemittos than the first although YGB implies
that they do. That's why I am discussing it with *you*. *You* claim that
there are sources and I respectfully request that you respond. Besides,
he mentions nothing there about there being physical time between 1:1
and 1:2. RYGB's shita, which he just stated recently, is that once you
have the doctrines of shemitta, it's open season and he can choose to say
millions or billions of years too. But there is no proof from mikubalim,
anywhere, that the universe is any older than 6000 other than the Livnas
haSapir (7th shemitta) and the sefer hakaneh which holds that we are in
the second shemita.

>:> Six yamim. And I've already argued that "yom" has other literal
>:> definitions.

> I already gave a famous example. "Hinei anokhi sholei'akh lakhem es Eliyah
> hanavi, lifnei ba yom Hashem hagadol venhanora." Do you believe that the
> Yom Hashem will be 24 hours? (In the frame of reference experienced by
> all or nearly all of humanity, of couse.)

Of course I do. What else does it mean? Chazal say this will be the
final day of mishpat when everyone will be judged again. It means a
specific and appointed day in history. What makes you think it means
anything different?

>: Huh? How can his sevara be positively established as being wrong such that
>: he is put to death if, according to you, we have no clue what period of time
>: six days represents?

> Yet another request for a point already discussed in the past year.
> Why does he reject 6 literal days -- because he rejects the notion that
> yom means day (whether because it's taitch or idiom/metaphor)? Or because
> he rejects the chumash as a source? Rav Saadia is explicit, he's talking
> about the latter. See EvD 3:6.

I looked it up using your mareh makom and couldn't find it. Kindly
resubmit. Also, I'd like to gently remonstrate with you. I do not have
a photographic memory, I did not necessarily read every post on Avodah
in the past year, and there are many newcomers to Avodah who, I'm sure,
would like clarification to assertions which are somewhat nebulous. If
we happen to be discussing the subject again, I think it is reasonable
for me to request clarification of your words. I mean no disrespect
here. As it happens, you clarified perfectly. What remains now is the
proper mareh makom so I (or anyone else) can verify your interpretation.

>:> We've been through this before. The only rishon who explicitly connects
>:> yom to hours and minutes of the normal sort is the Ramban -- as addressed
>:> in two different ways above.

>: And Rashi (midas yom umidas layla = 24 hours in Chagiga). And the Rashbam
>: (ad loc.) And the Radak (ad loc.) And others. I will post soon bl'n.

> Will wait.

But you need not wait regarding the above three mareh mikomos. What is
your response to the fact that at least another three rishonim claim
that the days of MB were regular 24 hour periods?

>: It's the same three branches of science and all of them have already been
>: addressed. The truth is, I myself would have been highly suspicious of
>: anyone dismissing the findings of science. B"H I had the benefit of being
>: associated with Rav Avigdor Miller who demonstrated clearly and lucidly the
>: inaccuracies of scientists in the fields of origins...

> Bemechilas kevod Toraso, I read and heard RAM's position, and he dismisses
> misunderstood versions of out-of-date theories. If you don't know the idea
> well enough to follow the formula, you can't really discuss how solid
> it is.

WADR, you don't know what you're talking about. Rabbi Miller had vast
knowledge of science lichol chelkeyhem and kept abreast of current
theories as anyone who heard his shiurim and listens to his tapes
knows. He only died 4 years ago so his knowledge was current.

> (Which is why "string theory" isn't technically a theory. No formula,
> ie no specific predictions to confirm or falsify.)

Now you're being michavin to Rabbi Miller ztz'l. This is a frequent theme
that weaves its way through his talks on resolutions between science
and Torah. For example, Darwin postulated common descent via "insensibly
fine gradations" over eons of time. In order to confirm his theory, he
suggested that rock strata would reveal an abundance of evidence in the
form of transitional fossils and if it didn't, this would constitute
a "problem on theory". 150 years later, they're still haven't found
the abundant fossil sequences posited by Darwin and yet the theory is
alive and well. This is a prime example of origins science holding on
to doctrines that have been disproved and promoting theories that are
nothing but dogmatic views on materialism. If this insidious phenomenon
can so thoroughly invade the entire scientific community for over 150
years, then it would behoove one to begin suspecting other origins type
theories which are full of untested foundational assumptions and thus
cannot really be confirmed or verified properly. As Chazal have stated,
ksheim she'ein mamsh b'zeh, kach ein mamsh b'zeh.

>: You mention carbon dating. But carbon dating is only good for organic
>: material, not sediment layers...

> But one can use argon dating on rocks.

I anticipated your response. That's why I added the other two reasons
which apply equally to all forms of radioactive decay including Potassium
to Argon decay rates.

>: There is another issue that Rav Avigdor Miller brings up. The dating methods
>: all assume certain parent-daughter ratios for their calculations but they
>: have no proof that these ratios existed at the beginning of time...

> And all ratios changed by the same factor. Even when the radioactive
> isotope is the lighter of the two, or the heavier.

First of all, who says? Second of all, so?

> Of those three disciplines, you only attacked one.

Because that's what I said I was going to do. I would gladly attack all
of them but you would never allow a post that long to fly. Kindly pick
a sub-topic of one of these three branches and I'll respond.

> Geologically, the
> plates are puzzle peices drifting away from eachother. If you trace things
> back, they all would have been next to eachother billions of years ago,
> and the peices would have fit!

That is a gross oversimplification and besides, you have your facts
wrong as will be demonstrated shortly.

> Google the word "Pangea".

I don't have to. I am very familiar with the concept of plate tectonics
and Alfred Wegner's theory of continental drift. First of all, let's
get the facts straight. Continental drift does not say that the land
masses were together billions of years ago. On the contrary, they were
far apart. About 300 million years ago, they all crashed together to form
the supercontinent Pangaea (not Pangea) and about 200 million years ago
they broke up and drifted apart.

Now, Wegner's proof was not that all the continents fit together like
a big jigsaw puzzle. His proof was that South America and Africa look
like they might fit together, that's it. At the time (1915) scientists
did not accept his theories because there was no known force powerful
enough to move huge continents. In 1968 Plate Tectonics was proposed as
a method that would allow the twenty plates which comprise the earth's
outer shell to move around on top of a weak layer of hot rock several
hundred kilometres below the earth's surface. But don't fool yourself;
even today, nobody fully understands how this is accomplished. Some
speculate that the unequal distribution of heat within the earth causes
convection currents to move the plates but as I said, this is only
speculation. Satellite Laser Ranging has confirmed that the North American
plate and the European plate are currently moving apart at a rate of 2
cm. annually but let's revisit this conversation in fifty years. I'll bet
the rate doesn't stay the same and might even reverse itself. The point
is, they don't know. It's just conjecture like everything else which
relates to origins science. Plate Tectonics is a nifty theory when it
comes to explaining the seismic activity at the point where they grate
against each other (I believe there are over 30,000 earthquakes a year)
but it is far from accurate as a description of the past.

> You also don't
> touch cosomology, the expansion of the universe and how the energy of
> an explosion that would impart the right momentum for that expansion
> matches the energy level in background cosmic radiation.

Jonathan wrote an article on these topics. You can find it on toriah.org.
Please read it. If you don't like what he says, post to Avodah and we'll
discuss it.

>: Hashem created a fully mature world with advanced biological processes
>: already in place, he may very well have created elements with partial ratios
>: of various isotopes for whatever reason. Thus, you cannot prove an ancient
>: universe using these methods.

> That's true. The "fully mature universe" idea can not be scientifically
> proven or rules out. By definition. But then, one would not need
> to dismiss current theory. Carbon dating works -- but things were
> created pre-aged.

I never said pre-aged. I said fully mature. Fully mature means that
all the processes necessary for the smooth functioning of the universe
are created accordingly. OTOH, I do not believe that Hashem would, for
instance, create a tree at the time of MB with 20,000 rings or some such
thing because it's not necessary for life functions here on earth and
thus would have no function other than to mislead. Thus, a science like
dendrochronology must be taken seriously. Things like fossil evidence
of common descent must also be taken seriously because they too would
have no function other than to mislead. But claiming, for instance, that
Plate tectonics was responsible for the Appalachians can be rejected by
the mature-world theory because mountains are something Hashem wanted
to create and have many beneficial qualities for life on earth. Thus,
they are not misleading. They're just mature.

> I already posted my philosophical dilemma with this
> shitah. Perfect fake history equals real history. But scientifically,
> it's off limits.

I kind of agree with you regarding fake history but regarding MB in
general, I don't really care what is off limits for science because I
have a Torah that tells me the truth. Science is a man-made convention
and so are all the imperatives that govern its application. Scientists
refuse to abandon their paradigms, no matter how egregious, unless
they can formulate another one that is as equally materialistic as the
first. Fossil evidence or rather, the lack thereof, is living proof of
this fact. If scientists want to create self-imposed limitations on their
minds, that's their business. But I'm a yeshiva guy; my whole training
consists of thinking outside the box. I have no problem entertaining
other ideas if they fall within the strict parameters of logic and
reason. Besides, I personally think that sudden appearance of life
via design is a very valid scientific theory which corroborates MB
scientifically. William Paley may have been a Christian pastor, but
teleology, as he presented it, is scientific, not religious. BTY, R'
Akiva beat him to the punch 1800 years ago with his argument from the
woven garment.

> If RAM and yourself really believed this, there owuld be no motivation
> to pick holes in the science. Simple answer: They presume everything
> was bederekh hateva, we know from the Torah better, that it was
> made to look exactly like it was bederekh hateva over many many years.

I answered this already. I would like to ask you a favour. Rav Avigdor
Miller was my Rebbi and as far as I'm concerned he was beyond reproach
in his middos. You may argue with him on an academic or Torah level all
you want but please try and refrain from characterizing his motivations,
at least around me. It's giving me high blood pressure. There was nobody
more tocho k'baro on the face of this earth than Rabbi Miller. He was
an uncompromising ish emes par excellence.

>: A third point is the flood. The Malbim states that in addition to the
>: enormous pressure that existed from the inundation of the earth, there was
>: also tremendous heat....

> Chemistry and nuclear physics require differences in energy by many
> orders of magnitude. To think this does anything to decay rates requires
> knowing very little of the subject.

I misspoke. You may be right. For now I will leave this issue at a
tzarich iyun. I would however like to add that radiometric dating has
been called into question by some of the greatest experts in the field. I
recall seeing one paper itemizing over 400 discrepancies in the dating
system. And I'm sure you're familiar with Robert Gentry's book and the
polonium halo issue. There are serious problems with the dating methods
that make them, IMO, highly suspect. I must freely admit though that
I haven't researched radioactive decay nearly as much as I should and
therefore I am far from an authority on the issue.

>:> Once you presume that the current physics didn't apply, neither did the
>:> current notion of time. Time without formulas mapping various behaviors
>:> to the same t is just meaningless. Brains run at different speeds,
>:> experiencing the time as different. Bodies age at different speeds. If
>:> there were clocks, they would have run at different speeds and the
>:> one clock from one moment to the next.

>: Why? The watch on your hand marks the passage of time when you observe it
>: (your behaviour). What if you took your watch off your wrist and locked it
>: up in a safe for two hours. No human observer would have access to it and it
>: could not be calibrated with any human enterprise whatsoever. Do you imagine
>: that when you take it out of the safe it will record anything different than
>: two hours of the regular passage of time?

> You're confusing QM with relativity.

No I'm not. QM thought experiments such as Schroedinger's cat must
link subatomic particles which, to all appearances, possess duality,
to macroscopic phenomena to illustrate their point. Thus the cat
is simultaneously alive and not alive until the observer causes the
quantum state to collapse into a defined one. I did no such thing. I
merely addressed your proposal regarding mapping time to behaviours
and making a direct coloration between elapsed time durations and brain
speed etc. Unless there are reasons, such as those set out in SR and GR,
to imagine differently, time elapses at a pretty much constant rate.

> If the watch and safe were on Saturn
> (where the gravity is stronger) or moving at high speeds, it would record
> somehting different. That's the basis of the science behind the opinion
> you're rejecting.

MB took 6 24 hour periods as measured here on terra firma. What an
observer would have experienced had he been standing on Saturn doesn't
concern me.

> The Michaelson-Morley experiment hitned as much, which is what motivated
> Einstein,

We're getting a bit off topic but Michaelson-Morley merely proved that
light propagates in a vacuum (a fact that RSEM actually wishes to contend
with...see how smart our local posek is :-). It took the incredible genius
of Einstein to actually formulate the principles of relativity and imagine
that the very fabric of time was merely an ancillary dimension of matter
and could be altered.

> but the actual phenomenon was measure by astronauts and
> GPS engieers, who look at systems that do move rapidly enough to have
> measurable effects.

I thought it was proven by the famous atomic clock experiment.

> Which is why I took this away from whether relativity
> is right. Regardless of explanation, there are multiple rates of time.

This sounds like an RYGB move. Just because you have slight discrepancies
in time measurement does not mean you can extrapolate to vast time
differences just as being in a second or third shemita does not mean that
all bets are off and I can now say billions of years. Besides, the Torah
says specifically that we are referring to light and dark periods here
on earth as our point of reference. This is what 6 days means. If some
other heavenly bodies were travelling at faster rates of speed, that would
simply mean that MB took even less than six days from that vantage point.

> But that's not the point in the text you quote above either. I said that
> given a situation in which nothing need be in sync with anything else, nor
> even stay at the same rate from moment to moement, time has no meaning.

The Rambam didn't understand things your way in the Moreh. He associates
time with tenua and says nothing about syncing objects. The Ramban
also disagrees with you. See Ramban on MB 1:4 ki m'sheyatzu hashamayim
v'haaretz min ha'efes el ha'yesh, nihiyeh zman etc. ayin sham. (Not that
I wouldn't accept your opinion over these two. I'm merely pointing out
who your baaley plugta are.)

> In relativity, that means that I can't say "1 hour" without at least
> implying "in frame of reference x". Since most of us are barely moving
> relative to eachother and in the same gravity well (the earth), the
> implication is usually obvious.

Beautifully put and fully agreed with (and possibly not like the Rambam
and Ramban above). However, like I pointed out before, MB is associated
with earth's frame of reference.

> But it need not be that Hashem chose that particular phrame of reference
> when writing Bereishis 1, since no objects were at that velocity and
> mass-energy density on day 1 anyway. The RSO could have chosen the
> perspective we now inhabit, or one of some fast moving (relative to us)
> star, or a frame of reference that no object actually moved or will
> move at!

Your words are incomprehensible to me. It is as if you have not read the
first perek in Bereishis. The first pasuk begins Bereishis bara elokim
es hashamayim v'ess ha'aretz. Pasuk number two begins v'haaretz...which
means that Hashem turns his back on the entire universe and is focussed
entirely on the goings on here on earth. How can you say that MB is being
discussed in any other framework other than here on earth. The entire
story is earth related, not some "flying debris out in space" related.

Good Shabbos
Simcha Coffer

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