February 12, 2008

Rabbi Shmuley Boteach: Another Embarrassment

Christopher Hitchens isn't the most likable guy in the world. He is sort of like the Simon Cowell of the secular world. But aside from that, he was given the very easy task of "debating" Rabbi Shmuley Boteach. The topic was "Does God Exist?"

I don't want to get too repetitive here, lots of comments can be found on other blogs and the Youtube video comment section. The main blog post can be found here at 92Y.

What really pissed me off about Shmuley (I really like that name) was his ignorance. Typical of creationists. He doesn't even know what he believes when it comes to evolution. On one hand he says Stephen Gould wasn't an evolutionist because he believed in punctuated equilibrium, which of course does not mean he wasn't an evolutionist, yet on the other hand he says that he himself believes in evolution...guided by God...which the majority of Christians and Jews believe. However, he also asked where are the transitional fossils (there should be lots more if evolution is a reality according to the rabbi).
In other words, he is full of crap.

He also went on about the evolution of the eye. He is either stupid or lying when it comes to evidence regarding the topic.
He tried to debate God existed by attacking evolutionists and evolution. As soon as someone does that, the debate becomes pointless. Evolution is fact, and evolution does not mean God exists one way or the other. Of course, it rules out quite a few Gods (especially the ones who poofed man into existence).

Hitchens must have felt like he was shooting fish in a barrel. It is embarrassing to watch anyone try to prove God by dissing evolution.

Note: If you watched the entire video, an argument was left unanswered regarding whether a rabbinical court in Israel declared that it was right to deny a non Jew in distress help during the Sabbath. It seems the answer is still up for debate, though on the surface it looks like Hitchens wasn't wrong citing the example.

Also upon reading the comments, it seems that Shmuley never debated Dawkins nor was he the chief rabbi at Dawkins. This comes as no surprise. Shmuley is just a very bad liar.

Great point made a few times by Hitchens: Just because you don't like the facts and implications of what science has proven regarding evolution and the fate of the universe, doesn't mean that one should seek an alternative baseless story to feel better.


  1. The implications of evolution attacked, are beyond the scope usually argued. If evolution doesn't exist, race theory can be justified.

    He attacked evolution, but from your report, he didn't jump to creationist theory.

  2. Again, he basically said God created man as man without actually stating it. He was being deceptive, and doing a bad job of it. Why doubt the eye's evolution?, if you can rationalize that God guided everything anyways.

    Race theory can still be justified using evolution. Hitler believed the Aryans came about specially. His views on evolution (natural selection) are not really known.

  3. The Rabbi was a poor opponent in the debate. He couldn't string an argument together or follow a train of thought to its conclusion. I liked the ribbing he got from Hitchens as "big boy".

  4. BEAJ:

    How dare you compare the Hitch to Simon Cowell (LOL)? The latter would, outside the X-factor box, be out of his dept in a paddling pool, the former is one of the most formidable debaters in the entire world.

    The Rabbi's defence is classical theist: "there are still holes in the theory!" Yes, dear, there always are, it's how scientific paradigms evolve (no pun intended).

    Funny how they never present the slightest shred of evidence for the Sky goblin who creates us in his image...

    This guy gets depressed by facts: must be a truly depressing state of affairs...

    I'm listening to the Rabbi as I'm typing this, with growing consternation. Another theist who can't resist quite offensive ad hominem. And I'm starting to worry about his sex-life too. Is there such a thing as non-instinctive lust? Does he get it up by thinking about G-d or simply by blue pills alone?

    Now he's prattling on about Hitler and Darwin. How dare people like this schmuck consider themselves 'righteous' when all they do is pull things out of context and connect unconnected dots...

    Sigh. I'm gonna have to link to this. Damn you, BEAJ...


    Beaj is right about racism: although it pre-dates Darwin (Aristotle wrote about it and justified it) it received an unwelcome boost after Darwin published "Origin". Most notably in Britain, a relative of Darwin, caused an explosion of "British racial theory" and eugenics (something many prominent British intellectuals including H.G. Wells warmly embraced), based on misinterpretation of Evolutionary Biology, which at that time was still in it's infancy (genetics was almost non-existent at that time).

  5. Hitchens doesn't know as much as he thinks he does about Judaism.

  6. "especially the ones who poofed man into existence"

    Are there really religions that believe God is gay? If so, you've got to admire them for being so progressive.

  7. Jack, my guess is that Hitchens most likely did more research after the debate, and next time will make less errors, while con man Shmuley will remain static when it comes to his "knowledge" of evolution. That is the difference between the faithful and the non faithful in many cases in real life.
    Gorilla, creationists believe that God is a Poofer, not Poofster.

  8. OT but so up your alley. Enjoy.

    Iraqi Researcher Defies Scientific Axioms: The Earth Is Flat and Much Larger than the Sun (Which Is Also Flat)


  9. It was painful to watch. I actually had to pause it and come back later after taking an antacid to make sure I wouldn't lose my lunch.

    And what was with reading Hitch's book so much? That's not a debate. It's just proof that he didn't have the goods to back up his side. And I guess he thought that talking louder and moving his arms around would make his god more real too.

    Why not try to prove that his god exists? I guess it just goes to show that when you can't prove anything, you just attack the person who pokes holes in your precious religion. It's this guy's source of income, after all (outside of his books).

    I like how offended he got when Hitch made comments about cutting up newborn baby wieners. You'd have thought Hitch was challenging the guy to a "whose dick is bigger" contest. I thought blood would be drawn.

    Thanks for posting this video. It gets tiring watching him debate only the Jesus-freaks.

  10. Mr Boteach is surely not a brightest bulb in the universe... or even in the Jewish religious universe.

    And easy meal for Hitch.

    And while, as Jack say, Hitchens doesn't know as much as he thinks he does about Judaism, he really doesn't need to know a lot to wipe the floor with Boteach.

    There are rabbis, though, that could give Hitch a run for his money. The only problem is that they wouldn't meet him. Need to figure out a way to organize a good partner.

  11. Snoopy, I saw a good portion of the Sam Harris Rabbi Volpe discussion. Volpe did a good job in light of the fact he doesn't have much to work with:)

  12. Just FYI: The issue on the rabbinical court has been addressed. Boteach proved to Hitchens that his claim in his book was false, and Hitchens humbly admitted that he was wrong.

    "Hitchens wrote, “I would consider changing religious courts to fundamentalist rabbinical authorities.“ And that’s where it now stands, with Hitchens agreeing to do the honorable thing and amend the slur in his book, which I trust he will implement."

    The entire article is here: http://www.shmuley.com/articles/details/the_debate_richard_dawkins_chose_to_forget/

  13. Perhaps you are not a very dialectical thinker, Mr. Atheist Jew. Hitchens' argument unfurl is rather weak from an intuito-logical point of view (in the Husserlian sense). Like Bill Maher, he is in clear denial about his own origins. A baby snake expending venom recklessly. It's funny to think that millenia worth of mystical rapport with what lay beyond the void should be lost on account of a few pop icon "iconoclasts" who don't argue for the reasons they say they do. At least Shmuley, really believes what he believes. Do you really believe what you believe? Mine has been a journey to keep myself as least a hypocrite as is possible on this earth---why not have more humility and better assess for yourself the abyss by not obfuscating your fear of it with sensationalism, anti-PC-trendiness, and cool denial. I can myself only attempt such feats of humanity and learning with baby steps.

  14. Alex, there is no evidence for God. With Judaism, there is no evidence for the Exodus, in fact there is much evidence against it.
    Shmuley doesn't have a clue about evolution, and using it to prove God is farcical.