Explain! Explain! Explain!

Posted: November 8, 2009 in atheism, bad cognitive science, religion
Tags: , , ,

(via wannabe-lesbian girlfriend! Thank you, sweetheart)

High on Mount Sinai, Moses was on psychedelic drugs when he heard God deliver the Ten Commandments, an Israeli researcher claimed in a study published this week.

Let’s look at the evidence!

As far Moses on Mount Sinai is concerned, it was either a supernatural cosmic event, which I don’t believe,

Very prudent!

or a legend, which I don’t believe either,

I’m a bit confused. What does he mean by “legend” here?

or finally, and this is very probable, an event that joined Moses and the people of Israel under the effect of narcotics,” Shanon told Israeli public radio on Tuesday.

“Very probable”? Hmmmmmmm. Unsurprisingly, my first reaction was more or less like in this video(1). Only louder. Fortunately for us all,  Shanon does indeed provide a satisfying explanation:

Moses was probably also on drugs when he saw the “burning bush,” suggested Shanon, who said he himself has dabbled with such substances.

Ah, everything’s clear, then!

On a more serious note, what happens here (apart from the dabbling) is a typical case of the false dilemma. There exist multiple other explanations for Moses'(2) behaviour than his alleged consumption of hallucinogenic substances. In that respect Shanon’s claims are eerily reminiscent of Lewis’ trilemma, in which Jesus had to be either a fraud, or a madman, or the son of god.

There exist of course multiple other alternatives, such as “there was no Jesus” or “he was wrong”.

(On an even more serious note, professor Shanon is of course a cognitive scientist. Woe!)

(This of course, might be a serious case of bad journalism, only, it doesn’t seem so. OTOH, Benny Shanon seems to be actually a fairly sane scientist, apart from the Moses shenanigans. Will have to take a look at the actual paper tomorrow)

ETA: Fixed, uh-huh, my fail logical inconsistencies “he lied”.

(1) I have a confession to make. I’ve always identified with Daleks. A lot.

(2) That is, when you overlook the other alternative, namely that there was no Moses.

  1. Ausir says:

    What is the difference between “a fraud” and “he lied”? Explain! Explain! Explain!

    • Ahahaha, fail! Also, Skitt’s law! In my post, anyway, although I must confess I’m very tempted to edit your comment in such a way that as a result it contains at least one typo.

      Fixed :)

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