As we come to the end of the another quarter-year, I see that it is again a year filled with drama--mainly professional and academic drama.
And so, I keep on truckin'.
I can't tell what will happen day-to-day:
But, I'm keeping it all together.
|Family fun: We write our own book.|
|Hey rabbi, check out the sexy boy in the third row.|
Crimes against children by adults who claim to live the word of God are not new. Many religions have demons, and the ultra-Orthodox Jews are no exception. Most deny it could happen in their midst. Child rape and molestation don’t fit their pious image."The (ultra-Orthodox) Jews are no exception." That's the point. And by understanding that point, abuse of children and minors can be stopped everywhere.
The Hasidim in Brooklyn are a powerful voting block. That’s why District Attorney Charles Hynes is accused by victims’ rights advocates of going easy on alleged Hasidic child molesters and rapists. He’s been elected six times, and is accused of appeasing the rabbis in order to get their support and keep his position.Hynes ought to disclose names of people arrested through Kol Tzedek because ultra-Orthodox Jews are no exception. What's more, the interests of a single community do not outweigh justice for our society's most vulnerable.
Hynes strongly denies the allegations. In 2009, he established a program and a hotline to help victims called Kol Tzedek (“Voice of Justice” in Hebrew). But critics are outraged because he refuses to disclose the names of the men arrested through the initiative. The Jewish Daily Forward’s request for the records filed under the state’s Freedom of Information Law was denied.
Hynes claims that revealing the names of the suspects could lead to the community identifying the victims and intimidating them. That decision raises concerns about the rights of the public, the legality of shielding the men, and the DA’s motives.
Tuchman asked Hynes how he reconciles instituting a policy for the Hassidim, but no other groups, like the Roman Catholic Church. He says because “there’s never been any intimidation by priests.”
In a May 16 op-ed, Hynes wrote:
Since the inception of Kol Tzedek, we have made 95 arrests; 53 cases have been adjudicated, with a conviction rate of 72%.While some may persist in protecting the community ahead of justice for the young victims, there are signs of progress. On June 10, a group of ultra-Orthodox Jews held a meeting in Crown Heights to talk about combating child sex abuse. Hynes was on the panel. Some rabbinic leaders have said anyone with knowledge of abuse should go to the police and do not need to talk first with a rabbi. It will take the courage of the victims and the compassion of the community to make lasting change.
I stand by these numbers.
The statistics show how absurd it is to suggest that we cover up, downplay or in any way “give a break” to sex offenders in the Orthodox Jewish community. Like any other defendants, they are often arrested in public by the police, and their court appearances are open and available to the public as part of the public record. I welcome scrutiny of these cases.
The suggestion that I have ever condoned the practice of first seeking a rabbi’s advice before an Orthodox Jewish community member reports sexual abuse is a distortion of my record. I have never suggested that someone seeking the advice of a rabbi is then relieved of the obligation of reporting sexual abuse to the appropriate authorities.
|This seems to represent IDC. Not sure why. Photo credit: La Douleur Exquise.|
Are Mind and Brain Really Software and Hardware?Yet, not very long before, the same people declared the following to be correct and awesome--because it says cells are robots:
Or is that an analogy that just doesn’t really work?
Recently, we were looking at “Another reason the human mind is not like a computer” (Vishwanathan Anand) , and someone reminded us of an older article, by Ari N. Schulman, “Why Minds Are Not Like Computers” (The New Atlantis, Winter 2009),
“Cell” Contest JudgedTo sum up: Cells are very complicated nano-automata; minds-brains are not computers.
The winner is niwrad with this (slightly edited) gem:
“A ‘cell’ is a bio-cybernetic chemical automaton able to self-replicate, self-organize, and perform metabolic functions by means of nano-level molecular machines controlled by internal digital software stored in information rich polymers.”
Niwrad, has been contacted and when he provides an address his prize will be shipped out.
Thank you to all of the participants.
- Why is the physical universe so unimaginably large?
- Why would God desire to create embodied moral agents, as opposed to disembodied minds (such as souls, spirits, or ghosts)? Why is the human mind dependent on the physical brain?
- Did Australopithecus have a soul? What about homo habilis? Homo erectus? Neanderthals? Why or why not? (HT: Keith Parsons)
- How do souls interact with physical matter? Do you have any answer that is not tantamount to "I don't know?" (HT: Keith Parsons)
- Why would God use biological evolution as a method for creation? Do you have any answer that is independent of the scientific evidence for evolution?
- Why are pain and pleasure so connected to the biological goals of survival and reproduction, but morally random? For example, why do sentient beings, including animals which are not moral agents, experience pain or pleasure that we do not know to be biologically useful?
- Why do only a fraction of living things, including the majority of sentient beings, thrive? In other words, why do very few living things have an adequate supply of food and water, are able to reproduce, avoid predators, and remain healthy? Why do an even smaller fraction of organisms thrive for most of their lives? Why do almost no organisms thrive for all of their lives?
- Why is there social evil, i.e., instances of pain or suffering that results from the game-theoretic interactions of many individuals?
- Why does God allow horrific suffering (and relatively little glorious pleasure)?
- Why does horrific suffering often destroy a person, at least psychologically, and prevent them from growing morally, spiritually, and intellectually?
- Why is there nonculpable (reasonable) nonbelief in God? Why are there former believers, i.e., people who, from the perspective of theism, were on the right path when they lost belief? Why are there lifelong seekers? Why are there converts to nontheistic religions and especially nonresistant believers who arrive as a result of honest inquiry at nontheistic experiences and beliefs? Why are there isolated nontheists, i.e., people who have never so much as had the idea of God?
- Why do some believers feel there is evidence for God's existence on which they may rely, but in which God is not felt as directly present to her experience, and may indeed feel absent?
- Why are there such striking geographic differences in the incidence of theistic belief?
- Why do only some people have religious experiences?
- For those people who do have religious experiences, why do they pursue a variety of radically different religious paths, none of which bears abundantly more moral fruit than all of the others?
- Why do so many people report not experiencing God's comforting presence in the face of tragedies?
- Why does the the relatively new discipline of cognitive science of religion support the claim that forming beliefs about invisible agents including gods is very natural for human beings?
- Why does God allow such confusion or disagreement among people, including theists, about what is morally good and bad?
- If you believe humans have free will, why would humans have free will if God exists? Why are we able to exercise free will in some situations but not others?
- Why should we believe that, of the innumerable deities worshiped by human beings over the ages, yours is the one that really exists? Why believe in Yahweh rather than Zeus, Odin, Marduk, Ishtar, Osiris, Quetzalcoatl, Madame Pele, Ahura-Mazda, etc., etc., etc.? (HT: Keith Parsons)
The Children's Crusade is the name given to a disastrous Crusade by Christian children to expel Muslims from the Holy Land said to have taken place in 1212.The 1213 Chronica Regiae Coloniensis relates events this way:
The traditional narrative is probably conflated from some factual and mythical notions of the period including visions by a French or German boy, an intention to peacefully convert Muslims in the Holy Land to Christianity, bands of children marching to Italy, and children being sold into slavery.
In this year occurred an outstanding thing and one much to be marveled at, for it is unheard of throughout the ages. About the time of Easter and Pentecost,4 without anyone having preached or called for it and prompted by I know not what spirit, many thousands of boys, ranging in age from six years to full maturity, left the plows or carts which they were driving, the flocks which they were pasturing, and anything else which they were doing. This they did despite the wishes of their parents, relatives, and friends who sought to make them draw back. Suddenly one ran after another to take the cross. Thus, by groups of twenty, or fifty, or a hundred, they put up banners and began to journey to Jerusalem. They were asked by many people on whose advice or at whose urging they had set out upon this path. They were asked especially since only a few years ago many kings, a great many dukes, and innumerable people in powerful companies had gone there and had returned with the business unfinished. The present groups, moreover, were still of tender years and were neither strong enough nor powerful enough to do anything. Everyone, therefore, accounted them foolish and imprudent for trying to do this. They briefly replied that they were equal to the Divine will in this matter and that, whatever God might wish to do with them, they would accept it willingly and with humble spirit. They thus made some little progress on their journey. Some were turned back at Metz, others at Piacenza, and others even at Rome. Still others got to Marseilles, but whether they crossed to the Holy Land or what their end was is uncertain. One thing is sure: that of the many thousands who rose up, only very few returned.Today, it seems the foundational events are apocryphal and the crusading group was made up of poor people in Germany and France, some of whom tried to reach Jerusalem. It's not clear how many, if any, bona fide children launched or participated in the crusade.