Thursday, July 17, 2008

Orthodox Judaism and Science

On, Rabbi Yirmiyahu Ullman wrote for Ohr Somayach that the human body has 248 limbs as per orthodox tradition.

limb as defined by a part or member of an animal body distinct from the head and trunk, as a leg, arm, or wing: the lower limbs; artificial limbs.

Does the human body have 248 parts that meet that definition? nope.

the american heritage dictionary defines a limb as: One of the jointed appendages of an animal, such as an arm, leg, wing, or flipper, used for locomotion or grasping..

Does the human body have 248 parts that meet that definition? nope.

let us say that 248 organs was meant instead of actual limbs.

1) The human body has more than 630 muscles. (

2) Humans are born with anywhere from 300 to 350 bones and they later fuse to an average adult total of 208 bones. ( says that bones and muscles are considered organs.

Conclusion: the idea that the human body has 248 organs is full of crap. This is coming from people who believe that autopsies are disallowed by God. Make no mistake, if the whole world were orthodox jews, biology and medicine would not be at the level at it is today because of their ban on autopsies, and as an aside, Maimonides would probably not have been a famous doctor.


Anonymous said...

Lens. L-E-N-S. Lens.

SJ said...

"The archaic spelling lense is sometimes seen, but Merriam-Webster's medical dictionary is the only major dictionary that considers this to be correct." - wikipedia

SJ said...

this comment by anonymous is a pathetic attempt to score a point at me while avoiding answering the issue.

Garnel Ironheart said...

First, the definition of "limb" in halachah is not the Merriam-Webster one. Limb in that context means bones capable of some function. Further the mishnah defines what it considers to be the 248 and the difference between that number and the 208 is based on when certain bones fuse. If you had actually researched your post instead of sitting home alone with cheap beer and wondering why that frum girl you like doesn't return your calls, you'd have known that.

SJ said...

>> Limb in that context means bones capable of some function.

function of bones (from wikipedia):

1) function to move, support, and protect the various organs of the body

2) produce red and white blood cells (i doubt the mishna says that)

3) and store minerals (i doubt the mishna says that either.)

>> Further the mishnah defines what it considers to be the 248 and the difference between that number and the 208 is based on when certain bones fuse.

This sounds like a nonsense excuse to try to explain away how the mishna got it WRONG.

Face it Garnel, your oral law people made a m-i-s-t-a-k-e.

Garnel Ironheart said...

Look, I'm sorry she doesn't want to date you but I don't think quoting Wikipedia as a source is accepted in any serious academic circles. Clearly different definitions were used by the authors of the Mishnah leading to their different tally. I don't understand how you can be so intolerant and rigid in your thinking. It's almost... fundamentalist.
Now go back to daydreaming about the girl. I'm sure she's not daydreaming about you.

SJ said...

i think that on this issue wikipedia is esssentially accurate

SJ said...

and here comes more charracter assassination tryin to say that its about a girl.

this is ridiculous.

Garnel Ironheart said...

What, it's about a boy?

Ewwww, no wonder you're anti-Orthodox!

SJ said...

k here comes the stupid jokes.

excuse me for asking personal questions but... said...

are you female?

it's cuz of what you wrote about the borg... not this discussion.

SJ said...

i am a guy, and I have a feeling i know where your question is leading to, you being a smart ass.

Dave said...

I'm a newcomer to your site. It seems you have issues (to put it mildly) with orthodox judaism. I can't blame you for that. You should be aware though that many prior to you have also had issues. Not just issues, but great philosophical questions upon which you couldn't even grasp. Questions do not reduce a religion, or a major part of one, to dust. Perhaps you need answers. The answers are out there, though, i cannot point you to them. But, before posting your questions have you tried to contact the Rabbi from Aish for an explanation to your questions. Perhaps you can enlighten him (or he can enlighten you) since undoubtedly you are a great Torah scholar who knows and can discuss.

As to your question; the hebrew phrase to which you refer is "Remach Aivurim." An ordinary person with no special expertise in literary arts or language can safely assume that the correct English word for this phrase is 'limb', as used in ordinary english terms. If it turns out to be the incorrect word then so be it. Tell us the correct word and we will stand corrected. However, it does not logically follow that because we may be using the incorrect english word when translating that term, therefore the substance underlying the phrase is wrong. In order to make that connection you imported your emotions you inhibit against orthodox judaism. It's simply doesn't add up logically. Therfore, i find your argument meritless. I do not see the connection between the Aish Rabbi using a potential wrong word to paraphrase a hebrew term, to its falsity.

If you could sufficiently explain i'd be more than happy to listen.

SJ said...

Dave you are beating around the bush. Honestly, either just come up with a reliable secular source which says that the human body has 248 of something that can qualify as "limbs" of some sort, or just shut the fuck up with your gaa gaa goo goo crap from the stone age.

Dave said...

As i mentioned in my prior post, i'm new to this site. When i discovered you (one of my not such good discoveries) i thought that perhaps if your readers would respond to you in a respectful manner with reasonable arguments that you would reciprocate. Your last post proves otherwise and indicates that you are consistent with your language and reason (or lack thereof), both to intelligent responders and not so. I really wanted to engage with you in good argument but, seeing your response, i will choose to spend my time with worthwhile people.

SJ said...

bye jerkoff. referring to me as "a great Torah scholar" when I made no such claim of myself was not "responding to you in a respectful manner" it was SARCASM.

And you know what ... still no citation that says that the human body has 248 of something. anything.

Dave said...

Rest assured, i'm going. I just want to say some lasting words to you before i go.

You really seem to be a lost soul, and i don't mean that in a critical manner. Most ppl who choose one religion over another (or even different levels of observance) do so and continue on with their lives and lead happy and content lives. There seems to be some riling in your heart even after deciding to be secular. But why? Just live your life and move on. Perhaps it's the guilt that you subconciously inhibit within, which results in your madness to rejustify your decision every day by mounting and raising opposition against orthodox judaism. I just wonder how many hours of the day your mind is consumed with these issues. I'm afraid it's many, many hours. It shows (perhaps inadverdently) a discontent with life, reality and your future. I strongly urge you to live your life to its fullest and forget about these things that make your blood boil. Maybe then you'll have some inner peace. Trust me, i don't do Kiruv and i won't do it with you either. You don't impress the intellectual community with your questions and comments (many of which are baseless). Intelligent people enjoy a challenging and engaging topic with substance rather than emotion. Coincidentally, the majority of posters here seem to share your level of intelligence.

I do hope you will heed my advice, although unsolicited.

Garnel Ironheart said...

You shouldn't have been so mean, SJ. No wonder you don't have a date this Saturday night.

zibble said...

Garnel first attempts to rebut the post by claiming that it is mistaken in how it enumerates bones. So he is stating that limbs=bones. But then he is at a loss to come up with a 248 number. Of course, he just has to include an irrelevant insult to his comment as well.

Regarding the 248 number by your definition: Put up or shut up "Ironheart".

SJ said...

thanks zibble, exactly what I was thinking. they have to come up with all this mishmosh to lay on me while all they need to do is come up with ONE freaken citation to prove me wrong.

of course, such a citation don't exist.

Anonymous said...

you want to disagree with me thats fine. If you don't want to link to my site? thats also fine, totally your choice.

But to refer to my blog as "factual bullcrap" as the link is innappriopriate and unprofessional. I always call you by your proper name. I ask that you either remove the link or use the actual name.

ro said...

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