(Publication Date: January 11, 2011) Book Description: A powerful and compelling presentation that reclaims the intellectual high ground for the rational believer in God in the 21st Century. Using razor-sharp logic, a rapier wit, and irony-laced humor, Rabbi Averick exposes the gaping flaws in atheistic ideology in general, and in the modern “militant atheism” of writers like Dawkins, Hitchens, and Harris, in particular. Talk show host and best-selling author Dr. Diane Medved (The American Family) put it this way: “If you’ve ever felt bullied by schoolyard atheists like Richard Dawkins or Christopher Hitchens, I have good news…your big brother, in the person of Rabbi Moshe Averick, has just stepped onto the playground!”
As Recommended By:
“A compelling read…Rabbi Averick has dramatically spiked the ball back into the court of the non-believer.” – DR. EDWARD PELTZER, Senior Research Specialist, Ocean Chemistry (California)
“Very persuasive, often amusing, and rich in ready-to-rumble argument and insight.” – MICHAEL MEDVED, syndicated talk-radio host and bestselling author
“Rabbi Averick turns the tables on atheists by exposing the irrational faith-based nature of their “reasoning”…he effectively dismantles the atheists’ assertions that Science can provide satisfactory materialistic answers.” – DR. RICHARD WEIKART, Professor of History at University of California-Stanislaus and author of, From Darwin to Hitler: Evolutionary Ethics, Eugenics, and Racism in Germany
About the Author
Rabbi Moshe Averick was ordained as an Orthodox rabbi in Jerusalem in 1980. For the past three decades he has taught spirituality, theology, and religious philosophy in the United States, Canada, and Israel. He lectures regularly at university campuses on the topic of atheism and belief in God. He currently lives in Chicago and is the proud father of eight children and an ever growing number of grandchildren.
“Common Sense of a High order, March 12, 2011″ By Ayala Ben Israel -
For observant Jews, our primary challenge in life is our Emunah (faith). And it is no small sack of potatoes. In our exothermic world of void and chaos which is rapidly expanding into more void and chaos, our biggest challenges are our tests of Emunah. And it challenges all of us.
My own forays on the Internet hashkafa sites and blogs have revealed a frighteningly exhorbitant picture of how extensive this issue is. How many people among us who are steadfast and solid on the outside are brittle and crumbling on the inside. It’s scary, it’s devastating and it’s contagious. None of us are immune. For “these are times that try mens’ souls”.
Maimonides enumerated for us 13 principles of Faith. And for most of us religious minded folk, the bigger challenges come in the later innings. Are we really sold on the words of the prophets? Do we truly believe in Hashgacha Pratis and Heavenly reward and punishment? Do we anticipate the Moshiach and Techiyas Meisim?
Understandable. But there are those who falter right at the starting gate with principle numero uno – does G-d really exist?
Comes Rabbi Moshe Averick to the rescue by giving us a baseline for Emunah in HKBH without a word of mussar. Without an interminable barrage of Talmudic epithets and poetic passages from Kohelles, Mishlei and Iyov. No Maharsha in gemara Makkos. Not a hint of Moreh Nevuchim, Kuzari or Chovos HaLevavos. No deep esoteric essays from Rabbi Eliyahu Dessler or Rabbi Chaim of Volozhin or the Baal Hatanya. Not even the “wonders of creation” antics of Rabbi Amnon Yitzchak and Zamir Cohen.
Rabbi Averick uses one weapon and one weapon only. A weapon that is surely not in the arsenals of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Moammer Kaddafi, Barack Obama and, I daresay, Ehud Barak.
Along with a sense of humor (no extra charge).
R’ Moshe has written a monumental book that infiltrates the strongholds of skepticism and atheism and lays waste to its moorings using the very weapon they lack.
Cold unmitigated logic.
He calls it: Nonsense of a High Order
R’ Moshe reviews the writings of such notable renowned godless thinkers such as Christopher Hitchens, Richard Dawkins, Steven Weinberg, Will Provine, Sam Harris, Leslie Orgel, Carl Sagan, Francis Crick, Paul Davies, Robert Hazen, Christian DeDuve, Stuart Kaufman, Frank Sonleitner (and others that nobody has thought of yet) and exposes them for what they are – Nonsense of a High Order.
Rabbi Averick points out that this kind of convoluted delusional thinking could not possibly have come about among earlier life forms but rather has slowly developed over millions and billions of years until it reached the sophistication it now enjoys.
True to his Jewish heritage, R’ Moshe does convey a bit of cynicism and sarcasm but not without wit. In that sense I feel he is a soulmate. (If not for a few years, he might have been a classmate. Let’s just say we grew up drinking the same water.)
I am quite impressed by this book and a bit envious that I did not (and most likely could not) write it myself. His book is barely out a few weeks and I can see that it is an immediate success. It’s already been attacked.
Don’t be fooled that this book was written for the gentile masses. It was written for us. This book should sit on every Jewish bookshelf and nightstand – right next to mine but with none of the dust.
I recommend this book to Jew and non-Jew alike. But a word of caution. Since his book is mainly a comparison between nonsense and common sense, it is only beneficial to those who can tell the difference. And in our endothermic world of reality, this is a rapidly shrinking population.
“A Jewish Response to the New Atheists February 19, 2011″ By Fritz R. Ward -
Rabbi Moshe Averick offers a new perspective to the recent debates on the new atheists. Unlike other volumes, which have explicitly defended Christianity, or in the case of David Berlinski’s The Devil’s Delusion more credibly argued the scientific pretensions of atheists are actually another variant of religion, this little book attempts defends a belief in God as rational, and suggests the alternatives posed by today’s atheists are unconvincing. Indeed, Averick gives multiple illustrations showing that what new atheists lack in intellectual coherence is made up for by their pompous declarations of a certainty they do not possess. Nonsense of a High Order is not a defense of any particular religious tradition, but astute readers will see in this book an insistence on clearly phrasing objections and arguments that rabbinical students learn early at any yeshiva. Needless to add, Averick finds that the new atheists fall woefully short in this regard.
Averick offers several objections to the arguments of the new atheists. In the first instance, he finds that their reliance on Hume or Darwin to defend atheism is woefully inadequate. Indeed, for the most part neither author really addresses the main arguments for the existence of a deity. Averick concedes the case that Darwinian thought “explains” the diversity of life on Earth, but then notes, as most honest defenders of Darwin will, that it cannot explain the origin of life itself. After reviewing the “scientific” literature, Averick notes there is good reason to believe no naturalistic explanation will ever be forthcoming. Claims to the contrary amount to little more than statements of faith. Hume’s argument, however, fairs even worse. Hume had suggested that the argument from design only applied to objects that we know humans can design. Since we know little of life or the universe, we cannot, Hume argued, make a design inference. But in fact, as Averick notes, we do design artificial limbs, and even hearts, so regardless of whether or not Hume was able to make a design inference, we certainly can.
The bulk of the book however does not deal with Darwin or Hume, both of whom are cited mostly as an example of atheist handwaving. Instead, Averick rightly focuses on the claims the new atheists make about human nature. Philosophers since at least Descartes have argued that we infer the existence of the spiritual world and God from our own spiritual nature. Atheists are at pains to deny this aspect of human nature, but their claims are unconvincing. Attempting to reduce our consciousness, our experience of ourselves, to a physical or material phenomena simply does not pass the common sense test. Yes, it is true that scientists can provoke certain experiences by probing a living brain. And indeed, we can, as Averick notes, promote certain experiences by damaging other parts of the body as well. But the question is, who is the “I” or the person who experiences memories and foresight. No materialist explanation is possible, and indeed, we all, even the atheists, take this spiritual aspect of our lives for granted. (How else do we explain the passion with which atheists try to “convince” us that we do not have free will? They and we both know their arguments presume an ability to chose and weigh evidence.) Finally this book examines the question of morals and morality. Here again, the materialist claims of the new atheists are hopelessly muddled and unconvincing.
In the final analysis, Averick is suggesting not merely that the atheists are wrong. He is actually arguing that their claims are literally nonsense. The science and philosophy they bring to their defense does not in fact address the issue. Their claims about human nature are not only wrong, but they themselves do not, in their everyday lives, act on their claimed beliefs. Their arguments are in fact so confused as to suggest that they have some underlying psychological issues, not a coherent argument against God. I suspect Averick is right. My own atheist years were more of a childish rebellion against perceived authority than a serious intellectual response to religious thought. Atheism is an easy out for those who do not wish to address the serious issues life offers. And it is amazingly easy for a trained rabbi to dissect these arguments and present them for what they are. Anyone with an interest in (genuinely) rational thought will find reading this book a valuable exercise.
“Thought provoking read, March 29, 2011″ By E. Norbert Smith, Ph.D. –
This book addresses a highly controversial subject with uncanny courage and is provocative and powerful. Rabbi Averick shows profound insight based on an inordinate amount of research and a lifetime of studying the Talmud. The title of the book comes from Sir Fred Hoyle who said that the chance of a living cell coming from a primordial soup was “nonsense of a high order.” The book has two features seldom found in technical books: humor and a variety of brief fictional stories to add clarity to complex arguments.
The central theme of the book is about the hot button issue of the origin of life and need for a Creator-God as the only rational explaination. The United States was founded on Godly principles and much of our constitution was based on Biblical teaching. Today history revisionists have changed all that and the prevailing world view is atheistic evolution dogma. It is taught in universities as established fact and anyone questioning its validity is openly ridiculed in the classroom. They are called superstitious and compared to those that think the earth is flat. Indeed, one of my doctorial professors actually said, “There is more evidence supporting evolution than there is for gravity.”
In spite of what we are told, there is no evidence life came from non-living material. Even more telling, evolutionists do not even have a plausibly theory for how something as complex as the simplest bacteria could have evolved without a Creator. It is for this reason that tens of thousands of former evolutionists have abandoned evolution like rats from a sinking ship. In desperation, a reward of one million dollars has been offered by an evolutionist group for a rational theory that could account for life’s origin, but no one has claimed the prize. Rabbi Averick quotes a variety of well known atheists and clearly shows their own inconsistency and failure to admit the overwhelming evidence for the Creator-God.
Even the “simplest” bacterial is complex beyond comprehension. Among other things each cell is capable of self replication. That would be like a Xerox machine being able to duplicate another complete functional Xerox machine. There is more. Bacterial cells manufacture complex proteins. There is much more to a protein than the proper sequence of amino acids from which it is made. It must also be folded into a precise three dimensional shape in order to function properly.
In 1999 IBM announced a $100 million super computer that could perform a quadrillion computations per second (1 followed by 15 zeros!). The project was called “Blue Gene” and was designed to better understand protein synthesis. It was estimated that for the computer to duplicate the folding of a relatively simple protein consisting of 300 amino acids would require a full year of computing, yet a living cell does it in mere minutes. We are only beginning to understand the true complexity of all living cells. There is no rational theory for how such complex machines could have come into existence without a Designer.
One of the fictional stories Rabbi Averick uses illustrates the point remarkably well. A man named Joe is shipwrecked on a remote island in the Pacific Ocean. He has searched the entire island and concluded he is alone. He realizes he might never be rescued and may spend the rest of his life alone on that island. One morning he awakes and goes to the beach. Much to his surprise he finds a smiley face made of beach pebbles and a message, “Good Morning Joe” also made of pebbles. Certainly the tide and natural process could have left the pebbles in that pattern with those words, but what was most unlikely. He did not need to prove someone created the image. Joe KNEW he was not alone. Living cells are much more complex than a smiley face and a few words on a beach made from stones. The burden of proof rests on those that say life just “happened” to come into existence without a Creator.
I strongly recommend this book for Christians as well as for non-believers. Rabbi Averick applies science and logic to the origin of life and evidence for a personal Creator-God in a way not before seen.