Let’s Play Woo: Hebrew and Physics

I have reason to take things easy this week, so let’s keep it light. Here is a YouTube video that I have designated as woo: it includes the trappings and language of reasoned argument, but uses various smoke and mirrors to dupe the gullible with that sweet-tasting, pseudoscientific woo.

Use the comments to play! Find as many problems as you can with the claims made by the video. Go for the details. Find more than your friends and taunt them with your bragging rights. Have fun!

Think broadly: not just about the Hebrew, but logic and fallacy, scientific inquiry, and so on.

Without further ado:

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8 Responses

  1. So much nonsense, so little time. As one of my Japanese colleagues used to say, “I am amazing.” (Think, “I am sitting.”)

  2. OK, that was painful. Obvious little problems I found:

    1) Phonemes don’t equal graphemes. Pronouncing the name of letters does not indicate a language. The letters (as far as we can tell) were originally used for Phoenician.
    2) The script is wrong. It’s post-classical Aramaic, not the Canaanite script used in pre-exilic Israel.
    3) Hebrew today (especially Israeli Hebrew) is not pronounced the way Hebrew was during the biblical times. The letter names would have sounded different; the waves would have looked different.
    4) Manipulation of sound wave patterns to correspond to 21st century technology does not indicate that Hebrew was a holy language. Unstated assumption going on here. Does God need a star ship?

    As an added aside, the guy obviously tried this and failed to find the right pattern to the wave. However, rather than wondering if the findings were cooked, he just thought he was going it wrong. Ah, isn’t the emperor’s new outfit stunning?

  3. Me, I’d start even further back: Where in the exodus story does it say that the 600k “saw sound”? Looking things over, I think this must come from texts like Exod 20:18, wherein the people “see the thunder (הקלות) and the lightning.” But while the word “thunder” is related to קול “voice,” that doesn’t get us to “seeing sound.”

  4. This is a comment left by a friend on Facebook:

    “Well, that isn’t even good woo. He doesn’t even show us the visual display of those sound waves that supposedly are in the shape of the letters of the Hebrew alphabet. And do you know why he doesn’t show us that display? Because, in reality, if you put the visual display of those soundwaves together according to a formula found in Daniel, you get a portrait of Jesus!”

  5. @ Jim Getz: You spent way too much time on that comment. 🙂

  6. I have tried and failed several times to leave a comment on the video page itself. Anybody have a similar problem? YouTube hangs when I try to comment on that video.

    • I wrote a test comment. I couldn’t see it right away, but after waiting a few minutes then clicking “view all 3 comments,” then it was there. (I have since removed it, since it just said, “test comment.”)

  7. […] have…several…times…used…the…term “woo,” a term used by science bloggers and atheist bloggers to describe instances of […]

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