Ask Ty...July 16 [The Jewish-Fate-Earthquake-Science Question] - UPDATE

It must be Tuesday Friday, Middlespace Cadets, because I'm answering your questions
Q: Dear Ty,

Is "Jewish" a race or a religion? You don't seem to be a man of faith yet you identify yourself with your Jewish roots. What gives?

- chRon in T.O.
Ty: Good question and an even better observation, chRon. It's Friday and I've been up since just before 5:00 a.m. and had my free Starbucks gold card status coffee. I'm ready to roll with a long-form answer, chRon. Let's do this thing!

Judaism is a religion, my brother. It is not a race at all, but the the sum of the commonalities of Jewish practices and the cohesion of the Jewish community cause many people to believe Judaism to be a race. That's simply a cognitive shortcut people take to identify and sort those unlike themselves; you, white, Asian, Hispanic, and Jewish. Shit, some people still think the Jew have horns, right?

Put simply, Jewish is to race what Christian is to politics.

Most importantly, Judaism is a way of life; a set of practices and behaviors common to people who believe in this thing called Judaism. This religion/way-of-life package is a bit complicated in Judaism because of two important historical initiation/self-preservation caveats:
  • A Jew is anyone born to a Jewish mother.
  • A Jew remains Jewish...forever.
As the stories go, you can leave Christianity and Islam, but once a know the rest. You can't even be kicked out for bad behavior. And that's where this non-practicing black (Filipino) Jew called "Julius" comes into the picture. I am apparently and allegedly born into a club that I never visit except to tell people that I belong to it. The members of the club believe I belong to their club but they never see me around the pool. My mother is Jewish. I think it's the funniest thing ever!

As you surmised, I am not at all a man of religious "faith." I do not believe in gods or unicorns or dragons or the Easter Bunny. I believe in science. I'm a data guy; peer reviewed journal articles with significance levels of 5% (0.05), 1% (0.01) and 0.1% (0.001) makes blood swoosh around my brain like nobody's business. Science is my tr00f.

Maybe because I was successful at a world-class university or maybe because I have had some "life experiences" that have shaped how I view the world, chRon, but I believe all religions to be self-propagating pyramid schemes filled with tons of brainwashing and initiation rites that make the activity appear as if it is much more "important" than it really is. And in many religions there is the unsubstantiated promise of an "afterlife" -- suffer now, chill later. For eternity.

What, have I no faith? Nope, I have an education in social psychology.

Yet, I have tempted God fate on more than one occasion to the point where I have been surprised with the outcomes of coincidence. Here are the two that immediately come to mind:
Fate Tempt Example #1: On March 11, 1993 I said aloud for people to hear, "There is no God. If there is a god, I want a sign." I awoke the next morning to a telephone call that my mother had died. Shocking? No. She was sick and she was dying. I knew this. Besides, it is factual that EVERYbody ultimately dies.

But the words, "...if there is a sign..." still echoes in my (h)ear holes. Does this prove or disprove a god? No. It only demonstrates that I have a big mouth and poor timing.

Fate Tempt Example #2: On July 7, 2010 I posted on the Facebucks the following quip: "I miss earthquakes." Haha! Funny, right? Missing earthquakes is kind of ironic or something.

Here's the transcript:
Ty Hardaway July 7 at 8:50pm:
I miss earthquakes.

likes this.

me too!

You are welcome back anytime.

Me too! Except the Northridge one...

Ty Hardaway:
‎@ Serena: I was in Sylmar as a kid and Loma Prieta in grad school. I actually MISSED Northridge by hours. I had just left LAX to fly back to the east and found out about it when I landed. Dangit!

I knew this guy who lived through Loma Prieta.

‎ cream...

‎@Ty - Be glad u missed it. I was in West Hollywood. Close enough to sustain damage to the house, and to my psyche. Having been thru 20 years of earthquakes, the N'ridge one felt E.V.I.L. like no other!!!

Ty Hardaway:
‎@Serena - word! I was literally five miles from Loma Prieta epicenter. In Santa Cruz. I empathize, sister. The aftershocks were massive.
Still, I would have had a pretty good lifetime trifecta with Northridge on my vita.
So what happens to mister-natural-disaster-collector-earthquake-vita this very morning at 5:04 a.m? A fucking earthquake happens, that's what. Here in Maryland.

I happened to be awake this morning because the cat was licking his ass whilst lying atop my legs. I was paralyzed yet wide awake. One sudden move while the cat was in ass licking mode and I'd probably be a fatal cat attack victim. But suddenly "Max" jumped up and bolted for the door.

I was relieved until the house shifted five feet downward and to the south.

CRACK! Rumble, rumble, rumble, rumble, rumble!

A motherfucking Maryland. The fuck is going on, chRon?! I knew it right away too. My wife--although Israeli, not from a seismic region--and I both bolted upright.

Here's the transcript:
The wife:
What was that?!

Ty Hardaway:
[In overly professorial tone]

That, was an earthquake.

[I lay back down to resume sleeping]

The wife:
No it wasn't, it's still going!

Ty Hardaway:
That's how they work! Wait, you're telling me "no?"

[I laughed here]

The wife:
Was it a gas explosion?!

Ty Hardaway:
No! It was an earthquake. Maybe a one on the Richter scale. Maybe two. Why do you have your glasses on?

The wife:
To be ready!

Ty Hardaway:
Ready?! For what?! Lie down, dude!

The wife:
Are you sure it's not gas?

Ty Hardaway:
Do you smell gas?

The wife:

Ty Hardaway:
Go back to sleep!

[Takes glasses off the wife's face and pulls her down to be horizontal but that does not make a woman stop talking]

The wife:
How is this possible?

Ty Hardaway:
Plate tectonics.

The wife:
How is this possible in Maryland?

Ty Hardaway:
Plate tectonics.

Wait! I just posted on the Facebocks that I missed earthquakes! Like a couple of days ago. Weird.

The wife:
What? That's so stupid.

Ty Hardaway:
Seriously, I typed, "I miss earthquakes" like David Blaine or some shit.

The wife:
Why would you miss an earthquake?

Ty Hardaway:
Yes! At 5:04 a.m. today we had an earthquake. Check it:
The U.S. Geological Survey reported a 3.6 magnitude earthquake centered in Montgomery County at 5:04 a.m. Friday. The epicenter was in Gaithersburg near I-270 and Route 124 (39.145 degrees N, 77.222 degrees W), USGS reported in a preliminary finding. Its depth was 3.1 miles.
That's like right exactly under my house. Like the Devil and BP made the earth move under my bed.

As the old saying goes: why didn't I ask for money? On Faceback, I should have typed, "I miss money" or "I miss a pizza" or "I miss Helena Christensen" except I don't believe in all that fate nonsense. Sure coincidences happen and the world is largely chaotic.

With regard to these two Fate Tempt Examples, it's simply fun to note the anomaly of coincidence. Well fun may not be the word for FTE #1, chRon.

See what I just did here, kids? I turned a perfectly important discussion of religion into a trivial discussion of science. I am liberal ivory tower socialistically brainwashing you so you don't go to heaven either.

So I guess my question to you, chRon, is...

Just a guess,


---------------- UPDATE ----------------
The Diaspora Need Not Apply, from NYT