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November 26, 2014 / 4 Kislev, 5775
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Ten Questions on Evolution and Judaism

A Jewish view on Evolution.
Man and Monkey at Jerusalem's Biblical Zoo.

Man and Monkey at Jerusalem's Biblical Zoo.
Photo Credit: Kobi Gideon / FLASH90

“Heresy!” An uproar erupted in parts of Israel yesterday when the Education Ministry announced that evolution will be taught to seventh through ninth grade pupils across the state education system, including in national-religious schools. Evolution is feared by many as being heretical. But is this really the case?

Here are ten questions about evolution and Judaism, along with brief answers. This does not substitute for the detailed discussion that this topic requires; it is merely intended as an introduction.

1) Evolution is alleged to have taken place over millions of years. But doesn’t the Torah teach that the universe was created just a few thousand years ago?

There is a strong (albeit not universal) tradition in Judaism that “the account of creation is not all to be taken literally,” to quote Maimonides. Rav Dovid Tzvi Hoffman (1843-1921), a member of Agudath Israel’s Council of Torah Sages, suggested that the Six Days of Creation were lengthy eras rather than 24-hour periods. Maimonides himself, as the commentaries on the Guide to the Perplexed reveal, was of the view that the Six Days represent a conceptual rather than historical account of creation.

2) Why should schools accommodate evolution? Isn’t it just a theory, not a fact?

“Evolution” is a confusing term, because it covers two very different concepts. One is common ancestry, the concept that all animal life arose from a common ancestor – simple organisms gave rise to fish, fish to amphibians, amphibians to reptiles, reptiles to birds and mammals (without getting into how that could have happened). This is supported by a wealth of converging evidence along with testable predictions. Common ancestry is considered by all scientists (except certain deeply religious ones) to be as well-established as many other historical facts, and is thus often referred to as “the fact of evolution.” It is of immense benefit in understanding the natural world – for example, it tells us why whales and bats share anatomical similarities with mammals, despite their superficial resemblance to fish and birds.

The second and very different aspect of evolution is the mechanism via which one species changes into another. This is called the “theory” of evolution. It is, however, important to bear in mind that the word “theory” has a very different meaning in science than in everyday conversational English. It does not refer to wild speculation, but rather to an explanatory mechanism. Most, though not all, biologists believe that random mutations, coupled with natural selection, broadly suffice to explain this mechanism. The issue is, however, of zero religious significance, as we shall explain in the answer to the next question.

3) How can we accept scientific explanations for how animal life came about? It was God who made everything!

We have a science of meteorology, but that does not stop us from saying that God “makes the wind blow and the rain fall.” We have a science of medicine, but this does not stop us from saying that God “heals the sick.” We have documented history of the process involved in winning the ’67 war, but this does not stop us from talking about God’s miraculous hand. God can work through meteorology, through medicine, through history, and through developmental biology. This is why it makes no difference if the neo-Darwinian explanation of the mechanism for evolution is true or not.

4) Doesn’t the Torah say that animals and man were created from the ground, not from earlier creatures?

Indeed it does. But what does that mean? The blessing recited over bread is “Blessed are You… Who brings bread out of the ground.” But what actually happens is that God created wheat, which man sows, nature grows, and man transforms into bread. Yet the blessing simplifies this in describing God as bringing bread out of the ground. By the same token, the description of God bringing animal life out of the ground can refer to His creating the raw material of nature and the natural processes that lead to the formation of animal life.

About the Author: Rabbi Natan Slifkin is the author of several works on the interface between Judaism and the natural sciences. Later this year he is publishing The Torah Encyclopedia of the Animal Kingdom, and he is currently developing a Biblical Museum of Natural History to be located in the Beit Shemesh region. Rabbi Slifkin's website is www.zootorah.com and he also runs a popular blog at www.rationalistjudaism.com.


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148 Responses to “Ten Questions on Evolution and Judaism”

  1. His views are exactly what I’ve always felt on the topic.

  2. So if there were years or millenia between each “day” of creation, the trees and plants survived centuries or millenia without the sun? Makes sense.

  3. Thanks for posting this … I will read it later … Bound to be interesting !!

  4. And the award for first ignorant post goes to…

    Danny’El Sarmiento Ben Yehudim

    Rather than posting a well thought counter-argument, young Danny opted for snarkiness. Offering no real thought, he threw together a series of words that have almost nothing to do with the article!
    Let’s here it for DANNY!

  5. Pretty right on piece here. This is what differentiates us as Jews from groups like the Christians and Muslims on issues like this.

  6. Archie is that a personal attack? Shows who you worship.. Not the God of Israel.

    And speaking of ignorance, it’s “hear” not “here”. What’s it like down in momma’s basement?

  7. Archie is that a personal attack? Shows who you worship.. Not the God of Israel.

    And speaking of ignorance, it’s “hear” not “here”. What’s it like down in momma’s basement?

  8. Archie is that a personal attack? Shows who you worship.. Not the God of Israel.

    And speaking of ignorance, it’s “hear” not “here”. What’s it like down in momma’s basement?

  9. Man’s wisdom is foolishness to God.

  10. Man’s wisdom is foolishness to God.

  11. Man’s wisdom is foolishness to God.

  12. Sobriety Jon says:

    After watching the film ‘God is not dead’ is like a fresh inspiration.evolution was merely a theory.a theory may be subjective and particular

  13. Good article and allows us to not be associated with the typical “creationists” that left me very uncomfortable with. I’ve studied “evolution” from a child (my first Scholastic Book spoke of it–and scared my mom ;-)) and have been in just the mindset of the article for all these years while also being religious.

  14. Good article and allows us to not be associated with the typical “creationists” that left me very uncomfortable with. I’ve studied “evolution” from a child (my first Scholastic Book spoke of it–and scared my mom ;-)) and have been in just the mindset of the article for all these years while also being religious.

  15. check out a book by Gerald Schroeder, called the ” Genesis and the Big Bang”. Excellent explanations.

  16. Karen Bryant says:

    God will have the last word on this.

  17. Since God could speak and cause the world to form, is it not possible that he also chose to use evolution’s process to create all things on earth; we would still be a creation of God from the earth. Consider this: if evolution were not a part of God’s plan, where did the word or science for it come from and why would He allow such strong evidence of it? I believe God created me, but, I don’t discount His choice in which he may have done it. Denying this as a possibility, is denying God’s ability to be creative. It matters not how we came to be, but that we believe that we are a creation of God, as all things are, from the beginning.

  18. Verona John says:

    원숭같은..딤승들도 사람라고..진짜사람들를 죽이는 딤승들의 과정!

  19. Carl Brandon says:

    God means what he says and says what He means….When the finite tell the infinite how things should be it strikes me as foolishness.

  20. whatever it is we are here. we have deal with our lives. we’re yids. we have Torah. millions of years or minutes. time passes.

  21. Hay ! I am Jewish and did not come from no Monkey ! Darwin is a drugged up moron !

  22. Lize Bartsch says:

    You have a serious theological problem putting death before the fall into sin. G-d’s sovereign power and command is at stake. He said, Do NOT eat of that tree or else you die!! Death came after rebellion and disobedience. Also it is a retarded god who cannot create it right the first time but needs a process of death to try and try again. Also THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS A SIMPLE UNCOMPLICATED CELL, OR LIFE FORM, ALL LIFE FORMS ARE STAGGERINGLY COMPLEX – EVEN A SINGLE CELL!!!

  23. Lize Bartsch says:

    What would you do with half a washing machine or half a micro wave??? Half a thing is useless. Everything in nature is inter connected. Did the flowers wait a 1000 years for the bees to turn up to pollenate them???

  24. Lize Bartsch says:

    Why are there all over the planet trees petrified upside down oven dozens of strata which are each supposed to represent millions of years??? Why are their huge clams fossilized on top of high mountains? Why do many mountain ranges have soft W shaped curves in their strata – it is because they formed during the flood while the mud was still soft and then hardened. Why are their fossil graveyards of dinosaurs and other creatures together like you would find in a Tsunami – lots of bodies buried quickly together not one by one as things die of old age. All this and many more questions are answered in the CMI FB page and website – Creation Ministries International.

  25. Lize Bartsch says:

    Scientists know that the planets and stars in the universe are moving all the time away from each other, this is not a problem if the earth is only a few thousand years old, but billions or even millions of years ago the sun would have been on top of the earth!!! If the sun moves further away from the earth half a meter per year you could add up how close it was 10 million years ago!!!

  26. Jonathan, a thousand years are like yesterday…. Or like a day, if you will…. Now think of six days of creation and on the seventh day He rested. Now if ever thousand years can be applied to one day of creation…. The first day of creation is equal to 1000 years, the second day is equal to 1000 years, etc…. Then since it seems we're getting close to the end of the 6th 1000th year mark, maybe we can start looking forward to the 1000 years of rest… The lion shall lie down with the lamb, etc… Think about it. If you want to try to say that evolution is true because 1000 is equal to one day…. That's a far stretch if you try to apply billions of years to that passage.

    Jeff, if you look at the 'evidence' I think you'll find that most for evolution is put out there with a bias flare to it. The sun…. Big mass of energy that is shrinking at a constant rate. If you add billions of years of constant shrinkage that would've happened to the sun, you would have a massive sun that would've been so big that it would've encompassed the earth. One simple fact that throws the lies of evolution to the dirt. There is a lot more facts on line for a six day creation if you are brave enough, and don't let your emotions and pride dictate your decisions. Respectfully, rich

  27. Dan Silagi says:

    I never said he was.

  28. Bobby James says:

    You don't have to be a Rabbi to understand the Torah.

  29. Bobby James says:

    The glory of the One who gave the Torah to Moses is indeed worthy. Evolutionary teachings have no place in the Truth of creation revealed by the Creator.

  30. Arthur C. Hurwitz You should've said: "Rabbinical Judaism". You are probably aware of the Torah Judaism of the Eretz Israel, are you not? The one that our forefathers practiced until the Rabbinical Judaism has taken over?

  31. Bobby James It is clear that you are entirely ignorant about the discussion of this matter in the Jewish learning tradition. Judaism has never taken any part of the Bible literally, ever…. That is a fundamentalist Christian obsession….

  32. Dan Silagi says:

    That may be true, but today's ultra-orthodox rabbinical retards sure aren't. They're no better than their fundamentalist Christian and Islamic counterparts.

  33. Dan Silagi says:

    The behavior of mankind, in such mundane matters as breeding dogs, prove that evolution exists, and that the process can be vastly sped up by creating the conditions which lead to change.

  34. Dan Silagi says:

    If God did not want mankind to leave the Garden of Eden, He wouldn't have created the conditions for temptation, starting with planting the Tree of Knowledge. I guess God wanted mankind to be as dumb as a stalk of asparagus, but created in His image.

    To me, this is Exhbit B that the Bible is allegorical. Exhibit A is that the universe is 13.8 billion years old, not 5,775 1/2.

  35. Lize Bartsch says:

    Genesis 3 tells the whole account of how Adam and Eve sinned against God the first time and the punishment for their disobedience. Satan, who spoke to Eve twisting the Word of God, was by then already in rebellion against God's authority (wanting to have God's position Isaiah 14, but the office was not available – there is only one self existing God, the rest of us had a beginning) along with one third of the angelic world who voted for his political party. He came stealthily just like he does today to get someone to watch porn for the first time of start smoking,etc. Satan is the god of SELF and that is what we see in the world today, no one wants to live sacrificially anymore but live for hedonistic pleasures regardless the high cost of destroying what God created so perfectly. You cannot wash your clothes in an oven or bake a cake in a washing machine, it was not designed for that.
    God created with a purpose but He wanted mankind to have a free will, not love Him preprogrammed like a robot. Even today most of our suffering is because of the fact that God honors other people's free will even when they make bad choices. This should not make us bitter but trust Him to protect us and love those regardless because they might also one day turn to God for salvation.
    According to Christianity the Lord Jesus Christ was sent as an atonement for our sins so that anyone who turns to Him for salvation are set free from sin and bondage and the eternal punishment for sin (to be forever banned from God's presence to a place where neither He nor His benefits are – light, color, grace, food, animals, trees, etc ) and given a new heart after the stony rebellious heart is taken out. I would anytime convert to Judaism (which is to me the best of all religions in the world) but I cannot deny the fact that God saved me and changed me completely after I prayed that prayer surrendering my life to Him, He gave me also a hunger and thirst for Him Word and opened it up to me, while before I thought the Word was boring afterward I could not stop reading it until today many years later. He is real His creation is real and awesome, and His offer to man is real or I am a lunatic, take your pic.

  36. Dan Silagi: If they are or are not "no better than their fundamentalist Christian and Islamic counterparts" is a different question and I really don't want to "go there." But all of them would agree that reading the Bible without the Rabbinic commentaries is irrelevant and even misleading. Judaism does not consider the Bible as a stand alone text which should be understood as having religious meaning via a literal understanding of the text without commentaries. Do some research to confirm this… Moreover, there is no definitive view of the age of the world or the origins of life which negates scientific findings. Yes, there are people who do believe that the world is 5,000 years old and created in six literal days, but there have always been other authorities which have offered alternative views, not merely in the modern period but throughout the post-Temple era, that is to say the last 2,000 years.

  37. Michael Felgin This point is debatable, but also irrelevant. When I write "Judaism," I mean the Jewish religion as it it practiced today, which some would describe as "Rabbinical Judaism."

  38. Eric Goberman says:

    In the US.. we came from England.. why are there still English ? Because not everyone left england

    It doesn't say we "came from monkeys" and even if it did, it would mean SOME monkeys separated and evolved while others went a different way

  39. Eric Goberman says:

    Bobby James I think you should keep your bible literalism in check.

    Jews have never taken it literally -including JC.

    To do so does a disservice to G-d..and the torah.

    Only the simple minded think the Fox in Aesop's fables can talk.. That's what you're doing

  40. Eric Goberman says:

    Richard Giddens The sun expands and contracts.. and it's doing fine in it's young age of 4 billion years

    Evolution is a fact.. ignoring it won't make it go away – it just makes one look foolish

  41. Eric Goberman says:

    /Evolutionists claim much but cannot prove anything./

    science never proves anything. Evolution is fact -and we have the chemistry to show it. Evolution is falsifiable..it just hasn't been. Evolution is demonstrable- we have articles and findings daily that show it. Evolution is visible – we have common descent, genetics, that cannot be denied,.

    If you are a scientist, as you claim, then all of that arm waving needs to be supported since each and every things you said can be shown to be false:

    /because it is impossible for it to happen in the first place/

    it's chemistry.. are you implying that chemistry doesn't work or just that you don't understand it ?

    //Six days of 24 hrs per day fit very well with nature while understanding that God created everything in a mature state. //

    Really ? All adults with no belly buttons > quite an assertion with no evidence but one book whose purpose is

    NOT. SCIENCE…

  42. Dan Silagi

    It is not the text itself but how it is understood. So this last remark, completely irrelevant. Whatever was intended by its original compiler(s), is irrelevant. How it is understood in the Jewish religion today, that is what is under discussion here.

    Furthermore, if the Bible did have many authors and if it is, as many academic say, a fusion of different books by different authors, then a more proper and accurate phrasing of your remark might be "the Bible's editor(s) compiled it as a stand alone text."

  43. Hrant George says:

    Isn't there an admonition about bearing false witness in your mythology? If you studied for 60+ years you certainly haven't learned much.

  44. This is the one commandment they think irrelevant because fort these sort of people, the ends always justifies the means and that can never be the outlook of true religion.

  45. Lize Bartsch says:

    Nothing has even ordered itself into complex mechanisms, I don't care if you add another few billion years. The Law of entropy goes rather from order to disorder when there's no maintenance, not the other way around.

  46. Eric Goberman says:

    Lize Bartsch Yet we have gravity, evolution, plants,

    While the WHOLE is going toward entropy that doesn't imply each component is

  47. I have to come to the aid of Benz which is, in fact, the truth. In the Koran it does say that the world was created during a period of six days, but, as was and is the case in Jewish religious learning, the commentators and Muslim ulima, religious scholars, postulated that this was either alegorical or that the Koran's terminology, that is to say in an Islamic context, God's terminology, is not properly understood by mere men. I am not really versed in this issue but perhaps, you, Benz, can help me out….

  48. Miki Bacsi I am still waiting for someone to offer a credible alternative view of the origins of the Earth, life on Earth, and the origins and nature of the universe than that offered by mainstream science which remains the most credible theory and explanation. I am open to it… where is it?

    If you don't think that the Torah gave us the correct version of Creation, then what do you think that correct version is?

  49. Miki Bacsi Why do you think that this view which you articulated above contradict the findings of mainstream settled Science?

  50. Glenny Mercury Lpn Don't be so egotistical and self-referential. Muslims have many other things to do and think about besides killing Jews. What I wrote was factual and is entirely removed from the question of if they "..would gladly slit your (my) throat or not…." This is independent of the question of if I am self-loathing or not. Do you believe in objective facts?

  51. The only Religion obsessed with a Biblical literal account of the creation of the world, man and the Cosmos is is Christianity.

  52. Eric Goberman says:

    Miki Bacsi When G-d leaves a calling card we'll take it.

    In the meantime, we are commanded to learn science and the world..

    It has no effect on our faith

  53. Glenny Mercury Lpn I have never addressed the question of if they would kill us or not in this thread. I have only addressed factual information about the Islamic approach the origins of the Universe, the Cosmos, and the Earth. I have never written anywhere in this threat "surely they wont kill us" so please don't ascribe to me postulations which were never mine. By the way, you live in Michigan and in Michigan there are many many Arabs. Do you fear them killing you there?

  54. Thats kind of a loaded question isn't it? TY for coming to the aid of a poor Muslim. I've read the Koran, The Torah, The Talmud & the Bible front to back. You sir are Fraternizing with the enemy. It's a dangerous game.

  55. Glenny Mercury Lpn

    Yes, very dangerous, on the Internet. Meanwhile, he is in Algeria and I am in New York, two places very far away from each other.

    You fail to understand the concept of academic discussion. I am not coming to his aid in any way other than to contribute to the discussion because no one else knows anything about what he was saying or their prejudices and ignorance blind them to his points. I am also reading and reading, and since I do know something about this subject in Judaism, it would interest me to know what the Muslims think about it as well..

  56. Benz Amine says:

    Glenny Mercury Lpn if we were face to face right now discussing i would be dead.
    "they want to kill us" so let's kill them before they do, that's what waged wars in the arab and muslims and killed hundreds of thousands of muslims in the name of fighting terrorism.
    your friend is wise, you should stay objectif in academic discussions so you can understand all the opinions and know the truth.

  57. Benz Amine says:

    Arthur C. Hurwitz koran says that the universe was created in six days, in a verse it says a day is like 50000 in our calendar, in another 1000 years,..etc
    koran does not give stories of how the world was created or stories of the prophets and ancient nations only if it had a "moral".
    first islamic scholars fascinated with science had to go to the torah and talmud, and the bible to give religious explanation to science, and they called it "israeliat", in this days many muslims believe in most of the "israeliats" like giant humans,…etc
    when evolution dabate started, muslim scholars stoud up with chrestian creationists and took their arguments.
    but in this days, many start to believe in evolution with little conditions.
    for me i don't see a contradiction between koran and evolution, like this article says, we know the scientific explanations of wind and rain, but we still say that gods sends the winds and drops the rain, it could be the same in creation, but i don't know this returns to scholars.

  58. Glenny Mercury Lpn Please stop assuming you know what my opinions are about anything… Furthermore, if what you say is what you think, then I would advise you to move out of Michigan…

  59. Arthur C. Hurwitz G-d however does. Dan Silagi, it's called free will. Your argument is invalid because G-d created us with free will. Kinda neat how you know more than the Creator of the Multi-Verse, Nice try though :-)

  60. Dan Silagi says:

    Glenny Mercury Lpn So God wants us to be as dumb as a stalk of asparagus? I guess that's why he created you.

  61. Glenny, are you saying that G-d recognized the concept of Original Sin but Judaism doesn't? If so, have you changed religions?

  62. Benz-One of the Koranic verses provided states that Allah gave the Holy Land to the sons of Israel until the Day of Judgment (Surah Al-Ma’ida, verse 21), and the other (Surah Al-Shara’a, verse 59) says that the land was bequeathed to the Jews. Put that in your pipe and smoke it. Art just cause we disagree doesn't mean I need to move lol, I was beginning to think you might have a hunk of a brain until you said that.SMH

  63. Lize Bartsch says:

    Must have been hard for those flowers to wait a thousand years for the bees to evolve and other insects to pollenate them!! Problem is that all of nature is eco systems dependent on each other. :)

  64. Glenny Mercury Lpn So Glenny, you are not even Jewish at all… You are an American Fundamentalist Christian…! Only an American fundamentalist Christian could be so full of hate, racism, and the tendency to bear false witness…
    ..

  65. Eric Goberman says:

    Lize Bartsch It would have been… if that were evolution but it isn't/.

    That's the kind of dishonest argument that christian fundies make when they make up stuff about things they don't understand

  66. Lize Bartsch says:

    You have not answered my question but to try to ridicule it, that's what atheists usually do, attack the person's character instead of answering questions scientifically. I have studied the 'process of evolution', there is NO evidence whatsoever for it. There is lots of evidence all over the earth for a worldwide flood. So then they came up with the silly theory of 'punctuated equilibrium' when the fossil record of intermediate forms delivered nothing.

  67. Miki Bacsi says:

    Dear Lize,

    I think you are Christian. I am Jewish, so I look at the theory of "original sin" from another viewpoint, and have some reservations concerning that..
    If you want to have an interesting reading on the Bible (and I have nothing to do with this book, I didn't write it) I suggest you the look at Who Wrote the Bible, from Friedman:
    http://www.amazon.com/Wrote-Bible-Richard-Elliott-Friedman/dp/0060630353

    If you read it you will see that there were two similar traditions in "original" Judaism and if you once read the book and then the Torah according to the divided versions you will actually agree with me that according to one of the versions the Israelite priests apparently believed in the fable of original sin, too, which is not too surprising.

    But under the term "imperfect" I rather meant that our bodies could have been designed in a way that we don't need eat, drink, breath and we would still be alive. Or, we could have been designed with steel limbs … etc, which can be easily fixed and doesn't even hurt.

  68. Miki Bacsi says:

    Eric Goberman, I challenged G-d, too, concerning the calling card. :-)
    It's among my poems.

    But I also realized that in this world everything has an opposite (good <> bad, "light <> darkness" etc) except for G-d.
    And we perceive, or recognize each and every one of these opposites for the exact reason that they have opposites. For example if we lived in constant darkness we wouldn't know that we live in darkness. Of course we wouldn't have a clue about light either.

    Therefore, since G-d does not have an opposite we can't perceive G-d even though He is most likely "all over the place", we don't even need to outreach our hands.

    On the other hand it is commendable to learn science and nature. The more we learn the more we realize that we know nothing. And that nothing in our case means we don't know how G-d did all these, but we realize this world can exists only by Creation.

  69. Miki Bacsi says:

    Yes Arthur, but it only proves that the same "Person" created them all. Our biosphere is a big ecosystem. The living things depend on each other. Therefore, to me, it is hard to imagine why would G-d have created animals with characteristics that renders them independent of plants. Or why would G-d have created humans in a way that they don't need to take plants and animal flesh in order to survive physically?

    So, of course, all living forms are related, very similar. I can't see how similarity proves either evolution or Creation.

  70. Miki Bacsi says:

    Dan, in Judaism we believe the same way. Strictly sticking to the literal meaning, the Garden of Eden was not meant to be a condition in which mankind should have lived forever as cows. (By the way this is the reason why a lot of religious Jews do not believe in a Heaven in which only the good people will live forever, doing nothing but praise G-d "all day". The exception are those Jews who have been affected by Christianity, they just can't see it in their infinite righteousness. :-) )
    And then if we take the story of Eden allegorically we open a very wide door for possible interpretations.

    By the way I suggest to you a book from a physicist, who became a rabbi. In this book he guesses the age of the world to 15 billion years – and all that is based on the Biblical account. Of course, not literally:
    http://www.amazon.ca/Sefer-Yetzirah-The-Book-Creation/dp/0877288550
    I have nothing to do with this book.
    And I think you will love it even if you are an atheist.

  71. Miki Bacsi says:

    Glenny Mercury Lpn, you will need to reread the Ten Commandments. (And let's not mention here the Talmud in this respect which is much worse…)
    In the commandment where G-d commands men not be jealous and do not desire his fellow man's possessions one of the possessions mentioned is the man's wife.
    How do you interpret that?

  72. Miki Bacsi says:

    Naomi Smith, according to the Creation account the time that take G-d to form space, Earth and the Sun was one day..
    "And there was evening and there was morning one day."
    Note that almost all translations mention "first day" and not "one day".
    On the other hand nobody knows how many seconds, hours, days, weeks, months, years it took for G-d to do these in this world.
    Above I posted an interesting book about this subject:
    http://www.amazon.ca/Sefer-Yetzirah-The-Book-Creation/dp/0877288550
    I have nothing to do with this book.

  73. Dan Silagi says:

    Miki, I'm Jewish, although not observant, and certainly not an atheist. I believe our job as Jews (and this goes for those of all religions) is to discover God, to wrestle with Him, as did Abraham, and to reconcile religion and science. I will check this book out.

  74. Dan Silagi says:

    I am one of those Jews. I have attended many many rock concerts, including a half-dozen by the band whose lead singer is the Son of Satan himself. I am also 100% Jewish, and woe to the fool who'd be unwise enough to call me a non-Jew to my face.

  75. Lize Bartsch says:

    Dan, my dear friend, you earnestly need to repent of your idolatry. I prayed many years for my one son who was in the world and worldly things, he repented and came to the Lord two years ago, today he is a man of G-d who finds his pleasures no longer in temporal pleasures this world has to offer but in studying the Word and meditating thereon, Psalm 1 and preaching even in prisons. You don't have the right definition of being Jewish and neither am I afraid of you to say it in your face for your own benefit.

  76. Lize Bartsch says:

    Dan lol, if you breed dogs they don't become giraffes, they are still dogs!! Neither have any of them developed fins or wings or hoofs

  77. Lize Bartsch says:

    It was Jacob who wrestled with God, not Abraham. After the wrestle his name was changed to Israel. Having a true wrestle with G-d will always end up in your nature changed and that your flesh becomes less important but your character more. Jacob was weakened during the wrestle and was half cripple afterward.

  78. Miki Bacsi It doesn't prove anything other than that the notion that Man is a being entirely separate from other lifeforms on the earth is entirely false. This was the prevailing given assumption prior to the mid-19th Century. It doesn't, however, prove that there was a "Creator" either…

  79. Glenny Mercury Lpn Ergo, you are not Jewish at all…

  80. Lize Bartsch says:

    Yes, you don't only have matter, there are laws in the physical world and the world is also fine tuned. If you have laws you need a Law Giver.

  81. Eric Goberman says:

    Lize Bartsch We wrote the laws based on our observations. They only apply to our universe as we can see and measure it. They may not apply everywhere ((black holes) or in a different incarnation of the universe

    There is no science law giver..if you think there is ..feel free to provide evidence..otherwise they are just observations that man has made

  82. Eric Goberman says:

    Lize Bartsch / world is also fine tuned./

    not for life and not for humans. 99.999 % f the universe is fatal to man.

    75% of the surface of the earth is fatal to man

    the earth orbit varies 5 million miles in radius during the year

    the sun causes cancer and destroys our cells

    there is no fine tuning.

    For fundamentalists who have no knowledge of science it sounds great

    When one learn science one understands the implications in that statement – they stop making it.

    We have life on one planet.. why do we have more than a sextillion of them ? Why not just one..

    Why has it taken 13 billion years for the earth to develop life ? Why not right away ?

  83. Eric Goberman : "For fundamentalists who have no knowledge of science (fine tuning) sounds great." If you had read http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fine-tuned_Universe before you wrote that, you wouldn't have written that.

  84. Eric Goberman : I'm not sure who you mean to include when you say "Jews" have never taken any part of the Bible literally. Were there not rabbis who wrote books defending the geocentric theory of the world?

  85. Eric Goberman says:

    Miki Bacsi Knowing science does not dispute G-d. Science says nothing of G-d ..nor does it need to

  86. Eric Goberman says:

    Phil Silverman THe ubiverse is not fine turned.. it is quite naive to think it is.

    Your article appears to agree with you.. but not if you read it closely..

    We appear to the former..

    Reasoning fails to distinguish between minimally biophilic universes, in which life is permitted, but only marginally possible, and optimally biophilic universes, in which life flourishes because biogenesis occurs frequently"

  87. Eric Goberman : If you had said that at first, I wouldn't have commented.

  88. Eric Goberman : The wiki page lists some highly respected non-Creationists, who are a lot smarter than either of us in their fields, who believe the universe was fine-tuned for life to be possible. Period. That's enough to show that your claim is misguided.

  89. Eric Goberman says:

    Phil Silverman /who believe the universe was fine-tuned for life to be possible/

    yet there is no evidence of such.. just belief. There are those who believe there are aliens.. there are those who believe the are none.. neither have evidence..

    the default is not to believe an outlandish assertion without any evidence whatsoever

  90. Eric Goberman says:

    Phil Silverman Back to the Torah.. Do we quibble over the literal words of the bible while losing site of the message ? Do we require that every sentence be reality and lose the philosophy ?

    Do we argue whether the fox or the crow could speak and what language ? Or do we understand that we get the message without getting embroiled in the means it was communicated ?

  91. Eric Goberman says:

    Dan Silagi /and to reconcile religion and science. /

    what is there to reconcile ? Religion and science do not intersect.. they are different things with different purposes

    Science is how we look at and understand the natural world.
    Religion is for our soul (so to speak)

    There is no science in the Torah ..there is nothing to contradict

  92. Eric Goberman "there is no evidence of such.. just belief. " — So, when you confidently assert "THe (sic) ubiverse (sic) is not fine turned (sic)", is that a belief or a fact? You compare the scientists Dicke, Hoyle, Gribbin, and Rees to believers in aliens. Gevalt.
    Concerning "back to the Torah", your questions are all good. They go off in a new direction as far as your and my previous conversation is concerned, but maybe the questions fit in better with your and Lisa's conversation.

  93. Eric Goberman says:

    Phil Silverman That's OK.. still good to have the conversation

  94. Eric Goberman says:

    Phil Silverman Assertions are assertions. Why should I suddenly accept an assertion because of who said it. Without evidence it can come from Hoyle the scienctists or Hoyle the bridge player.

    It remains an unfounded assertion..and as such requires evidence.

    The difference between Jews and others is that we DO discuss and argue the words and the syntax and the meanings. We are open to try to understand as much as we can.

    The difference between (Maimonides and Hillel) vs Comfort and Ham) is beyond vast

  95. Eric Goberman says:

    Lize Bartsch / have studied the entire Bible through and through and meditated on it for many years/

    If only you had spent a fraction of that time studying science

  96. Eric Goberman : It's true that science says nothing of God, but scientISTS sure say something.

  97. Bobby James says:

    Why have the Torah if it is just a foolish story? Then a lot of national history happened for nothing. I trust the Torah… every word. It is the truth of the Creator.

  98. Eric Goberman says:

    Lize Bartsch // You don't have the right definition of being Jewish and neither am I afraid of you to say it in your face for your own benefit.//

    the irony "No true scotsman" applied to a jew by a fundamental christian..who doesn't understand christianity

  99. Eric Goberman says:

    Bobby James Then you probably miss the point of the Torah in the same way fundamental christians miss the point of the New Testament. Completely

  100. Eric Goberman says:

    Bobby James Other than you. who used the word "foolish" ?

  101. Eric Goberman says:

    Phil Silverman I can't help their foolishness. I do object to it, though.

    The hundreds and thousands of hours I have spent learning and using science .. there has never been a comment about G-d at all.. no where.

    If there were – it wouldn't be text I could trust

  102. Eric Goberman : Are you asserting that Gribbins and Rees' book doesn't count as evidence?

  103. Bobby James says:

    Eric Goberman You did when you said "foolishly"

  104. Eric Goberman : Well, you used the word "foolish", but I think Bobby James misinterpreted your context.

  105. Eric Goberman says:

    Lize Bartsch The argument you used is old and tired..and a strawman.

    What did we do until mouths developed
    What did giraffes do while waiting for their long necks ?

    THe questions make no sense directly and show a complete lack of knowledge or understanding of evolution.

    Things CO evolved. The eye didn't pop up on one critter and the spread through the population..

    a cell or cell cluster had a mutation that made it responsive to light. By being responsive it was more able to avoid predation and survive to make more copies of offspring. That change became the norm for the population.

    There is are several scholarly articles about the eye, or the digestive system, and others that show how they changed over millions of years.

    Horse have the same forelimb construction that we do. A humerous,.. a radius and an ulna, and a wrist..but oddly the have only one toe that we call a hoof. The hoof itself is just a fingernail. the other four toes have disappeared.

    We know this because we have the fossils of horses that date back millions of years, from the time they were the size of a dog to today.

    The evidence is there.. If you want to see scientific articles I would be more than happy to help you find some that are interesting and not dry as fossils in a desert

  106. Eric Goberman says:

    Bobby James Reading it incorrectly is foolish.. that's on the person

    that doesn't mean the text is foolish.

  107. Bobby James says:

    I see… Divine revelation can be trumped by scientific "fact" from those the Divine created because they have devised a system to knowingly unlock the history of the world! Now the argument is in full context. thanks for the clarification. Warning: If the book is flawed in one area it cannot be trusted fully in any area.

  108. Eric Goberman says:

    Bobby James Fundy Christianity does not apply to Jewish Teachings.

    save it for the bible belt..

    Science has made no commentary on divine revelation..it's supernatural while science is natural

    show some evidence and science will take a look.

    /Warning: If the book is flawed in one area it cannot be trusted fully in any area./

    only if you take it literally.

    For YOU it MUST be flawed

    to the Jews..it's just fine and still as meaningful and without flaw as it has been for over 3000 years

    Sorry for your loss

  109. Eric Goberman says:

    Phil Silverman This is going to sound more snarky than I want.. Is spiderman evidence of spiderman ?

    They wrote a book.. and (like many others) see what they want. There remains no evidence that the universe is fine tuned for life.. I think the evidence is reverse..

    If it were fine tuned then the universe would have been created and life would have existed up front.. from the start. 14 billion years ? A billion + years until the conditions on earth allowed for self replicating molecules ? Man couldn't have survived earth a billion years ago.

    no.. Life formed in this tiny sliver of time, on this microscopic dot called earth ..because it could.. not because it was fine tuned

  110. Eric Goberman : "If it were fine tuned then the universe would have been created and life would have existed up front.. from the start. " — A sensible theory, but inconclusive.

  111. Eric Goberman says:

    Phil Silverman We have 15 billion years. trillions of planets that appear to be earthlike… mathematically there's a good chance that life did, does, or will exist elsewhere…

    so much for fine tuning of our little blue speck of dust in the universe

  112. Eric Goberman : "a cell or cell cluster had a mutation that made it responsive to light." Maybe so. But I think you should remember to word it as though it's a theory. "

  113. Eric Goberman says:

    Phil Silverman Theory is the highest we get in science. Gravity is equally "Only a theory"..

    The evolution of the eye is quite amazing..and we have numerous examples alive today that show the various stages..

    Sadly, our eyes is only moderately effective compared to other animals..but it works

  114. Eric Goberman says:

    Phil Silverman If you['re interested

    http://www.wimp.com/eyeevolution/

    and yes. Science most often caveats with may/maybe/perhaps.

    Science is not absolute.. it never "proves" it can only explain with the facts at hand.. New facts may mean updated explanations..

    I wouldn't have it any other way !

    Math booze and photos deal with proof..:)

  115. Eric Goberman : I know all about theory, and how it's the highest we get in science. That does not take anything away from what I said, though. Concerning the various stages — we know we can create a sequence; we just don't know if this specimen turned into that specimen. To blur that distinction is a serious omission.

  116. Eric Goberman : Billions of years and trillions of planets are nothing compared to some of the probabilities that the scientists are telling us. The following numbers represent the maximum deviation from the accepted values, that would either prevent the universe from existing now, not having matter, or be unsuitable for any form of life.
    Ratio of Electrons:Protons 1:10^37
    Ratio of Electromagnetic Force:Gravity 1:10^40
    Expansion Rate of Universe 1:10^55
    Mass Density of Universe1 1:10^59
    Cosmological Constant 1:10^120
    I know, I know, "no evidence", right?

  117. Eric Goberman says:

    Phil Silverman the evidence is overwhelming for evolition.. and more than that.. it's so simple and elegant.. natural or god inspried.. it's amazing

    back later.. daddy duty

  118. Eric Goberman : Please don't change the topic from the theory of eye evolution to the theory of evolution in general.

  119. Miki Bacsi Another point: For the sake of argument, let's stipulate that carbon dating is completely false. Then how old do you think that the Earth is and moreover, based on what observations and evidence do you draw your conclusions?

  120. Eric Goberman ..or have a longer neck, at least..

  121. Eric Goberman says:

    Phil Silverman Biological evolution is all the same.. whether it's the eye or hearing or digestion. No one is really more complex than the other.

    Random mutations that are either good bad or indifferent

    good provides some reproductive advantage

    The advantage (and the benign) is passed to the next generation by common descent.

    add a billion years and we get all sorts of changes. They aren't great advantages, they are just moderate advantages.

  122. Eric Goberman : You say that the evidence for evolition (sic) is overwhelming. Fine. But if you don't differentiate between the fact of evolution and the theories as to its mechanism, you're not going to win any debates. The theories as to the mechanism of eye evolution is *not* the same as the fact that it evolved. You *know* the eye evolved, but you *think* you know *how* it evolved. You should choose your wording to show you know the difference.

  123. Eric Goberman says:

    Phil Silverman The theory(ies) of how the eye evolved is pretty consistent among the scientists who study it. Science never states (and I apologize if I did) that the theory is final/proof/done. Nothing is science is every proven.. again, math, booze, and photos deal in proof), science can only take the facts (all available) and explain them. When it reaches the stage of theory, it's pretty solid.

    Falsifiable – absolutely.. it's just that the chances of that are rare.

    We have seen the Theory of Flight corrected recently.. it was flawed for a hundred years.. New evidence..new tests.. and the theory was rewritten.

    It might happen to evolution…we can only wait and see what the evidence says

  124. Eric Goberman says:

    Phil Silverman I missed this earlier.. Sorry !

    But we are here… We can play games with the stats but they don't change the facts. It just makes it more amazing

  125. Miki Bacsi says:

    Hi Dan, Wow, we could be brothers! :-)
    I think the same way you do. Well, OK… I am a little bit observant. I am one of those "pick and choose Jew." :-)

  126. Miki Bacsi says:

    Hi Arthur,

    I have no idea how G-d created the world, but as one of those ignorant ones I pray to G-d every day to reveal it to me. So far He didn't. :-)
    The sequence given in the Torah is possible only because G-d could have done it that way, if He really wanted to.
    But I think of another sequence that seems to be more aligned with scientific facts we know today.

    As for the age of the Earth I cannot even guess. All absolute dating are absolute jokes, including the uranium/thorium method, so I can't even guess it. Besides, in my humble view everything in our world is expanding, which includes time as well. If we look at it that way, a year which we measure today was a second or even less at the time of Creation.

    But then there are some interesting things:
    If planet Earth had dry continents and oceans for billions of years, all our oceans and seas should be as salty, if not saltier than the the Dead Sea in Israel.
    On the other hand when scientists drill down into the ice close to the north pole or at Antarctica they can count the yearly layers of ice. And they count hundreds of thousands of such layers. I just hope they don't cheat with it.

    And then we can talk about a hook shaped nail found in a column of coal in a coal mine, in which the coal was supposed to be 300 million years old.

    So, I am just as perplexed as anyone else. :-)

  127. In other words, you have nothing to offer other than disputing Mainstream Scientific findings… that's fine but as I wrote earlier, I am waiting for a proposed alternative.

  128. Eric Goberman says:

    Phil Silverman I was replying to your post about how statistically rare life is and how if one itty bitty thing changed..we wouldn't be.

  129. Eric Goberman But it doesn't cause you to pause and ponder, "hmm, maybe it *was* fine-tuned"?

  130. Eric Goberman says:

    Phil Silverman Not at all. 99% of the universe is fatal to life ..80% of the earth is fatal to humans..

    It took 12-14 billion years for earth to be habitable for humans.. If we accept the scientific theories then life developed around what was available..then adapted as the earth changed.

    If life started at the same time then I would wonder.

    We also only know life on our planet.. With the trillion trillion other planets that may be habitable by some life..who knows what we'll someday find. Worlds that are fatal to us but home to millions of other species that can't live on earth

  131. Miki Bacsi says:

    Arthur, I think you will be waiting for a long time. :-)

  132. Miki Bacsi says:

    " Science says nothing of G-d ..nor does it need to "

    Eric, that is the problem with today's science. If you spent so much time studying science you should know that G-d and science lived very close and very well together for thousands of years and science was evolving.
    If I correctly recall even Darwin said that the first life on Earth was made by G-d.

    Locking G-d completely out of science is known only for 100-120 years, and this actually means those scientists whose publications are not decried or jeered at by the atheist crowd.
    What today's scientists do is the same thing I saw in the commie country I grew up. Anyone with a different opinion is mocked and bumped, or been elbowed into a corner.

    But then, I am not worried. As soon as one of us will be able to make a functional living cell in a lab even you will realize that life had to be started by Someone.

  133. Miki Bacsi says:

    Arthur C. Hurwitz , the main issue are two issues:
    Does G-d exist in a realm which also has a form of time?
    Or the realm of G-d has no time whatsoever?
    Things like "what the characteristics of G-d are" I don't even ask. I just would like to know in "what" does He exist?

    Oh… I don't believe too much in mainstream science any more. And most importantly I can't believe that science was, is or ever will be settled. At least not until G-d settles all the issues for us, but for that He will have to manifest Himself to all of us.
    Before that science will be in a constant change. 100 years from now our grandchildren will laugh their asses off at our current theories.

  134. Eric Goberman says:

    Miki Bacsi /If you spent so much time studying science you should know that G-d and science lived very close and very well together for thousands of years and science was evolving. /

    and yet.. they don't actually intersect.

    Newton said god designed the planetary orbits and couldn't figure out the equations.. LaPlacce did it for him

    Flight was for the gods.. we have airplanes

    man first thought fire came from the gods in the form of lightning.. we have zippo lighters..

    The Torah is not a science book..Maimonides said that if science(Fact & Reality) and the Torah disagree – reinterpret the Torah.

    It does not diminish G-d in the slightest

    //Locking G-d completely out of science is known only for 100-120 years, and this actually means those scientists whose publications are not decried or jeered at by the atheist crowd. /

    Yet 33% of the Nobel winners are Jewish..

    What does it matter whether it was 100-120 days or 100-120 centuries ? G-d is not "locked out" Science deals with nature and natural explanations

    G-d is supernatural.. If there's no evidence science cannot examine it. Seems pretty simple.

    /What today's scientists do is the same thing I saw in the commie country I grew up. Anyone with a different opinion is mocked and bumped, or been elbowed into a corner. /

    what you see in science is NOT what you saw where you grew up.

    Present science.. giftwrapping religion in a lab coat is not science
    assuming god then fitting the evidence is not science
    picking one religious story over the other 4000 stories of religious/god creation is not science

    THAT"S why they are dismissed and jeered.. They try to pass off religious dogma as science..and it's not

  135. Miki Bacsi says:

    Eric, I think what Lize meant was that the laws of nature, that is the laws of mathematics, physics and chemistry couldn't develop from nothingness.
    Someone had to create them, too, before, or while He was creating this Universe. You know, like a computer: The software and the hardware is designed at the same time, otherwise it wouldn't work.
    I wonder if you can imagine a supercomputer developing by chance out there "in one of those universes" with the "Windows Super" to drive it, and of course with a power source? Because frankly, to me that sounds a fable for children.

  136. Eric Goberman I have to separate my ideas here. A) The fact that 99% of the universe is fatal to life is irrelevant to the proposal that earth is conducive to life. B) The belief that 80% of the earth is fatal to humans does not take into account the oceans, which provide the environment for the food chain on which humans live. (And besides, who said you should focus only on *human* life?) C) The fact that the age of the earth is old and the age of humans is relatively young does not really address the fine tuning argument. D) That there might be life elsewhere in the universe does not affect the fine tuning argument. E) If you're playing poker, and you don't even get a pair but your competitor gets a Royal Flush, would you think, "eh, the odds are actually the same for either hand"? or would you suspect that someone was pulling a fast one?

  137. Miki Bacsi says:

    Well, that's why I say that the Torah is not the blueprint of Creation, at least I can't believe that it is. At the same time I do not believe in any other former creation stories either.

    I might even go so far as to say that I can't really believe G-d ever gave mankind any religion or law code. All are man-made – some of which are nice way to try to understand G-d.

    But this does not mean we must shut G-d out of the picture.

    And the evidence for G-d is the Universe itself. It is that simple.

  138. Miki Bacsi says:

    Arthur C. Hurwitz, the fact that scientists were wrong as it is usual (they are wrong now as well) does not prove Creation and does not prove evolution either.

  139. Eric Goberman says:

    Miki Bacsi / that the laws of nature, that is the laws of mathematics, physics and chemistry couldn't develop from nothingness.
    Someone had to create them,/

    that's begging the question. The laws we have are the laws we wrote based on our observations.. we didn't find tablets with flaming letters with
    e=mc^2

  140. Eric Goberman says:

    Phil Silverman /If you're playing poker, and you don't even get a pair but your competitor gets a Royal Flush, would you think, "eh, the odds are actually the same for either hand"? or would you suspect that someone was pulling a fast one?/

    only if it happened several times in a row

    Speaking of cards.. The problem comes in when the question is asked.

    Take a fair deck.. shuffle and deal then out face up.

    the odds of getting the cards in that order (now that you've dealt them) is 1.0. 100% because there they are..

    if you asked the question before dealing out the cards "What are the odds of the cards in the specific order of a (whatever the order comes out) then you have magnitudes less chance of that than just about anything.

  141. Eric Goberman says:

    Miki Bacsi /I wonder if you can imagine a supercomputer developing by chance out there "in one of those universes" with the "Windows Super" to drive it, and of course with a power source? Because frankly, to me that sounds a fable for children./

    it would be.. but then you aren't asking about life – evolution – which has no goal..nor can those components breed.

    We are looking at the results and saying .. :"Oh that's amazing.. someone/thing had to make that" as if there were a target.

    It's not.. it's more like finding a scenery in nature..where everything LOOKS like it were placed perfectly but we know trees grow where they can, rocks fall where they fall because of gravity, and streams flow where the terrain allows them

  142. Eric Goberman A) It might take you three Royal flushes in a flow to start growing suspicious, but it would take me just one. B) Your card scenario is not much different from mine, so it's not like you were educating me on anything there. C) "then you have magnitudes less chance of that than just about anything." — but more chance than those magnitudes that were presented in that table of mine above.

  143. Eric Goberman says:

    Phil Silverman not really

    have a happy father's day

    Time to go

  144. Miki Bacsi says:

    Hi Eric Goberman,

    When mankind learned about the laws of math, physics, chemistry does not affect the fact that these laws were created by an intelligent being. Namely, G-d.

    Why didn't G-d teach us all these laws? Because He didn't teach us anything. We must figure them out ourselves.
    This might be part of a package to make our little hell here more terrible. But I am not sure about G-d's intentions either.

    The other issue: You say life has no goal. Well, of course that is true for an atheist, but we who know G-d this way or another, for us there must be a purpose for all this. Even if the purpose is nothing but suffering both physically and mentally on this planet.
    I've been wrestling with HaShem over this issue quite a bit while I wrote my little poems.

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