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Evolution and Its Moral Consequences

Evolution and Its Moral Consequences

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Question:

My son and I were talking about the origins of humankind. He said that he was offended by the belief that man had descended from the ape family, and was adamant that we all came from Adam and Eve. I, on the other hand, believe Darwin's theory to be a more reasonable explanation of our evolution, and think it is ridiculous to continue teaching children the creation myth. Of course, this discussion can go round in circles forever. Are you able to shed some light on the topic?

Response:

An elderly rabbi was once on an airplane to Israel sitting next to a self-professed atheist. They were amicably chatting the whole trip.

Every now and then, the rabbi's grandchild, sitting in another row, would come over to him, bringing him a drink, or asking if he could get anything to make him more comfortable. After this happened several times, the atheist sighed, "I wish my grandchildren would treat me with such respect. They hardly even say hello to me. What's your secret?"

The rabbi replied: "Think about it. To my grandchildren, I am two generations closer to Adam and Eve, the two individuals made by the hand of G‑d. So they look up to me. But according to the philosophy which you teach your grandchildren, you are two generations closer to being an ape. So why should they look up to you?"

Beliefs have consequences. If children today lack respect and are unable to honor their elders, if tradition looked down upon and the values of the past all but forgotten, is it not a natural consequence of modern education? If we teach our children that they are merely advanced animals, then they will act that way. And they will treat their parents and teachers like the obsolete versions of humanity that they are.

We have to be aware of the effects of our beliefs. If we believe that humans came about by accident, then life has no meaning. There can be no meaning to something that happens by chance. A random explosion or mutation cannot give us purpose. My life, your life and all human history has no real significance whatsoever. Whether I live a good life or one full of evil makes no difference. It is all a big accident anyway.

We only have purpose if we were created on purpose. Our lives only have meaning if we were created by a meaningful being. If we teach our children that they were created on purpose with a purpose, then they will know that more is expected from them than from an animal. The Adam and Eve story needs to be taught, not just because it is true, but because it is the basis of morality.

Both creationism and Darwinism require faith. To accept that G‑d created man and woman requires faith. To accept that a single-celled organism spontaneously mutated billions of times to form the human being also requires faith. But only one of these beliefs demands that we live a moral life. That's the one I want my children to be taught.

Aron Moss is rabbi of the Nefesh Community in Sydney, Australia, and is a frequent contributor to Chabad.org.
About the artist: Sarah Kranz has been illustrating magazines, webzines and books (including five children’s books) since graduating from the Istituto Europeo di Design, Milan, in 1996. Her clients have included The New York Times and Money Marketing Magazine of London.
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Discussion (1008)
July 30, 2014
24 hours as we know it, is a day.
And I was taught in a Chabad yeshiva that it was 24 hours at the time of creation as well, and if you go to the Chabad article titled "Does evolution jibe with Judaism " there is in the comments, a link to a back and forth exchange that the Rebbe OBM, had with a scientist where the Rebbe showed scientifically that there was no contradiction between creationism and what we know (really know factually, not just anti creationism propaganda) from (actual provable) science.
Torah is Literal
USA
July 30, 2014
So where's your proof?
So you say they found soft tissue before, so what?
That does not prove that it doesn't support creationist claims.

And even if they have changed their tune and NOW have to start asserting that it could have lasted mmillions of years,
your pretense that they supposedly have always said it is the (strongly implied) worthless unsupported assertion here.

And Bill Nye "the science guy" is not a scientist either, but I'll bet you don't dismiss anything he says against creationism because he "isn't a scientist", besides what makes someone "not a scientist"?
If he does not have a fancy degree from some university with an anti G-d liberal agenda, then he can't be a scientist?
What college did Copernicus, get a degree from?
Was he not a scientist?
Torah is Literal
USA
July 30, 2014
'SOFT TISSUE"
Dinosaurs do not contradict anything in Genesis, nor even that they may have lived millions of years ago. It is clarified by the 'day' allocated for the separation of water from land that these are 'non-hour' epochs of time: why would Genesis introduce for the first time the DAY & WEEK and leave out hours? In Genesis, both land based life and humans are said to have emerged on the same 6th day, which can extend to millions of years. It marks the first recording of such a scenario.
JOSEPH SHELLIM
Sydney
July 27, 2014
Old News about Dinosaurs
Don't get TOO excited, Torah is Literal. Dinosaur soft tissue is nothing new, and doesn't threaten evolutionary data.

[Unlike your posting's unsupported assertions, I'll give references so that readers can look up for themselves.]

First, soft tissue is old news. Smithsonian researchers (and others since) found examples nearly a decade ago. (Google "soft tissue" and "Smithsonian" for details.) That discovery was made by an observant Christian scientist, but even she expresses dismay at how Creationists, desperate to vindicate themselves, have misinterpreted her work. Read her Smithsonian interview.

Also, there's soft tissue work now being done at Harvard (Google Harvard and "Precambrian beard worm.").

And the creationist you cite at Cal State was not a scientist. He was a microscope technician.

Finally, please provide a citation supporting your assertion that scientists claimed it "a fact" that soft tissue can't survive. Otherwise, it's just one more worthless, unsupported opinion.
Anonymous
New York
July 27, 2014
There was no oxygen on earth millions of years ago.
'Survival of the species' is not a universal law, because it is only applied to one planet with all space bodies in the known universe un-affected. Its like applying a syndrome on one grain of sand on the beach.
Genesis appears more correct: life began 'after' a host of pre-life anticipatory actions occurred, such as critical separations of light and darkness, day and night, water and land, more so than anything else. This is not mentioned by scientists as more vital than the actions of inanimate matter. Its like saying the fittest could survive without those actions.
No matter when life began, Genesis gives cause & effect directly relating to life's emergence, whereby if such actions are seen on Mars, life would more likely evolve there even without survival of the fittest.
Equally, many Jews have been incorrect accepting the earth is 6,000 years old. Genesis says the separation actions could have taken millions of years: that is why 'hours' are not introduced with the DAY and WEEK.
JOSEPH SHELLIM
Sydney
July 25, 2014
This just in...
There is a new story out right now about a scientist who worked for California State University Northridge (in the San Fernando Valley) who found soft tissue in a Dinosaur fossil.
Since scientists have claimed over and over again that there was no way (a scientific fact, they claimed) that soft tissue could exist in such fossils because it could never survive for millions or tens or hundreds of millions of
years, he has presented this evidence as proof that the Dino's are only thousands of years old as opposed to the many many millions of years most scientists believe.

He was fired by the university and he is suing based on religious discrimination because they did not like any evidence that their belief (in radical athiesm) system
could be totally wrong.

So much for the honesty and integrity of the scientific community and not having an agenda and not covering anything up and peer review and falsifiable evidence, and their claims of "scientific proven fact".
It's all rigged.
Torah is Literal
USA
July 24, 2014
Venues for serious debate
I think that the Chabad website is one of the best places for serious debate about Torah and science VS evolution. 

For one thing, it helps weed out those who think that name calling and personal insults and the like, are "serious".
And out there on the internet I have seen some of them specifically say in those words, that such tactics were the only and true form of "serious debate".

Such types of posters, get very frustrated very quickly in a forum like this where they actually have to address the issues and respond to factual statements on the Torah side, instead of just calling names and getting other radical
libs to help them gang up on G-d fearing posters who they cannot refute on a factual truly scientific basis.

If they say here that they can't have a serious debate, what they mean is that they can't use their name calling gang up tactics to silence, G-d fearing people, who they can't refute in an actual intellectual, debate. 
Torah is Literal
USA
July 23, 2014
"traditional scientific method."
Just to let you know, none of my posts are dependent on religion or outside of science. Examine anything I said. There was no scientific response or counter that Adam is the oldest recorded name of a speech endowed human. Or that there are no scientific alternatives to a universe maker based on a finite universe [Gen 1/1]: nobody responded with a logical, scientific counter - I challenge them to name an alternative.The same goes for species introduced in Genesis.

I found also that Medicine, a fully scientific faculty, was also introduced in the Hebrew bible, with its first separation from ancient occultism. The ID, treatment, burning of personal items such as clothing and quarantine [against infectious & contagious disease] is recorded about leprosy, very accurately and copiously.

I also discovered the first alphabetical book is the five mosaic books, with no evidence of any Hebrew writing before this, when no other nation spoke this language. Avoiding such factors is un-scientific.
JOSEPH SHELLIM
Sydney
July 23, 2014
No the word science does not mean something different.
To Torah following Jews.
It does obviously mean something different to athiest fundamentalists, then to scientists who follow the traditional scientific method.

Athiests used to tell me that Torah supposedly could not be believed because it was not "falsifiable" meaning they said, that it could not be independently tested and verified and proven to be either true, or false.

But my response is that H.E.A, cannot be so verified either.
No one can do any experiments to prove or disprove with absolute "I saw it", certainty that it is or is not true.

Now they claim that "consensus" is supposedly proven science, when scientists never went by consensus up till the 1700's.
Back then it was either proven as fact or it was not scientifically proven.

It is not Torah following Jews who have been changing what they call science in order to promote their agenda.

It is the Athiest fundamentalists, who have.
Torah is Literal
USA
July 23, 2014
Torah & Science.
If a premise in a religious writing measures up with science, does it become un-scientific? Is the premise of the first listing of life form groupings, later termed as species and elaborated to the modern status quo, not come from in Genesis? Is the premise of the first male & female enjoined then separated un-scientific - compared to what other possibility? Is Adam the oldest recorded name of a speech endowed human validated today?

Which part is un-scientific? A scientific mind must imagine how they would write to someone 4,000 years ago, and talk absolute science. Go!
JOSEPH SHELLIM
Sydney
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