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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 (1001)
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
July 21, 2014
Thank You
This has been an illuminating and informative page, and my thanks to the editors at Chabad for acting as gracious hosts.

Meaningful conversation is not really possible when people are speaking different languages, and, as just one example of our incompatible languages, it is clear that the word "science" means something completely different to a Torah fundamentalist than it does to a scientist (or to the Oxford English Dictionary for that matter). But this linguistic difference is only a symptom of a much more profound and probably un-bridgeable philosophical chasm.

In any case, the value of this page is not so much in offering a serious debate; the two divergent sides are too different for that. But it is hugely useful in helping all of us to better understand the viewpoints of our neighbors, and that is a valuable service.

I will not be checking this page again. I think I have learned all I can learn about Torah literalists. Thank you for your discourse.
Paul
New York
July 21, 2014
The most Un-Scientific premise?
The view that humanity's first intelligent work, the Hebrew bible, said the earth is 6,000 years old. Did they even pause a mo to think such is a contradiction of 1000's of super intellectual stats in the Hebrew?

Second worst infamy: the ridiculing of man being made of dust.
What else but earthly components like zinc, iodine, phosphorous, iron, water, etc can man be made of? Of note, modern terms cannot be used, so let any scientist write a letter to a 3,500 year person and tell what man is made of. That will give them a jolt how advanced the Hebrew bible really is.

"CHESS CHAMPS MAKE POOR WAR GENERALS"
JOSEPH SHELLIM
SYDNEY
July 20, 2014
H.E.A. believers have an agenda, not proof
Those who promote the idea that H.E.A. (Human Evolution from Animals) is a "scientific fact" have to take what they see now and extrapolate backwards, which when you boil it down, just amounts to guesswork.
Guessing is far from "scientific fact".

If you google "what happened to the Brontosaurus?"
You can read one case (not necessarily the only case) where fossils were put on display as a certain creature that later they decided was all wrong.
But at the time it was put on display it was considered to be "scientific fact " by scientists.

Even today, all the forensics and modern science c an conclude that a certain person is guilty of murder, and years later he is cleared of the murder when for example; Star witnesses admit they lied, new evidence turns up (such as DNA) that proves his innocence.

If science cannot even reliably get right in our time who committed a murder then it certainly cannot be relied on as "proof" of H.E.A. from hundreds of millions of years ago.
Torah is Literal
USA
July 20, 2014
Re. Science fundamentally rejects faith without proof.
Actually, this comes from the Jews and the Hebrew bible:
"Come, let us reason together" [Isaiah]
"Trust, trust, but check, check".
This is what the Jews rejected:
'Faith, not reason, is the only truth'.

Science comes from the Hebrew bible, as does the judiciary, the first alphabetical book, women's & worker's rights, all animal rights [40 laws], and the first separation of medicine from the occult [Leprosy ID & quarantine]. There is no scripture or any ancient writings anywhere, nor any science manual, that contains more science than the Hebrew bible. This fact has been distorted, the Hebrew bible gets a bad name because of other religions possessing no science or logic and the people drawing equivalences.
The first thing a science oriented person must understand before talking science.
JOSEPH SHELLIM
Sydney
July 17, 2014
Science VS. Faith
[Thanks to the Editors for guiding us back on topic, and for generously providing this forum.]

I dispute the original article’s primary assertion that both evolution and creationism require faith & that meaning requires God.

Science fundamentally rejects faith (which is a belief in something without requiring proof). To be accepted as valid, a scientific idea must be supported by ample evidence, verified by accurate predictions of what researchers would expect to find, and withstand continual challenge and testing (for evolution, nearly 2 centuries of challenges).

This is NOT to say scientists never err. Everyone does. Or that new discoveries don't reshape understanding. But it DOES mean that science is the opposite of faith.

As for meaning, as an intelligent species we create meaning through our love, aspirations, dreams, philosophy, and social interactions. It's a more wondrous human meaning, and more universal than a narrow meaning derived from one culture's ancient literature.
Paul
New York
July 16, 2014
Re on topic
Dear all, let's keep this thread on topic, this is not the forum for a discussion on metzitzah bepeh.

Thank you for being such active participants of this forum.
The Editors
July 16, 2014
Law is already on the books, (part 2)
The claim that it's only against metziza ba peh, is like the claim that the anti 2nd Amendment crowd made in the beginning when they said they only wanted to regulate "assault rifles" and at the time, all the major newspapers and other lib controlled media (just about all major media at the time) said the same thing.
No one back then said anything about limiting how many bullets a "non assault" weapon like a hand gun, would be allowed to hold in a cup at a time.

And if anyone in the pro 2nd Amendment crowd has said it
would eventually lead to such restrictions on the size of a clip, they would have been roundly criticized from all sides as a "paranoid nutcase".
But that is is the law today in New York and other states.

The same thing will happen to circumcision if the libs get their way.
It's called incrementalism and the libs use this "one step at a time" with every single issue.

They know the people would never accept the full lib agenda all at once.
Torah is Literal
USA
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