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Evolution and Its Moral Consequences

Evolution and Its Moral Consequences



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?


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
Artwork by Sarah Kranz.
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Discussion (1074)
January 13, 2017
Evolution Introduced in Genesis.
"A Seed shall follow its own kind". That is the first recorded scientific equation. It supports natural evolution as embedded in a program designed by a Programmer, while fully destroying the Darwin Evolution of jitterbugging quarks banging into each other to eventually produce order.
December 25, 2016
Evolution and morality are not mutually exclusive. However, morality requires meaning. To find meaning in evolution, you need to look outside of evolution. Why did evolution happen? Why did single-cell organisms evolve into more complex life forms and eventually into humans? If you only look inside of evolution, you'll find mutations and natural selection, but you won't find meaning or purpose. That's why it troubles many people. The search for meaning is a search outside of science but every bit as important to the human condition.
San Jose, CA
September 20, 2016
Limitless and Universe Age.
Why does the questions of limitless and the universe age need such novel explanations, when these are very logically made in the Hebrew Bible, sufficient to be also scientifically validated.

"Limitless" or everlasting, infinite, eternal has only one trait and it is made by the Prophet Isaiah. Namely, "I the Lord do not change". This is also scientifically indisputable. Anything subject to change cannot be infinite; the reverse also holds true, anything not subject to change must be infinite. Nothing in the universe is w/o change. It appears more than a good guess that Isaiah chose the attribute of 'change'.

"Age of the Universe". Since the HOURS are left out of the DAY in the creation chapter, these cannot be accounted as 24-hour days. How long is a day when the 'waters were separated from the waters and the land emerged'? Modern science says this took many millions of years to occur.

Genesis marks the first and only correct answers to both issues.

Joseph Shellim
Melbourne, Vic.
September 12, 2016
It may just be a matter of relativity and a little less scientific ego
Isn't G-d limitless? Aren't human's limited?
Why isn't it logical that a day for G-d could be like a billion years for earth? Who can disprove that in a split second G-d gave a spark of life to a cell that He made into a trillion cells that became Adam? Maybe a second before that, he tried out the progression of life that poor capacity scientists call "evolution." Of Course it's evolution. We are constantly evolving --hopefully toward Devine love and enlightenment.
Scientists admire each other for their "discoveries." But they fail to honor the Name that created all of their discoveries --The One and The All that permitted them to make those discoveries to begin with. Egotistical Science worships the way it alters G-d's world. What do they do besides making inferior copies of G-d's designs? --But they have no respect for the Designer. They make no sense and they are poisoning our children's minds.
Our children should not be subjected to their "theories."
Los Angeles
April 14, 2015
Yes Bert! Humans are animals . But with a more advanced brain. Homo-sapiens( wise man ), means that an unwise or unthinking ,impulsive man is an animal like any other.
April 13, 2015
Animals are just as intelligent as humans.
Just imagine a human living under the same conditions, like securing daily bread for the kids, no thumbs to cut veg or finding a safe place to live without being gobbled up. Animals must use their brains every turn, more so than humans. That's a good idea for a realty show - not?
Joseph Shellim
April 13, 2015

This is late in the mix, since the post I'm responding to is a few months back... :)

"Travis, I’m not adding an agent. You’re putting words in my mouth. I said the agent is unknown. " - still, your starting point suggests agency. Agency isn't the same as "causation", which is the thunder and lightning example you supply.

You can use the term "agency" for non intentional and non intelligent, causation, but it's bound to cause confusion, i.e. if there's agency, there's an agent etc...

"Random chance" is always just a filler for an unknown cause or series of causations which are not well understood. It's not magic. We don't know why chromosomes split the way they do, but, if you look at the probabilities, you get about half of them from your mother and half from your father. There are probably examples where you get more than half sometimes
Travis Cottreau
April 13, 2015
The only way Young Earth Creationism can be made to work is if we assume God is inherently deceitful--creating (fake) fossils of creatures that never existed (e.g.
dinosaurs), false events in space that never happened (e.g. exploding stars in
other galaxies) and fake radioisotope dates in rocks. I would rather place my faith
in physical evidence than in warmed over Middle Eastern mythology. Incidentally,evolution does not rule out the existence of a Higher Power in the Universe. It may be that this Higher Power simply works through Natural Law
including the mechanism of evolution by natural selection rather than the
suspension of natural laws and their replacement by some sort of magic.
Daniel Rosenthal
Santa Monica
April 12, 2015
Merely Advanced Animals
This depiction of evolution suggests that animals are hideous abominations, and moral beings must not have anything in common with them. But the Torah teaches that animals are also G-d’s creations. Furthermore, there are documented cases of dolphins and sea lions rescuing people from drowning. Dogs provide protection and aid the blind. Elephants and chimpanzees live in cooperative societies.

According to Isaiah 66:23, “all flesh shall come to worship Me.” It doesn’t say “all humans.”

I, for one, am proud to share traits with G-d's other creations.
San Jose, CA
January 1, 2015
Math test for Evolutionists.
The theory supports the premise it is an on-going process. The math says an on-going process that never ceases has no requirement to wait eons of time to see its evidences. An on-going process continues every second successively. Thus if an action occurred a Million years ago, the same action will occur one million and one second thereafter. We should see specie graduations every second. The slow change factor also does not apply, for the same reasoning. An on-going process is akin to a stream of water flowing forever. Do the maths.