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Does the Theory of Evolution Jibe with Judaism?

Does the Theory of Evolution Jibe with Judaism?

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Question:

I always get conflicting answers regarding the theory of evolution and Judaism. Could you clarify?

Response:

If you are getting conflicting answers, that’s most likely because you are asking Jews. Like they say, for every two Jews there are three opinions. That’s just part of Jewishness.

But now you’re asking me, so I’ll provide my opinion. And that is that evolution and Torah are two distinct paradigms. Evolution is an attempt to explain life in purely materialistic terms. Things happen out of chance and necessity. Torah, on the other hand, tells us that a singular, deliberate and intelligent force is to be found in all things and all events.

Or, put it this way: Evolution and Genesis both agree that human intelligence began as a hunk of mud. Evolution says that if you leave enough mud alone for long enough, it will eventually—through chance events and natural selection—become a human being who will build computers and spaceships. Genesis says that intelligence arises from a greater intelligence.

Or to simplify it even further: Evolution says the background of the universe is dumb matter, and intelligence is an accident. Genesis places intelligence at the core of the universe, and says that dumb matter is an illusion.

One step simpler: Evolution says that a dumb universe can create intelligent beings. Genesis says that an intelligent universe may sometimes look dumb, until you look deeper.

Mixing these two together is then an exttreme form of syncretism.

While I'm at it, please allow me to point out that "natural" and "selection" are mutually incompatible terms. Natural implies blind necessity dictated by the consistent patterns of nature. Selection implies intelligence. I won't be the first to point out that this term is an oxymoron. What I propose, however, is that the choice of such a term indicates that scientists subliminally recognize that there must be an intelligence at work here. Which is my point: It's much more intuitive to believe that the primal substance of the universe is not matter, but intelligence.

On the other hand, I’m not ready to believe that creationism is science. How it was, precisely, that a super-cosmic intelligence extruded all these beings from the primordial mud is something still beyond our science. Perhaps one day we will have theories that can explain some of this to us in terms we can grasp. Or perhaps not. At present, however, materialistic evolution is sorely deficient at explaining anything at all.

In fairness to your question, I should add that there have been those who have attempted to align Judaism and evolution, some of them quite respectable Torah scholars. None of them, however, have managed to make a plausible reading out of Genesis with their theories. Their error stems from the belief that evolution has been somehow scientifically proven. This is simply not the case. While Darwin’s theories and their modern counterparts may have proven a useful paradigm for certain studies, they cannot at all stand the rigor through which a theory must be put in the academic world in order to be accepted as “proven.” Their sole claim to acceptance is the human mind’s endemic fear of saying, “We don’t understand.”

There’s lots written on our site on this topic. Here is one useful article, written by an environmental scientist.

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Discussion (647)
January 2, 2015
Isaac -Clarifying!
Those who believe in a maker are ridiculed for not believing the scientists guesses. Oh they are not guesses, they are theories, hypothesis, & they test them, but science cannot replicate the beginning, but it will get there. Scientists do not believe in the Biblical week as they have methods of timing the process of evolution they invented. These “Guesses” are right because they have followed the “natural scientific method” This does not accept a maker-G-d, or miracles.
It will accept something from nothing & call it a Big Bang. But that defies the laws of Physics (Entropy & thermdynamics) but that is OK!!

Do I believe God made the worlds & all life from nothing?
No, He made it from His Spirit or “Power”. Nothing comes from nothing.
Matter or Energy cannot be made from nothing nor go back to nothing, only changed from one form to another.
When did the scientists declare evolution has stopped?
They do not. None can show it in action.
Where is LIFE still spontaneously self starting?
Ern
Adelaide
January 2, 2015
Dear Isaac,
Isaac, I am with you. If the car needs attention then off to the mechanic. But if the mechanic says, I am not sure how we got cars, I think they evolved. I went down the beach & saw half a car stuck in the sand, I am not sure if it is making itself or resting, but I definitely do not believe they were made, as I have never met a maker, & if I did I would not believe as I do not believe anyone can be that clever. But you would stick with him if he had a Certificate signed by one of his mates on the wall. Physics, chemistry, mechanical, Electrical & similar sciences operate differently to those inolved in fosill hunting, geological aging, &c. I heard recently on the radio a physicist asked to explain evolution, the announcer thought all sciences were equal, he clearly said that his branch of science does not support evolution.
So here we are on earth. Those who claim science do not believe in a maker as they do not accept that which is “divine” or miraculous.
Ern Wigzell
Adelaide
January 1, 2015
What changes in the world, if scientists believe in a malleable, G-d?
Isaac, do all the other sages, agree with what you said about what the Rambam said about miracles?

There are plenty and a growing number of people who think science has disproven the idea of G-d existing.

What 'opposite' exactly, are you saying that Rabbis are supposedly saying that makes the scientists conclude that G-d does not exist?
Could you please be a lot more clear about what you are saying about that?
Thanks for your cooperation.

"Once these Rabbis get in line with reality"

I'm still for waiting for proof of your version of 'reality' that you think the rabbis are supposedly 'not in line', with.

"... then most scientists will follow suit and see the reality of the existence of God."

Why would they?
Even if they did, what changes would that make in their lives, or in anyone elses lives, for that matter?

If our perception of G-d has to change to suit others, then we have nothing eternal, to hold onto.
It becomes meaningless, and we are then just paying lip service.
Pinchus
Brooklyn New York
January 1, 2015
How are the rules applied to Evolution?
I don't know, I was never taught that in yeshivah.
I was just told they existed.
I get the feeling that if I don't know then they must not really exist?

But I don't know how to make the high temperature blades in jet engines either, but they still exist.
Pinchus
Brooklyn New York
January 1, 2015
So why believe in a 'cruel' G-d, at all?
"I would rather be called stupid & follow wisdom than actually be stupid & follow fairy tales.
Young Earth Creationism is a fairy tale."

Prove it then, you just made a absolutist statement, that you are claiming is a solid scientific fact, so lets see your proof.

"All of the evidence is in favor of an ancient
Earth and evolution."

Then why have scientists in those fields been caught falsifying data?

The same claim is made for the so called 'Man Made Global Warming Scam.

" I don't buy the idea that God created all of the evidence for an
old Earth--this implies that God is deceitful.
God may be subtle, but he is not
malicious"

So you think a teacher who gives his/ her class, trick questions, is being deceitful and malicious?

If you don't believe in creationism, then I guess you don't believe in G-d either?
Why would you?
There is suffering in the world and I'm sure you don't believe in a 'cruel' god who allows suffering, right?
Same idea.
Pinchus
Brooklyn New York
January 1, 2015
I do use facts and honesty
Trying to imply I don't though, does not fall into either category.
To respond to your questions;

1) Yes

2) I don't know they ever said that, since you seem to think they did, how about you telling me, when they did?

3) As far as I know it seems to me that it's been almost ever since it was first conceived of as possibility.
But I don't know for sure.
But I do know that they certainly believe they can observe it these days like in viruses mutations and things like that..

4) As long as life has existed according to what I heard from those who believe in it.

5) Yes, but not a big difference, unless they also acknowledged that G-d could have created the Earth, fewer then 6000 years ago, and that it still could have been created to seem like it was much older to maintain people free choice, to believe in G-d or not.

"Thank you for your cooperation."

You're welcome?
Did I win a prize?
Pinchus
Brooklyn New York
January 1, 2015
Re: Pinchus
If I were to go argue with the scientists, as you suggest, I would be contradicting myself, simply because I do not think I am a match for the scientists. Semantics in this case makes a world of difference. As long as they have proof, I will not be in opposition to them. You who disagrees, if you think you can present an intelligent argument. should do so.

In Zevachim 113A is a debate on whether or not the land of Israel was affected by Noah's flood. So if there are doubts of the entire known world being affected, how much more so the entire globe? I will need to find where I saw the article on this to recall the Rabbis.

When pride and ego prevents one from submitting to indisputable scientific evidence, their pride becomes foolish & ego selfish. What is your excuse?

When it comes to the Sabbath, science is in full support that a weekly day of rest is beneficial for one's body and mind.
Albert Einstein said "Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind."
Isaac
Brooklyn NY
December 8, 2014
Miracles
If one were to tell the people living 150 years ago, that there will come a time when an object big enough to carry over 500 people plus cargo, weighing over 600,000 lbs. which would reach an altitude of over 35,000 ft. flying through the air at a speed of over 600 mph. Their response would be. Not possible, for ‘It would have to take a miracle’ Today this so called miracle happens 1000s of times each and everyday. No one calls it a miracle, yet how many say there is no God?

The Rambam states there are no miracles outside of nature. Yes, everything can be explained scientifically.
But because most Rabbis claim the Torah says the opposite and scientists believe these Rabbis,(why should they doubt them) this then leaves scientists with not much of an alternative other than to say, ‘there is no God"
Once these Rabbis get in line with reality and see things for the way they really are, then most scientists will follow suit and see the reality of the existence of God.
Isaac
Brooklyn NY
December 8, 2014
Re: Ern - Snow/Annual layers
I believe, perhaps more than yourself that you are vigorously convinced of your findings in connection with these layers.
You taught physics, therefore you are more qualified than most to set these Geologists straight of their grave blunder (in your opinion) of grossly miscalculating the annual layers in glaciers in which they claim can be counted back 740,000 years.

Show them of this oversight they had assumingly made. You owe it to yourself (and to the rest of us) to do this and for truth’s sake.
I am not a geologist, but I do recognize only their authority on this matter. What the Geologists state on this matter, is for me a declaration of fact.

When I have car issues, I go to an auto mechanic.
When I need my suit taken in, I go to a tailor.
When I want to learn about the natural world, I refer to the Scientists.
When I have a question on Halacha, I go to a Rabbi.
And whenever Geologists would state they were in error, I will gracefully accept their findings.
Isaac
Brooklyn NY
December 8, 2014
Re: Ern - Please clarify
When making an argument, using facts and honesty is more effective in convincing opponents.
So, if you can be as kind as to share your info and clarify your statements by answering these few questions, would then make it more possible to follow and understand your arguments.

1) Do you, or do you not believe God created the universe ‘Ex Nihilo’?
2) When did the scientists declare, evolution had stopped?
3) When did the scientists believe evolution was observable?
4) How long did the scientists claim it took for the duration of evolution?
5) Would it make any difference to you if the scientists would admit there is a God?
Thank you for your cooperation.

Pinchus, Please clarify how these rules you refer to were used to interpret the Torah in deriving the nonexistence of evolution.
Isaac
Brooklyn NY
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