The Lubavitcher Rebbe on Evolution

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The Lubavitcher Rebbe on Evolution

How the Lubavitcher Rebbe approached the perceived conflict between Torah and evolutionary science.
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Creation, Torah & Science, Evolution

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Michael J Defreitas Bradford November 26, 2021

Its also poignant to mention that the creation of man corresponds to the dante Alleghari and the humanist rennaisance in Florence, just at the turn of the Hebrew calendar to the year 6000. The understanding of the human being is apart of this process. Evolution is a very real process, and as someone well educated in the neurosciences, origin of life research, biophysics, ecology, cosmology and physics, I can't dismiss the evidence for it as one big coincidence. I don't think the Torah is wrong either, but people need to consider the deep feelings of threat to their sense of coherence when the world challenges how we know something. The Torah is an archetypal reality. Its clear that it's evolutionary picture of reality - as one long developmental process, historical and physical, describes reality accurately. Its relationality touches the core of things. Its wisdom needs to be continuously reassessed with new understandingz, and evolution is the biggest one there is.
Anyways, to continue, the Hebrew calendar can be thought of as the expression of the same dynamic as the 6 days of creation, but from the historical beginnings of human civilization. I think it is quite clear that human civilization is something of a fractal, or emergent property, which resembles the same sort of emergent properties of previous epochs. So the Torah isn't wrong, and this isn't an apologetics. Characterizing days as literal human days makes no sense given without humans there are no days and no time to begin with. This means days should probably be literally interpreted as semiotic archetypes, with the idea of a human day, in fact, being what we would call the metaphor. We and are practical constructs are the metaphors: not the spiritual realities of the Torah.

The Hebrew calendar seems to be marking a sefirotic dynamic whereby each thousand year period constitutes a period of creation which has correlates in the 6 days of creation. So phase transitions are occurring.. Reply

Michael J Defreitas Bradford November 26, 2021

So if the fossils refer to real things, and we acknowledge that these real things are expressions of a singular world I.e. the changing land, geology, obviously evolves over time, and I hope there wouldn't be any skepticism about that, then why couldn't we construe every point of punctuated equilibrium as constituting a moment of new creation by Elohim? If the 7 days of creation are taken as archetypes, with the idea of a human day being seen as a metaphor for a higher spiritual concept of "yom", as a step or process along a path, then the 6 days of creation could be construed as 6 phase transitions that Elohim generated in the creation of different forms of life, leading ultimately, of course, to the creation of humanity.

Archetypes are spiritual realities that the Godhead wears as it shapes the structure of existence. And since human existence is derived from the material world I.e. the dust of the earth, that means the fractal organization of the world follows the logic of the... Reply

Roger M. Pearlman TEHACHAPI April 24, 2020

Torah and Science Nice work.
For those not familiar, 'birds' after 'fish' but before Tannim Gedolim (that include founding Dino kins) on day 5..
we find the strongest science is in full alignment with Torah testimony is in complete alignment with Torah testimony 5780 literal year age of the universe to date and falsifies all deep-time dependent scienctific hypotheses and assumptions, that the current consensus is built upon.
reference the YeC Moshe Emes series for Torah and science alignment, where we reference and are inspired by The Rebbi. Reply

Daniel Frank Toronto October 24, 2018

Today, the L-rd G-d has set before you (a path): A blessing (creation) and a curse (evolution), choose the blessing, choose life... Reply

Masha via chabadulstercounty.org October 24, 2018

Evolution is both gradual and, at times, more radical changes happen. It’s not mutually exclusive. As to no fossil records of gradual change, that is simply not true. Look at any physical anthropology text and see all the fossils found of how man has changed gradually over time. As to Gd planting fossils for reasons we do not know, that seems proposertous to me. I still will continue to find meaning in Judaism, but I am not convinced by this gentleman’s arguments. Reply

John SC November 13, 2018
in response to Masha:

"Your Inner Fish" does a great job of trying to bridge species and create a fossil record. Reply

William B. Winkelman Tucson February 18, 2019
in response to Masha:

What this gentleman trying to refute evolution fails to regard is the immense amount of time over which organisms were able to evolve. Change is bound to occur, big change included. No exponent of evolutionary theory has ever claimed to see it happening. Of course the changes have not been observable while they occurred. Man hasn't been around anything like nearly long enough to observe much at all of the process of evolution. We have to use ingenious methods to determine what has happened over the millions and millions of years. Genetics is one method through which we can discover commonalities. I am, myself, struck by remarkable structural similarities among animals. Nearly all have a structure of head, thorax, and abdomen. Waste products go out at the base of the abdomen. The thoracic part of the body, even in fish, has limbs. The cytoplasm of the cell is identical between plant and animal cells. All this implies for me a common origin of life. Reply

Michael J Defreitas Bradford November 26, 2021
in response to Masha:

Neurology couldn't provide more convincing evidence of the significance of evolution for the operation of the mind. Comparative neuroanatomy is just too convincing. I don't see why it's so hard for people to admit that they're feeling fear and threatened. They want what they've learned and grown up believing validated. Not merely out of pride, but of the fear of the anxiety and depression they may feel if they were to find themselves wrong. But like I said, the transcendental nature of the Torah needn't produce this kind of anxiety. It really does contain a deep and dense archetypal logic which correctly describes the realities which we live and move through. Reply

Andrew Canada February 22, 2022
in response to William B. Winkelman:

The similarities between cytoplasms and structural similarities is not evidence of evolution. I think it rather implies a common intelligent Being, i.e.God, Who intentionally designed all animals with a common pattern for their bodies, with common basic functions, but with certain intended and purposed differences and adaptations for their different environments. Random molecules bumping into one another cannot do that. Reply

Andrew Canada February 22, 2022
in response to Michael J Defreitas:

Why could God not have designed our minds to work the way they do to enhance and guarantee our survival? Why should we assume that 'evolution' did that? Reply

Sarah October 21, 2018

brilliant Reply

Anonymous Montreal October 21, 2018

Fascinating. Nice job! Reply

Rabbi YY October 19, 2018

Thanks for this video. I'm so happy to learn that the Rebbe was strongly and clearly against apologetics. The theory of evolution is so patently false it is virtually a mitzva (מדבר שקר תרחק) to teach people to abandon it.
And if I may, I think it's worth being clear that the term "micro-evolution" is a crime of language, used by religious Darwinists to legitimize the term "evolution" in any way possible. All my life, what they call "micro-evolution" was always known to be to be called "genetic mutation." Let's get back to using that latter term and clarifying to our listeners that the fashionable term of "micro..." is just propaganda. Reply

Andrew Jacksonville, FL, USA October 16, 2018

Now I get it. Reply

Shmuli September 19, 2018

A fascinating talk!
Does the Rebbe bring a source from tractate Rosh Hashona ?Our sages explain the words of King David in Psalms Shor par= bullox . A shor is an ox past age three and a par is a bull aged from day one till age three (if i am not mistaken). King David refers to the bull created on the week of creation being one day of age but also the size of a full size ox- just like man(age one day old but the size of a 20 yr. old(I think the source is a midrash) and so all of creation? Reply

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