Is Learning Science Spiritually Dangerous?
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- This topic has 272 replies, 44 voices, and was last updated 13 years, 8 months ago by Joseph.
September 27, 2009 1:49 am at 1:49 am #660634
Squeak, I did not see your recent post about no printer error, when I posted mine about a possible suggested printer error.September 27, 2009 2:44 am at 2:44 am #660636
Regarding your kiruv comment, keep in mind we cannot lead astray yirei shmayim in the name of attempted kiruv. We cannot engage in apologetics in difficult concepts, because you feel it may not be the best approach to kiruv.
The most important point in this discussion is to always remember that nature follows the Torah, the Torah does not have to follow nature. (As I earlier brought from the Yerushalmi about Besulim and Eidem Zomemim.)September 27, 2009 6:45 am at 6:45 am #660639ZachKessinMember
Lets Talk about “The Big Bang Theory.” What conclusive data do they have
to fit that theory?
There are 3 major points of data to support the big bang.
1) All galaxies outside of the local group are receding from us. And specifically the speed they are moving away is directly tied to the distance. Specifically that speed works out to 70Km/s/Mpc +/- 7 (mpc = mega parsec or 3.26 million light years). This was first observed by Edwin Hubble in the 1920’s and has been refined ever since. Actually one of the prime missions of the Hubble space telescope was to refine that number my measuring distances to the galaxies in the Virgo cluster.
2) The Cosmic Microwave Background, This was discovered by Penzias and Wilson at Bell labs in the 1960’s quite by accident. But the entire sky is filled with microwave radiation of a very specific spectrum that indicates that the universe which is now cold was at one point a uniform hot dense gas.
3) The distribution of chemical elements in space. The fact that the universe is about 75% hydrogen, 24% helium and 1% everything else can only be explained by the Big Bang. And the level of Deuterium actually puts some very specific constraints on the details of the model.
There are of course a large number of details of all 3 of those points that I have left out because they are beyond what I can put in a single forum post. If you really care google “Richard Pogge Astronomy 162” and you will find some podcasts that have a bunch more detail but are still understandable to someone who is not an astronomer.September 27, 2009 1:08 pm at 1:08 pm #660640lesschumrasParticipant
Several posters in this thread have discounted science by insisting that Hashem created the world in 6 24 hour days, 5770 years ago, insisting on a literal translation. What’s being ingnored is miforshim who reconcile the apparent age of the world ( including fossils) by explaining that the pre-flood world had different physical characteristics than our own ( witness lifespans exceeding 500 years ). and that “day” in Breishis were millions of years in duration.
However,they have a right to insist on a leteral translation here, just be consistent. Yehudah’s relationship with Tamar therefor, by their reasoning, requires a literal translation and is what it is. Same with the behaviour of the shvatim in the sale of Yoseph, the idol worhip of Bnei Yisroel throughout Tanach etc.September 27, 2009 1:37 pm at 1:37 pm #660641
The Gemorah and Rashi (Chagiga 31a) explicitly state the 6 days were 24 hour periods. See my earlier messages.
BTW Rav Chaim Kanievsky shlita paskened that if a non-Jew wants to convert, and he is 100% committed to accepting Torah and Mitzvos, but he believes the world is billions of years old, it is prohibited to convert him, and if you did convert him, the conversion is possibly invalid altogether (“yitachen d’afilu dieved lo mahani, vtzarich iyun”).
Additionally, regarding answering scientists and those who have blind faith in them about the age of the world, first, just like the flaw in their “vestigial organ” logic, the entire concept of measuring the age of the world the way the scientsts do is based on the assuption that the world was not created by a Creator. But if you say that the world was created the way the Torah tells us it was, that is, a full-blown world, complete with stars visible in the sky, full-grown trees and animals (and a human), a totally, fully developed and mature world, then their logic falls apart.
Because wHen the world was created, it already had an age. In other words, when Adam for instance was created, he was an adult, even though he was one day old; there were fully grown trees; the sun’s light already reached the earth; an entire world existed, full-blown and OLD. How old was the world at the moment it was created? I dont know — it doesn’t say. But we do know that it didn’t start from scratch. And so lets say a “scientist” would chop down a tree 1 week after it was created and find maybe 50 rings inside – would that prove that the tree was 50 years old? To the scientists it would, and the “tree ring” concept is used as one of their “proofs” that the world is over 6,000 years old. But the truth is it prove no such thing, becuase when the tree was created it was created as an adult, 50 year old tree.
So even if dating would be accurate, it still doesn’t prove that the world was not created 6,000 years ago – because when it was created, it already could have been thousands or millions of quardrillions of years old.
That is the first thing to understand when dealing with the “true believers” of science. But even if they will come up with something that cannot be explained by the above, there is a Torah principle that you must know that has been used long before any of today’s scientists or their grandparents were born, that tells us that although the world was in fact created 6,000 years ago, we know that it possesses all and every characteristic of a world that is much, much older. The Torah actually expects scientific measurements of the age of the universe to return an age of much, much more than 6,000 years. ANd we have known this for centuries.
The Divrei Chaim does not tell us the location of the Yaaros Dvash. But the Divrei Yoel (Simchas Torah p.613) identifies it as being in 2 places: Vol. I, Drush 1 and Drush 15. There, it quotes a Medrash (Rabbah 10:4) that before the Sin of Adam the Mazalos operated much more rapidly. After the Sin, the Mazalos operated much slower and longer. With this Medrash, he explains the fact that we pasken that both the opinion that the world was created in Nisan, and the opinion that the world was created in Tishri, are true. Says the Yaaros Dvash: because the Mazalos operated much more rapidly before the Sin, between the time the Mazalos were created on the 4th day, and the time Adam was created, on the 6th day, the Mazalos had already run their course from Nisan to Tishri.
The mistake in their system is that they are not measuring the amount of time itself that occurred. They are identifying various events that already happened and are saying:
1) We measured the amount of time it would take this event to occur
2) And this event has already occurred
3) Therefore, the amount of time it would take to make it occur has already elapsed.
The flaw on that logic is that they only measured how much time it would take if those events would happen NOW, in the post-chet world. But since those events took place before the Chet, they took much less time, and so the occurrence of those events does not indicate the elapse of nearly as much time as the scientists think.
If they would find a way to measure time itself, meaning the amount of moments that transpired during the course of history, they would come up with 6,000 years.September 27, 2009 5:20 pm at 5:20 pm #660642
Joseph, regarding besulim, why does having the status of a besulah require a physical miracle? Why can’t it just be that we give her the status of a besulah, irrespective of what the actual physical metzius is. I have heard similar by a leap year. If a girl’s birthday is in adar and that year is a leap year, the physical changes take place a month later. However, there, too, why not just say that halachically we recognize any activity before that age to be insignificant as far as her later status as a besulah? Please explain the need to invoke any physical issues here. Are they measurable or detectable in any way? In any child, would any expert (religious or secular) be able to tell the difference between a 2.99 yr old and a 3.01 yr old?
Second, as far as other cases of where the Torah stated physical facts which you have claimed are always scientifically accurate, doesn’t the Rambam concede that treifos do live past 12 months, but we still must keep them as treifos, since that is the assumption upon which the halacha is based, and once set, the halacha cannot be changed here?
Another example is that I believe that the gemara says that a premature fetus can survive if born during the 7th month, but not during the 8th month. (This is of course quite puzzling, anyway, since simple logic would dictate that the longer the fetus is carried, the better it will develop.) My question is, is it accepted nowadays that 8th month preemies cannot survive? Is this true? (I don’t remember if this principle is used by animals, humans, or both, but am pretty sure it is in the gemara.)September 27, 2009 6:13 pm at 6:13 pm #660643BemusedParticipant
“simple logic would dictate”
Perhaps it is exactly that. Our SIMPLE “logic” versus the greatness of our Creator and all that He wills to happen.
YWN used to be a place where the “Yeshiva World” felt comfortable in a milieu that placed Chazal and their interpretation of Torah far above our puny intelligence. We have a slew of sites all over the internet wherein posters feel such matters are subject to debate. YWN, stay above this temptation.
You are so much better. Please remain that way.September 27, 2009 6:18 pm at 6:18 pm #660644
Pashuteh Yid: Nishtanu Hativ’im.
How to – and how not to – learn Science
Chazal’s understanding of nature was vastly superior to that of the scientists. While the scientists get their understanding of nature through observation, and thus only know the surface-level facts, Chazal got their knowledge form the Torah, which describes nature in its deepest, most realistic level. All of reality, in fact, is just a reflection of the Torah. Knowing about nature from science is like knowing about an object through its reflection, whereas knowing nature from Torah is knowing something by knowledge of its every facet.
When we learn science, we need to learn it with that foundation already understood. When we learn science we need to understand that it is only a secondary source of knowledge of nature — that Torah is first. If you obtain knowledge of nature after you already have a strong Emunah in supernature, your knowledge of science can fall into proper perspective.
The Alshich, quoted in the Siach Yiztchok in the Sidur HaGra in Ashrei, writes that the proper way to learn science is after you have learned the Torah principles of science, and have instilled Emunah into your heart. First learn abotu miracles, then learn about science. After a person has acquired a proper background of Emunah and understanding of the true nature of physicality, that is, it is all Hashem’s doing, it;s all a miracle, then, against that background, learn whatever science you wil learn. The knowledge of Hashem is necessary to properly digest and get into properly use the knowledge of science.
Torah is to the natural world what a bluprint is to its edifice, or what DNA is to an organism. Histakel B’Oraysa Ubara Alma – Hashem looked inot the Torah, and created the world as a relfection of it. This happened because the very reason – the only reason – the world was created in the first place was as a tool to fulfill the Torah. How can you fulfill the Mitzvah of Pri Etz Hadar without an Esrog tree? How can you fulfill the Mitzvah of Kibud Av Va’em if you dont have parents? How can you make Kiddush Friday night without such things as night, or wine, or words?
How can you fulfill the Mitzvah of Pri Etz Hadar without an Esrog tree? How can you fulfill the MItzvah of Kibud Av Va’em if you dont have parents? How can you make Kiddush Friday night without such things as night, or wine, or words?
Those are easy examples. But Hashem does nothing without a reaosn, and creates nothing without a reason. And if Hashem created it, it has one reaosn and one reaosn only: to facilitate the fulfillment of the Torah. Because without that reason, the world whad no reason to exist.
So everything in the world – every little detail, every little subatomic particle, every litttle spec of space dust – is here to somehow faciliatate the fulfillment of the Toah. Just as every part of a car is to faciliatate the comfortable and efficent transportation of humans from one place to another, so too every part of the world is to faciliatate the transportaiton of humans to Gan Eden by way of Kiyum HaTorah.
But a differnece between a car and the Torah is, whereas there may have been several possible version of how to make a car, and several possible alternatives to the actual car that was created that would have facilitated juts as well the goal of transporting people form on place to another – differnet typoes of cars, trucks, planes, bicycles, etc – there was only ONE possible way to facilitate the goal of getitng people into Gan Eden, and that was by creating this particular world. No other world, not even in te slightest detail, would have done the job.
Just as the Torah is infinitely precise in its details, so does the natural world reflect the infinite precision of the Torah. When Hashem created an Esrog, which shaken in the proper manner, would connect the shaker’s soul to Hashem Himself in the particular way that the speciifc Mitzvah of velkachtem lachem pri etz hadar does, He created the Esrog, the jointsand limbs of the person shaking it, the water and soil and sunlight and gasses that the Esrog consolidates, the mind and body of the perosn shaking the esrog, the circumstances surrounding the buying of the esrog – its value, its purchase price, the precise difficulty invovled in obtaining it, — every single factor that comprises the act of the mitzvah, its nisyonos, and its ramifications — were created with infinite precison, down to the sub atomic level in order to best produce the desired effect.
Because the world itself – the entire universe – is desgined to be the place where, when Moshiach comes, the spiritual energey that was emitted upon the performance of the Mitzvos, combined with Hashem’s revelaiton ofHis Oneness, matures into the spiritual environment Olam Habah, which is en enternal conneciton betwen the Mitzvah-doers and Hashem Himself, the entire world, every molecule and sub atomic element it consists of, every single segment of time and space itself, every sub-sub-sub atomic component of every single square micro-inch of the entire universe, was created in a way that it will fulfill its spiritual purpose – of ultimately connecting humans to Hashem through its being used bu humans to be turned into a connection between the human body-and-soul, and Hashem.
That was the only single solitary idea that Hashem had in mind when creaitng the world. That was the only single solitary reason the world was made. And just as Hashem is one, and the Torah is one, and could not e any other way, the world, in order to fulfill its purpose as becoming the connection to Hashem was created in the only way it could have been, using the Torah as its blurprint, as its DNA. ANd that mean not only the physical shell of the world, but every single nuance of every single sub-atomic detail of the world, was created using the Torah as its bluepirnt. The Torah and nothing else is what the world reflects, on an infinitely sublime level.
This is why the Rambam states (Yesodei Hatorah 2:2) that the natural world contains “wisdom that has no measure and no end”. Because juts as the Torah has infinite wosdom, so does the world, which is a reflection of it.
The calculations and details that went into this world are bottomless. And its nature reflects the nature of the Torah itself; is details reflect the details of the Torah, in the same way that the details of the organizsm reflect the details of the DNA molecule.
So far we know that nature and Torah relate in that the Torah actually dictates what goes on in nature – histakel b’oraisa ubarah almah – just as the blueprint of a building decides how the building will be built, the Torah, in the same sense, decided how nature works. And just as the DNA controls the structure and makeup of the organism, so too it is the Torah the controls the structure and makeup of the world. There is not a single spec of the natural universe that is not ruled and determined by the Torah. As Rabbeinu Bachyai writes in the Introduction to Chumash, all wisdom and science in existence is contained in the Torah.
And the opposite is true as well – the Avos knew and fulfilled the entire Torah even though it had not yet been revealed by Hashem. Avorohom Avinu made and donned a pair of Tefillin. Now there are maybe 10 or so Halachos L’Moshe Misinai invovled in making a pair of Tefillin. How did Avrohom Avinu know how to make a pair of Tefillin?
The answer is that Hashem looked inot the Torah and based on it, deciphered nature; Avrohom reperformed that process the other way: He looked inot the Tevah, the natural universe, and deciphered the principles upon which it was based, the reasons wy it was created in precisely the way it was, and, with preision accuracy, the details of that Torah which is reflected in nature. He looked, for instance, at his own body, and he deciphered from his 248 limbs and his 365 sinews, the 248 Mitzvos aseh and the 365 mitzvos lo saaseh. He deciphered the Torah by studying its reflection – the universe – the same way a skilled architect can decipher the blueprint of a building by studying the building.
So he made a pair of Tefillin.
Nature is created by, from, and as a reflection of Torah. Nature follows Torah law, not vice-versa. And although nature, on the surface, follows surface-level physical laws, on a deeper level, on the deepest, deepest level of science, all of nature, all of the universe, follows a system of laws that are designed to facilitate the purpose of Creation, namely, its enetual maturation, nutured by the study of Torah and performance of Mitzvos by the Jewish nation, into a spiritual entity known as Olam Habah.
In a nutshell, those Laws of Nature are simply a reflection of the Laws of the Torah itself. When the physical universe, which is a reflection of Torah, is nurtured by the Torah-acts of the Am Segulah, it becomes a vessel for the conneciton of the souls and bodies of the Am Segulah to the Creator of the Torah.
That is the cosmology of the world in a nutshell.
So the natural world and the Tprah are inexorably connected. The Torah is the blueprint of the natural world, and the natural world is a reflection of the Torah. Avrohom, Avinu, or someone on his level, could look into nature and discover how to make a pair of Tefiillin; and Chazal were able to loo inot the Tora and discover things about nature. [Rabeinu bachya, Ramban].
But there is a reason that the natural world was tied to the deepest levels of the Torah. G-d could have made a world whose blueprint was physical laws or someother system of rules. Why did Hashem chose the Torah as the blueprint of creation?
And that is how Avrohom Avinumade a pair of Tefillin by looking into the natural world with the eyes and understanding of the Avos, and saw how the world needs Tefillin in order to fulfill its purpose, and how exactly those Tefillin need to be made. By seeing the sleeve, oyu can understand the shape pf the arm, and by seeing an arm you can understand the design of the sleeve.
That is the relationship between Torah and the natural world.September 28, 2009 4:51 pm at 4:51 pm #660645
Joseph posted: “the entire concept of measuring the age of the world the way the scientsts do is based on the assuption that the world was not created by a Creator.”
Sorry, Joseph–the concept of measuring the age of the world is based on a desire to understand the way the world works. There are many scientists that do not have such assumptions, a number of us are Torah-observant Jews, and we see no problems with these measurements of the world’s age–nor their conclusions. In fact, I would assume that you object to any such measurements, or anything else than blind acceptance of your postulates. If I am mistaken in this, I would be happy to listen to any measurements that you would propose, since physical, paleontolgical, and geological measurements are abjectionable to you.
And yes, I have read your postings (numerous times) about great Rabbanim saying that the world was created in six 24-hour periods–and I have seen numerous others about other great Rabbanim who do not believe this.September 29, 2009 2:01 am at 2:01 am #660646
Joseph, your proposal that during the 6 days of creation the mazalos moved faster (allowing for more things to occur), but time continued at the same rate (six regular 24-hour periods) has a problem. The pasuk says about the heavenly bodies vhayu l’osos ulmoadim ul’yamim v’shanim. The days and years are linked to the mazalos. If they spin faster, then time moves faster (more years elapse). So you are in essence agreeing that the 6 days were longer than regular days.
Bemused, our “simple logic” has the din of a d’oraysa. Lamah li kra, sevara hu. We with our puny minds carry as much weight as a befeirush pasuk. In addition, the “simple logic” I used is none other than a kal vachomer, which is used numerous times in shas. You see, the RBSH created the Torah, Science, and our minds. If there is a contradiction between any 2 of these, it is a valid question which deserves an answer. By your attempting to put down our minds as if they are worthless, you are insulting the borei who created them and generously gave of his wisdom to mankind.
Kilobear, your general attitude to scientists is disturbing. Furthermore I have noticed a general pattern that you use the same cynicism towards Zionists on other threads, and on a thread about non-Jewish books you expressed the same view with regard to America the Beautiful, which I thought was a beautifully inspiring song of hakaras hatov. Why the constant negativity towards everything? In each case you accused these people of being totally self-serving, and accomplishing nothing of any value. The only people you have praise for are the Neturei Karta and their anthem. It is a shame that you deny yourself the ability to see the good in others.
As far as scientists go, you have no idea how hard it is to identify the role of even a single component of a single enzyme. In vision alone, there must be over 25 monthly journals reporting on what people have found regarding the intricate workings of the eye, often focusing on a single molecule, with many blind people anxiously awaiting any hope of a cure. Do you really believe that all science is about comparing people to animals? You must be mislead by the media which always blows up some new controversial report to get attention while ignoring the real work which scientists slave over.September 29, 2009 2:18 am at 2:18 am #660648
Pashuteh Yid – Nishtanu Hativ’im.
starwolf – The Torah provides an accurate timeframe from creation until now. Additionally, I referenced the Gemorah and Rashi who explicitly state (Chagiga 31a) that the 6 days were 24 hour time periods.
I already clearly explained the fallacies of how “scientists” count historic time.
Who do you claim argues on this Gemorah? Where can this claim be referenced? How does he interpert the Gemorah. Only an Amorah can argue on a Gemorah, and only a Rishon can argue on Rashi.
Even if semi-humanoid life forms existed, it does not prove in the slightest that they were our ancestors. Perhaps they existed, as ape-like mamals, with more similarity to humans that the apes with which we are familiar. Fine. But what says they are our ancestors? Nothing at all.
Second, there is no evidence at all that those fossils are indeed of ape-humans. They don’t even have proof that those creatures even existed. Any shred of a fossil that they find that gives them an opportunity to speculate about what kind of creature the fossil came from, they latch on to and built mountains out of molehills, and produce theories about what the creature was. This happens constantly:
Zinjanthropus Man, a humanoid race touted as being 600,000 years old based on “fossil evidence”, was not even based on one body, or even an entire skull. They found one skull with the lower jaw missing. The skull was not found in one peice – it consisted of 400 fragments, found distributed among tons of debris, and put together at the discretion of the people who stand to gain the most by such a “discovery”. The entire episode was totally biased, and they still have zero evidence that this creature was anything but human, with, at most a perhaps slightly deformed skull.
And how do they know how old this creature was? Because of the fossils that they found in the same strata with his fossils. And how do ythey know how old those animals were? Because of the theory of evolution which says that such animals should be that old. There is no evidence of anythign here – just theory and wishful thinking.
Every such “discovery” has had opposing scienists who declare them to be nothing. Java and Peking Man were declared by the prominent evolutionist Weidenrech to be plain humans, nothing more and nothing less.
E.E. Stanford, (“Man and the Living World”) declared that Nenderthal Man lives with us today. In “The Fossil Evidence for Human Evolution”. W.E. LeGros Clark declares that Neanderthal Man existed at the same time with regular human beings.
All these types of ape-humans are nothing but apes or humans that can be seen among us today. At hte London meeitng of the Congress of Zoology it was revealed that the nuseum exhibits of Neanderthal Man walking hunched over like an ape was a regular human who had arthritis. Only 13 samples of Neanderthal Man have ever been found – ever! – every one of them incomplete, yet the evolutionists built on them an entire mythical “race” of ape-men.
Procunsul Africanus, touted as the ancestor of “both apes and humans” was declared at that same convention to be nothign but a plain ape.
Java Man was represented by a skull cap, a left femur, a small peice of a jaw, and 3 teeth. Nothign more. And they were found not together but about 50 feet apart, over the span of a year, among many many other bones and devris. Based on this “evidence” they created an entire era in history. Laterthey found more skulls, more bones etc. Everythgin was the same as human remains except forthe teeth, and evolutionists claim that those teeth are the teeth of a plain monkey.
Peking Man has nothing that cannot be found in normal men. Cro-Magnon Man was, evolutionists admit “fully developed” and intelligent as any man today. He was about 6 feet tall, with a regular forehead, full chin and large brain. he is no more proof of evolution than we are.
But do the math: Even according to the most stubborn and irraitonal evolutionists, for every single fossil of normal humans and apes that they find, they should be finding billions upon billions of in-between fossils. The steps between ape and human included tons of in-between creatures, and mutant cxreatures who were not fit for survival. Yet no such fossils have been found. Even the little that they desperately squirm to concoct is pitifully useless compared to what should exist out there. Yet fossils of regular men and apes exist in abundance – in a bundance! – and only once in a blue moon do they even clima to find an in-between fossil. And incidently, the fossils of normal men are found in the same strata as those of the “ancient” and prehistoric men. Go figure.
The fossil record is the biggest proof against evolution. Not that proof is needed – the entire idea is a baseless hteory, the only reason they cling to it is because they have nothign better to cling to, if they dont want to admit the obvious – that the world was created by G-d.
I would suggest, if you want this information in detail, to read Rabbi Avigdor Miller’s Sing You Righteous and Awake My Glory.
Carbon-14 dating rests on two assumptions. (a)that the amount of carbon-14 in the atmosphere has always been constant, and (b) its rate of decay has always been constant.
Neither of those assumptions has been proven or clsoe to proven. And sicne the world was created in six days, who knows how the cosmic radiation in the atmoshphere was fluctuating then.
There is another issue that makes the carbon dating useless. WHen th e world was create, it already had an age. In other words, when Adam for instance was created, he was an adult, even though he was one day old; there were fully grown trees; the sun’s light already reached the earth; an entire world existed, full-blown and OLD. How old was the world at the moment it was created? I dont know — it doesnt say. But we do know that it didnt sdtart fomr scratch. And so lets say someone would chop down a tree 1 week after it was created and find maybe 50 rigns insude – would that prove that the tree wa 50 years old? Nope – it owuld only prove that when it was created it was created as an adult, 50 year old tree.
So even if dating would be accurate, it still doesnt prove that the world was not created 6,000 years ago – because when it was created, it already could have been thousands of years old.September 29, 2009 5:09 am at 5:09 am #660649
Bemused–regarding logic–While it is indeed not a solution to every intellectual problem that we encounter, it is certainly an ability granted to us by HKB”H and should not be disregarded nor considered posul. Please remember that the entire Talmud is based on logical rules, for the purpose of interpreting laws and phrases that can be obscure. Without these rules, we are unable to interpret how the Torah applies to new situations, and determine practical Halacha. Where would we be without the logical thought of Chaza”l?
It is not a matter of “Our SIMPLE “logic” versus the greatness of our Creator and all that He wills to happen.”– I think that the word “versus” is incorrect here. We use logic to attempt to understand the works of the Creator.September 29, 2009 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm #660651onlyemesMember
The recent posts boil down to this: Either God created a universe with a long history , which appears to science to be very old (and comes with stars already shining on earth, dinosaur fossils , etc…)but is in fact only 5770 years old, or He created the universe billions of years ago and our recorded history begins only 5770 years ago.
Since I am of bona fide Jewish stock and do not require giyur in Bnei Brak, I choose to believe in the latter possibility.
onlyemes, I can answer your question to the editor. Send me an email and I’ll be happy to explain it to you. [email protected]September 29, 2009 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm #660652goody613Member
onlyemes- the world was created 5770 years ago.
the reason scientists believe it was created billions of years ago is b/c they don’t realize it was created at one time they think it took billions of years for everything to grow into what it is now.September 29, 2009 2:06 pm at 2:06 pm #660653
Sorry, Joseph, I do not agree that “Only an Amorah can argue on a Gemorah, and only a Rishon can argue on Rashi.” This is not a question of Halacha, and about matters like this, Chazal are not infallible. We have seen writings of Rav Avraham ben haRambam and Rav Saadia Gaon arguing against this topic–would you say that they are not Shomrei Torah?
I have read Rav Avigdor Miller’s books, and I find him less than informed on scientific matters. He cites many sources out of context, and I must beleive that he was misinformed or mistaken. In Contrast, Have you ever read Rav Aryeh Kaplan’s books?
Concerning your information about C-14 dating–yes, it does depend on a constant rate of decay. However, we have no evidence whatsoever that the rate of decay changes. All of our assumptions are based on evidence–whereas yours have none to back them up. And there is nothing in Torah that says that we should disregard the evidence of our eyes.
About the fossil; record. You claim that there should be many “in-between creatures” and ones whose lines died out. There are indeed many of the latter forms found. As far as the “in-between” creatures–i.e. transitional lifeforms, there are reasons that we do not find them.
The conditions for fossilization are complex. The remains of an animal or plant must find themselves on the bottom of a body of water, and get covered so they are not consumed by scavengers or decay. (The vast majority of fossils are marine organisms. We have relatively few records of land animals and even fewer of delicate land animals such as birds.) The hard parts of bodies are fossilized relatively easily, while the soft parts are not. So that creates a bias in the record. We have lots of bones and teeth, but little record of jellyfish, worms, and other fragile creatures. We estimate that the vast majority of life was soft-bodied, so the fossil record must be sparse.
Once fossilized, the remains must survive the moving of the earth (shifting, folding, breaking, etc)which will eliminate many fossils. Then, of course, the fossil must be discovered, and we have not exactly been looking for very long. Under these circumstances, it is amazing that we have found the fossils that have, and it is not surprising to think that it is not complete.
As far as the continuity of the fossil record–do you think that it is coincidence that fossils found at similar levels are thought to have existed at the same time? The science of paleontolgy is built on very careful examination of evidence, and each bit is incorporated into the theory of life. When contradicting evidence is found, we let the preponderance determine, or wait for that crucial third bit to settle the matter.September 29, 2009 2:15 pm at 2:15 pm #660654
Joseph you should be carefull were you get the info for your posts from as your post is full of blatant misinformation
“Only 13 samples of Neanderthal Man have ever been found – ever! – every one of them incomplete,”
This statement is simply false, the remains of over 400 neanderthals have been found to date.
“But do the math: Even according to the most stubborn and irraitonal evolutionists, for every single fossil of normal humans and apes that they find, they should be finding billions upon billions of in-between fossils.”
No they shouldnt find billions and billions of in between fossils because they have only catalouged a couple hundred million.
“The steps between ape and human included tons of in-between creatures, and mutant cxreatures who were not fit for survival.”
Only somone with no understanding of how evolution works would say that.
There wouldnt be tons of mutants that are unfit for survival. Put simply the way evolution works is that creatures reproduce with mutation. Out evrey group of creatures some will have more offspring than others because they are more fit for survival( they may run faster,be a slightly less conspicious color ect.ect.) these will pass on their with genes (that contain thier mutations) to their offspring but with mutations over enough generations this will change the animal so much that it would be called a new “specie” there is no point were there would be tons of “unfit mutants”September 29, 2009 2:21 pm at 2:21 pm #660655Just-a-guyMember
There is a story on the “front page” of yeshivaworld about a ruling of the Poskei Hador on Shabbos elevators. According to the story, elevator engineers and technicians were consulted. I think that is significant.September 29, 2009 2:25 pm at 2:25 pm #660656
Also there are plenty of “transitional fossils” and anyone can see them in any good museum of natrual history. (just keep that in mind before you say things like “how come there are no transitional fossils”)September 29, 2009 3:06 pm at 3:06 pm #660657
Another point worth noting is that there are plenty of transitional fossils and anyone can see quite a few of them in any good museum of natrual history, so keep that in mind before you say things like “why are there no transitional fossils?”September 29, 2009 3:41 pm at 3:41 pm #660658
“No they shouldnt find billions and billions of in between fossils because they have only catalouged a couple hundred million.”
what i meant to say was a couple hundred million fossils altogetherSeptember 29, 2009 9:02 pm at 9:02 pm #660661
There is a story on the “front page” of yeshivaworld about a ruling of the Poskei Hador on Shabbos elevators. According to the story, elevator engineers and technicians were consulted. I think that is significant.
The Poskei Hador ZT’L also consulted the blueprint of the engineer and technician of the World, when describing its creation.
Postscript to Pashuteh Yid: I am pleased to read that you acknowledge that evolution is sheker vekozov, and hence “modern scientific” theory could be built upon a pyramid of falsehoods.September 29, 2009 11:51 pm at 11:51 pm #660663
starwolf: Youre opinion about not having to take the days as days was rejected by all the Rishonim, as all of them who discuss this, particularly Rashi and Ramban, says a day is a day.
Not that thats a tremendous chidush. If a day isnt a day then maybe a mountain isnt a mountain, a desert isnt a desert, Tefillin arent Tefillin, and Shabbos isnt Shabbos. The whole idea is silly.
Rav Sadiah never said such a thing. That’s a distortion of his position. See it inside. What Rav Sadiah did say has no bearing on any of the issues we are discussing.
Rav Sadiah did not say all methods of direct and indirect proofs are sufficent to reinterpret the Torah. And surely he did not say scientific evidence is reason. Neither Rav Saadiah or anybody eles ever said such a thing. Your senses are what you can feel and taste and touch such that it becomes impossible for it not to be so.
Scientific evidence is not that. There is a margin of error in these things that has been proven time and time again in the past. Especially since there are other explanations, such as the “world was created old” idea that explains things just fine. Never mind that more often than not, the “proofs” start with the asusmption that the world was NOT created by a creator.
That is a far, far, far cry from the touch-and-taste first-hand sensory intuitive proof that Rav Saadiah mentioned.
In addition, Rav Saadiah never said that your senses are the only factor involved in assessing the acceptability of your interpretation. Rav Saadiah was a rishon, and he was talking about interpreting the Torah in an acceptable, reasonable manner, using all the yegiah and ameilus that one uses to interpret any difficult passage. He is saying that your senses can be invoked to determine correct pshat in the Torah but he did not say that satisfying your senses is the only requirement for an acceptable pshat. Rav Saadiah did not say that you can interpret the Torah – allegorically or literally – in a way that contradicts our Torah shebal peh, Mesorah, or the Halachah, for instance, just because you cannot think of a pshat that agrees with the Mesorah. So even if theoretically something in the Torah would go against our senses, we would have to interpret the Torah according to the halachic and hashkafic due process. If we are unable to think of a pshat that squares with torah shebal peh, then we simly do not know the pshat. Not a big deal. There are a lot of difficult passages in the Torah. And as Rav Chaim Brisker said: “It is better to remain with a good question than to give a bad answer.”
Plus, if you notice, Rav Saadiah said not only that you may reinterpret a posuk if it contradicts simple logic and intuition, which is not justification for reinterpreting the Torah here, Rav Sadiah also says that license to reinterpret comes if the posuk seems to contradict rabbinic tradition.
So avoiding an absolute logical and intuitive impossibility is one reason to reinterpret, but contradicting rabbinic tradition is another.
So even if you have a posuk that meets Rav Sadiahs criterion of being against basic logic and sensory facts, by reinterpreting it in a way that contradicts rabbinic tradition you have not follwoed Rav Sadiah. All you have done is traded one impossibilitiy for another, which is not what Rav Saddiah is allowing.
To fulfill Rav Sadiah, youd have to reinterpret the posuk in a way that squares with Rabbinic tradition. If you cant, then you simply must say “I dont know.”
The requirement to believe Torah MiSinai includes of course, not only Torah shebiksav but Torah shebaal peh. That includes Midrashim. However, Agados can be interpreted not literally. Rav Saadia Gaon writes that an Agada can be interpreted as Mesholim in 4 instances: If it contradicts reality, reason, Gemara or Rabbinic tradition. The Ramchal, in Maamar HaAgadta also writes that some Agados are mesholim. (See also Radak Shmuel I end of Ch. 28). Not accpeting a Maamr Chazal is not accpetable – but to reinterpret it in a way that makes it more palatable is OK.
Theoretically, that is. In order to interpret any Chazal – Halachah or Agada – you need to benefit of Rabbinic tradition throughout the ages. If the Rishonim considered an Agada literal, you would be fooling yourself by saying that it is not. They surely had the same measure of common sense as we do, and so if they were not bothered by the credulity of a specific statement of Chazal, we should not be, either.
Another thing: There are people who refuse to accept what seems to them incredulity even in Pesukim of the torah and they therefore interpret them allegorically. That is Apikorsus for sure. And to say that well, I will trust the Torah and the prophets but not Chazal makes no sense. Chazal didnt make up stories. But rather the Agada was said, sometimes, as a Moshol. But to know when it is a Moshol and when it is literal is as difficult as properly interpreting any Torah passage. And here, too, the same logic that tells you the literal meaning of the CHazal is hard ot accept also tells you in even stronger tones, that we are nothing but foolish to reject the opinions of our Rishonim, who understood both reality and Chazal much better than we do.
I have a better idea, then, for such cases, when you come acorss such a Chazal. Invoke Rav CHaim Brisker’s dictums: “Fun a kasha shtarbt mir nisht”. You wont die from a [an unanswered] question. And “S’iz besser to beiben by a kasha vi tzu zogen a krumer teretz” – “Its better to remain with a quesiton than to have the wrong answer.”
So say simply, “I dont understand this Chazal.” You dont have to interpret it any way at all. Maybe one day youll see something in a sefer or someone will explain it. In the meantime, there is no need to jump to conclusions that our predecesors did not reach.
BTW in a kuntres put out on Birkas Hachamah entitled ‘Tizrach Hashemesh’, a medrash that says ‘lo nivroh leho’ir elah galgal hachamoh bilvad – the Zohar in Parshas Veyakhel (reish-tes-vav) ‘delais nehorah leseharoh elah nehora di’shimshoh’ – this fits exactly with what was discovered about the moon, that it has no light of its own, and that it receives light from the sun – it only looks like it’s shining by itself. chalk this one up to the list of things chazal would have had no way of knowing without the torah being from hashem.
(reposted from elsewhere)September 30, 2009 2:32 am at 2:32 am #660665
646, Much of what the Greeks got right, they got from us. This is as clear as day. See what Rav Chaim Kanievsky points out in Kiryas Melech (Yesodei Hatorah 3:1).
Here’s how this works: The Rishonim will quote something from the Greek philosophers but which really comes from Kabbalah. They do this because when citing Kabalistic ideas, they often try to conceal them as much as possible. Therefore, if something is well known as a Greek philosophical concept, they will quote it as such even though its source is Judaism. Example: The Ramban’s hyly (hiuli?) at the beginning of Bereishis, which he notes and sources as Greek. Both the Satmar Rebbe (Divrei Yoel Bereishis p.61) and Rav Elya Lopian (quoted by Rav Scwardron) say the hyly is a Kabbalistic, spiritual idea, which the Greeks took from us. The Divrei Yoel explains that the Ramban quoted this in the name of the Greeks because it is the derech of the Ramban to camouphlage such sodos in physical terms – the same as Chazal often did. (see also Rama Toras HaOlah on Boruch Sheamar). Another one of these concepts is the 4 elements (fire, waster, air, and earth), which is quoted all over by the Greeks but comes from Kabbalah – they took it from us.
The idea that the Greeks took their philosophical ideas from us is all over the Rishonim and Achronim, including the Ramban himself (Toras Hashem Temimah p.162). He says that they lifted their knowledge from the Jews, and eventually it got distorted by them. But the source is Judaism. The Kuzari says the same thing (2:66 – see also 2:19 and 1:62) as does the Shevili Emunah (nesiv 8) the Rama (he brings that Socrates got his wisdom from Asaf and Achitofel (Toras Haolah 1:12), and Chosid Yaavetz (Ohr Hachaim 6). The Chida (Midbar Kadmos – Sheva Chachmos) says this in the name of the Rambam (se alos Moreh Nevuchim 1:71).
Basically what happened was, people like Shlomo HaMelech and the Neviim had this chachma, the Greek philosophers such as Plato and Aristotle learned from them, we went into Golus and a lot of it got lost, while among the Greeks it got grotesquely distorted. So youll find Torah and Kabbalistic concepts among the Goyim but kind of in a messed up way. Sometimes Rishonim such as the Ramban will identify some crumb of truth among them that comes from us and he will quote it from them if it is known as such.
Regarding Ptolmey himself, the Abarbanel (Shmos 12) quotes Ptolmey as being so impressed with the Jews’ astronomical calculations, that he said it proves the Jews had prophecy. In the Sefer Eretz Zvi (by Rav Aryeh Zvi Fromer ZTL, Rosh Yeshiva in Chachmei Lublin), quotes more such sources about Ptolmey.
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