Does Dr. Niles Eldredge Believe in Darwinian Evolution?

June 12, 2011 2:50 am 19 comments

Dr. Niles Eldredge of the American Museum of Natural History

Dr. Robert Shapiro, Professor Emeritus of Chemistry at NYU, (and self-declared agnostic) is one of the most outspoken critics of modern-day Origin of Life research. In fact he was unofficially dubbed “Dr. No,” by his students for his repeated criticisms of what he called the “deeply flawed” approach of many scientists as they search for a purely naturalistic origin of life. When asked for his reaction to a widely touted experimental “breakthrough” by a British researcher he was quoted as saying, “The flaw in this kind of research is not in the chemistry. The flaw is in the logic – that this type of experimental control by researchers in a modern laboratory could have been available on the early earth.” The particular details of that experiment are not relevant to our present discussion. What is relevant is the above highlighted phrase, and I ask the reader to contemplate its import and let it percolate through your brain. “The flaw is in the logic.”

Many laypeople in our times view scientists as sort of demi-gods. Dr. Niles Eldredge, a distinguished scientist at the American Museum of Natural History in New York, put it this way, “Many scientists really do seem to believe that they have a special access to the truth. They call press conferences to trumpet new discoveries…and they expect to be believed – by their peers, and especially by the public at large. Throwing down scientific thunderbolts from Olympian heights, scientists come across as authoritarian truth givers, whose word must be taken unquestioned.” Speaking as a highly accomplished scientist himself, he unceremoniously shatters this misleading façade: “That all the evidence shows the behavior of scientists to be no different from the ways in which other people behave is somehow overlooked in all this.”

Simply put, they are subject to the same foibles as all other human beings. Some scientists are petty, underhanded, lustful, manipulative, and envious, while others may have developed sterling quality of character. And yes, a brilliant scientist can conduct a complex experiment calling on all his vast knowledge and skill, and then proceed to draw faulty conclusions, not due to a failure of his science, but due to a failure in his logic. Please focus on this crucial distinction. Logic is not science. Logic is a commodity which cannot be hoarded or monopolized by any particular occupation or profession. Logic is an intellectual tool available equally to both scientist and non-scientist. If the issue at hand is not a question of scientific data or knowledge itself, but a logical comparison, deduction, or conclusion involving scientific data or knowledge, scientific credentials are for the most part irrelevant. At that juncture, the scientist, historian, plumber, and taxi-driver are all on equal footing, provided their logic is sound. No one made the point better than Nobel prize winning physicist, Richard Feynman, indisputably a genius of the highest order and one of the greatest scientific minds of the 20th century: “I believe that a scientist looking at non-scientific problems is just as dumb as the next guy.”

It is my contention that many of the hottest areas of dispute in the so called “battle” between science and religion have relatively little to do with the actual science involved. They are to a great extent problems of logic. We will now focus on Niles Eldredge himself. In his foreword to Evolution vs. Creationism: An Introduction (by Dr. Eugenie Scott), Eldredge states that there are two grand predictions made by evolutionary theory and that by experimentation and observation one can see these predictions confirmed:

What predictions arise from the notion of evolution – that is, the idea that all organisms present on earth are descended from a single common ancestor? There are two major predictions of what life should look like if evolution has happened…(1) more closely related organisms will share more similarities with each other than with more remotely related kin; rats and mice will be more similar to each other than they are  to squirrels; but rats and mice and squirrels (united as rodents) share more similarities than any of them share with cats. In the end there should be a single nested set of similarities linking up all of life.

He then goes on to explain that this prediction has been borne out in the world of nature:

“This is exactly what systematic biologists and paleontologists find as they probe the patterns of similarities held among organisms – in effect, testing over and over again this grand prediction of evolution. Rats, squirrels, and mice share many similarities – but with all animals…they share a common organization of their cells. They share even with the simplest bacteria…the molecule RNA [and]DNA.”

On the surface it sounds quite reasonable. As life moved forward in its evolutionary journey from the first common ancestor, organisms on the same evolutionary branches will resemble each other more closely than those on divergent branches. It is a rather simple task to test this prediction. All we have to do is find those living things that are closely related and see if they share more similarities than with more distantly related organisms. But you may ask: How do we know which species are more closely related in order to test out the level of similarity? Eldredge has already given us the answer, “Rats and mice will be more similar to each other than they are to squirrels, but rats, mice, and squirrels (united as rodents) share more similarities than any of them share with cats.” This logic is so thoroughly and fatally flawed that it never even sees the light of day. Rats, mice, and squirrels, which are all closely related, are very similar to each other. And how did we know that rats, mice, and squirrels are closely related in the first place so that we could test out if they share similarities? We know they are related, because they are very similar to each other. In order to test his prediction, Eldredge has presupposed the truth of what he is testing for.

Let’s put it a different way: If evolutionary theory is true, then living things are “related” through the evolutionary process, and as a result of this “relatedness” will share similarities. However, if the theory is not true, then living things are not “related” at all, and the fact that they share similarities is for an entirely different reason (hint: they were created that way). In order to test out the truth of this prediction of evolutionary theory, Eldredge must look for “related” organisms to see if they are similar, but in order to know if organisms are “related” we need some independent knowledge that the theory is true in the first place! Not only is Eldredge’s prediction untestable and unfalsifiable, it is, in fact, a striking example of circular reasoning. Along this line of thinking, the only testable and falsifiable predictions that could be made are the following: If evolutionary theory is true we would expect to see that (1) some living things are very similar to each other, (2) some living things are less similar to each other, and (3) all living things share some similarities. Let’s face it, numbers (1) and (2) are nothing more than truisms, and although molecular biology has confirmed (3), it offers no conclusive demonstration of evolutionary theory. All it tells us is that…well, that all living things share similarities!

On the second grand prediction of evolutionary theory, Eldredge does better:

The second grand prediction of the very idea of evolution is that the spectrum of simple (bacteria) to complex (multicellular plant and animal life) should be ordered through time: the earliest forms of life should be the simple bacteria…and only later do the more complex forms of multicellular life arrive…that is indeed what we do find.

Let’s assume that the science here is flawless; that, in fact, our scientific observations confirm that the oldest living things were the simplest and that more complex living organisms only come later, culminating in man himself. While it would then be true that the data matches the prediction of evolutionary theory, the data also happens to align very closely to the “predictions” of another competing theory that is older than Darwinian evolution by several millennia; oddly enough, we are talking about the first chapter of Genesis. Based on the story of creation in Genesis, one would also expect to find that there was an order in the progression of life going from simple life in the water all the way through homo sapiens, who is the final stage of creation. So far, the first of Eldredge’s grand predictions turns out to be circular reasoning and the second turns out to be curiously similar to the creation story in Genesis.

However, the most bewildering point in Eldredge’s approach is not anything that he predicts about evolutionary theory; it is what he does not predict that is most perplexing of all! The obvious “third grand prediction” should have been that if all life originated from one common ancestor, then the fossil record should provide the “smoking gun” evidence that shows the gradual transitions from one species, genus, phylum, etc., to another. What makes this even more astounding is that Niles Eldredge is a highly respected and world-renowned paleontologist! It is difficult to escape the conclusion that the reason he leaves this out, is because in his opinion as a world-class paleontologist, the fossil record does not provide evidence for Darwinian evolutionary theory. I want to make it clear to the reader this should not be misconstrued as a comprehensive analysis of evolutionary theory nor an attack on Eldredge’s credentials as a scientist; I am simply pointing out the flaws in his logic.

Dr. Robert Shapiro (whom we mentioned in the first paragraph of this article), also stumbles in his logic regarding the search for a naturalistic origin of life. In his classic work, Origins: A Skeptics Guide to the Creation of Life on Earth, Shapiro writes the following:

“One favorite analogy of believers involves the discovery of a watch…it would function only if its parts had been put together by a watchmaker…similarly, the existence of bacteria [the simplest organisms known to have ever existed] …which are much more complex than a watch implies the existence of a creator…we will not take this escape route in our book, for we are committed to seeking an answer within the realm of science.”

The problem here goes beyond a simple flaw in logic. It seems that Shapiro has brazenly thrown the entire quest for truth under the bus. He is clearly prepared to abandon and ignore a perfectly reasonable possibility for the origin of life because  he is “committed” to seeking a scientific answer. Why couldn’t Shapiro state that despite the very reasonable possibility that the first life was created,  as a scientist he is still committed to investigating if there is a plausible naturalistic pathway from non-life to life. Why denigrate the notion of a creator as an “escape route?” It is obviously just as foolish for a scientist to believe that his “commitment” to finding a scientific answer magically creates a scientific reality, as it is for a theologian to believe that his “commitment” to seeking a religious answer magically creates a metaphysical or spiritual reality.  The only answer that anyone should be seeking is the true answer. In fact, if one is seeking the truth, for what reason would one possibly care if the answer is scientific or not? He concludes the above cited paragraph with a rather strikingly un-scientific statement: “We must look for another solution if we wish to remain within science.” (“If wishes were fishes, we’d all cast our nets in the sea.”)

Dr. Robert Hazen, in his book Genesis: The Scientific Quest for Life’s Origin, makes a similar blunder:

“How did life arise?…Barring divine intervention, life must have emerged by a natural process – one fully consistent with the laws of chemistry and physics.”

How is it possible that such a bizarre statement could be put forward by such a highly accomplished and intelligent scientist?  There are only two possibilities to begin with; if you arbitrarily eliminate one, it doesn’t take a PhD level intellect to conclude that only one possibility remains. Dr. Hazen has presented us with none other than a meaningless tautology.  He has, in fact, informed us of the following: If no other force is at work in the universe with regards to the origin of life except natural processes (“Barring Divine intervention”), then no other force is at work in the universe with regards to origin of life except natural processes.  Hazen’s statement is about as meaningful, informative, and scientific as the following: “Barring natural processes, life must have emerged by divine intervention.”

One might think that after everything I’ve written above, I have a low opinion of the level of intelligence or scientific expertise of the aforementioned scientists. Nothing could be further from the truth. If I needed a piece of scientific data within their fields, I would unhesitatingly inquire of Dr’s Eldredge, Shapiro, and Hazen, and rely on the validity of their answers. In closing, I offer a corollary of Dr. Robert Shapiro’s incisive observation which is cited in the opening paragraph of this article: When agnostic/atheist/materialist scientists use their laboratory tables as pulpits to preach their non-belief, the flaw is not in their science, the flaw is in their logic.

Rabbi Moshe Averick is an ordained orthodox rabbi. He is the author of Nonsense of a High Order: The Confused and Illusory World of the Atheist, available on Amazon and Kindle. He can be contacted via his website at www.RabbiMaverick.com. Link to Amazon.

19 Comments

  • In order for the Muslim to justify his actions of terror, he must be able to be rationally certain that God has actually commanded him to carry out his terrorist activities.

    How someone convinces themselves that they’re doing their god’s will is not the point. The point is that once they are convinced of this – rationally or irrationally (and my money is on the second option) – you say they are justified in slaughtering an entire nation, so long as they believe their god wants them to. This is vile. This is utterly contemptible. This, according to you, is a higher morality than any “imaginary value system” of mine.

    I guarantee that he would not have any good reasons to believe that God has commanded him to committ acts of terror except that he has been told by someone else that this is the word of God.

    You don’t have any good reasons to believe in a god from an ancient myth who demands your foreskin as a sign of loyalty, but I don’t see that stopping you from believing. Why do you expect this hypothetical terrorist to have a higher standard of evidence than you do?

    The principle is as follows: If the infinite God of Abraham exists, and If he commands the destruction of an individual or a nation, then it is not murder or genocide, it is the eradication of evil.

    That’s not a principle, Moshe, that’s a remarkably addled claim. First of all, the act of deliberately exterminating a nation is genocide. Regardless of the reasons behind it or your opinion of the “good” or “evil” of such an act. Regardless of who perpetrates it, or what the nation in question is, or the means by which it is accomplished. I find it difficult to believe that a simple dictionary definition is giving you this much trouble. You’ve written a book; how is it that you can’t grasp the meaning of a single word that I’ve repeatedly defined for you?

    Second, your proposition is a complete non-sequitur. If the god of Abraham actually existed and wanted someone killed, it would not automatically mean that the target of his wrath is evil, just as it would not mean that they are green or triangular. It would mean that he wants them dead. Unless you actually define evil as “whoever the Abrahamic god wants dead”, you’re leaving out some crucial steps in your reasoning.

    I don’t think that any rational, thinking person would disagree.

    *raises hand* I disagree. So far, rationality and thought don’t seem to be major features of the argument you’re advancing.

    Of course there still remains the valid question: How do we (I) know that God commanded the destruction of the Midianites? That is a totally different question which has not even been approached.

    That was not the subject of my book, and it is not the subject on the table right now.

    Why are you raising this question that you yourself declare irrelevant, then? As you say, “perhaps that is where the confusion has come from”, but I really don’t see what any part of what you’re responding to has to do with reasons for belief.

    On the other hand, for the atheist, moral values are nothing more than subjective human constructs whose source is nothing more signigicant than the human imagination.

    Experience and imagination are two very different things, Moshe. Do try not to confuse them in the future.

    • Moshe Averick

      Johann,

      Again, HOW someone convinces themselves that they are doing the will of God is the entire point. If someone convinces themself for irrational reasons then they are obviously not doing what God has commanded them, they are doing whatever the hell they themselves want to do. This, of course, is by definition what every atheistic set of values is. You do whatever it is that makes you feel good. What else is there?

      You are hung up on the word genocide. Eradicating evil is not the same thing as genocide, period. I support the eradication of evil, I do not support genocide.
      If you cannot see the difference I really don’t know what to say.

      If the infinite God of Abraham does not exist, then we are left with amorality. As Professor Emeritus of Philosophy at the U. of New Haven, Dr. Joel Marks put it: “Atheism implies amorality, and since I am an atheist I must therefore embrace amorality.” I would not want him as a next door neighbor but at least he is honest. If God does not exist the whole discussion becomes rather pointless. In an atheistic world “Morality is the custom of one’s country and the current feelings of one’s peers. Cannibalism is moral in a cannibalistic country.”

      If the infinite, transcendent God of Abraham exists, then morality has actual significance. Morality then means achieving a relationship with the infinite, transcendent, eternal reality of God, our creator. He, himself is THE good. If you give me your email address, I will send you the Chapter in my book where I elaborate on this.
      Moshe

      PS I happen to have some very good reasons for believing in the God of Abraham (who initiated the covenant of circumcision) and the God who revealed himself at Mt. Sinai. I have not discussed them with you, that does not mean they don’t exist. Of course if my reasons are not valid, then you are correct, it’s all a lot of nonsense.

      • I happen to have some very good reasons for believing in the God of Abraham (who initiated the covenant of circumcision) and the God who revealed himself at Mt. Sinai. I have not discussed them with you, that does not mean they don’t exist.

        But you “guarantee” that someone acting on behalf of a different god doesn’t have similarly good reasons. Why, then, should I not apply your own standard to you?

        Of course if my reasons are not valid, then you are correct, it’s all a lot of nonsense.

        Glad we agree on something. =)

        You are hung up on the word genocide.

        No, Moshe. I’m hung up on the reality of what your glib little expression “eradicating evil” represents, and I’m trying to see if you are ignoring or actually endorsing that reality.

        You keep telling me that under certain fairly common circumstances in your belief system, it’s good to have cities on fire, children cut down in the streets, and people running into the night, never to return.

        Your pious justifications don’t matter one bit to the people who end up in the mass graves, Moshe. It makes no difference to them whether their lives were cut short to appease someone’s territorial lust or the wrath of a jealous god invented by ancient goatherders.

        You can keep dancing around this all you want, shaking Stalin and Mao like a shaman trying to call down rain, hoping to give weight to your morally bankrupt stance by invoking them for contrast. Perhaps eventually you’ll realize that this only has a chance to work when there actually *is* a contrast – when you don’t join in the chorus of those who are willing to write people off as inconveniet, expendable or “evil”. In this, you are their brother.

        I support the eradication of evil, I do not support genocide. If you cannot see the difference I really don’t know what to say.

        I’ll take you at face value about your failure of imagination here. Here’s a suggestion: since you keep insisting on the distinction, explain how the “eradication of evil” that you keep referring to does not fall under the definition of “deliberate and systematic destruction, in whole or in part, of an ethnic, racial, religious, or national group” in the context of destroying a nation.

        Because so far, you’re just repeating “Saying ‘genocide’ makes killing people for my god sound like a bad thing.”

  • Joseph,

    I disagree with you about the import of Eldredge’s presentation. If you read the foreword carefully you will see that he was giving the most fundamental and essential “grand predictions” of evolutionary theory. Oddly enough you did not address the most critical point, and that is why Eldredge left out the fossil record.

    I said the prediction “aligns closely” , not “matches exactly” the evolutionary theory. “just as dumb as the next guy” obviously does not mean that Rabbis or scientists are dumb. It means that in logical evaluation they are equal.

    I don’t see how you showed that my evaluation of Eldredge’s statements are innacurate.
    Moshe

  • Oh hey, you’re still posting here. =) Since you seem to be quite committed to showing atheists like me the error of our ways, would you care to continue to continue our discussion of your support for genocide? Still hoping to hear back from you.

    • Hi Johann,
      I do not support genocide. I don’t know why you keep repeating that. As I have mentioned a number of times, I do not consider the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki to be inflicting genocide on the inhabitants of those cities. It was right and just. It was part of the process of destroying a profoundly evil empire. If and when God commands the destruction of a nation, it is not genocide, it is eradicating evil.
      Moshe

      • How curiously, conveniently forgetful you seem to get about these things. =)

        I was not arguing at any point that dropping the bomb on Japan was an act of genocide. (Neither were you arguing that it wasn’t, for all that you say you “have mentioned [it] a number of times”. Consistency, Moshe – I’m not even asking for integrity at this point.)

        I do not support genocide. I don’t know why you keep repeating that.

        Because you keep reaffirming your support for genocide even in your denials. To refresh your memory, here’s the definition again:

        Genocide is the deliberate and systematic destruction, in whole or in part, of an ethnic, racial, religious, or national group.

        And here are your own words:

        If and when God commands the destruction of a nation, it is not genocide, it is eradicating evil.

        Congratulations; you have just declared your support for an idea that just justifies and sanctifies the actions of Muslim terrorists who attack Israel. What will you do for an encore?

        • Johann,
          either your logic is screwy, or you haven’t really thought this through. In order for the Muslim to justify his actions of terror, he must be able to be rationally certain that God has actually commanded him to carry out his terrorist activities.

          Find a muslim terrorist and ask him how he is certain that God has actually commanded him to do what he is doing. I guarantee that he would not have any good reasons to believe that God has commanded him to committ acts of terror except that he has been told by someone else that this is the word of God.

          The principle is as follows: If the infinite God of Abraham exists, and If he commands the destruction of an individual or a nation, then it is not murder or genocide, it is the eradication of evil. I don’t think that any rational, thinking person would disagree.

          Of course there still remains the valid question: How do we (I) know that God commanded the destruction of the Midianites? That is a totally different question which has not even been approached.

          That was not the subject of my book, and it is not the subject on the table right now. Perhaps that is where the confusion has come from.

          On the other hand, for the atheist, moral values are nothing more than subjective human constructs whose source is nothing more signigicant than the human imagination. The imaginary value system of Bertrand Russell is no more significant than the imaginary value sytstem of Peter Singer which is no more significant than the imaginary value system of Josef Stalin.

          Moshe

  • From Eldredge’s foreword:

    “In the end there should be a single nested set of similarities linking up all of life.”

    This is the most relevant point: a nested hierarchy is what evolution predicts.

    From Hazen:

    fully consistent with the laws of chemistry and physics

    This is the most relevant point of his sentence. That we can use chemistry and physics to try to discover how life might have arisen.

    You don’t demonstrate that either of these guys are illogical. I’m not sure what you expected to demonstrate.
    That your reading comprehension leaves something to be desired?

    • Dave,
      The fact that all life shares a universal genetic code does not offer anything even remotely approaching conclusive evidence for the truth of Darwinian Evolution. It does not prove common descent, it simply proves what I pointed out: namely that all life shares a universal genetic code. You did not address the fact that Eldredge leaves out the most important prediction which is of course the fossil record.

      Re: Hazen- Hazen does not show HOW physics and chemistry account for the origin of life. All he does is declare his faith that they can. No origin of life researcher has a clue how life began (that includes Jack Szostak). I was pointing out how cavalierly Hazen rejects the very reasonable possibility of a creator by simply saying “Barring Divine Intervention.”
      Moshe

  • 101 Scientific Facts & Foreknowledge

    Psalm 19:1-3 – The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament shows His handiwork. Day unto day utters speech, and night unto night reveals knowledge. There is no speech nor language where their voice is not heard.

    Jeremiah 10:12 – He has made the earth by His power, He has established the world by His wisdom, and has stretched out the heavens at His discretion.

    Romans 1:20 – For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse.

    Science means knowledge, and true science always agrees with the observable evidence. Scientific research continues to unfold the wonders and mysteries of our universe. Interestingly, there is one book that has anticipated many of these scientific facts. That book is the Bible.
    This booklet presents 101 scientific facts found in the Scriptures. Many of these facts were penned centuries before they were discovered. Scientific foreknowledge found only in the Bible offers one more piece to the collective proof that the Bible is truly the inspired Word of the Creator. How does this affect you? The last several pages provide the answer – you need to read them carefully.

    http://www.evangelize.com.au/Articles/101%20Scientific%20facts.htm

  • Rabbi, you seem to be misinformed.

    You point out the (tediously over-used) argument that “relatedness” and “similar appearance” are circular logic used to prove evolution.

    However, you fail to note that Darwin knew NOTHING about DNA. Darwin proposed the concept of “common descent” long before we had anything other than “similar appearance” to go on. So when our understanding of DNA blossomed, it gave us a very solid “test” of evolutionary theory – not a circular argument, but a straightforward test.

    If species are related, then features of DNA passed only by inheritance would roughly match the pattern of the Linnaean taxonomy system.

    If species are created, then there is no reason why inherited DNA features would reflect the Linnaean taxonomy.

    What do we find? Not only do coding genes follow the pattern predicted by our concept of Darwinian phylogeny, but the exact molecular variants of the various proteins follow the inheritance pattern predicted by common descent. And if that’s not enough, we tested it AGAIN with the patterns of markers left by our ancestors’ various retrovirus infections.

    There is nothing circular about it, Rabbi. You are dead wrong. All (known) life on Earth is related. This is proved beyond reasonable doubt.

    Now comes a test of a different sort. What do you do when your ideology is at odds with your presumed desire to be honest?

    • Rick,

      First of all, as I mentioned in the article, my critique of Eldredge’s predictions was not meant to be misconstrued as a comprehensive presentation on the theory of evolution. Please read the article again where I explicitly mentioned that. Secondly, If God created life based on a genetic code, it would make perfect sense that the more similar species were, the closer their genetic coding would be.

      The fact is , and I mention it clearly in the book, NONSENSE OF A HIGH ORDER: THE CONFUSED AND ILLUSORY WORLD OF THE ATHEIST, that I do not deal with evolution. As a non-scientist I find it to be ideological trench warfare. For argument’s sake I am prepared to concede the truth of evolution. I spend a lot of time talking about Origin of Life, which unquestionably points to a creator. That is really the crucial issue for me.
      Moshe

  • Oh my….

    Let us point out some logical flaws in the alternative to evolution:

    1. If creatures did not evolve, then how do we explain the sudden appearance of some species and the disappearance of others for which we have very strong fossil evidence. Use horses as an example, which have an excellent fossil chain.

    2. If creatures did not evolve and were created, how do we explain creatures such as giant insects that could not have existed with today’s species due to atmospheric and environmental issues, and similarly, creatures today that could not have existed in times past? As the environment changed, did some species “pop” into existence and others disappear?

    3. How do we explain the nearly infinite number of “design” flaws in animals such as man where structures that were clearly intended for something else changed and were repurposed? A simple example is the circuitous routes of our cranial nerves. Comparative morphology is hard to explain away through intelligent design.

    To replace evolution, a theory must:

    A. Point out what evolution has wrong.

    B. Explain everything evolution explains, including the thing(s) evolution has wrong.

    C. Be testable or verifiable through observation and experiment.

    So far, no alternative theory has come up. Given the evidence, intelligent design and its various creation based variants don’t hold up to scrutiny without some very non-scientific, illogical bending of the truth.

    Evolution is “illogical?” I think we see the sophistry in play.

    • CRW,

      As I mentioned in a comment above, in the article, I explicitly stated that I was not trying to present a comprehensive analysis of evolutionary theory, just pointing out how even highly intelligent scientists are perfectly capable of presenting highly flawed logic. Scientists must not be listened to uncritically, there is nothing special about them.

      I am prepared (for arguments sake) to concede evolution. Origin of Life clearly points to a creator.
      Moshe

  • lucy genaro

    If only this article had any logic to it..

  • Joseph McFaul

    Sadly, your logic is mistaken here, Rabbi.

    Here is the logic in your article.

    1. I observe one Orthodox Jew eating a ham sandwich. Without further exploration of the evidence to see if this is an anomaly or accident, or even determine if the “ham” is “ham” I conclude that all Orthodox Jews eat ham.

    2. I conclude then that dietary laws do not apply to Orthodox Jews.

    3. Any Orthodox Jew who claims that Orthodox Jews must observe the dietary laws is illogical.

    “Niles Eldredge himself. In his *FORWARD* to…” This is a “ham sandwich”. I am sure you understand that a “foreward” is not the place we can expect a complete scientific theory to be explained. The forward is a short summary of ideas you’d find in the rest of the book. You didn’t honestly address the Eldgridge’s argument because he wasn’t attempting to make a full logical argument in a Forward. He was merely summarizing in a few sentences a few thousand years of scientific effort.

    “I believe that a scientist looking at non-scientific problems is just as dumb as the next guy.”

    And, carrying out his logic, that is equally true for any other profession. Non-scientist Rabbis are just as dumb as the next guy in evaluating science.

    So: this: “and although molecular biology has confirmed (3), it offers no conclusive demonstration of evolutionary theory” is wrong beyond belief. It is scientifically illiterate blathering by a “dumb” guy.

    and here’s the capper:

    “While it would then be true that the data matches the prediction of evolutionary theory, the data also happens to align very closely to the “predictions” of another competing theory that is older than Darwinian evolution by several millennia; oddly enough, we are talking about the first chapter of Genesis.” Alas, birds were not created before land animals as set out in Genesis and the Earth was not created before the Sun. I conclude logically that the person who wrote this either does not know science or does not know Genesis. Assuming you are a Rabbi, I can safely, but not logically, delete the second option, so I go with the the non-scietist dumb enough to think he knows something about science based on his own field of study.

    There is of course the entirely incorrect assumption that structured logical proof is how science works, but that’ another “dumb guy” mistake that takes longer to explain.

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  • Book Reviews Jewish Identity Surviving the Holocaust by Hiding Their Faith (REVIEW)

    Surviving the Holocaust by Hiding Their Faith (REVIEW)

    “Jews Out!” was just the name of a child’s game that three little girls played in World War II Europe. But all is not as it seems because the three girls were Jewish, but hiding their true identities. In award-winning author R. D. Rosen’s riveting non-fiction work, Such Good Girls, “Jews Out!” wasn’t a game; it was a struggle for survival. The girls, Sophie, Flora, and Carla, grew up at a time and a place that did not allow them [...]

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  • Music Personalities Twenty Years On, the Real and Radical Legacy of Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach

    Twenty Years On, the Real and Radical Legacy of Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach

    JNS.org – “He was part hippie, part yippie, part beatnik, and part New Age,” wrote Elli Wohlgelernter in a Jerusalem Post eulogy in 1994, following the Oct. 20 passing of Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach. Twenty years later, more robust accounts of Carlebach’s life have come to the surface. Earlier this year, Natan Ophir published the book Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach: Life, Mission & Legacy. This past summer, Rabbi Shlomo Katz’s The Soul of Jerusalem hit the shelves. But even the authors will admit [...]

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  • Blogs Music Beatlemania Invades the Gaza Strip (SATIRE)

    Beatlemania Invades the Gaza Strip (SATIRE)

    As Hamas loses its grip on power in the Gaza Strip as a result of war, poverty and disillusionment, the Islamist terrorist group has developed an ingenious way to raise the moral of the 1.7 million Palestinian Arabs it was elected to serve. While currently focused on delivering a rocket into every Israeli home, Hamas has not left its own people behind. To gently wipe away the tears of children strategically placed inside kindergartens as human shields, the Hamas Interior Ministry has [...]

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  • Arts and Culture Spirituality/Tradition Removing Jesus’ Jewish Identity From Artwork

    Removing Jesus’ Jewish Identity From Artwork

    In a strong statement that challenges the historic divide between Christianity and Judaism, Pope Francis recently proclaimed, “Inside every Christian is a Jew.” But if you look at Renaissance artworks that depict Jesus, you will not find any evidence of a Jew inside the Christianized Jesus — even though the Gospels in the New Testament tell us that Jesus was Jewish to the core. Getting that point across to the public is a daunting task, as I learned in interviews I [...]

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  • Music Personalities Recycling His Roots

    Recycling His Roots

    JNS.org – Having started his career playing on his family’s pots and pans, Jewish musician Billy Jonas has maintained this homemade performance ethic while spreading his messages of simple living and environmentalism to a shared home throughout the world. After beginning in the kitchen, Jonas soon moved to the music room, where he picked up the piano, guitar, and trombone. These days, the multi-talented multi-instrumentalist plays on with pretty much anything he can find, including cans, bottles buckets, and other recycled-object [...]

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  • Book Reviews Personalities Jewish Renewal Movement Founder’s Insights Form a New Guide for Senior Living

    Jewish Renewal Movement Founder’s Insights Form a New Guide for Senior Living

    JNS.org – Sara Davidson’s The December Project is a new book that should be read by all senior citizens, and by those who hope to live a long life, for it raises a question that most of us have not been taught how to answer: What should we do in that final stage of our lives? Many of us continue working past the traditional retirement age of 65, not because we need the money and not because we find the [...]

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