Wednesday, March 22, 2017

A Miraculous Transformation

Several weeks ago, The Biblical Museum of Natural History received a gift from an entomologist friend of ours: a cluster of eggs. They were absolutely tiny, each one smaller than a sesame seed. After a few days, the eggs hatched into spiky green caterpillars. These ate and ate and ate and grew and grew and grew until they were the size of my pinky finger. Then they spun silk cocoons around themselves. Today, the very first moth emerged from its cocoon:


 Spectacular, isn't it? Here are the photos of the earlier stages. Note how tiny the eggs are!



This beautiful moth is an eri silkmoth, and it couldn't be more different from the caterpillar that it came from. And I'm not just talking about its wings and its completely different appearance and form. While the caterpillar was an eating machine, the silkmoth has no mouthparts and cannot eat or drink; it now lives only to mate and lay eggs. 

Eri silkmoths have two indirect connections to the Torah. One is that silk is a material mentioned in Tanach, and the other is that this particular species feeds on the deathly poisonous castor bean plant, which many identify as the kikayon - the tree that shaded Jonah. 

But perhaps the most powerful religious aspect of this creature is the sheer inspirational wonder of it! It's just amazing to see how a tiny speck turned into one amazing creature and then into an entirely different amazing creature!

There are two interrelated theological points that I would like to make here. One is that, while I do not believe (and I don't think anyone else does either) that there was any divine supernatural intervention involved in these transformations, I still think that it is reasonable to describe them as miraculous and as demonstrations (not proofs!) of the Creator's greatness. A universe in which such things take place is a very special universe!

The second point is as follows. Even the most religious and non-rationalist of people will agree that God did not use miracles to turn the egg into a caterpillar and to turn the caterpillar into a radically different creature. So why are they so insistent that there is no possible scientific explanation for the much less complicated transformation of one species into a slightly different species? Why are they so resistant to the notion that God, just as He used natural means to turn a caterpillar into a silkmoth, could have used natural means to evolve one species into another?

Meanwhile, the rest of our cocoons should be hatching over the next few days, but the moths don't have a long lifespan. So now is a good time to book a tour at The Biblical Museum of Natural History!
 

89 comments:

  1. So why are they so insistent that there is no possible scientific explanation for the much less complicated transformation of one species into a slightly different species?

    I don't think anybody is questioning the possibility of transformation of one species into a slightly different species, or microevolution. But the claimed macro-evolution requires quantum leap steps and can't be explained by numerous small steps.

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    1. There are bigger differences between a caterpillar and a moth than there are in the macroevolution of one species into another.

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    2. " macro-evolution requires quantum leap steps and can't be explained by numerous small steps"

      There is no difference between macro-evolution and microevolution. There is just evolution. They work the same way. Numerous small steps added together over periods of millions of years result in large changes. Even from things that look like caterpillars to things that look like moths. And as Rabbi Slifkin said, changes from caterpillars to moths take place within the lifespan of a butterfly -- usually weeks and rarely more than months!

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    3. But the claimed macro-evolution requires quantum leap steps and can't be explained by numerous small steps.

      Well that is because you don't understand evolution! Evolution suggest that over time there is small genetic drifts in the population, which provide minor changes in phenotype (observable traits). In a stable environment this genetic drift will not amount to much.

      However, a radical change in environment may actually provide some benefit to a particular, existing, trait, and disadvantage for other, existing, traits. When these massive changes in environment occur, small phenotypic difference could make all the difference for survival/reproduction.

      Note: The genetic drift can happen over a long, stable, period of time, neither providing benefit or disadvantage. But note also that the genotypic change occurs before the challenge, not as a result of the challenge.

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    4. There are bigger differences between a caterpillar and a moth than there are in the macroevolution of one species into another.

      The transformation of caterpillar is not more miraculous than say, human embryonic development. It is all pre-programmed in its genome- hardly a blind random process. I am yet to hear any non-absurd rational explanation of natural accidental development of a digital code. And then still naturally driven development of this code. Try to take DOS, copy it trillions times with possible errors, every time pick the best version and see if you will ever get Windows.

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    5. > Try to take DOS, copy it trillions times with possible errors, every time pick the best version and see if you will ever get Windows.

      That's absurd, but only because evolution doesn't have a goal that its working towards. It's throwing stuff against the wall and seeing what sticks. Evolving code really does exist, though. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Digital_organism

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    6. Strictly speaking, modern evolutionary theory does not posit that life species evolved due to "numerous small steps added together over periods of millions of years resulting in large changes".
      With the discovery of the Cambrian Explosion - the sudden unexplained proliferation of species - the theory of punctuated equilibrium was proposed, but scientists do not really have any idea what caused it, or how species evolved so rapidly in such a short period of time.

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    7. Try to take DOS, copy it trillions times with possible errors, every time pick the best version and see if you will ever get Windows.

      Not really my field but I think this is how self learning machines actually do work.

      For the record, however, the process of random errors in code changing the code for the better, and over time producing a superior operating system, is entirely plausible. Given enough time and the correct "selective pressures".

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    8. My understanding of punctuated equilibrium is that instead of steadily accumulating changes over millions of years and developing into different species, species are more or less stable until something changes in the environment, at which point there is a "sudden" change that takes place over only a few hundred thousand years. It's still lots of small steps added together over time, but it's a relatively shorter period.

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    9. The transformation of caterpillar is not more miraculous than say, human embryonic development. It is all pre-programmed in its genome- hardly a blind random process. I am yet to hear any non-absurd rational explanation of natural accidental development of a digital code.

      You say that only because you are conditioned by modern science to thinking that way. Before the discovery of carbon chemistry and microbiology, it was assumed obvious that biological systems must be made of different stuff than non-biological material. Before then, the notion that a person would or butterfly would just emerge based on the same purposeless laws that govern billiard balls would be similarly fantastic-sounding. This wasn't sewn up until into the 20th century. The Rav's Halakhic Mind refers to the debate between the vitalists and the mechanists.

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    10. Charlie, are you saying that macroevolution is just repeated rounds of microevolution? If so, well that's the exact opposite of what this paper says: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11258393

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  2. If it wasn't a moth I would have been happy. I don't exactly like moths.

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  3. > I still think that it is reasonable to describe them as miraculous and as demonstrations (not proofs!) of the Creator's greatness.

    I think you're equivocating two different definition of "miraculous." One, "an outstanding event," is applicable to the moth's transformation. The other, " occurring through divine intervention," is, as you say, not. Yet you seem to be using the first definition in the first half of your sentence, and the second definition in the second half. If not, if there is no divine intervention, then in what way is this a demonstration of the Creator's greatness? If anything, creating a creature doomed to starve to death in the last stage of its lifecycle seems cruel.

    > So why are they so insistent that there is no possible scientific explanation for the much less complicated transformation of one species into a slightly different species?

    Because evolution undermines the Argument from Design, especially the unsophisticated version people learn in high school hashkafa classes and inspirational shmuzen. Most frum people, to the extent that they justify their beliefs, rely on the Argument from Design to prove the existence of God and on the Kuzari Argument to prove the validity of Judaism.

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    1. In my reading experience, each side of the argument - intelligent design or evolution - is equally as entrenched, knowledgeable, or superficially knowledgeable, as the other. Each side has its articulate and educated exponents, and the vast majority have never really studied the arguments and counter-arguments in depth and don't really care. They are sure they are right and that's all one needs to know.

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    2. DF, this is simply wrong. ID is not even a scientific theory. It makes no testable predictions. There is no scientific support at all for it. It's basis is in religion. Anyone who understands science will agree with this.

      For those who can't themselves distinguish science from non-science, there is another way to know this. There is not a single scientific institution in the world which bases is research or teaching on ID. So to suppose that the evidence for ID is up in the air, you have to suppose a world-wide conspiracy to suppress evidence across multiple scientific disciplines.

      I know that you like to generalize from the fact that in policy matters, decision makers and analysts are often biased, because policy is politics and politics is political. That simply doesn't apply here.

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  4. "ate and ate and ate and grew and grew and grew"
    I know that's a literary reference but I can't place it. neither can google. A hint?

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    1. I think it's one of my kid's books. The Very Hungry Caterpillar, I think.

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    2. Which can lead to mixed dancing.

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  5. Why are they so resistant to the notion that God, just as He used natural means to turn a caterpillar into a silkmoth, could have used natural means to evolve one species into another?

    Because that's not how they understand the Torah's narrative. Duh.

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    1. Nah, people have no problem diverting from pashut pshat when it suits them. I think it's because they believe it's empowering the anti-religious atheist scientists.

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  6. One is that, while I do not believe (and I don't think anyone else does either) that there was any divine supernatural intervention involved in these transformations ...

    You aren't talking about what is reasonable but about what is believed by people. So your statement is true once the semantics are agreed upon. Till then, you can't say there isn't anyone else who believes this change is supernatural. Many Chareidim, led by R Shach who would emphasize this in his most popular yearly address (at the opening of "Yarchei Kallah") and at other times, say that when you think into it, all nature, even its most simple parts like breathing and walking and talking, only make sense as a divine miracle. The quip is, "nature is by far the most frequent miracle." So since even the natural is supernatural, there *is* someone (and more) out there who believes that there [is] divine supernatural intervention involved in these transformations.

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    1. That's awfully close to pantheism. The right and left really do curve around and meet.

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    2. Seems there's right-pantheism and left-pantheism.
      https://www.quora.com/Is-pantheism-a-form-of-atheism

      The closeness of pantheism to Judaism was highlighted during a scandal in early 18th century London. A rabbi said in a sermon that אלוקים הוא הטבע and was accused of pantheism. They sent the story to Chacham Tzvi and he exonerated the rabbi. It was a close call.
      http://www.hebrewbooks.org/pdfpager.aspx?req=829&st=&pgnum=27&hilite=
      http://www.hebrewbooks.org/pdfpager.aspx?req=829&st=&pgnum=28

      How this bears on evolution is that once every step and breath you take is a miracle, so is evolution. It's therefore inconsistent to accuse every evolutionist of heresy.

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    3. There's a difference between panentheism and pantheism.
      That goes directly to the rationalist/non-rationalist divide, too.
      The panentheists look at psukim like
      אין עיד מלבדו
      מלא כל הארץ כבודו
      and Tehillim 139, and say "yes, it's all a mashal but the Torah does not lie. It MUST be true in some way I don't understand."

      They wind up saying things like לית אטר פנוי מיניה and not finding the Rambam's solution either intellectually or emotionally satisfying. Their approach of course has its own problems.

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    4. The quip is, "nature is by far the most frequent miracle."

      Of course you can say this, but this distorts the meaning of the world "miracle" beyond recognition. For example, it implies that we can predict almost all miracles before they occur.

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    5. but this distorts the meaning of the world "miracle" beyond recognition.

      I don't think they mind doing that. It'll just be another thing that doesn't go well in modern English and other languages. But they do talk about overt and covert miracles. And it will indeed imply that generally we can predict covert miracles before they occur.

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    6. "I don't think they mind doing that. It'll just be another thing that doesn't go well in modern English and other languages. But they do talk about overt and covert miracles. And it will indeed imply that generally we can predict covert miracles before they occur."

      OK, but then miracles are consistent with atheism. I'm not really sure what what gains by obscuring using words in a way different from the rest of humanity. The value of calling something "X" is that everyone else can understand that what you mean when you say "X".

      BTW, that is not what the Ramban means by a hidden miracle. He is talking about God influencing the world in ways that are hard to detect in individual cases. That is why he says that when hidden miracles apply to the nation as a whole, then they can be be detected: this nation gets good weather when they are good and bad weather when they are bad.

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    7. OK, but then miracles are consistent with atheism.I'm not really sure what what gains by obscuring using words in a way different from the rest of humanity.

      That's a bit confusing. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I'll assume that you're saying OK, but then miracles are consistent with atheism.I'm not really sure what they gain by obscuring the discussion by using words in a way different from the rest of humanity.

      They are looking at nature differently than secularists. Secularists look at nature and understand it as WYSIWYG, whereas they say there must be a divine root. Now what is the essence of a miracle, that it is unusual or has a divine root? If the latter then it should be pointed out on occasion that "nature" must also have that divine root. (About as frequently as it should be pointed out that the eye doesn't read black letters on a white page but rather reads the white around the black letters. The rest of the time we don't bother with these levels of accuracy.)

      But for the sake of clarity I'll refer to hidden/covert vs. open/overt miracles.

      This underlying root isn't consistent with atheism.


      BTW, that is not what the Ramban means ...

      I'll admit that I still have to study your debate with Believer below. Bear in mind that I'm not focused on whether their view is correct or not; only whether they believe it or not. But maybe you realize that and are just mentioning it BTW.


      he says that when hidden miracles apply to the nation as a whole ...

      That would be logical, that only the nation as a whole is treated in a special manner. However although I didn't study the Ramban properly, I saw that he says differently, that כל דברינו ומקרינו שכלם נסים אין בהם טבע ומנהגו של עולם, בין ברבים *בין* *ב*י*ח*י*ד.

      I'm also not sure how you understand the word "כל" in the above sentence. But maybe this should be discussed in thread below with Believer.

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    8. They are looking at nature differently than secularists. Secularists look at nature and understand it as WYSIWYG, whereas they say there must be a divine root. Now what is the essence of a miracle, that it is unusual or has a divine root? If the latter then it should be pointed out on occasion that "nature" must also have that divine root.

      So now you (or these others you refer to :) are defining miracles as "the world results from God". Another useless definition, but it doesn't help here, because the Ramban is specifically trying to exclude the Maimonidean version of an Aristotelian God where the world depends on God for existence (or even God created it), but know longer exercises providence over it. It is also inconsistent with the Ramban's usage.

      That would be logical, that only the nation as a whole is treated in a special manner.

      No he doesn't say that. The very righteous can merit an open miracle or the nation in specific times. For all others, individual or nation, it is hidden, except that when the hidden is visible enough for long enough, it can be noticed "statistically" (although he did not call it that).

      כל דברינו ומקרינו שכלם נסים אין בהם טבע ומנהגו של עולם, בין ברבים *בין* *ב*י*ח*י*ד.

      I'm also not sure how you understand the word "כל" in the above sentence. But maybe this should be discussed in thread below with Believer.


      So what he says is that all of *our* circumstances are driven by miracles (at least hidden) and not natural law. By "our" he means the Jewish nation. He explicitly contrasts with the fish of the sea.

      Also, his "all" is an exaggeration or polemic. He means that all of it can be controlled by God and God is relevant, but he also says (like other Rishonim and also Acharonim) that when a person does not merit it, he will (or at least may) be left to chance and natural law. He includes in this medical outcomes for everyone who goes to the doctor when ill, which is to say, everyone.

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    9. but it doesn't help here, because the Ramban....

      I'm not talking about Ramban but about what people believe, as I tried to emphasize repeatedly.

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    10. So now you (or these others you refer to :)

      My views evolve back and forth as evidence comes in, theirs stay put.

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    11. he also says (like other Rishonim and also Acharonim) that when a person does not merit it, he will (or at least may) be left to chance and natural law.

      Not necessarily because of the demerit of consulting a doctor, but, as sometimes understood, since he specifically turns away from providence it turns away from him.

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    12. So now you (or these others you refer to :) are defining miracles as "the world results from God".

      Confusing. You mean creation?

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    13. Also, his "all" is an exaggeration or polemic.

      Such explanations are often backed up by great authority, but I always keep my eyes open for a better solution - maybe a patch that can resolve a discounted but not discarded alternative. I assume that you also do.

      (See Chavel in Lev 26:11 who brings from Shelah that a different part in that piece of Ramban is only for the masses; and that the Magiha disagrees.)

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  7. G*3 is correct, IMO. It is the argument from design. Even Hume himself leaves the teleological argument as the one argument that the skeptical Philo is unable to answer in Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion. He has this: "Here I could observe, Hermippus, that Philo was a little embarrassed and confounded: but while he hesitated in delivering an answer, luckily for him, Demea broke in upon the discourse, and saved his countenance." Section 155 here: http://www.anselm.edu/homepage/dbanach/dnr.htm#A4

    Darwin answers this.

    The refined teleological argument is (or was):

    Q: Do the most basic physical laws have a factor for "serving a purpose"?
    A: No.

    Q: Do biological structures exhibit purpose?
    A: Yes.

    Q: Then there has to be something beyond the basic laws of physics producing those phenomena, right? Not necessarily the classic God, but something, right?
    A: No, random mutation + natural selection works (Darwin).

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    1. I think this is a clear and helpful statement of the issue. The question is whether Darwin's solution is adequate. Not all of us are persuaded that one can reduce the purposive to the non-purposive. Reduction is most obviously problematic in the case of human beings. Can human purposes and aspirations really be explained adequately on the assumption that we are just gene-replication machines? The Darwinist approach seems to demand that we reinterpret all of our activities, including the Darwinists' own scientific investigations, as being in the service of reproduction. In the end, this doesn't seem to work. Even Richard Dawkins in effect concedes this point by inventing his theory of memes, which he explicitly describes as a non-biological cause (see The Selfish Gene pp. 190ff.). This is not to say that evolution has not occurred; it is merely to express a doubt that genuinely purposive organisms can have evolved through a process that is itself wholly devoid of purpose. (And this doubt has no necessary connection with ID or religion, by the way.)

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    2. Can human purposes and aspirations really be explained adequately on the assumption that we are just gene-replication machines?

      You could set aside Darwinism and go further. Is human thought really just carbon chemistry? Well, certainly no one can prove this because the human "soul" has not yet been reduced to the human brain.

      The problem with this kind of objection is that it is a kind of "God in the gaps" argument. What we do know about brains so far does indicate an exceptionally strong connection between brain and thought. Insisting that the reduction can never be completed is inviting trouble.

      "Darwinist approach seems to demand that we reinterpret all of our activities, including the Darwinists' own scientific investigations, as being in the service of reproduction."

      Actually, this is not a proper conception of Darwinism at all. The Darwinist conception is that once the brain evolved for whatever reason (and I think that there is still some question as to the reproductive value of various features of the human brain), it operates. Not every result of its operation will be in the service of reproduction. Just to make up one possibility with no evidence, it could be that it evolved in order to make planning out a hunt possible, but that this same ability is what lets us recognize God.

      There is a field called sociobiology that attempts to explain lots of human behavior based on reproductive advantage. They could be right or wrong (I speculate that they are largely wrong), but their premises are not a necessary result of Darwinism. Various Darwinists opposed it.

      Even Richard Dawkins in effect concedes this point by inventing his theory of memes, which he explicitly describes as a non-biological cause (see The Selfish Gene pp. 190ff.).

      I have only heard of that theory, with no real understanding, so I can't analyze this. But what he is doing there sounds like what I said above. Not all human behavior is driven by reproductive advantage.

      Overall the problem here is that your argument is of the form that "it is hard to believe that X could be following the same laws as those that govern billiard balls". Aristotle thought that about the heavens and many thought that about living organisms. It has proven not to be a reliable form of reasoning.

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    3. "Not all human behavior is driven by reproductive advantage."

      On this fundamental fact we agree. Where we disagree, if I'm not mistaken, is that whereas I infer from this fact that Darwinism is an incomplete explanation of living things, and therefore that we need also another kind of explanation, along the lines of what Aristotle or Kant offered (namely, a teleological explanation), you hold that teleology has been thoroughly discredited by the advances of modern science.

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  8. what about the Ramban who says that whoever thinks anything in the world is nature has no part in Toras Yisroel?

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    1. The Ramban says that in reality, there's no difference between "nature" and the miraculous. "Nature" is just what we're used to. Hume makes the same point when he speaks of "habits of nature". It's not really relevant here, though.

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    1. The Ramban is very clear and straightforward at the end of Parsha Bo

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    2. You illustrate the dangers of interpreting an author based on one isolated statement, especially when that author engaged in polemics. What the Ramban is saying that you have to believe is that there are lot of hidden miracles going on for Jews in order to give them proper reward and punishment and that "in potentia" everything for Jews would be miraculous. But see the Ramban on Vayikra 26:11 where he says says that people accustomed to going to the doctor (all of us!) are affected by the doctor's use of medicine. If we were in a perfected state this would not be needed because of the hidden miracles that would drive our health. And the Torah prescribes that if one injures another, one must pay for the medical treatment because we don't rely on miracles.

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    3. Nothing personal, but it seems that this comment illustrates the danger of learning the Rishonim to read only what you want them to read. The Ramban in Bechokosai endorses fully what he says in Parshas Bo, and adds nuance - in doing so he precludes certain questions that might arise regarding accepted behavior regarding the pursuit of medical cae.

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    4. That is exactly what I said. His first statement is polemical and therefore overly broad. His other statement gets to the detail which is that anyone who goes to the doctor is subjecting himself to the natural laws. The doctor has permit to treat those people, but if he individual/nation was on a high level, they would not be allowed to go to the doctor becuase hidden miracles would be determining their outcome. Since we *all* go to the doctor, the exception is quite broad.

      As an aside, why would I care to distort the Ramban? There are plenty of other Rishonim who also take that view openly including the Rambam and the Ran.

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    5. BTW, even is Parshas Bo, he says nothing like "what about the Ramban who says that whoever thinks anything in the world is nature has no part in Toras Yisroel". What he says (polemically) is that you must believe that all of our circumstances (either human or maybe only Jewish) are governed by hidden miracles. He doesn't begin to say that there is no such thing as nature; the idea of a hidden miracle is that it does violation/change nature but that it is harder to see. Earlier he discusses those who deny Providence and therefore treat man as fish of the sea who are not subject to Providence or reward and punishment. Even with Providence, fish are subject to the laws of nature and other non-humans are absolutely subject the laws of nature.

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    6. precludes certain questions that might arise regarding accepted behavior regarding the pursuit of medical case

      What question does he preclude? He actually says that while the Torah allows the physician to treat, it doesn't allow the patient to seek medical treatment. He makes it clear that he is talking about an unattainable ideal for now, and the halachah recognizes that, but I'm not clear on what you think he is saying and how your original interpretation can be preserved.

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    7. See the Ohr Yechezkel (Emunah) of R Chazkal Levenstein, who discusses that Ramban in Parsha Bo numerous times

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    8. Lots of people have discussed the Ramban. Can you cite the relevant parts?

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    9. @ David, you have such stimulating comments. Please check your spelling so we can understand better. :)

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    10. Lobby R. Slifkin to get a better commenting system that allows for edits :).

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  10. What happened to the Emes Kefira Voting buttons?! Bring them back.

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  11. According to your definition, what constitutes a "proof"? Do you believe in statistical induction? How can someone who denies statistical hypothesis testing claim in any way to be a "rationalist"?

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  12. I don't think anyone says that God *couldn't* have caused species to evolve if He wanted to.

    Ultimately, though, I think your point is that evolution is no less inspiring and wondrous than metamorphosis and embryonic development.
    The difference is that evolution is presented as operating through blind and random mechanisms (natural selection), which is not very religiously inspiring, as opposed to natural phenomena, where it is far easier to see the hand of God in. (Hence not particularly religious film producers can't help but to title a documentary about embryonic development "The Miracle of Life"!)

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  13. Even the most religious and non-rationalist of people will agree that God did not use miracles to turn the egg into a caterpillar and to turn the caterpillar into a radically different creature. So why are they so insistent that there is no possible scientific explanation for the much less complicated transformation of one species into a slightly different species?

    Because the nature of the transformation is quite different. Egg to caterpillar to moth is programmed into the creature from the start. Nothing new has to appear, just an unfolding of what is already present.

    To get a new species is a much more complicated issue. It is easy to present it in macro terms of a new feature, but that ignores the subcellular domain where it becomes clear that groups of proteins are needed to perform the function of generating that feature. Each individual protein can have many subunits. Any random change in the DNA sequence, and therefore the protein structure, changes the protein folding and therefore the function of that protein, and affects the function of the whole group. The odds of a random change having a positive effect are infinitesimal. And we are only talking about a small change, not the big ones needed to shift from one species to another. The Ariane rocket exploded shortly after take off because the new software was expecting a 64 digit code but the old software still in place delivered a 16 digit one. In theory a minor error but it destroyed the whole mission.

    I think its quite straightforward but again the evolutionists that I have read always focus on the macro side and ignore the subcellular aspect.

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    1. Egg to caterpillar to moth is programmed into the creature from the start.... To get a new species is a much more complicated issue....

      Not necessarily. Evolution can also be programed into life (or into the universe) from the start. Such as via Ramban's Hyle or something similar. Or along the lines of Denton's Nature's Destiny.

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    2. If it's programmed in then it's no longer random. My understanding of dna copying in mcell division is that there is extensive error checking. The system is set up to prevent vhange. and if you are bringing in hyle then you are into the realm of metaphysics which is mo longer science and renders the whole point of evolution unnecessary.

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    3. The odds of a random change having a positive effect are infinitesimal.

      This is provably wrong. We can observe this happening, for example, with antibiotic resistance. The anti-evolutionists here will typically admit to micro-evolution and deny macro-evolution.

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    4. If it's programmed in then it's no longer random

      Sobeit. Or let it be programmed like games in a computer where the opening setup varies randomly.


      then you are into the realm of metaphysics which is mo longer science and renders the whole point of evolution unnecessary

      We don't have to have "everything or nothing". What's wrong with a hybrid?

      Evolution is necessary intellectually and socially. It's necessary intellectually because of its proofs unless you think Omphalos is without problems. It's necessary socially for religious people who don't believe in evolution who want to offer a reconciliation with religion for people who do believe in evolution.

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    5. "let it be programmed like games in a computer where the opening setup varies randomly."

      So you are dependant on the mind that programmed the computer. Evolution is a process that is supposed to happen without that mind. Randomly random, not random because I set up a random number generator first. This is the typical game that evolutionists play.

      We don't have to have "everything or nothing". What's wrong with a hybrid?

      I think you have not understood science. Science is a method for investigating that which can be seen and tested. Anything that is outside that dimension - i.e. metaphysics - is by definition not part of science. There are those who say they believe in it but they can't establish it scientifically. You can't be secular and still have metaphysics. Stop sitting on the fence.

      "Evolution is necessary intellectually and socially."

      Glad you admitted that. It is the underpinning for a secular society.

      "It's necessary intellectually because of its proofs"

      I'm not aware of any proofs of evolution. None whatsoever. Drawing lines between different fossils is not a proof but a conjecture. Producing an amino acid in carefully controlled lab conditions is not a proof. Even the antibiotics resistance mentioned earlier is not evolution, as the bacteria involved revert back to their previous states if the exposure stops, which suggests that the resistance is a process controlled by the cells. The proof of evolution - something that is predicted by and supports the hypothesis and excludes other possibilities - would be the presence of partial forms, say half a wing, or a rudimentary eye. Nothing like that has ever been found, which is rather striking.

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    6. Evolution is a process that is supposed to happen without that mind.

      Seems we mean different things with the word "evolution" - you about purposeless evolution, in which case you are right, while I'm referring to religious, purposeful, "mind"ful evolution.

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    7. I'm not aware of any proofs of evolution. None whatsoever.

      Why would you discuss evolution if you are not even aware of the lines of evidence that have convinced the scientific world of its truth? I suggest that you study and then return.

      I'd also suggest that you learn more about the scientific method. In mathematics, you have proof, but in science you only have the model that best fits all the available evidence and makes the most accurate predictions.

      Drawing lines between different fossils is not a proof but a conjecture.

      Are you referring to a coloring book from your childhood? Who is "drawing lines between fossils"?

      Producing an amino acid in carefully controlled lab conditions is not a proof.

      Neither is hitting a game-winning homerun. But what of it?

      Even the antibiotics resistance mentioned earlier is not evolution, as the bacteria involved revert back to their previous states if the exposure stops, which suggests that the resistance is a process controlled by the cells.

      This appears to be false, but I'm no expert. Can you point to some references?

      The proof of evolution - something that is predicted by and supports the hypothesis and excludes other possibilities - would be the presence of partial forms, say half a wing, or a rudimentary eye. Nothing like that has ever been found, which is rather striking.

      Transitional forms have most definitely been found as you would expect. Here are some examples http://evolution.berkeley.edu/evolibrary/article/lines_03

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    8. David, I can't claim real expertise in molecular evolution either - just in chemistry. However, Skeptic is a far less knowledgeable person in such matters. For example his claim of the reversion of a bacterial cell to its ordinary chemistry once the chemical threat associated with antibiotics is removed is simply untrue. It's not a reversion, just as the evolution of antibiotic resistance is not an adaptation of a particular bacterial cell. A bacterial cell is a rather simple organism compared to multicellular organisms. Even the replicating machinery (DNA) exists in a bare form (plasmid) that is more prone to copying errors but which can also exchange pieces (genes) with other cells. Evolution is thus greatly facilitated. What really happens in the development of antibiotic resistance is that a bacterial colony of many thousands of cells happens to contain an individual mutant cell with a chemistry that is able to withstand the antibiotic - even if doesn't metabolize the available nutrients as well as the 'ordinary' cells. The other cells succumb to the antibiotic while this surviving mutant multiplies. It's a mechanism that Darwin called survival of the fitest Once the antibiotic is removed, however, the new cells can't compete well for the nutrient with a new mutant that has the old metabolic process restored. As a result, the new mutant multiplies at the expense of the antibiotic resistant ones. Again it's a case of competition for available resources and survival of those best adapted to the new environment. It's an evolutionary process involving different generations both ways rather than the adaptation of a single cell.

      Skeptic's emphasis on molecular processes in arguing against evolution is rather strange since such processes provide some of the best evidence for evolution. Consider that all living things from bacteria to man have the same DNA triplet base code for the incorporation of specific amino acids into the designated proteins. Moreover, all the amino acids so incorporated have an L spatial configuration, while all sugar entities in a cell have the D configuration. In principle, the spatial configurations could have been reversed, yet they persist in all living things. The reasonable conclusion is that all life originated from a single cell having those characteristics.

      Y. Aharon

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    9. Who is "drawing lines between fossils"?
      You are!

      Your link led me to a picture of some whale skulls with the nostrils in different positions. You (well the website) drew a (metaphorical) line between them and said that one developed from the other. That is pure conjecture. I could show you a picture of the galil rifle and the tavor rifle and say that the ammunition magazine evolved from one position (before the trigger) to another (after the trigger).
      Proof of evolution would be a half baked form, a partial foot, say with only one bone, or half a bone with one end not formed at all, with another later fossil showing the same bone fully formed. At that point you could see something in a process of forming. And no such forms have been found. As long as you see only fully formed fossils, even if one is more 'primitive' according to your logic than the other, you don't have evidence of change from one form to another.

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    10. Y. Aharon,
      "The reasonable conclusion is that all life originated from a single cell having those characteristics"

      Of course you can make that conclusion. But it's not a scientific proof. Just a conjecture in accordance with your preferred ontology. All cars have four wheels. But they didn't evolve from each other. A creationist scenario where each species is formed individually from the best materials available (DNA triplets, L spatial configuration) is equally compatible with the reality. In fact you would expect an intelligent Creator to form the best possible material and use it, which means that if we find common material it suggests a common Creator. So this piece of 'evidence' doesn't 'prove' evolution. Again, proof would be something that is uniquely predicted by the hypothesis of evolution that would not be expected or actively contradicts the reality expected from a different hypothesis. In this case the presence of genuinely in-between forms. Darwin saw this and was worried about it but you gentlemen seem so convinced in the truth of your argument that it is of no relevance for you.

      And the value of the molecular processes aspect in this argument is that it reveals just how unlikely it is that any genuinely random change would do more than destroy function, rather than produce a positive change. How many DNA bases could randomly change in co-ordination to precise new values that would allow protein structure to preform new functions.

      And thank you for your information about bacteria. It is interesting to see that there is no new genetic material found, rather a bacteria that already has the information to make the required new protein is stimulated to use it. Not really evolution but adaptation to circumstances.

      It's interesting that with GM food when they insert a new piece of DNA the cell won't use it. They have to add DNA from a virulent virus that forces the DNA to express overriding the cell's mechanisms in order to produce the stuff. Not that they tell you about that :-). Which does lead to the question, where is the control mechanism of the cell?

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    11. Once the antibiotic is removed, however, the new cells can't compete well for the nutrient with a new mutant that has the old metabolic process restored. As a result, the new mutant multiplies at the expense of the antibiotic resistant ones.

      Y Aharon, thank you. That is the process that I would have conjectured, but I didn't want to do the research to confirm without some reference that this happens to begin with in this case.

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    12. Your link led me to a picture of some whale skulls with the nostrils in different positions. You (well the website) drew a (metaphorical) line between them and said that one developed from the other. That is pure conjecture.

      You said that there were no transitional fossils. There are.

      But then you revive the idea that there is no evidence for evolution, without actually recognizing and dealing with the evidence (or in your mind, purported evidence).

      This is probably going nowhere, so let me start with a question. Do you think that there is evidence for a 4.5 Billion year old earth or a 14 Billion year old universe? If not, we can dispense with the charade about evolution which is not the root of the disagreement.

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    13. David, I appreciate your concurrence but must admit that my wording was a bit too strong. I picked up on Skeptic's reversion scenario and showed how evolution could account for it. In any case, reversion Is not the typical process. If it were, we wouldn't be having such problems with antibiotic resistant bacterial pathogens. Once an antibiotic treatment has run its course some remaining bacteria, if any, may continue to retain some resistance to that and similar antibiotics. It's just that in their weakened state they can't compete against other non-pathogenic bacteria or propagate in the face of the body's rejuvenated defense mechanisms. Should the latter be compromised again, the same antibiotic may become ineffective. The fact that antibiotics usually continue to work on a patient with a series of such bacterial infections can be attributed to a complete killing of the pathogen rather than a reversion of the pathogen to a non-resistant phenotype.

      Y. Aharon

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    14. I firmly believe in an ancient world because the evidence used is based on observations and theorems that can be used to predict physical behavior (a description of “science”). And an ancient world fits very well with many authoritative rabbinic views.

      I am not convinced about evolution as it is based on some observations, and conjectures about how they are related, with no observable predictive power about how things would “evolve” in the future or in the historical past. (Other that some micro changes.)

      Until evolutionists can show how the mechanism of evolution works it remain a hypothesis, not proven science.

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    15. Skeptic, your analogy of the same DNA coding for all life forms with cars having 4 wheels is inappropriate. The 'evolution' of cars is the result of human design rather than some natural mechanisms. If some elements such as 4 wheels is almost a universal feature (actually there are some little city type cars with 3 wheels), it is a result of basic functionality and stability. We don't have such knowledge about the DNA code.

      More importantly, the assumption of the individual divine creation of the vast array of species that have appeared on earth is an unnecessary assertion about divine activity. Indeed, the wording of the biblical creation narrative need not be taken literally just as the ostensible use of words for that purpose is not so taken. In any case, the language used is very general (let the earth produce greenery; let the waters produce teeming living creatures; let the earth bring forth living creatures). Only the creation of Adam and Eve involve the creation of individuals. The same result would be achieved through 'natural' processes in an evolutionary framework. Moreover, such divine activity would have to be reconciled with the fact that over 99% of identified species that ever lived are now extinct. Why should a Creator allow so much of His work to be lost? Nor are such extinctions continual and random. There have been major extinctions 251, 200, and 66 million years ago that killed off most of life, and other extinction events that were nearly as traumatic. It's as if there were a divine plan for these extinctions (albeit, there were natural mechanisms at work). Why would the Creator reject his creations and start over? Furthermore, the paleontological evidence adduced by the leading experts, Gould and Eldrich, argues that there is very little change in the fossil record for stretches of millions of years followed by extinction events and the relatively rapid resurgence of new species. The process appears to be a largely naturally evolving matter rather than the result of individual design.

      Actually, molecular evolution is now understood to be much more rapid and likely process than was the case with the earlier emphasis on point mutations in DNA. Entire genes can be activated or deactivated as the result of key chemical modifications of DNA bases such as cytosine and adenine. Key methylations of the latter can deactivate genes, while acetylations of associated histones can activate genes. Micro RNA species can also exert much regulatory influence over genetic processes.

      Y. Aharon

      In any case, evolution theory provides a framework for understanding biological and other processes which has predictive value (evolution has some quantitative models which have been tested). Divine creation is, however, not testable and can't be used in a scientific framework even if it is important in the religious sphere.

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    16. David,

      To frame your question slightly differently, I have no problem with the age of the universe being more than 5777 years. I'm sure you are aware of Aryeh Kaplan's article on the subject, based on many gedolim. Once you transcend that limit who knows where you get to, I certainly don't.
      What I do have a problem with is the idea of one species transforming into another. And with my admittedly limited knowledge I try to voice that side in this debate. I have read about ID and I think their points are quite valid, and nothing you guys have said has lead me to think otherwise. Evolution involves a lot of double think and subterfuge, as the ID people note, invoking purposeful change within what is really supposed to be a random story.
      Again, evidence for evolution would be something specifically predicted by the hypothesis that is not compatible with other approaches. I really haven't seen anything here that approaches that. Certainly not skeletons with nostrils in different positions. Once you accept evolution as a religious dogma (which I believe it to be) it is easy to interpret everything in those terms, but interpretation is not evidence, and I think it is important to make the distinction..

      Anonymous, my suggestion was just to make a point, you can't consider as evidence something that is equally compatible with other hypotheses, and I provided a line of reasoning that common use of materials is quite compatible with other hypotheses. just because you don't have knowledge about DNA being the best platform for information storage doesn't mean that it isn't. (excuse the double negatives). That's not a limitation for a Creator.

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    17. Anonymous (again),
      I again fail to see what activating and deactivating genes has to do with evolution. Evolution is about new genetic information that allows new species to form, introducing new features that were not there before, like a wing to make a bird fly. Explain how that happens as a random process and show some evidence of wings beginning to appear from primitive forms and you are on key to evidence. Switching on and off genes and pontificating about point mutations of key bases is piffle.

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    18. To frame your question slightly differently, I have no problem with the age of the universe being more than 5777 years. I'm sure you are aware of Aryeh Kaplan's article on the subject, based on many gedolim. Once you transcend that limit who knows where you get to, I certainly don't.

      That wasn't the question :).

      Do you think that there is evidence for a 4.5 Billion year old earth or a 14 Billion year old universe? As in, "yes, this is almost certainly true." or "no, the scientists are speculating and have no proof".

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    19. Skeptic, let me attempt to clarify my position. I don't deny that divine creation of all the millions (billions if microbes are included) of species that have existed on earth is a possibility. It's just that I regard it as both an unnecessary assumption and one that is not testable. Hence it has no scientific value - even if provides some religious benefit. The scientific alternative is the evolution of life starting with a single proto-cell that had the basic features of a living entity. The mechanisms of such evolution are still not well established, but are understood far better than in the past.

      It was not understood at all when Darwin first proposed his evolutionary framework in the 19th century when chemistry was at a very early stage. It was understood far better in the 20th century with the unraveling of the structure and function of the DNA molecules in cells by Watson and Crick. The elucidation of much of the biochemistry of a cell showed that the frequent transcription errors in duplicating the DNA molecule could on rare occasion escape destruction by error correcting cell mechanisms, and even lead, in principle, to greater functionality.

      In the 21st century, with the complete description of the genomes of a number of key species including man, it became clear that the vast majority of the DNA molecule was either inactive or consisted of control sections that regulated what genes were active or inactive in a cell. Such control is vital to multicellular organisms where the cells have specialized functions and structures yet have the same set of DNA molecules. Errors in DNA replication involving such control segments, or the previously mentioned chemical modifications, can occasionally lead to new functionality. Accumulation of such differences could, in principle, lead to a new species.

      Nor are such changes strictly a function of the isolated organism. It turns out that environmental radiation, chemistry, and other conditions that effect the testes and ova of higher organisms can lead to inherited changes. The pathway from changes in some portion of the DNA to resulting proteins to a new species is still a poorly understood process, however. We can anticipate greater knowledge of the process in the future and even unravel the issue of intelligent design (ID)aspects of higher organisms. Even if ID aspects become an acceptable or unavoidable feature of scientific discussion, it may still not supplant a basically evolutionary framework as a mechanism for change.

      Y. Aharon

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    20. As usual in these arguments, people are mixing up common ancestry with evolutionary mechanisms. The discussion would be a lot simpler to resolve if people specified which aspect of evolution they are confirming/doubting.

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    21. David,
      "Do you think that there is evidence for a 4.5 Billion year old earth or a 14 Billion year old universe? As in, "yes, this is almost certainly true." or "no, the scientists are speculating and have no proof"."

      As I said, I really don't know. I am aware of the scientific assertion of these dates and something of the evidence (expanding universe, radiocarbon dating). My point was that once you breach the barrier of 5777 does it make a difference how far back you get? However, I wouldn't be surprised if someone discovers that the figures had been 'adjusted' slightly, in the same way as the earths' temperature has been adjusted to invent global warming, or the results of study 329 were adjusted to create a positive effect for the drug and wipe out the increased suicides.

      Anonymous,
      "It's just that I regard it as both an unnecessary assumption and one that is not testable. Hence it has no scientific value - even if provides some religious benefit. The scientific alternative is the evolution of life starting with a single proto-cell that had the basic features of a living entity. The mechanisms of such evolution are still not well established, but are understood far better than in the past.

      I love this paragraph because it epitomises exactly what is wrong with you science adherent people. Divine creation is downrated in your book because it is scientifically untestable and therefore has no "scientific value". Since when is science the ultimate arbiter of reality? Who gave it this power? The purpose of scientific testing and validity is specifically to exclude the 'irrational' i.e. religion, historically it was part of a reaction against the excesses of the catholic church and who could really blame anyone for that!
      I went through this stage a few years ago when I suddenly began to see the Torah in a deeper way and realised that it reflects a deeper grasp of reality, and science is skimming the surface as it were.
      The rest of your comment is nicely written propaganda. Maybe you enjoy reading 1950's science fiction about cities underwater and on the moon. I just love the expression 'poorly understood' which is a scientist way of saying 'we haven't got a clue'.

      Rabbi Doc,
      Love the pic of you and your dad! Regards from Habesor.
      I take your point, but I would counter that common ancestry and evolution go together in the religious sense (yes I do think evolution is a religion in the sense of an absolute belief) because asserting a random origin of life (I'm sure you accept that the original DNA strand with its ability to somehow produce proteins without RNA or proteins or ATP etc etc. was randomly generated) needs a mechanism to produce the observed diversity hence the need for evolutionary mechanisms. In my book they are two sides of a coin.


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    22. Skeptic, or is it cynic? Your first paragraph illustrates your ignorance of the science that you care to dispute or question. The evidence for a 4.5 billion year old solar system comes from meteorites that have been radioactively dated to that age. Nor do I refer to radiocarbon dating which can't be used for carbonaceous material older than some 20,000 years and which require calibration. i refer primarily to uranium isotope dating in ancient zircon crystals. The earth is a dynamic planet with rocky material being subducted in the course of plate tectonic movements. Hence the oldest rocks that have been found aren't quite as ancient as the above meteorites, but are still some 4 billion years old.

      The 13.8 billion year age of the universe comes from two independent measurements. One is the most recent measurements of the Hubble constant (related to the rate of recession of distant galaxies, i.e. expansion of the universe). The other is a parameter determined from very accurate mapping of the minute temperature differences in the cosmic microwave background. Speak to a physicist if you don't accept my brief accounting.

      As to your cynicism about my efforts. First of all I don't need lessons from you about relating to GOD and the torah. I do, however, put a premium on truth and the means of ascertaining such. Some important matters such as love and belief in a Deity aren't subject to scientific type testing. Those that are, however, should be so tested. That includes theories about how the world came to be of which evolution in a more general sense (physical as well as biological) plays an important role.

      Y. Aharon

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    23. As I said, I really don't know. I am aware of the scientific assertion of these dates and something of the evidence (expanding universe, radiocarbon dating).

      I think that you said it perfectly: "I really don't know". It's really not going to be enlightening to discuss a topic with someone who knows nothing about it, yet has lots of opinions. Please educate yourself and then come back for a discussion. When you say "I'm not aware of any proofs [sic] of evolution. None whatsoever," I'm not particularly surprised. It is quite easy to be unaware by not making yourself aware of even the basics of the topic at hand.

      The purpose of scientific testing and validity is specifically to exclude the 'irrational' i.e. religion, historically it was part of a reaction against the excesses of the catholic church and who could really blame anyone for that!

      I see that, in addition to science, you also like to comment on history and philosophy without knowing anything about the topic.

      However, I wouldn't be surprised if someone discovers that the figures had been 'adjusted' slightly, in the same way as the earths' temperature has been adjusted to invent global warming

      Given your nonchalant acceptance of conspiracy theories, I suggest that you change your handle to "gullible".

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    24. David,
      A lovely dressing down! Wonderful.
      I didn't start the discussion about the age of the universe, as you say I can't discuss something I know nothing about.

      As far as evolution goes, please correct me in my humble ignorance and bring a real proof that you are so convinced exists. I may not have your scientific erudition but I think I possess enough skill to realise that a picture of three skulls with nostrils in different places doesn't prove much except that three animals at different times had different nose structures. So I challenge you to bring a real proof that (to keep Rabbi Nosson happy) one species has developed from another. Until then it seems to me that it is pure conjecture. No circumstantial evidence or conjecture or 'it must be that way because'. No, I want scientific grade proof.
      I have read about evolution and I have read about the philosophy of science. I debated answering Y. Aharon (apologies if I offended you) with Kuhn's point that an answer that lies outside the paradigm a person believes in evokes an emotional response, which is certainly the case in his last paragraph.
      As far as conspiracy theories go, well I wasn't in them at all until my brother in law tried to sell me a story about the moon landing being fake. I laughed at him, but a few weeks later chanced on the original films, and realised with amusement that they were clearly faked. I enjoyed the film of the technician walking around on the moon set, or the firework like rocket giving a liftoff from the moon that could only be from a wire pulling it up from above (and who tilted the camera). Or the astronaut that suddenly jumps upwards after a fall without any effort on his part. I mean really there is a limit. As far as the 9/11 attacks go, well I defy you to show me a plane in the pentagon photos or the pennsylvania 'crash'. Crashed planes don't vaporize you know. And the twin towers were built to withstand many planes crashing into them, and many many other points. There are many top grade scientists who don't believe the official story on the grounds that it is not physically possible.
      The truth is that it makes no difference to me what Esov gets up to in his spare time. But it does expose his ability to lie. And if he can lie with 'terrorism' he can lie with science. So I don't know how old the earth is, it could be what the scientists say. But again....

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    25. "Skeptic", you got me. I see now that you were just trolling, and tricked both Y. Aharon and me into responding. You win this round.

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    26. I am unaware of the commentary record of most respondents to the blog. Hence, I was surprised by David's reference to Skeptic's conspiracy theories. Now that Skeptic has confirmed such beliefs, I see that it is futile to debate someone who believes that the moon landings were staged, as was the destruction rained on Sept. 11, 2001. It takes a certain mentality to maintain such beliefs so far removed from rational thinking. He sees some film ostensibly showing a staged reenactment of a moon landing and assumes that this was the 'original film'. I guess that the moon rocks brought back were just some ordinary earthly rocks. More amazingly, the videos etched in our memories of that 2nd plane heading for the South Tower followed by its flaming progress through the building was somehow staged, according to him. He doesn't believe that the planes brought those massive tower buildings down. Well, they didn't. It was the massive fires that they caused which did the deed. Steel softens when heated to a sufficient temperature and can no longer support the weight of the building over the fire level. The building collapse was predictable. Nor are there any 'top grade scientists' knowledgeable in material properties who maintain that such a collapse is impossible. It's an argument from ignorance. All of this nonsense is compounded by Skeptic's obvious bias when he refers to 'Esov' conjuring up stuff. Yeah, Goyim like to lie - as opposed to Jews, of course.

      Y. Aharon

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    27. Y. Aharon: I actually didn't know much about "skeptic", but this sentence of "skeptic" is essentially is a belief in conspiracy theories:

      "However, I wouldn't be surprised if someone discovers that the figures [wrt the age of the earth] had been 'adjusted' slightly, in the same way as the earths' temperature has been adjusted to invent global warming".

      That said, I doubt that "skeptic" is serious. I believe that he is just trolling.

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    28. David, Anonymous

      Actually no. I have no intent in 'trolling' you or anyone else here. I felt this was a reasonable discussion. Unless you are forced to resort to ad hominem.
      What disturbs me is how frum people with a good chinuch (way better than mine I guess) seem to believe in a hypothesis that is not only against the Torah but doesn't actually (to my brain) make sense. I appreciate that you guys have way more technical knowledge than I do , being only a humble doctor, but with the admittedly small amount of research I have done on evolution and ID, evolution as a theory doesn't make sense to me. Random changes don't produce anything positive. The evolution book I read started from the macro stage, completely ignoring the cellular aspect. But if you cannot generate a single functioning cell then you cannot generate any multicellular organism. And it seems to me with my knowledge of cell biology that the only way a cell could come into existence is to appear fully formed. There are so many critical systems that have to be in place to allow the cell to survive, any one of them going down would end the cell's life. It cannot be a partial story. I was also particularly impressed with the ID point that the evolutionists invoke purposefulness whilst proclaiming randomness, and I have seen aspects of that in your comments.

      As far as the conspiracy theories go, well I also used to laugh - to the extent that I knew anything about them. I would take it as an exercise in your ability to form an objective opinion beyond what you are being fed. For example the idea that the jet fuel melted the steel columns. Jet fuel burns at maximum 800 degrees and steel melts at 1600 degrees. So go try burn some paper with hot air from your mouth, the gap in temperature is less. No steel building has ever come down from internal fires, even some that have burnt for 18 hours straight.

      Then there is the fact that the concrete in all the buildings melted creating the dust cloud. Can a bit of jet fuel do that? The foundations were too hot to go near for months after. A bit of jet fuel? Even if there was some damage to the outside deck of the buildings, the steel core of the building was way too strong for anything like that to damage it. And when the wing of the plane passes in front of a crane that stands between the camera and the building then I could be forgiven for suspecting something is amiss. Have you seen the BBC (who also spoke about the 'massive firest that brought down the building) announcing that WT7 - the third building that came down without a plane - had fallen down 20 minutes before it happened? The report actually shows the building behind the journalist. They said reports were coming in that it had fallen. If I called the newsroom and said something like that, IF I could get them to take me seriously they would look at the building first. But whoever called in then got straight through and was taken seriously even in the face of reality. Who called in? Now I've been gullible in my life but this is just a bit much. And I'm afraid that some top scientists who spoke up too much did not live to tell the tale, so of course they are quiet.

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    29. Skeptic, I didn't consider you a troll when I responded. I was admittedly a bit miffed at your insinuations about some of my comments, but I basically critiqued your statements about evolution. Your current comment dealing with that subject is still erroneous. It's not true that "random changes don't produce anything positive". Consider a pathogenic bacterium which by chance has incorporated a piece of DNA from some other non-pathogenic bacterium (a process normal for bacteria) that happens to confer resistance to an antibiotic. From its perspective, that change is certainly positive. That's the problem with some fiat statements made to counter evolutionary arguments. Not all change is harmful to the organism even if it is uncommon.

      Your statements about the effect of fire on massive steel and concrete buildings are based purely on material in conspiracy or cynical websites. While the melting point of steel is some 1500 deg.C, it loses 90% of its strength at 800 deg.C and virtually all of it at 1000 deg.C. A well ventilated room fire will reached 1000 deg.C. The massive damage to the structure in 5 -10 floors by the impact of fully loaded jumbo jets at high speed, and the dispersal/ignition of 24,000 gallons of jet fuel that each carried, is sufficient to produce such a large, ventilated, and hot fire. While the steel curtain of the building had resilience, the steel anchors connecting the steel exterior to the massive floors failed due to the strong heating. Once those floors collapsed, the added enormous weight of the collapsed floors was simply too heavy a burden for the floors below and a pancake collapse followed. The 100+ story buildings quickly collapsed once the process started, and the enormous forces unleashed by gravity disintegrated the concrete flooring which produced very large amounts of dust It was not the direct action of heat; only the mechanical forces unleashed during the collapse which ground down the concrete and the contents of the buildings.

      The nearby building 7 took a lot longer to collapse because its fire (from flaming debris from the towers) wasn't as intense so that it took some 9 hours (as I recall) to collapse in similar fashion.

      I didn't watch the BBC broadcast, but your recollection is a fantasy. No one who wished to avoid criminal interrogation would broadcast a building collapse before it happened - unless the fire experts consulted maintained that the building would surely collapse due the long exposure of the steel frame to a large fire. For example, at the early stage of the WTC tragedy, when only the North tower had been struck, a senior scientist at work exclaimed that the building would collapse in the absence of a realistic way of fighting a large fire so far above ground. As to the conspiracy suggestion that dissenting scientists were murdered to keep them quiet - calling it a fantasy would be too kind.

      Y. Aharon

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    31. Y Aharon,

      My interest here is to see if you can think for yourself, because then you might see through the evolution story as well. And sadly you are just spewing the official propaganda.
      Why do you assume the fuel tanks would have been full when the trip planned was a third of the aircraft range?
      Here's a proper calculation of the temperature that could have been reached with the one or two minutes that the jet fuel would have burned. http://911research.wtc7.net/mirrors/guardian2/wtc/how-hot.htm, it comes to 500 degrees maximum. The smoke coming out of the building shows that there wasn't even a proper fire going on. And if a building had simply pancaked you would see all the floors, whereas absolutely nothing was left of those buildings.
      Here you can see the BBC in action, my recollection is not a 'fantasy'
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=677i43QfYpQ
      you can also see the building come down in what has to be controlled demotion, as were the twin towers.

      Again, the point here is whether you can make an opinion from the real evidence or whether you just swallow what you are told. Or maybe you work for them anyway...

      That's it from me on this topic, I have no intention of pasting more about this fiction, make your own minds up!

      Good yomtov

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    32. Y Aharon, don't waste your time.

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  14. Are you saying that this is perhaps the tolaat that struck Jonah's kikayon?

    ReplyDelete

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