Discover more from Rationalist Judaism
Questions on the Young Earth Model of Special Creation
When I first thought of challenging Dr. Isaac Betech to live up to his claim that he is interested in truth and that debates between us advance that cause, and to explain his model of the development of life and to subject it to the same critical scrutiny that he was demanding to apply to evolution, I jotted down some of the questions that I would pose to him. Inexplicably (given his claims about the value of debates), Dr. Betech is refusing (in the absence of my agreeing to debate evolution with him) to actually explain his model and subject it to critical scrutiny. But I am presenting my list of questions anyway.
Note that depending on what Dr. Betech's model actually is, some of these questions might have been different. Despite the fact that (unlike me) he believes his model to be obligatory for every Jew, he won't explain what it actually is. How many times did the earth rotate on its axis during the six days of creation - six times, or billions of times? How many times did it revolve around the sun - a fraction of a revolution, or millions of revolutions? When did the dinosaurs live? Everyone knows the precise details of the model that I present, but nobody has any idea about Dr. Betech's model! If I knew what his model actually is (and I'm not even sure if he's thought about it), I would be able to ask more precise questions. But since he won't explain what it is it that he insists every Jew must believe, I'm just going to have to make do with the list of questions that I have.
1. What is your evidence that the universe is 5771 years old, and not five thousand, fifty thousand, or five hundred thousand years old?
2. Scientific hypotheses make testable predictions and are thus falsifiable. For example, evolution predicts that all animals descend from a common ancestor and thus fit into a family tree, and thus Rashi's description of a mermaid - a creature that is half human and half fish - will never be discovered and cannot exist. What testable predictions does your model make, and how could it be theoretically proven false?
3. What experiments have been done/ are being done to test the validity of your model?
4. Rambam, Sefer HaChinnuch and Malbim state that no types of animals ever become extinct. Do you agree with this - does your model include extinction, and what are the causes?
5. From when to when did Triassic, Jurassic and Cretaceous dinosaurs, respectively, live?
6. Did the original process of creation, via which dirt transformed into mammals, function according to some sort of scientific laws, or was it entirely supernatural? Does it still continue after the end of the six days - in other words, can dirt still transform into mammals? If yes, is the much smaller process of one type of mammal turning into another type of mammal also possible - and if not, why not?
7. (The precise formulation of the following question depends very much on the exact nature of Dr. Betech's mysterious approach.) Various mineral companies, oil companies, etc., find geologists to be essential. How are they at all effective, if the processes by which various substances and layers in the earth appear are not at all those which are described by geology?
(Before asking the following questions, I want to stress that I am interested in the big picture, not minor exceptions that are themselves debated. For example, when discussing whether dinosaur fossils are found in the same areas as human fossils, one hotly debated set of footprints is not significant, in light of hundreds of thousands of regions where dinosaur fossils have been found without any traces of humans or indeed any contemporary species.)
8. Why are all living marsupials (with the exception of possums) found in Australia, and no placental mammals are found there apart from bats?
9. Why do animals fit into a nested hierarchal system of classification, rather than there being all kinds of chimeras - e.g. whales are fully mammals, and have no homologous analogies with fish? This is especially intriguing in light of the fact that this hierarchy is different from the classification system in the Torah - e.g., bats are mammals, not birds.
10. How do you account for the fact that the overwhelming majority of scientists - including many who believe in the Torah - rejected your model? In fact, the first scientists to reject the young-earth model of creation were themselves devout Christians. Why is it that today only those who believe in the Torah/ Bible - and not even all of them - subscribe to it?
Feel free to add more questions to the list in the comments.