Friday, August 29, 2008

More craziness about evolution

If your intellectual peregrinations are confined to the Orthodox community, you would think that evolution is somehow controversial, and doubt exists over whether it happened - and is happening! Here is something I posted to the Jewish Press last week (link):

Date 11:08, 08-24, 08

To the Editor:

I have little to add to the incisive responses of Yaakov Mayerhoff and Avi Goldstein in last week's issue to the attacks on evolutionary theory that appeared the week before. However, the headline makes it appear that evolutionary theory is somehow controversial. There is no controversy in the scientific community over evolution. It is supported by mountains of evidence and is as firmly established as electromagnetism, quantum mechanics or any other theory in science. Evolution is a fact. It occurred. All living species including our own are products of descent with modification. Rav Hirsch's hypothetical situation of evolution being ultimately vindicated is now reality, and the Orthodox establishment needs to deal with it.

It is telling that in the same issue, Chronicles of Crises informs us of an Orthodox man who left both his family and Jewish observance. I do not know why this particular man left the fold, but he is not the only one. Nobody appreciates being lied to or played for stupid. When products of our system go out into the world, acquire some knowledge and discover that their parents, yeshiva teachers and rabbis have been lying to him and playing him for stupid for twelve years, many are tempted to chuck the whole kit and caboodle. Unlike my generation that remembers a time when Orthodoxy was normal, young people today see only a disconnect between what they are given to believe is normative Orthodox hashkafa on the one hand and objective reality on the other. They would rather live in the real world than in an Orthodox Fantasyland. Who can blame them?

Zev Stern, Ph.D.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

I find it a terrible shame that there are those who believe that the only way Judaism can thrive is to hide behind psychological ghetto walls and pretend that the world is really the same as it was 2000 years ago in Bavel.
Instead of confronting science and showing how it validates the Torah's truth, they treat it like a source of tumah to be avoided. And like you said, eventually some people figure out and believe "Well, either I stay religious or I stay intelligent" because they were never told one can be both.

Fri Aug 29, 02:48:00 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Excellent reply. I know so many frum people who were taught that evolution was false and against the Torah. When they found out the former was a lie they still believed the latter, with tragic results.

Fri Aug 29, 03:11:00 PM EDT  

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