Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Rav Sternbuch & Theory of Evolution

31 comments :

  1. I would really love to know which parts of this are from Rav Shternbuch and which parts were the author's own ideas. To the best of my knowledge, this article misrepresents the background of evolution - it wasn't based on seeing the progress of stone age to etc.

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  2. I don't think it is kavod ha-Torah to publish articles like this.

    Things like: "It has been proven that it is statistically impossible for such random selection to take place. How can otherwise intelligent people possibly believe in such an absurdity?"

    There's no need to speculate because they give very clear reasons. Read their books and articles and you'll find the answer! They strongly, many would say convincingly, dispute those statistical proofs.

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  3. Evolutionists have abandoned incremental evolution due to the overwhelming lack of evidence in the fossil record.

    They currently believe in punk eek, punctuated equilibrium. This means sudden, inexplicable jumps. For example, immediately following a certain creature's reptile state is found a version of the creature with a totally complex structure of wings from nowhere.

    This obviously could not have happened incrementally.

    The reason that they keep on adding billions of years (soon they'll be like Obama and add trillions) is in order to compensate for the vanishingly small probability of any valid mutation. Scientifically, this is the reverse of thermodynamics where everything works according to statistics.

    It's a disgrace to call the current theory of random mutation evolution a scientific theory.

    There are myriad contradictions to the overriding principal of survival of the fittest. There are many instances in nature that contradict this. Study the lifestyle of the Emperor Penguin and everything about it is against survival.

    There are 2 level and 3 level interspecies dependencies that can only make them non survivable. Just look at the relationship of bees and plants. Some fish come out of the water to lay their eggs, an environment where they can't live.

    Evolution without G-d is a total fiction.

    When one studies the wonders of nature without the hindrance of evolutionary lies, one sees the wonders of Hashem yisborach openly.

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  4. Can we also add that comment about chimpanzees to the list of stupidities in this article. No one claims that humans came from chimpanzees. Anyone who thinks that is what is being claimed does not understand the theory of evolution.

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  5. Izgad said...

    Can we also add that comment about chimpanzees to the list of stupidities in this article. No one claims that humans came from chimpanzees. Anyone who thinks that is what is being claimed does not understand the theory of evolution.
    ==================
    Your ignorance is showing. The following is from the wikipedia article on Evolution. Perhaps you meant to say that of the many zigzags of evolutionary theory is to now claim there is a common ancestor rather than direct descent.

    Carolus Linnaeus and other scientists of his time also considered the great apes to be the closest biological relatives of human beings due to morphological and anatomical similarities. The possibility of biologically linking humans with earlier apes by descent only became clear after 1859 with the publication of Charles Darwin's On the Origin of Species. This argued for the idea of the biological evolution of new species from earlier ones. Darwin's book, however, did not address the question of human evolution, saying only that "Light will be thrown on the origin of man and his history".

    The first debates about the nature of human evolution arose between Thomas Huxley and Richard Owen. Huxley argued for human evolution from apes by illustrating many of the similarities and differences between humans and apes and did so particularly in his 1863 book Evidence as to Man's Place in Nature. However, many of Darwin's early supporters (such as Alfred Russel Wallace and Charles Lyell) did not agree that the origin of the mental capacities and the moral sensibilities of humans could be explained by natural selection.

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  6. Gil Student said...

    I don't think it is kavod ha-Torah to publish articles like this.

    Things like: "It has been proven that it is statistically impossible for such random selection to take place. How can otherwise intelligent people possibly believe in such an absurdity?"

    There's no need to speculate because they give very clear reasons. Read their books and articles and you'll find the answer! They strongly, many would say convincingly, dispute those statistical proofs.
    ============
    Gil I am surprised at your intemperate language. Perhaps you might want to show how reasonable these explanations are? When I was studying biology at Renssalaer Polytechic Institute and I raised the question of the unlikelihood of evolution the professors said "If you don't believe it happened that means you are are fundamentalist!"

    While I am not in the literature these days, I don't think that things have advanced beyond the professor's argument.

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  7. The Princetoner RebbeJune 4, 2009 at 5:10 PM

    http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2008-11/pu-enw111108.php

    November 2008:

    "The discovery answers an age-old question that has puzzled biologists since the time of Darwin: How can organisms be so exquisitely complex, if evolution is completely random, operating like a 'blind watchmaker'?" said Chakrabarti, an associate research scholar in the Department of Chemistry at Princeton. "Our new theory extends Darwin's model, demonstrating how organisms can subtly direct aspects of their own evolution to create order out of randomness."...

    Chakrabarti and Rabitz analyzed these observations of the proteins' behavior from a mathematical standpoint, concluding that it would be statistically impossible for this self-correcting behavior to be random, and demonstrating that the observed result is precisely that predicted by the equations of control theory. By operating only at extremes, referred to in control theory as "bang-bang extremization," the proteins were exhibiting behavior consistent with a system managing itself optimally under evolution...

    The scientists do not know how the cellular machinery guiding this process may have originated, but they emphatically said it does not buttress the case for intelligent design, a controversial notion that posits the existence of a creator responsible for complexity in nature."

    So it seems that evolution being random is an age-old problem, not yet solved in November 2008, and it comes out evolution isn't random - it is self-guided. How did the mechanism get there? Don't know, but EMPHATICALLY it isn't any evidence for Intelligent Design. Why not?

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  8. Tzoorba
    You completely distort the past few decades of evolutionary discourse. You are either really ignorant or just a plain liar, probably a bit of both. Please go back to high school and actually read a basic biology textbook.

    Daas Torah
    Me
    “Can we also add that comment about chimpanzees to the list of stupidities in this article? No one claims that humans came from chimpanzees. Anyone who thinks that is what is being claimed does not understand the theory of evolution.”
    You
    “Your ignorance is showing. The following is from the Wikipedia article on Evolution. Perhaps you meant to say that of the many zigzags of evolutionary theory is to now claim there is a common ancestor rather than direct descent.”
    First of all you should know better than to quote Wikipedia as a source. Second, notice that what you quote says nothing about chimpanzees. No we are not descended from chimpanzees. We may have certain common ancestors with chimps but that is a different story. So can we please cut the Soapy Sam rhetoric; it is intellectually dishonest.

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  9. Gil I am surprised at your intemperate language. Perhaps you might want to show how reasonable these explanations are? When I was studying biology at Renssalaer Polytechic Institute and I raised the question of the unlikelihood of evolution the professors said "If you don't believe it happened that means you are are fundamentalist!"

    While I am not in the literature these days, I don't think that things have advanced beyond the professor's argument.


    Dr. Eidensohn, there is a large literature on this subject and it disputes the calculations of the probabilities underlying the anti-evolution argument. Regardless of what your professor said, evolution is definitely not considered statistically impossible.

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  10. Gil Student said...


    Dr. Eidensohn, there is a large literature on this subject and it disputes the calculations of the probabilities underlying the anti-evolution argument. Regardless of what your professor said, evolution is definitely not considered statistically impossible.
    ====================
    I am glad that there is a large literature - but I would like to have a idea of what arguments are used and what assumptions are involved that demonstrate that evolution is not statistically impossible. Alternative can you direct me to some articles on the internet?

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  11. Just Google probability and evolution and you'll find millions of links. Here are a few that are relevant, both academic (unavailable for free) and web-based popular:
    I, II, III, IV

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  12. Rabbi Daniel Yaakov TravisJune 5, 2009 at 1:24 AM

    BD said...

    I would really love to know which parts of this are from Rav Shternbuch and which parts were the author's own ideas. To the best of my knowledge, this article misrepresents the background of evolution - it wasn't based on seeing the progress of stone age to etc.
    =========================

    Author's Comment

    Thank you for your feedback. THE RAV WAS NOT COMING TO EXPLAIN THE THEORY OF EVOLUTION RATHER WHAT WAS THE SOURCE OF THIS THEORY. HE EXPLAINED THAT SINCE THE NATURAL WORLD SEEMS TO BE IN A COURSE OF ASCENSION, AND THE EARLY WORLD WENT THROUGH STAGES OF ADVANCEMENT FROM THE STONE AGE UNTIL TODAY, THEY DEDUCED THAT MAN MUST HAVE ORIGINALLY COME FROM APES. THIS IS AS OPPOSED TO THE TORAH OUTLOOK THAT EACH GENERATION FALLS. THE RAV WAS COMING TO MAKE AN OBSERVATION AND NOT AN EXPLANATION.

    Thank you,

    Rabbi Daniel Yaakov Travis

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  13. In Response to Rabbi Travis - That is not a true statement. Evolutionary theory wasn't based on the assumption that since stone age was followed by copper age and then more technology was invented later that it must be that humans come from apes. That is not true.

    I am not defending anything. I am just saying that anyone who has studied anything about evolutionary theory and history knows that to be not true.

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  14. Izgad said...


    Daas Torah
    Me
    “Can we also add that comment about chimpanzees to the list of stupidities in this article? No one claims that humans came from chimpanzees. Anyone who thinks that is what is being claimed does not understand the theory of evolution.”
    You
    “Your ignorance is showing. The following is from the Wikipedia article on Evolution. Perhaps you meant to say that of the many zigzags of evolutionary theory is to now claim there is a common ancestor rather than direct descent.”
    First of all you should know better than to quote Wikipedia as a source. Second, notice that what you quote says nothing about chimpanzees. No we are not descended from chimpanzees. We may have certain common ancestors with chimps but that is a different story. So can we please cut the Soapy Sam rhetoric; it is intellectually dishonest.
    =======
    You are nit picking - even Wikipedia can be congruent with truth.

    The point is that your disparaging tone really is not a substitute for substance. As many have noted that those who defend the necessity of evolution do it with a religious fervor which is not justified by the established facts.

    I am just asking you true believers in evolution to explain the mathematics and to acknowledge that evolution was is and will be used to defended a philosohpy of progress - as opposed to the traditional Torah view that previous generations were superior.

    Your failure to acknowledge that evolution has historical been presented as a man evolving from apes [your quible that chimpanzees are not the same as apes aside]is not really helpful.] is missing the key point of Rav Sternbuch's speech.

    If we were discussing the validity of techeles today, I think your discussion would be significantly more objective than the present topic.

    Prof. Gould once quoted Freud indicating that Science of necessity diminishes man. He said that the trouble man has in fully accepting Darwin as oppossed to Copernicus and Galileo is the fact that the insignificance of man is inherent in the theory.
    "Unfortunately, Darwin's revolution remains incomplete to this day because we spin-doctor the results of evolution to preserve our pedestal of arrogance by misreading the process as a predictable accumulation of improvements, leading sensibly to the later appearance of human intelligence as a culmination."
    [Boyle's Law and Darwin's Details page 286]

    Rav Sternbuch is simply agreeing with Gould about the meaning of the philsophy of evolution. He is stating that the argument is not so much concerned with the scientific issues but the resulting degradation of man inherent in the theory.

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  15. Gil,

    Regarding your first recommended link (http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/abioprob/abioprob.html) about the issue of probability and abiogenesis:

    Given that, in fact, no one has any real picture of how abiogenesis could happen in the first place - we are not even sure what that first "living" substance would look like or be made of, or what precise criteria to use to determine if abiogenesis has even happened - any discussion of statistical probability, either negative or positive, is fundamentally flawed.

    The site should be arguing: we don't know if abiogenesis is likely or not because we don't know how it happens or even exactly what it is.

    Instead they are arguing that it isn't unlikely, based upon the extremely loose guesswork currently called "modern abiogenesis theory".

    Unlike the bulk of evolutionary theory, the essence of abiogenesis theory is subject to experiemental testing. If a simple life form could form spontaneously in a sterile puddle, then it should be possible to do the same thing in a laboratory.

    The fact remains that, despite immense efforts, experimental evidence for abiogenesis has yet to be found.

    The website's argument in favor of the probability of abiogenesis would seem to make this absence even more problematic.

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  16. Rabbi Daniel Yaakov TravisJune 8, 2009 at 10:22 AM

    Author's response: Let me try and clarify the rav's statement one last time since I see it has not been understood yet. The rav is not coming to give a course on Evolution 101. The rav knows what the evolutionists claim are the so-called proofs to their theory, and believes them to be invalid. He is suggesting a possible observational process that could have led them to formulate such beliefs which are otherwise statistically improbable and would not hold water in other areas of scientific, and certainly not talmudic study. However free choice is given in this world, and a person may believe whatever he wants. We will all find out the truth after we move onto the next world.

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  17. Rabbi Travis
    Rav Sternbuch has not given an accurate description of evolution this makes him either [...]or a [...] probably a bit of both. If we are allowed to pass off inaccurate descriptions of other people’s beliefs and make observations based on those inaccurate descriptions can I start with you? Now what made you such a strong believer in flying spaghetti monster theory? It must be because you were dropped on the head as a child and touched very deeply by your rebbi.

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  18. Izgad said...

    Rabbi Travis
    Rav Sternbuch has not given an accurate description of evolution this makes him either [...]or a [...] probably a bit of both. If we are allowed to pass off inaccurate descriptions of other people’s beliefs and make observations based on those inaccurate descriptions can I start with you? Now what made you such a strong believer in flying spaghetti monster theory? It must be because you were dropped on the head as a child and touched very deeply by your rebbi.
    ------------------
    Your obnoxious way of expressing yourself does not add anything positive to the discussion. I only allowed this through as an example of those who insist that Science and truth are identical and that Religion has no right to assert any contrary views except perhaps in gaps in our scientific knowledge.

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  19. I discuss this article in this post on my blog.

    kt,
    josh

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  20. "the insignificance of man is inherent in the theory"

    The insignificance of man is also inherent in the theory that every human is the result of a period of evolution inside the womb of his mother, after his father had done his part.

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  21. "the insignificance of man is inherent in the theory"

    The insignificance of man is also inherent in the theory that every human is the result of a period of evolution inside the womb of his mother, after his father had done his part.

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  22. מֹשאל רפאל said...

    "the insignificance of man is inherent in the theory"

    The insignificance of man is also inherent in the theory that every human is the result of a period of evolution inside the womb of his mother, after his father had done his part.
    ===========
    It is like saying "I am an insignificant prince" verus saying that my existence has no meaning since I am just a random sloshing of chemical "a sound and fury signifying nothing"

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  23. It is like saying "I am an insignificant prince" verus saying that my existence has no meaning since I am just a random sloshing of chemical "a sound and fury signifying nothing"
    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    Both things can be said in view of gestation during pregnancy and darwinian evolution of life. Darwinian evolution has no inherent philosophy.

    You (rav Sternbuch in this case) are attributing a negative philosophy to a field of knowledge that is obviously valid and true. We should do the opposite.

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  24. מֹשאל רפאל said...

    It is like saying "I am an insignificant prince" verus saying that my existence has no meaning since I am just a random sloshing of chemical "a sound and fury signifying nothing"
    ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    Both things can be said in view of gestation during pregnancy and darwinian evolution of life. Darwinian evolution has no inherent philosophy.

    You (rav Sternbuch in this case) are attributing a negative philosophy to a field of knowledge that is obviously valid and true. We should do the opposite.
    ==============
    Evolution is value free?
    It is obviously valid and true?

    These are obviously the points we are disagreeing about.

    It reminds me of my undergraduate days when behaviorism was the dominante "scientific" theory. I didn't have any refutation of the assertion that consciousness was "just" epiphenomenological. It was only later that I learned about the flaws in the positivistic i.e., scientific agenda. You ignore as worthless all phenomena which is not objectively measurable. But that is cheating because what you end up with scientifically is not what a human being is.

    I have long learned that much of life requires that mulitple realities need to be accepted on some level. I accept the findings of neurology which seem to suggest that man is nothing but chemical reactions but I also accept my personal awareness of my existence. I accept the fact that G-d knows everything and yet I can act with free will.


    You still believe that there is only one truth and that man can know it.

    I'l stick to the view of the Ktzos that what man knows are relative truths.

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  25. You still believe that there is only one truth and that man can know it.

    I'l stick to the view of the Ktzos that what man knows are relative truths.
    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    I find this funny. I think that Rav Sternbuch fits your first statement much better than I do.

    I think it obvious that man has great (G-d given of ocurse) capacity to know the truth, but I noticed that people who make meta claims generally err, so I prefer to refrain.

    Evolution happened. You are assigning your values to it. I say: מה רבו מעשיך

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  26. "I noticed that people who make meta claims generally err, so I prefer to refrain"

    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++=

    Let me explain this better. I have, B'Chasdei HaShem a strong scientific background. I noticed that commenters *about* science, or about "knowledge", quite invariably do not truly know the knowledge or the science they are talking about. It is as if the real stuff was too hard, and so they went off to more philosophical fields. And so, please forgive: I came to shrug when I hear people speaking about the limits of knowledge, about theories only being models, about absolute and relative truth, and the like.

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  27. מֹשאל רפאל said...

    "I noticed that people who make meta claims generally err, so I prefer to refrain"

    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++=

    Let me explain this better. I have, B'Chasdei HaShem a strong scientific background. I noticed that commenters *about* science, or about "knowledge", quite invariably do not truly know the knowledge or the science they are talking about. It is as if the real stuff was too hard, and so they went off to more philosophical fields. And so, please forgive: I came to shrug when I hear people speaking about the limits of knowledge, about theories only being models, about absolute and relative truth, and the like.
    -------------
    You can shrug all you want if it makes you happy.

    You could reword your argument "B"H I have a strong religious education and I have lived my life among gedolei Torah and I shrug when I hear people speaking about the limits of what our Sages transmitted to us"

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  28. I shrug about that also. For instance, meta statements made about Kabbala are quite invariably made by people who do not truly know. Ba'alei Hasaga shrug, smilingly. Those who know, know. Back to evolution: The case is compelling.

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  29. I shrug about that also. For instance, meta statements made about Kabbala are quite invariably made by people who do not truly know. Ba'alei Hasaga shrug, smilingly. Those who know, know. Back to evolution: The case is compelling.

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  30. "Izgad said...

    Tzoorba
    You completely distort the past few decades of evolutionary discourse. You are either really ignorant or just a plain liar, probably a bit of both. Please go back to high school and actually read a basic biology textbook."

    Izgad, your vile and intemperate comments indicate that you were not the product of intelligent design.

    You have not made one intelligent counter argument to anything that I've stated so all you are doing is making a lot of useless noise.

    Come back with some reasonable argument and then we can discuss this. In the meantime, your emotional disagreement means nothing.

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  31. I guess it doesn't bother me when someone from the "creation" or "ID" camp loosely describes the evolution of man from apes, from chimps, from babboons. According to the following expert, it hardly matters:

    'Teaching about Evolution' goes to great pains to ‘investigate the misconception that humans evolved from apes,’ pointing out that evolutionists believe that humans and apes share a common ancestor (p. 57, 62, 83). However, a leading atheistic evolutionary paleontologist, the late G.G. Simpson, called this sort of pedantry ‘pussyfooting.’ He wrote: ‘In fact, that earlier ancestor would certainly be called an ape or monkey in popular speech by anyone who saw it. Since the terms ape and monkey are defined by popular usage, man's ancestors were apes or monkeys (or successively both). It is pusillanimous [mean-spirited] if not dishonest for an informed investigator to say otherwise.’ The World into Which Darwin Led Us, Science 131:966–969; cited in W.R. Bird, The Origin of Species: Revisited, Vol. 1,

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