לכך אמר שלמה צאינה וראינה בנות ציון במלך שלמה ... ד"א במלך שלמה במלך שברא בריותיו שלימים ברא חמה וירח על מליאתן וכל מעשה בראשית בקומתם נבראו שנא' (שם ב) הארץ וכל צבאם בר קפרא אמר אדם וחוה כבני כ ' שנה נבראו
When King Shlomo said "Go out and see, you daughters of Zion, in the King 'Shlomo'..." he was referring to HKBH and called him "the King Shlomo" meaning the King that created all His creations complete (שלימים). He created the sun and the moon in their full state and all of the makings of creation were created in their full height (i.e., fully developed) as is written וכל צבאם (this is understood by Chazal to mean בכל צביונם - i.e., in their full majesty - see Chullin 60a). Bar Kapra said: Adam and Chava were created as 20 year old beings.This is a Midrashic reference to what is known as the Gosse Theory - the assertion that G-d created an "old" world. A world that looks like it's been here for a real long time. Such a theory would, in one fell swoop, nullify all the "evidence" that the world created itself over billions of years by suggesting that all the "evidence" was planted by G-d. Accordingly, there would be no conflict between religious dogma and paleontological findings.
Now the Gosse theory is amazingly simple, unsophisticated, and un"scientific". And, besides, why would G-d do such a thing? Also, it alleviates much needed conflict, controversy, and skepticism. For these reasons, many "intellectuals" reject it. But not because it can't be true.
Personally, I am not an intellectual. Most of my commenters and other intellectuals have said that about me and they must be right. Most of them went to college and I didn't. But I did read The Man Who Never Was (in Yeshiva) and I figure that G-d must be at least as intelligent as British Military Intelligence (don't snicker now). The book also explains why G-d would "plant" misleading "evidence". For the same reason they did it - to mislead us. G-d doesn't want us to be able to prove that He exists. So He created an intermediary that we call "Nature" (teva). He allows "Nature" to rule the world and formed the world to look like it was created by his intermediary, "Nature".
Why did He do that? So we wouldn't be able to know for sure that it's Him. For our own benefit. (I wrote about this in my previous post.) So says the Navi Hoshea (Hoshea 14:10).
Because this all makes sense to me, I am quite willing to accept the Gosse theory. Simple minds like simple answers. Of course, there are other simple answers to age-of-universe issues. The predominant one is that even though we use the term "5769 years לבריאת העולם " in our Kesubos and wedding invitations, we don't necessarily mean 5769 years from the beginning of בריאת העולם, we mean 5769 years from the end of בריאת העולם meaning when Adam HaRishon was created on the 6th day of Creation. There were 5 days of creation that came before the debut of Adam HaRishon. 5 long days - or 5 short days, depending who you ask.
We measure time based on the rotation of the earth and it's movements vis a vis the sun and the moon. But there was no sun and moon until the 4th day. So, the first few days of creation could have taken a real long time to an outside observer. Also, it is feasible that G-d employed simulated evolutionary processes in forming the world which could have been accelerated into 5 real days. As Einstein said, it's all relative.
Thus, geological formations and fossil records don't really tell us much. They don't tell us how old the world is, only how old the world appears to be. As such, I wrote in a footnote on page 143 of my book:
There is quite a bit of debate among Torah scholars as to how much ‘real time’ the world was in existence before the debut of man. I am not taking sides in this debate. Whether the actual time was 5 days or millions or billions of years, our contention is that it was all a concerted preparation for the advent of man. Man is the culmination of Creation and, therefore, the entire span of Creation was one prolonged Creation of man.
Thus, I have a hard time understanding why so many people, including Jewish ones, are digging so deep into the earth in order to "prove" evolution. It will not help them decide whether or not to accept Rambam's 13 principles.
To date, I have not been too interested in discussing evolution as I wrote in the footnote on page 143. I feel there is no need for it. This topic is beaten to death in the blogosphere, particularly in the neighborhoods frequented by the Jewish skeptics. Bottom line is, if you want evolution, read Slifkin. He'll make you feel good. If you don't want it, read Rabbi Avigdor Miller - and Chovos HaLevavos.
But I decided to discuss it now, partly because it is an extention of my previous post about belief in G-d, and partly because, one day last week, (between the wedding and Sheva Brachos and Shavuos, I actually did show up at the office for 2 days) I passed by 2 co-workers - both American, one newly religious and one religiously "agnostic" - who were having a discussion. As I past them by, one asked me: Why is it that chareidim deny evolution?
I liked the way he termed it: deny evolution - not reject evolution. As I wrote in my book (page 128):
Every intelligent person knows that the whole world came about through evolution. That’s what the great scientists say; that is what they teach in all the great universities; that is what has been proven beyond the shadow of a doubt. Only undereducated, unenlightened, primitive, backward people could question the truth of evolution.
Now, knowing this person (the "agnostic" one) and the subject matter and hearing how he asked his question, I knew in advance how this discussion will unfold. As I tried to give him the chareidi perspective, which required a few minutes of devoted listening to structured detail, he broke in to my diatribe at regular intervals (every 3 words) with a deflecting argument. As expected, we didn't get anywhere. All told, it meant that he clearly did not ask the question because he was interested in hearing a satisfactory answer. He asked it in order to reassure himself that there is no satisfactory answer. (It's hard to stay agnostic if you find answers to your questions.)
Skeptics don't like simple answers. It interferes with their skepticism.
Perhaps my blog audience is a bit more attentive and I can get in a full sentence and I can discuss the answer I started to give. So here is what I tried to tell him.
We chareidim, and Creationists in general, have no need for "evolution". We can get by just fine without it. Consequently, we can afford to be more discerning, skeptical and critical about the material that is presented as "evidence". Evolutionists must substantiate some form of evolutionary theory, so they are forced to accept loose fitting evidence as absolute, interpret inconlusive findings to match preconceived theories, and to artificially elevate theories into proven facts in order to substantiate other theories.
Here is how I wrote it on page 129 of One Above and Seven Below:
We chareidim think that evolution is absurd. Recorded history – which amazingly goes back no further than five to six thousand years – has yet to document any instance of any extant creature becoming more complex than it ever was. No one has yet caught a jellyfish even thinking about growing a backbone. But evolutionists have a lot at stake. So much so that they are compelled to advocate the absurd.
This is merely my way of pointing out that with all the literature and media that promotes evolution, there is not one bit of empirical proof that any organism can or ever has undergone a "developmental" anatomical change. Yet, it's not for lack of trying to come up with it.
I said so to my 2 questioners and one immediately challenged me with an account of one certain moth that used to always have a particular body color as that was it's genetic coding. When a population of these moths were moved to a different habitat where the trees were a lighter color, new generations of the moth were emerging with the genetic propensity to match the lighter color. The moths did not change color after they wrere born so it is not a physiological change like a chameleon but rather a genetic mutation to adapt to the environment.
I asked if there were any anatomical changes or is it just pigmentation. He said , "Only pigmentation. But it's not a big leap to assume genetic adaptation for anatomical changes as well."
What comes out is that this fellow concedes that there is no observed instance of a creature changing it's genetic code for anatomy to meet new conditions. Only pigmentation. This means that this moth which was a moth 5000 years ago is still the same moth but can reprogram it's genetic code for pigmentation. There is no reason to assume that it did not have this innate ability 5000 years ago. So the organism hasn't changed at all. It merely employed a congenital color adaptation mechanism that was always part of it, though it may have been dormant for some time.
I told him that this limited and confined level of genetic adaptation is not "denied" by anybody, especially since it is observable science and if you would like to call this limited mutation "evolution" then I will gladly concede this meager shadow of "evolution".
What we chareidim "deny" is what nobody has yet to produce - a species with one particular anatomical composition that gives birth to a second generation that sports something different about it's anatomy. Not a genetic mishap but an adaptation. Not an individual but a generation. With viable continuation (this means males and females would have to make the same genetic adaptation simultaneously).Still he wanted to claim, "It's not a big leap to assume genetic adaptation for anatomical changes as well."
This is today's science, what you see you see and what you don't see you assume. And it boils down to how big a leap is it. Your opinion is that "it's not a big leap" and so evolution is a fact. My opinion is that so far a cat has never given birth to a fish or even to a catfish and a chimpanzee has never begat anything more intelligent than another chimpanzee. And it never will. A panda's thumb is not going to get any new digits.
I think it's an insurmountable leap.
So, IMHO, if you have to rely on "It's not a big leap" to establish evolution as a fact, excuse me for not signing on.
In my travels around the blogosphere to try to understand how skeptics (or non-believers) think, I chanced upon a site of one who calls himself Atheist Jew (R"L). His most recent post shows a video of a fascinating creature called the Hairy Frogfish which propels itself on its fins like legs. This poor soul (the blogger, not the fish) somehow thinks that the existence of this creature is a challenge to "creationism". That's Hoshea 14:10 for you.
In the blurb for this video, the blogger writes:
Yes, the frogfish doesn't have legs, but those fins are darn close, that it
doesn't take a genius to figure out that with a little time, fish can evolve
into amphibians if water and food sources started to dry up in a certain
This is all very nice. And I am certainly not a genius. But why don't we take some of these fish and place them in a controlled "ecosystem" where water and food sources start to dry up and lets give them a "bit of time" and see them change into amphibians? How about just to see them start to change into amphibians?
I can assure you it isn't going to happen. Not in his lifetime, not in mine, and not in anybody's.
But he can rest assured that he's got "evidence". Plus a whole "fossil record" full of missing links. I just have Gosse.
But I'll take the Gosse theory, and you can have the Mishu-Gosse theory.