Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Avi Shafran on evolution and being a believing Jew

The comment I'd leave if commenting was allowed on posts written by Rabbi Avi Shafran:
After reading a few issues, though, the magazine’s bias became laughably apparent. Its reports on developments in the scientific world almost always came with a blended-in “editorial” comment that referenced random evolution or the backwardness of religious beliefs. It dawned on me. My anonymous benefactor, presumably having read something I had written about the rightful place of skepticism in evaluating scientific claims, wanted to enlighten me.
Alas (at least for him), it didn’t work. Nothing in the periodical was novel; on the contrary, the tiredness of its presentation of assumptions as facts only confirmed my convictions as a believing Jew.
Why do you suggest in these two paragraphs that accepting the evidence and argument for evolution are incompatible with being a believing Jew? Surely you are aware of what Israel Lipschitz, Sholom Mordechai Schwadron, Zvi Hirsch Chajes, Samson Rephael Hirsch, and Abraham Isaac Kook wrote on the subject. As you know, they did not think evolution and Torah Judaism are incompatible, so why do you do what they did not and dismiss evolution-accepters from the community of believers?

Also, I suspect you do this on purpose, but when you reference "random evolution" people who know how evolution is said to occur blow a gasket. Natural selection is non random.

Cross Currents: Another Breach in the Wall

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