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Thought for the Day: Torah Creationism Or Evolution? Principle Issues on Each Side

Just to set the stage, here is a quote from Lord Kelvin, one of the seminal scientists who shaped modern physics:
The more thoroughly I conduct scientific research, the more I believe that science excludes atheism.
I don't need to bring proof that some scientists are atheists and/or believe in evolution; however, I want to be clear that the idea of creation is not, in and of itself, an unscientific concept.  This is not, of course, a proof that atheism is unscientific; I just want a level playing field.

In order to decide how to live my life effectively, I must understand the intended purpose (if any) of my existence.  There are many (many, many, sigh...) proposed candidates; lots of religions, lots of philosophies; a veritable plethora of -isms.  To winnow the playing field to only the reasonable candidates for Truth, I only accept those that satisfy the following criteria.
  1. A logical system.  That knocks out religions that just willy-nilly add yet another god whenever they need to "explain" this or that; i.e. it just gives name to the question and calls it a god.
  2. Internally consistent.  That knocks out any religion, for example, that claims to be a derivative/replacement for Torah/Orthodox Judaism.  You know who you are.
  3. Consistent with known/measured data.  That does not include age of universe, which is produced by a model, and the like; distribution of stars, red/blue shift in spectrum, etc are data.
Note that just because something didn't make my cut, does not mean that is it false.  That is, it is certainly possible that the Truth is not something that fits those criteria, and I would therefore be missing it.  However, I think my criteria are reasonable.  Moreover, if the one true system of belief actually is excluded by my criteria, then it seems to me that it is impossible to logically arrive at that truth and so any reward and punishment that may or may not lie in the future cannot reasonably take me to task for not considering it.  I am willing to bet my eternal soul on that premise.

That being said, once the dust has settled, I am left with two possible choices for how this world came into being: evolution and Torah creation.  These two imply vastly different lifestyle choices, and I therefore am obliged to make a choice.  At this juncture, the most reasonable and scientific approach is to choose the system that requires me to make the fewest and smallest leaps of faith.
N.B.: If you blindly and dogmatically choose to believe that there is no Creator who created the world by His Will; then you have made a choice.  I am not that dogmatic; therefore I am unwilling to make such an unprovable and huge leap of faith.
Leap of faith required to accept Torah view: belief in eternal reward and punishment for (finite) actions in this world.  Crux of issue: Creator knows what we are going to do even before (whatever that means, since the Creator is outside of time) we are created.  The classic work introductory work on that is דעת תבונות, aka "The Knowing Heart"; at least it is an approach.

Leaps of faith required to accept evolution:
  1. abiogenesis/life from non-life.  Biology took a huge leap forward by denying life could come from non-life, then had to back off and say, "well... except that one time it happened billions of years ago before; but never again."  For a more or less objective review of the problems with finding a solution to the abiogenesis problem, see The Ascent of Science, by Brian L. Silver; a bit dated, but not much progress since then.
  2. macroevolution: nearly all important steps (wings from scales and walking upright, for example) require changes that "will be good in the long run", but are horrifically handicapping in the short (ie, millions of years) run, but evolution is supposed to be stateless and each step needs to be an improvement.
  3. morality: man should be just a smart bear, but he is actually a smart bear with a moral compass.
For my money, I am going with Torah.


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