Avodah Mailing List

Volume 13 : Number 065

Wednesday, August 11 2004

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Subjects Discussed In This Issue:
Date: Tue, 10 Aug 2004 12:24:56 -0400
From: Micha Berger <micha@aishdas.org>
Re: Height of people in chumash

On Sat, 7 Aug 2004 23:25:50 -0400 RAMiller <kennethgmiller@juno.com>
> My guess if that the 3-cubit height comes from the minimum size of a
> mikveh, which is 3 cubic amos. This may have led some to think that a
> typical person is 3 amos tall. And in fact, I was among them until I
> got involved in writing this post.

Add to that that Sukkah 9a assumes that the girth of an average person
is roughly 1 amah x 1 amah, so that people can be used to roughly measure
a circumference in amos.

So, the volume of 3 cubic amos would correspond to 3 amos in height.

But a person needs to match his surface area to be entirely wet, not
his volume.


Micha Berger             "The most prevalent illness of our generation is
micha@aishdas.org        excessive anxiety....  Emunah decreases anxiety:
http://www.aishdas.org   'The Almighty is my source of salvation;  I will
Fax: (270) 514-1507      trust and not be afraid.'" (Isa 12) -Shalhevesya

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Date: Tue, 10 Aug 2004 12:12:47 -0400
From: "Moshe Schor" <moshe12@earthlink.net>
Evolution and Creationism

<hlampel@thejnet.com> wrote:
> Hashem created the universe
> in full form, and yes, with light-waves from stars already on their way
> to earth...

Harry Maryles wrote:
>You can believe this if you want to. But how do you know you weren't
>created five minutes ago with a full set of memories? Why would God
>create a situation that would include seeing light waves that appear to
>have traveled million light years before reaching our eyes?

Because the Torah says(Beraishis 1-Posuk 15) that Hashem created the
stars to illuminate the earth. If it would take millions of years to
reach the earth, Hashem's objective would not be realized.

In addition, the Gemara Rosh Hashana (11a) states that all of creation
was created in their full stature,; fruit trees were ready to bear fruit
immediately(See Rashi,ibid).

Kol Tuv,
Moshe Schor 

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Date: Tue, 10 Aug 2004 10:46:02 -0400
From: "Feldhamer, Stuart" <Stuart.Feldhamer@us.cibc.com>
RE: kriyas yam suf

From: eli turkel
> BTW does Chumash ever describe the 10 plagues as a miracle out of the
> possible natural explanations? Is there anything to prevent one from
> believing that after Moshe prayed G-d caused some natural phenomena to
> happen? Such theiries have been around for quite a while.

I don't think there's anything to actually eliminate the possibility that
these were all natural phenomena evoked by Moshe/Hashem. However, the
language of the Chumash in some cases suggests that there was something
supernatural going on. For example, the dust of the ground turns into
lice, and the ashes turn into boils.


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Date: Tue, 10 Aug 2004 12:18:49 -0400
From: Micha Berger <micha@aishdas.org>
Re: t'cheiles (was: tfillin not worn)

On Mon, Aug 09, 2004 at 12:52:02AM -0400, Kenneth G Miller wrote:
: The main reason that I don't wear t'cheiles is because of my (perhaps
: mistaken) understanding the the tzitzis must be either white or techeiles,
: and other colors are problematic...

There is a machloqes rishonim as to whether the lavan strings should/must
be (see next paragraph) white or the color of the beged. We avoid the
problem by wearing white begadim. Teimanim, who have no problem -- the
Rambam says they must match the beged -- wore black or sometimes richly
colored shamlei with matching tzitzis.

The Rambam says this is din. Tosafos say it's a hiddur. However,
neither say that the string(s) one wears instead of techeiles must or
even should be any particular color. When you wear 8 white strings,
only 4, 7 or 8 of them are to fulfil lavan.

: BTW, among those who do wear it today, is there only one kind? I've gotten
: the impression that there are at least a couple of mutually exclusive
: kinds, which would weaken any arument that a consensus is developing.

Two, Radziner's cuttlefish derived prussian blue, and Amutat Ptil
Tekhelet's murex trunculus produced indigo (referring to the chemical,
not the color).

The growing acceptance, which I agree hasn't reached consensus, is
entirely of the latter. Radziner techeiles didn't spread much beyond
Radzin, and parts of Breslov -- and the only recent spread is amongst
adherents to variants on the Bresolver theme.


Micha Berger             It isn't what you have, or who you are, or where
micha@aishdas.org        you are,  or what you are doing,  that makes you
http://www.aishdas.org   happy or unhappy. It's what you think about.
Fax: (270) 514-1507                        - Dale Carnegie

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Date: Tue, 10 Aug 2004 12:57:38 -0400
From: "David Riceman" <driceman@worldnet.att.net>
Re: Hoshgocha Protis - only for the tzadik?

From: "Micha Berger" <micha@aishdas.org>
> If one assumes the story is a mashal, RHbD's daughter never actually
> filled the licht with vinegar. The whole scenario, not just the neis at
> the end, is mashal.

Perhaps you could spell out the scenario in detail: list what elements
of the mashal correspond to what elements of the nimshal. I really don't
understand how you think the Rambam would parse this as a story about HP.

David Riceman

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Date: Tue, 10 Aug 2004 21:32:45 +0300
From: eli turkel <turkel@post.tau.ac.il>
dor hamidbar

Zev Sero <zev@sero.name> wrote:
> ...what sort of bechira chofshit did Dor Hamidbar have? Or anybody
> else who saw open miracles? >

I got lost somewhere. With all the sins of that generation that they
lost Olam Habah how could someone say they didn't display bechira
chofshit with a vengeance.

Eli Turkel

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Date: Tue, 10 Aug 2004 15:03:37 -0400
From: Zev Sero <zev@sero.name>
Re: Evolution and Creationism (VERY LONG)

Harry Maryles <hmaryles@yahoo.com> wrote:
> <hlampel@thejnet.com> wrote:
>>Hashem created the universe
>>in full form, and yes, with light-waves from stars already on their way
>>to earth...

> You can believe this if you want to. But how do you know you weren't
> created five minutes ago with a full set of memories?

Because Hashem told us differently. Ein hachi nami, if we had no Torah
to tell us otherwise, it would be entirely conceivable that we were
all created last Thursday; but without a Torah to tell us otherwise it
would be more reasonable to assume that we had evolved naturally over
millions of years. However, we do have a Torah, which seems to tell us
not only that the world wasn't created millions of years ago, but also
that it wasn't created last Thursday. Since there's nothing actually
illogical about the Last Thursday hypothesis, the reason people reject
it is simply the lack of any reason to suppose it to be true; that reason
doesn't hold true for the 5763-years-ago-next-month hypothesis.

> Why would God
> create a situation that would include seeing light waves that appear to
> have traveled million light years before reaching our eyes?

I've answered this before: because He is the perfect Artist ('ve'ein
tzayar keilokeinu'), and a world without visible stars would be
inauthentic, just as a tree without rings or a person without a navel
would shout inauthenticity.

> Belief must factor in factual data (otherwise known as Metzius). To
> deny that data is to put blinders on and deny reality. There is nothing
> incompatible about observing scientific data and reconciling it with
> Torah. To deny scientific data is to put one's head in the sand and
> deny one's own intelligence.

Nobody is denying facts, we are arguing over the interpretation of
those facts. If I show you a watch that is pointing to half-past-three,
and I ask you what time this watch showed half an hour ago, the correct
scientific answer would be 'three o'clock', because the mechanics of the
watch imply that answer; but you have no idea what it actually said half
an hour ago, because you don't know when I set it. I might have set it
a minute ago, and half an hour ago it said something completely different.

That's the difference between science and history. History is about
the past, science is entirely about the present. When an historian says
something happened in the past, he means that literally, and if it didn't
actually happen then his theory is wrong. When a scientist says something
happened in the past, she doesn't mean that literally (at least, not if
she's talking as a scientist); what she really means is that the current
state of matters is such that, *if we assume no outside interference*,
this is what *would have* happened in the past. If we find out that
in fact I set the watch a minute ago, and half an hour ago it said nine
o'clock, the historian will be disproven, while the scientist who said
the same thing will still have been perfectly correct.

Similarly, when both historians and scientists predict what will happen
in the future, they do not mean it literally; the historian means 'if
things go on as they have done in the past', while the scientist means
'if things continue as they are at present'. Prophecy is equivalent field
about the future. So when the historian says that the bird which has
visited a window sill every day for the past month will visit it again
tomorrow, he means 'if it doesn't change its mind'. When the scientist
says a chemical reaction will take place in 5 minutes, she means 'if
nobody tips the beaker down the sink'. Therefore, if the predicted
event doesn't happen, neither of them has been proven wrong. But when
the prophet says the sun will rise tomorrow, he means that literally,
and if by some chance it doesn't, then he is disproven.

Akiva Atwood <akiva@atwood.co.il> wrote:
>>Really? Are there many "questions" other than those that exist simply
>>because the questioners refuse to accept the principle (which was not
>>first invented to "answer" evoutionists) that Hashem created the universe
>>in full form, and yes, with light-waves from stars already on their way
>>to earth?

> One major objection: it isn't scientific.
> Putting it bluntly -- "God" has no place in a scientific theory.

Exactly.  So since we know that He does exist, and controls the world,
why are we looking to science, which *by definition* cannot take Him
into account, to answer a question about what actually happened?

>>We Creationists have a mesorah from HaKadosh Baruch Hu,

> Where? The Torah is NOT a scientific textbook.

The Torah is a Truth textbook.  It tells us what is true; the question
is determining what it is actually telling us.  There aren't a lot of
scientific statements in the Torah, but there are a lot of historical
statements.  It tells us that certain things happened, and unless we
are *forced* to say otherwise, ein hamikra yotze miyde peshuto.
The scientific evidence does not force us to say otherwise, so we
shouldn't.  Otherwise, why believe that matan torah happened, and if
it didn't then why are we bothering with any of this?

>>we look with skeptisicm at claims that contradict it. What compelling
>>cause is there that makes evolutionists discount creation out-of-hand?

> The total lack of evidence?
> Science and Religion are two DIFFERENT systems -- it's a mistake to
> use one to explore and explain the domain of the other.
> (AIU Gould's last book discusses this idea)

Torah isn't merely 'religion'; in fact, it probably isn't 'religion'
in the sense Gould means it at all.  To Gould and his ilk, 'religion'
is just a polite word for 'irrational nonsense that has no impact on
the real world'.

What is true is that Science and History are two different systems,
and it's a mistake to use history to make definitive statements about
the present, or to use science to make definitive statements about
the past.

"Shinnar, Meir" <Meir.Shinnar@rwjuh.edu>
> a purely logical standpoint, the creation of a world fully formed,
> made to appear much older than it is is something that can not be
> disproven - nor can it be disproven that we were created yesterday -
> but either statment implies something about the nature of hashem that
> we find objectionable. There is nothing logically contradictory about
> someone playing a cosmic joke on us - but it violates our understandin!
> g of hashem, derived from the mesora, to think of him in this light

Not a joke, a work of art.  Remember, 've'ein tzayar keilokeinu'.
As Jesse Ventura put it in another context, is Hamlet fake?  Hamlet
isn't intended to deceive us about the history of Denmark, and Adam's
navel wasn't intended to deceive him into thinking he had a mother.
Hashem made the world, *and He told us what He did*, so He isn't
trying to deceive us.  If we choose to disbelieve Him, then we are
deceiving ourselves.

T613K@aol.com wrote:
> It is possible, as you say, that the universe was created in its full
> form and only LOOKS old--that it was created with light waves from
> distant stars already half-way here. But I don't find this satisfying,
> because a world that only looks old, and a world that really IS old--to
> me this seems a distinction without a difference.

> If I was born a few minutes ago with all my documents, photographs and
> memories--or if, in contrast, all these documents, photos and memories
> represent events that actually occurred--seem to be two equivalent
> scenarios which cannot be meaningfully distinguished.

Precisely.  The world *is* millions of years old.  It just hasn't
existed for millions of years.  I recall seeing somewhere that Adam, when
he was created, was 20 years old.  Now, to those who insist that saying
something is old is the same as saying it has existed for a long time,
what could that possibly mean?  To me it is very simple - he was a
normal 20-year-old man, who had actually lived for only a moment.
And when he died he was a 950-year-old man, who had lived for only
930 years.

> But He would not create a world with deliberate deception, with artifacts
> placed in it JUST to mislead us.

See above.  'Ve'ein tzayar keilokeinu.'

> About Og, I understand the Torah to be saying that Og was a giant,
> literally--but that doesn't mean there was anything supernatural about
> him, necessarily.

I don't think there was necessarily anything supernatural about him
either - and I don't think we have to take the gemara about the
mountain literally - but I don't think he was necessarily human.

> Og may have been "merely" seven feet tall. Tall enough and strong enough
> to be famous, not so tall as to require a miracle to survive every day.
> That he was the "polit" who survived the Flood, told Avraham about Lot's
> capture, and became the King of the Bashan--well, let's just say that
> I don't think it is necessary to believe all that literally in order to
> be an ehrlicher Yid.

No, it isn't, but Rashi seems to have believed that one literally, since
he repeats it in his commentary on Chumash.

> Obviously, there would never have been any scientific progress if we had
> just said about every phenomenon in the world, "That's just how G-d does
> it." The knowledge that science has brought into the world has greatly
> deepened our awe of a Creator whose workings are so incredibly complex
> and amazing. "Mah gadlu ma'asecha Hashem" takes on greater resonance,
> the more science we know.

I'd go further and say that science must be done *as if* there were,
ch"v, no G-d.  But scientists must bear in mind that they may one day
come up against the 'etzba elokim'.

Zev Sero

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Date: Tue, 10 Aug 2004 14:40:32 -0700 (PDT)
From: Harry Maryles <hmaryles@yahoo.com>
Re: Evolution and Creationism

Zev Sero <zev@sero.name> wrote:
> Harry Maryles <hmaryles@yahoo.com> wrote:
>> But how do you know you weren't
> > created five minutes ago with a full set of memories?

> Because Hashem told us differently. ...we do have a Torah, which
> seems to tell us
> not only that the world wasn't created millions of years ago, but also
> that it wasn't created last Thursday.

This is a very narrow POV and eventhough it may be an acceptable Torah
viewpoint the evidence is far too pervasive that the earth is indeed 15
billion years old. You cannot simply wisk away with your hand all the
physical evidence that supports this age and say that this is the way
God created it... to look old. He did not have to do that. Why bother
making world look old? Make it LOOK 6000 years old. Science would simply
"take things from there". There is nothing magical in a 15 billion year
old world that God needed to "paint" for us.

By subcribing to the theory that everything was created to look old you
also wisk away people like the Tifferes Israel who described the first
days of creation as Godly days and not human days. A Godly day equals
1000 human years. At the bare minimum that increases the age of earth
(not to speak of the universe) as being an additional 6000 years old
(the first six "days" of creation equaling 6000 years). Are you saying
that the Tifferes Israel is an Apikores?

And what about Aryeh Kaplan? He has shown us how through the use of
classical sources that the universe is 15 billion years old. Is he an
Apikores too?

> and a world without visible stars would be
> inauthentic... 

How do you know? If God had created a physical universe without star light
how would we be any worse off? How would we have known the difference? God
could have created a physical universe with 24 hour a day sunlight. In
fact wasn't that the original plan (Shtei MeOros)?


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Date: Tue, 10 Aug 2004 22:21:56 EDT
From: T613K@aol.com
Re: Evolution-R and Evolution-O

In a message Avodah V13 #64 dated 8/10/04 "Yosef Gavriel Bechhofer"
<rygb@aishdas.org> writes:
> I am not sure why exactly this issue ["evolution"]  keeps coming up over and 
> over again.

This time it came up because I brought it up, and I did so because in
a year's worth of evolution postings, no one else had ever made a point
I consider critical:


Every time I or other fundamentalists brought up arguments against
evolution (i.e., evolution-R), invariably someone would post something
about evolution-O in refutation. One person might post an article about
a new hybrid species of grass, and another would mention the mosquito
experiment his daughter performs with her biology class every year (as if
a repeatable experiment had anything whatsoever to do with evolution!).
Out would come the British moths and the Galapagos finches and Tay-Sachs
and tuberculosis.

And each such proof of the reality of evolution-O was triumphantly
brandished as evidence for the reality of evolution-R.

I kept waiting and waiting for someone to point out that one word was
being used to describe two entirely different processes, but no one ever
did. Nancy is a short blonde; no, Nancy is a tall brunette. But I SAW
Nancy just yesterday, and she is short and blonde, I tell you!

I thought it was about time someone finally said there are two different
Nancy's. It's been a source of astonishment to me how some of the most
knowledgeable and articulate posters on Avodah got hung up on this
failure to define terms.

They will no doubt continue to believe in evolution-R but they will have
to work a little harder to prove their case.

 -Toby Katz

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Date: Wed, 11 Aug 2004 00:44:53 +0200
From: Daniel Eidensohn <yadmoshe@012.net.il>
Re: Height of people in chumash

Zoo Torah wrote:
>Incidentally, I found an interesting essay at
>http://www.biu.ac.il/JH/Parasha/eng/chukath/kos.html which brings further
>sources showing that the Aggadata about Og is not literal. E.g. Chiddushei
>HaGeonim, who writes that "This remark is strange and far-fetched,
>hard to imagine, and very discomfiting."

I would recommend reading Gur Aryeh to Bamidbar (21:35). Baer HaGolah
5:514 (R' Hartman edition page 92) and (6:1217 page). Similary see his
discussion concerning the height of Pharaoh [5:8] and others - 5:506-507
page 92 and 5:518 on page 93. [6:4] 6:296 page 185)

on page 92 the Maharal notes: Whatever Chazal say it only is in reference
to the unique personal tzurah. Man has two things. 1) the natural tzurah
which is universally found in all human beings. For example all people
have hands and feet etc. No one is lacking these things from the point
of the natural human tzurah. However man also has his unique tzura. That
is why it says (Moed Koton 18a) that the Pharaoh that was in the time of
Moshe was one amah high... but nature determined that it is iimpossible
for some one to be so small or as big [as Adam or Moshe note 514-516]
It is logical to ask then how could our sages describe people with such
dimensions which are impossible from the point of view of nature. This
is not a problem since they are descriptions of the person's unique
personal tzurah.... even though this was not physically manifest. However
to the degree he could be diminished he was diminshed. Similarly when
describing huge sizes it is in reference to this personal tzurah - even
though it is impossible that someone to be physically so big from the
natural tzurah of man. Nevertheless to the degree possible within the
limits of the physical tzurah he was big.

Daniel Eidensohn

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Date: Tue, 10 Aug 2004 21:32:32 -0400
From: Micha Berger <micha@aishdas.org>
Re: "Height of People in Chumash" ties in with "Evolution"!

On Tue, Aug 10, 2004 at 02:00:31AM -0400, T613K@aol.com wrote:
: All the above miracles mentioned by SBA are written in the Torah,
: except for Yocheved giving birth in old age (which must be deduced
: by doing some arithmetic--and I always skip the arithmetic Rashis).
: They are not medrashim. They must have actually happened.

I would nearly agree. The mesorah tells us that ma'aseh bereishis and
ma'aseh hamerkavah are special cases. For other events claimed in the
TSBK, if one could turn up similar meqoros I'd be similarly willing to
say those events are also ahistorical.

At least, until RZL shows me I once again read too much into the sources
and in reality --as he's been insisting -- there is no maqor for a
non-literal bereishis within mesorah. (Despite RAKaplan's insitance

Calling them "allegorical" is unhelpful. We all agree there is an
allegory. There is meaning as to why there are sheishes yemei bereishis
and not 5, why there is a parallel between the things created on the
first three days (light, sky and sea, land) and the "inhabitants" of each
created on the second (me'oros, birds and fish, animals and land). The
question is whether the lesson is taught by an allegory that actually
occured, or if the allegory only appears in the text.

Similarly, we do not argue whether Hashem caused the origin of the
species. The question is only whether He worked within teva or violated
teva to do so. (Or even if teva existed yet.)

On Tue, Aug 10, 2004 at 09:06:20AM -0400, T613K@aol.com wrote:
:> Putting it bluntly -- "God" has no place in a scientific theory.

: Either He created the world, or He didn't.  I don't know how you can split 
: the difference.  

A scientific theory is one that explains how something can happen within
teva. The problem with it is that one has to assume beforehand that it did
actually happen within teva -- and that's exactly the question at hand.
However, the question of whether it happened "stam kakhah" or because
of Divine Intent is outside the realm of science.

On Tue, Aug 10, 2004 at 08:02:44AM -0400, RYGB wrote:
: There are very straightforward and logical reasons to utterly reject
: non-directed evolution to produce complex biological systems, an
: utterly preposterous proposition...

No one on Avodah is suggesting *non-directed* evolution, nor a non-directed

On Tue, Aug 10, 2004 at 10:05:50AM +0300, Zoo Torah wrote:
: (By the way, those who allegorize the Mabul do not do so out of an
: unwillingness to accept miracles, but rather out of an unwillingness to
: accept miracles that, had they happened, would have left distinct results,
: such as the destruction of all life, but did not do so.)

Which isn't actually a scientific question on the mesorah alone, it's
also an internal question. How was there a living olive tree on Harei
Ararat for the yonah to find?

Last, as for the difference between micro- and macro-evolution...
Macro-evolution needs to be defined in terms other than "the kind of
evolution we haven't seen first-hand" in order for this argument not to
be circular. Speciation has been observed, not just white vs black pepper
moths. Of course, only of a species with a very rapid generation can be
observed in the century and a fraction since Darwin -- but it has been.
Last time I suggested that the line ought to be Behe's "irreducible
complexity", but I'll leave the actual choice to those trying to make
the argument.


Micha Berger                 Time flies...
micha@aishdas.org                    ... but you're the pilot.
http://www.aishdas.org                       - R' Zelig Pliskin
Fax: (270) 514-1507      

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Date: Tue, 10 Aug 2004 22:18:08 -0400
From: Micha Berger <micha@aishdas.org>
Re: Rambam

On Tue, Aug 10, 2004 at 08:49:52AM +0200, S Goldstein wrote:
: >Second, about the Rambam: if they truly have the power of a Sanhedrin,
: >why doesn't the Yerushalmi take a far greater role in halakhah than does
: >the Bavli?

: The Rambam [Hil Sanh 4:11]says if all chochamim in Eretz Yisroel reach
: a consensus, they can restart "real" smicha and presumably Sanhedrin.
: He doesn't say they have done this. Parallel to machlokes in Mishna
: which did not always have a Sanhedrin resolution.

But we're discusing their authority to perform qiddush hachodesh by
accepting the standardized calendar. If it depends on real semichah,
and such semichah was never done, then they lack the authority.

Besides, we're explicitly discussing a ke'ein Sanhedrin, not the
restitution of an actual one.

On Mon, Aug 09, 2004 at 10:11:55PM -0400, David Cohen wrote:
: In, hakhi nami. Perhaps this explains the Rambam's preference of a
: halakhah pesukah from the Yerushalmi to an inference from the Bavli (a
: phenomenon that was discussed at length on Avodah in the neighborhood
: of V7 #29).

If this were true, then it wouldn't need to be a pesaq vs only an
inference. Even pesaq vs pesaq the Y-mi, being consensus of EY, should
trump the Bavli's ruling.


Micha Berger             "And you shall love H' your G-d with your whole
micha@aishdas.org        heart, your entire soul, and all you own."
http://www.aishdas.org   Love is not two who look at each other,
Fax: (270) 514-1507      It is two who look in the same direction.

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Date: Tue, 10 Aug 2004 22:24:25 -0400
From: Micha Berger <micha@aishdas.org>
Re: tikun ha-olam

RZS writes:
> 2. Who says 'we' object? It is settled halacha that a goy is not
> obligated in kidush hashem, so he need not place himself in danger to
> save another. Those who received the 'chasidei umot haolam' award from
> Yad Vashem did risk their own safety, and they deserve credit for it;
> imagine *not* acting as they did, but al pi halacha I think they were
> entitled to close their eyes and look after their own safety...

Perhaps this makes the label "chasidei umos ha'olam", rather than
"tzadiqei..." quite apt.


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Date: Wed, 11 Aug 2004 09:01:51 +0200
From: Stokar Saul <dp22414@elbit.co.il>
Scientists and religion

I fear that Ms. Katz places far too much weight on the opinions of a few
science popularizers and popular science magazines rather than on actual
scientists and peer-reviewed scientific publications. For instance,
she writes:

"There was a recent case of a science writer--I have forgotten
his name--who was fired from *Scientific American* for believing in
creation, even though he never breathed a word of it in his columns in
that magazine. The publishers felt that the entire magazine would lose
prestige and credibility if it got out that one of their columnists
was a believer. *Scientific American* is not enerally considered an
"extreme" magazine."

What is the relevance of the alleged anti-religious bias of the editors of
the Scientific American? How about finding an examples from the Physical
Review, the Journal of Experimental Biology or the Astrophysical Journal?
Can Ms. Katz cite examples of God-fearing scientists denied tenure because
of their religious beliefs? Which God-fearing scientists have recently
been denied the right to publish in a peer-reviewed journals because
they attend synagogue, church, mosque or ashram? As Professor Turkel has
written, I too have met many believing scientists in disparate fields
of scientific endeavor. I cannot imagine what bad personal experience
shaped Ms. Katz's opinion of the scientific community, but it fails
to conform to the facts I have encountered over the past 25 years as a
practicing scientist.

Saul Stokar

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Date: Wed, 11 Aug 2004 11:32:39 +0300
From: Akiva Atwood <akiva@atwood.co.il>
RE: evolution

> There are very straightforward and logical reasons to utterly reject
> non-directed evolution to produce complex biological systems, an
> utterly preposterous proposition.

 From a scientific POV it isn't preposterous -- research in chaos theory
and Nonlinear Dynamics (especially at the Santa Fe Institute) has shown
that *very* complex systems can spontaneously and quickly arise from
simple pre-conditions.

(Of course, *creating* those conditions is not simple...but that's what a
creator is for :-)

"If you want to build a ship, then don't drum up men to gather wood, give
orders, and divide the work. Rather, teach them to yearn for the far and
endless sea." - Antoine de Saint-Exupery

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Date: Wed, 11 Aug 2004 06:04:28 -0700 (PDT)
From: Harry Maryles <hmaryles@yahoo.com>

Micha Berger <micha@aishdas.org> wrote:
> Last, as for the difference between micro- and macro-evolution...
> Macro-evolution needs to be defined in terms other than "the kind of
> evolution we haven't seen first-hand" in order for this argument not to
> be circular. Speciation has been observed, not just white vs black pepper
> moths. Of course, only of a species with a very rapid generation can be
> observed in the century and a fraction since Darwin -- but it has been.
> Last time I suggested that the line ought to be Behe's "irreducible
> complexity", but I'll leave the actual choice to those trying to make
> the argument.

"Irreducible complexity" is a system composed of several well-matched,
interacting parts that contribute to the basic function, wherein the
removal of any one of the parts causes the system to effectively cease

Darwin had stated: "If it could be demonstrated that any complex organ
existed which could not possibly have been formed by numerous, successive,
slight modifications, my theory would absolutely break down."

Behe said, modern evolutionary theory, applying Darwin's own test flunks
spectacularly at the molecular level. Rather, everywhere we look inside
the cell, evidence is staring scientists in the face that suggests the
systems were directly designed by an intelligent agent.

Since I am the ultimate devil's advocate I must refute the assumed
absoluteness of Behe. While it is true that if one looks at the
astronomical statistical improbability of of randomness being responsible
for cells of such "irreducible complexity". I would agree that it
is highly unlikely that evolution took a random course to produce
that the cell which is chock full of systems that are irreducibly
complex. However, that does not eliminate the possibility that this is
exactly what happened.. As a scientist would say, VeHa Rayah... here
we are. It must haver happened that way. Just because it is improbable,
doesn't mean it isn't so.

To demonstrate: What is the probability of predicting that of all
Adam's progeny thousands of year later and trillions of people later
that my friend Yosef would meet a specific Asian woman, that she would
be Megayer and that he would marry her? Perhaps the odds aren't as great
as the odds of an evolutionary process producing a human being but the
odds are still pretty great that it won't happen, yet it did. So the
probability argument doesn't really wash in the end as a proof against
evolution as the origin of the species. Unlikely? Yes. Proved? No.


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