(This post is a continuation of a previous post entitled How I Came To Reject Evolution.)
As we saw in the previous post, Rabbi Slifkin claims that when one investigates the Torah/Evolution loggerhead, the proper approach is to determine whether the existing evidence better supports the Torah or, li’havil, Evolution. I agree.
Rabbi Slifkin then writes that the existence of “millions of extinct species that are intermediate in form to surviving species - fit far, far better with the evolutionary model than with the special-creation model.” Tentatively, I would have to say that I agree with that too. I write “tentatively” because I find it difficult to even envision the idea that the metzius should be different than what the Torah writes. But I think that intellectual honesty would force me to admit that Rabbi Slifkin’s scenario at least seems to indicate, if not prove, the idea of evolutionary speciation, or what is known as macro-evolution. (If any of my chaveirim or readers wishes to explain to me why I would not have to admit this, I would be thrilled).
So why am I an anti-evolutionist? Here’s what happened. As readers of this blog know, I am a talmid of Rav Avigdor Miller. I have been listening to his shiurim for close to 40 years now. As anyone who is familiar with the Rav knows, one of his biggest themes is how all of the phenomena of the beriah openly testify to the Greatness (i.e. Power), Wisdom and Kindliness of Hashem. As I listened, the theme of evolution came up over and over. He demonstrated repeatedly that the sheer complexity and design-like properties of life on earth made evolutionary theory preposterous. But I always had a nagging thought in the back of my mind. Evolutionists are scientists. They must have evidence for what they are saying. So even though Rabbi Miller sounded reasonable, perhaps the scientists could show him that the evidence simply disproved his arguments?
And then Hashem had rachmanus on me. I listened to Tape #78 entitled Evolutionists Speak and my world was turned upside down! Rabbi Miller began the tape by saying just what Rabbi Slifkin said. In order to assess evolution we must examine the evidence. He then went on to explain that the only place one can obtain information about the existence of evidence is from evolutionists themselves. After all, they are the ones who are in the field. They are the ones who have made a career of studying the fossils. He then went on to do the impossible, or so I thought. He began to list one source after the next, all evolutionists, all leading scientists in their fields. He began with an examination of paleobotany (the study of fossils of extinct plants) and went on to fish, animals and birds. He listed literally dozens of sources. He noted the author, the name of the book, and the page number. He read out the quotation and explained them in plain English along with the context in which they were found. And every single evolutionist quoted there, every single one without exception, admitted that – as one evolutionist wrote – “essentially continuous transitional sequences are not merely rare, but they are virtually absent”. It was as if a bomb had dropped. It was literally unbelievable!
Of course, I took Rabbi Miller at his word and now became utterly convinced in the falseness of Evolutionary theory. But as I grew older I began to lecture and write on this topic and ran up against constant criticism. Maybe Rabbi Miller was misquoting? Maybe he was quoting out of context? Maybe he obtained the quotes from some Creationist list but the quotes actually did not exist? Eventually I got sick and tired of people challenging the integrity of my Rebbe. So I went online and hunted down each and every author and each and every book quoted by Rabbi Miller in that tape and purchased the books! All of them! And then I went to work. I looked up each and every source quoted by Rabbi Miller. And every single quotation outlined by Rabbi Miller was right there, chapter and verse and page number. And in none of the cases was he quoting the author out of context.
Rabbi Miller’s tapes and books are full of scientific evidence disproving evolution but eventually I expanded my studies in this field and was amazed to find that there are hundreds of sources in the published scientific literature which demonstrate the lack of fossil evidence for evolution. Rabbi Miller’s quotations were just a smattering of the available information out there.
So, why do I reject evolution? Simple. Because the available evidence disproves it while simultaneously proving sudden special creation. As one of the most authoritative neo-Darwinian evolutionists wrote: “The facts are that many species and genera, indeed the majority, do appear suddenly in the record, differing sharply and in many ways from any earlier group, and that this appearance of discontinuity becomes more common the higher the level, until it is virtually universal as regards orders and all higher steps in the taxonomic hierarchy.” (George Gaylord Simpson)
This is exactly what the Torah writes! Species appeared suddenly on earth! What more do I need than that? Indeed, what more does Rabbi Slifkin need than that? What right does he have to accept evolutionary theory when the evolutionists themselves concede the lack of fossil evidence? He writes that the proper thing to do is to evaluate the evidence but then ignores his own advice and accepts evolution despite the evidence!
Of course this is not a ta’anah because, as we’ve seen, Rabbi Slifkin is convinced that there are “millions of extinct species that are intermediate in form to surviving species”. So I am here to inform him, and anyone else who wishes to listen, that he is wrong, horribly wrong.
First of all, scientists have not documented millions of extinct species. In fact, biologists today have documented the existence of approximately 2 million species in total but only about 10% of all known species are documented in the rocks! There are only about 250,000 species captured by the fossil record and not all of them are extinct. And practically none of them qualify as transitional fossils as any paleontologist worth his salt will admit to you.
According to Rabbi Slifkin, the truth about the evidence from the fossil record should cause him to reconsider his position on the theory but will he? Highly doubtful. The obvious question is, why? Rabbi Slifkin loves to level accusations of religious bias against individuals like me and he's probably right. But what he consistently fails to see are his own biases in favor of the scientific community. Is it this bias which simply does not allow him to accept the evidence which stares him in the face? I think the answer is clear.
To be continued…