Recently a group of scientists with the European Organization for Nuclear Research reported that over a three year period they had fired 15,000 neutrino beams approximately 750 kilometers away to a lab in Italy and found that the beams arrived 6 billionths of a second faster than the speed of light. Before announcing what they had found, the physicists working on the experiment claim that they checked and rechecked their findings over many months eliminating anything that could have produced a misreading. They then presented their findings to a room full of skeptical scientists.
Rabbi Slifkin writes as follows:
A number of people wrote to me about last week's report that a group of scientists at CERN tentatively claimed to have measured neutrino particles traveling faster than the speed of light - which modern science, based on special relativity, deems impossible. "If scientists were wrong about this, then maybe they were wrong about everything!" Maybe the universe isn't really 14 billion years old - maybe it's only 5771 years old!
To this question, Rabbi Slifkin offers the following sagely response.
Of course, the correct view is that some scientific facts are better grounded than others. Scientists might have to change their mind one day about the universe being 14 billion years old, but they are not going to discover that it is only a few thousand years old… For the non-specialist, it might be difficult to determine how well-established different scientific facts are. But it should be relatively easy to find out that the issues which concern (some) Jews - the antiquity of the universe, the common ancestry of living creatures, the non-existence of a global Flood… are very well grounded and will not ever be overturned.
All I can do is shake my head in disbelief, or perhaps, despair. For those interested in the truth, here are some facts.
Albert Einstein’s Special Theory of Relativity has been tested thousands of times in the past hundred years. It is hard to find a more solidly based “scientific fact” than Special Relativity (SR). The CERN report is startling! And if it turns out to be true, it has the potential of overturning the entire science of Physics as we know it.
Here’s another fact. Evolutionary Common Ancestry (ECA) has never been tested, not even once! The entire theory is based on wild and un-testable speculation, nothing else. Furthermore, there isn’t even a shred of evidence for ECA. On the contrary, the fossil record reveals the sudden appearance of life-forms, a scenario that is diametrically opposed to that of ECA.
Here’s yet another fact. The age of the universe (13.7byr) is based on a theory which is entirely speculative. Big Bang Cosmology (BBC) is based on assumptions that have never been proven. Its fundamental tenets are opposed by contradictory evidence which can only be reconciled by inventing hypothetical entities which have never been observed to exist.
To equate SR with ECA and BBC is the height of scientific folly. The former is founded on solid evidence and extensive experimentation. The latter two are not. The fact that Rabbi Slifkin is able to equate SR with ECA and BBC, indeed even consider the latter two more well-founded than the former, clearly demonstrates his lack of understanding regarding the level of scientific evidence attributable to these theories. The truth is Rabbi Slifkin’s readers are right. If even Special Relativity can be questioned this should serve as a wake-up call to people like Rabbi Slifkin who allow silly theories like ECA to mold their theology in direct contradiction to our well-supported and rational traditions.
As far as the non-existence of the global flood, I would love to know how scientists are absolutely sure this phenomenon never existed. I would also like to know how Rabbi Slifkin accounts for the presence of marine fossils on the tops of mountains all over the world. This, of course, is only one of many lines of evidence for a global flood. The Christian creationists have done a lovely job documenting the evidence for a global flood and the evidence is compelling. And although they deserve a big yasher koach for their efforts, it’s really too bad. We should be the ones on the forefront of defending the Torah. Instead, we are doing our best to align ourselves with the speculative drivel of the atheistic scientific community in direct contradiction to our ancient and well-founded traditions. Shame on us...