The Origins Of Life: A Jewish Perspective


The Origins Of Life:

A Jewish Perspective


R.E. Prindle


In 2005 Rabbi Brad Hirschfeld attempted to deal with the origins of life, science vs. religion, although he didn’t put it that way.  He attempted to explain it from the Talmudic process of pilpul.  Pilpul is essentially the Jewish version of the bull session.  For instance if the good Rabbi wished to argue with me about the merits of the two Arien Age gods, Zeus and Yahweh, in which there can be no solution the argumentation would be in pilpul mode- who could out bullshit the other.

With Evolution and Creationism the argument is an either-or situation, Evolution leaves no room for Creationism or Intelligent Design and vice versa.  The good Rabbi says:

Such thinking is totally inconsistent with the Jewish intellectual tradition of healthy debate, the acceptance of multiple positions on complex issues, and the awareness that even those claims have a great deal to teach us.

Despite Jewish claims that the Talmud is scientific the Rabbi’s argument would bely this.  Science has determined that water is composed of two parts hydrogen and one part oxygen.  Despite the generosity of the Rabbi’s system there is no room for an argument that H2O can be H2O2 or some other chemical  composition.  There is only one correct solution.

Sorry Rabbi, Science is Science whether you’re Jewish or not.

However as generous as the Rabbi’s breadth of discussion is concerning the ‘deepening of our understanding of life regardless of the theological implications’ I am of the opinion that the Rabbi’s generosity would break down on the issue of Zeus and Yahweh.  We would then be involved in what would ultimately be a discusssion of Semitism and anti-Semitism and I fear that Semitism is a non-negotiable tenet of the Rabbi’s belief system.

The premise of intelligent design theory is that it can provide evidence that confirms the existence of a specific  kind of creator.  If it failed to do so, then not only would the theory be wrong, but the proponents of it would see themselves as having failed in the pursuit of knowledge and in their attempt to confirm what they already believe.

Precisely.  The Rabbi is trying to square the circle arguing against himself.  Since Judaism cannot accept the idea of no god which Evolution affirms they must be and are creationists.  As creationists it is their necessity to prove that their god is superior not only to Science which they imply is a god and faith, but to Zeus and all other gods.  I like Science because it solves problems not because it creates them.  The Rabbi abjures Science for the same reason.  He like pilpul and endless unfruitful debate and considers that an ultimate virtue of the Jewish religion.  Well, Rabbi, Zeus can stomp Yahweh any day in the week including Friday, Saturday and Sunday.



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