Monday, November 20, 2006

Believe It or Not

This post is a response to Mr. Shtreimel on his blog, A Hassid and a Heretic. It was too long to post in the comments, so I figured I would post it here.

I really should begin by saying that I am far from an expert on this topic, everything I write I have either read over the years, or have come to that paticular conclusion on my own.

I am open to other opinions and comments as I like to think of myself as a student of life, I try to learn from everything.

Well here goes nothing,

This argument as to who or what created the world, and yes that includes the universe and beyond, is as old as time itself.

I will attempt to argue the two primary theories that have arisen. I will try to bring “proof” for both of them, and I will conclude by telling you my personal beliefs. Understand this, what I believe is what I have researched and thought through extensively and decided that it has a lot of validity. It does not make it TRUE.

Evolution :

Simply put it means to change, to adapt to surroundings, to bend to whatever environment introduced into and be heavily influenced by such. Essentially it is based on “the survival of the fittest” or what some scientists would refer to as “natural selection”.

Let me explain:

Almost every living being has what is called a Phenotype and a Genotype. A phenotype generally refers to the outer appearance of the specific being, and the Genotype usually refers to the inner “genetics” or DNA makeup of that being.

Let’s take a human for example; the phenotype is directly dependant on the genotype map. The simplest way to understand this is to look at the difference between males and females.

The male characteristics are mapped out in the “Y” chromosome. The female’s characteristics are derived from the “X” chromosome. Hence the phenotypical male’s chromosome analysis will result in a genotype of “XY” with “Y” being the determinant factor of male. While a phenotypical female’s result will be “XX” and in this case it is the absence of “Y” that determines the female appearance.

Now just as the genotype can produce an extremely drastic difference such as the difference between testicles and ovaries, so to does it play a role in every single one of our phenotypical appearance. Therefore every subtle difference that exists whether it is significant enough for us to notice or not are directly caused by a specific gene.

When we reproduce a random process called meiosis takes place. In brief it is the fusion of genetic material, or for our purpose data, of the mother and the father. Hence the child derives traits in every aspect, characteristically, predispositionally, emotionally, and physically from both genetic donors, this data creates a new genetic map, that in turn dictates the phenotypical outlook of that person.

Very small and subtle outward appearances might not be noticed, but if we look at the general population as a whole these subtle changes are very significant. For example the Chinese eye, or the Irish chin, or yes even the Jewish nose.

Over time these subtle differences, plus any mutations that have taken place would, when comparing the great-grandfather to the greatest-grand son, create two very different beings with genetic makeup’s that merely shadow one the other with no substantial likenesses.

In layman’s terms, the grandfather could be an ape-like creature with minimal intelligence while the grandson could be scratching his head while reading this, and the direct cause of these differences?

Evolution.

The genes have changed over a huge amount of time with the stronger ones surviving, while the weaker ones were diminished into oblivion.

My proof to this is very simple.

The medical community today has been dealing with a kind of evolution that is not taking millions of years, but rather years and months, and the environment is not the universe but rather something as simple as a petri dish, the evolution of germs, or pathogens. Let’s take a simple single celled organism called Enterococcus. It has evolved over some time to resist even the most advanced medications. Medicine labeled the new organism VRE vancomycin resistant Enterococcus. It resists the most advanced antibiotic treatment to the point of, the patient being treated with the antibiotic, and the germ surviving.

So here we have a simple “being” that has adapted itself by reproducing the genes that are strong enough to withstand the antibiotic, and in doing so have created a “grandson” that can survive in an environment that the “grandfather” would not have.

The germ was forced to evolve in order to exist, so too any other species must have evolved to have any continuity.



Creation :

This word is not at all easy to understand, as is the entire theory itself. Simply because the word represents something that appears out of nothingness, producing something when nothing was there before, a particle of matter that appears in a complete void.

It is very difficult to understand this as none of us have been in a void where everything ceases to exist, or has never existed.


There are many branches of this theory, the simplest being belief. A person is taught that G-d created the universe, he believes it, and that’s that.

The second perhaps more scientific thread is the idea of Intelligent Design.

Within the parameters of this theory there lie many different channels and pathways. I will try to explain some of the significant ones.

Primarily there is the design argument, or what could be referred to as the Teleological Argument. What this argument states basically is that the universe is way to intricate to have just occurred. In other words every design must have a designer, that lace curtain in your window could not have knitted itself. The complicated watch on your wrist is proof of a talented watch maker is it not? Just as a master watchmaker or weaver is required to create a simple masterpiece, and we understand that as a given, so too the universe MUST have been created by a master creator, a higher being.

A different vein of thought could be that of Mr. Newton’s second Law of Motion which states that; every action creates an equal but opposite reaction. Hence if the reaction was the universe there had to have been an action, and the action must have been caused by a creator otherwise we would be tracking actions back to time and beyond.

Good ‘ole Aristotle just complicates matters even more as he states that there has to be a “primer” to have started, and to keep the motion of the galaxies.

Yet another train of thought is that there are too many species that have “so called evolved” and yet they cease to exist, (think dinosaurs) eventually there would have to be a decline in the quality of these species,” UNLESS” a superior being makes the decisions for the actual processes of reproduction and in turn directly influences them.

And then there is this little matter of well, Matter.

Matter is used as a proof to creation.

I will try to explain Matter in the simplest terms that I can think of. Matter comprises everything, be it solid, liquid or gaseous, as long as it occupies space, or time, it is made up of matter.
The one catch is that matter can not be created out of nothing, there is an argument that states that it must be possible to create matter as we see that it exists, but modern science has yet been able to create matter out of void or vacuum, or to explain how it came into existence. By this I mean with experimental properties that are documentable.

Hence if something exists it must have been created as matter cannot under any circumstance create itself.


My Own Personal Belief :

This topic has been bothering me for a very long time. I have struggled to understand both sides of the coin, and I would be lying if I told you that after much debate and discussion I finally understood them.

Both sides present a very valid argument.

We clearly see evolution as we see how people adapt to different environments and their physical beings actually change, or morph, or mutate to aid in the adaptation that is required for survival.

On the other hand I do look at the watch on my wrist and wonder could this possibly have evolved?

I don’t mean these two examples specifically, but I hope you get my point.

My answer to all this was a kind of hybrid between the two theories.

Firstly I should mention that I do believe in G-d, I do believe in miracles, and I do believe that I can not possibly understand everything.

This having been said my believes run along the following lines.

G-d created the world, and yes the dinosaur fossils are 3 million years old, they were created 299,999,995 years old! Yes the tree has rings which represent millions of years; it was simply created with all those rings. Sure cells can evolve; they were created with the ability to do so!


There are many comparisons but all of them can be put to this formula.

I am not saying that this hybrid of mine is right or wrong, I really don’t know enough to authenticate, or dismiss it with any authority, I will say this; it works for me.

17 Comments:

At 9:30 AM, Blogger heimishinbrooklyn said...

aaahhhhh. Way too complicated reading for me. I'll admit it.

 
At 11:31 AM, Anonymous bubba said...

wow wow, a lot of UNBELIEVABLE stuff goin on here.. but as usual, CC has dipped his intelligent pen in ink again, who knows? perhaps we need a "Chasidim Scientists Foundation".. sounds like CiFi to me!

 
At 12:03 PM, Blogger Chaim Chusid said...

Hi In Brooklyn

I know I just re-read it, where did it all come from???

Bubbaleh

CiFi, Gevaldig! Of course there are those that shudder at the thought.

I do remain,

Chaim

 
At 2:52 PM, Blogger chaverah said...

deep topic to discuss. I myslef have a "theory". Instead of trying to understand how all these things have signs of millions of years old there is a thought I have. when god created the world in seven days they are not seven days in time that we understand as 24 hours in a day. time as we know it is not the time that the world was created. Each day in creation can techinicly be millions of years in 1 day.
food for thought. Love your analytical ideas.

 
At 3:22 PM, Blogger Shtreimel said...

Oh dear,

For the sake of argument I’ll be an atheist (although, both you and me are agnostic by definition—we just chose to live differently).

Two of your proofs have been refuted in the comment section back on my blog. I don’t know why we are repeating it here.

In short, the watchmaker’s allegory is invalid. With this logic you can conclude that just as there’s no thing as father-watch planting a seed in mother-watch to produce the watch on your hand, so were you assembled in china or Switzerland. Or, we can go this way. Just as no one would believe me that god created my Rado rip-off, so should no one believe me that god created the world.

The matter argument was discussed too. You added a little bit here, and your conclusion is faulty. Just because no one created matter (or understands how it did) out of a void, yet (and perhaps never), does not imply that it is impossible.

Besides (I’ll try different wording, in case you misunderstood), if we look back to the origin of humankind, we obviously have to look at the origin of matter- from a creationists standpoint – to refute, or to confirm, the notion that humans evolved from a lesser specie. Take this obvious logical drift and apply it further; if we want to understand the origins of matter, we have to look at the origins of non-matter – from a evolutionist standpoint – to refute, or to confirm, that non-matter can create itself and create matter.

Point is; by mixing in a new creation—god into the equation, nothing gets explained better. We are still left with the same old question, and now have a whole new set of questions.

You would argue that Newton’s Law doesn’t apply before matter got created (otherwise how did god circumvent it), but you wouldn’t let me (or the questioning you) use it. Why?

Let’s leave “Good ‘ole Aristotle” alone. His understandings of science were proven to be wrong (count your wife’s teeth).

I didn’t get why there would have to be a “decline in the quality of these species”, how you know that it isn’t so, and how you find a god in the interim. Please explain.

To conclude this long comment, I’ll repeat what I said in the first paragraph. Apparently, (by your own words) you are as agnostic as me. You have no idea if a god created the world (and tricked it into making it look super-old) or it evolved from simple matter. Your choice of believing in a deity, a specific one indeed, is commendable to some, but quite silly to others—me being part of the latter.

 
At 3:32 PM, Blogger Shtreimel said...

Chaverah,

Assuming that your theory is based on the evidence scientists have of the world’s age, you would have to tweak the creation story in Chumush too.

According to the Torah, day and night came before the sun and moon. Water existed on this planet before creation began. Vegetation came before the sun. And a host of other problematic stuff.

Here’s the problem, if you’re going to tweak science to your beliefs there’s no end in sight. You’ll end up with a very healthy (?) Conservative or Reformist point of view.

 
At 4:34 PM, Blogger yingerman said...

I heard 2 different theories regarding age of the world
1 G-d can make a new rock - and G-d can make an old one too. I believe this was heard from R' Avigdor Miller. And therefore all fossils are just planted for the world to seem natural. Which is more or less, what you yourself said.
2 The world is 15 or so billion years old as the Torah uses the word Elokim indicating nature (Elokim in hebrew is gematria hateva) and the 6 days of creation were in fact 15 billion years.
The days as we know it starts at Adam Harishons birthday, Friday Rosh Hashana year 0.
I mean the sun wasn't created on day 1 so what determined a day anyway. Must be 'evolutionary stages. See more about this at
http://aish.com/societywork/sciencenature/Age_of_the_Universe.asp
Both could be true and both conform to Torah judiasm.

 
At 4:38 PM, Blogger Chaim Chusid said...

Shreimel,

Oh Posh,,,, (with a backwards wave of the hand.)

You’re just looking to disagree.

I love having a good debate, but you're not even trying to be receptive.

The watchmaker is a nice guy, leave him alone. His theory is pretty sharp, stop trying to dispute something before you try to understand it.

Your knowledge in the matters of Matter is very limited; please educate yourself a bit before discussing the subject.

Zeeskeit, non-matter? mah zeh?

I thought I was the one that liked to ask questions, and here you are creating questions out of nothing,, hey wait,, that’s like creating matter out of nothing!

I would not argue with Newton, or his laws, never mess with a man that got hit in the head with an apple,, what are you talking about?

OK fine, Aristotle was a bad dentist, but do you not subscribe to his other pearls of wisdom?

The decline in species is actually a theory by much respected scientists I think the theory was called the anthropologists theorem or something like that, I will check into it for you.

Shayfele, agnostic aher, agnostic ahiyn, I believe g-d created the world; I know the word believe is hard for you to comprehend, but try. Ok?


I don't really know you very well, but you definitely have a very high intelligence, why do you choose to hide it?

I understand that for some odd reason you are bitter towards religion, but there are answers out there you just have to want to listen.

I remain,

Chaim

 
At 4:44 PM, Blogger Chaim Chusid said...

Yingerman,

I am glad to see the comedian is a scholar as well!


Vayihiy erev vayihiy boker, no sun?

Chaim

 
At 4:46 PM, Blogger Chaim Chusid said...

Chaverah,

So basically the earth/sun orbit took millions of years?

When does time as we know it come into play?

I remain,

Chaim

 
At 9:36 PM, Blogger Shtreimel said...

CC,
I disagree. Period. Not trying to disagree. If you believe that I’m not trying to be receptive please point out where you sew me doing it or why you came to that conclusion.

How do you know what my knowledge in matter is (please specify), and what can you add to my knowledge?

Wait, you think that non-matter doesn’t exist? Your god is what, matter?

The point I made with Aristotle was that all his ideas of ‘movement’ is not correct; using his ‘prime mover’ argument does not help your case.

I’ll disregard the rest, which is chiefly ad-hominem and focus on the issue. All I can do is try once more. Here goes:

1. You brought up the watchmaker as proof. I disproved your proof. Asking me to leave him alone is dishonest.

2. You used the “how did matter get created?” as proof of a creator. I explained very patiently why it is not proof, but I got no answer to that.

3. You used Newton’s law to prove a creator. I countered that it makes no difference if matter was created by a deity or by a bang—big or small. In both instances we have to disregard that law at point one. You failed to answer anything, other than claiming that “I” disagree with him…

4. I still don’t understand the proof of the decline of the quality of species. (I’m, not the expert here, but I assume that you’re referring to the school of thought that humans stopped evolving), how does it get you to a creator?

Now, will you please address the issues or shall we end it here.

[May I suggest that you read about Darwin (an Artscroll publication does not count). You will then know that he did not deal at all with the origin of matter, and watches (or anything else that doesn’t procreate) cannot evolve. You’ll learn that nothing can mutate as a response to aid adoption, but if mutations occur that help with survival they will survive. You’ll learn many more interesting facts.]

 
At 10:26 PM, Blogger Chaim Chusid said...

Shtreimel,

We are going to drop it here, and have a warm and friendly handshake.

This is not a fight between a Chaim and a fur-hat; it's a fight that has gone on for generations.

The answers to all your questions are in my previous posts, you just have to want to find them.

And as to your reading suggestions, I thank you, and if you would be so kind as to take a suggestion from me, read Darwin On Trial, by P.E. Johnson for starters, we’ll take it from there.

I do remain,
Chaim

 
At 11:24 PM, Blogger Shtreimel said...

"The answers to all your questions are in my previous posts"

That's a cop-out my dear. I took the time explaining and re-explaining. I took the time to question...But, well, if that's what you want then I'll go with it. (Yeah, what other choice do I have?)

I recommended a book on Darwin and His theory because I figured that you get your information from books like these (hence the Artscroll remark). While it's important to read up on both sides of the story, you need to hear the argument before the counter-argument. Otherwise you're left with pondering how wrist-watches evolve.

 
At 11:53 PM, Blogger Chaim Chusid said...

Shtreimel,

My reading habits are very sporadic, yes, but they are also very extensive.

I really appreciate that you took the time to question, and the effort that is involved in writing.

I fear that any answer I might offer will just be another challenge for you to knock it rather then stop for a second and think, hey, there might be something there.

You seem to be forgetting that I too am searching and learning, the difference is that I understand that you can learn a lot from a dummy, you seem to want to learn only from the lofty ones.

I will continue to debate you on the issues, and hope that you will do the same; I just feel that I have exhausted my explanatory capabilities with you, at least on this subject.

I remain,
Chaim

 
At 8:41 PM, Blogger Shpitzle Shtrimpkind said...

I wonder why every intelligent debate on chablog centers around religious beliefs.

This might make me the laugh of the day, but I’ll ask anyhow:
According to your definition of evolution, man evolved from a lesser specie because the better gene, is the stronger gene and outlasts the weaker ones. Shouldn’t one be able to figure by means of this theory that within thousands of years man will evolve into a newer-improved amazing version?

 
At 9:06 PM, Blogger Hoezentragerin said...

Shpiz,
That process is already in motion.
It's called the Flyyn effect

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flynn_effect

 
At 9:43 PM, Blogger Chaim Chusid said...

Lady Sockschild,

The stronger gene is not always the better one. It is the more resilient gene that will survive, not the brilliant one.

Better or worse is really only a matter of comparison.

I compare "A" to "B" and I decide that "A" is better.

If I have don't have that amazing being to compare it to, I really can't say for certain that we are not that amazing being.

Philosophically I remain,
Chaim

 

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