Wednesday, September 17, 2008

So, What's The Difference Dr. Stern?

I love it when people say things and don't grasp the enormity or irony of what they are saying. Case in point, Dr. Ya'akov Stern's letter to the editor in today's Jewish Press (bolding mine):

Rabbi David Willig (Letters, Sept. 12) would have us believe that Torah-true Jews sacrifice their reason at the altar of faith, but let's consider the rabbi's account of the creation of man: "My personal belief, for what it's worth, is that God used the evolutionary process in creation and at some point added the spark of Tzelem Elokim to a manlike creature and thus made the pre-human into a human being."

I see. So for 350 million years these soulless man-forms aimlessly wandered across the planet until one day God said to Himself, "Hey, let's make this world more interesting and give these golems a brain." All I can say is that if someone out there will buy that hooey, I have a special year-end sale on New York's bridges.

Um... and this is fundamentally different from your story of creation in what way, Dr. Stern? In your version, God one day said to Himself "Hey, let's make this reality more interesting and create a universe."

Why is one any more logical than the other that you suspect people who believe in the former are liable to buy New York bridges at discounts while the latter are perfectly sane and logical?

The Wolf

14 comments:

Anonymous said...

Please don't call him Dr. Stern. It makes it sound like he knows science, but he's just a science-ignorant dentist.

Can Read said...

Dentist?! Ironically, teeth are one of the best source of evidence for evolution (e.g. the reptile-> mammal transition) because they survive well and tell you a lot about the animal. Not to mention things like wisdom teeth!

Why does the JP keep publishing nutters like this Stern guy? Real question.

BrooklynWolf said...

Please don't call him Dr. Stern. It makes it sound like he knows science, but he's just a science-ignorant dentist.

That may be, but in all fairness, we do call dentists "doctor." He's earned the honorific.

The Wolf

Anonymous said...

Fine, so call him Dr. Stern, DDS.

zach said...

Stern is a moron. His letters are ideal if one needs a quick, easy blog post.

M.D. said...

I second that, zach. Apparently the moronic "Dr" Stern is unaware that mammals hadn't evolved by the Paleozoic era, let alone humans.

Anonymous said...

He does have a point, in that it makes more sense for god to create man directly rather than go through a million year process to get to the pinnacle of creation

BrooklynWolf said...

He does have a point, in that it makes more sense for god to create man directly rather than go through a million year process to get to the pinnacle of creation

There are two problems with this approach:

The first is that the same question could be asked about creation in general -- why do it over six days rather than all at once? It would have made more sense to do it in that way as well.

The second is that there is evidence that He *didn't* do it that way. Might it have made more sense to do it all at once (or over a week, if you will)? To me, maybe. But, for whatever reason, He chose not to do it that way -- and we know He chose not to because we have physical evidence to that effect.

The Wolf

Anonymous said...

"Man has been here 32,000 years. That it took a hundred million years to prepare the world for him is proof that that is what it was done for. I suppose it is. I dunno. If the Eiffel tower were now representing the world's age, the skin of paint on the pinnacle-knob at its summit would represent man's share of that age; & anybody would perceive that that skin was what the tower was built for. I reckon they would. I dunno." --Mark Twain, "Was the World Made for Man?"

aaron from L.A. said...

"For 350 million years these soulless man-forms roamed the planet etc." ......They still do................ Seriously though,either the Biblical narrative is pure B.S.,or it is so deep that it beyond human understanding.Therefore,let us bow our heads in humility and remember the mistake made by another soulless man-form in letting Joe Torre go.

Neandershort said...

EEEEEK! I have a ghost shadow.

This Dr.Stern has a Ph.D. in biology. I emailed the following letter to the editor of the Jewish Press:

To the Editor:

Regarding Dr. Yaakov Stern’s (no relation to me) letter in last week’s issue, for someone who writes so often about science, he ought to know that scientists test their ideas against nature, i.e. against objective reality, not against this or that holy book or the opinions of this or that Torah scholar. Evolution is successful because it explains a vast corpus of observable reality better than any competing theory. In fact, there is no competing theory that comes under the heading of science, in that it can be tested against nature.

God wrote both books, nature and Torah, and, as Pope John Paul II observed, truth cannot contradict truth. It is not the Torah’s purpose to serve as a textbook of natural history, or to tell us how or when He got the tzelem Elokim into the human species, or how long the process took. Torah is focused on the here and now; today human beings possess the tzelem Elokim, therefore we must relate to fellow human beings with basic decency. That means, inter alia, that a Jew must, at a minimum, treat his workers, Jewish and Gentile, according to the requirements of the law, and that a Rosh Yeshiva must protect his students from pedophile teachers.

Sincerely,
Zev Stern, Ph.D.

Z said...

That means, inter alia, that a Jew must, at a minimum, treat his workers, Jewish and Gentile, according to the requirements of the law, and that a Rosh Yeshiva must protect his students from pedophile teachers.

Huh? How's that for a non-sequitur.

Neandershort said...

Some people just don't get it. Treating workers like dirt and allowing children to be preyed upon by monsters detracts from the tzelem Elokim.

Z said...

Oh, C'mon! The argument here is not about whether we have a tzelem Elokim. I'm sure Dr. Stern agrees with that.This issue is totally irrelevant to this discussion.