Last week, a poster asked on Frumteens about Lice and how Chazal stated that they are generated spontaneously. The moderator posted his reply today and it's a doozy.
You see, when Chazal said that lice generate spontaneously, they didn't really mean that they generate spontaneously as the scientists of their day believed. Oh no, they were far more advanced than that. You see, they were merely using a figure of speech to indicate that lice aren't animals in the halachic sense, but are in the category of domem (non-living things). Lice, according to this theory, are actually "organic programs" that reproduce, but really, they're not alive in the halachic sense.
To use his words:
So when Chazal say that lice come from dirt, they mean that spiritually lice have a Nefesh HaDomem, and Halachicly their status is that of dust, not animal life. The fact that scientists will tell you lice reproduce means nothing here. They see a Mommy louse, a Tatty louse, and a baby louse, but thats just the way this construct was programmed to function.
He continues by analogizing it to plant life:
Plants also “reproduce” – the pollination process involves moving a seed (the pollen) to another "organ" (the stigma) which causes reproduction - so we have a Daddy plant, a Mommy plant, and a baby plant -- but plants arent animals. And Chazal had a tradition that neither are lice, Halachicly, because the way lice are reproduced -- with a Mommy louse and a Daddy louse -- does not involve the result in the creation of an animal Nefesh the way the reproduction of other animals does.
(The "stigma???" I'm pretty sure he meant to say the stamen, but the correct organ is the pistil. -- see UPDATE below) In any event, no one suggested that plants were animals. But saying that something that is clearly alive (lice) aren't even afforded the status of animals??
He sums up by saying:
And so they concluded that based on what they had by way of tradition regarding nature of reproduction of lice, that they "come from dirt", so to speak, i.e. they are really Domem, and so it is permitted to kill them on Shabbos, because the prohibition to kill does nto apply to Domem.
It's OK to crush a domem on Shabbos? Is that what he's saying? I can take a sledgehammer and go out to my quarry and start crushing rocks? Rocks are a domem and apparently, if lice are a domem and it's OK to crush them, then rocks should be OK too.
It's stunning how here he says that things can be interpreted in a non-literal sense, yet, heaven forbid you try to re-interpret other sayings of Chazal...
UPDATE: After seeing Mike Koplow's comment, I looked up "stigma" in the dictionary and found that it, indeed, is a part of the pistil (specifically the part that receives the pollen.) As such, the FT Mod was correct there. I offer my apologies for that mistake.