Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Chareidi World

1 Adar 5759 - Feb 17, 1999 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly







Opinion & Comment
Evolution is Merely an Excuse for Atheism
by R' Zvi Inbal

I read with interest the articles about arguments for evolution, entitled "Monkeys and Typewriters" by Joshua Josephson, presented in recent issues of Yated.

I agree with the editor's position that there cannot be any real conflict between Torah and science. However, that is not to say that science should not be addressed critically and professionally. True science can never contradict the Torah. But this cannot be said for the theory of evolution. Rather than unbiased research powered by intellectual sincerity, this theory is an artificial ad hoc construction.

An honest statement by the British thinker and writer Aldous Huxley exposes what many tried to conceal: "I had motives for not wanting the world to have meaning; consequently I assumed that it had none, and was able without any difficulty to find satisfying reasons for this assumption! The philosophy of meaninglessness was an instrument of liberation" [A. Huxley, Report, June 1966, "Confession of a Professed Atheist"].

The pious believer in evolution -- Dr. Richard Dawkins -- was even more explicit: "Darwin made it possible to be an intellectually fulfilled atheist!" [R. Dawkins, "The Blind Watchmaker," p. 6 (1986)].

The theory of evolution is not merely an [extremely poor] scientific theory. It serves as a cornerstone of the modern culture of permissiveness and devaluation of the spirit. Many social and ethical offshoots of this theory plague our society and pollute the thinking of Jews who are aspiring to the Torah in the "post-modern" era.

The public is, usually, presented with a theory that is depicted almost as "The Grand Unified Theory" of Biology, as if it represents the ultimate truth. It is represented as unanimously accepted by science.

Indeed this is the impression of the majority of secular intellectuals in the western civilization. In countless Arachim Kiruv Seminars around the world -- in Hebrew, English, French, Spanish and Russian -- the same picture emerges. Most of the participants present the "Monkeys & Typewriters" argument, and I find Mr. Josephson's article informative and lucid. His article contributes not only to da mah shetoshiv but also exposes the poor scientific basis of the theory.

Many eminent scientists have presented powerful and compelling arguments against the theory of evolution. The statistical refutation is one of them. Estimation of the probability of spontaneous formation of the necessary building blocks for life has been performed by Sir Fred Hoyle, Thorpe, Lovell, Yockey, Erbrich and many others. All of them arrived at ridiculously small figures. Sir Fred Hoyle's result is 1 in 10^39,500 to quote one.

Mr. D. Kurtz referred to the Borel-Cantelli Lemma arguing that it is counter to the argument presented by Mr. Josephson. [Editor's Note: The Borel-Cantelli Lemma states that, if the probability of an event occurring is greater than zero, then this event will occur. This means that every possible event will occur eventually.]

Unfortunately, he totally ignores the fact that it does not apply to our Universe, simply because it is finite! In fact it was Dr. Borel himself who made the following statement: "The impossibility threshold of any chemical phenomenon on earth is a probability of 10^100!" [E. Borel, "Probabilities and Life," 28 (1962), and E. Borel, Elements of the Theory of Probability 57 (1965)]. This figure is comparable to the odds of one person winning the grand prize in the national lottery 16 times consecutively!

Mr. Josephson correctly pointed out the finite nature of the Universe, and I would like to dwell on it further. The entire Cosmos with its billions of galaxies, each inhabited by billions of stars, contains some 10^80 atoms, and Dr. J. Morton pointed out that the total number of possible events in the Cosmos can therefore not exceed 10^110. This figure explains the threshold of impossibility mentioned above.

Considering the odds against the possible random creation of life, many scientists agree with Dr. Monod, a Nobel Prize recipient: "Life appeared on earth: what, before the event, were the chances that this would occur? Its a priori (lechatchilo) probability was virtually zero."

But that does not prevent this eminent scientist from firmly believing that life did evolve by chance. This is, I believe, a demonstration that "bribery blinds the eyes of the wise."

I would like to thank Mr. Josephson and Yated Ne'eman for their courage and contribution to exposing one of the false myths presented -- wrongly -- as science.

R' Zvi Inbal, a former scientist, is a senior lecturer for Arachim around the world.

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