planet earth

The Creation of Adam from Dust and the Theory of Evolution

Article by Shlomo Moshe Scheinman
Contents of the Article
Section 1: Evolution
Section 2: What Are the 3 Strongest Proofs For Evolution and Are They Really So Strong?
    In the so-called middle ages, there was a popular belief among non-Jewish philosophers and certain Jews who were influenced by these philosophers, that a certain type of substance called in Hebrew, the Hiyuli, (the simplest "building blocks" of matter) existed eternally and was not the creation of the Almighty. As reported in the book, known as the Kuzari (in modern editions, ch. 1,section 67), a potential convert, the king of the Khazars wanted to find out what was the official view of Judaism on this subject. The rabbi explained to the king that the received tradition from Adam, No'ach (Noah) and  Moshe (Moses) which stemmed from prophecy, is that no thing could exist without the creation of G-d . Nevertheless, he added that if a person who believes in the Torah found there was some compelling logical argument to accept the view that an eternal Hiyuli always existed and he combined this concept with the view that many other worlds existed before our world; there would be no defect in his belief that our world was renewed at a certain time and the first men (of our current world) were Adam and No'ach (Noah).
    Former Chief Rabbi of British Mandate Palestine, Avraham Kook took the same type of approach on the subject of evolution. He believed that man was created without using the method of evolution. However, he said it was possible to be a believing Jew who for scientific reasons accepts that evolutionary forces had some role in the creation of man.
    Based on the precedent of the Kuzari (although I did not read or hear that Rabbi Kook explicitly raised this demand) it would appear to me, that although we might tolerate a Jew believing in the creation of man via evolution, but this is only on the condition that he could find an alternative explanation of the Biblical text which could fit with his evolutionary beliefs
.

What Possible Alternative Interpretation of Breishit/Genesis Chapter 2 Can we Suggest to the Man Who Feels Forced by Science to Believe in Evolution?

The Simple Meaning of Breishit Genesis 2:7 Implies That Man Was Created From the Dust of the Earth. The Following Is A Suggestion How This Can Also Be Harmonized With Modern Scientific Theory.

    Introduction
   "And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life and some to shame and everlasting contempt" (Daniel 12:2).
    Not just in the future will the dead be brought back to life but it happened in the past. We know for example, that resurrection of the dead occurred via the prophet Elisha, twice. Once after the death of Elisha, an incident occurred where a dead body waiting for burial had to be tossed onto the bones of the prophet, because of a threat of attack by a national enemy. A miracle occurred after the dead body touched the bones of Elisha and the person came back to life and stood on his legs as recorded in II Melachim (Kings) chapter 13 verse 21. The second, more well known incident of resurrection occurred when Elisha prayed to G-d to restore the life of the son of a righteous woman, who he had previously given birth, only because of the prophet's blessing as recorded in II Melachim (Kings) chapter 4. Originally the prophet had intended that the boy be brought back to life by means of his staff. Namely, the prophet's apprentice would merely have to place the staff on the body of the boy  (as recorded in II Melachim (Kings) chapter 4 verses 29 and 31. But for some reason, not explained in the text, the staff did not accomplish the miracle and Elisha had to pray fervently to G-d to restore the child's life, which was eventually successful. In the future Rabbi Shmuel Bar Nachmani quoting Rabbi Yonatan contends, in tractate Talmud Bavli, Pesachim, page 68, "that the righteous will be granted the power to restore the life of the dead" and he implies (but does not say it explicitly) there that the miracle will be performed through a staff.
    
    In our times, we are on the verge of transforming what was once the realm of miracles alone to the natural ways that things are done. The web site article at http://www.telegraph.co.uk/science/science-news/8257223/Mammoth-could-be-reborn-in-four-years.html reports:

"The woolly mammoth, extinct for thousands of years, could be brought back to life in as little as four years thanks to a breakthrough in cloning technology".

artist drawing of the woolly mammoth

The article states:

Previous efforts in the 1990s to recover nuclei in cells from the skin and muscle tissue from mammoths found in the Siberian permafrost failed because they had been too badly damaged by the extreme cold.
But a technique pioneered in 2008 by Dr. Teruhiko Wakayama, of the Riken Centre for Developmental Biology, was successful in cloning a mouse from the cells of another mouse that had been frozen for 16 years.
Now that hurdle has been overcome, Akira Iritani, a professor at Kyoto University, is reactivating his campaign to resurrect the species that died out 5,000 years ago.
"Now the technical problems have been overcome, all we need is a good sample of soft tissue from a frozen mammoth," he told The Daily Telegraph.
He intends to use Dr Wakayama's technique to identify the nuclei of viable mammoth cells before extracting the healthy ones.
The nuclei will then be inserted into the egg cells of an African elephant, which will act as the surrogate mother for the mammoth.

The Web site http://www.livescience.com/17386-woolly-mammoth-clone.html claims: Extinct animals have been resurrected by cloning before, albeit briefly. Scientists in Spain had cloned a Pyrenean ibex, which went extinct in 2000 (which corresponds to Jewish year 5760). See the article for more details.

    Given this introduction that cloning cells from extinct species can theoretically bring that species back to life, provides us with a way, if we so desire to explain Breishit (Genesis) Chapter 2 in such a way that it does not contradict the theory of evolution. Namely, if we assume the Earth is older than 6000 years, which fits in to some but not all Rabbinic interpretations of the Bible, as I have already pointed out in another article, then we can contend that G-d originally used the tool of evolution to create man and perhaps some of the species. According to this viewpoint, one of the men created through evolution, eventually died and Breishit (Genesis) Chapter 2 describes the resurrection of the dead (perhaps by a cloning process) of that evolved man from the genetic material of a body that had decomposed to dust, who became Adam in the story of the Garden of Eden. Indeed, I found that Rabbi Ephraim Sprecher, Dean of Students and Senior Lecturer at Diaspora Yeshiva makes a somewhat similar claim. Namely, that Chava (Eve) was created by G-d through a cloning process from Adam's bone (see http://rabbisprecher.com/articles.php?op=view&id=16). I will not however, hide the fact that not all the Rabbis of the Talmud hold that Chava (Eve) was created from Adam's bone (and thereby removing one precedent for G-d using the process of cloning). Some hold that Adam and Chava (Eve) were originally created as Siamese twins and Chava (Eve) eventually gained her separate identity, when G-d cut the connection between the Siamese twins.

A Source In Jewish Law That A Dead Body That Decomposes Can Attain the Status of Dust

    Rabbi Menashe Klein in his responsa works, Mishna Halachot, Volume 16, section 133 was asked the following question. There was a Jew who wanted to buy from a certain city an old cemetery of Gentiles. He wished to build on that plot of land, apartment buildings. The Jew made it clear that there were no legal problems, because according to the law and religion of the Gentiles of that city, once the old cemetery reaches a certain point of time, it loses its status as a cemetery and the land was set to be auctioned for sale. The Jew wanted to know in this situation was there any problem as far as Judaism is concerned to actually buy and build on that land.

    Rabbi Klein after dealing with some issues that are not related to this article, brings up the point, that if we knew that the dead people buried there had decomposed to dust, they would lose their status as dead bodies and the cemetery ground could be used. If we were unsure if this took place, some additional measures, which I will not describe in this article, would be needed before the cemetery could be used for a real estate investment.

    From the above case we see an example of how a dead body can attain according to Jewish law the status of dust. Thus if we so wish, we can explain that Adam was created from the dust of a man who had died in a previous era or world.

What Possible Reason Might G-d Have Chosen To Create Adam (see Breishit/Genesis 1:26 - 2:7) Through Cloning of the Genetic Material of a Man From a Previous Era or World

    After Adam ate from the tree of knowledge between good and evil, against the commandment of G-d, he was punished with several punishments. Among them was the curse of Breishit/Genesis 3:19 "By the sweat of your brow you will eat bread until you will return to the ground, for it was from it, that you were taken; for you are dust and to dust you shall return
".

    The Talmud in tractate Shabbat, page 152b, brings in the name of Achai Bar Yoshia that one hour before the resurrection of the dead, all dead bodies will decompose to dust to fulfill the verse quoted above: "for you are dust and to dust you shall return". Malbim as well as Ramchal explain that even the righteous have to undergo this process before returning to life through the resurrection of the dead, because out of this dust, a newly rectified and rebuilt body will emerge that will be in the same state that humans were in before the sin of eating from the tree of knowledge of good and evil.

    Now if we have already have a precedent in Jewish sources that dead bodies in the future will decompose to dust before the resurrection to restore mankind to the state of Adam before his sin, in theory then it is possible to contend that this was the same process that was used for the creation of Adam. Namely, Adam was created by having the body of a man or something close to a man from a previous era or world decay into dust and then a rebuilt Adam was made out of that dust.

Tehillim (Psalms) Chapter 104 Also Implies That Decay Into Dust of the Previous World Is A Precondition Before Rebuilding the Next World

    "You hide your face they are terrified, you take away their breath, they die, and return to their dust. You send forth your breath (alt. translation, spirit), they are created and you renew the face of the earth" (Tehillim /Psalms 104 verses 29 and 30). We see from the order of the verses that decay into dust is a key stage before, creation and renewal.

Many of Our Rabbis Openly Stated That the Actions That Took Place With Man on the Sixth Day of Creation Are A Prophetic Sign For the Future

    Many of our Rabbis openly stated that the actions that took place with man on the sixth day of creation are a prophetic sign for the future. If this is so, G-d might have specifically wanted to create man from the dust of the body of a man or something close to a man from a previous era or world as a prophetic sign regarding about the method of the future resurrection.

    In my article: A Solution to Fundamental Problems Regarding Tekhelet, currently found at http://www.vilnagaon.org/solutions.htm I brought up the issue of why we would have more Divine assistance during the years 5708 - 5750 (secular years 1948 until about 2/3 of 1989) in identifying the animal that was the source of the ancient Tekhelet dye used both in the Holy Temple in Jerusalem and placed on the corners of religious garments used by observant Jews, which apparently due to evil governments fell into disuse by Jews over the centuries. There I brought that there are Rabbinic sources that view the entire 6 days of creation as prophetic signs for what will take place during 6000 years of Jewish history and in particular what would be take place in our millennium, the 6th millennium. I will quote from that article because it also has relevance to our point.
    There is a correspondence between the six days of creation and 6000 years of history from the time of the formation of the first man until the destruction of this world, which will take place according to the Talmud in the seventh millennium as explained in tractate Sanhedrin page 97.
    Rabbi Ketina said, "six thousand years is the world and for one it is destroyed, for it was stated: 'And G-d will be exalted alone on that day'. Abeyei said, two {millennium} it is destroyed for it is stated: 'And he will bring us alive from the two days and on the third day he will raise us up and we will live before him'. It was taught in a Baraita in accordance to Rabbi Ketina's view, just as the sabbatical year causes a cessation once in 7 years so too will the world cease {from development} for a thousand years out of seven thousand years for it was stated: 'And G-d will be exalted alone on that day'. And it states: 'a song of praise for the day of Sabbath, the day that is entirely Sabbath and it states, for a thousand years in your eyes is as yesterday when it passes by'. The Academy of Eliyahu taught: for 6 thousand years does the world last. Two thousand years is null, two thousand years of Torah and two thousand years - the days of the messiah and in our iniquities that have multiplied, it has been deducted from them what has been deducted."
    Many of our rabbis understood that not just in a general way is there a parallel between the 6 days of creation and the six thousand years of history, but rather there is a perfect parallel.
    And this is the preview of the book Kol Hator that was printed in the introduction section at the end of the book Hatekufa Hagdola of Rabbi Menachem Kasher:
    The period of the revealed time of the end, which is the period of the beginning of the redemption (Atchalta D'geula) opened and continues from Jewish year 5500. This thing was known to sages based on the principles of the wisdom of the Kabbalah. For there was a tradition in the hands of the sages of Israel that the six thousand years that our world stands in its present fashion is parallel to the six days of creation, each millennium corresponding to its parallel day [in the six days of creation] starting from the first millennium which parallels the first day until the sixth millennium which corresponds to day six of the creation. Now there isn't a large or small detail in the six thousand years of this world that its principle is not rooted in the six days of creation in a fashion that those of wise intellect that know how to arrange the actions that G-d performed in the six days of creation and comprehend their deeper meaning, knew from the outset all the future things that would come to be in the world, every thing at its proper time and even a small event and this is in accordance to the testimony of the Vilna Gaon in his commentary to Safra Dtsniuta (chapter 5).
    Now behold the Vilna Gaon knew that the period of the footsteps of the Messiah, it and all its occurrences that will in the future occur, were created on the sixth day from the first hour of the morning and onwards until the time of the end of the day (evening). Now since during the 12 hours of the night, the Holy One Blessed be He didn't perform anything, behold the calculation of the 12 hours of daytime, starts from year 5500, that is to say the middle of the millennium. This is the same way as 12 hours are in the middle of a 24-hour period. Therefore our Rabbi the Vilna Gaon, with great wisdom deduced the time of the creation of the footsteps of the messiah by their root in the six days of creation, that is to say from the first hour of the morning of the sixth day. From the emergence of the word he knew that the period of the footsteps of the messiah in an actual way has opened up from the year 500 of the sixth millennium [that is to say in 5500]. And so too will it be understood by this principle, that every hour from the hours of the sixth day brings to light in an actual way the actions that are rooted in it from the time of creation for the period of 41 years and 8 months [comment by me: the intention is 2/3 of a year] for you find if you divide 12 hours of the day into 500 years, the time of their control, is as stated previously. {End of Quote}
    One should note that in a general way also the Chatam Sofer [Responsa of the Chatam Sofer Volume 6, Siman 61] as well as the Ohr Hachayim [to Leviticus 6:2] agreed that there is a hint about the development of the redemption by what is described as being created on the sixth day.
    In order to prove that there is truly a connection, between what took place in history and the six days of the book of Genesis, I will note the following examples.
    Rashi on Genesis 1:4 on the words: "And the L-rd saw the light that it was good and he separated..." - he saw that it wasn't fitting for it to be used by the wicked and he separated it for the righteous in the future".
    And similarly in the first millennium, G-d separated the Garden of Eden for the future. And so too at the end of the first millennium, there was something similar regarding Chanoch that lived 365 years which corresponds to the days of a solar year (a matter of light). Now this is the terminology of Rashi in his commentary to (Genesis 5:22) on the words of "And Chanoch walked" - "he was righteous but was easily susceptible to be influenced to return to do evil, therefore, the Holy One Blessed Be He hurried and removed him and made him die before his time. But according to some of our sages, G-d separated Chanoch by transforming him into something similar to an angel and put him into the Garden of Eden alive. In either case, there is here a matter of separation from the wicked.
    On the second day of the creation "And the L-rd made the firmament and separated between the water under the firmament and the water above the firmament" (Genesis 1:11).
    In my opinion, here is a hint to the great flood that took place in the second millennium, and also to the generation of the division at the time of the tower of Bavel/Babel. The division of the waters on the second day hints at the generation of the division, for behold, the gentiles are compared to water as it is written in the book of Psalms chapter 144 verse 7 "rescue me and deliver me from the great waters, from the hand of the sons of the stranger". [And in accordance to the Targum commentary there, "save me from the populace who are compared to great waters from the hands of the sons of the strangers".]
    Based upon all that was said above it is possible to discover a hint in the Torah when we will have special assistance from heaven for the proper identification of the creatures of the Creator (such as the Chilazon, the source for the Tekhelet dye, according to the Talmud). For behold according to tractate Sanhedrin page 38 in the sixth hour of the sixth day, Adam {first man} called the creatures of the Holy One blessed be He, by names. Just as it is written in Genesis 2:19 "And Hashem the L-rd formed from the earth every creature of the field and every bird of the sky and he brought {them} to the man to see what he would call each one and whatever it would be called by the man, {for} each living creature, that is its name".
    Now according to what I have brought previously in the preview to Kol Hator the sixth hour of the sixth day corresponds to the period, which began within the year 5708 and ended at the beginning of 5750. [5*41.66 +500 = 708.33 and 6*41.666 + 500 = 750].
    Now according to this, Prof. Otto Elsner, of the Shenkar College of Fibers, who discovered a few years before the year of 5750 the secret of how to dye Tekhelet with the Trunculus mollusc and thereby solved the central problem that disturbed us in the matter of the identification of the Chilazon and renewing the mitzvah of Tekhelet, merited to receive special Diving Assistance, because of the period in which he acted. Namely, the period of "he called each creature by names". And according to this, it is not correct, to compare between the merits of earlier generations to our generation - for they did not have the Divine Assistance for identification, that we had. A Divine Assistance that is not dependant upon our good deeds that much, but rather by a plan set at the very beginning by the Holy One Blessed be He.
    I will not hide the fact that only some of the Rabbis of our generation have accepted the fact that we have correctly identified the source of the Tekhelet dye. So according to those who do not support the usage of the dye derived from the (Murex) Trunculus mollusc as Tekhelet we must find some other reason to tie the period of 5708.33 - 5750 (1948 - autumn 1989) to the sixth hour of the sixth day of Creation.    

An Omen For the Rapid Expansion and Adaption of Biblical Hebrew, Starting From 5708.33 - 5750 (1948 - autumn 1989) in the Wake of the Victory of the State of Israel in its War for Independence and the Subsequent Ingathering of Millions of Jews to Israel  

    Perhaps according to them, the period of 5708.33 - 5750 (1948 - autumn 1989), which corresponds to the activity "Whatever it would be called by the man, {for} each living creature, that is its name" (Breishit/Genesis 2:19) is a prophetic omen of the rapid expansion and adaption of Biblical Hebrew for usage in the modern world. This took place in this period due to the victory of the state of Israel in its war for Independence and the subsequent ingathering of millions of Jews to Israel (as predicted by the prophet Yechezkel/Ezekiel in chapter 36). The connection of the ingathering of the exiles and Hebrew stems from the fact that Hebrew is the official language of the state of Israel. Also, see the Biblical book of Nechemiah (Nehemiah) 13:24 where Nechemiah faults the assimilated Jews of not even raising their children, knowing how to speak Hebrew, thus indicating, that knowing how to speak Hebrew is a Biblical ideal. See also Yerushalmi, tractate Shabbat 1:3, Any one who is permanent in the land of Israel, and eats Chulin food in ritual purity, and speaks in the holy language and recites the Shma prayer morning and evening is guaranteed that he is a "son" of the world to come. Metsudat Dovid in his interpretation of the Biblical book of Tzephaniah (Zephaniah) 3:9 predicts that even the Gentiles after the events of Tzephaniah (Zephaniah) 3:8 will in the future speak the holy language which will help draw them near to proper religious beliefs.

    Now if one objects that modern Hebrew has incorporated within it a lot of foreign words, which therefore have no spiritual value, I will point out that the Bible itself incorporates some foreign words into the Hebrew language and nevertheless these words have the same sanctity, regarding the laws of writing Biblical scrolls as any other words in the Bible. See for example, Breishit/Genesis 31:47, where the Aramaic words Yegar-Sahaduta make it in to the Bible. Similarly the name Pharaoh, and according to Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan, the word Achu (translated as marsh or marsh grass) of Breishit/Genesis 41:2 and the word Totafot of Shmot/Exodus 13:17, Dvarim/Deuteronomy 6:8, Dvarim Deuteronomy 11:18 were incorporated into Biblical Hebrew from foreign languages. See also Ibn Ezra to Esther 3:7 and 3:12 that the words Achashdarpanim, and Pur are Persian words that made it into the Bible and I will add the Biblical Holiday named Purim stems from this Persian word (see Esther chapter 9).

In summary, based on Kol Hator, I have shown that the Torah has a need as an omen, to describe the creation of man from the dust on the sixth day of creation. This in itself however, does not either affirm or deny the possibility of men or something close to men, being created by some other means thousands or millions of years before the sixth day of creation. Only if you assert that the universe is less than 6000 years old, do you completely shut the door against the theory of evolution playing some role in the creation of man.

Finally, in the viewpoint of Rabbi Moshe Chaim Luzzatto writing around the secular year 1740 (Jewish year, 5500)in Daat Utevunote, translated into English as "The Knowing Heart" (page 189) you will find another possible reason, why Breishit/Genesis Chapter 2, neither affirms or denies that G-d used evolution to create what we would in our day would define as the human body. I did not go into detail about his viewpoint, since I believe "the omen explanation" for the sixth day of creation is superior.

In any case, although I have shown a tolerant view towards evolution, I personally have not seen sufficient proof to force me to believe that this was the method G-d used.

 What Are the 3 Strongest Proofs For Evolution and Are They Really So Strong?

Junk DNA

    Regarding proof #1 in general, Judaism takes the attitude of Pirkei Avot àì úäé áæ ìëì ãáø, which means do not disparage, anything. Indeed the Midrash relates that King David once entertained the notion that 3 things in nature were useless and in the end all 3 things saved his life.
    Regarding extinct species, such as Dinosaurs, now that cloning technology is being developed, one day those species might be brought back into existence and serve as a direct benefit for man. Perhaps, G-d didn't want those species to be around in the early stages of human history, so he purposely, made those species become extinct temporarily. Or perhaps, the role of those extinct species was to give mankind certain spiritual lessons. See for example, what I have written elsewhere on the subject, What was G-d's Purpose in Creating and Destroying Worlds Before Our Current World?    
    As far as junk DNA is concerned, although a well-known atheist propagandist, once made the claim that most of the DNA in our bodies is junk DNA without purpose, a new study published in 2012 as quoted by the Wall Street Journal

( http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10000872396390443589304577633560336453228.html) claims otherwise:

The new insight is the product of Encode, or Encyclopedia of DNA Elements, a vast, multiyear project that aims to pin down the workings of the human genome in unprecedented detail.

Encode succeeded the Human Genome Project, which identified the 20,000 genes that underpin the blueprint of human biology. But scientists discovered that those 20,000 genes constituted less than 2% of the human genome. The task of Encode was to explore the remaining 98%—the so-called junk DNA—that lies between those genes and was thought to be a biological desert.

That desert, it turns out, is teeming with action. Almost 80% of the genome is biochemically active, a finding that surprised scientists.

In addition, large stretches of DNA that appeared to serve no functional purpose in fact contain about 400,000 regulators, known as enhancers, that help activate or silence genes, even though they sit far from the genes themselves.

    I found an even more recent discovery about DNA that makes the belief in junk DNA even more difficult. To quote David Klinghoffer at http://www.evolutionnews.org/2013/12/genome_composes080111.html

Researchers at our local powerhouse public university, the U. of Washington, have discovered that the genetic code composes not in one language but two ("Scientists discover double meaning in genetic code").

Since the genetic code was deciphered in the 1960s, scientists have assumed that it was used exclusively to write information about proteins. UW scientists were stunned to discover that genomes use the genetic code to write two separate languages. One describes how proteins are made, and the other instructs the cell on how genes are controlled. One language is written on top of the other, which is why the second language remained hidden for so long.

"For over 40 years we have assumed that DNA changes affecting the genetic code solely impact how proteins are made," said Stamatoyannopoulos. "Now we know that this basic assumption about reading the human genome missed half of the picture. These new findings highlight that DNA is an incredibly powerful information storage device, which nature has fully exploited in unexpected ways."

The genetic code uses a 64-letter alphabet called codons. The UW team discovered that some codons, which they called duons, can have two meanings, one related to protein sequence, and one related to gene control. These two meanings seem to have evolved in concert with each other. The gene control instructions appear to help stabilize certain beneficial features of proteins and how they are made. [Emphasis added.]

- See more at: http://www.evolutionnews.org/2013/12/genome_composes080111.html#sthash.kMRO0gfx.dpuf

    As far as the Appendix is concerned, newer studies have found uses for the appendix. According to an article at http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/21153898/ns/health-health_care/t/scientists-may-have-found-appendixs-purpose/#.UNi8q6xEW-0, the appendix "produces and protects good germs for your gut".

    "The function of the appendix seems related to the massive amount of bacteria populating the human digestive system, according to the study in the Journal of Theoretical Biology. There are more bacteria than human cells in the typical body. Most of it is good and helps digest food".

    Building on this idea, new research has shown that "Individuals without an appendix were four times more likely to have a recurrence of Clostridium difficile", a deadly pathogen often encountered in hospitals, particularly when patients must be treated by prolonged courses of antibiotics. (see:http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/guest-blog/2012/01/02/your-appendix-could-save-your-life/)

Evolutionary Adaption of a Species to New Environmental Conditions

Regarding Proof #2, for evolution, namely, that we can sometimes observe evolutionary adaption of a species to new environmental conditions, one might wish to offer the following rebuttal. Proof that environment can affect some of the dominant characteristics displayed within an animal species is not proof for changes between different species. 

To quote from Dr. Lee Spetner (B'Or Ha'Torah 17 (5768/2007) "

It took a maximum of seventeen years for a uniform population of finches to diverge into flocks of different shape and size of bills filling a variety of niches on a group of Pacific islands (S. Conant, "Saving Endangered Species by Translocation", BioScience, vol. 38 (1988) pp. 254-257 and S.L. Pimm, "Rapid Morphological Change in an Introduced Bird, "Trends in Evolution and Ecology, vol 3 (1988) pp. 290-291). The bill shapes, jaw muscles, and behavior of each type are adapted to their chosen niche. However, these changes could have occurred, they could not, in seventeen year or less, have occurred through random mutations and natural selection. Although this kind of observation is used to support molecules-to-man, it cannot lend such support without us having some knowledge of how these changes occurred. This experiment makes one skeptical about Darwin's story of the finches he found on the Galápagos Islands.

I suggested in my book that one way these rapid changes might have occurred is through environmental cues acting upon a built-in-capacity for change in the organism. The organism has to have the capability to respond to an environmental cue. In this way, populations can change very rapidly to adapt to new environmental conditions. Environmental cues are manifested in what is normally called stress. We know that stress causes the release of hormones that can trigger various responses in selective organs, tissues, and cells. These responses can be manifest in a change of phenotype during development, and if the hormones act on the genome, they can make heritable changes as well.

The evolution of cichlid fish has been the subject of much study. Some cichlid fishes have been reported to develop a crushing pharyngeal dentition when their diet includes snails, but a simple piercing dentition when it does not. The biochemical signals that effect this have not yet been deciphered. A gene, bmp4, has been found in other cichlid fishes, however, that when overexpressed results in morphological changes in the jaws. Moreover, the authors have demonstrated that bmp4 has the potential to alter the jaw structure that mimics adaptive variation among the fish species. We can see here more than a hint of how evolution can be driven by the environment through nonrandom genetic changes, be they mutations or genetic rearrangements.

There are now a great many other examples of rapid evolution that do not fit into the neo-Darwinian theory. I have already mentioned the controlled experiment that showed a rapid evolution of the finches in a species no more than seventeen years.

An example of even faster evolutionary change is an experiment on guppies. Guppies adapt differently in the presence of different predators. Guppies living with cichlid fish are smaller and mature earlier than those living with killifish. Guppies were taken from an environment containing cichlids and placed with killifish. The guppy population quickly changed to adapt to the new environment. The full change in the guppy population was observed as soon as the first samples were drawn, which was after only two years. Moreover, the changes have shown to be inheritable and are therefore of genetic origin. The presence of the predator seems to be the environmental cue that induced genetic changes in a large proportion of the population.

    In light of Dr. Spetner's article, one might wish to argue that evolution within a species does not necessarily indicate that evolution is also responsible for changing one species into another. It could be that each of the different species was directly created by G-d with evolutionary cues to allow for adaption to changing environments. 

Regarding the Similarity of the DNA in Humans and Other Mammals

Regarding Proof #3 for evolution between species, that the general similarity of the DNA in humans and others mammals prove they have a common ancestor. This proof is indeed stronger than the first two proofs but not as strong as it proponents make it.

A potential rebuttal to the view that the genetic similarities between man and other mammals prove common descent is that just as an efficient computer programmer reuses successful computer codes in different programs, so too, G-d might have wished to reuse successful genetic codes for different animal species. Furthermore, man has a great benefit from the fact that mammals such as mice, have similar DNA. Namely, by virtue of the fact that mice have somewhat similar DNA, we can perform medical experiments on them and learn valuable information from those tests to solve diseases that occur to man.

Another potential rebuttal is that recent scientific discoveries have shown that there are additional factors other than common descent that are used to explain genetic similarities between different animals. If even strong evolutionists admit that sometimes, similar genes do not always indicate a recent common ancestor, perhaps there are other factors at work to explain genetic similarities between man and other mammals. 

As an example of another factor that leads to genetic similarities in different species, Ed Yong in a an online National Geographic article dated Jan. 1, 2013 entitled: How a quarter of the cow genome came from snakes, states:

Genomes are often described as recipe books for living things. If that’s the case, many of them badly need an editor. For example, around half of the human genome is made up of bits of DNA that have copied themselves and jumped around, creating vast tracts of repetitive sequences. The same is true for the cow genome, where one particular piece of DNA, known as BovB, has run amok. It’s there in its thousands. Around a quarter of a cow’s DNA is made of BovB sequences or their descendants.

BovB isn’t restricted to cows. If you look for it in other animals, as Ali Morton Walsh from the University of Adelaide did, you’ll find it in elephants, horses, and platypuses. It lurks among the DNA of skinks and geckos, pythons and seasnakes. It’s there in purple sea urchin, the silkworm and the zebrafish.

The obvious interpretation is that BovB was present in the ancestor of all of these animals, and stayed in their genomes as they diversified. If that’s the case, then closely related species should have more similar versions of BovB. The cow version should be very similar to that in sheep, slightly less similar to those in elephants and platypuses, and much less similar to those in snakes and lizards.

But not so. If you draw BovB’s family tree, it looks like you’ve entered a bizarre parallel universe where cows are more closely related to snakes than to elephants, and where one gecko is more closely related to horses than to other lizards.

This is because BovB isn’t neatly passed down from parent to offspring, as most pieces of animal DNA are. This jumping gene not only hops around genomes, but between them.

This type of “horizontal gene transfer” (HGT) is an everyday event for bacteria, which can quickly pick up important abilities from each other by swapping DNA. Such trades are supposedly much rarer among more complex living things, but every passing year brings new examples of HGT among animals. For example, in 2008, (now at the University of Utah) discovered a group of sequences that have jumped between several mammals, an anole lizard, and a frog. He called them Space Invaders.

The Space Invaders belong to a group of jumping genes called DNA transposons. They jump around by cutting themselves out of their surrounding DNA, and pasting themselves in somewhere new. They’re also relatively rare—they make up just 2 to 3 percent of our genome. BovB belongs to a different class of jumping genes called retrotransposons. They move through a copy-and-paste system rather than a cut-and-paste one, so that every jump produces in a new copy of the gene. For that reason, they spread like wildfire.

    A third potential rebuttal is that the commonly used argument used by hardcore evolutionists that the genetic similarity between chimpanzees and humans is close to 99% is incorrect or misleading. The claim made in the past that there is nearly a 99% similarity was based on a small and unrepresentative sample of Chimpanzee DNA. Today evolutionists readily admit at the very least that you have to knock the figure down close to 95% by including what is called indels. In a study by a group of scientists including Tatsuya Anzai of the Department of Genetic Information, Division of Molecular Life Science, Tokai University School of Medicine, we learn:
Once the indels are taken into account, the  above-observed 98.6% sequence identity drops to only 86.7% (substitution, 1.4%; indels, 11.9%). This indel-included 86.7% identity may be a better representation of whole-genome sequence similarity between the human and the chimpanzee, as confirmed by a recently published study comparing a number of fragmented chimpanzee sequences with their human counter- parts. (source:http://www.pnas.org/content/100/13/7708.full.pdf)  
chimpanzee
    Non-Jewish scientists (who are members of a religion with an anti-evolutionary ideology), such as, Jeffrey Tomkins, Ph.D add the following additional objections.
    The chimp genome is 10 to 12 percent larger than the human genome. This by itself shows the 99% similarity between Chimp and Human DNA is misleading.
Since the original 2005 report for the chimpanzee (chimp) genome assembly (5X rough draft), an additional one-fold redundant coverage has been added. Using the new 6X chimpanzee assembly, a sequential comparison to the human genome was performed on an individual chromosome basis. The chimpanzee chromosomes, were sliced into new individual query files of varying string lengths and then queried against their human chromosome homolog using the BLASTN algorithm. Using this approach, queries could be optimized for each chromosome irrespective of gene/feature linear order. Non-DNA letters (gap filling ‘N’s) were stripped from the query data and excluded from the analyses. The definition of similarity for each chromosome was the amount (percent) of optimally aligned chimp DNA. This definition was considered to be conservative because it did not include the amount of human DNA absent in chimp nor did it include chimp DNA that was not aligned to the human genome assembly (unanchored sequence contigs).

For the chimp autosomes, the amount of optimally aligned DNA sequence provided similarities between 66 and 76%, depending on the chromosome. In general, the smaller and more gene-dense the chromosomes, the higher the DNA similarity—although there were several notable exceptions defying this trend. Only 69% of the chimpanzee X chromosome was similar to human and only 43% of the Y chromosome. Genome-wide, only 70% of the chimpanzee DNA was similar to human under the most optimal sequence-slice conditions. While, chimpanzees and humans share many localized protein-coding regions of high similarity, the overall extreme discontinuity between the two genomes defies evolutionary timescales and dogmatic presuppositions about a common ancestor. (source: http://designed-dna.org/blog/files/269f5ba93730e963bd54c1a139dd48f9-55.php)
      Jeffrey Tomkins, Jerry Bergman, and other anti-evolutionary scientists have also attacked another scientific foundation for the viewpoint that men, Chimpanzees, Gorillas, Bonobos, and Orangutans descended from a common ancestor. Humans have only 46 chromosomes (23 from our father and 23 from our mother) while chimpanzees and the great apes have 48 (24 from the father and 24 from the mother). Pro-evolution scientists explain the difference in the amount of chromosomes in humans came about because there was a fusion of two small chimpanzee-like chromosomes (2A and 2B) that formed one stable chimera chromosome in humans (bringing down the number provided by each parent from 24 to 23). Anti-evolution scientists claim that a closer examination of the data totally disproves the theory of fusion. They claim that new data concerning the alleged point of fusion of the two small chimpanzee-like chromosomes (2A and 2B) disproves the notion that fusion took place.

An Introduction to Telomeres

     Much of their proof revolves around the concept of telomeres and since very few of my readers probably know what a telomere is first I'll provide a short introduction (based with minor changes on an article at  http://learn.genetics.utah.edu/content/begin/traits/telomeres/).
    Inside the center or nucleus of a cell, our genes are located on twisted, double-stranded molecules of DNA called chromosomes. At the ends of the chromosomes are stretches of DNA called telomeres, which protect our genetic data, make it possible for cells to divide, and hold some secrets how to slow down the process of aging and reduce cancer.
     Telomeres have been compared with the plastic tips on shoelaces because they prevent chromosome ends from fraying and sticking to each other, which would scramble an organism's genetic information to cause cancer, other diseases or death.
     Yet, each time a cell divides, the telomeres get shorter. When they get too short, the cell no longer can divide and becomes inactive or "senescent" or dies. This process is associated with aging, cancer and a higher risk of death. So telomeres also have been compared with a bomb fuse.
     What are telomeres?
     Like the rest of a chromosome and its genes, telomeres are sequences of DNA - chains of chemical code. Like other DNA, they are made of four nucleic acid bases: G for guanine, A for adenine, T for thymine and C for cytosine.
     Telomeres are made of repeating sequences of TTAGGG on one strand of DNA bound to AATCCC on the other strand. Thus, one section of telomere is a "repeat" made of six "base pairs."
     Why do chromosomes have telomeres?
     Without telomeres, the main part of the chromosome - the part containing genes essential for life - would get shorter each time a cell divides. So telomeres allow cells to divide without losing genes. Cell division is needed so we can grow new skin, blood, bone and other cells when needed.
     Without telomeres, chromosome ends could fuse together and degrade the cell's genetic blueprint, making the cell malfunction, become cancerous or die. Because broken DNA is dangerous, a cell has the ability to sense and repair chromosome damage. Without telomeres, the ends of chromosomes would look like broken DNA, and the cell would try to fix something that wasn't broken. That also would make them stop dividing and eventually die.

The Telomere Argument Against the Notion of Fusion of Two Small Chimpanzee-like Chromosomes (2A and 2B) in Humans

       Although one of the normal task of telomeres is to prevent the fusion of two chromosomes in an organism, since fusion is usually harmful for survival, current evolutionary theory holds that due to some mutation or other unknown reason, between 1 and 6 million years ago, two small Chimpanzee-like chromosomes (2a and 2b) fused together in some extinct human ancestor at the point of their telomeres to produce, the amount of chromosomes that we observe in humans today, which differs by a total of two chromosomes, from what we observe in Chimpanzees, Gorillas, Bonobos, and Orangutans.

     Telomeric DNA at the ends of our chromosomes normally consists of thousands of repeats of the 6-base-pair sequence TTAGGG. But the alleged fusion point in human chromosome 2 contains far less telomeric DNA than it should if two chromosome were fused end-to-end: As evolutionary biologist Daniel Fairbanks admits, the location only has 158 repeats, and only "44 are perfect copies" of the sequence.
    Additionally, a paper in Genome Research found that the alleged telomeric sequences we do have are "degenerated significantly" and "highly diverged from the prototypic telomeric repeats." The paper is surprised at this finding, because the fusion event supposedly happened recently -- much too recent for such dramatic divergence of sequence. Thus the paper asks: "If the fusion occurred within the telomeric repeat arrays less than ∼6 mya [million years ago], why are the arrays at the fusion site so degenerate?" The conclusion is this: If two chromosomes were fused end-to-end in humans, then a huge amount of alleged telomeric DNA is missing or garbled.
    Finally, the presence of telomeric DNA within a mammalian chromosome isn't highly unusual, and does not necessarily indicate some ancient point of fusion of two chromosomes. Evolutionary biologist Richard Sternberg points out that interstitial telomeric sequences (ITSs) are commonly found throughout mammalian genomes, but the telomeric sequences within human chromosome 2 are cherry-picked by evolutionists and cited as evidence for a fusion event.... (quote from David Klinghoffer http://www.evolutionnews.org/2012/07/what_i_said_abo_1062451.html)
     

What Difference Does it Make if Chimpanzee DNA is Close to 99% of that of Humans or a Much Lower Percentage?

Most Major Secular Scientists Still Believe That Two Small Chimpanzee-like Chromosomes (2A and 2B) Did Fuse Into One Long Human Chromosome

     From what I have researched at this point in time, most major secular scientists still believe that two small Chimpanzee-like chromosomes (2A and 2B) fused into one long chromosome found in humans and the skeletons, which they currently identify as our ancestors. They are more impressed by the overall similarity of the genes, in Chimpanzee and Human chromosomes, which in their view suggests a common ancestor, than the problems associated with the alleged point of fusion. I, unfortunately do not have the scientific expertise to decide the question, but rather am just calling for further research into the issue.

Sometimes Scientists Have Tried to Abuse their Mantle of Authority to Make it Appear that their Wishful Guesses at the Reality Are Indisputable Facts

    I do wish to point out in the strongest possible terms that on scientific issues that have a huge impact on philosophical beliefs or economic choices and which are fairly difficult to double-check due to the advanced technical nature of the data and limited access to the relevant data, that at times scientists have tried to abuse their mantle of authority to make it appear that their wishful guesses at the reality were indisputable facts. This has been found to be the case in the climate-warming scandal, where scientists tried to misrepresent the facts to influence climate warming legislation. This has been found to be the case when certain anti-Zionist scientists have tried to distort the genetic data which supports Zionist claims to the Jewish right to Israel (see link 1 and link 2 for more details). This is true also of certain facts cited as absolute proof for evolution, such as the Piltdown man hoax that fooled most of the scientific establishment for 40 years and such as the Archaeopteryx, which I will deal with at a later time in this article. Therefore the ideal solution is that Orthodox Jewish scientists, who have a track record of putting the pursuit of truth above personal agendas, should be our sources for scientific data and interpretation. But in the meantime, we should take the claims of scientists about facts that have an impact on our philosophy with a healthy dose of suspicion.

Are the Fossils of Archaeopteryx the Missing Link Between Modern Birds and Dinosaurs?

    For many decades the fossils of Archaeopteryx were touted as the missing link between modern birds and dinosaurs. As reported by Matt Kaplan in the online edition of Nature 27 July 2011 recent finds of a fossil called called Xiaotingia zhengi, by Xing Xu, a palaeontologist at the Institute of Vertebrate Palaeontology and Palaeoanthropology in Beijing, have led researchers to reclassify Archaeopteryx, as well as Xiaotingia zhengi, Anchiornis as belonging in the dinosaur group Deinonychosauria rather than in the bird group, Avialae. Many features led the team to this decision, but the most immediately noticeable are that Xiaotingia, Archaeopteryx and Anchiornis have shallow snouts and expanded regions behind their eye sockets. Microraptor has similar traits, but the early birds in Avialae have very different skulls.

    What had led to the earlier misidentification of  Archaeopteryx as the missing link? The article I cited above explains that the Archaeopteryx specimen was discovered just a few years after the publication of Charles Darwin's On the Origin of Species. Its combination of lizard-like and avian features made it the ideal 'missing link' with which to demonstrate evolution from non-avian dinosaurs to birds. 

"Archaeopteryx was a bird because it had feathers and nothing else had them. But then other animals started being found that had wishbones, three-fingered hands and feathers. Heck, even T. rex had a wishbone. So one by one we've learned Archaeopteryx 's uniquely avian traits weren't so unique. The writing was really on the wall," says Lawrence Witmer, a palaeontologist at Ohio University in Athens.

In a BBC News article on the same date, Lawrence Witmer, who I quoted above also states:

"Since Archaeopteryx was found 150 years ago, it has been the most primitive bird and consequently every theory about the beginnings of birds - how they evolved flight, what their diet was like - were viewed through the lens of Archaeopteryx.

"So, if we don't view birds through this we might have a different set of hypotheses."

According to Prof Witmer, little is certain in trying to determine the earliest bird and new findings can rapidly change perspectives.

"The reality is, that next fossil find could kick Archaeopteryx right back into birds. That's the thing that's really exciting about all of this."

       Witmer's statement in the BBC article should partially be viewed in the light of the fact that the BBC also reported, that the origins of the new fossil that Professor Xu used to disprove Archaeopteryx as the missing link "are a little murky having originally been purchased from a dealer". That is to say that the whole theory of bird evolution hinges at this time on one set of fossils, which seemingly were not discovered by scientific experts digging up the ground, but rather by a dealer trying to make money.

     It is rather astonishing to me that such a key argument for the last 150 years to prove  Darwin's view of evolution in general is dependent on one dubious fossil purchase. It shows to me, that the evidence itself in the first place, even before the new discovery was pretty sparse and open to many different interpretations and the subject of wishful thinking.
   
HIPPO PICTURE With the advent of DNA research the fossil evidence for Darwin's version of evolution even becomes more problematical, because it used to be taught that by finding relatively similar structures in animal fossils (morphology) you could determine the evolutionary path of an animal. So based on this for example, they use to conclude that the hippo and the pig descended from a relatively recent common ancestor. But then, D.N.A. analysis seemed to show that the hippo was in fact a closer relative to the cetaceans (whales, dolphins and porpoises). (source: http://www.science.org.au/nova/newscientist/104ns_001.htm).
As a side point, for advanced Torah students, I refer you to an article that solves a halachic question that rises from this reclassification of the hippo at http://www.crcweb.org/faq/faqanswer.php?faqid=129 .
    Finally even when scientists are not intentionally trying to push some agenda they sometimes are too quick to jump to conclusions based on incomplete or faulty evidence or by ignoring facts that contradict their theories. So for example, for many centuries, until Louis Pasteur devised a method to prevent tiny insects from laying their eggs on meat, scientists believed in the false notion of spontaneous generation. And it was only in the last half century that most mainstream scientists have come to accept that our entire universe had a definite beginning.   

Rabbi Moshe Zuriel's Approval to Print this Article

"I just concluded reading your fascinating article "Adam from the dust" etc. and it is valuable indeed". 
"I do wish that you find a host publication to publicize it". 
"The matter of Hiyuli prehistoric material was certainly  the opinion of several ancient Rabbis and might help in our academic disputes with the Sceptics". 
"The matter of adaptation of the guppies etc, was very important.Could you place your article on the Internet"?
"You go ahead and proceed with your expert defense of our Faith, showing that we too have scientific sources".
Best wishes,
Moshe Zuriel

One may quote from the article on the condition that the author and the web site address of the article are noted with the quotation. For more articles about Torah and science, visit the web site: www.vilnagaon.org


This Article was written in Jewish Year 5774 (Secular Year 2014).

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