(c) 2000 Dr Hendel; 1st appeared in Torah Forum (c) 1996-2000 Project Genesis

Re: Judaism and extra-terrestrial life

Russell Hendel (rhendel@mcs.drexel.edu)
Mon, 3 Mar 1997 23:52:27 -0500

Russel Hendel in V3 #22 states:
>>>In a previous posting I argue (quoting a Rand study) that life exists on
>>>other planets in the same way it exists here...
>>>Thus it seems plausible that life evolves in the same form on every planet
>>>and the Torah comes after its prerequisites for its being written.

Shlomo Godick then goes on to criticize my use of the term evolution:
>mathematicians who study evolutionary theory ...conclude the odds are low..
>evolution is not "benevolent" ...years away from the Chesed of Avrohom ...
>Natural selection would more likely favor the law of the jungle than the
>appearance of a kindly person teaching the value of chessed and sacrifice....
>the appearance of prophets and spiritual leaders who protect the weak
>against the tyrannically strong is very un-evolutionary...

If one examines the above arguments one notes two things:
a) Shlomo does not believe in the theory of evolution. I myself am a
mathematician, and agree that the theory of evolution is false,
misleading and without merit. I agree with Shlomo (about evolution).

However I did not use the word evolution in my article in a technical sense
to denote a technical theory. So let me suggest that the word development
be used.

b) Sholomo never once contradicted (or even cited) any idea in my original
posting (He just attacked the use of the word evolution). I said on any
planet people would "develop" and become aware of the need for charity and
G-d would reward them by revealing Himself to them. There would be an
Abraham etc The Torah would then "develop" naturally (of course by Divine
Revelation but ONLY after the prerequisites...THAT was my point). In fact
the Midrash that the Torah was given to Moses and not the Angels because
angels cannot fulfill "Don't covet" "Dont steal" etc is consistent with my
idea that the Torah can only "develop" after Abraham, Mosheh and Egypt so
that people appreciate the prohibitions.

Russell Jay Hendel; Ph.d.;ASA; RHendel @ Mcs Drexel edu