Oy vey!: Jewish creationism.

September 22, 2011 • 5:35 am

From Failed Messiah.com (what a great name!) comes this report on a Jewish creationist exhibit:

And JPACNY’s (Jewish Political Action Committee’s) announcement, verbatim

Wednesday afternoon on the upper westside on Manhattan,home to New yorks largest secular Jewish community will witness a scene never seen anywhere before. Young Chareidi activists will display stuffed animals with their babys and cubs to proove evolution is a myth. This is the first time that such a program is going public as a means to do outreach to secular Jews especially before Rosh hashonah,the Jewish new year. It is being organized by a small very vocal group known as JPAC Jewish political Action committee. In the past JPAC had its anti gay marriage campaign carried by Associated press which posted pictures of a stuffed dog hinting that today man marrys man and soon man marrys dog. The picture was picked up by over 2000 newspapers worldwide. In fact the iconic dog used in that photo is once again going to appear this time to fight the ideas of evolution.

I’m not sure which is more embarrassing to me:  Jewish creationists who make really stupid arguments, or Jews who can’t write and spell.

122 thoughts on “Oy vey!: Jewish creationism.

  1. All those years when my kids had stuffed animals… the proof was staring me right in the face and I never noticed!

    I was blind but now I see.

  2. Also, why add the comment about life on other planets? It has nothing to do with evolution. Also, it’s a statement that can potentially be falsified – haven’t they learned that to avoid embarrassment, religions shouldn’t make falsifiable statements?

    1. Agreed, religions should shut-the-falsifiable-up.

      Of course, a precambrian dog, non-stuffed, says evolution is falsifiable too.

      1. They aren’t missing, they are standing above the missing link. [/click, click, click]

        Perhaps a global flood of non-sequiturs left them there. Sign o’the times.

  3. I’m not sure which is more embarrassing to me: Jewish creationists who make really stupid arguments, or Jews who can’t write and spell.

    Personally, I’d vote (as being more embarrassing) for the creationists.
    The mis-spellers are usually easier to convince that they erred.

      1. We really shouldn’t be so strident about this, as it’s not helping. Those with alternate approaches to spelling can be very important allies against the anti-arithmeticists, and we shouldn’t be alienating them. Surely we can accommodate others’ strongly held views on orthography?

        1. The challenge to Dawkinists is to proove that languages evolve.

          English speakers speak English. German speakers speak German. No one has ever seen an English term give birth to a German term.

          Since the alphabet contains 26 letters and a typical word can be of the order of 10 letters, it would take 10^26 tries to get from an English word to a German.

          Language ist immun to such changes!

          In fact, no language can arise from random sounds, “from Og to You”.

          1. English speakers speak English. German speakers speak German.

            Right, but Belgians don’t speak Belgian. I don’t know exactly how, but that ‘dis-prooves’ your entire argument!

          2. Language analogies with evolution vary in success – generally you can compare language evolution with biological evolution, but languages can hybridize to a much greater extent,to wit English.

          3. I’m really confused by this so help me out. The Angles were Germanic, the Normans were Vikings (but Germanic with Latin), the Jutes were Germanic, and the Saxons were Germanic. Old English was so Germanic it isn’t understood without study, Middle English less so because of Norman/Gallic influence, and Modern English wouldn’t be understood by either earlier groups because of reduced declension, heavy emphasis on word order, and adoption of words from so many languages, among other things.

            There are English words that have been accepted into German and French (OK, the French Academy has fought this tooth-and-nail, but are losing because lingua franca is now lingua anglais), as well Spanish, and more.

            BTW, Belgium has three languages, not one of which is called “Belgian”: Dutch (Flemish); French (Walloon predominates); and German (essentially negligible). If you had written Flemish and Walloon at least you’d be close enough. (I moderate an American English based email forum for a classic motorcycle, with members from most European nations as well Ireland and UK, so when accepting the few Belgian members I ask which language so they don’t think all Americans are ignorant.)

            So why would you choose German when English is overwhelmingly Germanic (roughly 25% of the words but 70% spoken?) And when the “genes” have passed back and forth, longitudinally, latitudinally and temporally?

            Really, Basque would be a better choice.

            1. “Basque would be a better choice” – depends who is wearing it. No, you are right however I am sure I recall some study from when I was a studet (11 or more years ago) saying that Icelanders recognized the meaning of sentences with verb endings removed based on context or word order, but I have no idea of the source of that research other than I had it from the mouth of an academic. Old English to the uninitiated is sometimes as clear as day, other times as thick as mud. danish had a significant influence eg with pronouns, but the point you make stands – languages can meld in a way unlike animals/plants/funghi, (but closer perhaps to viruses he suddenly realizes!)

              1. Bacteria have a lateral gene trade (my words, I forget what biologists call it) so maybe some analogy to language.

                My main thrust was that all these languages do hybridize (and yes German has words that are Germanized English words, usually AE words these days) so Torbjorn’s claim was false on it’s face because he hasn’t been watching.

                Your Basque reference gave me a whoosh moment. I always associate it with the pre-Indo-European language and the people from early childhood experiences.

                I’ll avoid schadenfreude (a loanword in English, so not Anglicized yet, which has no real equivalent except “gloat”) on this one.

          4. Too right. Not only that, lets see all of the transitional documents that show that all written texts are evolved from earlier texts. Unless there is a complete and unbroken bibliography showing that languages and texts are related, we have to just assume that they are all created independently and uniquely. By a single author.

  4. Apes give birth to slightly less hairy apes. Less hairy apes give birth to robots, who conquer the world and wipe out apes everywhere.

  5. As a social class, I think Jews accept evolution and science pretty much as fact.

    From Einstein to Sagan, secular Jews have made huge contributions to science and other forms of human intellect and inquiry.

    These radical Jews are as bad as the Evangelicals and the Taliban. All are religious extremists and each in their own way harm humanity under the guise of religious justice.

    I am proud to be an Atheist. I reject the bible and see that, rather than science and the mechanics of the universe, as fiction.

    Viva Darwin, Viva Evolution, Viva Atheism!

    David Orenstein (a Jew from Brooklyn, NY)

    1. David, how are those meshugennes (crazies) “as bad as the Taliban”? Are they running around killing people? Do they impose their religious views on you on pain of violence or death??

      Those charedim think that life is still an 18th century Polish ghetto. They’re a fringe group with no influence on American Jewry.

      For the record, I am a Conservative rabbi. I believe in evolution and in spelling. I lead a congregation in which I proudly try to model my belief in both those values.

      1. The ever-available response of (fill in the blank) believers about followers of other religious sects… “Those guys have religion all wrong. We certainly don’t do such nasty things or believe such silly stuff”.

        All the while maintaining the existence of a deity without a shred of evidence.

    2. I don’t get Atheists ? How can any one believe the world just came into existence ? You believe there’s no gd so you can avoid him.

      1. How can any one believe the world just came into existence ?

        Why not? At the quantum level, that’s exactly what happens to particles all the time. In the early moments of the Big Bang, the entire universe was smaller than many subatomic particles, so quantum rules applied and spontaneous “just happened” cosmogenesis is entirely reasonable.

        You believe there’s no gd so you can avoid him.

        Which god? There’re so many to choose from. Do you refuse to believe in Quetzalcoatl just so you can avoid him? Do you really think that’s a wise strategy? Like he won’t notice you if you close your eyes, stick your fingers in your ears, and singsong loudly? Or might it be that you don’t believe in him because you know he’s just a faery tale and you’ve grown out of such nonsense?



  6. At least the Jewish crazies are pulling their rationalizations out of, you know, their own book(s) for a change, which lends a little more interpretive credence to their Quixotic quest – convincing Upper West Side secular Jews, (some fairly sophisticated people, shall we say) through the use of giant plush toys(!) – that the Universe is actually 5000 years old.

    Love the comment by the first poster at the original article – “i am telling you the world is going meshuga insane…” :>D

    1. “Upper West Side secular Jews, (some fairly sophisticated people, shall we say)”

      And yet, the Haredim thought it necessary to add the word “Bible” in parentheses after “The Jewish Torah” on their placard. Surely even the upper west side secular Jews know what “Torah” means?

      The bit about no life on other planets is rather odd. First, it seems to be a non sequitur, and second, it’s contrary to some orthodox Jewish commentaries that I’ve seen on the subject. Maybe this was a particularly benighted group of “frummers”.

      1. But isn’t “Jewish” implicit in “Torah”? Is there any other kind of Torah besides the Jewish?

        Oh, I forgot: the Samaritans.

    2. Not exclusively – over 10 years ago in a sociology of religion class I attended a lecture by a Lubavitcher rabbi. Asked about the subject of this posting, etc. and got answers which illustrated, alas, an example of religious syncretism – he mentioned an handful of the Christian creationist stuff.

  7. In this case, I was wondering if the additional “o” was intended to make it a stronger form of “prove”, a bit like the use of “iff” in formal logic.

  8. Bwahah, “There is no life on other planets.” This is so out of left field — it’s the funniest thing I’ve seen all week.

    Next item on the list of Very Important Tenets of Weird Jewish Creationism: “Dumbledore was not gay.”

    1. But seriously, my impression is that this sort of extreme fundamentalism isn’t typical of Judaism to the extent that it is of Christianity and Islam. The announcement itself even admits that “it is being organized by a small very vocal group”, so I’m a bit reluctant to join in with ridicule here.

      1. Why not? It’s the people who actually put up the sign that are being ridiculed- it wouldn’t matter if it was a group of 2 or a group of 200 million, it’s still equally ridiculous.

      2. Lunatics are everywhere, I wonder if the percentage of Jewish nuts is any different than any other religion? I expect the main difference is that Jewish nuttery tends to be reclusive and separationist rather than proselytising.

  9. Humans give birth to humans… check!
    Giraffes give birth to giraffes… check!
    Dogs give birth to dogs… check!
    Monkeys give birth to monkeys… check!
    There is no life on other planets… possibly wrong!

    4 out of 5! Not bad!

    “I want the people to know that they still have two out of three branches of the government working for them, and that ain’t bad!” —Jack Nicholson!

  10. To me (an ex-Orthodox atheist with a rabbinic degree) the funniest part is that they get the Jewish part wrong *too*. You’re probably familiar with how Christian YECs come up with their dates: mostly via Bishop Usher’s influence. But Jews don’t truck with bishops. Jewish YECs generally abide by the timeline in the Tannaitic book Seder Olam Rabba:
    (It’s way older then Bishop Usher’s work–which makes it truer, of course.)

    That’s where the JPAC kooks get the year 5772 from. Here’s why it’s funny: the rabbis that compiled Seder Olam Rabba back then didn’t even know their own Jewish history! (To be fair, who back then did?) The Jewish world had simply forgotten about an entire 165 years of our own history, and when reconstructing it from fragmentary records and memories skipped a whole lot of kings:

    Which means that even according to a Genesis-based chronology the year is actually 5937! So not only are they wrong about the history of life, they’re wrong about the history of Judaism. EPIC FAIL.

    1. they’re wrong about the [fictional] history of Judaism


      there ain’t much evidence for a lot of those supposed kings, either.

        1. nope, they mangled their own, but got the PERSIANS right.

          that’s the interesting bit.

          most of those jewish kings?

          no evidence they ever existed at all.

          ask Hector Avalos if you don’t believe me.

      1. Dominic, It depends on what you mean by “heaven.” The author of the first creation story in the Bible depicted god as separating the water above the sky (yeah, I know) from the water on which dry land rested (yeah, I know) by setting a hard dome called the firmament/rakia (yeah, I know) in between. the stars, moon and sun are *in* the firmament, which rotated. That was the cosmology of the P authors so that’s the “heaven” they’re imagining god making in their creation story. Once you know this, the text makes MUCH more sense, especially in the original Hebrew.

        1. Yes of course. But I am not sure that the ancient Jews even believed in an afterlife other than something like the Greek one where shades dwell in perpetual gloom – ? Sheol, the pit becoming a fiery Hell under Zoroastrian influence?

  11. I find this fascinating, but not surprising.

    It also answers a question I had about whether or not Jews of any stripe believed that their calendar corresponded to the inception of the universe. I now can answer in the affirmative, thereby filling my “learn something new every day” quota.

    I lived in the NY metro area for almost 20 years, and I can report that there are enclaves of seriously ultra-religious, ultra-Orthodox, ultra-right-wing Jews pretty much everywhere. They live in self-segregated communities delimited by the distance one can reasonably walk to temple on the sabbath.

    My atheist-Jewish friend Neal called them “savage Jews”, because they treated each and every person they came across with contempt. For the logical reason (to them) that everyone except themselves were not among Yahweh’s chosen people, and therefore were not deserving of respect, fair dealings in business, etc.

    No, this bit of theater does not surprise me one tiny bit.

    1. That’s a pretty sweeping statement by your friend, if he meant it to apply to all haredim.

      I am far closer to Neal in my personal beliefs (based on your description of him) than I am to the ultra-orthodox, but I have never been treated with contempt by any haredi person or persons with whom I have come into contact, in whatever city and country I have met them.

      1. Then you don’t get out much. I’ve been lied to, cheated, given a worse deal than my Jewish neighbor…and on and on.

        They simply do not care about you if you’re not in their little club within a club.

        1. The point is that my experience (and that of others of my acquaintance who are not Jews) has not been the same as yours. What I was questioning was the generalization that I inferred from another note that all haredim “treated each and every person they came across with contempt”, something that I know from personal experience is not true.

            1. My experience matches Kevin’s.
              What Kevin said is something that I know from personal experience IS true.

              Unless you are objecting to a falsely assumed argument that Kevin is saying this to be true of all, everywhere. That is a strawman.

              Heh. And I agree that this bit of theater doesn’t surprise. I’ve seen anti-evolution/anti-Big_Bang tracts in the neighborhood, and heard snippets of anti-science conversation that run along those lines.

        2. There are a lot of sects of Haraidim (and Chassidim, which are similar), so some will be mean and others not. I’m guessing Kevin is talking about specific sect(s) or talking as a general rule.

          On this topic, I know a Jew-owned business that does not deal with the ultra-Orthodox because they are cheats and don’t pay their bills.

  12. At first glance I thought the stuffed dog was Scooby-Doo!
    Those ultra orthodox JPAC-ers would have gotten away with it too, if it wasn’t for those pesky evolutionists!

  13. I can’t find where the Torah (bible) says there are other planets. I can’t see where it even says that Earth is a planet. Oh dear now I’m confused again – is there some medication I should be taking? will gingko biloba help do you think?
    Do these folks do it on purpose or are they just invincibly ignorant?

    Anyway, I’ve been reading up on this and the universe is definitely AT LEAST 6000 years old.

  14. Do these guys happen to know that “every species gives birth to its own species”, aka “the iron law of the nature”, is a quote right out of Mein Kampf?

    1. Really? I had assumed Hitler had at least some acquaintance with Darwin’s writings even if only second hand? One does not often see it in bookshops.

  15. – As long as we all are marry.

    By the way, is this why they are called “gay”? I always wondered.

    – It’s a dog marry dog world.

    – The Marry Men of Sheer Wood.

    1. Yes – why shouldn’t consenting dogs & men marry – though that would be a gay marriage. Perhaps if it is man & bitch or woman & dog it is OK! But seriously, this fellow should not care about anyone other than his own silly self so why does he get so het up about the blooming rest of us?!

  16. Well, at least they believe the Torah.

    That the thing about YEC’s: if the Bible is at all accurate, YEC is the logical conclusion. Of course, that means all the relevant sciences are just wrong, but if you think the Bible is delivered from God, there you are.

    I do get weary of the doubletalk of those who keep arguing for some validity for Adam and Eve, special creation, etc. and also claiming to accept science. At least these guys have a logically consistent position.

    Of course of these Bible stories are just regarded as methaphor, no problem. You can haz metafour!

    1. “If the bible is at all accurate”

      That’s not a very good debating point. As all thinking people know full well, the bible, the OT in particular, is a amalgam of history, poetry, myth, philosophy, prophecy, song, and who knows what else. Some of the history is actually true!

      But the truth of some (minor) parts of the OT in no way implies the truth of the whole shebang.

      1. Some of the history is actually true!

        very little of it, actually, and less and less as we do more and more related archeology.

    2. if the Bible is at all accurate, YEC is the logical conclusion.

      not at all.

      say the bible was indeed accurate (it ain’t, but let’s just run with it).

      this says nothing about precision, or completeness.

      as noted someone noted above, entire generations were left out until recently(?).

      there is no way to verify what is and is not missing. that has little to do with how accurate or not it is.

      Ok, so let’s say it’s just the “word of god” then…

      if accurate, god never says how old the world is, and if the book of Job is any indication, asking him wouldn’t be, uh, prudent.

      NO, this whole concept of the bible/Torah telling us how old the world is is nothing more than an artificial, imaginary construct, and poorly done at that.

      so even the bible DOES NOT SUPPORT any contention as to how old the world is.

      let’s get at least this one point clear.

      1. Actually, the Bible does tell us how old the universe is. The universe’s supposed age comes from adding up the biblical generations. That’s where the roughly 6000 years comes from.

        Of course there is debate about some particulars, but that’s the rough number. You can add a few (or few dozen) supposedly missing generations, and it doesn’t make much difference.

        What we don’t get is how long Adam (and later Eve) were in the garden before getting kicked out. Ussher figured it must have been the same day and based his figures on that.

        And of course one can consider the whole exercise so much bullshit. But if the Bible is an accurate description of real events, that’s what you get.

        And of course when we compare the biblical age of the Earth or the universe with any scientific measure, we can see how wrong the Bible was.

        1. Actually, the Bible does tell us how old the universe is. The universe’s supposed age comes from adding up the biblical generations.


          It’s like you didn’t even read what I wrote at all.

          NO IT DOESN’T.

          please, re-read my post and try again?

          and do better next time?

          1. I did read what you wrote. The ‘completeness’, ‘precision’, ‘missing generations’, etc. are misleading arguments, IMO, and they don’t change the dating by even one order of magnitude.

            Have you actually read Genesis? The dating to take us up an intersection with historic periods (e.g, Pharonic Egypt) is pretty easy to calculate — and in fact, it was done precisely long ago, although the numbers for the total age of the Earth vary a bit depending on some assumptions (especially from Solomon onwards). These Jewish YEC’s differ from Ussher’s YEC estimates by only about 243 years.

            Like Adam and Eve, the biblical dating of the Earth is just wrong.

            1. are misleading arguments,


              think of it this way:

              would you try to figure out how long a year is by using a calendar that was provably missing several months?

              likewise, since the bible is provably missing large segments of the very thing used to calculate age (generations), then it CANNOT BE USED TO CALCULATE AGE.

              don’t know why you’re being so dense about this, but it’s pretty obvious to anyone who has looked at the VAST number of attempts that have been made to use the bible as a calendar, and seen that NONE of them agree.

              there’s a reason for that.

              1. How accurate does it need to be for the argument, though? Surely the estimates made by Ussher et al. don’t have more than a couple orders of magnitude possible “error”. In other words, if the Bible is true, then the earth simply can’t be more than some thousands to tens of thousands of years old, as YECs claim. (True, one may not be able to get a precise age from the Old Testament, but its sufficient to get an upper bound for the argument to hold.)

                Or am I misunderstanding your claim?

              2. How accurate does it need to be for the argument, though?

                that’s my point, the accuracy or innaccuracy is irrelevant.

                Usher (et MANY al) make the assumption it is a complete record, let alone whether any particular part of that record is accurate, or even fictional.

                it simply isn’t even complete.

                the attempt to construct an age from that cobbled bunch of scrawls is no less silly that trying to construct how long it takes the earth to go around the sun by using a calendar that is missing several months in it.

            2. These Jewish YEC’s differ from Ussher’s YEC estimates by only about 243 years.


              even the earliest jewish estimates varied by more than that:

              The earliest post-exilic Jewish chronicle preserved in the Hebrew language, the Seder Olam Rabbah, compiled by Jose ben Halafta in 160 AD, dates the creation of the world to 3751 BC while the later Seder Olam Zutta to 4339 BC.[9]

              I think you are deliberately missing my point.

  17. Ah, so sad. We have more hypocrites who use the same science that shows their myths to be wrong every day as long as it makes them comfy! What pathetically willfully ignorant people. It’s a pity we can’t force them to live in the mud huts that they seem to want to return to.

  18. I’m not sure which is more embarrassing to me: Jewish creationists who make really stupid arguments, or Jews who can’t write and spell.

    Jerry: you misspelled “Joos”

  19. Somehow a man marrying a dog wasn’t the funniest sentence.
    This was:

    “Young Chareidi activists will display stuffed animals with their babys and cubs to proove evolution is a myth.”

    Yes, obviously you can “proove” evolution is a myth with stuffed animals….

  20. I once met a Hindu creationist. That was a bit different. Hindus are not concerned with shortening Earth’s history; according to the Hindu time cycle, the universe could be hundre3ds of billions of years old. So there were some definite differences from the usual Biblical literalist YEC viewpoint.

  21. I’m with you on the embarrassment thing> It appears ignorance knows no religious boundaries … oh, wait, I knew that already … eric can’t-or is an embarrassment to the human race, as well as to sapient Jews. Interestingly, he disproves this NY BS of humans producing humans thereby disproving evolution … by his mere existence, assuming his parents actually produced him, he indeed follows Newton’s law “For every action [e.g., evolution] there is and equal and opposite reaction [e.g., devolution … i.e., eric can’t-or] !

  22. Scary. Just today I there was an article published on the ABC website that may explain the spelling: Israel’s existence is under threat

    The bit that explains it is “In [ultra orthodox] religious schools, children don’t learn mathematics, science, or English; only the Bible. All day, every day. And Haredi men are expected to – and do – continue that Bible study for the rest of their lives.”

    Is that really true? If so: wow.

    It sounds like fundamentalist Christianity, Islam and Judaism have more than just a book of stories to relate them. They have a common approach to education as well 🙁

    1. Wow, that was an eye-opener.

      Israel’s ultra-orthodox Jews don’t work, don’t pay taxes and don’t serve in the army. Not surprisingly, it’s a pretty sore point.

      So…that works…how?

      And the bit about the disparate birthrates…yikes!

      1. More or less the same way it works in the US, I’m afraid. Politicians are more interested in remaining politicians than they are in trying to solve their own country’s problems. And the unfit reproduce (and vote reactionary).

  23. Back in 2005, I remember reading in the English-language Jewish weekly The Forward about condemnation of some books by an Orthodox Rabbi/biologist Natan Slifkin who supported theistic evolution, but accepted the scientific age for the Earth and the universe. His books were banned by a group of ultra-Orthodox Rabbis for saying that the Talmud (commentaries on the Torah, which is known to Christians as the “Old Testament”) could err factually on such things. There is a Wikipedia entry about him and the controversy (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Natan_Slifkin#Controversy).

    Apparently Rabbi Slifkin has a blog called “Rationalist Judaism”!

  24. I suggest to disprove this creationistic claim with a counter-demonstration featuring stuffed puppets of Pokemons. Every kid knows they evolve/develop/transform.

  25. The fellow who put together this sign is a “stuck haredi” fellow named Friedman. He’s haredi, but hates being haredi. (Or perhaps he’s no longer haredi.) So, he wants to smear them all by expressing extremist views whenever he can. It’s part mental illness, part grudge.
    I think he gets the jollies when people take his antics seriously.

  26. Well are you all saying the banks and major companies have misprinted our Jewish calenders by writing 5772 instead of 5 billion years. Should I believe banks like Chase,Apple and Citi calenders or some pot smoking professor.

  27. It seems like a crude fraud. This was noted by others. The Torah is only a part of the Bible not the Bible so it would be a crude way of writing what the Torah is and why would a Jewish group feel the need to translate what Torah means? Also Rosh HaShana is two days not one. Also the Jewish day starts in the previous evening. It hardly seems likely that only one day would be specified and further giving an English date off by hours for a measurement of the universe’s age would also be highly unlikely.

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