BeliefNet Interview With Rabbi Natan Slifkin; Klinghoffer Politely Skewered

Rabbi Natan Slifkin, the now-banned author whose earlier books so traumatized haredi gedolim, is interviewed by Steven I. Weiss for BeliefNet:

I can’t speak for Yeshiva University or anyone else, but many rabbis believe, like me, that [the Discovery Institute Senior Fellow David] Klinghoffer‘s column [in the Forward] was profoundly problematic. He claimed that Darwinian evolution would render Judaism void and meaningless, which is simply not the case. The “randomness” of evolution that he found so objectionable is no more antithetical to Judaism than the “randomness” of history, in which Judaism perceives the creator as working within the laws of nature and the seemingly arbitrary forces of chance and circumstance.

Rabbi Slifkin’s newest book is a revised and expanded version of The Science of Torah called The Challenge of Creation. According to Rabbi Slifkin, this is what has been added:

I have elaborated upon many other topics, such as other cases in history where Torah scholars confronted challenges from science, the issue of literalism in interpreting Scripture, and questions posed by the existence of ancient civilization. There is also a lengthy discussion of intelligent design, which is a hot topic these days.

Of course Klinghoffer & Co. are profoundly wrong, and it is no coincidence their error mirrors Fundamentalist Christianity – it is who they work and shill for. That they have managed to influence haredim including Chabad to buy into Intelligent Design is no great surprise. One only needs to revisit the Slifkin Ban to see the vast ignorance of Jewish theology and the vapid reasoning so commonly found in today’s haredi gedolim.

The only Modern Orthodox inroad of note ID has made is YU’s Rabbi Dr. Moshe David Tendler, who after publicly supporting ID, refused to answer questions about ID posed to him, perhaps because he was unable to answer, or perhaps because he was preoccupied with the self destruction of his sons.

[By the way, SIW is getting married in three days.]



Filed under Bans, Haredim, Jewish Leadership, Modern Orthodoxy, Torah and Science

4 responses to “BeliefNet Interview With Rabbi Natan Slifkin; Klinghoffer Politely Skewered

  1. Is David Klinghoffer related to the Leon Klinghoffer who was thrown overboard from a ship that was hijaced by Arabs?
    As for Rav Tendler, he is the chairman of the biology dep’t at Yeshiva University. Many years ago at an AOJS function (when AOJS was still an association of scientists), I had the pleasure of hearing him speak. He referred to evolution as one of the most fructifying concepts in science and decried the haredi party line and how one is subjected to “halakhic terrorism” (his words) if one challenges it. Now it seems he bought into the party line. It is a sad case of a man’s old age embarrassing his youth; too bad the embarassment spreads to YU as well.
    By the way, who is SIW?

  2. Paul Freedman

    imo it ain’t random: it’s all, the good and bad, in some way we don’t understand, part of hashgacha and hashgacha is the foundation of natural phenomena

  3. Paul Freedman

    see also Steven Jay Gould and his disagreement with Dawkins that random genetic mutation on the level of gene followed by natural selection exhausts what is going on in the growth of biological complexity if we are using strictly materialist-type explanations (non-creationist)–which is not to say he believed in providence.

  4. S.

    >Is David Klinghoffer related to the Leon Klinghoffer who was thrown overboard from a ship that was hijaced by Arabs?

    He is. Or rather, his family is as he is adopted. He mentions this in his memoir/ spiritual odyssey “The Lord Will Gather Me In.”

    See here.

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