Volume 16 Number 56
                       Produced: Tue Nov 15 18:19:08 1994

Subjects Discussed In This Issue: 

Age of the Universe - Not!
         [Yisroel Rotman]
Age of the Universe, the Earth, and Refuting Science
         [Stan Tenen]
Age of Universe etc.
         [Moishe Kimelman]
Bad Evidence for Age of Earth
         [Bobby Fogel]
Kabbalah and Age of the Earth
         [Yitzchok Adlerstein]


From: Yisroel Rotman <SROTMAN@...>
Date: Mon,  14 Nov 94 8:19 0200
Subject: Age of the Universe - Not!

Independant of the discussion of the age of the universe and the
allegorical interpretation of Parshat Noach, it would be interesting to
have a general discussion of "heresy" - what are the limits of what an
orthodox jew must believe?  For example,

1.  The age of the universe (we've covered this)
2.  The age of the Zohar
3.  The allegorical interpretation of the first chapter of Beraishit (we've
	covered this)
4.  The degree of literary freedom in the Torah - e.g., could the
	names Aldad and Meidad in the torah be fictional?
5.  The accuracy of the timelines in the Talmud
6.  The medical advice in the Talmud.
7.  The accuracy of the Midrash.
8.  The accuracy of the text of the Nach as we now have it.

Note the wide distribution of the importance of the subjects above.
I am not asking what people believe - I am asking what people must believe.

		Yisroel Rotman


From: Stan Tenen <meru1@...>
Date: Mon, 14 Nov 1994 11:24:44 -0800
Subject: Age of the Universe, the Earth, and Refuting Science

David Porsche's comments in m-j 16 no. 53 are intriguing.  I hadn't 
thought of it that way before, but I think his point is well taken.  If 
it takes relativity theory to understand "creation" how could anyone 
prior to our time understand it?  That doesn't make much sense and it is 
insulting to our sages of past generations.

So, my conclusion is that relativity theory is NOT necessary to 
understand creation in Torah.  Any "technology" needed to understand 
Torah must have been available at the time of Moshe.  (That is one 
reason why it was so important to me to discover that ONLY the skills 
listed in Shmot are actually required to understand how the Hebrew 
letters are generated and how the equal interval letter skip patterns 
could be in Torah.)

The Lubavitcher Rebbe (ztz'l) was far from the first to suggest that a 
"Day" in the Creation story is really a "phase" and not a unit of time 
at all, but I believe regardless of who suggested it, that it is a 
correct suggestion.  Yom (day) is merely Yam (sea) with a Vov in the 
middle.  Yod-Mem(final) means "sea" and it refers to any great expanse 
(final Mem) of life-energy (Yod).  When we put a "pin" or a "spine" in 
the middle of this living expanse, the expanse begins to rotate about 
the "pin."  The "pin" is the Vov in the middle of the "sea."  The "sea" 
cycles - goes through phases - when it has a pole (a Vov, a pin, a 
spine) to sPIN around.  Thus Yom (Yod-Vov-Memfinal) designates the first 
cycling.  Because the most obvious and primary cycle in daily life is 
the day/night cycle, Yom comes to mean "Day" when there are humans 
around to experience one.

There is no conflict between scientific creation and Torah creation from 
this point of view.

Stan Tenen


From: <kimel@...> (Moishe Kimelman)
Date: Mon, 14 Nov 1994 14:10:04 +1100
Subject: Age of Universe etc.

In mj #53 David Charlap writes:

What's wrong with the simple theory (proposed by the Lubavitcher Rebbe
ztz"l) that a "Day" in the Creation story is really a "phase" and not
a unit of time at all?

I think that you will find that the Lubavitcher Rebbe said nothing of the 
sort, and that he was quite adamant in maintaining that six days meant six 
24-hour periods.



From: <bobby@...> (Bobby Fogel)
Date: Mon, 14 Nov 1994 12:15:34 +0000
Subject: Bad Evidence for Age of Earth

While I have gently corrected some of the the "bad science" previousely
to have hit M.J. issues by some of the creationsists in our forum, it
appears that some "bad science" is being presented by those espousing a
4.5 billion year world as well.  Since nothing can be learnt by either
side using bad information.........here we go again!

Sam Lightstone's remarks concerning his belief in the 4.5 billion year
old age of the earth contained several incorrect peices of evidence that
I just cannot let lie without correction.

>3) it is known and measured that the crust of the earth floats on a "sea"
>of magma.  The continents floating on this magma are drifting.  This causes
>the movement of the continents, volcanos etc.  Most mountain ranges are
>actually formed when continents collide (smush).  Likewise, it is no
>coincidence that when looking on a map you observe that North America seems
>as though it fits with Europe like pieces of a puzzle.  This is the model
>known as Plate Techtonics.  We know that today the continents are drifting
>at a rate of about 1 inch / year.  Using this model, and assuming the rate
>of drift is somewhat constant then the age of the earth can be calculated
>at around 4 billion years.  Even if the rate of drift were not constant, it
>is unreasonable to estimate an age value of the earth using this model that
>was less than a billion years.

First: The crust does not float on magma.  The "lithosphere" (crust +
top layer of the earth's mantle) rides on top of the "asthenosphere"
which is the area of the mantle below the lithosphere that behaves
ductily.  This is Solid material with perhaps a few persent of pratially
melted mantle, that because of its high temperatur,e is much more
viscous than the lithosphere and behaves as, l'havdel, playdough and
moves in such a manner.

Second.  I have never heard of any creadible geologist making the
calculation of a 4 billion year earth from the rate of plate movement.
The reason why you can't make this calculation is because the different
plates on the earth's surface move at different speeds.  Moreover
different areas of the Same Plate move at different rates.  For example:
the relative velocity of the South American plate and the African plate
(ie. the spreading of the south atlantic) range from 2.5
centimeters/year in the mid atlantic to 4.1 centimeters/year in the
south atlantic.  The Pacific plate, on the other hand, is moving away
from the Nazca plate (the plate on the western side of South America) at
a much faster relative velocity of 17.2 centimeters/year (at a location
of roughly the equator)!  You'll notice that Sam's number of 1 inch/year
only holds for the slowest speed mentioned here (2.5 cm/yr) and is
totally off for the fastest speed.

Third: In order to make such a calculation you need a starting point.
(i.e.  the plates starting to move away from some point(s) on the
surface of the earth.)  However, there are no more starting point(s)
left. Old oceanic crust dives back into the earth's mantle at Subduction
Zones.  Consequently the oldest oceanic crust on the earth that is still
an active part of a plate is only a 200-300 million years old.  Add to
that the fact that plate geometry has changed many times in earth
history, make this calculation of no scientific value.

Fourth: although scientist have differing opinions, there is no "Proof"
for the existence of plate tectonics for the first billion years of
earth history.

Fifth: There is much evidence which indicates that spreading rates do
change, (and by alot) over time

>4) If the world was created with sea water being pure H2O, which salinized
>over time, the approximate number of years before the sea reached its
>current level of salinization before reaching equilibrium would be about 4.5
>million years.

This is such bad science I dont even know what to make of it.  Early
earth atmosphere has been the subject of many research proposals in the
last few years, specifically because we know almost nothing about it.
There are those who favor lots of methane and amonia in the early earth
atmosphere and those who favor early outgassing of water.  We dont know
when the earth's early oceans began and what composition they contained.
Yes, sodium and chlorine are constantly being added to the ocean.  NO,
we know almost nothing of the increase in the earth's salinity before
about 500 million years ago,

>6) The magnetic core of the earth changes polarity with regular intervals.
>By examining the magnetic residue in ore we can see roughly how many times
>the polarity has change in the history of the earth.  The rate of change of
>this polarity is also fairly constant.  Using this measurement to age the
>earth also establishes an age of over 4 billion years.  Even if the rate of
>change of the polarization is severely off, there's no way to come anywhere
>near 6000 years.

There is almost nothing right about this comment.  The polarity changes
spoken of here are called "magnetic anomalies" and the ones scientists
have used to understand plate movements and core convection are of the
oceans basaltic crust.  The rate of change of these anomolies are
anything but constant and how this is used to get an age of 4 billion
years is at best the subject of poorly written high school texts.

>7) Finally, the most overwhelming argument is the fact that so many
>independent means all agree to an estimated age of the earth of 4.5 billion
>years, in a universe at least 10 billion years.  A single theory alone is
>suspect.  Numerous supportive models, validated through experimentation,
>are very convincing.

I would ammend this to say " the most overwhelming argument is the fact
that so many independent means agree that the earth is much older than
6000 years"

As for Dr.  Schroeder "Genesis and the Big Bang", I must admit that I
have not read it but it alludes me how one can make a calculation as to
the the relative time pasasge for Hashem (viewer from outside the
Universe) vis a vie a viewer from earth.  I do not believe that these
calculations are within our grasp to make (at least not yet).

First: What mass do you use for the universe.  That observed now:
implies an open universe.  Or one that includes the "missing mass" that
would produce a closed universe.  Almost on a yearly basis
astrophysicists report on their ability to see more "darker mass" and
revise their estimates of universal mass.

Second.  The rate at which the Universe is expanding has constantly been
decreasing. Thus such a claculation would be quite formidable.  Not to
mention the huge assumptions one would have to make as to the derivative
of the universal expannsion rate with time.

 From a theological basis I also do not like the idea that G-d
is"outside" of anything as a viewer. If you allow Hashem to be "outised"
of anything then that implies limitation to the Creator.  You can stand
on your head and do mental gymnastics to get around it like "He's
outside but can still act on whats inside" yet this still implies
limitation since we can now speak of domains for Hashems presence.


From: Yitzchok Adlerstein <ny000594@...>
Date: Mon, 14 Nov 94 23:50:59 -0800
Subject: Kabbalah and Age of the Earth

In all the discussion concerning the age of the earth, I am surprised
that no m-jer that I remember invoked the kabbalistic notion of
"Shemitos" (cycles).  This teaching has it that we do not live in the
only world that ever existed, but that Hashem supervises repeated cycles
of creation and destruction, with subsequent worlds built upon the ruins
of previous ones.  This doctrine is familiar to most Torah students
because the Tifferes Yisrael championed it in his Derush Ohr HaChaim,
printed at the end of Seder Nezikin of the Mishna.  The Tiferes Yisrael
reacted with glee at the discovery of mammoth fossils, seeing them as
leftover artifacts from, and confirmation of, these previous worlds.

But the citation in Tiferes Yisrael is but the tip of the iceberg.  This
doctrine was so well established and publicized in early times, that the
Abarbanel rejected the efforts of some to treat it as Sod [hidden
teaching of the Torah] that should be kept under wraps.  R Aryeh Kaplan
zt"l, in an address to the Association of Orthodox Jewish Scientists in
1979, saw in this teaching a source- based approach to the apparent
antiquity of the earth that was not born of desperation, but of
faithfulness to early texts. (He vigorously rejected the idea that G-d
would create a world that was made to look old at the time of its
emergence.)  He pointed to the particular interpretation of R Yitzchok
of Acco (13th century) as supporting a world many billions of years old.
(For fuller treatment of Shemitos, see B'Ma'aglei HaNiglah V'HaNistar,
Yitzchok Weinstock (Mosad Rav Kook) pp. 153-241)

It might also be useful to cite a well-known letter of Rav Kook, zt"l
(Igros HaRayah #91).  The following translation is from my article in
Jewish Action, Fall '91:

     That there were many epochs before the counting of our present
     one [that could account for our discovery of paleontological
     remains] is commomplace to the earlier Kabbalists...We are not
     fully dependent on this argument, though, because even if it
     became apparent that life [in our epoch] came into being
     through the evolution of one species from another, there is no
     contradiction [to the Torah].  Our chronology follows the
     simple sense of the text, which has far greater value to us
     than knowledge of antiquity...The Torah's intent regarding the
     events of creation is certainly undisclosed, and it speaks in
     allusions and allegory.

     Surely all realize that ma'asei b'resihit are among the
     "Secrets of the Torah."  If those matters were to be
     understood simply and plainly, what "secrets" would there be? 
     The Midrash already stated: To relate the true powers of
     creation to flesh and blood is impossible.  Therefore,
     Scripture simply stated, "In the beginning, G-d created..."

     Every idea has its own weight; there is a reason for the
     timing of its discovery...The ancient Jewish community had to
     contend with idolaters, to make known that the quality of
     Man's actions was not insignificant, even though individual
     man was dwarfed by the world around him.  Imagine if people
     then had also known about the myriad worlds that modern
     science presents to us!  Man would have thought of himself and
     civilization as inconsequential, and he never would have
     developed a sense of the greatness and splendor of his
     existence.  It is only today, having long come to terms with
     the greatness that surrounds, that he is no longer frightened
     by the proportiosn of any other similar greatness...

Yitzchok Adlerstein
Los Angeles


End of Volume 16 Issue 56