Abstract

Jews and Christians both rely on Genesis 1–12 for their account of creation of cellular life on earth and the universe. For this reason both historical and modern Orthodox Jews also hold to the same basic belief in creation as do Bible-believing Christians. Both reject evolution, and both reject an evolutionary history of humans and instead accept the creation of Adam and Eve. The beliefs of believing Jewish scientists about creationism were reviewed, showing strong similarity with Christians in this area.


Keywords: Jewish Creationists, Genesis, Eminent scientists reject Darwinism.

Introduction

The claim that all, or almost all, Darwin-doubters are fundamentalist Christians is commonly found in both in the popular and professional scholarly literature. Ohio State University Professor Tim Berra averred, “Creationists, for the most part, are fundamentalist Christians whose central premise is a literal interpretation of the Bible and a belief in its inerrancy” (Berra 1990, p. viii). Professor Douglas Futuyma, in his classic work attacking all Darwin-doubters, mentioned Christian fundamentalists or the term fundamentalists in connection with those who have problems with Darwinism over 14 times on pages 5 to 7 alone. He concluded that the Christian “fundamentalist’s assault” on science involves the challenge to evolution that was “mounted by religious fundamentalists [adversely] touches us all” (Futuyma 1983, p. 5).

Futuyma then adds, “according to the fundamentalists, physicists are wrong” and all “geology is under siege” by Christian “fundamentalists” and “in the United States, fundamentalists religion, holding a literal interpretation of the Bible, has proved a more tenacious and powerful opponent” to Darwinism than anywhere else in the world (Futuyma 1983 pp. 5–6).

This claim is simply false. Some form of creationism has remained very strong among Christians, Jews, and Muslims down to this day (Bergman 1999). Actually, there are probably more Muslim creationists than Christian creationists in the world today. Furthermore, a large number of the 13 million Jews in the world are creationists. One survey of Israel, based on a random sample of 490 adults representing the entire Israeli population, found “a minority of only 28% accepts the scientific theory of evolution while the majority (59%) believe that man was created by God” as described in the Torah (Samuel Neaman Institute 2006). This is a higher percentage of creationists than in most Western Christian nations. One reason is the text of Genesis is part of the Hebrew Scriptures revered by many Jews through the world.

Jewish Organizations That Oppose Darwinism

Of the many Jewish organizations that actively support creationism, oppose orthodox Darwinism, or both, one of the better-known is the National Conference of Synagogue Youth. One of its publications, A Science and Torah Reader (a special issue of Jewish Youth Monthly) was written by several prominent Jewish scientists who are generally not associated in the public mind with the creationist movement. These scientists have articulated well thought out scientific objections to Darwinism, and openly defend many central creationist beliefs (Branover 2007).

For example, Parasitologist Morris Goldman Ph.D., senior research scientist at Bionetics Corporation, wrote in his article “A Critical Review of Evolution” (1970, pp. 51–58) that Jewish youth should ask themselves if it is reasonable to question the validity of “the Darwinian doctrine of biological evolution,” a belief that is widely accepted today “by so many knowledgeable professionals” (1970, p. 42). He then asks,

What, if anything, is so terribly wrong with this doctrine [evolution] from a Jewish point of view? . . . The mere fact that lots of people believe in a particular hypothesis does not automatically make it true. Every scientific theory, every scientific doctrine must be examined and checked relentlessly in the light of information gathered constantly by reliable investigators. Thus, to question acceptable doctrine is to act in the best traditions of scientific research (1970, p. 42).

After establishing that Darwinism is incompatible with Judaism, Goldman proceeded to critically analyze the evidence for Darwinian evolution as presented in one of the most commonly used American high school biology textbooks, the blue version of the Biological Sciences Curriculum Study (BSCS) “from a strictly scientific view.” He concluded that “Darwinian Evolution is not a scientifically self-sufficient hypothesis, as is so often assumed. Instead, it is a doctrine resting on faith that satisfies the secularist yearning of our age” (1970, p. 50).

Other articles in this journal include “Genetics versus Evolution” (pp. 59–60) by Dr. Edward Simon, Associate Professor of Biology at Purdue University, who concluded that the

amount of time it would take to 1) create a new gene, 2) make the gene useful for the organism 3) spread the gene throughout the species, and 4) put together enough of these genes in the proper sequence to change from one species to another by the process of natural selection would take many billions of times the age of the Earth. This casts rather serious doubts on any evolutionary theory (1970, p. 60).

Yet other articles include “Science vs. Evolution?” by electrical engineer Robert Perlman, “Geophysics or Faith?” by Manachem M. Schneerson, and “Science vs. Scientism” by Carl N. Klahr (1970).

Another book is by Greenberger (1990) who argues that the theory of human evolution is not supported by the scientific data, which he summarizes effectively.

Another journal named Intercom, the official organ of the Association of Orthodox Jewish Scientists in America, regularly publishes articles critical of “macro-evolution” and naturalism. Many Jewish Creationists involved in Intercom are physicians. Allen Bennet, M.D., is the current president, and out of ten Board of Governors, six are physicians. Reuben Gross defended a designed universe created ex-nihilo by noting that Darwinists teach “unwarranted claims such as the mutational mechanism as the means of producing viable genetic variety to allow natural selection to function (2006, p. 3).

Gross writes that “a major problem in the purported conflict between the Torah’s account of the origin of the World and the theory of evolution rests . . . on a failure fully to examine the theory of evolution as to all of its necessary implications” (2006, p. 2). Some of the “necessary implications” of evolution he noted included eugenics and the survival of the fittest mentality.

Another organization of Jewish professors and physicians recently printed an advertisement in the Jewish Press (the largest independent Anglo-Jewish weekly newspaper in America) signed by 49 Jewish physicians and scientists who supported the creation view. The ad concluded “the form and function of every organ of the human body testifies that they are the handiwork of a divine creator.”

University of Chicago physics Ph.D. Nathan Aviezer, a highly respected scientist and author of nearly one-hundred peer-reviewed scientific articles, wrote a book titled In the Beginning: Biblical Creation in Science (1990) defending creationism. Now professor of physics at Bar-Ilan University, he argued in this work that the current scientific evidence (not theory) is in remarkable agreement with the biblical account of creation. He added that modern scientific findings have not negated, but rather have clarified, many biblical passages. In another book Aviezer wrote that as an established

professional scientist for several decades, I greatly respect and value the scientific enterprise. However, one must not lose sight of the fact that scientific research is carried out by human beings, who are subject to the same shortcomings of prejudice, professional jealousy, and national pride that afflict us all. The history of science shows that subjective behavior has plagued some of the most famous scientists throughout their careers (2001, p. 193).

He expects that some of the “current contradictions between Torah and science”

well melt away as new scientific understanding emerges. In fact, this has already happened in many scientific disciplines, including geology, cosmology, and molecular biology, where the discoveries of the last few decades have led to a rapidly growing convergence between Torah and science (2002, p. 193).

On the origin of humans, Aviezer wrote:

At the present time, the origins of Modern Man are the subject of sharp controversy in scientific circles, with the champions of the two competing theories accusing each other of lacking scientific rigor. One can almost hear history repeating itself, leading one to wonder what comments future scientists will make about the current debates surrounding hominid paleontology (Aviezer 2002, p. 192).

He added that the “correct conclusion to draw from all these claims and counterclaims is that both” competing evolutionary schools

of scientists are right in dismissing their opponents’ methods of analysis, and therefore neither side has reliable arguments—or a reliable theory. The reader should keep these thoughts in mind the next time a well-known professor announces a new theory for the origins of mankind, and claims that only his theory is supported by “clear and convincing” scientific evidence. As we have seen, evidence that seems clear and convincing to one distinguished scientist may be described by his equally distinguished colleague as “inherently flawed, and relying on a long list of assumptions” (2005, p. 203).

As a result, Aviezer concludes creationism and the facts of science now compliment each other more then ever before in history. His chapter on the origin of life concluded that astute scientists express amazement at the number of “accidental occurrences” required for life to exist on earth but “the astonishment quickly disappears if one sees divine purpose, instead of arbitrariness, in the laws of nature” (1990, p. 74).

Rabbi Mayer Schiller, in a book about his road back to Judaism, discussed the reasons he returned to traditional Judaism (1981). He is involved with a group called Toward Tradition that encourages cooperation between Jews and conservative Christians. He is also an expert on the works of Oxford University Professor and Christian apologist C. S. Lewis. One reason he gives for his conversion back to Judaism is the cosmological argument for God. He explained that to

prove the existence of God by pointing to the existence of the world has been one of the most popular ways in which metaphysicians of all faiths have sought to demonstrate the reality of a Creator. In its simplest form, the cosmological argument is used by believers everywhere. Just stop and ask Mr. Average Believer why he adheres to the doctrine of a God who created the world and he will invariably reply, “Well, somebody or something had to have gotten things started.” In so replying, Mr. Average Believer has very neatly summed up the thoughts of literally thousands of theologians who have delved into this argument in depth (Schiller 1981, p. 126).

Another well-known Jewish anti-Darwin book is Not By Chance (1997) by Dr. Lee Spetner. His book was favorably reviewed, and sold by, several Christian creationists organizations. Professor Spetner, a Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Ph.D., was for many years a biophysicist at Johns Hopkins University until he moved to Israel. A very accomplished scientist, he has published articles that support creationism in Nature and other leading peer-reviewed scientific journals.

Yet another Jewish creationist is Gerald Schroeder, a physicist also with a doctorate from MIT. His many books published by mainline New York publishers include Genesis and the Big Bang; The Discovery and Harmony Between Modern Science and the Bible (Bantam 1990): The Science of God: The Convergence of Scientific and Biblical Wisdom (Free Press 1997); and The Hidden Face of God: How Science Reveals the Ultimate Truth (2001). As the titles document, he has amassed a powerful case for creationism.

Dr. Schroeder concluded that the Bible and modern science discoveries agree on the origin of the universe, and that the two views can effectively be reconciled without compromising either when science fact is considered instead of science speculation. In his writing he has reviewed a large amount of scientific data from both physics and biology that relate to the Biblical record, concluding that many major scientific problems exist with Darwinism and that the scientific evidence supports intelligent design. He is also an effective and articulate critic of Richard Dawkins.

Rabbi Shmuel Waldman in his book Beyond A Reasonable Doubt discussed extensively the many major scientific differences of evolutionary theory. In a chapter titled “Compelling Evidence of a Creator” (2005, pp. 1–35) that reminds one of Paley’s writings, he covers much of the common evidence for creationism and against evolution. Included are discussions of the complexity and design the liver, the brain, the eye, and other sense organs (2005, pp. 21–33). He concluded:

This chapter has dealt with what is called the “Teleological Proof,” which shows the tremendous plan and purpose that is evident in all of the creatures that are found on our planet. It is widely considered the most effective way of showing that this world has a Creator (2005, p. 34).

In Appendix G titled “The Downfall of the theory of Evolution” (2005, pp. 251–276) Waldman covered the fossil record, mutations, and other major scientific difficulties with Darwinism. Oxford University Rabbi Shmuel Boteach, who has debated Richard Dawkins, wrote that the entire question of our origins that confronts most everyone sooner or later

has traditionally never confused the Jew. For him or her, the beginning of all existence was summed up in the first verse of the Torah: “In the Beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” In his monumental philosophical work, Guide of the Perplexed, Maimonides teaches: “Those who follow the law of Moses hold that the whole Universe has been brought by God into existence out of non-existence. This theory is undoubtedly a fundamental principle of law of Moses; it is next in importance to the principle of God’s unity” (1994, p. 531).

Rabbi Boteach concluded that many scholars have given credence to an atheistic explanation of the origin of life and existence,

which claims libraries of proof, and is popularly known as “evolution.” There can be no question, at least in my mind, that evolution has served over the past hundred and fifty years as the greatest challenge to traditional Judaism and biblical claims. Ever since it was first systematized and offered by its founder Charles Darwin, it has gnawed away at the faith of the believer (1994, p. 531).

The fact is, Boteach stressed the “most direct result of the surge in the respectability of the Theory of Evolution has been a discrediting of the biblical narrative of creation” (1994, p. 532). As result the creation worldview has incorrectly “been labeled as primitive, mythological and simplistic” (1994, p. 532). In contrast to the claims of the many Darwinists, debate on the validity of “macro-evolution” still exists, even at Oxford University. Boteach wrote if there is one issue that he was

constantly questioned about in Oxford, and indeed which has posed the greatest challenge to my work over the past five years, it is the spectre of science and evolution having supplanted religion and the need for a Divine origin for human existence. If God created us, then it makes sense to assume this was for a purpose. If life, however, sprang up by chance, then it follows that we owe no homage to a Creator or a tradition, both of whose validity are shaky at best [if evolution is true] (1994, p. 532).

The problem at Oxford University, Boteach concluded, is an unhealthy climate exists that has produced a dogmatic acceptance of the

propositions necessitated by the Theory of Evolution. If it is unhealthy for an individual to jump blindly into religious doctrines and belief, and I have constantly told my students that it is, then the same is true of scientific theory as well. Judaism has a very proud intellectual tradition which should continue to govern all aspects of our life (Boteach 1994, p. 532).

Yet another scientist, Dr. Yaacov Hanoka, who has a Ph.D. in solid state physics and 40 publications plus 56 patents, wrote that

Paleontologists who deal with human origins operate with the tacit assumption that evolution is an established fact. This leads to the belief that humans are descended from less advanced creatures, the so-called “hominids.” This view is totally at variance with what the Torah says regarding our origin. What, in fact, is the evidence for hominid evolution? There are, basically, two forms of “evidence.” One is the assignment and identification of a particular fossil—a task that has been suffused with controversy throughout the past century. The second is the dating of these fossils (Hanoka 2007, p. 37).

He then discussed the “heated controversies regarding fossil identification” and shows much of this does not constitute demonstrated science. Furthermore, he also explored the “problems contained within the fossil dates as they relate to geological factors” (2007, p. 37).

Other Eminent Jewish Scientists Who Reject Darwinism

Allan Sandage

Allan Rex Sandage earned his Ph.D. at Cal Tech under Walter Baade. Since 1952 he has been on the staff of Mt. Wilson and Palomar observatories. He is regarded as the “greatest observational cosmologist in the world” a man “who has deciphered the secrets of the stars, plumbed the mysteries of quasars, revealed the age of globular clusters, pinpointed the distances of remote galaxies, and quantified the universe’s expansion through his work at the Mount Wilson and Palomar observatories” (Strobel 2004, p. 69). Strobel adds that

Few scientists are as widely respected as this one-time protégé to legendary astronomer Edwin Hubble. Sandage has been showered with prestigious honors from the American Astronomical Society, the Swiss Physical Society, the Royal Astronomical Society, and the Swedish Academy of Sciences, receiving astronomy’s equivalent of the Nobel Prize. The New York Times dubbed him the “Grand Old Man of Cosmology” (Strobel 2004, p. 69).

Of interest is that “the ethnically Jewish Sandage had been a virtual atheist even as a child” (Strobel 2004 p. 69). Many assumed that “a scientist of his stature must surely be skeptical about God” because “the more deeply scientists see into the secrets of the universe, you’d expect the more God would fade away from their hearts and minds” (Begley 1998, p. 46). At one scientific meeting of atheists and theists,

Sandage set the room abuzz by . . . taking a chair among the theists. Even more dazzling, in the context of a talk about the Big Bang and its philosophical implications, he disclosed publicly that he had decided to become a Christian at age fifty (Strobel 2004, p. 70).

Some reasons why he left atheism include his conclusion, based on his scientific research, that the creation of the Universe must have been “a supernatural event that cannot be explained within the realm of physics as we know it. Science . . . can’t take us . . . to the First Cause. The sudden emergence of matter, space, time, and energy pointed to the need for some kind of transcendence” (quoted in Strobel 2004, p. 70). In summary he concluded that the “world is too complicated in all its parts of interconnections to be due to chance alone” (Sandage 1985).

Sandage concluded that it was his scientific research “that drove me to the conclusion that the world is much more complicated than can be explained by science. . . . It was only through the supernatural that I can understand the mystery of existence” (quoted in Strobel 2004, p. 70). Sandage added that

I am convinced that the existence of life with all its order in each of its organisms is simply too well put together. Each part of a living thing depends on all its other parts to function. How does each part know? How is each part specified at conception? The more one learns of biochemistry the more unbelievable it becomes unless there is some type of organizing principle—an architect for believers, a mystery to be solved by science (even as to why) sometime in the indefinite future for materialist reductionalists (1985).

Mortimer Adler’s Life-Long “Crusade Against Evolution”

Mortimer_Adler

Dr. Mortimer Adler, courtesy Center for the Study of The Great Ideas [GFDL (www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html), via Wikimedia Commons

Dr. Mortimer Adler (December 28, 1902 – June 28, 2001) was born into a Jewish family, became an agnostic, then converted from an evolutionist to a creationist and, eventually, to Christianity. A critical factor in his conversion was his life-long investigation of evolution, which eventually resulted in his rejection of Darwinism.

Adler is considered by many leading intellectuals to be one of the greatest thinkers in history. Adler wrote or co-authored over 45 books (all of them very successful) and 200 articles. He was also chairman of the board of editors of Encyclopedia Britannica for many years and his views were reflected in this work (Adler and V.J. McGill 1963). His 54-volume Great Books of the Western World has sold over a quarter of a million copies since 1952 (Bowen 1987).

Dr. Adler did his undergraduate work at Columbia University, finishing a four-year program in three years. He was ranked highest in his class and first on the Phi Beta Kappa list (Rothe and Lohr 1952, p. 377–378). He completed his Ph.D. in psychology at Columbia, then served as a professor at the University of Chicago for twelve years. His work is of such stature that a national center based on his educational concepts was established in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.

An Outspoken Opponent of Darwinism

Dr. Adler also was an active and outspoken opponent of Darwinism for almost a half-century (Gardner 1957). In 1985, Time magazine noted that Adler “dismasts Darwin” because, among many other reasons, Darwinism incorrectly categorized humans “as simply an animal with higher sensory perceptions” (Bowen 1985, p. 68). As a result of Adler’s life-long interest in Darwinism, he eventually wrote two books on the topic. In one, titled What Man Has Made of Man, Adler branded evolution a “popular myth,” and argued persuasively that it was not an established fact (Gardner 1957, p. 135). Martin Gardner even remarked that Adler “has for some time been carrying on a one-man crusade against evolution.”

Adler used the word “myth” to express his conclusion that Darwinist “vastly exceed the scientific evidence. . . . This myth is the story of evolution which is told to school children and which they can almost visualize as if it were a moving picture” (Gardner 1957, pp. 135–136, emphasis added). Specifically, Adler concluded that evolution “is an attempt to explain certain facts in biology by proposing hypotheses that are “not propositions to be proved, but are merely imaginative guesses about unobservable processes or events” (Adler 1957, p. 115, emphasis in original). Adler added that as a theory evolution is “wild speculation,” and “Darwin himself is partly responsible for much of this speculation”:

The Origin of Species is full of guesses which are clearly unsupported by the evidence. . . . Furthermore, these guesses, which constitute the theory of evolution, are not in the field of scientific knowledge anyway. They are historical. This conjectural history, begun by Darwin, was even more fancifully elaborated by the 19th century evolutionary “philosophers” (Adler 1957, pp. 115–116).

He added that the “post-Darwinian ‘scientific cosmologies”—Spencer, Haeckel, and the post-Darwinian ‘evolutionary philosophies’ such as that of Bergson—also consisted of wild speculations. Adler affirmed that evolution is “at best . . . history for which the evidence is insufficient and conflicting” (Adler 1957, pp. 116–117).

While still just a young man, Adler had read a collection of articles by different authors in a 1924 book by Ernest Haeckel and others titled Evolution in Modern Thought. Afterwards he said this book caused him to be “puzzled” by the “conflicting points of view” on evolution expressed by the different authors.

Try as I might, I simply could not figure out how evolution was supposed to work. I spent hours writing notes to myself and making diagrams in an effort to put down the steps by which a new species came into being (Adler 1977, p. 13).

He added that this puzzlement remained with him for years, and only when he read Darwin’s Origin of Species for the third time did he believe that he finally understood Darwinism. However, when he finally understood evolution, he found much that he disagreed with. Adler objected to the view that life lies “on a continuum in which one species fades into another by imperceptible changes” because the evidence is that species “differ not in degree as Darwin claimed but in kind, with a radical ‘discontinuity’ separating them” (Adler 1957, p. 136).

The Radical Discontinuity between Humans and Animals

Adler devoted an entire book to the “radical discontinuity” that exists between humans and animals, arguing that the difference is both major and critical (1967). Furthermore, humans and animals differ not just in degree (quantity), but in kind (quality). He later added that “since The Difference of Man and The Difference It Makes was published, scientific investigations have turned up additional evidence . . . [and thus, my conclusion] that man, with the powers of syntactical speech and conceptual thought, differs in kind from all nonlinguistic animals remains as clear and certain as before” (Adler 1977, p. 300). This view is documented in many of Adler’s other writings (Holley 1992).

Adler was an active anti-evolutionist for decades. A conference on Science, Philosophy and Religion held in New York City and other large cities each year from 1940 to 1968 drew many top scientists and philosophers, including Dr. Adler (Witham 2002, p. 28). At these meetings, Adler, who once said Darwinism is “full of guesses which are clearly unsupported by the evidence,” expressed concern about “materialist ideology” and scientism that “dominates every aspect of our modern culture” (Witham 2002, p. 28). Gardner recalls that one of many examples of what he calls Adler’s “blasts” against evolution was in a lecture presented at the University of Chicago in 1951:

Men and apes, he declared, are as different “as a square and a triangle. There can be no intermediate—no three and one-half-sided figure.” . . . If a scientist would only produce an ape that could speak “in simple declarative sentences,” Adler said, he would admit a close bond between man and monkey. . . . Only two explanations will fit all the facts, Adler concluded his speech. Either man “emerged” from the brute by a sudden evolutionary leap, or he was created directly by God (Gardner 1957, p. 137).

Adler once said that “scientists . . . are theologically naive. But that doesn’t seem to stop them from talking about beginnings and endings. The beginning wasn’t a Big Bang and the end won’t be a final freeze. But don’t try telling a scientist that” (Quoted in Muck 1990, p. 33).

Dr. Adler was very willing to speak out about his doubts about Darwinism in his lectures, articles, and books (Adler 1940). As a result, he articulated many major concerns that have not been satisfactorily addressed by evolutionists, even today. And Dr. Adler endured his share of attacks by Darwinists, especially from those in the atheistic community (For examples see Adler 1993; Stein 1982, p. 14; Muck 1990, pp. 32–34; and Ravitch et al. 1983, pp. 377–411).

Until he died, Dr. Adler was deeply committed to demonstrating God’s existence scientifically “beyond reasonable doubt” (Adler 1980, p. 19; 1990, p. 107). His confidence in God’s existence was based on the cosmological argument (the conclusion that the existence of a creation proves the existence of a Creator), and the fact that no form of evolution, including Neo-Darwinism, can account for the creation of either life or the cosmos (Adler 1980, pp. 136–137).

Paul Ehrlich

Dr. Paul Ehrlich, courtesy Alfred Krauth [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Ferdinand Julius Cohn.jpg

Ferdinand Julius Cohn. See page for author [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons.

Paul Ehrlich and Ferdinand Cohn, Jewish Darwin-doubters.

A Nobel Prize winner who was Jewish and a Darwin-doubter was Paul Ehrlich. He was awarded the Nobel Prize in 1908 and was a key worker under Robert Koch (Gillen and Oliver 2010). Most of Koch’s co-workers, although not biblical creationists, were Darwin-doubters. A major bacteriologist who was also both Jewish and a Darwin-doubter was Robert Koch’s “mentor” in bacteriology, Ferdinand Cohn. Gillen and Oliver added:

Ferdinand Cohn (a botany expert in Germany) on the natural history of pigmented bacteria. (At the time, all bacteria were classified as plants—order Schizomycetes.) As a trained botanist, it was Cohn who first established the classification of bacteria according to Linnaean classification principles. In 1875, Cohn published this early classification of bacteria, starting with the genus Bacillus, and this eventually established bacteriology as a formal science (Gillen and Oliver 2010; Gradman 2009).

Ernst Chain: The Man Who Revolutionized Medicine

Nobel laureate Ernest Chain, an active opponent of Darwinism and evolution, revolutionized medicine by his work as one of the principal founders of the antibiotics revolution, “one of the greatest discoveries in medical science ever made” (Masters 1946, p. 7). A little known fact is that Chain openly opposed Darwinism on the basis of his scientific research, not because of religion.

Ernst Boris Chain (June 19, 1906 – August 12, 1979) was born in Berlin, Germany, where he obtained his Ph.D. in biochemistry and physiology. A brilliant, multilingual student, Chain was most well known as a pioneering scientific researcher (Lax 2004, p. 59). Although he became a highly respected scientist, as a Jew, he foresaw what was coming and left his homeland not long after Hitler came to power (Asimov 1972, p. 712). He moved to England where he worked as a research scientist at Cambridge, then Oxford University, until 1948 (Schlessinger and Schlessinger 1986, p. 93). While at Oxford, his wife, Anne Beloff, earned a Ph.D. in biochemistry from Oxford and then did research at Harvard University (McMurray 1995, p. 335). Chain also completed a Ph.D. in biochemistry at Cambridge.

Ernst Boris Chain.jpg

Ernst Chain, courtesy Nobel Foundation (http://nobelprize.org/) [Public domain or Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

After Chain left Oxford, he worked in research and as a professor at several universities. The promise of better equipment than he was able to obtain in Britain lured Chain to Rome. The British science establishment and government, conscious of its loss, soon bribed Chain back by building a new laboratory for him to allow him to continue his research in biochemistry (Asimov 1972, p. 712). His life-long work was “all about the mystery of life” (Lax 2004, p. 63). In his 40-year search to understand this mystery, Chain accomplished “amazingly diverse achievements” (Mansford 1977, p. xxi).

Chain’s career epiphany came in 1938 when he stumbled across Fleming’s 1928 paper on penicillin in the British Journal of Experimental Pathology, which he brought to the attention of his colleague, Howard Florey (Lax 2004, p. 79). Chain’s chief contribution to penicillin was both to isolate and purify the drug. It was largely Chain’s work on penicillin that earned him his numerous honors and awards, including a fellow of the Royal Society and numerous honorary degrees (Lax 2004, p. 253).

His many awards—besides a Nobel Prize— include a knighthood in 1969, the Pasteur Medal, the Paul Ehrlich Centenary Prize, and the Berzelius Medal (Curtis 1993, p. 77–90). His Nobel was specifically for his research that demonstrated the structure of penicillin and for successfully isolating the active substance by freeze-drying the mold broth to make its use practical (McMurray 1995, p. 334).

Chain’s Doubts about Darwinism

One of Chain’s life-long professional concerns was Darwinism. He concluded that Darwin’s theory of evolution was a “very feeble attempt” to explain the origin of species based on assumptions so flimsy, “mainly of morphological and anatomical nature,” that “it can hardly be called a theory” (Quoted in Clark 1985, p. 147). In his words, the main theory that has dominated biology

for almost a century is that of the Darwin-Wallace concepts of evolution and natural selection through the survival of the fittest. This mechanistic concept of the phenomena of life . . . is a typical product of the naive 19th century euphoric attitude to the potentialities of science which spread the belief that there were no secrets of nature which could not be solved by the scientific approach given only sufficient time. There exist people even today who hold such views, but on the whole the scientists, and in particular, the biologists of the 20th century are less optimistic than their colleagues of the 19th century (Chain 1970, pp. 24–25).

A major reason why he rejected evolution was because it was a

hypothesis based on no evidence and irreconcilable with the facts. These classic evolutionary theories are a gross over-simplification of an immensely complex and intricate mass of facts, and it amazes me that they are swallowed so uncritically and readily, and for such a long time, by so many scientists without a murmur of protest (Chain 1970, p. 25).

Chain concluded that he “would rather believe in fairies than in such wild speculation” as Darwinism (Quoted in Clark 1985, p. 147). Chain’s eldest son added that there

was no doubt that he did not like the theory of evolution by natural selection—he disliked theories . . . especially when they assumed the form of dogma. He also felt that evolution was not really a part of science, since it was, for the most part, not amenable to experimentation—and he was, and is, by no means alone in this view (Quoted in Clark 1985, pp. 147–148).

Clark identified three factors that were important in Chain’s rejection of Darwin’s theory. The first one was Chain’s dislike of theories that could not be experimentally verified. In Chain’s words:

“I cannot work up too much enthusiasm for any theory, knowing that theories are ephemeral and, as new facts are discovered, must be dramatically changed or discarded. In my view they have no absolute value, and their usefulness consists essentially in their capacity to stimulate new experiments. This is, at least, the criteria by which I judge them” (Quoted in Clark 1985, p. 147).

To illustrate his point, Chain used an example from his own field of research: antibacterial therapeutic agent effectiveness, which was widely believed to be directly related to its color properties until Chain proved one antibacterial compound, namely sulfanilamide, was the result of its colorless component. Another reason he did not consider evolution a scientific theory was because it is obvious that “living systems do not survive if they are not fit to survive” and it “is equally obvious that if in a given species chance mutations give rise to genetic variants which in a particular ecological surrounding have a better chance of survival than other members of the species this will give them an advantage in survival value over their less fit competitors” (Chain 1970, p. 25).

Chain recognized that the problem was not the survival of the fittest but the arrival of the fittest. Furthermore, there

is no doubt that such variants do arise in nature and that their emergence can and does make some limited contribution towards the evolution of species. The open question is the quantitative extent and significance of this contribution. To postulate, as the positivists of the end of the last century and their followers here have done, that the development and survival of the fittest is entirely a consequence of chance mutations, or even that nature carries out experiments by trial and error through mutations in order to create living systems better fitted to survive, seems to me a hypothesis based on no evidence and irreconcilable with the facts (Chain 1970, p. 25).

He added that evolution “willfully neglects the principle of teleological purpose which stares the biologist in the face wherever he looks, whether he be engaged in the study of different organs in one organism, or even of different sub-cellular compartments in relation to each other in a single cell, or whether he studies the interrelation and interactions of various species” (Chain 1970, p. 25).

Chain was fully aware of how the research in his own field caused major problems for evolution. In particular, Chain noted our modern knowledge of the genetic code and its function in transmitting genetic information is incompatible with classical Darwinian ideas of evolution (Chain 1970, pp. 25–26).

Another concern that Chain expressed about evolution was its implications for morals. In a 1972 speech he presented in London he stated:

It is easy to draw analogies between the behavior of apes and man, and draw conclusions from the behavior of birds and fishes on human ethical behavior, but . . . this fact does not allow the development of ethical guidelines for human behavior. All attempts to do this, such as Lorenz’ studies on aggression in animals, suffer from the failure to take into account the all important fact of man’s capability to think and to be able to control his passions, and are therefore doomed to failure. . . . It is the differences between animal and man, not the similarities, which concern us . . . the various speculations on cosmology which are advanced from time to time, are nothing more than an amusing pastime for those proposing them (Quoted in Clark 1985, p. 148).

Chain once wrote, “I have said for years that speculations about the origin of life lead to no useful purpose as even the simplest living system is far too complex to be understood in terms of the extremely primitive chemistry scientists have used in their attempts to explain the unexplainable that happened billions of years ago. God cannot be explained away by such naive thoughts” (Quoted in Clark 1985, p. 148).

Chain added that Jacques Monod has “written a semi-philosophical book on the subject which has been much quoted; he and Crick are the main exponents of the positivistic-materialistic philosophy according to which all aspects of life are explainable in relatively simple physico-chemical forms. This approach has always seemed to me to demonstrate a great lack of knowledge of biology on the part of those proposing such primitive ideas” (Quoted in Clark 1985, p. 178). He added that:

In a lecture which Crick, who, together with Watson and Wilkins, discovered the bihelical structure of DNA, gave a couple of years ago to students at University College . . . he said . . . that it was ridiculous to base serious decisions on religious belief. This seems to me a very sweeping and dogmatic conclusion . . . scientific theories, in whatever field, are ephemeral and . . . may be even turned upside down by the discovery of one single new fact . . . This has happened time and again even in the exactest of sciences, physics and astronomy, and applies even more so to the biological field, where the concepts and theories are much less securely founded than in physics and are much more liable to be overthrown at a moment’s notice (Chain 1970, p. 25).

One might dismiss his views on Darwinism as simply the result of his faith, but Chain’s eldest son wrote that his father’s concerns about evolution were not based on religion, but rather on science. Chain, however, made it clear that he was very concerned about the effects of Darwinism on human behavior:

any speculation and conclusions pertaining to human behavior drawn on the basis of Darwinian evolutionary theories . . . must be treated with the greatest caution and reserve . . . a less discriminating section of the public may enjoy reading about comparisons between the behavior of apes and man, but this approach—which, by the way, is neither new nor original—does not really lead us very far. Apes, after all, unlike man, have not produced great prophets, philosophers, mathematicians, writers, poets, composers, painters and scientists. They are not inspired by the divine spark which manifests itself so evidently in the spiritual creation of man and which differentiates man from animals (Chain 1970, p. 26).

Chain stressed that to conclude humans have “left the apes behind in the evolutionary scale” because humans managed “to develop a bigger brain, is really no explanation at all; it is only a statement covering up ignorance by an ill-defined term” (Chain 1970, p. 26).

Chain wrote that scientists “looking for ultimate guidance in questions of moral responsibility” would do well to “turn, or return, to the fundamental and lasting values of the code of ethical behavior forming part of the divine message which man was uniquely privileged to receive through the intermediation of a few chosen individuals” (Chain 1970, p. 26).

The Importance of Ernst Chain’s Discovery

Sir Derek Barton wrote that there are “few scientists who, by the application of their science, have made a greater contribution to human welfare than Sir Ernst Chain” (Barton 1977, p. xxvii). His work was critical in establishing the antibiotics field, which has saved the lives of multi millions of persons. Chain was only one of many modern scientists who concluded that modern Neo-Darwinism is not only scientifically bankrupt but also harmful to society. He also stands as one of many examples of a creationist who produced significant scientific research for the betterment of humankind. This is an important point, since many creationist and ID critics today make the false claim that belief in a creator God renders one incapable of doing good science.

Arno A. Penzias: Astrophysicist and Nobel Laureate

From their observations made in 1964 and 1965, Arno A. Penzias and Robert Wilson of Bell Telephone Laboratories first discovered the now-estimated 3 K background microwave radiation—one of the first (and still one of the major lines of evidence) in support of the Big Bang cosmology. Many in the scientific community believe this discovery supports the view that the physical Universe created itself. Browne (1979, p. 66) interviewed several of the world’s leading physicists, astronomers, and cosmologists, and “a majority clearly shared the somewhat gloomy view of Dr. Steven Weinberg, a well-known [former] Harvard University particle physicist whose book about the origin of the universe, The First Three Minutes, appeared recently” (Browne 1979, pp. 67–68). In Dr. Weinberg’s words, “The more the universe seems comprehensible, the more it also seems pointless. . . . The effort to understand the universe is one of the very few things that lifts human life a little above the level of farce, and gives it some of the grace of tragedy” (Weinberg 1977, pp. 154–155).

Browne’s research uncovered the fact that some scientists share “a contrasting view” to that of Weinberg. One of these scientists was Dr. Penzias, who, “despite the part his observations played in expanding the thinking of such physicists” such as Dr. Weinberg, “believes that they are wrong in asserting that the universe is pointless” (Browne 1979, p. 68). Penzias concluded, that the empirical evidence argues for a created Universe.

Specifically, his cosmology research has caused him to see “evidence of a plan of divine creation,” and that “the best data we have are exactly what I would have predicted, had I had nothing to go on but the five books of Moses, the Psalms, the Bible as a whole” (Browne 1979, p. 68). Unfortunately, Penzias has published little on his theological views, but his general views are clear in his interviews and papers on this topic, as the following quote reveals:

In order to achieve consistency with our observations we must . . . assume not only creation of matter and energy out of nothing, but creation of space and time as well. Moreover, this creation must be very delicately balanced (Penzias 1992, pp. 80, 82).

Dr. Penzias also argues that theology can tell us a great deal about what we would expect the Universe to be like. For example, he concludes that if the universe is open and expanding forever, it would be “precisely the universe that organized religion predicts.” Specifically, he notes that a theologian friend wrote,

his faith as a Christian would be shaken if it could be proven to him that the universe, with its finite number of particles, could be reconstructed an infinite number of times. It would mean that every event—the creation of man . . . everything—would be repeated again and again an infinite number of times, simply by random chance. That is the meaning of infinity. In other words, a closed universe would be pointless as the throw of dice (Browne 1979, p. 68).

Dr. Penzias recognizes that his views on God are uncommon in science. In his words, “very few winners of Nobel Prizes in science, ‘and for that matter very few scientists generally,’ have been strong religious believers” (quoted in Browne 1979, p. 282). Drawing conclusions in the faith-science area is compounded by the fact that, as our knowledge

increases, we habitually categorize the sum of experience, using names like “theology” and “astrophysics.” But categorization leads to separation. In particular, our understanding of the world around us has grown along two parallel courses, based on largely separate portions of the entirety of human experience (Penzias 1992, p. 78).

He not only questions the wisdom of separating reality into artificial divisions such as science and theology, but also concludes that doing so may impede a complete understanding of the Universe.

In ancient times, theology outweighed the barely-formed precursors of physical science. . . . By the end of the middle ages, theology could no longer ignore science. The resulting dichotomy between tangible and intangible knowledge perplexed many of our own great scholars—none greater than Rambam himself [said;] the foundation of our faith is the belief that God created the Universe from nothing: that time did not exist previously, but was created; for it depends on the motion of the sphere, and the sphere has been created” (Ben-Maimon, Moses 1946). Maimonides’ “dogmatic” position that the universe was created out of nothing conflicted with [contemporary] “empirical” data—data from none other than Aristotle himself—that matter was eternal (Penzias 1983, p. 1–2).

Although recognizing that certain questions are outside of science, he nonetheless stresses that asking questions in all areas is important, concluding that “good questions” rather than just the ability to learn, is the factor that “best distinguishes organisms that possess intelligence from those that do not” (Aleksander 1989, p. 310). Good questions can also help us to distinguish truth from lies.

The Man Behind These Ideas

Dr. Penzias is not only a Nobel laureate, but also is the recipient of numerous other awards, such as honorary doctorates by Rutgers University (New York Times, May 25, 1975) and many other institutions. His father was Polish, his mother German and he was born in Munich in 1933. When he was four years old his parents fled Nazi Germany, eventually arriving in Brooklyn, New York (Webber 1980). Once in America, Penzias attended City College of New York and pursued graduate studies in physics at Columbia University. He completed his thesis under Nobel laureate, and outspoken Christian believer, Charles Townes (Moritz 1985). For his Ph.D. thesis, he built the world’s second ultra-sensitive radio telescope. Penzias began his life-long career at Bell Telephone Laboratories in 1961, where he has continued his research on the excellent radio astronomy facilities there (Lubkin 1978). He was vice-president of research since December of 1981 at Bell Labs, which once employed close to 23,000 workers, and had a budget of over 3 billion dollars (Crease 1991).

Penzias and Wilson were awarded the Nobel Prize in physics in 1978 for their discovery of the 3K background radiation because of its perceived significance for the Big Bang cosmological model (Pierce 1978). Bell Lab’s radio telescope unit, which was originally designed for satellite communication, was modified by Wilson and Penzias to measure the intensity of radio waves emitted by the gas halo that surrounds our galaxy (Bernstein 1979; 1984). They were researching the intensity of radio waves emitted from this halo of gas at the Holmdel, New Jersey, radio telescope when they made their 3K discovery (Lubkin 1978, p. 17).

This discovery according to Gwynne (1978, p. 105) “changed the face of modern cosmology,” occurred while they were doing routine communication research. They picked up a disconcerting background noise that persisted even after replacing the components that they felt could be producing the mysterious hiss. Since the background static interfered with their communications research, their concern was to try to determine the cause so as to eliminate it. They eventually realized that the noise was not interference, but a cosmic background radiation now generally interpreted to be what is left of the detectable echo of the Big Bang that still permeates space.

Originally believed to be in the visible light area of the electromagnetic spectrum, the radiation has decayed to the microwave frequency, and now is estimated at 2.73 K. When they discovered that the radio waves in the microwave frequency band were, in fact, emitted in every direction that they could measure, they began the research to find out why (Donovan 1978). Professors Robert H. Dicke and P. J. E. Peebles of Princeton led them to the idea that this static may be the first direct evidence of the Big Bang. The model predicted that the Universe emitted black body radiation at a temperature of about 5.0° C above absolute zero, about twice that actually found (Webber 1980). Penzias’ thoughts on the Big Bang cosmology (which his research was so important in establishing) are reflected in his following conclusions that the

proposed modifications to the Big Bang theory such as the “bubble theory” . . . have to do with hypotheses for how this universal perfection could have happened without violating our understanding of the laws of physics. The bubble theory is a mathematical attempt at getting around our third “improbable” observational fact. As of now, the attempt seems to have been unsuccessful, but the importance of the challenge suggests that scientists will continue to pursue such lines of attack (Penzias 1983, pp. 7–8).

He adds that the difference between the amount of matter astronomers find in the Universe is not enough to reverse the expansion of the galaxies so as to eventually pull them back into a single condensed state. The matter level points

to a universe which will fly apart indefinitely—not one which will someday collapse to a point. Thus, observations also contradict the notion that our Big Bang is just one of an infinite series of such events (Penzias 1983, pp. 7–8).

That much is still unknown about cosmology is reflected in the many debates about the widely accepted, but still disputed, Big Bang model (Odenwald and Fienberg 1993; Lerner 1991). In Penzias’ words:

astronomy leads us to a unique event, a universe which was created out of nothing, one with the very delicate balance needed to provide exactly the conditions required to permit life, and one which has an underlying (one might say “supernatural”), plan. Thus, the observations of modern science seem to lead to the same conclusions as centuries-old [creation belief]. . . . At the same time, most of our modern scientific intuition seems to be more comfortable with the world as described by the science of yesterday (1983, pp. 7–8).

Although most famous for his discovery that is now used to support Big Bang cosmology, his greatest achievements are in other areas, primarily information technology, not unexpected in view of the primacy of the “information argument” in the designed-Universe world view that he holds (Johnson 1991; Penzias 1979). As head of the largest and most productive information technology research lab in the world—its scientists publish around 3,000 papers a year—he has been a leader in the information revolution that has changed our world (Fleming 1990; Penzias 1989; 1989a; Gilder 1989).

One of several alternative explanations is that the background radiation arises “from dust grains that have been heated by starlight” (Goldsmith 1985, p. 131). A major cause of microwave background radiation also may be extremely distant quasars (Narlikar 1981, pp. 19–21 and 1991).

David Berlinski, Ph.D.

David Berlinski is an American educator and author of several popular books on mathematics and intelligent design. He was born in 1942 to Jewish-German refugees from Nazi Germany who immigrated to New York City. As a multilingual scholar (German was his first spoken language, then English and French), Berlinski has been able to use this advantage in his research. He received his Ph.D. in philosophy from Princeton University and was a postdoctoral fellow in mathematics and molecular biology at Columbia University, and a research fellow at the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis in Austria and The Institut des Hautes Études Scientifiques in France. He has taught philosophy, mathematics, and English at Stanford, Rutgers, the City University of New York, the University of Washington, San Jose State University, San Francisco State University, and at the Université de Paris.

Although Berlinski has written works on systems analysis, the history of differential topology, analytic philosophy, and the philosophy of mathematics, he is best known for his popular and well-received books on mathematics written for the general public. These include A Tour of the Calculus (1996), The Advent of the Algorithm (2001) Newton's Gift (2000), and Infinite Ascent: A Short History of Mathematics (2005). Another book, The Secrets of the Vaulted Sky (2003), compares astrological and evolutionary accounts of human behavior. He has also written three books in favor of intelligent design that deal in some way with this issue (1998, 2008, 2009).

Jews Active in Creation Research, Defending Creationists, and in Ministries

In addition, many Jewish Christians are very active in creation and Intelligent Design movements, including chemist Dr. Jonathan Sarfati, a senior scientist of Creation Ministries International, geologist/attorney Casey Luskin, science head of the Intelligent Design think tank The Discovery Institute, and Professor Marvin Olasky, a Michigan State University Ph.D. and editor-in-chief of World Magazine was also recently provost of Kings College in New York. Professor Olasky often writes articles and books in support of Intelligent Design. Yet another example is Professor James Tour, a leading nanotechnology researcher and head of the nanotechnology lab at Rice University.

Another important creationist, Jay Sekulow, is chief Counsel for The American Center for Law and Justice. Sekulow graduated cum laude from Mercer University, receiving both a bachelor’s degree and a doctor of jurisprudence while serving as an editorial staff member of the Mercer Law Review. He also received a Ph.D. from Regent University for a dissertation on the subject of American Legal History.

Summary

Jews, although less than 2.2 percent of the American population, have played a major role in science. They have also had a major role in both the creation and Intelligent Design movements. A few of the better-known Jewish organizations and Jews were highlighted in this paper. Many other examples could be cited, but the above illustrate the theme of this review. The fact that observant Jews and Christians both accept the Hebrew Scriptures as the authoritative Word of God is a major reason for their acceptance of both the creation and Intelligent Design arguments. Another reason is because anyone who studies science, especially the life sciences, will become aware of the major inconsistencies with Darwinism.

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