Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Aish, Chabad debate 'intelligent design'

What do two groups, known for their kiruv work, say about 'intelligent design'? :

Sun-Sentinel:

Evangelical Christians aren't the only ones making evolution and intelligent design a cause celebre: Leading Orthodox Jews have the topic in their sights as well -- some of them gathering for a three-day conference this week in South Florida.
At least two area Jewish groups have booked heavy hitters to discuss the issues this month. And, they say, Jews have a stake in the outcome.
Intelligent design holds that some structures of life -- such as blood clotting or the flagella of some microbes -- are so complex, they could not have developed without a purposeful designer."This is one of the cutting-edge issues of the culture wars," said religion professor Nathan Katz of Florida International University, a co-organizer of the conference. "The basic question is: Is God there?"...

Ask ( Chabad's) Rabbi Sholom Lipskar, one of the conference organizers, about the topic, and he sounds much like a conservative Christian."The moral and ethical morass today -- hate among nations, juvenile delinquency, drug addiction, family breakdown -- comes from people not believing there is a higher authority that owns and directs the world," said Lipskar, of The Shul of Bal Harbour. "But when we look to purpose and meaning, a superior authority, things fall into place, socially and spiritually."Lipskar met head-on the suggestions by some that intelligent design is meant as a "back door" to putting religion in schools. "It's not a back door, it's a front door!" he said. "But the objective is not to make people religious. It's to make them understand that the world was put into place by an intelligent being. We are not random chemical reactions."...
Orthodox Jewish involvement in the issue seems to be a trend whose time has come. On Dec. 1 in Hollywood, Aish HaTorah hosted Israeli-American scientist Gerald Schroeder, who compared intelligent design with Darwinism."This is a fundamental American issue for anyone who takes God and the Bible seriously," said Rabbi Tzvi Nightingale, director of Aish South Florida. "And Jews have a significant, meaningful perspective."
The idea of intelligent design overlaps that of the better-known creationism, which insists that God directly created life. Believers in intelligent design have more latitude; some believe in theistic evolution, saying God directed the development of life...
posted by Y.W. Editor
at 6:02 PM

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