The dogs of science

The dogs of science

God bless science. It keeps coming up with evidence that the Torah really is the legitimate, revealed word of God.

Keeping the FaithSure, the skeptics out there will shoot down any suggestion that the Torah contains truths unknown to anyone (other than the author, of course) back when it was written. And yet, spin the plain text any way you try in order to deny what is there for all to see, these truths are self-evident.

The latest installment of science catching up to the Torah is for the dogs (well, about them, actually), but before we discuss those findings, let us examine some of the earlier bits and pieces by beginning at the beginning, meaning in Genesis 1.

“And God said let there be light and there was light.” That is what we are told is the first act of creation. God calls a “light” into being and it instantly appears. That is not the only act of creation on Day One, however. God also “separates” the light from the darkness. As any Torah skeptic will tell you, that is one of the most ridiculous statements they ever heard. How do you separate “light” from “darkness” when the definition of “darkness” is the absence of light?

Never mind that until the middle of the 20th century, the whole idea of the universe being born at a point certain in the far reaches of time was considered laughable; the universe had no beginning and, besides, who ever heard of creating something out of nothing. And then – bang!

Big bang, in fact.

Suddenly, science comes to the conclusion that the universe was born at a point certain in the far reaches of time – and that what set it off was the appearance of an immeasurably powerful fireball many times smaller than a pinprick; it was so hot, in fact, that if atoms existed then, they would instantly have been smashed to smithereens. Supposedly, that smallest of big bangs grew in size to roughly the equivalent of our solar system in about three seconds flat.

Now, when the big bang boomed, matter came into being, in the form of something called “plasma” – not the large black thing hanging on the wall with moving pictures and sound, but the gaseous mixture of positive ions and free electrons. “The properties of charged particles are such,” explains the physicist Dr. Nathan Aviezer, “that a plasma ‘traps’ light and prevents its free passage. For this reason, a plasma always appears dark to an outside observer.”

As Aviezer explains it, “Within a fraction of a second after the big bang, the universe consisted of the light of the primeval fireball interspersed with a plasma. Even though it was extremely intense, the light of the fireball was trapped by the plasma and could not ‘escape’ to be ‘seen.'”

If you were there and looking at the newly born universe at that moment, you would see nothing, Aviezer says. It would be completely dark, even though it was actually filled with the enormously powerful light of that fireball.

And then, a fraction of a fraction of a fraction of a second later, the fireball cools down enough for atoms to form. Says Aviezer: “[W]hen the plasma was suddenly transformed into atoms and molecules 15 billion years ago, the light of the fireball was no longer trapped by the plasma. Instead, the light began to ‘shine’ visibly, and it soon filled the entire universe, as it still does to this very day.”

In other words, “God separated the light from the darkness.” (See Genesis 1:4.)

In 1915, a German meteorologist came up with the outlandish notion that there was once only a single land mass on Planet Earth surrounded on all sides by water. His fellow scientists ridiculed him, even for a couple of decades after his death. Today, his notion of “continental drift” is an almost universally accepted fact – just as the Torah insisted 3,500 years ago (see Genesis 1:9).

Then there is the sun. It comes along on the fourth day of creation (the half point between Day One and Day Seven), which is patently absurd since, as everyone knows, the sun was formed long before the Earth was born.

Except that, as far as the Earth was concerned, the sun was not hanging around for the first half of the planet’s existence. To begin at the beginning, Day One deals with the universe itself. Creation of the earth begins somewhere in Day Two.

Whereas the universe is somewhere between 15 and 20 billion years old (something already noted by a rabbi into kabbalah about 1,900 years ago), the Earth is only about 4.5 billion years old. In its early stages – in fact, for most of the first half of its existence – Earth was cooling down from being born and the sun’s rays could not pierce through the extensive cloud cover. Enter photosynthesis, the process by which green plants use sunlight to synthesize nutrients from carbon dioxide and water. A study published in the journal Nature in October demonstrated that photosynthesis has been around for only 2.2 billion years – or “Day Four,” in Biblespeak.

Life, as science tells us, began in the world’s oceans – and Genesis 1 tells us that too. (“Let the waters swarm with a swarm of living beings”; see Genesis 1:20.)

And now a new study on dogs, just published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, confirms earlier studies that animals have emotions, including envy. Earlier studies also showed that animals have a moral sense.

The Torah knew that all along. God commanded the animals to be fruitful and multiply, and to keep away from eating other animals, just as He did humans. And, because they failed to heed the latter, just as humans, they, too, were destroyed in the Great Flood. God would not command those who cannot understand His commands and He would not punish them for not understanding.

The Torah commands us to not remove an animal from its mother until it is weaned and not to remove the eggs or fledglings of a mother bird while she is able to watch. Why would God command such things, if not because the animals have emotions?

God bless science. Being one of His creations, it keeps thanking Him by delivering proof upon proof that His word is true and that His Torah is His word.