Hershkowitz: Evolution does not contradict religion
Science and technology minister asked about Darwin's theory of evolution after Education Ministry's chief scientist's statements against it. His response: Contrary to widespread religious approach, there is no contradiction between faith and evolution
The Education Ministry's chief scientist made quite a stir when he came out against Darwinism. In response to a question posed by the newspaper B'Sheva, which is slated to be run on Saturday, Science and Technology Minister Daniel Hershkowitz (Habayit Hayehudi) said that Darwin's theory of evolution, which claims that man evolved from the monkey, must not be discounted.
Minister Hershkowitz was asked whether the Education Ministry's chief scientist's reservations regarding evolution are just cause to oust him from his post. As a rabbi and a scientist, Hershkowitz responded that there is no contradiction between religious faith and Darwinism and that the chief scientist's position need not be a pretext for his dismissal.
Hershkowitz elaborated: "First of all, we can observe that from the perspective of faith, there is no need to oppose Darwin's theory of evolution. Harav Kook already wrote about it: '…even if we were to learn that the order of Creation was in accordance with the evolution of the species, there still is no contradiction as we gauge through the simplicity of the Torah's verses, which are much more relevant to us than any other former knowledge with which we do not have a deep connection. The Torah certainly speaks obscurely of Creation…'"
According to Hershkowitz, "It is also worthwhile to read the book by Rabbi Yitzhak Shilat, 'The Teachings of Rabbi Gedalyah' (on the writings of Rabbi Gedalyah Nadel, the student of the Hazon Ish), that shows Ovadiah Sforno, who lived more than 300 years before Darwin, proves from textual verses that the creation of man in God's image is the end of a long process that started with a non-rational creature, which belonged to the category of animals, and progressed until he had human intellect alongside the physiological structure of man with which we are familiar."
Hershkowitz confirmed that evidence provided by Darwin and paleontologists of the existence of such early stages of creation seem convincing. However, Darwin's mistake was in his general vision of the events that evades the question how the changes that moved the process to the next stage were formed. He concluded that in recognizing God's will to act through nature, there is no need to disregard descriptions of the events of creation as portrayed in scientific arguments.
However, the minister asserted, "The theory of evolution is a theory that alongside the evidence and findings that back it up still exist significant sections that remain in the realm of conjecture which theoretically could be found to be incorrect. Therefore, it certainly should not be treated as some sort of unshakeable truth."
"At any rate, the chief scientist in the Education Ministry does not have a say in the curriculum or content taught at schools. Therefore, his opinions regarding the theory of evolution need not be reason for his dismissal," concluded Hershkowitz.