Sunday, August 19, 2007

The Miracle of Food


[bread, the staff of life]

One of the most amazing and obvious miracles we experience every day is food.

The food that we eat is so complex and specialized, that no team of scientists and not even the world’s most advanced laboratories are capable of producing one loaf of bread from the basic ingredients of water, air and minerals. In fact, many people prefer food containing no artificial additives at all because of possible health risks. Synthetic food is completely a science fiction fantasy. There can hardly be a clearer proof of divine plan and purpose than food. Did food, this miraculous and mysterious substance, just happen to come into existence by chance, before humans, also by chance, came into existence? The idea is so ludicrous that only the most mentally perverted fool can believe it.

Next time we pick up a piece of delicious, nutritious food and are about to place it into our mouths, let’s give enthusiastic thanks to the One who created it.

23 comments:

Skeptodox said...

I think the flipside would be that life came into being in such a way that it was able to sustain itself on whatever was around. What was around happened to be the stuff we now eat, so we call it food. Nothing too magical.

jewish philosopher said...

As I understand the fossil evidence, it seems to indicate that complete ecosystems seem to just pop up fully blown at once, with plants, herbivores and carnivores all ready all together.

Could that happen by chance? Sure it could. And to those people who want so desperately to deny God that they imagine it did, I can only offer my wishes for a complete mental health recovery.

badrabbi said...

"As I understand the fossil evidence, it seems to indicate that complete ecosystems seem to just pop up fully blown at once"

Buddy, your understanding is profoun dly flawed. Either you know not what you are talking about, or you are putting up false straw men to argue against. I suggest that you read a bit more regarding "punctuated equalibrium".

Regarding bread, it is interesting that in genesis, after Hashem punishes Adam and Eve, he says "by the sweat of your brow shall you eat bread..." It is interesting that Adam was created just a half a day ago, was hanging out in the garden of Eden, and God talks to him about bread. If I were Adam, I would be asking "ah... God, what is this thing you call bread!".
The above Genesis passage implies that "bread" was known to Adam and Eve even from the first day of creation. This is, of course absurd, as we all know the methods and procedures needed to make bread. We can not assume that bread was known to the first human. Rather, it is obvious that the people who wrote the bible slipped - they took for granted the word "bread" and did not realize that Adam could not have been familiar with that word or that food.

The word "bread" showing up in the conversation between Hashem and Adam, in my opinion, is yet another nail in the couffin of the divine origin of the Torah. Thus, with one blog after another, you provide more and more evidence for a lack of divine inspiration for the Torah. Thanks a whole lot!

Rabbi Joshua Maroof said...

Only someone intentionally obfuscating would be unaware that the term "lehem" in Hebrew denotes food in general, and not necessarily bread in specific.

Rabbi Joshua Maroof said...

Or someone ignorant, I should add.

Rabbi Joshua Maroof said...

For all the ways in which I may disagree with JP, I think it is intellectually honest to admit that he raises a lot of commonsense objections to evolutionary doctrine that are worthwhile considering.

I for one am an "agnostic" on the question of evolution, and I have found that JP's critiques often dovetail with my own. Too many intricate intertwined coincidences are hard to swallow.

jewish philosopher said...

Dear Bad, perhaps you could enlighten me with some articles detailing how exactly our food cycle gradually developed through a random chance process guided by natural selection. I look forward to reading them, however I don't believe they have yet been written. Even the most hard core and self deluded atheists seem to be a bit stumped on this one.

And speaking of misrepresenting an opponent's position, who told you that Adam and Eve were created dumb, ignorant brutes who didn't know what the word "bread" meant? Perhaps they were created mentally perfect and with a vast store of knowledge preprogrammed into their brains. We see Adam was capable of naming all animals (Genesis 2:19).

A said...

JP, where did you get this ( created mentally perfect and with a vast store of knowledge preprogrammed into their brains)? is it that easy you suggest your own interpretation to Gods work?
Adam knows, because God taught him. full stop.

badrabbi said...

Rabbi Maroof;

I have much respect for your knowledge. Generally I learn from your comments. When I read that my understanding of the word "lechem" as meaning "bread" is criticized, I read the comments with much interest.

When I look at the dictionary to see what the Hebrew word means, universally, the initial meaning of the word is "bread". It is without a doubt that “Lechem” primarily means “bread”. I scanned the web to read further regarding the root of the word, and found many sites that explain that “lechem” is derived from the root “to fight”. At least one religious web site explained that since to make bread one has to grind flour, ie, “to fight with the flour”, the word “lechem” is derived.

Now it is also true that as one goes down further into the meanings of what “bread” means, a broader meaning for the word is obtained such that “food for sustenance” also becomes its meaning. As you go further down still, more obscure meanings such as “money” or “Eucharistic wafer” is given the meaning for “bread”. If you scan the Torah and move on to reading the New Testament, you will see that the word “lechem” has come to mean these things and is sometimes used in these broader terms.

So, say what you may about what “lechem” means, but agree that the primary meaning of the word, both in terms of its common usage and its etymology, is “bread”. You may disagree with this statement, fly in the face of conventional wisdom, and argue that bread really means “food”. I would in response to your doing this perhaps write a comment to disagree, but I would not call you “ignorant”. Nor would I call you an “obfuscator” for simply commenting on an obvious translation of an obvious word. That you do so perhaps indicates a lack of respect, or possibly reveals a pang of pain at my having come close to a truth that you are uncomfortable with.

Regarding evolution, you are free to have doubts about its validity. No scientific theory is infallible. You are free to study the field, perhaps conduct research, give your commentary etc. Ultimately, through the free and open exchange of scientific knowledge, the theory will be altered, strengthened, weakened, or otherwise be modified. Evolution is a scientific theory not unlike any other theory, subject to scrutiny and vulnerable to evidence. If you, Rabbi Maroof, have objections to the theory of evolution, by all means bring them forward. JP has done so, and has said things such as: "As I understand the fossil evidence, it seems to indicate that complete ecosystems seem to just pop up fully blown at once". I pointed out that this is a incorrect statement, and that the theory of evolution never makes an assertion that complete ecosystems evolve at once. I pointed out that the closest thing to what he is talking about is “punctuated equilibrium” theory which by no means makes the absurd assumption that JP would like us to believe. I suggested that he get his facts straight. Now, you Rabbi Maroof posit that you agree with what JP says regarding evolution. Are you saying that you also believe that evolution theory declares that “complete ecosystems pop up …at once”? Is this your understanding of evolution?

jewish philosopher said...

"the theory of evolution never makes an assertion that complete ecosystems evolve at once"

Of course it doesn't. Creationism does. I am a creationist, not an evolutionist and I contend that the fossils, as well as common sense, prove me right.

Seemingly, from an evolutionary point of view, what would have to happen is: first plants evolved. Then herbivores evolved who were adapted to eat the plants. Then carnivores evolved who were adapted to eat the herbivores. The energy flow is from sun to plant to herbivore to carnivore so this chain would have to develop in that order.

One problem with this, and correct me if I am wrong, is that the fossil evidence does not demonstrate this progression. Rather, we more or less find entire ecosystems appearing in a complete working form, rather than over countless eons going from a Grass World, to a Deer World to a Bear World. I suppose the explanation would have be “Yes, that did happen, however the fossil evidence is incomplete so we don’t see it.” Personally, I believe that is a poor excuse.

Secondly, could ecosystems function without most of the pieces being in place from the beginning? Doesn’t grass need dung from herds of deer in order to fertilize the soil? Don’t the deer need predators to prevent over population and permanent destruction of grassland? This is similar to the question of how partial organs evolved gradually before the entire organ was functional (“irreducible complexity”) however here taken to the level of an entire ecosystem.

badrabbi said...

“Seemingly, from an evolutionary point of view, what would have to happen is: first plants evolved. Then herbivores evolved who were adapted to eat the plants. Then carnivores evolved who were adapted to eat the herbivores. The energy flow is from sun to plant to herbivore to carnivore so this chain would have to develop in that order.”

JP, the above statement is simply not true. Your view of the theory of evolution is completely wrong sir. It is simply wrong to think that plants evolved prior to herbivores and that carnivores evolved after the herbivores. Nothing could be further from the truth!

Instead, all life is evolving at the same time. Plants are evolving in response to the pressures of their environment, as are the herbivores and carnivores. The process of evolution is occurring to ALL the creatures…

You mentioned the “grass world” for example. The evolutionary view of what is happening is this: The dominant forms of plants a long time ago (in the Mesozoic period about 65 million years ago) were the cycads and conifers. There were a variety of animals that were adapted to eat these plants. The herbivores of the time were the plant eating dinosaurs. The fossil record indicates that over the Mesozoic, there was selection pressure for these herbivorous plants to develop longer and longer necks.

The earth then cooled, and the cycads as well as the dinosaurs became less and less common. Grassland regions increased over vast areas. Small mammals, both of the Herbivore and Carnivore variety, which until now were overshadowed by the dinosaurs, became more common. Grass and plant life continued to evolve throughout the era, as did the animals, including mammals.

Thus, if you look at the proposed life tree for plants and animals, you will see that plants and animals evolve together and in parallel. In some cases, plants and animals evolve because one places selective pressure on the other. For example, wide availability of grass favors the herbivores. In other situations, both plants and animals respond to an environmental selection pressure. For example cooling of earth temperatures favors both animals and plants that have adapted to survive in the cold environments.

Hence, to make a long story short (too late?), the statement JP makes that “the energy flow is from sun to plant to herbivore to carnivore so this chain would have to develop in that order” is false. Plants and photosynthesizers continue to develop as are herbivores and carnivores. The ecosystems continue to become varied and complex together. When one member of the ecosystem evolves, the other members respond through evolutionary processes. Capish?

jewish philosopher said...

So apples, which people eat, developed by chance at the same time that humans developed by chance.

It sounds a little miraculous to me.

badrabbi said...

You completely ignored what I wrote. Apples did not develop at the same time as man. I do not know when wild apples developed. The domesticated apple plants have been developed BY HUMANS. It is hardly a "miracle" that humans have domesticated and farmed the apple tree from its wild predecessor.

But why argue facts? You have a conclusion that you want apriori. No matter what I say or how logical I am, you will never accept it. Thank you for showing the mentality of a theist.

jewish philosopher said...

Without the wild apple, there would be no domestic ones.

You seem to be saying "Keep the faith. Evolution can do everything." Has anyone ever told you that you would make a good born again Christian?

badrabbi said...

You seem to be saying "Keep the faith. Evolution can do everything."

Did you read my comment, where I wrote: "No scientific theory is infallible...Ultimately, through the free and open exchange of scientific knowledge, the theory will be altered, strengthened, weakened, or otherwise be modified. Evolution is a scientific theory not unlike any other theory, subject to scrutiny and vulnerable to evidence"

Does the above seem to be saying that I should "keep the faith"?

I think that you do not read others' comments. You simply make assumptions about what others are saying and respond to your fantasies.

jewish philosopher said...

Let’s put it like this.

I may be wrong and perhaps someone can explain to me why I am.

However the idea that a process of random variation and natural elimination created people is absurd. The idea that a process of random variation and natural elimination created food is absurd. The idea that just by good luck both were created at the same time and place is so absurd that, to borrow a phrase from Richard Dawkins, it is absolutely safe to say that anyone believing it is ignorant, stupid or insane (or wicked, but I'd rather not consider that).

badrabbi said...

Mr. Philosopher,

Latter is an attack from personal incredulity. It is a logical fallacy. Read up on it

badrabbi said...

Btw, for lunch today I had delicious sushi. But, I guess sushi happened to be created at the same time as I, so God must have created it!

I tried telling the Japanese owner of the restaurant that God did a good job of making my lunch. But he merely looked at me funny and asked for his $14.95.

jewish philosopher said...

"an attack from personal incredulity. It is a logical fallacy"

No, it's an attack from the simple observation that design needs a designer.

"so God must have created it"

Indeed He did. That's why you have to say a blessing before eating it.

The chef merely added some final touches. However, he also must eat, so you have to pay him.

jewish philosopher said...

The main reason why I bother to criticize other religions is because many people (Richard Dawkins and others) enjoy lumping us all together. If a suicide bomber blows up a bus in London, the atheists get all excited “You see what religion does! Atheism is the only good way to live.” Well, there is religion and there is religion. We aren’t by any means all the same. I am religious, but I am not Bible thumping evangelist nor a bomb throwing mullah, and I don’t even especially like those guys.

A said...

JP. is this not an attack on other religions? Get alife

badrabbi said...

I will try again:

Human food is not necessarily contemporanous with humans. The banana did not come about at the same time as Humans. Wild wheet or oats did not evolve at the same time as Homo Sapiens. Carrots, water mellons, drinking water, etc etc all preceded the evolution of humans.

It is true that humans took wild wheet and domesticated it. It is true that Humans took wild cows and domesticated them for food. But this is hardly miraculous.

I am thus at a loss as to what exactly this blog is saying. Human food did not evolve with Human beings. It isn't that as soon as humans came about that suddenly all the food good for humans came about. That is rediculous.

jewish philosopher said...

So Bad, you're saying that first plants evolved, then plant eating animals, then animal eating animals. Do the fossils show that? And would that actually work in practice? If flowers need bees to pollinate them and bees need flowers to feed themselves, which came first?