Genesis and the Scandal of Jewish Indifference

A couple of weeks ago I got an email from an editor at a Jewish publication soliciting from me an article “related to creationism.” He asked that it be pegged to the coming Sabbath when Jews across the spectrum of Judaism begin a new cycle of Torah readings. That cycle begins with the account of creation in Genesis.

The editor seemingly wasn’t aware that I’m not a creationist (i.e., a naïve Biblical literalist), or he didn’t know what the word means, or who knows what. Anyway, I wrote and sent off to him the piece he seemed to urgently want, suspecting even as I did so that it would never run in this particular publication. The Jewish religious world — from Haredi to Reform and just about everything in between — is in general so scandalously indifferent and ignorant on scientific issues relating to life’s origins and evolution that I felt there was a strong possibility whatever I wrote would never get past editorial scrutiny. Sure enough, a week and a half went by without a response from my correspondent. Finally, asked for a status update, the editor told me it likely wouldn’t be appearing in their pages.

So with the relevant Sabbath approaching tonight at sundown, I offer to you the piece I wrote:
Orthodox Jews have almost a sixth sense for feeling out of place. Many of us know this experience: On a visit to an unfamiliar city, you head into a restaurant that you have been assured is strictly kosher. On entering, you look around at the crowd of diners, expecting to see identifiably religious Jews — men wearing kippot — but there are none. Uneasy, you ask to see the establishment’s kosher certification. Maybe the place is no longer under rabbinic supervision? Maybe you’re in the wrong restaurant altogether. The manager produces a piece of paper with a rabbi’s name on it, which looks legitimate. And yet…something doesn’t sit right.

If there are no frum Jews there, could it really be kosher? That is a question I’m often asked by other Jews of all stripes, if not in exactly those words, about what I do in my professional life. And what is that? Do I work as a pork butcher? As the door attendant at a radical Muslim mosque? No, I’m a senior fellow at a think tank, the Discovery Institute, well known for supporting research in intelligent design — the scientific critique of and alternative to Darwinian evolution.

For more, read here.