Excerpt from Chapter 9

Genesis and Genes is now available in Israel, the UK and the USA. It is expected in South Africa in late January 2013. Here is an excerpt from chapter 9, the last chapter in the book.

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Rabbi Isaac Hutner (1906-1980) was one of the foremost thinkers and leaders of Torah Jewry in the twentieth century. He was unique in several respects. For example, he managed to seamlessly meld Chassidic and Lithuanian strands of Torah Judaism, to the point where nobody could define him as representing either. Unlike other contemporaneous Torah giants, who channelled most of their energies into the classical practice of elucidation of Talmudic passages, Rabbi Hutner invested much of his genius into the clarification of Jewish philosophy and Torah-based psychology.

In a trenchant passage, Rabbi Hutner wrote about the three ideologies which dominated his century:

We have known three revolutionaries: Darwin introduced materialism into nature; Marx injected materialism into history; and Freud brought materialism into the very soul of man…

Of course, intellectuals from outside the Torah world also saw the connection between Darwin, Marx and Freud. George Gilder, a leading contemporary analyst, writes:

I believe that the notion that the intricate biological structures of the world bubbled up from a prebiotic brew and that ideas are an after-effect of a meaningless random material flux is the most sterile and stultifying notion in the history of human thought. It inspired all the reductionist futilities of the twentieth century, from the obtuse materialism of Marx to the pagan worship of a static material environment, from the Freudian view of the brain as a thermodynamic machine to the zero-sum Malthusian panic over population, treating people more as mouths than as minds.

Rabbi Hutner was convinced that Darwinian biology was fundamentally linked to Marxism and Freudianism. All three are vehicles for materialism, and undermine different aspects of core Torah concepts. Marxism denies Divine providence (השגחה) in the history of mankind; Darwinian biology denies God’s role in nature; Freudianism denies the divinity of the human soul. Rabbi Hutner was equally convinced that sooner or later, Marxism and Freudianism would shift over to make room for evolutionary biology in the dustbin of history.

 

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