Rabbi Shmuley Boteach is an aggressively self-promoting rabbi to the stars. Now he’s coming out with a book about evolution being a religion. Or something like that. In his blog for HuffPost a few months back, he criticized the idea of what he called “atheist chaplains” for the military. Not once did he give any recognition to the fact that what people are asking for are Humanist chaplains. He makes a big stink about the “Church of Evolution” and atheism being a religion. No, Shmuley, atheism is not a religion. It is just a stance vis-a-vis the existence of a god. Humanism is a philosophy that for some serves in the place of theistic religion. Like Humanistic Judaism. You can Google it.
Now he is coming to the defense of Republican know-nothing Rick Perry. The fact that Perry doesn’t accept the realities of evolution as uncovered by science is laudable in Boteach’s eyes. After all, evolution is just a “theory.”
Here we go again.
For the sake of Shmuley Boteach and everyone else who needs a refresher course, here is the definition of a SCIENTIFIC theory:
A scientific theory comprises a collection of concepts, including abstractions of observable phenomena expressed as quantifiable properties, together with rules (called scientific laws) that express relationships between observations of such concepts. A scientific theory is constructed to conform to available empirical data about such observations, and is put forth as a principle or body of principles for explaining a class of phenomena.
It is not a hypothesis. It is not a philosophical theory. It is not a guess.
Boteach also contrasts scientific theories with scientific laws thus demonstrating that he doesn’t know what the hell he’s talking about.
In a point he makes about the “gaps” in the theory, he brings up the non-existent so-called major debate between the late Stephen Jay Gould and Richard Dawkins about punctuated equilibrium. Dawkins has thoroughly explained what is actually a remarkably minor difference of emphasis in The Blind Watchmaker.
Blowhard that he is, Boteach brags that he’s debated Dawkins about evolution and that he won. Actually the debate, sponsored by the rabbi’s Orthodox group at Oxford fifteen years ago, wasn’t about evolution at all. Boteach comes across like a self-righteous know-it-all. He’s got a lively delivery, but it’s empty of actual knowledge:
Unfortunately, I’m sure we’ll be hearing a lot more of his uninformed and misleading evaluation of evolution when his book appears. It will undoubtedly be another important contribution to the dumbing down of America.