Puretorah.com seems to feel that one can prove the truth of Torah. In that it is a kindred spirit with kiruv organizations such as Aish HaTorah, both of whom rely on bogus proofs such as Torah codes. If they were intellectually honest, they would admit that codes are useless for their purposes because 1) Torah codes can be used to "prove" ideas anathema to Orthodoxy, such as Jesus being the fulfillment of the Jewish messiah (examples abound, such as here) and 2) similar codes are found in secular literature.
Here are a few of the outlandish statements made by Rabbi Eliyahu Kin (a Young Earth Creationist) in the lecture, Did dinosaurs ever exist and what happened to them? link
"You will have to face those that attempt to attack Judaism from different angles. One angle is... the age of the Earth, the millions of years according to scientists, and they say so based on all sorts of theories, nothing concrete, no real proof".
(Note especially his sneering tone almost every time he uses the words "theories", even though he obviously hasn't a clue as to what the word actually means.)
"Science only reinforces what the Torah says, as long as we're dealing with real facts, facts that can be proven, sound information, that which has been proven beyond any doubt. That which is still theory, or is just an opinion, of course is not worth anything".
"The most accurate method of measuring the age of the earth is Carbon-14 dating, and that also has a limitation of about 50,000 years".
"These animals that existed once upon a time did co-exist with human beings. And I'm really hoping that one of these days they will find a human skeleton together with a dinosaur skeleton. The problem is that the die-hard scientists are gonna say that somebody in the middle of the night snuck up and buried that human skeleton next to the dinosaur."
Kin then tells us about creatures such as the shamir, the tachash, the adnei hasadeh, and the mermaid ("it's mentioned in the gemara, it's not just a myth. People have seen it off the coast of Massachusetts in the 1800s. It's not just a fairy tale."). Anyone want to send him a copy of Slifkin's Sacred Monsters?
How did the dinosaurs become extinct? Disease or over-hunting may have been contributing factors, but in Kin's humble opinion it was due to three floods (according to the midrash): one in the time of Enosh (which covered 1/3 of the Earth), one during the generation of dispersion (which covered 2/3 of the Earth), and the "Noah Mabul".
Kin has an impressive knowledge of geology: "All the scientists clearly admit that the Grand Canyon did not come about by itself... Something very very big happened to bring this about." He tells us why there are fish skeletons found up on the hills of Malibu ("that's where they landed" after the flood. "Ample proof all over that there was a Mabul".) In Genesis, there was only one continent. All of this continental drift occurred because of the Mabul. This also contributed to the extinction of the dinosaurs.
Man, oh man, I had to stop halfway through the lecture. Sorry.
Now it's time learn What Are Ufos? link
Kin tells us that the lecture is really about the paranormal. Interestingly, he begins by discussing Clarke's Third Law ("Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic") although he doesn't attribute it as such. If you were to tell someone about the telephone in the 1800s, no one would believe you - it would be magic. "So because we got used to it, we take things for granted. In those days they also were aware about certain things that existed that for us may be very unusual today because we are not used to it."
"You may heard or seen someone bending a spoon. There are all sorts of individuals that have done many incredible things. Some are true, some are tricks. It is possible to do things like that using concentration of the mind using psychokinetic abilities. Science does not want to accept any of this. Science only accepts that which can be proven in a laboratory." Later, he states that he cannot tell us where Uri Geller gets his powers from. It could be fakery, witchcraft, or a gift from God.
Astrology: "certain people from certain months of the year, that have certain elements - fire, water, air, or earth - are attracted to each other like magnets".
Palmistry: "there are those who can read the lines in the hand. The palm contains lines that are not there by accident. How could this be? Obviously, the One who created man, created these lines too. To predict what's going to happen to a baby when he's 55 years old? That takes a greater knowledge [than weather forecasting]."
Chochma haPartzuf [phrenology]: some people can "look at a person's face and forehead and be able to detect certain illness and sins. Addition proof that there is knowledge that cannot be explained in physical terms."
Let's say that a paranormal expert makes a mistake. What can you conclude? [lots of chiming in from the audience, some of whom are probably buying all of this BS]. The skeptic will say it's totally not true. But actually, it's probably because the person is not such an expert.
Lecture highlight: After about 35 minutes, he starts to talk about UFOs. We know that there isn't life on other planets (discussed in another lecture), and claims of seeing UFOs fall into three categories: 1) lies 2) sightings of non-paranormal phenomena and 3)DEMONS! Yep, that's right, there are "real" UFOs and they are actually demons! Apparently some French researchers have analyzed "the real testimony of people who have actually observed something" and have come to the same conclusion. We know that they are real demons, because demons poke fun at humans and they can change form. They appear in deserts, rural places, and at night, appear to single individuals at a time, they fly in the air, and occasionally kidnap people. Just like UFOs. Other people didn't come to this conclusion because they are either close minded or don't understand that they exist. Demons have existed in all cultures and they are not a myth.
Uh oh, can there be a skeptic in the audience (41:30)? He says "seeing is believing" in response to Kin's claims. So Kin asks what if Skeptic were to see a human with chicken feet? Skeptic replies: probably someone with a birth defect. Kin answers: that's because you weren't exposed to the stories in the gemara, the zohar, etc.
At this point I'm thinking that Rabbi Kin is not just an OrthoFundie, but that he's completely bonkers. Can I really listen to any more of his ravings? Sure, a few more minutes.
The Bermuda Triangle may be due to a magnetic force that cannot tolerate metals at some places in the ocean. Or it may be the sitra achra, since demons have certain places where they congregate, like the North Pole. The Bermuda Triangle may be another place that demons hang out.
Demons procreate amongst themselves, they eat and die, they become visible to humans when they want to be seen. One should not give shalom to just anybody at night because you might be shaking hands with a demon. Typical advice about not completely closing off an opening in one's house, and making sure that your mezuzot are in good shape.
Kin says to let him know if you need to drive away demons from your home.
Now let's do an easy for fun. How do we know that the Torah is Divine? link
Up to about 200 years ago, it was obvious that the Torah was from heaven. Everyone was more or less observant. When the Conservative and Reform movements came about, people began to have doubts and now it takes more than tradition to convince people. Those that attempt to challenge the Torah's veracity have an agenda, "just like scientists that set out to discover what they have already made up their mind what they want to believe."
Many people can trace their rabbis all the way back to Moses. Thus there were no interruptions and Torah was not changed. Those that claim that the Torah was a result of a committee need to go through all of it: the entire Torah, Talmud, and Kabbalah, and they will be convinced otherwise. If one is honest and sincere, then hopefully this will be convincing enough. A person has to be very arrogant to claim that they are more knowledgeable than their parents, grandparents, the Rambam.
Proofs (I'm not going to bother here with the counters to these so-called proofs):
- Kuzari. Nobody else can make the claim that God spoke to 3 million people, performed miracles for them, etc. People wouldn't lie to their kids that this happened. Nor would a stubborn people make up such difficult obligations.
- 3 pilgrimage holidays. One can leave the wife and kids to go to Jerusalem, even in border towns, and the Torah makes a promise that no one will invade at that time. This promise was always kept.
- Shmittah. No human can make the promise of a bumper crop in the 6th year.
- Torah criticizes its own leaders. Even Moses. So that proves it is not man-made.
- Torah codes.
- Nothing in archaeology disproves the Torah. Everything they've found so far just strengthens the Torah's record. (He also references Ipuwer, claiming that it is an account of the makot.)
- Prophecies. (Doesn't specifically state which ones in this lecture.)
- Moses was not a biologist. There are only 3 animals that chew cud and don't have split hooves. (Kin acknowledges chewing cud is not technical, lagomorphy of rabbits satisfies criteria. BTW, Kin states that one can reliably eat any non-pig animal that has split-hooves, which implies that there is no need for a mesorah.)
- Zohar says that the world is round like a ball.
- Zohar says that one's appearance is affected by the climate. Kin states that if you move to China, your great grandchild will have slanty eyes. This has been proven!!!
- Zohar says that there is one place on earth where most of the day is light.
- Prophecies and codes that Jews will return to Israel at the end of days.
And finally, How does Judaism deal with the Theory of Evolution?
I'll just mention a few highlights from this lecture.
- To us [the idea of creation] may be simple, either because we grew up it or because we are very logical and we don't have to think of something else that doesn't make much sense.
- "Before you know it, you have a monkey becoming a human being".
- "Hashem did not create Adam HaRishon with slanted eyes, that I can assure you." He agrees that micro-evolution occurs within a species and repeats the idea (see above) that if you move to China, your great grandchildren will look Chinese. But if a white man moves to Africa, their descendants will look darker but will not become Black. He'll explain in another lecture how the "Black race" originated.)
- "Does everybody know what a fossil is?" [who is his audience, anyway?]
- Geologists determined the age of strata based on circular reasoning. They determined the age of an organism by where it was found in the rock strata. And they determined the age of the strata by what kind of organism they found there.
- Fossils are all over the world but we have never found the missing link between ape and man.
- What came first, the mouth or the stomach or the rectum? They had to have been created together.
- No primitive cell can become through mutation so complex as a human being. It is statistically impossible. Evolutionists say that given enough time, anything is possible and it's only a problem for creationists because believe in a young earth. "They have the answer for almost everything".
- Ask an evolutionist where the first cell came from. No one has an answer for this. "If that you don't know that, then why don't you just say you don't know anything about everything else.
- Some evolutionists have admitted that it is impossible to explain the complexity of the human being without introducing a divine entity.
- All the fossils that have been found are fragments and you can't prove anything about it. Plus there are sometimes hoaxes.
- Sometimes they find human fossils with dinosaurs (contradicting his dinosaurs lecture above), sometimes below dinosaurs. But they are hiding this information from you because they don't want you to know the truth. So when they found human footprints next to a dinosaur in a river bed in Texas, you know what they said? That someone came in the middle of the night and chiseled the human footprint. Why? Because they have already made up their mind that it can't be.
- People believe in evolution only because they don't want to believe in the alternative. Kin then goes off on a tangent to discuss the psychology of atheists follows. People become atheists only because they want to follow their desires. Nobody leaves religion because they investigated it and found it not to be true. Anybody who investigates religion will become a baal teshuvah.
One quick question before I go: What would you say about someone who takes a strict literalist approach to not only the Bible but to apparently every supernatural story told in the Talmud and Kabbalah, who believes that UFOs are really demons, who believes in everything from mermaids to spoon-bending to palmistry, and who has an utter disdain for science and scientists and believes they are covering up information that man and dinosaurs were contemporaneous?