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Critique of Intelligent Design

Evolution vs. Creationism

The Art of ID Stuntmen

Faith vs Reason

Anthropic Principle

Autopsy of the Bible code

Science and Religion

Historical Notes


Serious Notions with a Smile


Letter Serial Correlation

Mark Perakh's Web Site


[Write a Reply] [Letters Index]

Title Author Date
review of my article by Rossow Rabinowitz, Avi Feb 23, 2003
1) Thank you for reviewing the article I wrote in B’Ohr Ha’Torah (re the Big Bang and Genesis). Since I appreciate a good critique, I was disappointed that the review seemed to miss the point of the article, which I had hoped was clear: conclusions follow from assumptions: given the viewpoint of the Torah one can create an 'axiom' from which the creation/Eden accounts in some sense follow 'logically', and given the scientific viewpoint the scientific origin theory follows 'logically' .
Note that this article does not purport to be a scientific one, and I offer no proofs nor claim to do so. In any case I am not claiming the truth of a particular view, merely proposing that both in some sense follow from their assumptions.

I also don't quibble about the distinction between neo-Darwinian vs Darwinian, the origin of life vs its development etc, the question of how the universe could have originated other than in a big bang etc, all these matters are irrelevant to the article, what is relevant are the two approaches, that of science which assumes that the universe, life and humanity emerged without divine intervention and offers theories to explain how all this came about, and that of Torah; to be pedantic about each of these points would require several volumes, and this is only an article and as you point out, a rather brief one.

I would be very pleased if you would re read my article, without prior bias, and in the light of the above, and send me (or post) any critique - I really do appreciate such if it is based on careful reading of my work, and is reasoned.
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Title Author Date
review of my article by Rossow continued Rabinowitz, Avi Feb 23, 2003
2) I also perused the review of Poltorak's article. I do not have the issue of BH accessible, however I believe that you will find a mention there of the fact that these ideas stem from an article I wrote with Prof Branover several years back; I am afraid that therefore I am actually the correct address again for your critique.

The article was reprinted, in a slightly edited and corrected version, in "Science in the Light of Torah" (A B'Ohr Ha'Torah Reader), pub by Aronson; it is also available at:

I suggest that you read it carefully, and perhaps read Nick Herbert's book, I believe it is titled: "Quantum Reality", as well as some of the works by PCW Davies. I do not claim that science propounds the belief that consciousness is necessary to collapse the wave function; it is merely one of many interpretations of quantum physics - I carefully term it “quantum metaphysics” - and I offer some ramifications of that approach. I do not claim that it is the correct approach, or the only approach, or even that I support it as the most-likely correct approach. I simply present some possible ramifications to Jewish metaphysics of this approach etc.

I did not have sufficient time to read your review carefully, but I believe that your critique of the consciousness approach is not well-founded (this approach certainly has nothing whatsoever to do with interpreting the wave function as representing the actual spread of the matter of the particle). In any case, there are many who accept the possible validity of this approach, and I really don’t think that BohrHatorah – or for that matter your website – is the appropriate forum for attempting to prove or disprove that the validity of that approach. On the other hand critique of the way in which I used that approach, or my reasoning in general, is certainly appropriate to your site.
Again, I am looking forward to reasoned critique.

Thank you.

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Title Author Date
review of my article by Rossow Rossow, Amiel Feb 23, 2003
My review of issue 13 of B'Ohr HaTorah contains a very brief discussion of
Dr. Rabinowitz's article. In fact it is only a few sentences long. I did not
see a reason to discuss it more in detail because the thesis which was the
subject of my discussion was the alleged collapse of the wave function by
conscious observers and it was elaborated in a more detailed way in an
article by Poltorak. Poltorak has indeed referred to Rabinowitz's and
Branover's previous article but emphasized the difference between their and
his interpretations. If one looks at my review of Poltorak's paper, one'll
see that the main thrust of my critique was the lack of logic in Poltorak's
idea according to which the universe came into its real physical existence
only when Adam "looked at it" thus causing the collapse of the universe's
wave function. This idea contradicts both logic and the Torah's narrative.
The Torah tells us that Adam was created (Genesis 1) or formed (Genesis 2)
after the rest of the universe was already in place. In Poltorak's
interpretation (to which Rabinowitz seems to wish to subscribe as its actual
originator) Adam must have existed prior to the universe, which plainly
contradicts the Torah. On the other hand, his (or
Rabinowitz's?)interpretation is contrary to logic. If Adam caused the
collapse of the universe's wave function, who (or what)caused the collapse
of Adam's wave function? Was Adam not a part of the universe? I don't want
to delve into various ramification of Poltorak's (or Rabinowitz's?) idea
which to my mind is irrepairably illogical. Note that I base the above only
on Rabinowitz's letter since I have not read his and Branover's article. I
have no plans at this time to return to a detailed discussion of that
controversy, and I agree with Rabinowitz that Talk Reason is not a proper
place to discuss various interpretations of quantum mechanics, either as
parts of physics or of metaphysics.
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Title Author Date
review of my article by Rossow Rabinowitz, Avi Mar 10, 2003
which you refer above to as “Poltorak’s idea” is, as mentioned by Poltorak, in fact my idea: indeed it is one of the very central ideas of my article, which was submitted many years ago as noted in the journal. Its original presentation, as referred to by him, is in the article with the diagram referred to above, available at: http://www.dvar.org.il/jstudies/observer.html
I enclose a brief excerpt:
“SOME EPISTEMOLOGICAL CONSEQUENCES OF QUANTUM METAPHYSICS As we have seen, quantum physics connects ontology (being) with epistemology (knowing), and quantum metaphysics postulates that the universe can emerge into true physical existence only when there are (free-willed) conscious beings in it. According to this scenario, man is not a random product of the universe but is rather a necessary condition for the very existence of the universe. In addition, since the universe can emerge into true physical existence only when free-willed conscious man is present within it, there is no true physical reality to any time prior to the emergence of the first free-willed conscious man. According to Torah, this man was Adam. “

I do not wish to create a long exchange of letters, I’m sure there are many points in things we each write on which the other will disagree, and I have no desire to try to convince you of some polemic point. However I’m sure you understand that I will feel called to respond to any critique which I feel is unwarranted, or to clear up other points you mention in my regard.
On a more personal note, as opposed to the somewhat hostile tone of the initial review I want to thank you for the professional tone of your response, and to apologize as above for any negativity in my tone. And a personal request: if in the future you review other articles of mine, I would greatly appreciate your notifying me so that I can respond.

Thank you very much.

Avi Rabinowitz

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Title Author Date
review of my article by Rossow Rossow, Amiel Mar 20, 2003
I regret that Dr. Rabinowitz saw in my very brief review of his article
signs of personal animosity toward him. There was none. I disagreed (and
continue to disagree) with the position he takes in his article but this
disagreement had nothing personal in it. I can only repeat that, insofar as
issue 13 of B’Ohr Ha Torah was under review, the metaphysical thesis
supported by Rabinowitz was in a more detailed form evinced in the article
by Poltorak. Therefore I limited my review of Rabinowitz’s paper in that
issue to a few sentences only, devoting more space to the discussion of
Poltorak’s piece. I leave to Dr. Rabinowitz and Dr. Poltorak the discussion
of who of them was the real originator of that idea, if they attach
importance to that dilemma. Moreover, my task was to review the specific
issue of B’Ohr Ha Torah rather than to discuss in general the metaphysical
question about the necessity of a conscious observer to effect a collapse of
the wave function, and even less to delve into the question of who suggested
that idea earlier and who later. In any case, in my view the idea in
question has little to do with science. It is pure metaphysics and is so
blatantly illogical, especially in that part wherein it asserts that our
universe came into physical existence only when and because Adam “looked at
it,” that the question of priority which seems to worry Dr.Rabinowitz so
much seems to have some comical tint to it. I have no intention to discuss
Dr. Rabinowitz’s (and Branover’s) earlier paper, or even to read that paper,
at least in the near future, so a reason to notify him about such an
occurrence can hardly be expected to arise. Apart from that, I wish Dr.
Rabinowitz all the best, and certainly acknowledge his right to hold any
opinion of his choice.
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Title Author Date
review of my article by Rossow Rabinowitz, Avi Mar 21, 2003
Thank you for your response to my letter, and for your remark regarding the sequence of events.
“If Adam caused the collapse of the universe's wave function, who (or what)caused the collapse of Adam's wave function? Was Adam not a part of the universe?”
This is indeed a good question, and if you would read my article on the subject, the one you reviewed (which is available at http://www.borhatorah.org/home/article1/article1.html
as I wrote previously) you would find my answers to that question. To save you the time, I can present it here in very brief form: The eminent physicist Prof J A Wheeler has proposed a retroactive causation arising from quantum interactions, and has applied it to the emergence of the universe: in my article I write:
“This radical idea that the universe begins its physical existence only with the emergence of a moral being interestingly finds support and parallel in the suggestion of quantum metaphysics that the universe can emerge into true physical reality only upon emergence within it of a conscious being, who, according to our thesis, is a free-willed moral consciousness. As the eminent physicist John A. Wheeler states, the emergence of a conscious being retroactively causes the emergence into reality of the big bang itself![24]
Footnote 24 refers among other things to Wheeler’s provocative diagram reprinted in the book version of my article with Branover. The diagram can be found at http://www.megafoundation.org/images/U-eye.gif which is a link from http://www.megasociety.net/CTMU/CTMUpapers/Langan_CTMU_092902.pdf
(By the way, as you will possibly note from my articles, following Rambam and many others I do not interpret all elements of the creation and Eden accounts literally (this would be even more clear from the larger manuscripts referred to in the article that I do not necessarily understand “Adam” (Mankind) as referring to an individual, or referring to a physical living being as opposed to a metaphysical entity, or a blueprint for humanity)
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Title Author Date
review of my article by Rossow Rossow, Amiel Mar 22, 2003
Dr. Rabinowitz persists in his effort to suck me into a detailed discussion
of his metaphysical constructions despite my quite clear expression of the
lack of interest in such an endeavor. I have no intention of delving into
the subtleties of his views on that subject which to my mind are just
arbitrary metaphysical notions far from science. I will make only one brief
comment regarding Rabinowitz’s referring to Wheeler. John Archibald Wheeler
is indeed a physicist of a high stature. However the question under
discussion is not scientific. An expert in, say, hydrodynamics, may be an
ignoramus in, say, engineering hydraulics. Even more so, a good physicist
(like Wheeler) can be a poor philosopher. Here is what the very influential
professional philosopher Karl Popper wrote in regard to the question of
consciousness being necessary for the collapse of the wave function: “I have
often argued in favor of the evolutionary significance of consciousness, and
its supreme biological role in grasping and criticizing ideas. But its
intrusion into the probabilistic theory of quantum mechanics seems to me to
be based on bad philosophy and on a few very simple mistakes.” (See Karl R.
Popper, Quantum Theory and the Schism in Physics, Totowa NJ, Rowan and
Littlefield publishers, 1982). I am referring to Popper to show that mining
quotations is a double edged tool. Moreover, since Wheeler’s views are
referred to, here is one more quotation for Dr. Rabinowitz to mull over:
“Consciousness, we are forced to recognize, has nothing whatsoever to do
with the quantum process.” Who did say that, Dr. Rabinowitz? Well,
surprise! This is a quotation from the same John Archibald Wheeler…. (See
Wheeler’s article in the collection Mind in Nature, edited by Richard Q.
Elvee, page 21, San Francisco, Harper and Row, 1982). If one wishes to build
an argument on quotations from big-name guys, rather then on facts and
logic, it is advisable to keep in mind that quoting partially may backfire.
This is my final response to Dr. Rabinowitz to whom I still wish all the

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