Natan Slifkin Slams Yated Stance on Global Warming, Calls it Driven By “Political Ideology”


slifkinNatan Slifkin, also popularly known as the “Zoo Rabbi,” best known for his interest in biology, zoology and natural history and for his books on these topics, has slammed the American Yated Ne’eman for the newspaper’s stance on global warming.

Slifkin quotes an article, “Is Global Warming a Scientific Hoax?” written by Yaakov Kornreich, news writer at Yated Ne’eman, on December 4th 2009.

Slifkin quotes the following small extract from the Yated article:

The Evolution Analogy

Global warming has been promoted as science, but in fact it is no more scientific than evolution, which has also been promoted by the liberal, secular left as a means with which to try to discredit all forms of traditional religious belief.

While evolution had its roots in the relatively crude scientific theories promoted by Charles Darwin 150 years ago, it has been promoted ever since by committed secularists as a weapon with which to attack the credibility of the Torah Sheb’ksav and to heap ridicule on the simple faith of people.

Religious scientists have proposed numerous alternative theories which are as consistent with the biological and archaeological evidence discovered since Darwin’s time as the current version of evolution, which requires as much faith to believe as any religion.

Similarly, global warming has been zealously promoted by the far left wing for reasons which have very little to do with the findings of science, and which are, in fact, driven by its political ideology.

 Slifkin comments: “Perhaps global warming has indeed been promoted for reasons driven by political ideology rather than science. On the other hand, the same is most certainly true for the Yated‘s opposition.”

 Yaakov Kornreich has since responded on Slifkin’s site. Kornreich’s first response is as follows:

For the record, I am the editor of “A Science and Torah Reader.” The bulk of that publication consists of reprinted articles written by prominent Orthodox Jewish scientists of that time, as well as by noted rabbinic authorities including Rabbi Dr. Immanuel Jakobovitz, The Lubavitcher Rebbe and Rav Kook. As the editor, I selected the articles and wrote connecting and explanatory material intended to make some of the more technical concepts more accessible to lay readers, but I did not endorse any specific approach. This is the opening paragraph I wrote 40 years ago for the Foreword to “A Science and Torah Reader:

“This anthology brings together the thoughts and writings of scholars of Torah and science, reacting to questions arising out of the relationship and interaction between the two fields. Due to the great diversity of opinions and the rapid pace of scientific development, no attempt has been made to set forth any one particular approach to all the problems that are discussed here, as the best or most proper. While acknowledging the supremacy of Torah over all human thought, Jews committed to Torah may still retain differences of opinion in their evaluation of scientific concepts.”

My current criticism of the proponents of the global warming theory, as recently published in the Yated, is based primarily on the fact that their claims of global warming and dire predictions of disastrous climate changes due to greenhouse gas emissions as proven facts, are simply not supported by the available scientific evidence. Greenhouse gases do tend to warm the atmosphere, and measurements between 1970 and 2000 indicate that a gradual increase in the average temperature of the Earth did take place, but that does not prove the existence of a direct cause-and-effect relationship between the two.

Some climatologists suspect that other factors , such as deep ocean currents or variations in the intensity of solar radiation, might be equally responsible for the observed global temperature changes. At this time, science has no way to prove, by direct experiment and measurement, which of these factors is dominant, nor can it prove that reducing manmade emissions of greenhouse gases would, by itself, significantly affect the rate of global climate change.

The recent admissions by proponents of global warming that they conspired to prevent the publication of competing theories, and altered or suppressed the scientific data indicating that global warming came to a halt during the past decade, has undermined the credibility of their conclusions. Such conduct proves that they have crossed over from objective scientific inquiry into the realm of defending dogma.

G*3 is correct when he says that, in its original form, evolution was not “intended specifically to discredit religion.” But at a later point, evolution was certainly seized upon by the opponents of religious faith, who then used it, without regard for the ground rules of science, to advance their own atheist agenda. The point of my article in the Yated is that much the same thing has now happened to the global warming theory.

Yaakov Kornreich

Brooklyn, NY

 More can be found here.

{Noam Newscenter}


  1. I am not concerned with anything this “rabbi” who believes we evolved from monkey says-I was told this directly from him-or what he writes. Any chance of taking this article down given that his books have been banned by many Gedolim based upon his views?

  2. The “shtusim” you report leave me speechless. Who cares what the Zoo Rabbi says about the Yated article. Find something more mentally stimulating to report about.

  3. Of course, Slifkin won’t accept Kornreich’s statement. Because it is well known that Slifkin’s shita is that there was evolution, albeit Divinely guided. Anachnu maaminim bnai maaminim that the world was created in 6 days, without evolution. We already know from that issue that the “science” is really political. But Slifkin believes in evolution. He doesn’t yet understand that science is often politics. So it is no wonder that he has bought the global warmimg hoax (sorry, climate change, now that the globe hasn’t warmed for 11 straight years), hook, line and sinker.

  4. I don’t see what the big deal is about conserving energy is. Since Arab terrorists are in control of most of the world’s oil (which is where we get most of the energy from), any Yid with half a conscience should be cutting back on energy consumption as much as possible, regardless of whether or not global warming is an issue. The more energy you use, the money you are putting directly into terrorists’ pockets. Taking care of that is a lot more important than sticking our tongues out at liberal agendas.

  5. Rabbi Slifkin is 100% correct. The Yated and Yaakov Kornreich are extremely uninformed on this issue and their views display this.

  6. We can’t take the Rabbi seriously.

    We believe that ay night the sun travels from west to east over the non-transparent blanket we call sky.(Psochim 94b, Shitoh Mkubetzes in Ksuvos & Rashi Rosh Hashanna 24a line 13) At the same time the moon which is right underneath that sky shines on us with its own light.
    He believes that at night the sun is underneath us shining on the opposite sphere of the earth and onto the moon which does not have its own light.

  7. #9, Are you serious? You really believe there is a blanket (rakia) in the sky which blocks the suns rays at night? You really believe the moon gives off its own light?

    1) The gemara in Pesachim said that although our Chachamim believed that, the Chachmei Umos Haolam were right and the Sun goes on the other side of the Earth at night.

    2) Why haven’t any rockets or satellites crashed into the Rakia when going to other planets?

    3) The Zohar itself in last weeks parsha, Vayeshev, says explicitly that the Moon only reflects the Sun’s light and has no light of its own.

  8. The Gedolim never banned any of Rabbi Slifkin’s books. Some balei machlokesim copied the esteemed signatures of the holiest gedolim and used it for machlokes.

  9. some of the comments, including that of my undoctored namesake, represent either humor or something that belies our people as an am navon.

  10. Slifkin DID have Chushiva Haskomos for his books. They were only removed after heavy pressure from the politicly correct/Am haaretz crowd!

  11. Natan Slifkin is a mensch, ish hasefer who has been abused and attacked with no background support. His scientific knowledge is quite immense and his opinion is one of careful research and investigation.

    Global warming is evident in much of the climatic changes that we have experienced over the last few years,,,yet it is not TORAS HASHEM.

  12. You label someone as an apikorus for defending climate change? I think that’s a bit extreme.

    His point, as I understand it, isn’t to choose a side on the debate, but rather to call out those people that have closed themselves off to even having a discussion on the matter.

  13. I feel that Matzav has opened can of worms with giving credence to a person that many Gedolim hold is preaching minos. I feel the Matzav should have been clearer on the intent of the discussion rather then giving this min a platform.

  14. Rabbi Slifkin is 100% correct. Kornreich’s comment

    “Such conduct proves that they have crossed over from objective scientific inquiry into the realm of defending dogma”

    is nonsense. We need to stop mixing dogmatic pseudo-religious greenies with eminent scientists.

    For those of you interested in Emes as opposed to continued character assassination, I suggest you watch this and provide your learned response.

    PS. I love the way both the LR and Rav Kook all of a sudden become kosher for Yated’s writers.

  15. To #9 Five Towns Anon

    The Shita Mkubetzes in Kesubas quotes the Reb Taam, that although the Chachomim agreed that the Chachmei Umos have a good argument, never-the-less they still held on to their opinion that at night the sun travels over the blanket (sky). Also please see Rashi in Rosh Hashannah Daf 24 Omud Aleph, line 13.

    Since the moon is over our head at night, and there is a non-transparent sky between the moon and the sun, the moon Has to have its own light.

    Even the way the Chachomim understood the Chachmei umos, was that the earth is flat like a plate, thereby when the sun is underneath, it is closer to the ocean then when its overhead.

  16. The issue is NOT who or what Rav Slifkin is or isn’t. The REAL issue is why The Yated feels the need to join the ultra conservative right wing bandwagon and write against the global warming theorists. No matter who is correct, we still have an obligation to be shomer this earth that HKB”H gave to us. PERIOD. Neeman? HA! What a JOKE!!

  17. Shame on Matzav for posting Slifkin’s comments or even the Yated, neither are Daas Torah.
    Slifkin hates the Chareidi world just take a look at his blog. Matzav you blew it you guys are off my favorites home page!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  18. I commend Matzav for publishing this article, however I feel it is a shame it characterized Slifkin’s article as “slamming” the Yated’s stance. He merely respectfully raised a point of criticism. I think Kornreich answered well, but probably would have reworded his comparison to evolution to indicate “random” evolution as opposed to the “evolution” Hashem employed in creating the world. In this context, evolution, on its simplest level means that world was not created complete in one instant; only, it went through stages from simplicity to complexity. Each stage was a preparation for the next stage. The world evolved in the same sense that a baby evolves from one cell! It is programmed and inevitable to turn out the way we see it due to a few rules of nature Hashem invested into the primordial matter He created Yesh M’ayin. According to Kefira evolution, the world as we see it today stems from a confluence of accidents. The main unfortunate results from the Slifkin controversy are: Klal Yisroel has taken sides on a matter of legitimate interpretation, and one side has made a bitter Machlokes out of it. None of these issues have any impact on Halacha. The Rambam’s approach in M”N, most of the Yekkeshe Gedolim, past and present, and frum Jews of all stripes who are professionals in scientific fields, agree with the approach (perhaps not all the details) Slifkin takes. The Chasidic world, and that includes many contemporary Litvishe Roshei Yeshiva, take a more fundamentalist (literalist) approach. I am sure Slifkin has no problem with that. You will not find that he calls them names and impugns them with Apikorsus, Minus or even being “primitive.” Slifkin never promoted his “controversial” books to the Chasidic fundamentalist world. He is not seeking converts to his approach. He was merely trying to answer some question raised by those who already agree with his approach. That is why he now put a picture of a dinosaur on the cover; to warn the fundamentalist element, the book is not for them (they don’t have the questions and don’t need his answers). But for the category of Jews who have the knowledge to appreciate science (Chochma B’Goyim Taamin) and for many alienated intellectual Jews, his works have been warmly accepted and instrumental in Kiruv. I have no problem with people who wish to close themselves to anything but Emuna P’shuta. I do have a problem when they criticize and attack other Jews without an understanding of what they are arguing against. I have the same problem with some MO Jews who attack and call Jews who chose to live by Emuna P’shuta,“primitive”. This Machlokes contributes toward Ikuv HaGeula!

  19. To Comment #14

    There are some that hold that the Chachomim actually gave in to the opinion of the Umos Ho’olom, that during the night the sun travels underneath the earth. But the Chachomim’s reasoning for retracting, was because of the temperature of the oceans. They never questioned “if the sun is hiding above our heads above the sky, then how does the moon get light?”, because they had no problem with that, because the moon is like the sun in a smaller version, giving off its own light.

  20. there is a major problem with slifkin because in his book of mysterios creaturs he puts all his focus and “approval” of the Rambam`s Shita -that Chazal believed in false science -and is not satisfied with the Rashbam`s Shita- that Chazal knew that the science of their days were false but used them as an anolgy for deep philosphical and mystical ideas. This shows an obvious Large flaw in slifkin Hashkafos.

  21. Are there really Yiden that believe the moon gives off its own light?
    #20 Chaim. Your smug attitude and distasteful mention of the Modern Orthodox community being the only ones who care, (as if we are either small, inconsequential, or off the derech), is bothersome. Take a good long look inside yourself and your midos. I’ll bet from your comment you are lacking. When is the last time you made Kiddush Hashem? The fact that someone believes HKB’H brought about the Briyah using an evolutionary scheme does not make them an apikores. You thinking it does makes you simple. I guess the Ramban was misguided when he said each day was 1000 years? After all the simple pshat is HKB’H created the world in 6 days. Fortify yourself, and open your eyes to the world around you that HKB’H runs with natural laws that can actually be studied! Study them, and you might actually have a deeper love and understanding of the greatness of HKB’H.

  22. The attacks on Rabbi Slifkin are
    generally unwarranted.

    In particular, I am incensed
    concerning backward attempts to censor
    his books.

    Having said that, I disagree with
    Slifkin’s current infatuation with
    man-driven global warming which is hotly
    contested by respected scientists.

    Rabbi Slifkin should stick to his
    favorite subject: zoology and Torah

    In this instance, Yated’s Kornreich
    is right and Slifkin is wrong.
    (I still recommend Slifkin’s other books
    on animals and creation.)

  23. Re: #34

    There is no dogma in normative Judaism
    to accept all Chazal’s comments on science.

    Let us not forget that our sages
    were primarily concerned with theology—
    not science. Furthermore, the science
    prevalent in biblical and talmudic times
    cannot be taken seriously.

  24. To #37

    Very well said.

    Now, how do we deal with the Chazal that say that the Malochim only say Shirah during the night so as not to interfare with Klal Yisroel who are davening during the daytime? And the idea of night and day relating to HKB”H? What do we say now, that we know, that the whole concept of Day & Night is only for people who live on earth? Should we say, that they use E”Y’s time zone, then what about Matan Torah at Sinai, which time zone?

    The Pirkeh Dreb Eliezer says that at night there are special “Night Malochim”, that carry the sun to mizrach, to be ready to shine in the morning. He also writes that during the winter its cold, because half of the sun’s sphere is covered with ice, and that is the side that rotates towards us, during the winter months. How do we explain the equator that is always the same temp?.

    The idea of Kvutzas Haderech came about, because they realized that it took longer to travel from E”Y to Bovel then from Bovel to E”Y. Now we know that the reason is the different time zones, what do we say?.

  25. Rav Sherira Gaon writes that Chazal were not doctors or scientists, and simply wrote with the best knowledge available to them. Their scientific pronouncements were never meant to be the final word. Saw this quoted in recent book on 13 Ikarei Emunah put out by Chabad.