The World's Age
Moshe Ben-Chaim
Reader: I was wondering if you believe in dinosaurs, like if they ever really existed or the bones or something was a trick ,...or if like they were put here as "Gods toys" before he put us humans.
Mesora: I've heard this notion before. Some people suggest foolishly that God placed dinosaur bones in the Earth to test us. But I wonder, "What is the test?" According to them, we should believe that they never existed even though our eyes see their bones, and our carbon 14 dates them to be ancient. I would ask them, "Let's say I see an elephant, should I not believe my senses?" They would of course say that an elephant is different because it is alive. I would then continue and ask them, "I'll exhume an elephant's remains and see its bones,... I see the dinosaur bones, and I'm using the same two eyes which saw the elephant's bones, so why should I say that these dinosaur bones are fabrications, while the elephant's bones are evidence of truth?" These chassidim will have no answer as they will see their contradiction. They may claim that since they didn't read about the dinosaurs in the Torah, then they cannot be real, in which case I would say that every comet in space shouldn't be real because it is also not in the Torah. Their foolish arguments can be removed quite readily.
The Torah does not contain every bit of information in the world. Perhaps what forces one to make such a claim is an infantile feeling about the Torah, that if it misses one point, it is not perfect, so they claim that every point is in it. This is similar to one claiming that a Rebbe never sins. If he did, they couldn't tolerate it, as they desire "angelic man", when in reality the Torah teaches that "there is no righteous man in the Earth who does good and never sins".
I would add to this point that A Rabbi mentioned that dinosaurs are in the Torah, where it says in Genesis "taninim gedolim", "great sea monsters".
Again, these people might claim that since the world is only 5761 years old, this contradicts the supposition that the world is millions of years old. At least this is a more rational question, yet, scientists are measuring the world as old as 16,000,000,000 years. How did the scientists come up with this number?
The Hubble Constant ( H0 ) describes how fast the Universe is expanding (which is due to the Big Bang (1) ). Since we know how fast the Universe is expanding now, we can estimate when the Universe was just a single point, just before the Big Bang . To determine H0 you have to look at objects which are very far away, so that their velocities are dominated by the expansion of the Universe and not by any local flows. You then find how far away these objects are and how fast they are moving away from us. Once you know this you can determine a value of H0 by dividing the velocity by the distance. In practice you do this for many objects and determine H0 from a graph of distance vs velocity.
Once you have a value of H0 you can then calculate the age of the Universe. At the moment different astronomers find different values of H0 , though these values generally fall into two camps. One camp finds low values of H0 (around 50), while the other finds high values (around 80). The low value gives a large value for the age of the Universe (around 16 thousand million years), while the the larger value of H0 gives a lower value for the age (around 10 thousand million years).
Einstein discovered that time is not a constant, and as matter increases velocity, time slows down. Therefore, there are different time measurements in different portions in our universe. Our measurement of the universe's age will be drastically different than time measured on a distant star that is still speeding at tremendous velocities (2). There is no contradiction to say that the world is both 5761 years old, and 16 billion years old. Time is different when measured from different portions of the universe, as proven by Einstein's law of relativity.
This vast time frame allows plenty of room for dinosaurs, and numerous other eras that we will never fathom.
It is against God's will that man being endowed with intellect, and yet suggest foolishly that God tests man in such a way that these fools say. God desired that man arrive at conclusions based on rational arguments. Therefore, to say that God would try to cause man to err by planting false evidence is complete "kfiras haTorah", a complete denial of God's will that man should use the mind he was given by God. If there is evidence, and certainly conclusive proof such as dinosaur bones, God's will is that man arrive at a rational conclusion based on such proof, accepting with 100% conviction what the evidence indicates.
Scientific knowledge and Torah knowledge both are emanations from the same Creator. The same method of rational analysis should be applied to Talmud as to science. If evidence is used in scientific knowledge, it is to be used in theological and religious knowledge as well. The Navi warned of this dichotomy in haftoras Vayikra.
Please read our article "God Testing Man".
(1) The "Big Bang" is the theory that all matter came into existence in an exploding, split second. At that point, the force of the bang was so enormous, that today, galaxies are still speeding away from the central location point of that explosion on the force of that bang. Scientists state that since stars and galaxies are racing away from each other, if one looks back into time, these galaxies were closer, and the further one goes back, the closer they were, until, we arrive at a point in time where all matter was located at the same exact location - the point of its creation from nothingness. At that first moment, matter was very dense, and contained all the material necessary for the entire universe as it is today. Being that all matter was so dense it required a great force - a "big bang" - to propel it out to the farthest reaches of the cosmos as we find today. Scientists estimate the speed at which these galaxies are hurtling through space based in light colors and shifts.
(2) "Genesis and the Big Bang", by Gerald L. Schroeder, pp 45-55, Bantam Books, 1990 edition.

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