VIDEO: 3 Questions to Ask Your Local Atheist – from Rabbi Shaffier’s Burst of Inspiration series

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  1. The “stuff” the tree is made out of is in the air and earth in which the seed is placed. Your assertion that nothing is taken out of the dirt by the tree growing in it is simply false. There’s a reason why nothing can grow in soil that has no nutrients or in a place where the air does not contain the necessary mix of elements.

    The carbon, oxygen and other atoms are produced by a process called nuclear fusion in stars and supernovas.

    The sweet orange that we have today is not a wild fruit. It was created by mixing two wild fruits in order to get the most desirable traits of both.

    Overall these arguments from complexity will fail fairly badly if brought up to anyone who is well educated in the subjects you use them in. Especially because the processes of seed germination and plant embryonic development are pretty well understood.

    I don’t suggest actually trying to bring this up to an educated Athiest if strengthening your emuna is the goal.

    • Frank I disagree mostly. Rabbi Shafier gave the correct answer but perhaps could have added the point that photosynthesis allows the tree to get its’ mass from the carbon in the air. This ability is amazing beyond words and is not explainable by evolution as fruit trees are hardly the fittest around, in fact, as any gardener can testify.

  2. Uri,

    No, he made the claim that nothing is taken from the environment besides for “some water and sunlight”. This is false.

    As far as fruit trees being fit, not sure what you mean by this. They do quite well in the wild, and domestic plants (like the sweet orange this video was about) are created by people and therefore require more care in order to produce fruit that people would want to buy.

    The process is amazing beyond words and it is quite well understood in the framework of modern evolutionary biology. All I’m really saying is that the results that you will get presenting these kinds of arguments to an Athiest who is well educated in these areas will likely not do much to bolster the questioner’s emunah.

  3. Sorry but the Rabbi did mention CO2 and sun and water. But his main point is the beneficial effect of the photosythesis. Cold scientific theories cannot satisfy a person who really contemplates the kindness resulting from all the complex processes we benefit from and all life depends on. Even atheists can be convinced, for example Anthony Flew, who recanted after a career teaching it.

  4. Frank – it doesn’t matter which terms u use, photosynthesis or nuclear fusion, having a tree grow sweet oranges out of seed, soil, air and light is incomprehensible. Sadly, ur right in one sense, if someone doesn’t wanna believe, this won’t help him believe.
    Hatzlocha Rabbah to all.

  5. It’s mind boggling and spectacularly amazing in its beauty and complexity. However it is not at all incomprehensible, it’s a pretty well understood field of science. You can learn how it works.

  6. Frank makes a rather good point. Although rabbi shafier point was well intended… Please do not debate your local atheist using the orange tree argument. Your’e destined to lose that fight miserably. leave the debating to those well versed in ideology. At the end of the day, it’s been debated for hundreds of years. It mostly boils down to emuna. An inherent deep belief in god.

  7. It’s brought down from one of the Gedolim that when debating an apikores it should only be a non Jew but not a Jew With a Jewish apikores just walk away they won’t listen and you can only lose and gain nothing from debating them it’s a waste of time
    There are ways to be melarev them through showing them our beautiful nation of Chesed Tabbi Abigdor Miller used to say invite them for Shabbos and for every question they ask tell them that’s a good question here’s another peice of kugel So make sure your wife is a good cook

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