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Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Torah and Science: Torah, Science, and Greek Philosophy

Torah and Science: Torah, Science, and Greek Philosophy: "One of the obstacles to the joint study of Torah and science is the mistaken perception as if there are contradictions between Torah and science. There are Torah scholars who do not learn science because they believe that science contradicts the Torah.

Not everything called "science" is science, and not everything called "Torah" is Torah. We show that there is never a contradiction between real Torah and real science. Human imagination, extrapolations, wishful speculations, mistaken theories, and leftovers of Greek philosophy are often believed to be part of Torah or science rather than what they really are. The controversy involving contradictions between Torah and Science is a result of such mistaken beliefs. Understanding the source of the mistaken beliefs resolves the apparent contradictions and shows that Torah and Science are in perfect harmony."

'via Blog this'

Editor's Note:

This 'eternal' debate is definitely occupies a special place in my heart. While I too see more 'agreement' then conflict, I feel compelled to state that Torah and Science being in perfect harmony is a very bold statement indeed.

My proof as to the difficulty of this statement is this twofold concept:

It is perhaps good that Torah and Science are not total harmony because then how would one outlook sharpen the other. In fact Torah and Torah are not in complete harmony, find any two rabbis and you will probably find 1000's of things they disagree on. In fact the entire Talmud is filled with often diametrically opposed "interpretations" of even what might seem to be the most concrete or cut and dry laws or Halacha.

Science is of course no different. While it may be true that some theories are widely held and believed, there are also 1000's of things where there are major disagreements.

People much wiser than me, 1000's of years ago have already put this matter to rest when they stated that a solid foundation in science is needed to understand some of the most esoteric, deep, and mysterious elements of our Holy Torah.

By denying science as a valid method of understanding our world and the universe those very same people are denying an aspect of their very own religion  potentially because it is too difficult to either understand or explain.

An explanation is not and can never be wrong simply because it is too complex. By denying young minds complete access to the great storehouse of knowledge (some if which has their secrets "locked away" in scientific explanation) scholars who put down science because they do not understand the methodology it utilizes are doing a huge disservice to the students that suffer because of significant gaps in their education.

Stephen C. Sanders
The author of the editor's note is a Biology Teacher by training, education, and experience and has returned to his Jewish roots over the last six years and is an active member of an orthodox community in NJ.

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