Friday, October 20, 2006

Religion and Science - Brothers in Arms

My son Alex brought to my attention the last few paragraphs in an editorial in today's NY Times by Brian Greene entitled The Universe on a String:

I have worked on string theory for more than 20 years because I believe it provides the most powerful framework for constructing the long-sought unified theory. Nonetheless, should an inconsistency be found, or should future studies reveal an insuperable barrier to making contact with experimental data, or should new discoveries reveal a superior approach, I'd change my research focus, and I have little doubt that most string theorists would too.

But this hasn't happened.

String theory continues to offer profound breadth and enormous potential. It has the capacity to complete the Einsteinian revolution and could very well be the concluding chapter in our species' age-old quest to understand the deepest workings of the cosmos.

Will we ever reach that goal? I don't know. But that's both the wonder and the angst of a life in science. Exploring the unknown requires tolerating uncertainty.


The same could be said about the search for God in religion especially the last sentence. Rambam in MN 1:50 says:

" If in addition to this we are convinced that the thing cannot be different in any way from what we believe it to be, and that no reasonable argument can be found for the rejection of this belief or for the admission of any deviation from it, then the belief is true."

The Torah does not give us answers. It is a guide of how we should look at our existence. It is eternal because its wisdom is such that religious men of all times who follow its path grow in their understanding of God in complete agreement with the scientific understanding of their era.
If the scientific understanding of an earlier generation hits a roadblock, the Torah approach is flexible enough to adapt and overcome the barrier. As long as no reasonable argument is found for rejecting its belief in a God whois the First Cause, and that has not happened yet nor will it ever happen, the Torah approach in searching for God is true and valid.

Shabbat Shalom.

3 comments:

  1. > As long as no reasonable argument is found for rejecting its belief in a God whois the First Cause, and that has not happened yet nor will it ever happen, the Torah approach in searching for God is true and valid.

    Very circular. How do you know God exists? Why should you search for something that might not exist? Maybe you should spend your time doing ood deeds, rather than searching for imaginary, invisible things?

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  2. >How do you know God exists?

    There is no point in arguing this. I am satisfied and believe the First Cause argument is correct and cannot be refuted. I have read all the arguments against it including Bertrand Russell's debate with that British priest whose name I forget. I did not find Russell compelling.

    That was my comment on your post this morning. Questioning is not a problem, in fact a virtue. Jumping to copnclusions and becoming convinced prematurely is a problem. Are you so sure of your postion? Is it possible you are mistaken? Is it possible that at some later date you will discover you were wrong and missed something? It is something that comes with age. I was cocky too and find that as I get along and learn new things, what seemed impossible now is clear.

    Don't take this as mussar as I am not ra'uy to give it rather as a comment from an admirer. You are much better than I was at your stage in life.

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  3. David, if you are still checking this thread - the priest's name was Copleston.

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