Synthesis of non synthesizable. Part 2

It seems that the previous post needs some clarification.
First of all I am not comparing the G-dly Torah with any system that was created by humans. As well I am not talking about synthesis of physical science and history. It is obvious that they are describing different lines of life.

My point was about bigger disagreements and contradictions that talk about the same matter. Such as views of Torah and Science on the origins of life for instance. It is very important to mention that science is often misinterpreted as something that is set in stone. I heard many times that science proved this and that, science says this and that so if Torah says something different we need to revise the Torah in order to bring it closer to science. And most probably Torah meant this and that because the science today proved it.

First of all science doesn’t prove ANYTHING. It is simply not what science is about. Science builds models of processes based on the observations. The better the technology the more sophisticated are scientific discoveries. With the development of technology the results of scientific research can come to total disagreement with the previous results and it can be changed again and again. The examples are plenty.

We can take the following one: quantum entanglement challenges special relativity – since dis-entanglement appears to occur simultaneously. It means in simple words that contrary to previous belief  our world is non-local, that there doesn’t have to be a direct communication between two objects in order for them to be affected by one another.  It doesn’t have to be even a sequence of events in a manner that smoothly spans the distance between them.)

More than that, Leonard Susskind, the co-founder of the string theory, suggested to get rid of the term”reality” altogether.:) Because, he says:” The problem is that what people tend to mean by “reality” has more to do with biology and our neural architecture than it has to do with physics itself. We’re prisoners of our own neural architecture. We can visualize some things but can’t visualize other.”

And the more modern science develops with the help of technology the closer it comes to ideas that are written in Torah. There is no point to bring sacred texts to modern science when new  researches can change tomorrow’s scientific approach.

However even in Torah we know there are many commentaries that sometimes contradict each other. All the discussions in Talmud.  R.Eliezer who challenged the Sages  is not considered “wrong”. The final halachic rulings are according to Hillel, while Shammai’s instructions are totally opposite, but still in some dimension both are right. Another example. Rejecting and opposing astrology by Rambam (one of the most prolific and influential Jewish scholars of the Middle Ages) on one hand and understanding and accepting of astrology by Ramban and other great rabbinic authorities on another.  We know from Midrash (commentaries on the Torah ) that there are 70 faces (facets) of the Torah  and they are all valid.

I also would like to mention the idea of M-theory, that modern physicists strive to develop as ( oh, so elusive) theory of everything.  It is not a theory strictly speaking but a network of theories. It is more like a map. It is understood by its developers that when you’ll try to create 2D map of the 3D globe and make it in a most precise form you’ll need to use not just one map but a collection of several ones that will cover the particular region.  These maps will overlap each other in the places they share. However none of them will work alone to give you the whole picture at once.

Then with this understanding even a paradox that everything is predicted but we still have a free will would not be a paradox any longer.


20 thoughts on “Synthesis of non synthesizable. Part 2

  1. Jane Assimakopoulos says:

    My late husband was a Physicist and would have understood this more thoroughly than I do, but I get the general point, and agree that it often takes many conflicting (= from differnet angles) pictures to get the whole view.

  2. naamah says:

    I know what matter and the elements are, because of my amazing science teacher;)

  3. dovid says:

    Science create models and proves them using scientific method. Current scientific method do not need hypothesis of G-d existence . G-d existence (or not) do not imply any method to prove (or disprove) scientific models.
    Torah and Science are two different worlds which do not intersect .
    Torah scholars always adjusted the their view of physical world to the contemporary status of scientific knowledge and explain/express their spiritual world in terms of contemporary .

    “There is no point to bring sacred texts to modern science when new researches can change tomorrow’s scientific approach.” – I disagree
    I would say : “There is no point to bring sacred texts to modern science Torah approach.does not built to use modern scientific method “

  4. yakov says:

    1. If “science proves” is stated in absolute terms, it is not scientific statement, because science must always leave room for its own mistake or at least incompleteness.
    2. To say that Torah and science are 2 different worlds is to deny Unity of Creator.
    3. Torah scholars adjusted their view not because scientific results are inherently true or valuable but because Torah itself requires it. Snow is white not because it is observed to be so but because Torah says it! Check what is primary:)

    • dovid says:

      1)you mixing terms. Torah “proves” something using it methods and science prove something using its method. There is always possibility that person that does “prove” is mistaken or overlook something.
      The issue is that science use to use speculative method to get to conclusions. This method was very similar to Torah methods, with difference only in some assumptions and some logic rules. Then science and Torah view were comparable and one could argue which method gave results close to truth.
      However, modern science using completely different method and in thus describes different realm .
      i got be short, but disagree on other points too. 🙂

  5. Dovid, first of all thanks for taking your time and dropping in to formulate your thoughts on the matter. )
    Here I guess we came to the point when it is important to specify the meaning of definitions we are using.
    Scientific method supposedly based on observations, correct?
    I am not stating that science needs or doesn’t need hypothesis of G-d existence . After all Science describing and dealing only with the realm of matter even in the theoretical physics unlike Torah. ) I am just pointing that modern science is not something that never changes and people should not try to alternate the views of Torah according to results of modern researches.) More than that it is interesting ( nor more) that the more science developed the closer it comes to the Torah’s views contrary to medieval science.
    Also science describes the physical world in order to make the life of humanity more comfortable so it has its portion in Creation.;) Here I will support Yakov’s opinion:”To say that Torah and science are 2 different worlds is to deny Unity of Creator.”

  6. dovid says:

    First of all let use definitions that are clear. Science is dynamic body of knowledge about physical world and set of methods to to update and modify this body of knowledge. Since body of knowledge is dynamic by definition, any changes in it are not “change in Science”. They are changes in hypotheses or models. Changes in Science are changes in methods. Around 17 century, method in science started to change and as result we have modern science, which is characterized by 1)observations /measurements 2)hypotenuses 3)prediction (using facts, known theories and logical deduction) 4)experiment (repeatable) .
    I am not saying science can not or will not change. What i am saying that modern science(methods) was pretty stable last 200 years.
    I think you are mistaken about medieval science and Jewish thought.
    The unique situation about medieval science in West, as opposite as science before medieval times, or science medieval in Muslim world or science after 17 century was that it was developed under religious guidance that has animosity to judaism and on language that was known and learn by hahamim – latin. As result, hahamey Ashkenaz were much less aware about contemporary science. In all other cases, best minds in Jewish learning learn and used contemporary science.
    You can see it very clear in Gemora, in Rambam, Ramban, Ibn Ezra and etc. After ghettos broke – and jews were allowed to Western culture – we see that hahamin using this to access scence.
    And in all these cases , they were trying to re-interpenetrate Torah ideas in terms of contemporary science knowledge.
    So, saying that “science views become more close to views of Torah” show one choose to ignore history of thought in Torah and in science. It is a way to say if one have believes and contradicting facts – then it is worse for facts.

  7. dovid says:

    i could not believe i wrote almost a page , sorry 😉

  8. I enjoyed reading your post))
    I am aware of the steps of scientific method. After all I teach Science;)
    And also my knowledge of medieval science is definitely not coming from the Torah’s perspective.You are giving me a great compliment thinking that I am so well versed in this subject. I am talking about quantum physics for instance or about the law of conservation of mass and energy comparing to medieval views. Please don’t tell me that in Medieval Muslim thought they were all aware of this;)
    Regarding your definition of science I totally agree . The formulation I gave was more addressed to the people who mistakenly think that when science prove something then it will be forever.))

  9. dovid says:

    Sorry, I think you missing the point. Of course Medieval Muslim was not aware conservation of mass and energy, but that is irrelevant. The point is Medieval Talmidej Hahamin from arabic world knew Medieval Muslim science and were very comfortable with it, and and would argue same way as you do , that science supports everything that Torah says!
    So, when scientific knowledge changed, and new scientific theory become opposite of old one – they founds new proofs in Torah that new opinion is correct. Basically, you can have two opposite scientific hypotenuses – for both of them Jewish scholars could find “proofs”!!
    So even if you believe, that all scientific knowledge is hidden in Torah and opens as science develops – such understanding makes Torah useless for science (Torah can not be used to predict science!) and science useless for Torah (since Science can not build experiment to test Torah, because Torah can always can be re-interpreted to agree with science!).
    Torah is about our relation with Someone that our of this realm, even if result of this relation has consequences for us in this realm.

  10. THE ONLY point that I disagree with what you said is that A-Mighty out of this realm. It gives the impression that He and the world are separated . I would say He transcends the realm of matter and with the rest I am not arguing at all .;)

  11. However I think that for whatever reason you missed the whole point of my post, sorry if I was not clear enough. I meant that the whole world is the place of G-d. No matter how we ( humans) describe it – as a scientist or an astrologist or an artist or poet etc etc These are all the ways of describing His world, showing us how complicated and beautiful it is. We shouldn’t separate scientific researches from poems and say that science is not concerned about the beauty of the world from artistic point of view. It all facets of the same world. His world. These views are supplementing each other. And contradictions are not always contradictions. Because without this synthesis, we miss a lot when focusing on a single dimension. Some people understand it but only somewhere on the background of their thought processes. However they don’t apply this approach to life. That’s all.

    And as a side point – it states in Zohar

    In the sixth century of the sixth millennium, the gates of supernal wisdom will be opened, as will the springs of earthly wisdom, preparing the world to be elevated in the seventh millennium.

    That counts to to the period from 1740–1840, when indeed it was a time with explosive advances in science and technology . And this continuing since then with acceleration.) Also it was time when the chassidic movement started.

  12. moussia khanin says:

    ma i loved

  13. Yehudis, you’ve been waiting for quite a while for me to get involved in this discussion and, for that, I’m sorry.

    I don’t see this as an argument of “science v. G-d”. Science helps us get a little closer to understanding G-d. This applies especially to the scientists themselves who were given the intellectual capacity by G-d to conduct their (re)search. This contribution is their G-d-given mission just as poetry is mine.

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