Mined and edited by the Bray of Fundie
First exposure to "Peleg" and I like what I read. As a man of both Science and Faith he brings to the table a lot more cache and credibility than I can. I bolded what I consider to be the "money" quotes. Displaying a very well developed Havdala/Qedusha consciousness he waxes clear and eloquent about the natural and the miraculous (and, to be candid, advocates for Torah Umadah, not my hashqafa):
"I started out life wanting to become a nuclear chemist. Got darn near there, but it wasn't in the cards for me. Still, I think I learned my science well. And along the way, I also got religious. For a while, I thought I'd have to maintain a sort of double-think because the two bodies of knowledge seem to be in conflict in so many ways. After much thought and living and learning was expended on the problem, I think I've finally found a way to live comfortably in both worlds.
What I came to realize is that, not only can Torah and Science comfortably co-exist, in the world, and in my mind, they aren't even in conflict. In order for there to be a conflict, you first have to be contending over the same territory and, in the case of knowledge systems; they have to have a common epistimologic foundation.The epistimologic foundations are totally different.
First, what each system regards as truth turns out to be completely different concepts. In science, a truth is essentially a theory, something empirically determined. It is not immutable nor is it eternal. In Torah, a truth is something derived from Torah, is immutable and eternal. Empirically testing of a Torah truth is neither necessary nor relevant. So, since they cannot even agree on what a Truth is, there isn't any basis for any sort of comparison. Furthermore, what each knowledge system considers to be valid evidence isn't at all the same thing, but I won't belabor that point.Science is about what can be perceived and measured and verified by experiment. Torah is about what is right and wrong, why we are here, and what we are supposed to do. If you want to build an atom bomb, you won't find much relevant information in Torah, but if you want to know, given certain circumstances, if using the bomb is the right thing to do, Science isn't going to provide much help.They just aren't dealing with the same problems and questions. They both provide valuable knowledge about the world, but not the same knowledge. Even more, you can't evaluate the usefulness or veracity of one system using the rules of the other. They don't intersect in any significant ways. They stand separate. So, as a scientist, I have trouble explaining or even accepting miracles and such things. As a frum Jew, I have no doubt that there have been and there are such things. ….
Torah doesn't help me make a living -- I'm a computer programmer -- but science and a scientific way of thinking does. We put men on the moon with science, and there is nothing miraculous about it. It is a fantastic accomplishment, but it’s not any way a miracle. Nothing in Torah helped those rocket scientists to shoot those guys up there and bring them home. That Torah can't put a man on the moon doesn't diminish Torah one bit. It would if it makes any serious claims to being a source of knowledge for such an endeavor, but no reasonable person makes such a claim. Sure, I've heard those claims made, but never from a person who truly understands both Torah and Science.
I'm happy with what I believe. I now have two very powerful tools for living my life. The trick is knowing when to apply which tool. I think I am better off than someone who only has one set of tools to deal with the world. Either a person finds the physical world a complete enigma (those that only admit to Torah knowledge) or a person finds life rather flat and empty of true meaning and purpose (those that only function according to science). My world is wondrous because I have at least some sense of how it works at a physical level (I am still amazed that a machine as big and heavy as an airplane can actually fly, ...) and wonderful because I have a way of connecting and experiencing something, in some way, at some level, the reason for my existence. Some people can't see miracles in their own lives. Neither could I a while ago. It's simply a matter of learning how to look. "
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